ECONOMY

In Brief

Piraeus Port to name Cosco bid preferred one Greece’s Piraeus Port (OLP) will name China’s Cosco Pacific as the preferred bidder in a tender to run and upgrade its facilities, an OLP official said yesterday. «The tender’s evaluation committee will propose to OLP’s board tomorrow that Cosco is named the provisional winner,» the official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters. «This means we start negotiations with Cosco.» Last week OLP said Cosco, the world’s fifth-largest container port operator, offered 4.3 billion euros ($6.71 billion) to operate two of the port’s commercial docks for up to 35 years. The amount will be paid over the duration of the contract, and Cosco will invest a further 620 million euros to upgrade the docks, OLP has said. (Reuters) Athena signs contracts for 107 million euros Athena SA, the Greek builder controlled by J&P Avax SA, signed two contracts in the United Arab Emirates worth a total of 107 million euros (166 million US dollars). Athena will expand port facilities at Fujairah with a budget of 97 million euros, according to an Athens bourse filing yesterday. The company also has a 10-million-euro project for a ship-lifting system at the Al-Jazeera port. J&P Avax, Greece’s second-largest construction company, owns 81 percent of Athena. (Bloomberg) Bond absorbed Greece’s reopening of a five-year bond was easily absorbed yesterday, with the auction oversubscribed 3.19 times, compared with 2.19 at its previous sale three months earlier, helped by a high yield, traders said. Greece sold 1.92 billion euros ($2.99 billion) of the bond, with the weighted average yield jumping to 5.13 percent versus 4.06 percent at a March 18 auction. «Strong investor interest is due to the high yield which makes the Greek bond very attractive,» said an Athens-based bond trader at a major Greek bank who declined to be named. Traders said the yields on two and five year bonds have increased recently as there are expectations that the ECB will increase rates at least once by the end of the year to dampen inflationary pressures. (Reuters) Power prices Bulgaria’s Economy and Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov urged the energy regulator yesterday to cut a planned 18 percent hike in electricity prices for households by 7 percent due to high inflation. «We are aware about the record high jump in global fuel prices but we have to find all the possibilities to reduce the planned price increase to protect the Bulgarian people and ease pressure on inflation,» Dimitrov said in a statement. The European Union newcomer’s energy regulator has announced initial ideas to raise electricity prices for households by an average 18 percent from July 1 and heating prices by 14 percent due to the surge in global oil and gas prices. (Reuters) Cyprus credit Credit card spending in Cyprus showed a 25 percent increase to 759.8 million euros from January to May, decelerating from 27 percent growth registered from January to April, data showed yesterday. In May, Cypriots swiped transactions worth 149.5 million euros, credit card clearing agency JCC said. Cypriots’ use of credit overseas rose 29 percent to transactions worth 372.25 million euros. (Reuters)