ECONOMY

In Brief

Retail sales volume falls by 10.8 pct in January Greece’s retail sales by volume fell 10.8 percent year-on-year in January after a 7.1 percent drop in December, data from the National Statistics Service (NSS) showed yesterday. Retail sales by revenues dropped 10 percent year-on-year in January after a 4 percent drop in the previous month. «The data reflect a significant slowdown in consumer spending that has to do with tighter domestic credit conditions, nosediving consumer sentiment and, possibly, the influence of certain incidences of riots in major shopping areas around the country that negatively impacted sales,» said Platon Monokroussos, economist at EFG Eurobank. «Looking ahead, we may see some bounce in the retail sales index in the following months, though the full-year reading in volume terms is likely to remain in negative territory.» (Reuters) Greece reopens five-year bond for 7 billion euros Greece reopened through syndication a five-year benchmark bond for 7 billion euros, pricing the issue at the tight end of the range set as yield guidance, the country’s debt agency (PDMA) said yesterday. The August 20, 2014 bond was priced at 102.23, giving it a spread of 225 basis points over mid-swaps. Yield guidance had been initially set between 225 and 235 basis points over mid-swaps, and later tightened to the 225 basis point area. Demand from investors totaled 10.7 billion euros, PDMA said. The issue brings to 12.5 billion euros the 5.5 percent benchmark’s total amount. PDMA has already borrowed 36 billion euros this year, against a target of 43.7 billions for 2009. The bond was offered at a premium of 268.7 basis points over Germany’s 4.25 percent, July 2014 bond, PDMA said. (Reuters) Green light Mytilineos Holdings SA, an Athens-based metals and energy group, won European Union approval to buy 65 percent of Corinth Power SA, in a deal to build a 395.9-megawatt power plant. The European Commission, the 27-nation European Union’s antitrust regulator in Brussels, announced the decision in a statement yesterday. Motor Oil Hellas, Greece’s second-largest refiner, will retain a 35 percent stake in Corinth Power SA, which owns the power generation permits for the plant. (Bloomberg) FDI drop The global financial crisis will slash foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to Bulgaria by about 30 percent to some 4.5 billion euros ($5.9 billion) this year, a senior government official said yesterday. The crisis, which already eroded foreign cash inflows in the Balkan country last year, will continue to have a negative impact but will not cause a faster drop in FDI in 2009, said Stoyan Stalev, executive director of the state investment promotion agency. «We expect (FDI) to decrease by no more than 30 percent… to 4.5 billion euros,» Stalev told Reuters in an interview. «There is a significant drop from 2008 against 2007, which is a kind of a signal for the crisis’s impact.» (Reuters) Tender canceled Thessaloniki Port Authority SA, Greece’s second-biggest port, said yesterday its board formally canceled an international tender for an investor to run container operations, according to a bourse filing. The port said in December a group led by Hutchison Port Holdings Ltd pulled out of talks for the contract. (Bloomberg)