In Brief

Ten-year bond spread hits eurozone record LONDON (Reuters) – Ten-year Greek government bonds yielded 164 basis points more than German Bunds, the eurozone’s benchmark debt issue, yesterday – its widest since adoption of the euro currency. The spread was last seen at such levels in November 1999. Greece dropped its drachma currency in favor of the euro on January 1, 2001, two full years after 11 other European Union nations introduced the single currency. Greek debt yields have been falling against Bunds at a slower pace as investors have sought safer haven in German debt in the midst of the unfolding global credit crisis. The spread pushed out a further five basis points yesterday, from levels around 159 basis points seen late on Wednesday. (Reuters) Lukoil in Caspian pipeline talks with BP OAO Lukoil, Russia’s biggest independent oil company, is in talks to buy BP Plc’s stake in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which may clear the way for expanding the link. The Chevron Corp-led CPC operates Russia’s only foreign-owned oil-export pipeline, which carries Kazakh crude to a Black Sea port for shipment overseas. BP was «blocking» a decision to expand the CPC, Lukoil Chief Executive Officer Vagit Alekperov said. «We have the first right to buy their share,» Alekperov told reporters in Caracas, Venezuela. The CPC «should be expanded,» he said, adding «compromise is being found.» The venture plans to expand Kazakhstan’s main export link to world markets at a cost of at least $1.6 billion, almost doubling capacity to 1.3 million barrels of oil a day. (Bloomberg) Credit expands Greece’s total credit expansion accelerated to an 18.1 percent annual pace in September from 17.5 percent in August, Bank of Greece provisional data showed yesterday. «Credit expansion accelerated in September, mostly in the industrial sector. We expect it to decelerate in October, which is when the crisis started deepening,» said Alpha Bank economist Dimitris Maroulis. (Reuters) OPAP eyes Turkey Europe’s biggest betting firm OPAP is determined to expand into Turkey, its first step abroad, despite the global slowdown, the group’s chief executive told Reuters yesterday. The Greek monopoly has set up a joint venture with Turkish business group Dogus, which owns Garanti Bank, FIBA and contractor Alarko, to bid for the state Turkish lottery Milli Piyango which is being privatized. «First of all, there is Turkey, which will need considerable investments, if things go well,» OPAP’s CEO Christos Hadjiemmanuil told Reuters in an interview. «In Turkey, we will do something new. We will do it with our partners. We are not just going to export OPAP’s operations.» Turkey is selling Milli Piyango and granting the new owners a 10-year license to operate the lottery and to receive 17 percent of its revenue, which came at 459.8 million lira (226.3 million euros) last year. Hadjiemmanuil said OPAP was in talks with lottery systems providers Intralot of Greece, Italy’s GTech and Scientific Games of the United States to cooperate on the Turkey deal if OPAP wins the tender. (Reuters)