ECONOMY

In Brief

EU approves subsidies to boost broadband Internet use The European Commission approved state funding of 210 million euros to enable IT laggard Greece to boost high-speed broadband Internet usage, the government said yesterday. «We are aiming for a digital leap, so that by 2008 at least 7 percent of the population will be able to use (broadband Internet),» Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said. Greece’s broadband penetration rate is estimated by dominant telecoms operator OTE at 2.5 percent, the lowest in Europe, take-up being held back by high prices and consumers’ lack of knowledge about the technology. The government recently launched a 450-million-euro project over eight years to increase the uptake of broadband. The EU-approved funding is part of the project. OTE has said it aims to invest 946 million euros over the next three years to boost its network and broadband services, a key part of its strategy to offset erosion in its core voice traffic. (Reuters) Delta dairy gives notice of expansion plans Greece’s biggest dairy group, Delta Holdings, said yesterday it is looking into potential partnerships in Greece and abroad, including Cyprus, in line with its expansion strategy. Delta’s statement in a stock market filing came as a response to recent press reports alleging it was considering the acquisition of Cypriot Christis Dairies. «Delta Holdings will inform investors and regulatory authorities in accordance with the law should developments warrant an announcement,» the company said. In early June, Delta’s shareholders approved the company’s merger with Greek snack maker Chipita. (Reuters) Gov’t bonds The volume of Greek government debt traded on the central bank’s electronic system (HDAT) eased to 49.7 billion euros in June ($63.3 billion) from 51.1 billion in May, the Bank of Greece said yesterday. But daily average turnover rose to 2.37 billion euros from 2.32 billion in May since there were fewer trading days in June. The central bank said investor interest mainly focused on the long end of the yield curve, particularly paper with remaining maturities of between seven and 15 years, which absorbed 68 percent of overall volume. The most actively traded bond was the 10-year benchmark, which recorded 22.4 billion euros’ worth of transactions. Greek government paper yields rose in June, in line with the rest of the eurozone. The average monthly yield spread between Greek and German 10-year benchmark bonds was steady at 32 bps for the third consecutive month in June. (Reuters) Turkish jewelry Turkish gold jewelry exports fell 27.2 percent year-on-year to 38.3 tons in the first half of the year, data from Turkey’s Association of Jewelers showed yesterday. In dollar terms, exports fell 4.2 percent to $435 million, the association said. Industry analysts say volatile international gold prices have dented sales this year. (Reuters)