In Brief

Turkey does not plan cuts to Greece gas exports despite row ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey does not plan any cuts in domestic natural gas distribution and gas exports to Greece will not be cut despite the Russian-Ukrainian gas row, a senior Turkish Energy Ministry source said yesterday. Turkey, along with several other European countries, has experienced a shortfall in gas supplies after deliveries of Russian gas via Ukraine were halted last week. Turkish daily domestic consumption stands at 110-115 million cubic meters, compared with a usual seasonal level of 130 million, the source said. Turkey has shut down three of its state-owned power plants because of the gas shortfall. The source told Reuters gas flow to Greece was currently at 1.6 million cubic meters a day, compared with a contract level of 2.0 million due to low pressure. «Turkey in general has not experienced any problems because of the measures it has taken. We took measures with several gas-fired power stations… At the moment there is no plan for any gas cuts,» the source said. Russia began pumping gas meant for Europe via Ukraine on Tuesday for the first time in nearly a week. But the EU has said little or no gas was flowing to countries suffering urgent energy shortages. Romania’s sales growth slows while unemployment rate rises Romania’s unemployment rate rose in December as declining demand for industrial products and slowing retail sales growth prompted manufacturers and retailers to reduce staff. The jobless rose to 4.4 percent, or 403,441 people, from 4.1 percent in November, the Bucharest-based National Labor Agency said on its web site yesterday. Unemployment has risen from a 16-year low of 3.8 percent in July as companies including carmaker Dacia SA, food processor Kraft Romania SA and steel manufacturer Arcelor Mittal Romania SA announced cutbacks or layoffs because of declining global demand. (Bloomberg) Weaker currencies East European currencies will weaken further this year as investment into the region slows and external financing conditions worsen because of the global financial crisis, Goldman Sachs Group Inc said. The Turkish lira, Czech koruna and Polish zloty will probably suffer most as investors flee from higher-yielding emerging market assets, making it hard for those countries to finance their current account deficits amid an economic slowdown, according to Thomas Stolper, a foreign exchange analyst at Goldman Sachs in London. «Eastern Europe shifted to a credit-fueled consumption expansion in the last few years, which led to a substantial widening of external imbalances,» Stolper said in an interview yesterday. «The reliance on bank credit, especially from West European banks, makes these countries very vulnerable and we expect their currencies to continue depreciating.» (Bloomberg) Changes at the top Wind Hellas, controlled by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, said yesterday Emad Barsoum will assume the position of CEO as of February 16, taking over from Socrates Kominakis. Kominakis will remain actively involved with Wind Hellas as chairman of the company’s board of directors, succeeding Naguib Sawiris, the company said in a statement.

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