ECONOMY

In Brief

Market watchdog investigates price increases of last 3 years The Competition Commission is planning to investigate increases in prices of basic foodstuffs and other consumer products over the last three years. The independent authority wants to establish whether the price hikes have been the result of the relationships between industrial and commercial companies on the one side and supermarket chains on the other. More than 20 companies have been targeted for the supply of data, coming from the sectors of bakery products, dairy products, paper items, ready meals, wine etc. By the end of the month, the commission will have a full picture on the washing detergent sector. February PMI manufacturing picks up to 52.4 points Growth in Greece’s manufacturing sector accelerated in February with the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rising to 52.4 points from 51.4 in January, a monthly survey showed yesterday. The 50 mark separates contraction from growth. The PMI provides a snapshot of operating conditions in manufacturing. «Greek manufacturers expanded production at their plants in February, underpinned by further growth of incoming new business,» NTC Research said. «The rate of increase in output was robust and the strongest for three months.» (Reuters) Rail contract Hellenic Technodomiki, Greece’s biggest builder, won a 79-million-euro contract to upgrade an Athens city rail link. Hellenic’s Aktor unit will undertake the project to upgrade the ISAP line link and tunnel between the stations of Omonia and Monastiraki, according to an e-mailed statement from the Athens-based company. (Bloomberg) Vakifbank profit up Turkey’s Vakifbank, the fourth-largest listed bank by market capitalization, posted a 35.3 percent rise in 2007 unconsolidated net profit to 1.03 billion lira ($835 million). According to results published on the Istanbul Stock Exchange website, Vakifbank’s net interest income rose to 1.68 billion lira from 1.59 billion lira a year earlier. (Reuters) Dundee on Bulgarian mine Dundee Precious Metals Inc said yesterday it is in discussions with the Bulgarian government over the planned expansion of its Chelopech copper and gold mine located in the country. Toronto-based Dundee said it was confirming a statement made by the Bulgarian minister of economy and energy last Friday that the government was negotiating with the company over the project. Dundee, which explores and develops precious metal properties, said it will report any results of the discussions «in due course.» (Reuters) Petkim go-ahead Turkey’s top administrative court said the government’s sale of chemicals maker Petkim Petrokimya Holding AS may go ahead, rejecting a request by a labor union to cancel the transaction. The court in Ankara ruled yesterday that the transaction is in the public interest and will aid economic growth, a spokesman for the court said on customary condition of anonymity. Judges suspended the $2.04 billion sale on December 27 pending the decision. (Bloomberg)