In Brief

Russia extends loan to Serbia to plug gap MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia will give Serbia a loan to help cover its budget deficit, the Russian finance minister said, as President Dmitry Medvedev prepares to make a landmark visit to Moscow’s Balkan ally. «We will give a loan to Serbia,» Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told reporters in Istanbul, where he attended annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. Serbia has asked for a 1-billion-euro loan, including 350 million euros to cover its budget deficit, with the rest to be spent on investment projects, including roads, he said. Kudrin spoke to reporters over the weekend in comments released yesterday and confirmed by his spokesman Pavel Kuznetsov. Meanwhile in Belgrade, Serb Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic said the Balkan country had obtained a 274-million-euro loan of the World Bank to support the budget. The loan was agreed at a meeting with World Bank’s vice president for Europe and Central Asia, Philippe Le Houerou, in Istanbul, during an annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank, Dinkic was quoted as saying in a statement. Turkish central bank says financing needed ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey would need external financing if it aims to grow at a higher rate of 5 to 6 percent and generate jobs for its large young population, Central Bank Governor Durmus Yilmaz said yesterday. Asked about the subject of a possible loan accord between Turkey and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Yilmaz told a news conference the decision on whether to reach an agreement was one for political authorities. Turkey has been locked in standby negotiations with the IMF, but its current account deficit and disagreements over the status of the tax administration and the extent of stimulus measures have obstructed a deal. Signing a deal with the IMF is a political decision to be made by the government, and Turkey’s financing needs have lessened due to a falling external deficit, Yilmaz said. Bulgarian jobless Bulgaria’s unemployment rate rose to 8.03 percent in September from 7.88 percent in August, preliminary data from the Labor Ministry showed yesterday. The jobless total in September stood at 297,515 people, compared to 291,852 in August. The Labor Ministry had said earlier that it expected the annual average unemployment rate for 2009 to remain at about 8 percent, although businesses and unions recently suggested it would exceed 10 percent. In 2008 as a whole, the unemployment rate stood at an annual average of 6.31 percent, down from 7.75 percent in 2007, and the lowest rate since 1990. (AFP) Turk inflation Annual inflation in October will be low despite the end of stimulus tax cuts on durable goods and a near 10 percent percent hike in power prices, the central bank said yesterday in its monthly inflation report. Annual inflation may be volatile from December due to base effects, the central bank said in the report released following inflation data on Friday that showed consumer prices rose 0.39 percent month-on-month in September and the producer price index rose 0.62 percent month-on-month. (Reuters)