ECONOMY

In Brief

Serbia to put Zastava auto firm on sale today BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia will publish a tender for the sale of automaker Zastava, producer of the Yugo hatchback, today, Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic said on Monday. A source in the Economy Ministry said the tender process would not initially lay down a minimum price. «The companies will have until March to express their interest and then we are going to consult with them on how to proceed, including on what price is appropriate,» the source said. Zastava, whose factories were damaged during the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia, has since been on the road to recovery, clinching two production deals with big global automakers. It assembles Punto cars for Italy’s Fiat, marketing them in Serbia and neighboring Balkan countries under the «Zastava 10» brand and exporting them to Russia. Serb officials hope the two deals will boost the appeal of the troubled carmaker which in 2006 produced 15,000 cars, way below its capacity of 60,000 per year. Visitors to Turkey rise 15.4 percent in November ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The number of foreign visitors to Turkey rose 15.4 percent year-on-year in November to 1.18 million, the Turkish Statistics Institute said on Tuesday. In the first 11 months of the year, the number rose 18.2 percent to 22.32 million compared with the same period a year earlier. Tourism, an important source of foreign earnings for Turkey, which has a large current account deficit, rebounded this year after it was hit in 2006 by an outbreak of bird flu and a series of bomb attacks. But income from tourism has grown more slowly than visitor numbers. In the third quarter, revenues rose 8.6 percent year-on-year to $8.7 billion, after a mere 1 percent growth in the second quarter. Turk FDI below target Foreign direct investment flows into Turkey remained steady at $16.142 billion in the first 10 months of 2007, well below a $25 billion official goal for the whole year, the Turkish treasury said yesterday. The figure was $16.034 billion for the same period last year. In November 2007 alone, FDI stood at $762 million. Turkey relies on foreign investment flows to plug its large current account deficit and expects $25 billion in foreign direct investment in 2007. Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek has voiced worries that these flows could take a hit from the credit squeeze in world markets. Real estate investments fell 6.8 percent to $2.377 billion in January-October period, the data showed. (Reuters) Inflation Greece’s inflation rate for 2007 is projected to end at 2.9 percent, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said on Monday. The NSS estimated the December rate at 3.8 percent, mainly driven by high fuel and cereals prices which are expected to persist early in 2008. The Finance Ministry had projected a 2.7 percent rate for the year and forecasts 2.8 percent for next year. ING acquires Oyak Bank Dutch financial services group ING Groep NV said on Monday it had completed the $2.7 billion acquisition of Turkey’s Oyak Bank. (Reuters)