ECONOMY

In Brief

World Bank asks Croatia to pursue adjustment ZAGREB (Reuters) – Croatia must press on with fiscal consolidation to lower its vulnerability and boost competitiveness, the World Bank said yesterday, praising plans to have a rolling budget as a big step forward. «The authorities have taken some bold steps in the past, in the monetary sphere and by focusing on controlling public expenditures. We welcome the government’s plan to have a rolling three-year budget,» Pulok Chatterji, a member of the bank’s board of directors, told reporters. Because of its high foreign debt of more than 40 billion euros, or some 90 percent of gross domestic product, the European Union candidate, which hopes to join the bloc in 2012, is strongly exposed to external shocks. Chatterji said Croatia had coped reasonably well with the global crisis, particularly in the financial sector, but its real economy was hurt more badly. The Washington-based lender expects Croatia’s economy to contract 5 percent this year and revert to mild 0.5 percent growth in 2010. Metka in deal with RWE to build Turk power plant Greek engineering firm Metka said yesterday it had signed a deal with RWE and Turcas Guney Elektrik Uretim to build a 450-million-euro 775-megawatt power plant in Turkey. As a contractor for the RWE-Turcas joint venture, Metka, a unit of metals group Mytilineos, will construct an electricity plant fueled by natural gas at Denizli, Western Anatolia. The facility will use Siemens gas-turbine technology. The project is expected to be completed by end-2012. Turcas Elektrik is a subsidiary of Turcas Petrol. (Reuters) Fitch on ATEbank Fitch Ratings yesterday affirmed ATEbank’s ratings at long-term issuer default (IDR) as BBB, short-term IDR F3, individual C/D and support 2 and support rating floor BBB. The outlook is negative, reflecting that of Greece. ATEbank’s impaired loans ratio remains above peer group average (7 percent at end of the first half of the year, based on the 90 days overdue definition). (Reuters) Baskent gas sale Turkey will launch a tender to sell the state-run natural-gas distributor Baskent Dogalgaz, in the capital Ankara, toward the end of this year, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said at a conference yesterday. He also said the government would determine privatization strategies for the state-held shares in land-line phone operator Turk Telekom and lender Halkbank, taking into account the market climate in the near term. (Reuters) Turkish sell-offs Turkey will begin negotiations with companies on three power grid privatizations next week, the acting chief of Turkey’s Privatization Administration (OIB) Ahmet Aksu said yesterday. The OIB received 29 bids for its Coruh, Osmangazi and Yesilirmak power grids. The bidding companies include Calik Enerji, Akenerji, Park Holding and Limak Construction. (Reuters) Trade with Iran Turkey is seeking to switch to payments in national currencies for $10 billion worth of trade with neighboring Iran to lessen exchange rate risks and bolster trade volumes, a Turkish government source said yesterday. Turkey has made similar proposals to China and Russia in recent months. (Reuters)