ECONOMY

In Brief

NBG’s UBB anticipates growth in coming years SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s third-largest bank, United Bulgarian Bank (UBB), sees assets and earnings growth in the coming years, despite an expected slowdown in credit lending, its chief executive said yesterday. Stilian Vatev said UBB, majority-controlled by the National Bank of Greece, bets on expanding its network and boosting non-interest revenue such as bank assurance to make up for slower lending. «We have the ambition to become first in terms of assets in the next several years, betting on organic growth and effectiveness,» he told Reuters in an interview. UBB’s total assets grew by 63.7 percent to 7.27 billion levs ($5.05 billion) on an annual basis at the end of June, out of a total of 65.7 billion in assets of the entire banking system. Bulgaria’s largest bank in terms of assets, UniCredit Bulbank, owned by Italy’s UniCredit, and the second largest, DSK Bank, controlled by Hungarian OTP Bank, both grew by about 30 percent in the same period, data showed. Regulator adds new rule for short sellers Greece’s securities regulator introduced an additional rule on short selling to clamp down on speculators. Short selling of securities listed on the Athens Exchange will be subject to the «uptick rule» as of yesterday through the end of the year, the Hellenic Capital Markets Commission said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The rule allows short selling only on an uptick, or at a higher price than the previous transaction. (Bloomberg) Overnight rate Turkey’s central bank chief said yesterday that banks needed to adopt the central bank’s higher overnight market lending rate as the benchmark interest rate for reference and said the bank would respond to bad news in deciding rates. Governor Durmus Yilmaz told NTV broadcaster in an interview that Turkish banks were facing narrower credit channels due to the global credit crisis, but said they faced no difficulty in renewing external loans. The central bank will continue to inject the liquidity the market needs and it will move fast if a liquidity shortage emerges, Yilmaz said. «This is our message to the markets: The central bank will continue to give the market the liquidity it needs as it has done since the crisis in 2001… We are starting to give cash to the system. We need to adopt the rate of lending to the market as the reference interest rate… We have started to see the signs of narrower credit channels as of today. The effect on the credit channels are seen on pricing as of today.» (Bloomberg) Money market Serbia’s central bank said it acted on the money market to prevent the dinar from depreciating further. «The Belgrade-based central bank sold 40 million euros in total yesterday to prevent fluctuations on the money market,» the Narodna Banka Srbije said in an e-mailed statement. «If necessary, we will use currency reserves to intervene on the market in the future.» The dinar traded at 79.2225 per euro, its lowest level since June 23, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It was down from last Friday’s close at 77.5129 per euro. Sasa Djogovic of Belgrade’s Institute for Market Research said that the depreciation of the dinar was «due to moves on the local market related with the global economic crisis.» (Bloomberg)