ECONOMY

In Brief

First fund launch on Greek-Turkish index Ethniki Asset Management will issue the first exchange-traded fund (ETF)based on a new index of the 30 biggest Greek and Turkish companies listed on the Athens and Istanbul exchanges. The ETF will be available early next year, the Athens Exchange said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. (Bloomberg) Tsakos renews charter on Suezmax-class tanker Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd, a shipowner whose vessels carry oil and petroleum products, renewed a charter on one Suezmax-class tanker and started a new lease agreement on a second tanker with another customer. The charter for the Decathlon was renewed for an additional two years, and includes profit-sharing, the Athens-based shipowner said in a Globe Newswire release. Another Suezmax, the Archangel, was signed to a charter agreement for three to six months after earlier trading on the spot, or one-voyage, market. Terms of the charters and the charterers’ names weren’t disclosed. The two agreements will generate at least $17.5 million in gross revenue, Tsakos said. (Bloomberg) Gas price hike Bulgaria’s energy regulator decided yesterday to raise wholesale natural gas prices by 2.49 percent from October 1 to reflect higher alternative fuel prices on international markets. The State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation set gas prices at 374 levs ($278.7) per 1,000 cubic meters for the last quarter of the year from 365 levs now to reflect also a stronger US dollar. The increase, however, will not lead to a change in heating bills for households, the regulator said in a statement. Energy prices are a politically sensitive issue in the European Union’s poorest nation where, especially in winter, power and heating bills eat up a significant part of wages and pensions that are just a fraction of those in the West. State gas monopoly Bulgargaz has forecast that wholesale natural gas prices would jump by over 20 percent as of January due to the increase in alternative fuel prices over the last six to nine months. But the new chairman of the energy regulator, Angel Semerdzhiev, said on Tuesday that there was no justification to raise wholesale prices next year by as much as Bulgargaz had demanded. (Reuters) JAT Airways grounded Serbia’s troubled national carrier JAT Airways said yesterday that all its flights have been grounded indefinitely because its maintenance company has stopped servicing its planes over unpaid bills. JAT said that none of its aircraft had taken off since Tuesday evening, when aviation maintenance company JAT Tehnika halted its work on JAT’s fleet. JAT said in a statement that it will «do everything it can to resume the flights as soon as possible,» but that, for now, all of its flights have been canceled. Serbia’s transport minister, Milutin Mrkonjic, said the government will discuss JAT’s debt to the maintenance company next week. About 30 JAT flights leave from Belgrade every day, and the dispute left hundreds of angry passengers stranded at the airport. Most Serbians fly JAT Airways when going abroad. (AP) Rights offer Attica Bank SA, a Greek lender, said its rights offer to raise 152 million euros was fully covered, according to an Athens bourse filing yesterday. (Bloomberg)