ECONOMY

In Brief

Romanian jobless figures deteriorate in March BUCHAREST (AP) – Romania’s unemployment rate continued to climb, rising 0.3 percent from the month before to hit 8.36 percent in March, statistics published yesterday showed. More than 765,000 Romanians are jobless, the new figures revealed, with unemployment lowest in the capital and highest in the poor northeast, a state employment agency said. Unemployment was 0.3 percent higher than in February, and rose significantly from March 2009 when it was 5.6 percent. The International Monetary Fund, which led a 20-billion-euro bailout to help recession-mired Romania pay state sector salaries, has predicted Romania could have 1 million jobless this year. About 2.5 percent of the working population is unemployed in Bucharest, a city of 2 million, while more than 15 percent of residents do not have a job in the Vaslui region in northeast Romania, the National Jobs Agency said. Serbia cuts interest rate to 8.5 percent BELGRADE (AFP) – Serbia’s central bank cut its key interest rate to 8.5 percent yesterday in the wake of encouraging signals in the economy. The National Bank of Serbia (NBS) said in a statement that its «monetary board reviewed economy trends and decided to reduce the interest rate with 0.5 percent, so as of today it is 8.5 percent.» NBS has cut interest rates steadily in the past year, from 17.5 percent in January 2009. The bank cited lower-than-expected inflation in the first quarter of this year as another reason for its latest rate cut. Inflation in February was 3.9 percent, far below the expected 6.0 percent inflation rate for 2010. Credit card use Credit card payments in Cyprus rose by 5 percent in the first quarter of 2010, mainly due to the early Easter holidays and a surge in road tax payments, clearing agency JCC said yesterday. Credit card transactions in the first three months of the year totaled 480.07 million euros, up 5 percent from a year earlier. Transactions in March were valued at 162.7 million euros, up 20 percent on the year. Data found that payments made by Cypriots abroad rose 16 percent from January-March to 284.9 million euros, while credit card transactions by visitors to the island were up 5 percent on the year. (Reuters) Aircraft sale Cyprus’s national carrier, Cyprus Airways, is to sell one of its older aircraft in its ongoing fleet renewal plan, it said yesterday. In the announcement to the Cyprus Stock Exchange, the airline said it had signed a letter of intent on April 6 with the company Phoenix Aircraft Malaysia Sdn Bhd, for the sale of an Airbus A320 aircraft for 4.6 million euros ($6.15 million). The Cyprus Airways fleet currently comprises 11 Airbus aircraft. (Reuters) Road deal Ellaktor SA and J&P Avax SA are in talks with Attikat SA with a possible view to buying its 9.88 percent stake in Attiki Odos, an Athens highway operator, according to an e-mailed statement and a separate Athens bourse filing from Greece’s two biggest builders yesterday. No further details were provided. (Bloomberg)