ECONOMY

In Brief

Credit expansion accelerates but household borrowing cools down Total Greek credit expansion accelerated to 8.8 percent year-on-year in July from 7.6 percent in June, provisional data from the country’s central bank showed yesterday. But consumer and home loans, which have been feeding robust bank earnings growth, were still advancing at a strong pace, Bank of Greece data showed. Growth in total household credit – mortgages, credit cards, consumer loans – decelerated to 24.7 from 26.6 percent in June. The data showed Greek household indebtedness was 57.6 billion euros in July, or about 34 percent of annual economic output (GDP). The central bank has raised commercial bank provision rates on consumer loans, requiring that provisions for those non-performing for more than one year must be 90 percent from 74 percent previously. (Reuters) Garganas says ECB remains vigilant against inflation FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The European Central Bank stands ready to raise interest rates if there are any signs of high oil prices feeding into consumer prices and wages, ECB Governing Council member Nicholas Garganas said in an interview yesterday. Garganas told news agency Bloomberg inflation risks had risen, although price pressures were subdued at the moment. «Markets realize that we would be quite prepared to act if we see second-round effects,» he said. Garganas said his main concern about high oil prices was the impact on inflation, rather than growth, and the ECB still expected to see an economic recovery during the next year. Cyprus tourism Cyprus’s tourism arrivals were up 7.7 percent in the year until August, hitting almost 1.7 million arrivals, the statistics office said yesterday. Tourism and services underpin the Cypriot economy, with the tourism sector alone representing about 15 percent of gross domestic product. Year on year for August arrivals were up 10 percent on last year, authorities said. Britons are Cyprus’s main tourism market with almost 200,000 of them arriving last month. (Reuters) Derivatives The Athens Derivatives Exchange (ADEX), Greece’s futures and options market, will launch seven new individual stock futures on Monday, expanding its product range. ADEX said futures contracts on shares of GEK, Hyatt Regency, Marfin Financial Group, Attica Holdings, Hellenic Technodomiki, Intralot and Mytilineos will start trade next Monday. The new contracts will expand the exchange’s individual stock futures to 21. (Reuters) Turk consumer confidence Turkey’s consumer confidence index for August fell to its lowest level since monthly figures were first compiled in December 2003, according to data published by the Central Bank and State Statistics Institute yesterday. The index, which measures shifts in consumer behavior and expectations, fell 1.78 percent to 97.5 points in August from 99.2 points in July. This compares with 99.1 points in June and 100.3 points in May. An index figure above 100 indicates positive consumer confidence, while any figure below 100 shows pessimism. (Reuters)