ECONOMY

In Brief

IMF-Turkey talks set to conclude soon ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey expects to conclude talks with the International Monetary Fund shortly on a loan accord and no problems exist in the discussions, government sources told Reuters yesterday. An IMF team has been in Ankara for two weeks as the country seeks a new anchor to support investor confidence and its sharply slowing economy against the shocks of the global financial crisis. Turkey’s previous $10 billion standby deal expired in May. Financial markets and business leaders have long pressed the government for a fresh deal in 2009, when the Turkish private and public sectors face hefty debt obligations. «The talks are expected to be completed in a short time,» said one government source, adding that important progress was achieved in technical negotiations. Another source said that, contrary to some media reports, talks on the measures required to put the Turkish economy back on track were «very constructive.» «The talks may conclude within a few days» said the second source. Croatia to draft urgent anti-recession package ZAGREB (Reuters) – Croatia’s economic experts will urgently draft a set of short-term anti-recession measures to preserve economic growth and fiscal stability, the government said yesterday. The small European Union candidate country coped well with the initial onslaught of the global crisis but expects a much stronger impact on its real economy this year, which could cripple growth and employment and make refinancing of its high foreign debt much more difficult. The announcement came after a session of the national Economic Council, which groups a dozen leading economists, employers and unions, as well as Prime Minister Ivo Sanader. «The Council has suggested that the economic institute, together with the Economy and Finance ministries, prepare a consistent proposal of short-term anti-recession and stimulus measures,» the statement said. Romania C/A gap down Romania’s current account deficit is seen falling to around 10.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2009 from an estimated 13 percent a year ago, the International Monetary Fund said. «It is possible to see a compression of the current account deficit,» International Monetary Fund senior regional representative for Romania and Bulgaria Juan Jose Fernandez-Ansola was quoted as saying by daily Business Standard yesterday. «I think it will be at around 10.5 percent of gross domestic product this year. However, the level is still very high and funding this gap will continue to be a challenge.» (Reuters) Serbia utility prices Serbia will limit rises in gas and electricity prices in 2009 to keep inflation in check and will use public funds to offset resulting losses for public utilities, Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said yesterday. The national grid operator has asked for an immediate 20 percent electricity price increase and the gas monopoly for an 18 percent hike in natural gas prices. Dacic said the government would approve no immediate hikes and would stick to a pact on price control when it makes annual rises in April. (Reuters)