ECONOMY

In Brief

NBG not about to make merger move, source says National Bank of Greece will not make any merger or acquisition move soon, a bank source said yesterday, dismissing a press report that such a step was imminent. A Greek newspaper had reported on Saturday that NBG would move within the next 10 days to seek partners in Greece or abroad, citing sources close to the bank’s chairman, Vassilis Rapanos. «National is not expected to take any merger initiatives within the next 10 days,» the source said. «The reported statements by Rapanos… were never made,» he added. National Bank, the top management of which is appointed by the government, on June 12 denied it was in merger talks with any Greek bank. Media speculation about bank mergers has proliferated after Piraeus Bank, Greece’s fourth-largest, last week offered 701 million euros to buy the government’s stakes in state-run lenders ATEBank and Hellenic Postbank. Piraeus’s offer came after the government urged lenders to seek alliances to better cope with the debt crisis and continue to fund the ailing economy. (Reuters) EasyJet links London with Zakynthos, Hania, Kos No-frills airline EasyJet announced yesterday the addition of three more Greek destinations to its network in Greece, linking them with London for the summer season. Hania on Crete and the islands of Zakynthos and Kos have been added to the airline’s Greek network, which also includes Athens, Thessaloniki, Corfu, Iraklio, Myconos, Santorini and Rhodes. EasyJet expects that by the end of the summer it will have carried 444,573 passengers to and from the Greek Islands. The number of passengers to all 10 Greek destinations for the June-to-September period is set to top 814,000, EasyJet stated yesterday. Cyprus T-bills Cyprus sold 250 million euros’ worth of 52-week treasury bills yesterday with an average annual yield of 1.70 percent, compared to 1.52 percent at the previous auction of the rarely auctioned paper in December 2009. The central bank, arrangers of the sale, said it received total bids worth 576 million euros for up to 250 million euros’ worth of 52-week bills on offer. The highest and lowest yields on the bids accepted were 1.73 and 1.62 percent respectively. Cyprus’s Finance Ministry will take over management of public debt from the central bank as of August 1. (Reuters) Romania’s sale short Romania sold barely a fifth of the one-year debt it had planned to yesterday, capping bids at a self-imposed top yield of 7 percent to extend a policy that analysts say could lead to sharply higher rates later this year. Romania has either rejected all bids or cut debt tenders across maturities since May, when worries over its International Monetary Fund-led aid package were rekindled, with the Finance Ministry resisting pressure from investors to pay higher yields. Central bank data showed the ministry sold 157 million lei ($48 million) in one-year treasury bills yesterday having aimed for 750 million, with the average accepted yield unchanged from the previous tender at 6.99 percent. Analysts, who had expected the result, warned the longer the Finance Ministry sticks to its yield ceiling the more it may have to pay later in 2010 when it starts to feel a funding crunch. «The Finance Ministry apparently continues to ignore economic reality implied by both local and external factors,» ING Bank said in a note before the result of the tender, adding one-year paper traded at 7.3 percent on Romania’s illiquid secondary debt market. (Reuters) Water agreement Ankara signed an agreement yesterday with Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus on a longstanding project to build a pipeline under the Mediterranean to supply water to the island’s north. The agreement envisages pumping 75 million cubic meters of water a year to the state recognized only by Turkey through a conduit running from Mersin on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast to the Gecitkoy area near the port of Kyrenia. The construction of the pipeline and the related facilities on the two shores are due to be completed in four years. Turkey will foot the bill for the 348-million-euro project. (AFP)