ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus tourism arrivals down more than 10 pct NICOSIA (Reuters) – Tourism arrivals to the holiday island of Cyprus were down by more than 10 percent in the first half of the year, with more people staying at home because of the financial crisis, statistics showed yesterday. By June, arrivals had fallen by 10.8 percent, with declines led by a 19.5 percent drop-off in arrivals from Britain, by far Cyprus’s largest tourism market. Tourism represents about 11 percent of Cyprus’s economy. An anticipated drop in arrivals for the whole year is a key reason why authorities cut their economic growth forecasts to 1 percent, from 3.7 percent in 2008. For the month of June alone, arrivals were down 15.1 percent year on year, the statistics department said. Kosovo aiming to become energy exporter PRISTINA (Reuters) – Kosovo plans to build a new power plant they hope will attract 3.5 billion euros in foreign investment and turn it into an energy exporter, the prime minister said yesterday. The project involves the construction of a new coal-fired power plant with a capacity of up to 2,000 megawatts and development of a new lignite mine nearby. «The new plant will produce 2,000 MW and it will be divided in two phases. In the first phase the plant will produce 1,000 MW and will be built immediately,» Prime Minister Hashim Thaci told a news conference. Thaci did not say when the government would select a winner or when he expects the plant to start producing power. Three foreign groups, Czech power firm Cez and AES of the United States; Italy’s ENEL and Greece’s Public Power Corp Sencap; and Germany’s EnBW and US-based WGI, are in the running to build the project. Rights sale National Bank of Greece SA, which is raising 1.25 billion euros in a sale of new shares to stockholders, said it sold the rights accruing to the 515,199 own shares it owns for 687,318 euros yesterday. The bank made the statement in a bourse filing yesterday. (Bloomberg) Deficit widens The Romanian government’s budget deficit widened in May as an economic contraction curbed revenue. The gap grew to 2.1 percent of gross domestic product in the first five months from 1.8 percent of GDP at the end of April, the Finance Ministry said on its website yesterday. Romania agreed to a 20-billion-euro ($28 billion) loan package led by the International Monetary Fund in March to finance its current account and budget deficits. The IMF forecast a budget shortfall of 4.6 percent of GDP this year compared with a deficit of 4.8 percent last year. (Bloomberg) Portuguese debt Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos said Portugal’s debt will peak next year at less than 80 percent of gross domestic product, lower than a forecast from the European Commission. «We’ll reach this year close to 70 percent and next year it will be over 70 percent,» he said in an interview late yesterday in Madrid, adding that debt would amount to less than 80 percent of GDP. «It will probably peak next year.» (Bloomberg)