In Brief

Economic sentiment improves in March Greek economic sentiment improved in March as stronger business confidence in most sectors lifted the index to 109.1 points from 105 in February, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said. Greece’s overall economic climate index is based on business expectation sub-indices covering industry, construction, retail trade, services and consumer confidence. The index remained above its 2000-06 moving average and was significantly improved from a 98.7 reading in the same month a year earlier, IOBE said yesterday. «The rise in Greece’s economic sentiment index was mainly due to more optimism in almost all business sectors. Sentiment improved in industry and services, along with a more upbeat outlook in construction,» IOBE said. There was a soft spot in retail trade with a downward correction following the previous month’s high reading. There was also slight improvement in consumer morale which, however, remained pessimistic. (Reuters) Greece prices 3.5-bln-euro 2030 inflation-linked bond LONDON (Reuters) – Greece yesterday priced a 3.5-billion-euro inflation-linked bond due July 25, 2030, the country’s Public Debt Management Agency said. The bond was priced at 99 percent of face value with a coupon of 2.3 percent, giving a spread of 30 basis points over the French OATei due 2032, the agency said. Demand for the bond reached about 10.5 billion euros, Spyros Papanikolaou, the agency’s head, told Reuters earlier yesterday, allowing the bond’s size to be raised from an initial 2.5 billion euros. ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas, ING, Banca IMI and SG CIB managed the sale. Intralot in Western Australia Lottery company Intralot signed an A$18 million agreement with Western Australia’s state-run Lotterywest to provide a gaming operating system, Intralot said yesterday. Intralot’s subsidiary Intralot Australia will supply and install the system and provide maintenance and support services for a five-year period, with the option of extending the contract for a further five years, Intralot said. The system is scheduled to be operational by March 2008, the company said. Intralot, the world’s second-largest gaming systems operator by revenues, is active in 33 countries. (Reuters) Family Fast The National Bank of Greece now allows foreign workers in Greece to send remittances at low cost through its network of 1,300 cash machines 24 hours a day. The service requires the opening of a new Family Fast account, with each remittance through an ATM costing 10 euros in charges, although if an NBG subsidiary in Albania, Bulgaria or Romania is chosen, there is a 10 percent discount. Flag raised The Calypso yesterday became the fifth cruiser of Louis Hellenic Cruises to raise the Greek flag. Louis’s fleet consists of 13 cruise ships, four of which are chartered by Britain’s Thomson Cruises and one by Germany’s Transocean.

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