ATHEX expects to reopen on Monday
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.