In Brief

Turkish banks increase net profits by 35 pct ANKARA (Reuters) -Turkish banks’ total net profit in the 12 months to September jumped 35 percent to 11.8 billion lira ($10.04 billion), showing that the Turkish banking sector retains its high growth potential, the banking watchdog BDDK said in a quarterly report yesterday. BDDK said global capital was still interested in investing in Turkey and rising foreign exchange reserves at the central bank reduced Turkey’s vulnerability to financial shocks. Banks’ total assets also rose 8.8 percent to 543.5 billion lira in September from 499.5 billion lira at the end of 2006, the report said. Serbia to put Zastava on the block next year BELGRADE (AP) – The Serbian government announced yesterday that the country’s only carmaker, Zastava, will be sold next year. In an advertisement published in the Politika daily, Serbia’s Privatization Agency said nearly 90 percent of the company’s shares will be sold in April. Zastava, based in the central city of Kragujevac, was known for its boxy Yugo cars that were also exported to the United States in the 1980s. The factory in the past made deals with Fiat and General Motors Corp to assemble the companies’ cars in the Serbian factory. Zastava has some 4,000 employees. It produced 15,000 cars in 2006, way below its capacity of 60,000 per year. Cyprus credit grows Bank credit in Cyprus rose in November by 27.6 percent year-on-year compared to 26.2 percent in October, the central bank said yesterday. Banks’ claims on the private sector in November were 13.6 billion Cyprus pounds, compared to 13.3 billion the month before. The increase follows repeated warnings by central bank governor Athanasios Orphanides that rapid credit expansion is responsible for an overheating economy, accelerating inflation and higher real estate prices. Petkim Shares in Turkish petrochemical company Petkim and energy firm Turcas were suspended yesterday after news that a top Turkish court had suspended the sale of Petkim to a consortium including Turcas. Istanbul’s stock exchange provided no further information. The handover of Petkim to a consortium made up of Turcas, Azeri Socar and Saudi-based Injaz was scheduled for the end of next month, a privatization official told Reuters earlier this month. (Reuters) Bulgaria foreign debt Bulgaria’s gross foreign debt rose by 31.5 percent on an annual basis to 25.5 billion euros at the end of October due to strong private borrowing, data from the central bank showed yesterday. That took the external debt to 95.6 percent of gross domestic product, up from 77.4 percent a year earlier. Bulgaria paid 4.8 billion euros to service its gross foreign debt through October, up from 3.5 billion a year earlier. (Reuters) Serb inflation Serbia’s retail price inflation rose to 10.1 percent year-on-year in December from 8.8 percent in November, mainly driven by the prices of agricultural products, food and tobacco, the statistics office said yesterday. (Reuters)