In Brief

Russia to go on with trans-Balkan oil pipeline SOFIA (Reuters) – Russia will press ahead with plans to build a trans-Balkan oil pipeline to carry its crude to Greece, despite Bulgaria’s skepticism over its participation in the link, Russia’s energy minister said yesterday. Sergei Shmatko told a news conference in Sofia that Moscow understood Bulgaria’s environmental concerns and supported its decision to assess its impact. Bulgaria’s center-right government, which won July elections, has been re-examining its participation in major Russian-backed energy projects agreed to by the previous administration to see whether they matched national interests and the European Union’s agenda. Analysts say the reviews showed the new administration aimed to pull Bulgaria away from Russia’s influence and demonstrate closer ties with the EU, which is trying to reduce its dependence on Russian energy. The 300-kilometer pipeline aims to carry up to 50 million tons of crude a year from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to the Greek port of Alexandroupoli to bypass the traffic-clogged Bosporus Strait. Cyprus economy stuck in recession during Q3 NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus remained stuck in a recession in the third quarter of the year, data showed yesterday, though authorities sharply cut the rate of economic decline from earlier estimates. Cyprus’s economy contracted by 0.6 percent in the third quarter, following a 0.8 percent shrinkage in the second, preliminary data from the island’s statistics department showed. However, yesterday’s third-quarter data was a sharp improvement over the 1.4 percent quarterly contraction the statistics department issued in a flash estimate on November 13. There had been a substitution of an index for better reflection of quarterly developments in construction, the statistics department said, referring to the difference. «The revision is positive news because I found the [flash] rate fairly disconcerting,» said Michalis Florentiades, who is the head of economic research at Hellenic Bank. Romania inflation Romania’s annual inflation rose to 4.7 percent in November, from October’s 4.3 percent, above market expectations, the National Statistics Board said yesterday. Prices rose 0.7 percent on the month. Food costs were up 0.6 percent on the year, while non-food items and services grew 6.6 and 8.5 percent respectively. The central bank’s end-year inflation target is 2.5-4.5 percent. (Reuters) Bosnia power Bosnia’s largest power utility Elektroprivreda BiH plans to produce 20,330 gigawatt-hours of electricity over the next three years and export at least a quarter of it, general manager Amer Jerlagic said yesterday. Consumption, expected to increase by about 4 percent annually, will be 13,284 gWh over the entire period, Jerlagic told Reuters. «Output is set to go down slightly in 2011 and 2012 [from 2010] because of planned modernization of Bosnia’s two largest coal-fired plants, at Kakanj and Tuzla,» he said. (Reuters) World Bank-Turkey The World Bank will lend Turkey $1.25 billion for budget financing in the first-quarter of 2010, treasury sources said yesterday. The sources added that Turkey planned to make use of a Japanese debt program for emerging market countries. (Reuters)

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