In Brief

Greek Q4 GDP growth slows to 3.6 percent y/y Greece’s economy grew at a slower pace in the fourth quarter, with gross domestic product expanding 3.6 percent year-on-year, down from 3.8 percent in the previous three months, the National Statistics Service said yesterday in provisional estimates. Economic growth in the last quarter of 2007 was unchanged from previous flash estimates. It was the slowest rate of growth since 2004. «Private consumption has slowed but remains strong and it looks set to continue this way in 2008. Business and public sector investments will help offset an expected drop in residential construction activity,» said Nick Magginas, an economist at the National Bank of Greece. «We see a drop in exports due to a slowdown in the international economy with the external sector being a drag on growth.» (Reuters) Finance Ministry seeks tax data from German authorities The Greek government has asked the German authorities for information on Greek citizens who may have avoided paying taxes, becoming the latest country to join a German-led probe into tax evasion centered on Liechtenstein. Deputy Finance Minister Antonis Bezas sent a letter to his German counterpart Axel Nawrath asking for any information on persons banking in Liechtenstein who fall under the Greek tax regime, according to an e-mailed statement from the Greek ministry yesterday. Greek involvement brings the tax-evasion probe linked to Liechtenstein bank accounts to at least 16 countries. German authorities said last week they’ve investigated several hundred people on suspicion of concealing money in the principality. (Bloomberg) Romanian GDP Romania’s economy grew by a slightly higher than expected 6 percent in 2007, compared with 7.7 percent a year before, the statistics office said yesterday. GDP was up 6.6 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2007 compared with 5.7 percent in the third quarter, it said. The statistics office, which will issue a detailed GDP breakdown on March 12, said nominal GDP was 404.7 billion lei ($163.3 billion) last year. (Reuters) Halcor profits drop Halcor SA, a Greek metal processor, said profit fell last year. Net income dropped to 20 million euros in 2007 from 36 million euros in 2006, according to a financial statement published in Kathimerini. Sales gained 9.6 percent to 1.37 billion euros, the statement said without giving a reason for the profit decline. (Bloomberg) Turkish union – BAT A Turkish labor union wants a court annulment of the sale of state-owned cigarette firm Tekel to British American Tobacco, the union’s lawyer told Reuters yesterday. BAT, the world’s second-largest cigarette group, won the auction for Tekel on February 22, beating off three Turkish rivals with the highest bid of $1.72 billion in a deal increasing its market share fivefold. (Reuters)

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