In Brief

Greece promises tight budgets as EU ends supervision The government will stick to tight fiscal policies to meet its balanced budget goal by 2010, Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said yesterday, a day after his European Union counterparts ended supervision of the budget. On Tuesday, EU finance ministers ended disciplinary steps against Greece, which ran a string of deficits over the EU ceiling of 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from 1995. «To meet our medium-term goal in the next three years, the fiscal adjustment must be in the order of 0.7 to 0.8 percent of GDP annually,» Alogoskoufis said. He said efforts to shore up public finances on a sustainable basis would continue with structural measures to curb spending and reduce tax evasion. Greece is targeting a budget gap of 2.4 percent of GDP this year. «It is clear we have yet to reach the end of our efforts to improve the country’s public finances. We are still near the limit of 3 percent, because (the 2006 gap of) 2.6 percent is close to the limit,» he said. (Reuters) Turk C/A gap shrinks to $3.13 bln, below forecast ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s current account deficit tightened 20.4 percent year-on-year to $3.13 billion in April, a shade below expectations, central bank data showed yesterday. A Reuters poll of 17 economists had given a median forecast of $3.20 billion. Turkey’s current account deficit is seen as the weak spot of a fast-growing economy and is proportionally one of the largest in emerging markets. The government forecasts it will end the year at 7.25 percent of gross national product. Ratings agency Moody’s said yesterday the deficit was a concern, and a key factor for its ratings outlook. For the first four months of the year, the deficit stood at $12.258 billion, 3 percent tighter year-on-year. The central bank revised March’s deficit to $3.007 billion from a previously reported $2.944 billion. BoC eyes Ukraine bank Bank of Cyprus is considering an acquisition in Ukraine as it seeks to expand further into emerging markets, its CEO said yesterday. «We are considering our entry into the Ukrainian market through an acquisition,» CEO Andreas Eliades told the annual shareholders’ meeting in Nicosia. He did not give details of the potential target. (Reuters) French tastes Athens is one of 30 cities across the world to participate in the «Aperitif a la francaise» festival of food and drink tasting that opens today. It aims at promoting French agricultural products and gastronomy, after an initiative by SOPEXA, a company promoting French food products. In Athens, the festival will open tonight at the Palmie Bistro in Voula, under the auspices of the French Embassy in Greece, and culminate on September 9 with a major event at the Thessaloniki International Fair.

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