ECONOMY

In Brief

September inflation runs out of fuel Inflation stayed below 3.1 percent in September, according to well-informed sources within the National Statistics Service (NSS). Estimates also refer to an overall figure of 3.3 percent for 2006, provided no dramatic changes or events crop up. The main reason for the decline has been the drop in global fuel prices, which at their peak had driven inflation to 3.8 percent in July. For 2007 average inflation is estimated at 3 percent, which will also be the average raise in real salaries according to the budget draft presented on Monday. Separately, Eurostat is expected to issue an opinion on the upward revision of Greece’s gross national product by the end of November, sources said. The revision for the 2001-2005 period is about 25 percent and National Statistics Service officials believe it will be approved in full. Sofia extends deadline on power sale to PPC SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s privatization agency has extended until December 11 the deadline for finalizing a 105.2-million-euro thermal power sale to Greece’s Public Power Corp (PPC), it said yesterday. Environmental and coal purchase concerns have delayed the talks on the sale of 100 percent of a coal-fired generator at Bobov Dov, in western Bulgaria. The talks were launched in July and should have been wrapped up in late September. «The deadline has been extended to December 11, because we still need to see some regulations from the Environmental Ministry and reach an agreement on the supplies of local coal,» a privatization agency spokeswoman said but did not elaborate. The Greek utility won a tender last year for the 630-megawatt plant by offering to pay Bulgaria 71 million euros and put another 34.2 million in a capital increase. The tender had later been cancelled but PPC appealed and won the case. Building permits down Greek construction activity, measured by the number of new building permits, fell 20.5 percent year-on-year in July, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. NSS said 9,209 new permits were issued nationwide in July, corresponding to 10.4 million cubic meters, down 15.5 percent from the year-earlier figure. A total of 50,500 new permits were issued around the country in the January-to-July period, almost unchanged from the year-ago period, amounting to 51.3 million cubic meters, NSS said. (Reuters) $127 mln Bulgaria project Austrian project development firm Soravia said it was planning to invest more than 100 million euros ($127 million) to build an office complex in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian unit of the company said yesterday. The complex in the Balkan state’s capital will comprise mainly office buildings and should be put to paper next May at the latest so the company can start construction. «The implementation will take between two and four years,» a spokeswoman for the Bulgarian unit of the company said. Financing for the project will be secured through a loan from Bank Austria Creditanstalt and the company’s own funds, it said. (Reuters)