ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus injects 52 mln euros into key sectors NICOSIA (AFP) – Cyprus yesterday decided on a 52-million-euro injection to the flagging tourism and construction sectors as economic growth slowed to 3.5 percent in the third quarter from 3.9 percent in the second. The official flash estimate of 3.5 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth for June-September from the year-earlier quarter is the smallest increase for more than two years. The slowdown is attributed to a slump in construction, real estate and hospitality services, the Cyprus statistical service said. However, Cyprus still has one of the highest rates of GDP growth in the eurozone. Although the authorities are confident Cyprus can weather a global recession, there is concern over the key construction and tourism industries that contribute a combined 30 percent to GDP and are major employers. Bulgarian Q3 growth slowing down SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s annual growth rate slowed to 5.6 percent in the third quarter as consumers felt the pinch of a global financial crisis and its current account deficit soared, pointing to more trouble ahead. The Balkan country’s economy grew by a real 7.1 percent year-on-year between April and June and by 7 percent in January-March, the statistics office’s preliminary data showed yesterday. Its current account deficit, Bulgaria’s economic Achilles’ heel, widened to 15.8 percent of this year’s expected gross domestic product (GDP) in the first nine months of 2008 and ballooned to 26.5 percent of GDP in the year to September. Analysts expect Bulgaria’s external gap to narrow slightly next year as imports will shrink on the back of weaker domestic demand and lending. The Bulgarian government, which has played down the impact of the financial turmoil, sees growth of 6.5 percent this year and 4.7 percent next year, though most economists expect it to fall below 3-4 percent. Turkey borrowing Ankara will ease restrictions on corporate borrowing and simplify capital markets’ regulations, the Capital Markets Board (SPK) said yesterday, as the country strives to reinforce credit channels for its cash-hungry companies. SPK’s move is part of a strategy to diversify borrowing instruments and give depth to capital markets as bank credit dries up and stock market values plunge due to the global financial crisis. Turkey’s capital markets are small compared with Western countries, which, together with very high interest rates, forces Turkish companies to seek debt abroad. The private sector’s external financing need is estimated at $90 billion next year. (Reuters) Unemployment up The number of Turks seeking unemployment benefit claims jumped 49 percent in October as sharply slowing economic growth hit firms, data showed yesterday. Data from the Turkish employment agency showed the number of Turks paying unemployment benefits swelled to 143,419 last month, up from 96,171 in the same month last year. Turkey’s unemployment rate, measured on a three-month average, stood at 9 percent in May-July this year and economists fear that the rate will rise in the second half of the year as the country feels the global economic crisis. (Reuters)