Minister sees economy riding out the storm

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou predicted yesterday that the Greek economy will be able to overcome the effects of the global economic fallout from the September 11 terrorist attacks. He added, however, that it was too early to know what the precise effects might be. We will know in about a month and a half, the minister said. The 2002 draft budget will be submitted to a parliamentary committee on Wednesday, ahead of schedule. It forecasts a budget surplus equal to 1.5 percent of GDP, based on economic growth of 4.5 percent. The latter figure may well have to be revised downward. The Greek economy is in a better position to face (economic slowdown) than most European countries, Papantoniou said in a radio interview yesterday, adding that we have about a month to submit the final budget. Papantoniou returned yesterday from a meeting of the European Council of Finance Ministers (Ecofin), which discussed the situation arising as a result of the terrorist attacks. Ecofin agreed to pressure OPEC, the petroleum producers’ organization, to keep oil prices steady, and work to dismantle international financial networks run by terrorists. Several European ministers said that certain speculative moves in the oil and gold markets could be the work of terrorists. In reflection of the ongoing emergency situation, the Athens Stock Exchange will continue to trade between noon and 6 p.m. local time this week, instead of the regular 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. schedule. Explosive device. A powerful bomb planted under a car in Aghia Fyla, near Limassol, Cyprus on Saturday failed to explode. The BMW’s owner, Yiannos Christofis, who works for the stock market company Market Trends, saw the device under one of the back wheels of the car. Police believe the bomb was placed by a dissatisfied customer.

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