ECONOMY

Current account deficit falls

The current account deficit posted a 21.1 percent decline year-on-year in the first two months of the year, mostly due to the drop in global oil prices. The deficit dropped from 5.86 billion euros in the January-February 2008 period to 4.62 billion euros in the first two months of the current year. The 1.24-billion-euro decline is mainly attributed to a 34.3 percent decrease in payments for fuel imports. In February alone, the current account deficit fell by a considerable 34.9 percent against February 2008, reaching just 1.25 billion euros, compared to 1.93 billion euros last year. There was also a decline in fuel exports of 37.1 percent. Cash receipts from tourism and shipping fell by 20.2 percent and 25 percent respectively, which is an indication of what may follow in the coming crucial months, particularly for the tourism sector. The government’s loan servicing expenditures soared from 33.1 million euros last year to 527.2 million euros in January and February.