ECONOMY

In Brief

Central bank reports fall in forex trading The Bank of Greece said yesterday that foreign exchange trading volumes in Greece have shrunk in the last three years, according to a survey of the country’s largest credit institutions. In April this year, the average daily forex volume was $4.93 billion, down from $7.91 billion in April 1998. The Bank of Greece said it participated along with 47 other central banks in a survey coordinated by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) every three years on foreign exchange and derivatives trading activities. The survey showed that in Greece spot foreign exchange trade dropped to $2.0 billion in April from $3.5 billion in the same month in 1998. (Reuters) Lufthansa to close down Thessaloniki office Lufthansa is closing down its office in Thessaloniki and suspending all flights to and from Munich as of October 29, according to a press release yesterday. The decision is part of the carrier’s measures designed to deal with the adverse impact of the September 11 events on air travel, including the elimination of 20 routes worldwide and the freezing of the planned purchase of 15-20 new aircraft. The company said it will probably announce today alternative arrangements for those who have already booked flights from Thessaloniki after October 29. Lufthansa opened the local office 30 years ago and flies to Munich direct 13 times weekly. 2004 halt. The Athens Industrialists Association will ask member companies to shut down their plants during the Olympic Games of 2004, scheduled for August 13-29, as a contribution to minimizing air pollution during the events, Deputy Development Minister Alexandros Kalafatis said in a press release yesterday. Leave refused. Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis yesterday refused to accept the resignation of Hellenic Railways (OSE) Managing Director Costas Papadimitriou, submitted after the company’s board of directors failed to endorse his proposal for a number of temporary suspensions of train routes in the Peloponnese. Papadimitriou had proposed the suspension for 16 of about 300 routes nationwide until December 16 to facilitate the taking of leave and rest days by staff, which otherwise cost OSE twice as much. The proposal met with an adverse reaction from employees, who staged a sit-in in the boardroom. The board will reconsider the issue at its next session. Heating fuel tax. The Finance Ministry has set the special consumption tax on heating diesel and kerosene at 6,150 drachmas per 1,000 liters, in a bill now being discussed in Parliament. The decision was taken in order to dampen inflation pressures and protect low-income consumers, the report accompanying the bill said. The end of holidays in the Far East has not changed the shipping scenario at all over the past few days.