ECONOMY

In Brief

Hellenic Postbank seeks major capital increase Greek lender Hellenic Postbank (TT) will seek shareholder approval for a 225-million-euro capital increase via preferred shares as part of a state-backed support package, the bank said. State-controlled TT, Greece’s seventh-largest lender, called for an extraordinary shareholder meeting for January 28. Greece has pledged 28 billion euros to the country’s lenders to keep the economy adequately funded. The scheme provides capital injections via the sale of preferred shares to the state, guarantees on debt issuance by banks and liquidity support via special government bonds. Other Greek banks, including EFG Eurobank, Piraeus and Alpha, have also scheduled shareholder meetings in January to seek approval for the issue of preferred shares to be sold to the state. National Bank’s board will meet today to call an extraordinary shareholders meeting over a 350-million-euro capital increase via preferred shares. (Reuters) Romanian leu falls after rates left unchanged The Romanian leu fell to near a four-year low versus the euro and stocks climbed almost 5 percent after the country’s central bank unexpectedly kept the European Union’s highest interest rate unchanged. The leu declined as much as 0.3 percent to 4.0716 per euro, near a four-year low of 4.0918 reached on December 29. It traded at 4.0676 in Bucharest, compared with 4.0600 on Monday. «The weakness of the leu was the main reason for the central bank to keep rates on hold today,» said Agata Urbanska, central European economist at ING Groep in London. «A further decline of the leu would mean a worsening situation of individuals and corporates who have loans in foreign currencies and this could deepen the economic slowdown.» The Banca Nationala a Romaniei left the monetary policy rate at 10.25 percent for a sixth month, saying it «will continue to closely monitor domestic developments and the global economic evolutions» to ensure «both price and financial stability.» Economists expected a cut to 10 percent, according to the median of eight estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Economic growth was 9.1 percent in the third quarter, compared with 9.3 percent in the three months through June. (Bloomberg) Value in bonds TD Securities said investors should buy Turkish lira bonds maturing in January 2011. There «is still value in the fixed-income market as economic news will likely remain dire and aggressive rate cuts will continue,» said Beat Siegenthaler, chief strategist for emerging markets at TD Securities, in an e-mailed report to investors yesterday. He set a yield target of 15 percent for the debt. (Bloomberg) Costner recruited Oscar-winning actor Kevin Costner will star in a television commercial for Turk Hava Yollari Anonim Ortakligi, the carrier known as Turkish Airlines. The advertisement will be shot in Istanbul and is to be shown in 70 countries, the company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. (Bloomberg)