ECONOMY

In Brief

Aegean Air tickets get cheaper as oil costs fall Greek carrier Aegean Airlines said yesterday it will cut ticket surcharges by up to 3 euros ($3.84) for domestic and international flights, thanks to tumbling oil prices. Greece’s largest private carrier, whose main competitor Olympic Airlines is being privatized, raised surcharges in July when oil prices neared $146. But oil this week neared $43, its lowest level in almost four years. «Due to the drop in oil prices, Aegean is reducing surcharges on domestic and international route tickets by 2 and 3 euros, respectively, starting in January,» the company said in a statement. It was the second surcharge reduction in a two-month period. Aegean said this week it will expand its European routes in 2009 despite the global downturn. It will add flights to Brussels, Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna and Venice on new Airbus A320/321 aircraft. (Reuters) Consumer price inflation seen slowing to 2.9 pct Greek consumer price inflation (CPI) in November is seen as slowing to its lowest level since September 2007, helped by falling energy prices and weak domestic demand, economists said yesterday. November inflation is expected to ease to a 2.9 percent annual pace from 3.9 percent in October, and to fall further to 2.7 percent in December, according to the average of three economists’ forecasts. «The weakening of domestic demand and the downward trend of oil prices is boosting the disinflation process even further,» said Ilias Lekkos, an economist at Piraeus Bank. Still, projected inflation in November will be close to a full percentage point higher than average CPI in the 15-nation eurozone. The National Statistics Service will release November headline inflation data on Monday. (Reuters) Vulnerable states Emerging European economies are the most vulnerable to a financial crisis among all developing nations as a result of high current account deficits and debt levels, said Merrill Lynch & Co. Within the region, the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and the Southeast European nations of Romania and Bulgaria are the most prone to liquidity problems, Radoslaw Bodys, a London-based emerging markets economist at Merrill Lynch wrote in a note to clients this week. The Czech Republic is a «safe haven,» he wrote. «High current account deficits, high external debt and stretched reserves-to-debt adequacy ratios are the major vulnerabilities,» Bodys wrote. (Bloomberg) IMF loan Turkey wants an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan accord as soon as possible and is working to bridge differences over how to tighten 2009 spending plans, Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek said yesterday. Talks with the IMF have reached an «important stage» and there is agreement on the size of the changes Turkey needs to make to its spending plans, Simsek told reporters in Ankara. The two are still discussing details of how the changes will be made, he said, without giving any figure for the size of the adjustment. Turkey needs International Monetary Fund support to help make up an expected shortfall in external financing next year as the global credit crisis dries up investment flows. (Bloomberg)