Retail lifts economic sentiment in July Greek economic sentiment improved in July as stronger business confidence in retail trade lifted the index to 109.1 points from 108.9 in June, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said yesterday. The overall economic climate index is based on business expectations sub-indices covering industry, construction, retail trade, services and consumer confidence. The index remained above its 2000-06 moving average and slightly higher than a 106.4 reading in the same month a year earlier, IOBE said. «The slight rise in the index is due primarily to the significant rise in the retail trade index. The forecast for producer trends and orders in the near future is positive. Conversely, consumer confidence weakened slightly,» IOBE said. (Reuters) Greek, Turkish ministers attend connection of gas pipeline Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Mehmed Hilmi Guler yesterday attended the connecting of Greece and Turkey’s natural gas networks at the Kipoi border post on the Evros River. Sioufas said the project would be completed in 15 days’ time, when it will be inaugurated by the two countries’ prime ministers. The pipeline is 300 kilometers long and 87 km have already been constructed on its Greek leg, valued at 82 million euros. «It is a project of immense importance for the economy, growth and energy for both countries,» Sioufas said. Frigoglass Producer of soft-drink refrigeration units Frigoglass said yesterday profit for the first half of the year rose 20.7 percent as it increased sales in its markets abroad. Net profit rose in the first half to 40.7 million euros versus 33.7 million euros in the same period last year, it said in a statement. Eastern Europe provided Frigoglass with its strongest boost with sales growth in the region of 26 percent, helped in part by increased sales to breweries in Russia, Poland, Serbia and Bulgaria, the company said. (Reuters) Romania reactors Romania has set an October 25 deadline to receive binding bids for the license to build and operate two nuclear reactors at its Cernavoda power plant, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. The government has said work to complete Units 3 and 4 at the European Union newcomer’s sole nuclear power plant on the Danube River will start next year. The reactors are expected to go on stream in 2014 and 2015 respectively. (Reuters) TEN Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN) yesterday reported a 33.6 percent rise in net revenue increases in the second quarter, year-on-year, to $107.22 million. Fleet utilization was 97.6 percent as compared to 96.8 percent in the second quarter of 2006. Vessel operating costs were $7,266 per ship per day, up from $6,659 primarily due to higher lubricant prices, crew costs and the impact of further dollar weakness.