In Brief

Pipeline agreement to be signed in spring, minister says Greece, Bulgaria and Russia will sign the long-awaited agreement for construction of the the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, Deputy Development Minister Giorgos Salagoudis said yesterday. The official signing had been set for 7 December, but Russia postponed it and is now expected to determine where and when it will eventually be signed. This delay, Salagoudis said, favors the completion of the merger between Russian energy giants Gazprom and Rosneft, creating a company Russia will promote as leader of the pipeline project. Salagoudis also seemed unfazed about the agreement for a US-funded trans-Balkan pipeline linking Burgas with the Albanian port of Vlore, announced on Tuesday. He said that pipeline is much more expensive than the one Greece is interested in, costing more than $1.5 billion compared to some $700 million budgeted for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis project. The latter will charge just $5 per ton, while carriage on the Burgas-Vlore pipeline will cost companies $18 per ton. Turkey’s trade deficit surges in November ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s trade deficit surged 132.3 percent from a year earlier to $2.962 billion in November, official data showed yesterday. Financial markets are closely monitoring the trade gap as it fuels a large current account deficit – expected to amount to around 5 percent of gross national product this year. The State Statistics Institute said imports jumped 60.4 percent year-on-year to $8.414 billion last month and exports climbed 37.3 percent to $5.452 billion. The import surge has been stimulated by a strengthening of the lira against the dollar, encouraging consumers and manufacturers to seek cheaper foreign products, analysts say. The institute said that in the first 11 months of the year the trade deficit jumped 65.9 percent from a year earlier to $30.598 billion. Imports climbed 42.1 percent to $86.824 billion during that period and exports rose 31.8 percent to $56.227 billion. Emissions distribution The Environment and Public Works Ministry yesterday submitted to the EU its National Plan for the Distribution of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rights, following EU policy and the Kyoto protocol. The plan, distributing emissions across 141 plants, will probably be approved by end of March 2005. Wholesale prices Greek wholesale price inflation slowed to 2.6 percent year-on-year in November from 2.9 percent in October, the National Statistics Service said yesterday. The 12-month average remained steady at 2.3 percent. (Reuters) Excel Maritime Bulk carriers operator Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd yesterday named Eleftherios Papatrifon as its chief financial officer, effective Jan. 1. Papatrifon, 35, earlier with Geniki Bank of Greece, a subsidiary of Societe Generale, replaces Christopher Thomas, who is expected to remain as a director, the Piraeus-based company said in a statement. (Reuters)

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