ECONOMY

In Brief

Provopoulos set to succeed Garganas at Bank of Greece Well-informed sources suggest that the government has decided to appoint Giorgos Provopoulos, the vice president and CEO of Piraeus Bank, as the head of the Bank of Greece. The prime minister has reportedly given his consent to the proposal by Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis. Propovopoulos, a former deputy governor of the Bank of Greece, will suceed Nikos Garganas, whose second term ends in early May. «I have not received any such information,» said Provopoulos when asked by Bloomberg yesterday. It will probably be unveiled next week. TOP Ships issues 7.3 million shares in private placement TOP Ships Inc announced yesterday that it has privately placed 7.3 million common unregistered shares for aggregate gross proceeds of $51 million with various investors. The 7.3 million shares were sold for $7 per share, which represents a discount of 15.5 percent based on the closing share price of $8.28 on Wednesday. Of the shares placed, 2.9 million were placed with Sphinx Investment Corporation, a company privately controlled by George Economou. (Reuters) Serbia hikes policy rate Serbia’s central bank raised its key policy rate yesterday for the fourth time this year, hiking it by 75 basis points to 15.25 percent in response to price pressures and political uncertainty. «The rate increase was needed to achieve our goal and bring core inflation back into the 3-6 percent band,» Governor Radovan Jelasic told reporters. (Reuters) S&P upgrades Cyprus Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s raised Cyprus’s long-term debt rating to A+ from A yesterday, welcoming the prospects for fiscal performance. «The government recorded a 3.3 percent gross domestic product general government surplus in 2007 and we expect a smaller surplus this year (1 percent) and in the near term,» credit analyst Ana Mates said in a report. (Reuters) Weaker growth in Turkey Turkey expects lower economic growth this year and next given the credit crunch on global markets, but it should return to a trend around 6 percent after 2009, Treasury Undersecretary Ibrahim Canakci said yesterday. Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek, speaking at the same Istanbul conference as Canakci, said fiscal discipline and strong banks would mitigate the impact of global turmoil. (Reuters) Turkish public sector The completion of Turkish public sector reforms is of vital importance to the country’s price stability, Turkish central bank Governor Durmus Yilmaz said yesterday. It was also important to implement measures that would increase productivity and employment in the medium term, he said in a speech to the bank’s general meeting. (Reuters)