ECONOMY

In Brief

Sentiment in Cyprus improves in December NICOSIA (Reuters) – Business sentiment improved in Cyprus in December on a better outlook in the services and construction sectors but still lagged behind EU peers, a publicly funded survey showed yesterday. December’s economic sentiment indicator showed a 3.9-point improvement over November to 67.7. «An improvement in December compared to the previous month is based on an improvement in the climate in the services and construction sector, and to a lesser extent to an improvement in retail sales,» the Economics Research Center of the University of Cyprus said. It prepares the survey with RAI Consultants. A rebound in sentiment seen from March 2009 across the European Union is not yet apparent in the case of Cyprus, but is expected to mitigate negative perceptions on the future outlook locally, the research center said. Diana Shipping agrees to buy Panamax vessel Diana Shipping Inc, a carrier of commodities including iron ore and coal, agreed to buy a Panamax-class vessel from an unnamed seller for $35.1 million. The 2004-built Teresa Hebei will be renamed Melite when the transaction is completed by the end of January, the Athens-based company said in a statement yesterday on Globe Newswire. Panamax ships are the largest that can travel through the Panama Canal. Diana Shipping rose 8 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $14.71 at 9.31 a.m. in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have gained 15 percent this year. The statement was released before the start of regular US trading. (Bloomberg) T-bill sales Romania sold a more-than-planned 786 million lei ($270 million) of six-month treasury bills yesterday at the Finance Ministry’s 10 percent cutoff yield, which analysts say could lower early next year. The ministry has struggled to stick to issuance plans this year, as prolonged economic and political crises have put upward pressure on yields and stalled foreign aid, but analysts say yields could fall early next year as turmoil comes to an end. A mission from the International Monetary Fund, which put Romania’s 20-billion-euro aid package on hold last month, will return to Bucharest on January 21 to resume aid talks, the senate’s speaker said. The Finance Ministry, which had planned to sell 500 million lei yesterday, had said it would not go above a 10 percent yield for leu debt, which is well above government borrowing levels seen in the eurozone or Romania’s better-off regional peers. «Over the next quarter… there is some optimism as the IMF is expected to deliver its aid tranche and the central bank to cut interest rates,» said ING Bank economist Vlad Muscalu. «Yields could likely stay at 10 percent in January, but starting with the second half of February we could see a lower yield.» (Reuters) Deal change Eurobank Real Estate Investment Co, Greece’s biggest real estate trust, will acquire Tavros Protypi Anaptyxi SA for 37 million euros on a liability and debt-free basis, instead of the 50.4-million-euro price in the initial agreement, according to an Athens bourse filing yesterday. (Bloomberg)