In Brief

Piraeus capital-raising plan to be announced Piraeus Bank, Greece’s fourth-largest lender, said yesterday it will announce in due time the way it will raise capital to fund its proposed acquisition of government stakes in ATEbank and Hellenic Postbank. Earlier this month, Piraeus offered to buy 77.3 percent of ATEbank and 33.04 percent of Hellenic Postbank from the government for 701 million euros in cash. Its offer, announced on July 15, sparked a rally in the banking sector, which has been battered by the country’s debt crisis. There have been press reports that the bank is looking into ways of raising at least 1 billion euros to fund the acquisition. «Following press reports, Piraeus Bank clarifies that it will specify [the details] at the proper time, depending on the progress of the procedure, and will inform the investment public on the way it will raise the required capital,» it said in a bourse filing. (Reuters) Orphanides sees Cyprus economic rebound in 2011 NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s economy is close to bottoming out and should rebound next year but the island must trim spending to ensure sustainable growth, the head of its central bank said yesterday. Athanasios Orphanides, who is also a Governing Council member of the European Central Bank, said it was essential to improve the island’s finances to support economic growth. «If we do not solve the problem now, it will just get bigger and bigger,» Orphanides told a news conference in Nicosia. Cyprus, one of the eurozone’s smallest economies, has seen income plummet from a slump in tourism and real estate, pushing the economy into recession in 2009. One credit ratings agency has warned that the island faces the risk of a ratings downgrade if its finances do not improve soon. The country showed some signs of growth in the first quarter of 2010 but fiscal stimulus packages left it with a 6.1 percent public deficit last year. The deficit is poised to exceed 7 percent this year. Orphanides said the central bank’s economic forecasts had a baseline scenario of a mild economic contraction in 2010, following a 1.7 percent decline in 2009. IMF-Romania An International Monetary Fund mission yesterday started a 10-day review of Romania’s public finances, weeks after the IMF disbursed a loan installment of 900 million euros. The Fund will analyze the budget deficit target for 2010, the budget for 2011 and will review economic growth figures. Mission chief Jeffrey Franks said there was no danger of suspending the loan talks with Romania, where political infighting has at times threatened to derail loan disbursements. Romania took a 20-billion-euro loan from the IMF, the European Union and the World Bank last year, when its economy contracted 7.1 percent. Some of the money was used to pay pensions and wages. The latest installment arrived earlier this month. (AP) Bulgaria deficit Bulgaria aims to halve its budget deficit to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product next year as its economy returns to growth, according to a draft of government midterm fiscal policy plans seen by Reuters yesterday. Today the government is expected to approve the document, which summarizes the Balkan nation’s key fiscal targets for 2011-13 on which next year’s budget will be based. The center-right government plans to cut the fiscal shortfall – a key task for the European Union member – to 1.5 percent of GDP in 2012 and to 1 percent of GDP in 2013, the document showed. «In order to comply with the European Union’s budget deficit ceiling, Bulgaria will target a deficit not higher than 2.5 percent in 2011,» the document said. (Reuters) Turkey energy Turkey’s energy market regulator EPDK has given liquified natural gas import license to Enerjisa, a joint venture of Sabanci Holding and Verbund, energy sources told Reuters yesterday. The number of firms with spot LNG import licenses in Turkey has increased to 13 together with Enerjisa. (Reuters)

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