ECONOMY

In Brief

October PMI dips to lowest point since 1999 Greece’s manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in 22 months in October due to a fall in new orders, a monthly survey showed. September’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which provides a snapshot of operating conditions in the Greek manufacturing sector, fell to 48.1 points from September’s 50.8 reading as the global economic crisis affected markets at home and abroad. It was the first time the PMI fell below the 50-point mark, which separates contraction from growth, since December 2006, and its worst performance since at least 1999, Markit Research data showed. «Underpinning the worsening business environment were contractions in output, total new work, employment and stocks of purchases,» Markit Research said. «Uncertainty, stemming from the fragile economic situation, has resulted in the postponement of new and planned client expenditures.» (Reuters) DryShips Q3 profits up on rates, larger fleet DryShips Inc, a Greek owner of vessels that haul iron ore and coal, said third-quarter profits rose 71 percent on higher rates and a larger fleet. Net income climbed to $180 million, or $4.21 a share, from $105.3 million, or $2.97, a year earlier, it said in a statement yesterday. The figure missed the $5.06-a-share average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales from leasing ships gained 60 percent to $240 million from $150 million. DryShips, based in Athens, transferred most of its ships to multiple voyage, time-charter contracts, as single-voyage rates fell due to the global economic slowdown and frozen credit markets. Shippers are having more difficulty securing the letters of credit they need to fund cargo purchases. «We believe that we have secured the future of our core dry-bulk shipping business while enhancing our earnings visibility,» CEO George Economou said in the statement. (Bloomberg) Albanian auction Albania’s government will hold an auction to sell its minority stake in Albanian Mobile Communications ShA, the phone company controlled by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE). Bidders for the 12.6 percent stake have until November 20 to register interest, according to a statement posted on the Albanian government’s website. The government has appointed Croatia’s Zagrebacka Banka DD, a unit of UniCredit SpA, as adviser in the process. AMC, as the Albanian company is known, is the biggest cellular operator in the country, with 1.2 million customers. Cosmote SA, the Greek mobile-phone unit of OTE, owns 85 percent of AMC. (Bloomberg) BOC downgrade Fitch Ratings yesterday downgraded Bank of Cyprus’s (BOC) long-term issuer default rating (IDR) to BBB+ from A- and removed it from rating watch negative (RWN). The outlook is stable, added Fitch. The agency also affirmed BOC’s short-term IDR at F2, individual rating at C, support rating at 2 and support rating floor at BBB. The long-term IDR was placed on RWN on June 27, following the announcement of its acquisition of Russia’s Uniastrum Bank.