ECONOMY

In Brief

No pressure to sell bonds ‘anytime soon,’ says PDMA Greece is under no pressure to sell bonds and will do so when market conditions are «favorable,» said Petros Christodoulou, head of the country’s Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA). «We do not have to access the market anytime soon,» he said in a telephone interview yesterday. «But that doesn’t mean we will not. We will get into the market when conditions are more favorable for the benefit of the Hellenic Republic and our investors.» Investor concern about Greece’s ability to finance its debt, set to become the European Union’s largest this year, pushed the risk premium on Greek bonds to an 11-year high in January. The government faces more than 20 billion euros ($27 billion) in maturing debt in April and May, prompting speculation that European allies led by Germany might extend aid to Greece. Prime Minister George Papandreou is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on March 5 and German lawmakers have said that euro-area officials are devising a plan to grant Greece about 25 billion euros in aid. Greece has put off a planned 5-billion euro bond sale due as soon as this week in hope that more evidence of EU backing for Greece would lower its financing costs, the Guardian newspaper reported. (Bloomberg) Egypt’s MCDR joins Link Up Markets network Egypt’s Central Securities Depository (MCDR) has become part of a network covering 10 nations, including Greece’s Hellenic Exchanges, aimed at boosting efficiency and reducing post-trade processing costs for cross-border securities transactions. Link Up Markets, the joint venture created by the Central Securities Depositories (CSDs), said in a statement that with the addition of Egypt, its second non-European member, it will expand its geographical reach. Other members include Clearstream Banking AG in Frankfurt, Spain’s Iberclear and Denmark’s VP Securities. Long-term plan Citigroup Inc said its 20 percent stake in Turkey’s second-biggest lender, Akbank TAS, and its wholly owned unit in the country are «strategic and long-term investments.» Turkey is «one of our priority markets globally and we expect it to remain so,» New York-based Citigroup said yesterday in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News. Akbank rose 0.6 percent to 8.15 liras as of 1.24 p.m. yesterday in Istanbul trading, reversing earlier losses after the Citigroup statement. The US bank paid $3.1 billion in 2007 to Haci Omer Sabanci Holding AS for the stake in Akbank, which has a market value of 24.5 billion liras ($15.9 billion). The US bank said it plans to grow its Turkish unit, Citibank AS, which ranked 18th out of the country’s 50 lenders by assets, according to banking association figures. (Bloomberg) UK flexible Pacific Investment Management Co’s Mohamed El-Erian said the UK economy has more flexibility than Greece because it has more policy tools to support growth. «Greece is a complex issue that won’t be solved easily,» El-Erian, co-chief investment officer at PIMCO, told reporters yesterday in London. The «UK has a high deficit. But the market also recognizes that, unlike Greece, it has more flexibility to deal with the problem. (Bloomberg)