ECONOMY

In Brief

IMF said to delay vote on Serb loan by a month BELGRADE (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund will postpone its vote on a standby loan to Serbia for a month to give Belgrade time to work out plans on inflation targeting and financial sector stability, the central bank governor said yesterday. Radovan Jelasic told Beta news agency that the IMF vote, due for approval next Friday, was postponed on technical grounds. «By mid-January, the government and the central bank need to sign a memorandum on achieving the inflation target in 2009 of 8 percent, plus or minus 2 percent, as well as a memorandum on the stability of the financial sector,» Jelasic said. The memorandum on inflation targeting needs to specify to what degree the government will take over responsibility for state-controlled prices. Some sources in the government said the IMF was unhappy with the way Serbia calculated some of its planned borrowing for 2009. Inflation in Bulgaria eases to 9.1 percent SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgarian consumer price inflation dropped to 9.1 percent year-on-year in November after easing to 10.9 percent in October, mainly due to a drop in fuel prices, statistics office data showed yesterday. On a monthly basis, consumer prices dropped 0.1 percent after a 0.5 percent increase in October, the data showed. The Socialist-led government expects consumer price inflation to stay below 10 percent at the end of this year due to the fading impact of high price growth a year earlier and weaker consumption due to an economic slowdown. Food prices in November rose 0.4 percent on a monthly basis mainly due to hikes in the prices of meat and vegetables, but their growth was offset by a 0.4 percent drop in both non-food prices and services. Gas price drop Russia’s Gazprom expects the wholesale natural gas prices for Bulgaria to drop 30 to 40 percent next year due to falling crude oil prices, a spokesman said yesterday. «Our estimates show the natural gas price for Bulgaria next year will drop by an average 30 to 40 percent,» state news agency BTA quoted Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov as saying. Bulgaria covers more than 90 percent of its gas needs by imports from the Russian company and has seen gas prices jumping more than 50 percent in 2008. (Reuters) Romania c/a deficit Romania’s current account deficit widened by 10.9 percent to 14.4 billion euros in the January-October period, the central bank said yesterday. The external shortfall is a major headache for Romania’s consumption-driven economy, exposing the currency to the risk of a steep depreciation if foreign funds were to dry up. But the gap is seen rising at a slower pace as the global credit squeeze cuts demand and hastens recession across much of the world. In Romania, the shortfall had widened by 14.8 percent in January-September. (Reuters) Turk cash surplus Turkey’s Treasury said yesterday it posted a cash deficit of 3.644 billion lira ($2.34 billion) and a cash primary surplus of 1.503 billion lira in November. In October, the cash surplus was 2.063 billion lira and the cash primary surplus was 4.944 billion lira. (Reuters)