ECONOMY

In Brief

National Bank raises 2 bln euros from bonds National Bank of Greece SA, the country’s biggest lender, raised 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) from the sale of covered bonds. The bank sold 1 billion euros of five-year bonds with a coupon of 65 basis points over the European Central Bank rate, and 1 billion euros of six-year notes at a spread of 70 basis points, according to an Athens bourse filing yesterday. The notes, sold on November 28, have an option allowing the bank to extend the maturity for one year, the statement said. Covered bonds are secured by loans to public sector institutions or mortgages. The notes differ from asset-backed securities in that the collateral backing the debt remains with the issuer, which becomes liable for the notes if the assets aren’t sufficient. (Bloomberg) Manufacturing sector contracts to record low Greece’s manufacturing sector contracted to a record low in November due to a fall in new orders as the global economic crisis affected markets at home and abroad, a monthly survey showed yesterday. November’s purchasing managers index (PMI), which provides a snapshot of operating conditions in the Greek manufacturing sector, fell to 42.3 points from October’s 48.1 reading. «The contraction, which contrasted sharply with the rapid growth recorded over the same period just one year ago, reflected a further weakening of both domestic and foreign demand conditions,» Markit Research said. «The PMI index dropped to its lowest level in nine years, due to the significant worsening of expectations of domestic demand and demand from abroad,» said Nicholas Magginas, economist at National Bank. «The situation is not expected to improve in the following months as the outlook for the global economy is seen as worsening,» he added. (Reuters) Fee reduction The Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA’s (OTE) mobile phone unit Cosmote will reduce fees for completing calls on its networks by 21 percent from next month. The so-called termination rate will drop to 7.86 euro cents per minute from 9.89 cents, according to an e-mailed statement from the Athens-based company. This is the ninth cut since 2003 and is equal to a 66 percent reduction since then, the company said. Greece’s telecommunications regulator said in June that Cosmote and other Greek mobile phone companies should reduce termination fees by as much as 52 percent, to 4.95 cents, by January 1, 2011, to bring fees down to the European average. (Bloomberg) Crisis bites The worst of the financial crisis may now be over but its impact is starting to bite into the eurozone economy, European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council member Athanasios Orphanides said yesterday. Next year would be a more difficult year and a worsening of the financial crisis cannot be ruled out, he told the finance committee of the Cyprus parliament. «Although I hope that the worst is behind us as regards the international financial crisis in the eurozone, in part due to the continuous interventions by the ECB, the impact of this turmoil on the real economy will start from now and in the coming year to become more intense and to be reflected in the growth rate of the world economy,» he said. The ECB has cut interest rates twice since early October to 3.25 percent. (Reuters)