ATHEX ex­pects to re­open on Mon­day

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

Greece’s stock mar­ket aims to re­open on Mon­day fol­low­ing a five-week shut­down but is still await­ing a Fi­nance Min­istry de­cree de­tail­ing new trad­ing rules, the Greek se­cu­ri­ties reg­u­la­tor’s chair­man told Reuters yesterday. The Athens Stock Ex­change (ATHEX) has been shut since June 29, when the gov­ern­ment closed banks and im­posed strict lim­its on with­drawals and for­eign trans­fers to pre­vent a run on de­posits by savers and com­pa­nies. The bourse’s re­open­ing has been de­layed sev­eral times this week. “We’re work­ing on the ba­sis of Mon­day but we’re wait­ing for the min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion, which is the le­gal pre­req­ui­site for the re­open­ing,” said Con­stanti­nos Bo­topou­los, chair­man of the Hel­lenic Cap­i­tal Mar­ket Com­mis­sion. Traders and ex­change of­fi­cials had hoped the ex­change would be able to re­open this week af­ter the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank gave Greece the green light to al­low nor­mal oper­a­tions by for­eign in­vestors with some lim­its for lo­cal in­vestors. Un­der the ECB-ap­proved plan, lo­cal in­vestors would be al­lowed to buy shares with ex­ist­ing cash hold­ings, but not to with­draw money from their Greek bank ac­counts to buy shares. Some mar­ket par­tic­i­pants had warned that un­lim­ited trad­ing for do­mes­tic in­vestors would have posed a se­ri­ous risk for lenders by ac­cel­er­at­ing cap­i­tal out­flows. Tech­ni­cal glitches at lo­cal banks, which will be re­quired to en­force the trad­ing re­stric­tions, have fur­ther com­pli­cated the ex­change’s re­open­ing and many se­cu­ri­ties traders have taken an early sum­mer hol­i­day dur­ing the clo­sure. Traders said yesterday, how­ever, they were op­ti­mistic the stock ex­change would re­open some­time next week.

Elec­tric­ity de­mand. De­mand for elec­tric­ity peaked at over 10,000 megawatts this week due to a heat wave that has swept through the coun­try. How­ever, un­like the last black­out in July 2004, the grid can rely on more power pro­duc­tion plants, at a time also when the cap­i­tal con­trols are mak­ing power im­ports ex­tremely dif­fi­cult.

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