ECONOMY

In Brief

FYROM fined over dispute with Hellenic Petroleum A court of international arbitration in Paris has fined the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) 55 million euros for breaching the terms of operation of the country’s largest oil refinery, OKTA, after it was acquired by Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum in 1999. FYROM’s Social Democratic opposition had then criticized the acquisition and refused to implement the agreement in full when it later came to power, prompting the company to take the issue to arbitration after attempts at a compromise failed. OKTA employs about 1,000 and also supplies petroleum products to Kosovo. Turkish gold jewelry exports up 17.1 pct LONDON (Reuters) – Gold jewelry exports from Turkey, one of the top three exporters of the metal, rose 17.1 percent to 51.5 tons in the first seven months of the year. In financial terms, exports in the first seven months reached $644.8 million, up 29.2 percent year-on-year, according to data obtained from the exporters’ association yesterday. Turkey’s gold jewelry exports fell more than 20 percent to 85.8 tons in 2006, when high and volatile gold prices prompted producers and consumers to postpone their purchases. Jewelry producers said Turkey’s development of new export markets, such as Russia, and steadier gold prices helped boost sales. The United Arab Emirates, the USA and Russia were Turkey’s top three export markets in the first seven months of the year. Turkey’s exports to the UAE rose by 65 percent while its shipments to the US, the most competitive export market for jewelers, declined by almost 10 percent. Exports to Russia, an emerging export market for Turkish jewelers, jumped by 157 percent in the same period. Greek tourism The number of Greece’s foreign visitors is expected to rise 10 percent this year, reaching 17 million, Tourism Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia said yesterday. She noted that the number has steadily risen as a result of the country’s improved image after the Olympic Games of 2004, with an increase of 5.6 percent in 2005 and 8.4 percent in 2006. Petralia said Greece aims to capture a place among the top five destinations in the world. Cypriot GDP up 3.6 pct Cyprus’s gross domestic product expanded 3.6 percent year-on-year in the second quarter from a revised 4 percent in the first quarter, the island’s statistics department said in a flash estimate yesterday. Quarter-on-quarter GDP expanded by 0.8 percent in Q2, compared to 1.2 percent in the first quarter. Hilton Cyprus The Cyprus Competition Commission has approved Marfin Investment Group’s acquisition of 64.3 percent of the island’s Public Tourism Development Company, the owner of the Hilton Cyprus hotel in Nicosia.