ECONOMY

In Brief

Central Bank governor sees Cyprus struggling in recession NICOSIA (AFP) – Cyprus will struggle to come out of recession in 2010, Central Bank Governor Athanasios Orphanides warned yesterday, calling for urgent action to cut state spending on the Mediterranean island. «The real economy is getting worse, something which is confirmed by new and revised statistics,» Orphanides told a parliamentary committee on the economy. «Unfortunately, it seems the economy is still in recession and we can’t exclude negative economic growth in 2010,» he added. Orphanides said inflationary pressures continued to be stronger in Cyprus than in other eurozone countries and expressed alarm over mounting public expenditure. He called on the government to rein in spending and said delays in introducing correctional measures had compounded negative economic growth. «Either we go ahead with measures that will help us minimize the problem and create opportunities for long-term growth, or we avoid making the necessary cuts to state finances and damage the future welfare of this country,» he said. The government knows that its eurozone economy could come under tighter scrutiny from Brussels as it tries to tackle a fiscal deficit that it says could reach 7 percent of GDP this year if public spending is not checked. A stagnant property market and a fall in tourism receipts – by 16.7 percent – created a revenue shortfall in 2009 of 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion). Frigoglass expects double-digit sales growth in first quarter Frigoglass, the world’s largest maker of drink refrigeration equipment, said it expected first-quarter sales to have rebounded at a double-digit rate from last year’s slump, as recovery in its Eastern European business continued. The drinks cooler maker, based in Greece, supplies the country’s bottler Coca-Cola Hellenic and brewers such as Heineken and is expected to report first-quarter results in May. Sales plunged 31 percent in 2009 as key customers cut spending to deal with the global financial downturn, but turnover recovered in the fourth quarter thanks to a turnaround in Eastern European markets, the company said. «Right now, even though the [first] quarter is over and we are just seeing trends, we don’t have the total number but it is safe to expect double-digit growth,» managing director Petros Diamantides told Reuters in an interview yesterday. (Reuters) Best workplace Coca-Cola Hellenic topped an annual list of best workplaces in Greece for companies with more than 250 staff members, it said yesterday. The Coke bottler topped the Best Workplaces list for 2010, prepared by the Great Place to Work Institute Hellas and ALBA Graduate Business School. GlaxoSmithKline Pharma and Abbott Laboratories Hellas came in second and third position respectively. Bristol-Myers Squibb was ranked as the best place to work for companies with staff numbers ranging from 50 to 250 employees. Romanian inflation Romania’s inflation rate fell in March to the lowest in almost three years, as a stronger currency lowered the costs of imports, rent and other items priced in euros, making room for interest rate reductions. The rate fell to 4.2 percent in March, the lowest since 2007, from 4.5 percent in February, the Bucharest-based National Statistics Institute said in an e-mail yesterday. (Bloomberg)