ECONOMY

In Brief

BoA-ML: ‘Fiscal task looks manageable’ Additional measures Greece needs to take to restore its fiscal health in coming years will be less severe than those already announced by the ruling Socialists, said Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BoA-ML) in a report. The investment bank said in a report dated April 21 that «under reasonable assumptions, the fiscal task ahead for Greece looks manageable.» In its baseline scenario, BoA-ML assumes Greece’s public debt in 2012 will be 140 percent of gross domestic product and that the economy will return to growth as of 2013 but at a slower pace than expansion seen in the last decade. «No recession lasts forever, financial markets can turn around even more quickly,» it added. European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Funds officials are currently in Athens and holding talks with government officials on policy changes needed for Greece to qualify for aid worth up to 48 billion euros. French, German banks lent most to Greeks LONDON (Reuters) – French and German banks lent most to Greek borrowers and were owed $120 billion as worries about its economy started sweeping through financial markets, according to bank lending data released yesterday. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said Greek borrowers owed $236 billion to overseas lenders at the end of 2009, with half owed to creditors in two countries – $75 billion in France and $45 billion in Germany. Greece has been battered in recent months as financial markets have doubted its ability to service its debts, despite the offer of a bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Spain and Portugal have also been hit by worries that problems will spread across the eurozone, increasing their borrowing costs. Germany and France were also the biggest lenders to corporates in Spain and Portugal, according to BIS, the coordinating body for the world’s central banks. The statistics – the only ones to chart cross-border lending around the world – showed German banks had $238 billion in outstanding loans in Spain and $47 billion in Portugal. French lenders had $220 billion outstanding in Spain and $45 billion in Portugal. Only Spanish lenders were owed more from Portugal, totaling $86 billion. Internet speed OTE telecom said yesterday it is in the process of upgrading the speed of its ADSL connections for the fifth time since 2004. Household and business customers with an 8 Mbps speed connection will be upgraded to 24 Mbps, said the company, adding that upgrades will be completed in coming months. South Stream Romania will take part in the Russian-backed South Stream pipeline project, expected to pass through the European Union state’s territory, Economy Minister Adriean Videanu was quoted as saying yesterday. «We managed to open the dialogue, including with the Russians. South Stream goes through Romania,» Videanu told a videochat of daily paper Gandul quoted by state agency Agerpres. (Reuters)