ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus’s GDP slows to 2.9 pct in fourth quarter Cyprus’s gross domestic product growth slowed to 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter year-on-year from 3.5 percent in the third, the statistics department said yesterday. Quarter-on-quarter growth was 0.6 percent in the last three months of 2008, level with the third quarter, it said. The year-on-year figure for the fourth quarter was lower than the flash estimate issued on February 13, which projected growth at 3.0 percent. The quarter-on-quarter estimate was unchanged. The economy grew by an estimated 3.7 percent last year, the statistics department said. There was a slowdown in the hospitality industry, financial services and real estate, but there was a «satisfactory» performance in the broad services sector, the statistics department said. (Reuters) Turkey looking at cut in reserve requirements Turkey’s central bank said it may reduce the amount of reserves banks set aside to cover lending in lira to help free up loans to companies. The bank in Ankara proposed to the Banks Association of Turkey to cut the reserve requirement banks deposit at the central bank by as much as two percentage points to 4 percent provided the extra funds raised are used to lend to companies, officials at the association and central bank said yesterday on the usual condition of anonymity. (Bloomberg) Romanian economy Romania’s economy may contract as much as 1 percent this year as the international financial crisis slows exports and foreign investment, Finance Minister Gheorghe Pogea said. «The crisis means that we have to keep changing estimates,» he told reporters in Bucharest yesterday. «The economy may contract this year by 1 percent, or it may grow by as much as 1.5 percent.» Pogea’s prediction is below the latest government estimate of a 2.5 percent expansion this year. Romania’s economic growth slowed to 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of last year from 9.2 percent in the third as exports and foreign investment declined. (Bloomberg) Serbian talks Serbia’s government will start talks for a new standby arrangement with the International Monetary Fund tomorrow, the head of the cabinet’s information bureau said. «We will have more details tomorrow, after the first round of talks, but they will include the amount and the terms for the new loan,» Milivoje Mihajlovic, a spokesman for the information bureau, said yesterday by telephone. Serbia’s central bank Governor Radovan Jelasic said in an interview with B92 Television that the country «will seek a two-year agreement with the fund.» (Bloomberg) Bulgarian inflation Bulgarian consumer price inflation slowed to 6 percent year-on-year in February from 7.1 percent a month earlier, the statistics office said yesterday. On a monthly basis, inflation in February was 0.1 percent, down from a 0.8 percent increase in January, the data showed. The Socialist-led government expects consumer prices to fall to 5.4 percent at the end of this year due to weakening demand following the economic slowdown. The central bank forecasts EU-harmonized end-2009 inflation at 2.5 percent. (Reuters)