ECONOMY

In Brief

Ship owners may idle more container vessels Ship owners may idle more container vessels transporting manufactured goods as a collapse in rental rates slashes profitability, according to Greek shipping line Goldenport Holdings Inc. Rates for vessels hired on time charter or bookings for a particular duration instead of number of voyages, fell 67 percent in the past 12 months, the ConTex index from the Hamburg Shipbrokers’ Association shows. Owners have anchored 10 percent of fleet capacity, measured by 20-foot equivalent units or 13 percent of vessels, Goldenport Commercial Director John Dragnis said in an interview in London yesterday. There are 4,441 container ships in service, Bloomberg data show. «Box rates are too low,» Dragnis said. «There are owners happy to charter a vessel at close-to-operating expenses or a little bit above that and there are owners who think there should be a reward for the services provided.» (Bloomberg) Investors told to keep buying peripheral bonds Investors should keep buying so-called peripheral European government bonds because spreads have further room to narrow, according to Morgan Stanley. «We remain long peripherals versus core and use the recent widening in spreads as an opportunity to add to our position,» Michelle Bradley, a London-based fixed-income analyst, wrote in a research note dated yesterday. «Spreads have room to tighten, carry is still attractive and the liquidity in the system all support buying of government bonds.» The difference in yield, or spread, between Greek and German 10-year bonds narrowed 4 basis points to 137 basis points as of 1.54 p.m. in Frankfurt yesterday. (Bloomberg) Tourism revenues Tourist arrivals in Greece fell 9 percent year-on-year in August, the most important month for the the crisis-hit sector, a tourism body said on Tuesday, forecasting further bleak results in September. Tourism employs one in five Greeks and accounts for nearly one-fifth of gross domestic product, making it crucial for the Mediterranean country’s 250-billion-euro economy, which is seen sliding into recession this year. «The longstanding structural problems of the economy and the tourist sector as well as the global financial crisis have led to this (drop),» Greece’s Tourism Research Institute (ITEP) said in a report. ITEP, which said the number of foreign visitors at Greek airports has dropped 8.5 percent in the first eight months of the year, sees airport arrivals falling 10 percent in 2009 and hotel sector revenues down 16-18 percent in the same period. Greece’s central bank said in August tourism revenues had dropped 14.7 in the first half of the year, straining the economy. (Reuters) Economic recovery Romania’s economic recovery has «already started,» led by slowing declines in industrial output, central bank Governor Mugur Isarescu said. Isarescu also said in a speech in Bucharest yesterday that gains in industrial output will probably be reflected in economic growth early next year. (Bloomberg)