ECONOMY

In Brief

Hellenic Petroleum H1 net up 25 percent Hellenic Petroleum, Greece’s largest refiner, said yesterday that first-half net profit rose by 25 percent year-on-year, meeting forecasts, as higher oil prices more than offset lower refining margins. Net profit climbed to 227 million euros on sales of 5.2 billion euros, up 37 percent. Analysts had forecast average profit of 225 million euros, according to a Reuters poll. The refiner said a rise in crude oil prices in the first half and improved performance in its non-refining operations more than outweighed a decline in refinery margins due to the euro’s strength against the dollar. The board also approved an interim dividend of 0.15 euros per share for the full year, the statement said. (Reuters) Cyprus July CPI on a five-year high NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s consumer price inflation spiked to a fresh five-year high of 5.63 percent in July, statistics department data showed yesterday, as fuel prices and food costs continued to surge. CPI inflation on the island, which joined the eurozone on January 1, was 5.5 percent year on year in June, which was the highest level previously recorded since April 2003, when it hit 5.58 percent. July data exceeds that figure, and is second only to a March 2003 reading of 5.97 percent. Year on year, the cost of transport last month appeared to crimp purchasing power the most, with an 8.5 percent increase in costs recorded on a yearly basis. Month-on-month, the consumer price index fell 0.6 percent to 109.85 units, on the back of discounts at most retailers. Cypriot growth The Cyprus finance ministry has revised its economic growth forecast for 2008 upward to around 4 percent on the back of an increase in private demand and foreign investment. «The rate of economic growth has exceeded our original expectations of between 3.5 and 3.7 percent, and will reach some four percent by the close of year,» Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis told reporters yesterday. Growth was spurred mainly by the services industry, primarily foreign investment and international companies on the island, and private demand, he said. (Reuters) WIND Hellas loss The parent company of WIND Hellas reported yesterday a 66.8 million euro first-half loss, triple its year-ago loss, as it failed to meet expectations for increases in core mobile earnings and in cost savings. Credit default swaps on five-year debt of the «junk»-rated Greek mobile operator WIND Hellas widened to 30 percent upfront yesterday from 24.5 percent, according to a trader. That means to buy protection on every 10 million euros of debt, an investor would now pay 3 million euros upfront plus 500,000 a year. (Reuters) Turk pipeline. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline may not be opened for another one to two weeks and stocks are depleted at its Ceyhan depot, a senior source at Turkey’s state-owned pipeline company Botas said yesterday. The BTC consortium had been using oil stocks from a depot at Ceyhan to keep oil flowing from the pipeline, the official said, adding that a fire on the pipeline that broke out after an explosion caused by Kurdish separatists may take two more days to put out. (Reuters)