In Brief

Turk trade deficit widens ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s exports totaled $73.4 billion in 2005 while imports were expected to amount to $115 billion, Trade Minister Kursad Tuzmen said yesterday. The country’s large trade deficit has fed into a widening current account deficit, which economists see as a source of concern for an economy which has rebounded strongly from a 2001 financial crisis. Turkey had set an official revised target of $72.4 billion for exports and $115 billion for imports. In 2004, exports were $63.12 billion and imports were $97.54 billion. Tuzmen told a news conference that exports reached a monthly record level of $7.3 billion in December alone. The Turkey Statistics Institute (TUIK) announced on Friday that the trade deficit rose 26.6 percent year on year to $3.589 billion in November. Manufacturing growth slower Greece’s manufacturing sector expanded for the eighth successive month in December but the rate of growth was the slowest since May, a monthly survey of around 300 companies showed yesterday. December’s seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped to 51.1 from 52.4 in November, data from NTC Research showed. The 50 mark separates contraction from growth. The PMI is a measure of manufacturing activity. NTC said the drop in the PMI mainly reflected slower growth of output, new orders and employment. Banks illegal The Greek Financial Research Institute (EIXE) has sent the Hellenic Bank Association, the Bank of Greece and the European Central Bank an official complaint, signaling its intention to seek legal recourse, saying that it has identified illegal practices concerning the application of interest rates by Greek commercial banks and leasing companies. EIXE points out that the illegal nature of such practices has been confirmed by court rulings, and calls for the intervention of the European Commission and Parliament.

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