ECONOMY

In Brief

September current account deficit grows Greece’s September current account deficit grew by 912 million euros year-on-year to 2.602 billion euros, reflecting an expansion in trade and income shortfalls, the country’s central bank said yesterday. Bank of Greece data showed that in the first nine months of the year, the current account gap rose 16.7 percent year-on-year to reach 24.591 billion euros. «The widening of the current account deficit by about 1 billion euros in September mainly reflects increased payments for oil and orders for ships, as well as the decrease in tourism revenues on a yearly basis for the first time this year,» said Nick Magginas, economist at National Bank. «The decline in international oil prices paired with the slowdown of imports will contribute to the maintainance of the deficit at a level of 14.5 percent of GDP for the full year,» he added. (Reuters) Jumbo posts 18 percent rise in net income Jumbo SA, a Greek toy retailer, posted a profit rise of 18 percent in the first quarter on higher sales and after it added more stores. Net income advanced to 15.6 million euros ($19.8 million), according to an Athens bourse filing yesterday. Sales increased 20 percent to 107.5 million euros, helped by the addition of three new stores, according to the filing. (Bloomberg) Tax cuts Romania’s centrist government yesterday approved a set of measures aimed at stimulating economic growth and boosting job creation in the poor European Union member to limit the impact from the world crisis. Since woes heightened in recent months, concern has grown that Romania is more vulnerable to an economic downturn than its peers because of a vast external gap, high rates of hard currency lending and inadequate wage and fiscal policies. The upcoming November 30 parliamentary election, which has prompted parties across the spectrum to make wages and pensions a key campaign issue, has also worsened investors’ jitters about holding Romanian assets. Underlining such concerns, ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch have cut Romania’s status to below investment grade, citing concerns over inadequate economic policies, particularly budget spending. (Reuters) Shedding jobs Stomana Industry AD, the Bulgarian unit of Greece’s biggest metals producer Viohalco SA, and an affiliated maintenance company will fire 300 workers and cut output because of falling exports of long steel used in ships. Pernik, Bulgaria-based Stomana will cut 150 jobs as demand from Germany, Italy and France weakens, Anton Petrov, Viohalco’s regional manager for Bulgaria, said in an interview in Sofia yesterday. A further 150 workers will be dismissed from maintenance affiliate Sigma AS, he said. «The remaining employees in Stomana are a little less than 1,000,» Petrov said. The company does «not plan any further job cuts,» and the plant will continue operating, he added. Viohalco’s steel arm Sidenor SA bought Stomana in 2001, investing 130 million euros ($164 million) to expand capacity to 1.2 million metric tons a year. (Bloomberg)