ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus tourism sector sees income sink 16.7 percent NICOSIA (AFP) – Income from Cyprus’s vital tourism sector sank 16.7 percent in the first 11 months of 2009, official figures showed yesterday, compounding the Mediterranean island’s recession. Tourism revenues, which comprise about 12 percent of gross domestic product, plunged to an estimated 1.45 billion euros ($2.07 billion) in the period, from 1.74 billion euros a year earlier. In November alone, the drop was a slightly smaller 15.7 percent, as revenues from holidaymakers reached 61 million euros versus 72.4 million in the same month of 2008. Tourism receipts for last year as a whole fell 3.5 percent to 1.79 billion euros from 1.85 billion in 2007. Average daily spending by tourists in November was 69.2 euros, with Israelis splashing out the most, 138.4 euros a day, and Britons the least, 51.7 euros daily. The Cyprus government had forecast a 10 percent drop in the sector’s revenues for the entire year, which the latest data suggest was a conservative estimate. The fall, which is coupled with an 11 percent decrease in tourist arrivals for the first 11 months, has been instrumental in the Cypriot economy going into decline. The island is facing its worst economic slump in nearly four decades after going into recession with three consecutive quarters of economic contraction in 2009. Daewoo Shipbuilding signs deal with Almi Tankers Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co, the world’s second-largest shipbuilder, said it received an order from Almi Tankers SA of Greece to build 10 oil tankers for about $650 million. The vessels, which can each carry 160,000 tons of oil, will be delivered by November 2013, Daewoo Shipbuilding said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The order comes after the Seoul-based company won contracts worth $1.6 billion last week to build two drill ships and one semi-submersible drilling rig. Daewoo Shipbuilding has won $3.7 billion worth of orders this year, missing its target of $10 billion amid concerns about overcapacity triggered by five years of record orders. Global contracts for new vessels in the first 11 months of 2009 plunged 83 percent from a year earlier, according to Clarkson Plc. (Bloomberg) Top picks Norway’s DnB NOR ASA, National Bank of Greece SA and Societe Generale SA were added to the «most preferred» list of banks at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, while Bankinter SA and Swedbank AB shares joined the «least preferred» list. (Bloomberg) Stress tests Eastern European stress tests show the region’s banks are resilient enough to withstand financial shocks even as higher joblessness and corporate default threaten to swell lenders’ losses, the European Central Bank said. «In the wake of the weakening of economic activity in the Central and Eastern European region, the deteriorating quality of bank assets is likely to become an important vulnerability,» the ECB said in its Financial Stability Report, released yesterday. «Rising unemployment, lower incomes and corporate defaults are likely to lead to a further increase in loan delinquencies and a further deterioration of bank loan portfolios.» (Bloomberg)