ECONOMY

In Brief

Brokers say no to share capital gains tax Greek stock exchange brokers yesterday urged the government to shelve plans for a capital gains tax, saying the measure would further hurt dwindling retail investor participation. The country’s center-right New Democracy government is weighing whether to replace a 0.15 percent transaction tax on sell trades with a capital gains tax as part of revenue boosting measures. «A capital gains tax is the last thing the market needs. It will hurt growth and will be hard to collect,» Alexandros Moraitakis, president of brokers association SMEHA, told reporters. SMEHA, which represents 53 member brokers of the Athens stock exchange but not bank brokerages, says such a measure would mainly burden Greek retail investors as big players will sidestep it by opening accounts in offshore tax havens. «A capital gains tax… would lead to capital flight from Greece and would be a disincentive to invest through the Greek exchange and local banks,» Moraitakis said. «Only small Greek retail investors who do their trading through the Athens stock exchange would end up paying a capital gains tax. Without them, however, we will not have a Greek stock market,» he said. SMEHA’s board argues that since 2007 orders from abroad make up 67 percent of total turnover at Hellenic Exchanges, meaning a capital gains tax would be difficult to collect. (Reuters) Spain’s Iberdrola takes 68 percent Rokas stake Spanish renewable energy company Iberdrola Renovables raised its stake in Greek subsidiary Rokas as part of a bid to fully acquire the firm, Rokas said yesterday. «Iberdrola acquired 30,654 ordinary shares and 900 preferred shares of Rokas on the Athens bourse on July 15,» Rokas said in a stock market filing. It said Renovables now owns 67.95 percent of Rokas’s common shares and 52.66 percent of its preferred shares. Earlier in July, Renovables made a 175-million-euro bid to fully acquire Rokas for 16 euros a share. It said Greece was one of the Spanish firm’s key markets. Rokas owns 30 percent of Greece’s total installed capacity but only 3.6 percent of the country’s electricity currently comes from wind. (Reuters) Budget surplus Cyprus expects to run a budget surplus in 2008 in spite of signs of an economic slowdown, and inflation is seen at 5.0 percent, Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said yesterday. The island, which joined the eurozone on January 1, is facing a surge in prices, with inflation hitting a five-year high of 5.47 percent last month. «I estimate that this year we will have a surplus, it is difficult to assess with precision… but I am very optimistic the year will end with a 20-100-million-euro surplus,» Stavrakis told a news conference. A Finance Ministry report put that assessment in percentage terms at between 0.1 and 0.6 percent of GDP. (Reuters) Confidence falls Turkey’s consumer confidence index fell 0.46 percent month-on-month in June to a record low of 75.01 points, the Turkish Statistics Institute said yesterday. In April the index had fallen 1.15 percent month-on-month to 75.36 points. The index assesses consumers’ spending behavior and expectations, and the 100-point mark divides pessimism from optimism. (Reuters)