In Brief

Cypriot economy drops to annual pace of 1.2 pct NICOSIA (Reuters)- Cyprus’s economy slowed to 1.2 percent growth year-on-year and registered flat growth on a quarterly basis in the first three months of 2009, the statistics department said yesterday. Growth in financial services offset negative growth in manufacturing and the hospitality sector, the statistics department said in provisional estimates. Cyprus’s economy expanded 2.8 percent in the last quarter of 2008 year-on-year. Tourism, which represents about 11 percent of Cypriot gross domestic product (GDP), has slumped in the past year with holidaymakers scarce from the global credit crunch. Arrivals were down 8.9 percent and earnings 7.9 percent lower from the start of the year through April. On a quarterly basis, the island registered zero growth in the first three months of the year, compared to 0.5 percent quarter-on-quarter growth in Q4 2008. EFG Eurobank holds on to treasury stock EFG Eurobank Ergasias, Greece’s second-biggest lender, said it had no plans to sell treasury stock to institutional investors. «Current market conditions, which are still marked by low prices, are not appropriate for the release of our treasury stock in the market,» Deputy Chief Executive Officer Nikolaos Karamouzis said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. He said the bank’s strong capital position and internal capital generation «allow us to hold on to our treasury shares.» (Bloomberg) Rate cut Romania’s central bank is seen as cutting interest rates by 50 basis points to 9 percent on June 30, after analysts grew more pessimistic about the depth of this year’s recession, a Reuters poll showed yesterday. The poll’s median prediction for how much Romania’s economy would shrink this year plunged to 3.1 percent from 0.7 percent a month ago and nine of the 14 analysts surveyed forecast a half-percentage-point cut in benchmark interest rates this month. (Reuters) National upgraded National Bank of Greece SA shares were raised to «buy» from «hold» at Deutsche Bank SA, which cited the Greek lender’s first-quarter financial results for the upgrade. The analysts raised their share price forecast by 63 percent to 24.5 euros, they wrote in a report. (Bloomberg) Italian scratch card Italian state monopoly AAMS, which regulates gaming, has made no decision yet on whether to put the scratch card concession out to tender or renew with Lottomatica, an AAMS spokesman said yesterday. Bond volume The volume of Greek government debt traded on the central bank’s electronic system (HDAT) rose to 20.2 billion euros ($28 billion) in May from 12.3 billion in April, the Bank of Greece said yesterday. Trading volume was down year-on-year as 30.2 billion euros in Greek bonds had changed hands in May 2008. Daily average turnover last month rose to 1.01 billion euros from 616 million in April. Greek government bond yields fell on short-term maturities but rose at the long end of the curve. (Reuters)