ECONOMY

In Brief

First-quarter GDP rise steady at 3.6 pct y/y Greece’s economy was steady in the first quarter of 2008 with gross domestic product expanding at an annual 3.6 percent pace, unchanged from the last quarter of 2007, the National Statistics Service said yesterday in provisional estimates. It was the slowest rate of growth since 2004. «Headline numbers remained steady, but we have a slowdown of consumption and investment, an increase in exports coupled with a decrease in imports. For the whole year we expect GDP growth at 3.5 percent, based on exports and a rebound in investments,» said Piraeus Bank’s Ilias Lekkos. (Reuters) PM wants EU to discuss global economic woes Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday asked European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to include the issue of the current global economic situation in the agenda of the EU summit on June 19-20. The European Union must focus on further improving competition, targeted social measures for vulnerable population groups and better global coordination with trading partners to combat the causes of inflation, Karamanlis said in a letter. Turkish inflation Turkey’s consumer prices rose a more-than-expected 1.49 percent in May, for an annual rate of 10.74 percent – going back into double digits for the first time since April last year. Inflation is above its official 4 percent year-end target but also above a year-end forecast of 9.3 percent which the bank gave as recently as April. It forecasts 4.9-8.5 percent for the end of next year. (Reuters) Cartel probe Bulgaria’s anti-trust commission launched a probe yesterday into a possible fuel price cartel after truckers had rallied against rising fuel prices. As part of the probe, the commission will also investigate whether Neftochim refinery, controlled by Russia’s Lukoil, has abused its dominant position, Vili Marinova, head of the cartel department at the commission told Reuters. (Reuters) Cyprus bourse The Cyprus Stock Exchange in Nicosia will extend the trading hours of its alternative, parallel and investment markets to match the operation of its main market which is open for seven hours, the bourse said yesterday. Effective June 17, the three sectors will operate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (0700-1400 GMT), opening an hour earlier than now. (Reuters) Romanian growth Romania’s economy grew by 8.2 percent in the first quarter, exceeding market expectations for a 6.4 percent expansion and the 6.1 percent advance recorded in last year’s first quarter, the statistics office said on Monday. The European Union newcomer’s economy rose by 6 percent in 2007. (Reuters) Bulgaria mobiles Bulgaria will hold a tender for a fourth mobile phone license most likely at the end of July, the telecoms regulator said yesterday. Some 12 companies, including Turkish mobile operator Turkcell, are expected to bid at the tender, which will have a starting price at 38 million levs ($30.33 million). Penetration of mobile services in Bulgaria exceeds 130 percent. (Reuters)