ECONOMY

In Brief

Stocks shed 0.75 pct, buyers turn to mid-caps Greek stocks retreated 0.75 percent yesterday on mild profit-taking in banks as mid-caps bucked the downward trend. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index ended at 1,491.76 points. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index shed 0.80 percent to 707.57 points. National Bank fell 1.30 percent to 9.10 euros and Eurobank slipped 3.06 percent to 4.12 euros. OTE telecom gave up 2.29 percent to close at 6.40 euros and Coca-Cola Hellenic ended at 18.04 euros, off 2.59 percent. Among the few blue chip winners were metallurgy group Viohalco, which jumped 3.60 percent to 3.74 euros, and toy retailer Jumbo, which rose 2.55 percent to 5.64 euros. The mid-cap FTSE/ATHEX 40 index added 0.38 percent. Turnover reached 71.04 million euros versus 67.2 million previously. Cyprus to cut 400 jobs as part of cost saving Cyprus will cut 400 jobs in the eastern Mediterranean island’s public sector in an attempt to save a further 11.5 million euros ($15.5 million) annually, government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said. «Our objective is to decrease the number of public employees by 1,000 each year,» Stefanou told reporters yesterday in Nicosia. «The government will continue its efforts to further decrease state expenditures and operating costs.» The cut comes in addition to a hiring freeze already decided by the Cypriot government, which has reduced the number of public employees so far in 2010 by 530, saving 13 million euros a year, he said. Cyprus must take «bold measures» to reduce its budget shortfall to below 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2012, Bernard Laurens, deputy division chief of the International Monetary Fund’s European Department, said on July 5. (Bloomberg) Visitors down Tourism arrivals to Cyprus fell 0.6 percent year on year in the first half of 2010 to just under 880,000 visitors, though they rose 5.5 percent in June, the island’s statistics department said yesterday. Tourism is a key money earner for the island and represents just under 12 percent of its gross domestic product. Arrivals from Britain, which is the island’s main market, rose 3 percent in June, mirroring an upturn in sterling’s value against the euro. Russian tourists, Cyprus’s fastest-growing market, surged 53.5 percent. The statistics recorded an 8.7 percent decrease in tourists from Sweden and a 1.3 percent fall in German visitors, both traditional markets for Cyprus. (Reuters) Bulgarian budget Bulgaria will cut its budget deficit to below the European Union’s ceiling in line with the bloc’s executive deadline, the country’s Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said yesterday. Djankov welcomed the recommendation from Brussels for the Balkan country to lower its fiscal shortfall next year to below 3.0 percent of gross domestic product from 3.8 percent of GDP planned for 2010. «We have to do this and will do it. The concrete proposal by the European Union was to have a fiscal deficit of 2.7-2.8 percent of GDP. In our main economic budget projections, the expected deficit is below that level,» he told reporters. Djankov said the main economic assumptions for 2011 will be presented next week and declined to elaborate. (Reuters) New IMF deal Romania needs a new deal with the International Monetary Fund, a standby loan to draw upon should there be the need once the current loans expire, President Traian Basescu said yesterday. In 2009, Romania negotiated a 20-billion-euro ($25.16 billion) loan with the IMF, the European Union and the World Bank. The agreement ends next year. Part of the funds helped pay state wages and pensions last year, when the country’s economy shrank by 7.1 percent. «Categorically, Romania needs a new accord with the IMF,» Basescu said in an interview on public radio. He said he would prefer a precautionary agreement which would allow Romania to access funds only if it faces a critical situation. He warned that a new loan would need to be used as an investment rather than to help pay for pensions and wages. (AP)