ECONOMY

In Brief

Talk of debt restructuring incorrect, simplistic FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Greece has shown commendable determination to beat its debt crisis and any speculation that debt restructuring is inevitable is «incorrect» and «simplistic,» European Central Bank governing council member Athanasios Orphanides said in an interview. Greece got the thumbs up from a team of international inspectors last week on its efforts to emerge from a debt crisis which rattled the eurozone earlier this year, triggering a 110-billion-euro ($146 billion) bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU) and a swath of painful reforms. «I am optimistic on Greece. I think the courage and determination the Greek government has shown since May to implement a program destined to put the Greek economy back on track is commendable,» said Orphanides, who is also governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus. «After a very long period in which it was not clear whether the Greek government could deliver, the most convincing element for markets, I believe, is for the government to… continue demonstrating with its actions that it has the resolve to implement the agreed program.» Based on assessments in the plan, even if Greece achieves all its deficit reduction targets, its debt will soar from 115 percent of gross domestic product in 2009 to about 150 percent in 2013, when the three-year EU/IMF bailout expires. Some analysts have suggested a debt restructuring, forcing private creditors to bear some of the burden, could be inevitable. Greek, European and IMF officials publicly refuse to entertain the idea. «In my view, it is incorrect to suggest restructuring is inevitable,» Orphanides said. «It is very simplistic, because it does not take into account the strong, long-term potential for growth that could be realized in the Greek economy as a result of the structural adjustments that are taking place right now.» Romanian exports surge in first half of 2010 BUCHAREST (AFP) -Romanian exports surged by 25.8 percent in the first half of 2010 on a 12-month basis, to 17.1 billion euros ($22.7 billion), the National Statistics Institute said yesterday. Imports grew by 19.3 percent to 21.8 billion euros. The trade deficit was little changed compared to the figure for the first half of 2009, standing at 4.7 billion euros. Last year, as Romania was reeling under the effects of a severe economic crisis, its imports had plunged by an unprecedented 36 percent, while exports dropped by 20 percent. Despite the recovery in trade, the Balkan country should resume growth only in 2011, according to government forecasts. Cyprus visitors The number of tourists who visited Cyprus in July, the first of the two key summer months, rose 0.7 percent, as an increase in Russian and Scandinavian visitors offset a decline in arrivals from the UK and Greece. Arrivals rose to 306,106 from 304,126 a year earlier, the Cyprus Statistical Service said in a statement on its website yesterday. Tourists from Russia climbed more than 47 percent, from Sweden by 8.4 percent and 7 percent from Norway. There was a drop of almost 9 percent in UK visitors and about 5 percent from Greece. (Bloomberg) Power sale Turkey raised $5.53 billion from auctions of three electricity grids, including the network on the European side of Istanbul, the country’s biggest city. That auction and another for the western city of Izmir were won by a venture between Iskaya Insaat, an Ankara-based builder, and MMEKA Makina Ithalat Pazarlama AS, an Istanbul-based company controlled by Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, former chairman of the country’s biggest mobile phone company. Ahmet Aksu, head of Turkey’s asset sale agency, conducted the auctions in Ankara. Turkey is selling 20 regional electricity distribution networks to boost investment in the industry and help reduce debt. The government aims to collect 10.4 billion lira ($6.9 billion) this year from sales of state assets that also include rights to operate roads, bridges and the national lottery. (Bloomberg)