ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus tourism revenues fall 10.8 pct in February NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s revenues from tourism fell 10.8 percent in February year-on-year, amid a general decline in arrivals expected to fall by at least 10 percent in 2009. For the January-February period combined, revenue was down 11.1 percent, and arrivals were down 14.2 percent, the island’s statistics service said. Tourism represents about 11.0 percent of Cyprus’s gross domestic product, with more than 2 million visiting the east Mediterranean island annually. The economic growth outlook this year has been trimmed to around 2.0 percent, from 2008 GDP growth estimates of 3.7 percent, on forecasts of a 10 percent drop in tourism and weaker construction activity. Bookings from Britain, the island’s main market, are down between 20 and 30 percent, hurt in part by the exchange rate of the sterling against the euro. Bulgaria more stable than some neighbors SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria is financially more stable than some of its neighbors but its economy would be deeply affected by the global downturn, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) head Thomas Mirow said yesterday. After years of booming growth, the Balkan country is suffering as its main European Union export markets drift into recession and foreign investors flee emerging markets. But analysts say years of budget surpluses and hefty fiscal and forex reserves protect Bulgaria in comparison with regional peers like neighbor Romania, which last week sought IMF and EU aid to help it cope with the crisis. «In pure financial terms, Bulgaria is more stable and more resilient in the crisis than some of its neighbors,» Mirow told a joint briefing with Finance Minister Plamen Oresharski. «(But) there can be no doubt that Bulgaria will be deeply affected like the other countries in Europe by the downturn of the real economy,» he said. Bulgaria’s currency board regime, which pegs the lev to the euro, has protected the country from sharp currency depreciation seen elsewhere in the region. Missile orders MBDA, the world’s second-biggest missile maker, aims to win one or two major orders by the end of 2010 as France makes progress in talks on selling fighter jets to countries including the United Arab Emirates and Brazil. «These negotiations now have a level of political support that makes them more robust,» MBDA Chief Executive Officer Antoine Bouvier said yesterday at a Paris news conference. Missile orders could emerge with sales of Dassault Aviation SA’s Rafale or Mirage aircraft to countries such as Switzerland, India or Libya, as well as FREMM frigates to Greece, he said. (Bloomberg) Nuclear energy Turkey’s government will decide on whether to accept an offer from Russia’s ZAO Atomstroyexport to build the country’s first nuclear plant after local elections on March 29, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said. The government has reached the «final stage» of its examination of Atomstroyexport’s bid, the only one to emerge from a September tender, Guler told reporters in Ankara yesterday. (Bloomberg)