Strike at BoG again freezes stock market

The Athens bourse remained shut for a second consecutive day due to industrial action by Bank of Greece employees. Workers blocked access to the central bank again yesterday in protest at planned government pension reforms, disrupting systems for settling bond trades as well as the TARGET system for high value interbank transfers. The authorities expressed their optimism last night that the market would open today, albeit with security personnel, despite the support offered yesterday to BoG employees by the Greek Federation of Bank Employees’ Unions (OTOE.) The administration of Hellenic Exchanges, the operator of the country’s bourse, has reportedly been examining an alternative plan to try to ensure that at least tomorrow’s session takes place smoothly. The main prerequisite for the resumption of trading is the processing of the transaction backlog from February 27. The Cyprus Stock Exchange operated normally and posted further gains with its general index rising by 1.60 percent yesterday to reach 3,199.31 points. (Kathimerini, Reuters)

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