In Brief

No ATEbank investments in subprime products ATEbank, a state-controlled bank, says it has no investments in subprime-related market products and that its fundamentals are sound. «Responding to isolated references in the press about the exposure of state banks to ‘toxic’ products, ATEbank once again reiterates that it has no exposure to subprime,» the Athens-based bank said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The country’s sixth-biggest lender has strong capital adequacy, sufficient liquidity and one of the best loan-to-deposit ratios in the bank market at 84 percent at the end of the first half, the statement said. The quality of the bank’s loan portfolio improved in the first half of the year, while the ratio of non-performing loans continued to decline, it said. (Bloomberg) Data show retail sales dropped 2 pct in July Greece’s retail sales by volume fell 2.0 percent year-on-year in July after a 0.7 percent annual rise in June, data compiled by the National Statistics Service showed yesterday. Retail sales by revenues rose 1.6 percent year-on-year in July after a 4.6 percent rise in the previous month. «The economy was affected by high oil prices through to July, so the effect on the indicator was more or less expected. High oil prices and the global credit crisis adversely affected the economy, as is reflected in the drop in retail sales,» said Dimitris Maroulis, economist at Alpha Bank. (Reuters) Banks robust Cyprus’s banking system is robust and its liquidity at very satisfactory levels, the island’s Central Bank said yesterday. The island’s banks were well-capitalized and the bank system was «safe,» the Central Bank, whose Governor Athanassios Orphanides is a member of the ECB Governing Council, said. «Domestic banks are not exposed to the high-risk products that caused serious problems for a number of financial institutions internationally,» the Central Bank said in a news release. Global central banks have scrambled to relieve a severe squeeze on money markets with massive liquidity injections, though many lenders have opted to hoard it instead, worried at more turbulence ahead. Cyprus is a market of just 1 million people, but global turmoil sent shock waves through the island’s bourse on Monday, with about 8 percent knocked off equity values. (Reuters) Foreign units Romanian branches of foreign banking units that have some exposure to troubled banks in the United States are safe, an adviser to central bank Governor Mugur Isarescu said yesterday. «I can say that banks, including those that have foreign capital with affiliations with banks in big financial centers, the daughter banks, are safe at this time,» Adrian Vasilescu told financial television The Money Channel. «They are safe, although some mother banks have had exposure to some US banks that have fallen,» he added. Vasilescu also said the US Congress rejection of a $700 billion bailout plan to rescue markets from toxic debt was not a reason to worry if the halt was intended to give more time to improve it. (Reuters)