In Brief

Cypriot building permits increase; confidence up The number of building permits issued in Cyprus, the euro region’s second-smallest economy, increased in the first five months of the year as builders are more confident that real estate demand will rise. The number of permits authorized, a leading indicator of future construction, rose 5 percent from the same period a year earlier to 3,697, the National Statistics Service said yesterday in a statement on its website. For May alone, the number of permits granted reached 830, the highest monthly number so far this year. The total value of the permits fell 1.1 percent to 1.12 billion euros ($1.58 million) and the number of planned dwelling units covered by the permits dropped 10.1 percent to 6,996. Cypriot real estate prices have fallen to their lowest possible level and are likely to remain stable for several years, George Mouskides, President of the Association for the Promotion of Real Estate in Cyprus, said according to a statement released yesterday by the PRWeb Newswire. (Bloomberg) Spreads on European government bonds widen The difference in yield, or spread, between some European government bonds and benchmark German 10-year Bunds widened. The spread between Portuguese 10-year notes and Bunds widened 4 basis points to 57 basis points early in London yesterday, according to Bloomberg generic yields. The spread between Greek and German securities increased to 115 basis points, from 109 basis points on Tuesday. (Bloomberg) Beer sales drop Keo Ltd, the largest beverage company in Cyprus, posted a first-half loss as sales declined amid falling tourist numbers to the east Mediterranean island. The net loss for the six months ended June 30 was 3.8 million euros ($5.4 million), compared with profit of 29.6 million euros in the same period a year earlier, the Limassol-based company said yesterday in a filing to Cypriot bourse authorities. The company cited a drop in the flow of visitors to Cyprus and increased competition. Total revenue dropped 19.1 percent to 26.3 million euros with domestic sales declining 19.4 percent to 25.3 million euros. Tourist arrivals to Cyprus fell 10.8 percent in the first half, the Cyprus Statistics Service said July 15. Keo is taking measures to increase sales and cut costs in order to reduce losses by the end of the year, according to the filing. (Bloomberg) Elinoil earnings Elinoil SA, a Greek petroleum products retailer, posted a six-month net income of 1.1 million euros compared with a year ago loss of 0.2 million euros, the company said in an Athens bourse filing yesterday. (Bloomberg) Inflation slows Bulgarian consumer price inflation slowed to 1.6 percent year-on-year in July from 3.7 percent a month earlier, mainly due to a drop in food and energy prices, the statistics office said yesterday. On a monthly basis, consumer prices fell 0.6 percent following a 0.4 percent drop in June, as domestic demand slumps due to the economic downturn, the data showed. The International Monetary Fund has forecast inflation falling to 1.5 percent at the end of 2009. (Reuters)