ECONOMY

In Brief

Italy and Turkey sign deal on natural gas link via Greece Italy and Turkey signed an agreement on the ITGI gas link between Italy and Turkey through Greece, according to an e-mailed statement yesterday. The two countries will complete the agreement by the end of the year, the statement said. The project will be developed by Italy’s Edison SpA, Greece’s Depa and Turkey’s Botas. (Bloomberg) Tourism drop less than forecast; no improvement seen in 2010 The drop in Greece’s tourism arrivals this summer was less than expected but 2010 is shaping up to be another difficult year, according to a study prepared by research company GfK Hellas. The study showed that arrivals from Germany and the United Kingdom, two of Greece’s key tourism markets, each fell 5 percent for the summer period. Results in other southern European countries were mixed with the number of British visitors to Spain falling 11 percent but increasing 20 percent in Turkey. Looking ahead, data from northern Europe so far shows that bookings from the United Kingdom for the summer of 2010 for Greece are down 13.4 percent and 3 percent lower from Germany. Egypt pullout? Titan, Greece’s biggest cement maker, said yesterday it was considering selling a minority stake in its Egyptian operations to an investor. «Reaching a relevant agreement will greatly depend on the level of the offered consideration and the capacity of any potential minority shareholder to add value,» the company said in a statement. (Reuters) Navios Maritime Navios Maritime Holdings Inc, a commodities shipping company, plans to offer about $375 million of first priority ship mortgage notes due in 2017, the company said yesterday in a statement distributed by PR Newswire. Proceeds from the sale will be used to repay borrowings under Navios Maritime’s existing credit facilities and to provide additional financing to complete the purchase of two new vessels expected to be delivered in late 2009 and early 2010, the Piraeus-based company said. (Bloomberg) Rate cut Hungary’s central bank cut the benchmark interest rate to the lowest since July 2006 as the nation’s worst recession in 18 years blunts price pressures and markets remain stable. The Magyar Nemzeti Bank in Budapest lowered the two-week deposit rate to 7 percent from 7.5 percent, a fourth consecutive monthly reduction, matching the forecast of all 21 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Policymakers have shaved 2.5 percentage points off the key rate since July. They earlier said they will continue to ease monetary policy as long as financial stability is maintained. The central bank expects an economic contraction estimated at 6.7 percent this year to cut the inflation rate to below its 3 percent goal next year. (Bloomberg) Energy policy Large European utilities such as E.ON and EDF will not face European Union pressure to split into smaller firms, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said yesterday. (Reuters)