ECONOMY

In Brief

Inflation picks up to 2.6 pct in December Greece’s headline consumer price inflation picked up to a higher-than-expected 2.6 percent annual pace in December, as favorable base effects from oil waned and transport costs rose, the National Statistical Service said yesterday. Economists polled by Reuters were expecting inflation to accelerate to 2.5 percent year-on-year. Consumer inflation was up 0.2 percent month-on-month. The CPI index in December 2008 was up 2 percent year-on-year. Consumer prices in the 16-nation eurozone rose 0.9 percent year-on-year in December, mainly due to more expensive oil. «The acceleration in inflation reflects the impact of higher energy prices, which neared about a full percentage point, as well as the increase in transport costs, medical care and telecommunications,» said Nikos Magginas, economist at National Bank. «The rise in tobacco and alcohol taxes coupled with higher oil prices should drive inflation close to 3 percent in the first months of 2010.» (Reuters) Romanian wage growth slows to lowest on record Romanian wage growth slowed in November to the lowest rate on record after the government froze state salaries and sent workers on unpaid leave to cut spending. Net wages rose an annual 0.4 percent to an average of 1,366 lei ($478) a month, compared with a 3.6 percent rise in October, the Bucharest-based National Statistics Institute said in an e-mail yesterday. Net wages fell 0.7 percent from the previous month. Records date back as far as 2003. The European Union’s second-poorest member froze wages for 1.3 million public workers last year and forced all its employees on unpaid leave for eight days in November and December. The measures were meant to meet budget demands set by the International Monetary Fund, which is leading a $30 billion package of loans to Romania. That compares with state pay increases of about 20 percent in 2008. Romania’s economy contracted 7.1 percent in the third quarter as companies including carmaker Dacia SA, food producer Kraft Romania SA and steelmaker ArcelorMittal Romania SA cut output, closed factories or reduced pay for many employees. (Bloomberg) Ship orders Goldenport Holdings Inc, a commodities shipper, canceled orders worth a combined $91.7 million for two bulk carriers at China’s Qingshan shipyard. The two so-called supramax vessels, each with a carrying capacity of 57,000 deadweight tons, were scheduled for delivery from the yard in December this year, Athens-based Goldenport said yesterday in a statement. Goldenport is paying $31.8 million for a supramax carrier from SPP Shipbuilding Co in South Korea. (Bloomberg) Revenues hurt UniCredit SpA’s revenue may be affected by the financial crisis in Greece and Dubai, Italy’s biggest bank said in a document. The recent events in those markets «could have a negative effect on the revenue deriving from trading activities and group transactions in the capital markets sector,» the bank said in the January 8 offer document for its 4-billion-euro ($5.8 billion) capital increase. It didn’t give a revenue forecast. (Bloomberg)