ECONOMY

In Brief

Vitol to build oil products terminal in Cyprus NICOSIA (Reuters) – Vitol, the world’s largest energy trader, plans to build an oil import and distribution terminal in Cyprus, it said yesterday. Vitol Tank Terminals International (VTTI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Vitol Group, said it expects the project to be completed by 2012 at an initial cost of more than 100 million euros. The terminal in the southern coastal region of Vassiliko would provide 340,000 cubic meters of storage for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and fuel oil. «This terminal will turn Cyprus into a regional oil product hub, allowing us to export products from this terminal into other parts of the east Med,» VTTI CEO Rob Nijst told a news conference in the Cypriot capital Nicosia. Cypriot finance minister sees no woes for lenders NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said he did not expect Cypriot banks Bank of Cyprus and Marfin Popular to encounter any problems in stress tests by regulators. «As finance minister, I am optimistic that, due to the good supervision performed by the central bank and the prudent management of the Cypriot banks, the Cypriot banks will not encounter any significant problems,» Stavrakis said on the sidelines of a conference in Nicosia yesterday. He said the European Union had a mechanism in place in the «very theoretical» scenario that either Cypriot or other banks faced problems in the stress tests. Bulgaria power plant Austria’s utility EVN is in talks to acquire Italian energy company Enel’s majority stake in a Bulgarian coal-fired thermal power plant, a spokesman for EVN Bulgaria said yesterday. In March, the CEO of Italy’s biggest utility, Fulvio Conti, said Enel had started a process to sell its Bulgarian operations. «There are talks but Enel is holding talks with a lot of companies and we [EVN] are just one of them,» the spokesman said. Enel is selling its 73-percent stake in a 908-megawatt coal-fired plant, Maritsa East Three, where it completed a 700-million-euro upgrade last year. The remaining stake is held by Bulgarian state utility NEK. Earlier this month, following speculation about a possible agreement for the sale of the plant to the Russian company InterRao, Enel announced that the sale process is still ongoing and no agreement with InterRao or any other parties has been reached. On Monday, EVN signed a deal with NEK to take a majority stake in a 500-million-euro Bulgarian hydropower project on the Gorna Arda River near the border with Turkey. (Reuters) Bosnia wage bill The parliament of Bosnia’s Muslim-Croat federation passed a long-delayed wage bill yesterday, meeting a condition set by the International Monetary Fund for the release of a standby loan installment. The IMF delayed a decision on the installment in May because the Muslim-Croat federation, which makes up Bosnia along with the Serb Republic, has missed targets under the 1.2-billion-euro standby program. The federation, which is under greater fiscal pressure than the Serb Republic because of generous benefits to war veterans, needed to pass the wage bill and audit disability benefits for war veterans and the disabled, as well as pensions. (Reuters) World Bank – Croatia The World Bank has downgraded its 2010 forecast for Croatia’s economy to a 1 percent contraction from an earlier prediction of modest growth, citing weakness in local demand and investment as well as fiscal risks. The bank previously forecast 0.5 percent gross domestic product growth for Croatia, which hopes to conclude European Union accession talks next year and join the bloc in 2012. Croatia’s economy shrank 5.8 percent in 2009 and another 2.5 percent in the first quarter of this year. Sanja Madzarevic-Sujster, the World Bank’s senior country economist, told a news conference presenting the economic outlook that «recovery is still not visible.» «The economic decline in the first quarter will be somewhat offset in the second half of the year… but we had to change our forecast,» she said. (Reuters)