ECONOMY

In Brief

Greek unemployment drops to 7.7 percent in May Greek unemployment, likely to be a key issue in elections next month, fell to 7.7 percent in May, down from 9.2 percent in the same month last year, according to official figures issued yesterday. The National Statistics Service (NSS) said the jobless rate fell from 8.4 percent in April as the start of the summer season increased hiring in the tourism sector. The data are not seasonally adjusted and compare with a eurozone unemployment rate in May of 7 percent. Greece, which traditionally issued data on a quarterly basis, began reporting monthly jobless figures this year. The NSS said there were 378,299 people officially unemployed in Greece, while an estimated 4.518 million people had jobs. Unemployment has continued to decline from 10.1 percent in May 2004, the figures showed. But joblessness continues to affect women more than men. In May, female unemployment was 11.8 percent compared to 4.9 percent for men. (Reuters) Visitors to Turkey in July rise 16.5 pct year-on-year ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The number of foreign visitors to Turkey rose 16.5 percent year-on-year in July, official data showed yesterday, reflecting a continued strong performance by the important tourism sector. In June, the year-on-year rise was 17.1 percent. The Turkish Statistics Institute said 3.624 million foreigners visited Turkey, up from 3.110 million in the same period last year. In the first seven months of the year, the number of foreign visitors climbed 16.6 percent to 12.808 million from 10.986 million last year. The largest number of foreign visitors came from Germany, followed by Russia, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Austria. Turk assets slip Turkish assets slipped yesterday as decreased risk appetite globally made investors more sensitive to Turkey’s gaping current account deficit and political uncertainty. Istanbul’s main share index fell 1.9 percent to 45,264.96 points, while European and US stocks also weakened. «We are bound to foreign markets, but problems like Turkey’s current account deficit and presidential elections are being felt more at the moment,» said head of research at Acar Investment Yeynel Abidin Balci. Turkey’s lira weakened 1.4 percent to close at 1.3640 against the dollar on the interbank market. Last week the currency fell as low as 1.4200 in volatile trade. Earlier in the day it had strengthened amid a rumor that the US Federal Reserve could cut rates to ease global concerns over troubled credit. (Reuters) 15-yr bond Greece’s reopening of a 4.7 percent 15-year government bond met with strong demand yesterday with the auction oversubscribed more than three times, the Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) said. The PDMA sold a total of 1.44 billion euros of the bond, one of the eurozone’s highest yielders, topping off the sought amount of 1.2 billion euros with 240 million of non-competitive bids. The bond was placed at a weighted average yield of 4.84 percent, up from 4.73 percent in a previous May 22, 2007 auction. (Reuters)