ECONOMY

In Brief

Demand for Greek debt has increased Greece raised 1.95 billion euros in short-term debt yesterday, as investors’ growing appetite for riskier government bonds sent the country’s debt spreads to an eight-month low. Greek debt spreads versus German Bunds, a key measure for how risky investors perceive the country’s bonds to be, narrowed after the sale to 138 basis points, its lowest level since November, from 143 late on Monday. «It seems that risk appetite among investors is increasing, and that is being reflected in healthy demand levels for Greek debt,» said Diego Iscaro, a London-based analyst at IHS Global Insight. Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) sold 1.5 billion euros of 13-week T-bills in auctions at a yield of 0.52 percent, down from 1.25 percent in a previous April 14 auction. With investors offering to buy 6.38 times the amount offered, compared with 2.74 in the April auction, the PDMA accepted 450 million euros in additional offers. (Reuters) Lamda to develop Balkan properties Greece’s leading shopping mall developer, Lamda Development, hopes to relaunch stalled Balkan investments in 2010 as the global economic crisis eases, its CEO said in an interview yesterday. Lamda, which develops and manages shopping malls, office and residential complexes in Greece and the Balkans, froze investment projects worth 408 million euros in the region earlier this year, citing the global economic slump. «Possibly in 2010 we will go ahead with the development of one of those [projects] or even with a new investment depending on global conditions,» chief executive Odysseas Athanassiou told Reuters. (Reuters) EBRD-Romania The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and several commercial banks will lend 170 million euros to Romania to modernize its top power plant, the EBRD said yesterday. The loan is part of the EBRD’s plan to invest 1 billion euros in the new European Union member over the next two years, its participation in a 20-billion-euro foreign aid package led by the International Monetary Fund and secured by Romania in March. Like many power plants in Romania, the coal-powered Turceni plant in the south of the country, built under the communist regime, needs cash to upgrade its facilities to meet EU environmental standards. (Reuters) Bosnian growth Bosnia’s economic growth in 2008 was 5.42 percent, slightly less than the earlier projected 6 percent, according to preliminary figures released by the state statistics agency yesterday. «Nominal gross domestic product in 2008 was 24.716 million Bosnian marka [$18 million], while real growth was 5.42 percent,» agency head Zdenko Milinovic told a news conference. (Reuters) Romanian deficit Romania’s consolidated budget deficit may reach 7 percent of gross domestic product at the end of this year, Economy Minister Adriean Videanu said, far above an IMF-agreed 4.6 percent target. Asked where he predicted the shortfall would be, Videanu told a Monday night television talk show, «Seven percent in 2009.» (Reuters)