ECONOMY

Active trading accounts take a dive in February

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) was closed for trading yesterday, in line with other bourses abroad due to Western Christianity’s celebration of the Easter holiday. Bank of Greece workers resumed strike action yesterday in support of demands for the government to withdraw a provision from the new pension law, according to which their pension fund is to be merged with others. Their strike first caused a blackout in the country’s payments system on March 4 and 5 and led to the suspension of bourse trading. The union has since been holding work stoppages but the bourse has not been affected, as a backup system operated through Alpha Bank has been activated whenever the central bank has been unable to perform its clearing duties. Hellenic Exchanges, the operator of ATHEX, has begun sending investors with active trading accounts (with at least one transaction a month) an information leaflet on the recently launched Alternative Market for small promising companies and the first tradeable mutual fund. In February, the number of active accounts fell sharply to 68,434 from 102,659 in January, reflecting the deterioration in investor sentiment. ATHEX will remain closed on Monday, as well as Tuesday, which is Greek Independence Day.