ECONOMY

In Brief

Emporiki Bank first-half net profit drops 33.5 pct y/y Emporiki Bank, majority-owned by France’s Credit Agricole, said yesterday first-half net profit fell 33.5 percent to 61 million euros, hurt by high provisions. The bank said provisions for non-performing loans came in at 1.16 billion euros, or 6.6 percent of total loans, which stood at about 18.6 billion euros. New owner Credit Agricole is streamlining the group’s credit risks. The bank said that profit was hurt by «higher impact of credit risk provisions.» «The benefit of a recovery program will be accounted for in the next quarters,» Emporiki said in a statement. The bank said net interest income rose 9.8 percent to 383 million euros in the first half on growing retail lending volumes. Mortgage loans increased 32.5 percent year-on-year resulting in outstanding balances of 6.3 billion euros. Consumer credit grew 10.9 percent driving total outstanding balances to 2.3 billion euros. (Reuters) Turkey may cut spending in September ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey may take extra fiscal steps such as cutting or freezing some expenditure after reviewing the August budget results and after talks with the IMF, a senior economic official told Reuters yesterday. Turkey’s budget showed a deficit in June and lower primary surplus data compared with a year earlier, reflecting increased spending in the runup to July 22 elections. But the government says it is confident it can still achieve year-end targets. In June, the central government budget showed a deficit of 2.541 billion lira, compared with a surplus of 2.118 billion lira a year earlier. Economists said the figures reflected increased government spending before last Sunday’s parliamentary election, which the ruling pro-business Justice and Development Party won with a comfortable majority. Deductible receipts Consumers who wish to take advantage of sale receipts deductible from taxable income, up to a total of 8,000 euros, may start collecting them from August 1, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. Expenses approved as 40 percent deductible include those for weddings and baptisms, restaurant meals, a wide range of personal services, repair of air-conditioning and ventilation units and all kinds of house repairs. Trade deficit Greece’s trade deficit widened to 14.6 billion euros in January-May 2007, from 12.9 billion in the same period last year, the National Statistics Service said. Without oil payments, the deficit was up 2.2 billion euros, or 22.8 percent. Imports totaled 21.67 billion and exports 7.06 billion euros. Sawiris The Public Power Corporation said in a letter to the Athens bourse yesterday that it was still in negotiations with Egyptian magnate Naguib Sawiris over the sale of its remaining stake in alternative telecoms firm Tellas, after Sawiris had submitted «improved proposals.»