ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus cuts growth to 2.1 pct, sees 09 deficit NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus cut its 2009 economic growth forecast to 2.1 percent from 3 percent yesterday, worried at the impact of global financial turmoil on tourism and key trading partners. The Finance Ministry said it was also expecting to see a fiscal deficit of between 0.8 and 0.6 percent this year, the first time the eurozone member has turned in a shortfall since 2006. Its surplus was 1 percent of gross domestic product in 2008. The island, which adopted the euro currency a year ago, is likely to see fewer tourists from its key market, Britain, while the crisis has also affected Russia, a key investment partner. «The economic crisis is getting worse, but we still believe we will have very satisfactory rates of growth,» said Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis. «Our aim is to have the highest rate of economic growth in the eurozone,» he said. Turk central bank thinks it’s time to reduce rates ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s central bank sees the opportunity to cut interest rates and Turkey’s medium and long-term inflation targets can be met, said Durmus Yilmaz, the central bank governor, yesterday. He added, however, that the bank cannot ignore price stability even during economic contraction. «We are applying the necessary policy. We are saying that we see the possibility to cut rates and we are cutting them,» Yilmaz said in a televised interview with broadcaster CNN Turk. The central bank has cut rates twice in consecutive meetings by a total of 175 basis points, the last cut in a surprise 125 basis-point move after growth in the third quarter fell to a six-year low. The current global economic crisis has bitten into Turkey’s economy, and the business community has stepped up its calls for a new deal with the International Monetary Fund after the previous $10 billion agreement ran out last May. Cypriot credit Credit card transactions in Cyprus rose 3 percent year-on-year in December, data showed yesterday. Sales with credit cards in December, normally the busiest for retailers, reached 207.2 million euros, clearing agency JCC said yesterday. There were 2.57 million transactions, up 4 percent on the previous year. Cypriots spent 1.89 billion euros with their credit cards in the whole of last year, a 16 percent increase over 2007. (Reuters) Bulgarian industry Bulgaria’s industrial sales dropped by 8 percent month-on-month in November, after a revised 3.6 percent drop a month earlier, statistics office data showed yesterday. Industrial sales fell 11.5 percent on an annual basis in November from a revised 5.1 percent decrease year-on-year in October. Sales in distribution of gas, electricity and water rose 14.2 percent on the month and mining industry sales rose 3.6 percent, but sales in the processing industry decreased by 10.7 percent. (Reuters) Romania trade gap Romania’s January-November foreign trade deficit widened by 7.2 percent on the year, although latest monthly data yesterday showed an import growth slowdown, seen as key to curbing the external deficit. The trade gap, 21 billion euros for the 11-month period, is a major headache for Romania, making it one of the most vulnerable economies in central and Eastern Europe in terms of financing risks, heightened by the global downturn. (Reuters)