ECONOMY

In Brief

Nicosia sets 2008 target for euro adoption NICOSIA (AFP) – Cyprus set itself the goal yesterday of joining the eurozone by January 1, 2008, officials said. «After exhaustive discussions and evaluation of all the facts, the council of ministers approved the proposal to adopt the euro on January 1, 2008,» said Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides. Cyprus had hoped to join the eurozone by 2007, but a huge fiscal deficit got in the way. However, tighter spending has seen the government’s austerity drive rein in the deficit gap to below the required 3 percent of GDP. Cyprus Airways cost cuts widened to gain EU loan backing NICOSIA (AFP) – The Cypriot government proposed yesterday sharper cost cuts in a Cyprus Airways survival plan, whose milder version unions have already rejected, saying it is the only way to ensure EU approval of a proposed cash injection. It said the streamlining must go further to avoid closure and the loss of 2,000 jobs. «We are at a critical juncture, the company’s economic situation is dire, and the European Union prohibits any state subsidies,» government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides told reporters. The revised plan will be submitted to the European Commission today with «greater cuts,» he said. The carrier needs to present its business strategy to the Commission for approval of a government loan guarantee of 60 million Cyprus pounds (104.6 million euros). For the first six months of 2005, Cyprus Airways suffered net losses of 20.4 million pounds, on top of record net losses of 39.4 million pounds in 2004. Property tax bill The government will table the eagerly anticipated property tax bill by the end of the month, Deputy Economy Minister Antonis Bezas announced yesterday. He reiterated that value-added tax will be imposed on new buildings as of January 1, 2006, as will the new so-called «objective» value, determining each property’s tax in transactions. Originally the government had promised to publish changes in property taxation by end-September, now leaving little or no time for transactions. Mytilineos UBS yesterday initiated coverage of Greek metals and engineering group Mytilineos with a «buy» rating and a price target of 19.90 euros. «Liberalization of the Greek market may lead Mytilineos into electricity production via the wind- and gas-powered plants currently being developed,» it said in a research note. «A breakup of Public Power Corp would make Mytilineos’s subsidiary Metka particularly attractive as it is in a unique position to manage these plants, several of which were installed by the company itself.» (Reuters) Stock trading Greece’s 10 largest securities brokers, out of the industry’s 70, comprised 81.7 percent of trading business on the Athens Stock Exchange in October. Excluding volume from prearranged block trades, the top 10 brokers had a combined 77.3 percent market share of the business. (Reuters)