ECONOMY

In Brief

Bulgaria to decide on energy plans SOFIA(Reuters) Bulgaria will decide in November whether to push ahead or abandon major energy projects it had committed to, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said yesterday. The new center-right government, which won elections in July, is reviewing plans for a new nuclear power plant as well as its participation in Russian-backed gas and oil pipelines, to see whether they match national interests.On Tuesday, Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin urged the European Union’s newest member to speed up the review and said that if any of the Russian projects were annulled, Moscow would find alternatives. «Until November we will be ready with the review and then we will tell how much it (each project) costs, whether it is advantageous or not,» Borisov told a state national TV channel in a comment on his meeting with Putin in Poland on Tuesday. Borisov said the Balkan country will keep its commitments for the Russian-backed South Stream gas pipeline project, aimed at delivering gas to Europe under the Black Sea, bypassing Ukraine. Cyprus will issues bonds for banks and liquidity Cyprus will issue 3 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in three-year bonds and give them to its banks to help them boost liquidity, Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said. The plan will be submitted to parliament for approval on October 8, Stavrakis told reporters at the Nicosia-based Finance Ministry. The decision was reached with advice from the head of the Cyprus central bank Athanasios Orphanides, Stavrakis said. The government’s goal is for banks to reduce the lending rates they charge by up to 1 percent by the end of the year, he added. (Bloomberg) Romanian growth Romania’s European Union membership will allow the region’s second-poorest member to enjoy faster growth rates than its neighbors and enable «superior investment rates,» as income levels rise, Moody’s Investors Service said. «The primary reason that we anticipate higher growth is that Romania is significantly poorer than most EU countries, which means it has considerable potential for upward convergence,» Moody’s analyst Kenneth Orchard said in the report. Romania, which joined the EU along with Bulgaria in 2007, was forced to take an international bailout to stay afloat after declining global trade and frozen credit flows turned its post EU accession boom to bust. The country’s «deep» recession will continue into next year, Orchard said. (Bloomberg) PPC advisers Public Power Corp SA (PPC), Greece’s biggest utility, hired two banks to advise on its rights to buy shares in state natural-gas company DEPA and gas-grid manager DESFA, as the government seeks to speed up asset sales. The PPC hired National Bank of Greece SA, the country’s biggest lender, and France’s BNP Paribas, the Athens-based utility said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. PPC, which holds an option to buy 30 percent of DEPA, said in October 2007 that it would exercise its right to purchase the stake. The government plans to separate DESFA from DEPA and will ask both companies to return capital to shareholders to help attract investors, the Economy Ministry said this week. (Bloomberg)