ECONOMY

In Brief

Current account deficit unchanged in April Greece’s current account deficit was unchanged year-on-year in April at 2.95 billion euros ($3.6 billion), as lower trade and income account deficits were offset by a fall in the services balance, the country’s central bank said yesterday. In the year to April, the Bank of Greece said the current account gap widened 25.4 percent to 12.86 billion euros year-on-year. «The current account gap stabilized in April as the trade deficit returned to a downward trend, reflecting mainly the significant reduction in imports. Tourism receipts were marginally lower, mostly due to the fact that Easter came earlier this year and because of negative publicity from the intensifying economic crisis and labor action,» said Nikos Magginas, economist at National Bank. «We expect the current account gap to shrink in the coming months, on improved exports of goods and services and recovering inflows from the EU.» (Reuters) Capralos re-elected as president of FESE The Federation of European Securities Exchanges (FESE), a group representing some 45 stock exchanges across Europe, has re-elected Spyros Capralos as president for one year, it said yesterday. Capralos, who is also CEO of Hellenic Exchanges, said he plans to continue efforts to revise the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), aimed at boosting market transparency. Earlier this week, Capralos met with EU Internal Markets Commissioner Michel Barnier where they discussed ways of improving market supervision and creating a European regulatory framework that will ensure competitive conditions across all exchanges. The FESE also said that the Istanbul bourse is the group’s latest member. Cypriot deposits Greek banks operating in Cyprus saw their deposits on the eastern Mediterranean island increase 8.3 percent in May to 8.6 billion euros ($10.6 billion) compared with April. Deposits in the island’s banking system rose overall by 2.7 percent to 64 billion euros, the Central Bank of Cyprus said. Deposits at the National Bank of Greece (Cyprus), a unit of Greece’s largest lender, rose 6.6 percent to 1.3 billion euros in May from 1.2 billion euros, while deposits at Alpha Bank Cyprus Ltd rose 3.3 percent to 3.8 billion euros. Bank of Piraeus (Cyprus) Ltd deposits grew 26 percent to 1.1 billion euros, while those of EFG Eurobank Cyprus Ltd rose 11 percent to 2.1 billion euros. Deposits at Emporiki Bank – Cyprus Ltd increased 6.3 percent to 361.5 million euros, the Central Bank of Cyprus said in a statement on its website. Deposits in Cyprus-based units of Greek banks rose 25 percent between November 2009 and May 2010, while overall deposits in the island’s banking system rose 9.7 percent, according to the central bank. In April, Greek banks’ deposits in Cyprus fell 1.6 percent compared to March. (Bloomberg) Bulgarian debt Bulgaria’s gross foreign debt edged down 0.6 percent to 36.8 billion euros ($49.37 billion) at the end of April from a year ago, the central bank said yesterday. The external debt at the end of April dropped 1.1 percent from a month earlier as the prolonged recession made commercial banks more conservative in extending credit and decreased borrowing from their foreign parent companies. (Reuters) Gas partner The Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC), the country’s government-owned leading power supplier, said that by the end of July it expects to choose a strategic partner to participate in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project. Talks began in London early this week with a short list of potential partners on a LNG terminal to be built at Vasilikos, on Cyprus’s south coast, according to an e-mailed statement yesterday from EAC. Cyprus is seeking to end its dependence on oil for power generation and looking to agree to terms with natural gas suppliers by 2013. Electricity consumption is growing by 5.5 percent a year in Cyprus, one of Europe’s hottest countries, where demand peaks during the summer months as locals and visitors turn on air-conditioning units. (Bloomberg)