In Brief

Garganas sees turmoil easing once banks report Financial market turmoil will ease gradually once banks release details of how they have been affected by the US subprime mortgage crisis and its fallout on markets, European Central Bank Governing Council member Nicholas Garganas said yesterday. «The market continues to have doubts about the impact of the turmoil on bank earnings and balance sheets because of the intransparent pricing of the securities involved,» he said at a an American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce conference. «The market turmoil phenomenon will ease gradually as transparency improves after the publication of audited bank balance sheets.» Garganas, who heads the Greek central bank, said the provision of extra liquidity to money markets by the ECB did not fix the problems but helped conditions to normalize, although he noted that so far only overnight lending had returned to normal. «The provision of liquidity by the ECB does not solve the problem but helps normalize conditions,» he said. (Reuters) OTE owns 90 percent of Cosmote after purchases OTE telecom, Greece’s biggest phone company, increased its stake in Cosmote cell phone operator to 90.1 percent yesterday, meaning it can force remaining shareholders to sell. OTE acquired 508,652 shares on the market on December 3, according to a bourse filing. OTE, which offered last month 2.8 billion euros in cash to acquire the 32 percent stake in Cosmote it didn’t already own, has said it will exercise its right to «squeeze out» shareholders when it holds at least 90 percent of the company. A public offer for the shares at 26.25 euros each began today and will end on January 29. (Bloomberg) Turk markets lower Turkish markets fell yesterday in thin trade amid growing aversion to riskier emerging market assets and following losses on global bourses. The main stock index edged down 0.56 percent to end at 54,013.30 points. The Turkish Treasury sold a net 477.2 million lira of a five-year fixed-coupon bond at an average yield of 16.70 percent at auction yesterday, lower than a poll forecast of 750 million lira. The lira softened 0.3 percent to close at 1.1850 against the dollar versus the previous day’s 1.1815. The yield on the benchmark August 5, 2009 bond rose to 16.74 percent from Monday’s 16.63 percent. (Reuters) Civil servants in Turkey The Turkish government will raise civil servants’ pay next year by more than the 4 percent target for inflation in 2008, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan said yesterday. Civil servants with the lowest wages will receive a 5.2 percent hike in January 2008 and another 4.3 percent in July, Unakitan said in his presentation of the 2008 budget in parliament. Turkey failed to meet its 5 percent inflation target in 2006 and annual inflation in November rose to 8.40 percent, more than double this year’s target which is also 4 percent. Civil servants and other wage-earners have long complained that they have been excluded from Turkey’s economic boom and that high growth rates in the last five years have hardly benefited them. (Reuters)