In Brief

Cyprus tourism revenues up 2.2 pct in first half NICOSIA (AFP) – Cyprus’s tourism revenues rose 2.2 percent in the first six months, raising hopes the key sector can help to revive the recession-hit economy, official figures showed yesterday. Revenue from January to June increased to 578.3 million euros ($763.4 million) from 565.8 million a year earlier. In June alone, income spiked 11.4 percent to 195.3 million euros from 175.4 million a year ago, the biggest jump in two years. The average daily amount spent by tourists in June was 73.80 euros and the average stay was 9.6 days. The Swiss were the biggest spenders, forking out an average 105.30 euros a day, while the Greeks were the most frugal, spending just 59.30 euros. Income from tourism accounts for nearly 12 percent of gross domestic product. It dropped to an estimated 1.49 billion euros last year from 1.79 billion euros in 2008 and 1.85 billion euros in 2007. Bumper spending by holidaymakers helped the island achieve gross domestic product growth of 4.4 percent in 2007, easing to 3.7 percent in 2008. The economy retracted by 1.7 percent in 2009, its worst performance since 1974. The Finance Ministry expects GDP to grow by 0.5 percent in 2010. Cyprus is trying to reduce a fiscal deficit that ballooned to 6.1 percent of GDP in 2009 – double the European Union’s permitted ceiling of 3 percent. Brussels has put the island’s finances on fiscal watch after the deficit breached the 3 percent barrier and Cyprus must reduce its debt gap to under that by 2012. Nexans wins 64-mln-euro cable contract from PPC Nexans SA, a Paris-based cable manufacturer, won a 64-million-euro ($85 million) cable contract from Greece’s Public Power Corporation to connect 400 megawatts of wind power on the island of Evia. The company will design, manufacture and install the high-voltage AC power link between the island of Evia and the mainland region of Attica, a company statement said yesterday. The 150-kilovolt Nea Makri-Polypotamos power link will run under the sea exporting power from the wind projects to PPC’s transmission grid. Nexans will install three subsea cable circuits traversing a 21-kilometer (13-mile) route across the Gulf of Evia, the statement said. Nexans is also supplying the 27-kilometer underground power cable land connections at each end of the subsea cables, it said. The project should be completed in 36 months, according to the company. (Bloomberg) Cypriot joblessness Unemployed figures in Cyprus rose almost 2 percent, to 22,899, in July from June, after job cuts in trade, hotels, restaurants and construction, the Cyprus Statistical Service said yesterday in a statement on its website. On a seasonally adjusted basis, unemployment in the euro area’s second-smallest economy was 1.4 percent lower than the previous month. The year-on-year increase in unemployment was 27.3 percent in July, compared with 34.2 percent in June. (Bloomberg) Corruption charges The leader of an opposition ethnic Turkish party in Bulgaria will stand trial for graft next month as the government tries to clean up its image as one of the EU’s most corrupt countries, court officials said yesterday. Ahmed Dogan, whose Movement of Rights and Freedoms party was part of the previous Socialist-led coalition, will appear before the Supreme Administrative Court on September 2 after a parliament commission on corruption notified it of a possible conflict of interest. (Reuters) Geniki loss Geniki Bank, majority-owned by France’s Societe Generale, experienced a sharply deeper first-half net loss as Greece’s economic woes caused a jump in bad debts. The bank, which was taken over by SocGen in 2004 and is being restructured to compete with larger Greek lenders, made a loss of of 214 million euros ($283 million) compared with a loss of 36.2 million euros in the same period a year earlier. Loan-loss provisions jumped to 219 million euros from 53.8 million euros in the first half of 2009. (Reuters)