ECONOMY

In Brief

Services lift Greek economic sentiment in September Greek economic sentiment improved in September, boosted by greater consumer confidence and a positive outlook in the services sector, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said yesterday. Greece’s overall economic climate index is based on business expectations sub-indices, covering industry, construction, retail trade, services and consumer confidence. In September, the index rose to 111.9 points from 109.2 in August, surpassing the respective EU-27 benchmark for the first time since 2004, IOBE said. «Expectations in the services sector were particularly favorable, with the marked rise mainly due to the positive course of demand. Consumer confidence was also stronger compared to July and August as the overall assessment of households’ financial condition was less pessimistic,» IOBE said. (Reuters) HDFS says considering stake in apparel retailer Retailer Hellenic Duty Free Shops (HDFS) said yesterday it was in talks to acquire a majority stake in Greek apparel retailer Elmec Sport. «HDFS is in advanced negotiations with Homeric Department Stores to acquire its total participation in Elmec Sport,» HDFS said in a statement. Homeric Department Stores holds 51.83 percent in Elmec, according to Reuters data. The stake is valued at about 113 million euros ($159.4 million), based on Elmec’s current market value of 217 million. HDFS, majority-owned by Greek jeweler Folli-Follie, has exclusive rights to run duty-free retail stores at border crossings in Greece until 2048. (Reuters) Bond trade The volume of Greek government debt traded on the central bank’s electronic system (HDAT) rose to 34.35 billion euros in September from 28.43 billion in August, the Bank of Greece said yesterday. The central bank said government bond yields rose in September, mostly due to a 50-basis-point interest rate cut by the US Federal Reserve, which helped ease tensions in financial markets and restore confidence among investors. Daily average turnover in September rose to 1.72 billion euros from 1.29 billion in the previous month. The Greek central bank said the most actively traded bond was the 10-year benchmark which recorded 12.3 billion euros’ worth of transactions. The average monthly yield spread between Greek and German 10-year benchmark bonds widened to 32 from 31 basis points in August. (Reuters) Cyprus budget gap Cyprus’s budget deficit and public-debt-to-GDP ratio are seen improving next year to take them well within EU limits, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. Based on a revised budget bill submitted to parliament by Finance Minister Michalis Sarris, the fiscal gap will fall to 0.5 percent of GDP next year from 1 percent of GDP in 2007. Public debt will drop to 53.2 percent of GDP from 61.5 percent in 2007. «I believe growth may continue (in the next years) at 4 percent, that we can see an increase in employment and the jobless rate at a lower level,» Sarris said. (Reuters) Total mulls Croat project French oil and gas giant Total said yesterday it was studying the construction of a 10-billion-cubic-meter capacity liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Croatia. Total has created Adria LNG, a joint venture with E.ON Ruhrgas (31.14 percent), OMV (25.58 percent) and RWE (16.69 percent) to conduct the feasibility study. Total will hold a 25.58 percent stake in the company. «The new terminal will have an initial capacity of some 10 billion cubic meters per annum which could be increased to 15 bcm per annum,» Total said in a press release. (Reuters)