ECONOMY

In Brief

No swift end to fiscal vigilance, despite improved performance Greece will «probably» exit the regime of fiscal supervision by the EU in 2007, Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in Brussels yesterday. Earlier, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis had reiterated that Greece must remain fiscally vigilant in coming years. «The fact that the rehabilitation of the economy is on a good path, with visible results at all levels, does not mean that the goals have been attained and that the taps can now open,» he said. Later he said Almunia’s comment was entirely logical, as the Commission will have to verify 2006 data before making a decision. Cyprus GDP seen as growing 3.8 pct in 2006 NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s economy is poised to expand by an estimated 3.8 percent in real terms in 2006, matching official Finance Ministry forecasts, the statistics department said yesterday. The island’s service-driven economy expanded by 3.9 percent in 2005, the statistics department said in revised GDP estimates. In money terms, the economy would be worth an estimated 8.362 billion Cyprus pounds ($19 billion) this year, compared to 7.861 billion in 2005. Gross national product per capita among Cyprus’s estimated population of 770,000 was expected at 10,678 pounds per annum, compared to an average 10,033 in 2005. The Cypriot economy was showing 3.7 percent growth year-on-year in the second quarter of 2006 from 3.4 percent in the first quarter, according to the latest available quarterly data. HELPE loan Refiner Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE) said yesterday it has picked three Greek and four foreign banks to arrange an $800 million (608-million-euro) syndicated credit facility to refinance existing debt. The refiner said the lead arrangers were Alpha Bank, Bank of America Securities, BNP Paribas, Calyon, EFG Telesis Finance, HSBC and National Bank. The credit facility, with a five-year maturity, is part of the group’s treasury reorganization that seeks to optimize funding, liquidity, foreign exchange and interest risk management activities, it said. (Reuters) Deutsche cuts holding Deutsche Bank lowered its holding in Hellenic Exchanges, the operator of the Athens stock and futures markets, to 4.87 from a previous 5.16 percent, Hellenic Exchanges said yesterday. (Reuters) Marfin Marfin Financial Group said nine-month net profit jumped 249 percent year-on-year to 83.2 million euros on strong lending, exceeding previous company guidance. Marfin, 31.5 percent-owned by investment fund Dubai Financial, is set to merge with Cyprus’s Laiki Bank and small Greek bank Egnatia to form a bigger player focused on growth in Southeast Europe and the Middle East. (Reuters) TEN sale Tsakos Energy Navigation yesterday announced the sale of the 1989-built double hull Panamax tanker Bregen. The vessel is the last remaining 1980s-built tanker in the company’s fleet and its sale gives TEN capital gains of $5 million.