ECONOMY

In Brief

Diana Shipping says Q1 profit down 35 pct Diana Shipping Inc, whose ships transport commodities including iron ore and coal, said first-quarter profit declined 35 percent as the value of its time-charter contracts fell. Net income fell to $34.8 million, or 47 cents a share, from $53.2 million, or 71 cents, a year earlier, the Athens-based company said yesterday in a statement. Diana was expected to earn 45 cents a share, according to the average of eight analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue fell 21 percent to $62.7 million. Diana was able to avoid the worst of a global shipping slump by keeping its fleet under multiple-voyage, time-charter contracts. Rates for single voyages dropped 79 percent in the quarter from a year earlier as demand for raw materials dropped. «They had, basically, 100 percent time-charter coverage in the first quarter,» said Jonathan Chappell, a JPMorgan Chase & Co analyst in New York who has an «overweight» rating on the stock. (Bloomberg) Cyprus Airways seeks new aircraft supplier Cyprus Airways Ltd, the state- controlled carrier on the eastern Mediterranean island, will seek a new aircraft supplier after calling off an agreement to lease two A320 planes from an Irish aircraft leasing company. The leasing company is not in a position to deliver the two aircraft on the date initially agreed, Nicosia-based Cyprus Airways said yesterday in a statement to Cypriot market authorities. The airline is looking at other alternatives for leasing aircraft, proceeding with its plan to partially renew its fleet. The carrier didn’t name the Irish company involved. Cyprus Airways currently has a fleet of 12 Airbus aircraft, according to its website. (Bloomberg) Inflation to ease Greek consumer inflation is seen easing further in April to a 1.2 percent annual rate, after dropping to a 41-year low in the previous month, analysts said yesterday, citing cooling energy and food prices. The median forecast from five economists showed April should mark a continuation of the downtrend in inflation which has taken the headline CPI rate to 1.3 percent in March from a 10-year high of 4.9 percent last year. «CPI inflation is expected to drop lower… in April on the back of the decline in oil prices by more than 25 percent year-on-year, slowing domestic demand and favorable trends in food components,» said economist Nikos Magginas at National Bank of Greece. Greece’s National Statistics Service will release April headline and EU-harmonized inflation today. (Reuters) Rate cut Romania’s central bank cut interest rates by 50 basis points yesterday, bringing the key rate to a lower-than-expected 9.50 percent in a sign of growing concern about economic contraction. While some countries in Eastern Europe have halted rate cuts because of worries over currency stability, Romania has won some breathing space after a 20-billion-euro aid package led by the International Monetary Fund gave a strong footing to the leu in the last month. But its economy is still expected to contract sharply in the first quarter, with a Reuters survey predicting a 2.5 percent shrinkage, as the global crisis hits demand and keeps investors sidelined. «This is the first signal that concerns about economic growth are higher than about inflation,» said Nicolaie Alexandru-Chidesciuc from ING Bank in Bucharest. (Reuters)