Current account deficit grows in 7 months as trade record worsens Greece’s current account deficit grew by 203 million euros in July to 565 million year-on-year, mainly as a result of a rise in the trade deficit and a fall in net EU transfers. The development is nearly equally attributable to an increase in the non-oil trade deficit (due to lower exports) and a rise in the net oil bill. The deficit was partly offset by higher travel and transport receipts. In the seven months to July, the current account deficit grew by 594 million euros from a year earlier to 4,952 million euros. The non-oil trade deficit in this period grew by 301 million as a result of exports falling by 402 million and imports decreasing by 101 million euros. The services surplus rose as higher net travel receipts offset a fall in net transport receipts. In the seven months, direct investment recorded a net outflow of 333 million, exclusively due to residents’ investment abroad. Portfolio investment showed a substantial net inflow of 6,056 million, mainly related to the foreign funds for the purchase of Greek government bonds (6,674 million). The country’s reserve assets stood at 8.6 million euros at the end of July. PMI shows improved conditions in manufacturing sector Greece’s purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 52.1 in September from 51.8 the previous month, indicating continuing expansion in manufacturing and bucking the overall eurozone trend. However, the rate of expansion slowed down for the fourth straight month. Overall demand rose for the 40th month during the 41 months of the survey’s history. Export demand for Greek manufactured goods improved in September, and hirings in manufacturing rose for the 10th consecutive month. The Greek PMI survey is compiled by NTC Research in collaboration with the Greek Purchasing Institute. Wholesale prices Greek wholesale prices rose 2.1 percent year-on-year in August after rising 0.7 percent in July, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said. Month-on-month, wholesale prices rose 0.8 percent mainly due to a 6.6-percent jump in farm products, bringing the 12-month average wholesale inflation rate ending in August to 1.9 percent. (Reuters) Intracom Telecoms equipment maker Intracom’s Hungarian subsidiary Fornax has signed a 9-million-euro contract with Croatia’s national utility Hrvatski Telecom (HT) for its network management system. Intracom has installed similar systems in Greece’s OTE and Vodafone, and in utilities in Bulgaria and Poland. This is the second contract the group has with HT, which is controlled by Deutsche Telekom Quality The Greek Business Management Society (EEDE) is inviting applications for the Quality Leader of the Year award. The winner will participate in the European Organization for Quality’s competition in Brussels in February 2003. An application form for participation is available on www.eede.gr. Auctions The Postal Savings Bank is to hold auctions of precious objects and artifacts at its headquarters at 2-6 Pesmazoglou Street, in Athens, at 10 p.m. on Sundays, and two or three Sundays a month in Thessaloniki, at 16 Aristotelous Street. Items are on display for a week before they are auctioned.