In Brief

Greek economy shrinks in first quarter The Greek economy shrank in the first quarter from the previous three months, showing the slowest pace of annual growth since 1993. Gross domestic product contracted 1.2 percent from the previous three months and expanded 0.3 percent from a year earlier, the Athens-based statistics agency said yesterday. (Bloomberg) Cyprus’s CPI inflation eased to 0.64 pct in May Cyprus’s consumer price inflation eased to 0.64 percent year-on-year in May from an April reading of 0.70 percent, the statistics department said yesterday. Month-on-month, the consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.74 percent, compared with 0.65 percent in April, on increases in prices of fuel, water rates and some foodstuffs. There were reductions in electricity bills and on car prices, the statistics service said. (Reuters) Oil shipments up Crude-oil shipments from the Middle East rose at least 19 percent in May and will remain at the higher level this month, Greece’s second-largest operator of supertankers said. Oil companies hired supertankers to collect at least 95 consignments last month and are planning for the same number in June, compared with 80 in both March and April, Ody Valatsas, chartering manager at Athens-based Dynacom Tankers Management Ltd, said yesterday by e-mail. The vessels normally haul 2 million barrels of crude oil each. «March and April were very short of cargoes, but May and now June is more,» he said. Owners have been sailing ships at lower speeds, saving about $14,000 a day on fuel costs but meaning some vessels will take longer to return to the Persian Gulf, he said. (Bloomberg) Water profits Thessaloniki Water & Sewage Co SA, the second-biggest water company in Greece, expects sales of 91 million euros this year and pretax profits of 19.4 million euros, according to a company presentation posted on the Athens Exchange website. (Bloomberg) Bank bonds Piraeus Bank, Greece’s fourth-largest lender, said yesterday it had completed the sale of a two-year 500-million-euro ($708 million) senior unsecured bond to boost its capital. The issue, which carries a 4.50 percent coupon, is part of the bank’s EMTN-program and was oversubscribed 2.5 times, Piraeus said in a statement. (Reuters) ING pullout Dutch financial group ING Groep NV will leave 10 of the 48 countries in which it currently operates and sell 10 to 15 businesses over the next three to five years, CEO Jan Hommen said yesterday. In a presentation to the Goldman Sachs Financials Conference in Frankfurt, a copy of which was posted on ING’s website, Hommen also confirmed the company’s plan to raise 6 billion to 8 billion euros ($8.51-$11.35 billion) through asset sales. ING, which received a 10-billion-euro capital injection from the Dutch government last October, unveiled a plan in April to slim down and shed assets, including the targets for proceeds and the number of businesses to be sold. It has said little about the asset sales thus far, other than that it had seen some potential bidders looking for bargains and that it was biding its time. (Reuters)