In Brief

Weak services hurt economic sentiment Greek economic sentiment deteriorated in May, weighed by a 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 92.3 points from 97.4 in April, its worst reading in more than two years. The reading fell below the benchmark for both the European Union and the eurozone indices, which came in at 96.7 and 97.1 respectively. The overall index is based on business expectation subindices, covering industry, construction, retail trade, services and consumer confidence. «The retreat was a part of a general retreat in sentiment Europe-wide,» IOBE said. «There was a marked deterioration in the services outlook, coupled with a mild slowdown in industry, construction and retail trade.» (Reuters) Korean shipbuilders sign deals at Posidonia Korean shipbuilders are expected to sign deals with Greek shipowners reaching more than $5 billion at the Posidonia exhibition, its organizers said yesterday. The contracts concern 34 vessels, said the organizers, without providing further information. Talks have also been held between Chinese shipbuilders and Greek shipping firms, according to sources. In its first two days, more than 10,000 people visited the exhibition, which is hosting 1,710 exhibitors in an area of 28,100 square meters. Green light Egypt’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) said yesterday it had approved a 200-million-Egyptian pound ($37.4 million) increase in the issued capital of Piraeus Bank Egypt to 1 billion pounds. The bank will issue 12.83 million new shares and offer them to existing shareholders at par value of 15.58 pounds a share, it added. The move will take the total number of shares in the bank to about 64.17 million. According to the bank’s application to the CMA, subscription for the new shares will start on July 1 and will end on July 30. Those who hold shares on June 25 will have the right to buy up to 25 percent of the number of shares they already own. (Reuters) EU court The European Union’s executive arm took legal action against several member states yesterday, alleging incompatibility of their electricity and gas laws with EU regulations. The European Commission decided to take Belgium and Poland to the EU’s highest court after starting similar steps against Sweden, Greece and Hungary over failures to implement EU rules in their internal electricity and gas markets, a statement said. «The Commission’s aim is to ensure that the electricity and gas directives have been transposed correctly into national legislation, so to bring about a genuinely competitive energy market in Europe,» it said. (Reuters) Turkish inflation The IMF said yesterday that Turkey’s central bank needs to bolster its inflation-fighting credentials by ensuring interest rate policy remains consistent with the objective of low single-digit inflation. The IMF mission chief for Turkey, Lorenzo Giorgianni, told Reuters there was still considerable uncertainty over the size and persistence of ongoing inflation shocks, and the Turkish central bank could have postponed Tuesday’s inflation target revision. (Reuters)