ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus needs to use ECB credit support NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus must begin to utilize the enhanced credit support on offer from the European Central Bank (ECB) to increase business access to cheaper finance, the island’s business community said yesterday. While the ECB injected a record 442 billion euros into money markets this week, Cypriot commercial banks cannot make use of the 1 percent interest rate loans offered by the ECB because the institutional framework for banks’ covered bonds does not exist. «We believe that it is time for the Cypriot economy to inject more cash available from European institutions into the market,» said Manthos Mavrommatis, president of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Up to 60 percent of ships orders may be canceled DryShips Inc, whose ships transport raw commodities, including iron ore and coal, believes as much as 60 percent of the ships on order will be canceled or delayed, Chief Operating Officer Pankaj Khanna said. «At least 50 percent of the order book is questionable,» Khanna, who assumed his position in March, said at a forum at the annual Marine Money conference in New York. The cut in the order book will apply to ships set for delivery beginning next year, he said. Dry-bulk shipping rates have fallen 60 percent in the past year as the global recession cut demand for raw materials. Shipowners, including Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd and DryShips, suspended dividends and renegotiated terms with lenders after breaching loan covenants because the value of their vessels dropped. (Bloomberg) Fishing funds The Spanish fishing fleet secured nearly half of all EU subsidies between 1994 and 2006 and spent most of the money on building, rather than scrapping, ships despite falling fish levels, data showed yesterday. The European Commission has often complained about overcapacity in the EU fishing fleet, saying too many boats are chasing too few fish. Overcapacity is blamed as a key factor for the poor state of EU fish stocks, especially of mainstays like cod. The data, viewable on www.fishsubsidy.org, showed a total of 8.54 billion euros ($11.9 billion) was paid across the EU to vessels, ports and processing firms, including payments likely from other policy areas of the EU budget and state government top-ups. (Reuters) Key deals Gazprom, the world’s largest natural gas producer, said yesterday it hoped to sign key deals in Azerbaijan next week, raising the possibility that Russia will secure Azeri gas to feed pipelines to Europe. «We enjoy good relations with Azerbaijan,» CEO Alexei Miller said at a shareholders’ meeting at the company’s Moscow headquarters. «And we hope that during next week’s trip to Baku, we will reach important agreements. (AP)