ECONOMY

In Brief

Bulgaria may construct gas pipeline to Greece Bulgaria may build an 80-kilometer (50-mile) natural gas pipeline between its southern city of Haskovo and Komotini in northern Greece. The link would be joined to an existing pipeline between Turkey and Greece and carry natural gas from Iran or Azerbaijan to Bulgaria’s southern regions along the Greek border, Bulgaria’s Economy and Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov said in Sofia yesterday. Bulgaria would negotiate additional gas supplies with Iran and Azerbaijan should the project be implemented, Dimitrov said. The Balkan country signed a contract with Russia’s OAO Gazprom until 2030, as well as an accord for the South Stream pipeline, a link that stretches from Russia to the European Union via the Black Sea. (Bloomberg) Ankara cancels tax on imported grain to cover gap Turkey canceled duties on wheat and most of the other grains it imports until May 15 as the country seeks to buy more grain after a drought hampered local production. Taxes on milling wheat, rye, oat and barley were slashed from 8 percent as of February 23, said a spokesman for the Turkish Grain Board who spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with the board’s policy. Turkey will raise the tariff on imported wheat to 50 percent from May 15, according to the publication. A drought cut the local harvest by 20 percent to 16 million tons in 2007, according to the Union of Turkish Agricultural Chambers. (Bloomberg) Bank chief jailed The former central bank chief of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was sentenced yesterday to four-and-a-half years in prison for embezzling 60 million dollars of state funds, court officials said. Ljube Trpeski, who served as the central bank head from 1997 until 2004, was arrested in 2006 under suspicion of giving 60 million dollars from FYROM’s foreign currency reserves to a local bank as a loan in 1999. The bank soon went bankrupt and has never returned the loan. Defense lawyer Nikola Polenak said he would appeal. (AP) THY eyes Bosnian airline Turkish Airlines plans to send a non-binding letter of intent with a view to taking part in the privatization of Air Bosna, it said in a statement yesterday. It gave no other details in a short statement to the stock market. Air Bosna, or BH Airlines, said in June last year it planned to sell a stake in the small flag carrier. (Reuters) Tanker purchase Capital Product Partners LP, a Greek shipping company, plans to buy two tankers for a combined $118 million, increasing its fleet to 16 vessels. Capital will acquire the vessels from Capital Maritime & Trading Corp by the end of April, the Piraeus-based company said in a statement. (Bloomberg) Turkey tourism The number of foreign visitors to Turkey rose 9.6 percent year-on-year in January to 782,786, the Culture and Tourism Ministry said yesterday. Tourism is an important source of foreign currency for Turkey, which has a large current account deficit. (Reuters)