ECONOMY

In Brief

Banks, regulators called to speak about default swaps Banks and regulators across Europe have been summoned by the European Commission to discuss regulation of the market for sovereign credit default swaps in the wake of the Greek debt crisis. The European Union’s executive agency will hold a meeting in Brussels «shortly,» Chantal Hughes, a Commission spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The talks, which will take place as soon as tomorrow, will cover CDS pricing and links to the sovereign bond market, according to three people familiar with the discussions. Credit default swaps on Greek bonds fell to the lowest in seven weeks on speculation government plans for extra deficit cuts will calm the sovereign debt market. Greece tried to ward off speculators by announcing an additional 4.8 billion euros ($6.6 billion) of budget cuts, after EU leaders called for greater austerity measures before considering aid. The speed of the Commission’s reaction is «surprising,» Karel Lannoo, chief executive of the Center for European Policy Studies, said in a telephone interview yesterday. «It’s only a week or so that the CDS story has been around,» he said. Currency and bond speculators worldwide are under increasing regulatory scrutiny. Michel Barnier, the EU’s financial services commissioner, said yesterday that the EU would probe sovereign CDS trading. (Bloomberg) Sportingbet looks to basketball fans for revenue expansion UK Internet gambling company Sportingbet Plc wants to expand betting on European basketball to add to its soccer-dominant sports-wagering systems. The firm would like to boost betting on basketball, which exceeds wagers on tennis, to 10 percent of sports revenue, from today’s 5.7 percent, CEO Andrew McIver said in a phone interview. Sportingbet said fiscal second-quarter profit rose 18 percent as soccer betting increased. In October, Sportingbet renewed sponsorship of Euroleague Basketball, which gave it exclusive live Web-streaming rights, he said. Sportingbet has been broadcasting live soccer matches to encourage betting during games since 2008, and it added more South American games. Basketball betting is especially popular in Greece, Turkey and Spain, he said. (Bloomberg) Turkish inflation Turkey’s inflation rose by 1.45 percentage points between January and December 2009, overshooting expectations to reach 10.13 percent on a 12-month basis, the state statistics institute said yesterday. The increase was driven by a 5 percent rise in food prices after bad weather conditions pushed vegetable prices up. Factory gate prices meanwhile rose by 1.66 percent from January, marking a 6.82 percent increase over a year, the institute said. «The underlying inflation trend remains benign… However, the main risk is deterioration in inflation expectations in line with the surge in the annual inflation rate,» Fortis Bank said in a research note. The central bank has said it will target an inflation rate of 6.5 percent in 2010 and 5 percent in 2011. Turkey’s inflation slowed to 6.53 percent in 2009, undershooting the 7.5 percent target as the economy went through a severe recession. (AFP)