ECONOMY

In Brief

Shippers may turn to bonds as loans are hard to come by Shipping companies are likely to sell more bonds as they continue to struggle to get financing from banks, according to Perry van Echtelt, executive director at Fortis Bank Nederland NV. Credit has been harder to get since Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy in September 2008 sparked a financial crisis. Dry-bulk shipping markets collapsed last year, cutting ship values and forcing some operators to seek waivers on loan conditions. Shipping lines including Ukraine’s Industrial Carriers Inc and Armada (Singapore) Pte have sought protection from creditors because of the slump. «For the moment it has to be seen when credit markets will return,» van Echtelt told a conference in London yesterday. «The bond market was bigger than the credit market» for the year-to-date and that trend will continue, he said. Owners of merchant ships face a funding shortfall of $20 billion to $30 billion a year after lending shrank, according to Nordea Bank AB, the biggest coordinator of loans to the industry. Euronav NV, Belgium’s largest oil-tanker owner, Malaysia’s MISC Bhd, the world’s biggest owner of liquefied natural gas tankers, and Navios Maritime Holdings Inc have set bond sales totaling more than $800 million since August. (Bloomberg) Tourism turnaround expected by middle of next year Tourism is expected to return to modest growth worldwide by the middle of next year, the UN tourism body’s secretary-general said in an interview. The global economic crisis and swine flu fears have cut the number of tourists entering foreign countries this year but not as badly as was feared, the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai told Reuters. «The results of the summer, particularly July and August, have shown a slight improvement in all destinations,» Rifai said during a visit to Athens. With the global economy showing signs of recovery, people are becoming more confident and are travelling more, Rifai said, saying this explained why the drop in international arrivals had eased. (Reuters) Avacom expands Avacom Net Pcl, a Cypriot Internet and telephony services provider, said it acquired a 10 percent stake in Delaware-based R360 Corp. The two companies also set up a joint venture to promote the R360 technology platform to mobile phone companies such as Nokia Oyj, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, Samsung Electronics Co and Motorola Inc, according to a Cyprus Stock Exchange filing yesterday from Nicosia-based Avacom. The total value of the 100 million shares acquired in R360 and 50 percent of the venture is 7.3 million euros ($10.9 million), Avacom said. (Bloomberg) Debt auction Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) said yesterday it sold 1.5 billion euros ($2.24 billion) of 13-week T-bills. The auction produced a yield of 0.35 percent, down from 0.52 percent in a previous July 21 auction. The bid-cover ratio was 4.69 versus 6.38 in the previous auction. The settlement date is this Friday. (Reuters)