ECONOMY

In Brief

Euro rises above drachma Prices of products and services will appear first in euros and then in drachmas as of October 1, according to a memorandum signed by all retailers’ associations at the Development Ministry yesterday. The measure concerns final prices, including tax, wherever they appear on signs, labels, discounts, and lists, in bids and any type of advertising. An exemption is made for receipts, where prices will appear according to how machines have been programmed. The euro will be launched into circulation on January 1. Early call for circulation stickers The Finance Ministry will begin dispatching 5 million special circulation stickers for 2002 to car and motorcycle owners on October 5 – about two months earlier than usual – aiming for completion within a month and collection of dues by December 14. Deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiadis said circulation levies will remain unchanged. He also said the ministry will begin sending taxpayers the forms for 2001 income tax declaration in November, and is considering requiring businesses to file their VAT declarations electronically. Solvency ratios harmonized. The Bank of Greece on Monday amended certain solvency ratio regulations affecting banks headquartered in Greece in order to harmonize its regulatory framework with European Union directives. The central bank said that mortgage-backed securities held by banks may henceforth be weighted by a risk factor of 50 percent when calculating solvency ratios, as is done with other collateralized housing loans. Banks’ off-balance sheet items – including currency and interest rate swaps, basis swaps, forward rate agreements, interest rate futures and purchased options – will be evaluated under a new time period when determining solvency ratios. (Reuters) Gambling is bad for you… The union of employees of state-owned Parnitha casino, which is slated for privatization, yesterday called for judicial intervention into the phenomena of racketeering, money laundering, drug trafficking and usury which, it claims, have grown and are favored by the operation of private casinos. It asked why the government, which likes to emphasize its willingness to pursue social policies, has not adopted measures to protect citizens from gambling, and proposed restrictions in the operation of casinos, including a reduction in their number, a maximum of 10 working hours that do not extend beyond 4 a.m., and entry requirements such as a tax clearance certificate and local residence. Shipyard talks. A team of officials of Germany’s HDW shipyard, which has been recommended as the successful bidder in the privatization of Hellenic Shipyards, is expected to continue talks on a series of issues in Athens today. Sources say Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis hopes a preliminary agreement will be signed by October 3, which, if not realized, may open the way for negotiations with the second bidder, the Tavoularis group. -On Panamaxes very few fixtures have been reported, especially in the Far East due to local holidays. Korea Line has fixed M/V Suka 64,900 dwt, built 1989, delivery end Sept. China redelivery S. Korea at USD 4,250 daily.