ECONOMY

In Brief

Bank regulators seek more protection Turkish bank regulators will ask the government to double the country’s deposit guarantee limit, an official at the regulatory body said. Under the recommendation, the limit would increase to 100,000 liras ($60,000) from 50,000 liras now, the official said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity. The higher guarantee would cover about 65 percent of total deposits, and may be doubled again to 200,000 liras if needed, the official said. The top officials at the regulator and the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund, which protects the rights of depositors, agreed to propose that the threshold be increased. The government is considering the higher limit as part of measures to stimulate lending. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized banks this week for curbing loans and charging higher rates of interest to business customers. (Bloomberg) Portugal catches bond market by surprise LONDON/LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal sold 500 million euros of a 15-year government bond yesterday in a so-called extraordinary auction that caught the market by surprise. The sale of reopened 4.95 percent October 2023 OTs was not announced on the sovereign’s calendar but still garnered healthy demand, with total bids outstripping the amount sold by 2.1 times the bid-to-cover ratio. «The issue came in response to demand from some of our dealers,» an official at Portugal’s debt agency IGCP, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. «There was strong demand for this paper, demand from pension funds and insurers.» He added that the decision to issue the debt was only taken as a result of the demand for this specific 15-year bond. Balkan telco plans Telekom Slovenije dd, Slovenia’s national phone company, is in talks with banks about a 400-million-euro ($503 million) loan to fund its Balkan expansion. «We already received offers from banks and the money will be used to buy companies in the Republic of Macedonia and in Croatia,» Darinka Pavlic Kamien, a spokeswoman for the Ljubljana-based company, said in a phone interview. She said the acquisitions are targeted for February or March next year and the money will be needed only if Telekom Slovenije wins the tenders. (Bloomberg) Car sales Romanian sales of new cars fell 30 percent in October as a weaker leu made imports more expensive and higher interest rates increased borrowing costs. New car sales fell to 20,478 in October from 29,347 a year earlier, the Bucharest-based Association of Automobile Producers & Importers said yesterday on its website. The leu has declined 6 percent against the euro this year, making imports more expensive. The central bank has raised the main interest rate seven times in the past year, to 10.25 percent from 7 percent, increasing the cost of loans. Vehicle sales are slumping around the world, as consumers shun buying automobiles amid rising unemployment and tighter credit prompted by the financial crisis. US car sales tumbled 32 percent in October to the lowest monthly total since January 1991, while European sales slid almost 15 percent, the sixth consecutive monthly drop. (Bloomberg)