ECONOMY

In Brief

Hygeia’s first-half profit up 3 percent Listed healthcare group Hygeia said yesterday its first-half profit rose 2.9 percent, weighed on by costs related to its expansion abroad. Hygeia, which is partly owned by Marfin Investment Group (MIG), made a net profit of 8.8 million euros. It said interest expenses of about 12.7 million euros on a 300-million-euro bond the firm issued this year to finance its expansion abroad had burdened first-half results. Sales more than doubled to 137 million euros after the firm fully acquired Greece’s second-largest maternity clinic Mitera. As part of its expansion strategy Hygeia clinched deals to buy two private hospitals in Cyprus and a 50 percent stake in Turkish healthcare group Safak. (Reuters) Serb central bank intervenes to tame dinar BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia’s central bank intervened yesterday to knock back the dinar after it rose more than 1 percent to new four-year highs due to investor optimism about the country’s European Union integration prospects. Foreign investors have pushed the dinar up 4 percent since July 22 as the arrest and extradition to the Hague of Bosnian Serb wartime President Radovan Karadzic sent a sign the new government was ready to do what was needed to pursue EU entry. But the central bank knocked the unit back to 76.00-76.26 per euro from the day’s peak of 75.50 with light dinar selling and indicated the speed of yesterday’s rise, rather than the level, had triggered the move. Turk inflation Turkey’s central bank expects a falling inflation trend if prices in food and oil continue to improve beyond scenarios seen in the July inflation report, it said yesterday. House price rises pushed up Turkey’s inflation rate more than expected in July, data showed on Monday. Consumer prices rose 0.58 percent month-on-month in July, exceeding a 0.32 percent forecast, to increase 12.06 percent from a year earlier. The bank said the effect of a natural gas price hike would account for 0.15 percentage points in August inflation. (Reuters) Bulgaria wheat Favorable weather has boosted Bulgaria’s 2008 wheat crop to a 16-year high, opening the way for hefty exports, Agriculture Minister Valeri Tsvetanov said yesterday. Bulgarian farmers took in 4.4 million tons of wheat from 97.9 percent of the sown area, well above the last year’s 2.4 million tons when the fields were hit by extensive drought. «This is one of the best crops we have had. The average yield – 4.38 tons per hectare – is the highest in 16 years,» he told reporters. (Reuters) Garanti gains Turkey’s Garanti Bank said yesterday it made a consolidated net profit of 1.029 billion lira ($890 million) in the first half of 2008 compared with 1.503 billion in the same period last year. Garanti, Turkey’s second-largest bank by market capitalization, said total assets reached 83.69 billion lira at the end of the second half of 2008, rising 10 percent from end-2007. (Reuters)