Nicosia might presell natural gas reserves

Cyprus may presell the country’s offshore gas reserves to raise cash quickly and pull it out of its deep financial crisis, the island’s finance minister, Haris Georgiades, stated on Thursday.

The issue had become a bone of contention during the Cypriot presidential election in February, with the current president, Nicos Anastasiades, then rejecting the idea that had been put forward by another candidate.

Georgiades also told The Associated Press in an interview yesterday that limits on bank transactions that were put in place last March to prevent a bank run will be fully lifted eventually, but authorities won’t act “hastily.”

He said selling Cyprus’s gold reserves may not be necessary if the country finds other income to repay a 10-billion-euro rescue loan it agreed to with its euro partners and the International Monetary Fund.

Georgiades further said there would be no delay in Russia’s easing of the terms of a 2.5-billion-euro loan it granted Nicosia in 2011, when it lost access to bond markets.

Cyprus also announced on Thursday the postponement of its annual international fair. Instead of taking place later this month, it has been rescheduled for October 4-9.