ECONOMY

In Brief

Greek banks are not draining money from Bulgarian branches SOFIA (Reuters) – Greek banks are not draining liquidity from their subsidiaries in Bulgaria, where they control 30 percent of the banking system, Bulgaria’s central bank governor, Ivan Iskrov, said yesterday. In response to the government’s concerns about a possible liquidity drain, national radio quoted Iskrov as saying Greek lenders were in fact net importers of capital to the Balkan country. On Monday, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said that Sofia had taken measures to prevent possible fund outflows from Greek bank subsidiaries to their headquarters in Greece. «I do not know where this issue came from,» Iskrov said. «On the contrary, a big part of Greek savings are directed to the Bulgarian economy through the funds the parent banks extended to their units.»Every month the central bank carries out stress tests and monitors the banking system… There is nothing different for the Greek banks from a month ago.» He said the central bank was not preparing a special report on the units of the Greek banks, rejecting a statement by Finance Minister Simeon Djankov that a report was in the works. In Athens, Giorgos Aronis, general manager of Alpha Bank, and Anthimos Thomopoulos, chief financial officer of National Bank of Greece – which both have a presence in Bulgaria – told Reuters there was no repatriation of deposits or liquidity. Tender details for Crete projects being prepared Greece will announce by March 19 the tendering details of projects worth about 1.8-billion-euros to build an airport and two highways on the island of Crete, a senior government official said yesterday. Greece plans to tender the Kastelli airport and the highways later this year to help battered construction firms cope with the recession. «We will announce in detail the whole package for Kastelli and the two highways in Crete the week after next,» a senior Infrastructure Ministry official who requested anonymity told Reuters. (Reuters) Cyprus unemployed Cyprus unemployment rose in February as the construction industry continued to shed jobs because of lower house sales. The number of people registered without work in the euro area’s second-smallest economy increased more than 46 percent from a year earlier to 23,949, the Nicosia-based Cyprus Statistical Service said in a statement on its website yesterday. On a seasonally adjusted basis, unemployment rose 1.3 percent in February from the previous month, the statement shows. Government revenue mainly fell in 2009 because of reduced income from capital gains tax after an 80 percent slump in property sales, Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said on March 2. (Bloomberg) Romanian bonds Romania sold a lower-than-planned 369 million lei ($124 million) in five-year treasury bonds yesterday, with the average yield falling in line with expectations, central bank data showed. The issue was heavily oversubscribed with bids totaling 2.1 billion lei and the average yield set at 7.08 percent against 7.65 percent at a similar February 4 tender. Yields have dived from as much as 9.5 percent at the start of the year, helped by the International Monetary Fund’s decision to free up 3.3 billion euros in international aid for the struggling emerging economy by the quarter’s end. (Reuters)