ECONOMY

In Brief

Garganas says prompt action keeps prices stable Decisive action is important when the European Central Bank needs to prevent inflationary pressures from building up in the eurozone, Governing Council member Nicholas Garganas said yesterday. «The prompt and decisive action to avert inflationary pressures is particularly important to secure price stability in the medium term,» Garganas said when giving evidence before the parliamentary economics committee. «Interest rates remain at low levels in the eurozone,» and monetary conditions are loose, he said. «Liquidity is still high,» Garganas, who heads the Greek central bank, said. He also noted that the ECB has entered a phase of rising interest rates. The ECB since December has lifted its benchmark rate by 125 basis points to 3.25 percent. Earlier this month, it stepped up its inflation-fighting stance to strong vigilance, signaling rates are likely to rise again in December. (Reuters) Croatia and Serbia top firms to merge retail arms BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia’s Delta Holding and Croatia’s Agrokor said they would merge their retail business in a move that could create the biggest retail group in the Balkans. Delta and Agrokor, both privately owned, are dominant in their respective countries’ retail markets, controlling a number of supermarket chains and other retail outlets. «We officially announce that Delta and Argrokor launched today the merger of their retail business,» Ivana Veselinovic, general manager of Delta Holding, told reporters in Belgrade. There were no financial details. Delta and Agrokor have said in the past they would like to strengthen their regional position to confront the entry of international giants in the Southeast European region. OTE bond OTE telecom yesterday priced 1.5 billion euros ($1.93 billion) of bonds in two parts, an official at one of the banks managing the sale said in London. OTE sold a 600-million-euro three-year floating-rate note at par with a coupon of three-month Euribor plus 28 basis points, and a 900-million-euro May 2016 bond at 99.20 with a coupon of 4.625 percent, giving a spread of mid-swaps plus 78 basis points. Proceeds will refinance mobile subsidiary Cosmote’s acquisition of Germanos. Both deals were in line with final guidance given early yesterday. (Reuters) Turk manufacturing confidence Turkey’s manufacturing sector confidence index fell 4.2 percent in October from the previous month to 100.4 points – just above the watershed separating optimism from pessimism – the central bank said yesterday. The index fell in May amid a sharp sell-off on Turkish markets, which knocked as much as 25 percent off the value of the lira and pushed the central bank to raise benchmark borrowing rates 425 basis points. (Reuters) Bulgarian unemployment Bulgaria’s jobless rate fell to a new 15-year low of 8.38 percent in October, from 8.44 percent a month earlier, preliminary data from the Labor Ministry showed yesterday. Bulgaria’s jobless rate has been falling steadily in the past few years following a boom in construction, tourism and higher employment in government-funded job programs. (Reuters)