ECONOMY

In Brief

Tanker rates to ease as industry meets The cost of shipping Middle East crude oil to Asia, the world’s busiest route for supertankers, may drop as industry executives gather in Athens, temporarily reducing the number of ships hired. Industry executives from more than 80 countries are attending the Posidonia shipping exhibition this week. Shipping lines may have arranged the tankers they needed before the event, Mathieu Philippe, a Dubai-based tanker broker at Barry Rogliano Salles, said by telephone yesterday. »Everybody is expecting the market to be quiet this week with most people being in Greece,» Philippe said. Hire rates will likely drop by about 8 percent this week before rebounding next week as oil companies start arranging to load cargoes from Saudi Arabia in July, he said. (Bloomberg) Tourists banned from bringing food to Croatia ZAGREB (Reuters) – Croatia has banned foreign tourists from bringing their own meat and dairy products into the country in order to meet EU rules on food safety. Gordan Jerbic, head of the veterinary section at Croatia’s agriculture ministry, told Reuters yesterday the ban took effect on June 1 and was passed in line with European Union directives. The country is a candidate for EU accession and hopes to join the bloc by 2011. «The new rule was adjusted with EU legislation. This was a demand from the European Commission, something we had to do. The idea is to prevent a possible spread of animal diseases from contaminated food,» Jerbic said. «It is the same in all EU states.» S&P on FYROM Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said yesterday that it expects no significant change in policy as a result of the election outcome in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (foreign currency BB+/Stable/B; local currency BBB-/Stable/A-3). The victory of the bloc led by incumbent Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski should allow FYROM to continue the policy course required to initiate EU accession negotiations. However, the violence among ethnic Albanians, which accompanied the poll, as well as allegations of irregularities, are likely to have undermined the prospect that the EU will set a date for membership negotiations in the near term, S&P said. Further significant deterioration of ethnic cooperation would undermine structural reforms and macroeconomic stability. THY Sharp rises in fuel prices will not force Turkish Airlines to revise its targets for this year, the firm’s chief executive told Reuters yesterday. Temel Kotil said in an interview on the sidelines of an IATA conference in Istanbul the company would not resort to hedging to reduce its fuel costs given the current high level of price volatility. «The rise in fuel prices will not necessitate a revision in our targets,» Kotil said. «We have a strategy to open up to new markets. We are expanding our markets into the Far East, Central Asia and the Middle East.» Last month, Kotil told Reuters the company aimed to grow by at least 15 percent a year for the foreseeable future. (Reuters) May PMI eases Growth in Greece’s manufacturing sector eased in May with the purchasing managers’ index falling to 53.8 from 54.4 in April, a monthly survey showed yesterday. The 50 mark separates contraction from growth. «Production in the sector will probably progress positively in the next months, despite the low performance in the first quarter. For the full year, we expect positive developments, matching 2007’s performance,» said Alpha Bank’s Dimitris Maroulis. (Reuters)