In Brief

Cypriot economy contracts by 1.1 pct The Cypriot economy, the euro region’s second-smallest, contracted more than previously estimated in the second quarter, as hotel occupancy and restaurant sales slumped. Gross domestic product dropped an annual 1.1 percent, compared with the 1 percent calculated last month, after annual growth of 0.9 percent in the first quarter, the Nicosia-based Cyprus Statistical Service said in a statement on its website yesterday. Sales at hotels and restaurants fell more than first estimated as the global recession meant fewer tourists visited the Mediterranean island. Visitor numbers to Cyprus fell almost 11 percent in the first half, according to the statistics agency. Arrivals from the UK account for more than half of all tourist visits. The main reason for the contraction in the second quarter was «the very negative growth rates observed in hotels and restaurants,» the CSS said. Revenue from tourism fell 24 percent in June, the biggest monthly drop this year, the CSS said on July 27. The economy shrank 0.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the first quarter, less than the initial forecast of a contraction of 0.5 percent. The economy shrank 0.6 percent in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2008. The second-quarter contraction was an annual 0.7 percent, based on seasonal and working day-adjusted data, unchanged from an earlier estimate. (Bloomberg) Bulgaria to receive farm aid previously blocked BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Bulgaria will soon receive European Union agricultural funding of around 19 million euros ($27.3 million) which was blocked last year over fraud concerns, a spokesman at the EU’s executive body said yesterday. Bulgaria, which became a full EU member in January 2007 with neighboring Romania, had more than half a billion euros in aid – including farm subsidies – frozen by Brussels as punishment for its failure to end a climate of impunity. «Bulgaria has now fulfilled the conditions and we will be unblocking some Sapard funds,» Michael Mann, the European Commission’s agriculture spokesman, told a daily news briefing. The cash is part of an EU funding program known as Sapard, granted for Romania between 2000 and 2006 to help it prepare its farming sector for accession to the European Union. Serbian layoffs Duvanska Industrija Nis, the Serbian tobacco producer owned by Philip Morris International Inc, fired about a third of its workers to cut costs in the economic downturn, Dejan Janicijevic, a union leader, said. Most of the 360 workers losing their jobs were employed «with auxiliary services, cleaners, porters and such» and not in production at the company, which is known as DIN, Janicijevic said by telephone yesterday. (Bloomberg) Bids rejected Romania’s Finance Ministry rejected all bids for 12-month Treasury bills, saying the price offered was too low, the Banca Nationala a Romaniei said in an e-mail yesterday. The ministry had initially planned to sell 1.1 billion lei ($370 million) in bills. The average yield on the last such issue on August 10 was 10.42 percent. (Bloomberg)