ECONOMY

In Brief

Weak services hurt Greek economic sentiment in April Greek economic sentiment deteriorated in April, weighed down by a sharp downturn in the services outlook and weak consumer confidence, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said yesterday. Greece’s economic climate index fell to 97.4 points from 98.9 in March, its worst reading in the last two years. The reading fell below the benchmark for the 27-nation European Union but was above the eurozone’s index, which came out at 97.1. «It was the marked deterioration in the services outlook, mainly in the financial sector, that weighed on the overall index combined with low consumer confidence,» IOBE said. (Reuters) Eurobank Q1 up 5.7 pct in line with forecasts EFG Eurobank, Greece’s second-largest lender, said yesterday first-quarter group net profit grew 5.7 percent year-on-year, in line with market expectations, on lower trading gains and higher funding costs. Kicking off the reporting season for Greek banks, Eurobank said net earnings reached 215 million euros ($332 million) versus an average forecast of 210.5 million in a recent Reuters poll of analysts. The group, also present in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine, said net interest income rose 27.3 percent to 566 million euros. Net interest margin was maintained at 3.2 percent. Operations outside Greece were strong as net profit rose to 36 million euros from 7.0 million in the same period in 2007, with a first time positive contribution from Poland. (Reuters) Hellenic Petroleum Tecnicas Reunidas SA, a Spanish builder of oil refineries, climbed to a six-month high in Madrid trading following a report that it won a 150-million-euro order to upgrade a plant in Greece. Tecnicas rose as much as 3.3 percent to 50.70 euros, the highest since November 12. The Spanish company will get 100 million to 150 million euros to provide engineering and design services for Hellenic Petroleum SA’s Elefsina refinery, Merrill Lynch & Co analyst Alejandro Demichelis said today in a report, citing the Greek oil company. Total project investment may rise to 1.1 billion euros based on permits, the report said. (Bloomberg) Turkey FDI Net foreign direct investment in Turkey is seen at $14-16 billion in 2008, Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek said in an interview with Turkish broadcaster NTV yesterday, lower than an official forecast of $18.5 billion. He also said the government’s new medium-term economic plan, released over the weekend, would be the basis for any new program with the International Monetary Fund. The country’s current loan program with the IMF is due to expire this month. (Reuters) Titan profit falls Titan Cement Co, Greece’s biggest cement maker, said first-quarter profit fell 16 percent as the housing slump in the US and a construction slowdown in its home market crimped demand. Net income declined to 43 million euros from 51 million euros a year earlier. Sales fell 1 percent to 340 million euros. (Bloomberg)