ECONOMY

In Brief

PPC will increase hydroelectric production to lower water levels Public Power Corporation SA (PPC), Greece’s largest electricity company, will increase hydroelectric production at its storage reservoirs to lower water levels. High inflows «following the heavy rainfall of the last few days, combined with the already high water reserve levels for the time of the year, give rise to the need for immediate measures to protect dams and prevent flooding,» the Athens-based company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Production will run at its highest capacity for at least 10 days, according to the statement. PPC said it will work with Greece’s power grid operator DESMIE to avoid any problems with the increased output of electricity from hydropower plants. Water levels for the period from December 1 to 20 were enough to produce 2,067 gigawatt hours of electricity, compared with 1,302 GWh for the same period in 2008, PPC said. On November 11, the company raised its 2009 target for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization as a percentage of revenues to 29 percent from 21 percent, citing increased, cheaper hydroelectric generation. (Bloomberg) Greece’s debt woes weigh on euro valuation, says UBS Investors should sell the euro for seven reasons, with its «fair value» against the dollar as much as 17 percent below its present level, according to UBS AG. «The single currency has fallen sharply toward our three-month target of $1.40,» Mansoor Mohi-uddin, head of currency strategy at UBS in Zurich, wrote in a note to clients. «But investors should continue to sell the single currency.» The euro, which gained 2.8 percent against the USA currency this year, has a long-term fair value of between $1.20 and $1.25, Mohi-uddin said. The euro was little changed at $1.4357 as of 1.25 p.m. in London. The US Federal Reserve will increase interest rates before the European Central Bank, US investors will move money back into dollars and investors will become more averse to risk as some central banks tighten monetary policy in 2010, all of which will hurt the euro, UBS said. Other factors that may lower the currency’s value include concern that countries such as Greece may struggle to pay off their debts, and a «bullish» sentiment toward the single currency, leaving it «vulnerable to surprises,» Mohi-uddin said. Reserve managers in the Middle East and Asia have stopped buying the euro, he said. «The worries about Greece’s fiscal position, as well as those of Ireland, Spain and Portugal, are also weighing on the single currency as long-term reserve managers at foreign central banks have to evaluate the risks of a possible breakup of the euro,» he wrote. (Bloomberg) Striking farmers Thousands of Bulgarian tobacco producers blocked the main road link with Turkey yesterday to demand higher subsidies in the first large-scale protest since the center-right government took office in July. About 3,000 farmers from southern Bulgaria, guarded by police, clogged the highway to neighboring Turkey for a couple of hours, waving banners reading: «150,000 families are doomed to perish» and «Don’t leave our children hungry.» (Reuters)