ECONOMY

In Brief

Greek shipowners snap up a fifth of used vessels Greece, which has the world’s second-largest merchant fleet after China, bought about a fifth of all secondhand vessels sold worldwide in July, shipbroker Golden Destiny said yesterday. Greek owners spent $552.6 million last month to purchase 15 ships, with a total carrying capacity of 825,407 tons, including eight vessels that carry containers, the Piraeus-based broker said in an e-mailed report. Rates to hire container ships remain «at strong levels, with the idle fleet falling below 2 percent of the existing fleet, while, at the beginning of the year, it stood at 10.4 percent,» Golden Destiny said. (Bloomberg) Cyprus inflation hits 2.7 pct in July NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s EU-harmonized inflation was running at 2.7 percent year-on-year in July, compared to a June reading of 2.1 percent, the island’s statistics department said yesterday. It said harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP) tracker had recorded an increase of 2.4 percent in the first seven months of the year compared to the corresponding period in 2009. On a yearly basis, fuel costs and fuel-related utility bills registered the highest increases, ranging from 6 to 16.5 percent. Permit pending European Goldfields said the strengthening of the euro since the end of the second quarter has already reversed a large part of a loss it incurred for the period mainly as a result foreign-exchange movements. The company swung to a loss of $18.3 million in the quarter from a profit of $1.4 million for the same period in 2009. Chief Financial Officer Tim Morgan-Wynne told Reuters that the company expects to remain loss-making this year but that it may return to a small profit next year depending on the gold price as the Olympias gold concentrate business restarts. During the first half, the group submitted environmental impact studies for its Greek and Romanian projects. Obtaining these key permits has taken longer than expected. «We are still confident that we will have the final permits both in Greece and Romania by the end of the year,» Chairman Martyn Konig told Reuters in an interview. «We believe that we are absolutely on track with that.» Some analysts have been skeptical that the company could reach this year-end target, as government ministers in both countries are taking summer holidays. «We handed the Romanian authorities the EIS (environmental impact study) about a month ago,» Konig said. «With the Greeks, what we did was put the documents on memory sticks and delivered them to various ministers so they could take them on holiday.» (Reuters) Credit provided Danaos Corporation, a Greek owner of container ships, said banks advanced it $426 million in new loans to buy vessels and amended the terms of existing loans. All 14 of Danaos’s lenders agreed to alter $3 billion in loans, including interest and maturities, the Piraeus-based company said in a statement on its website. It didn’t disclose the terms. Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, HSH Nordbank AG, Aegean Baltic Bank SA, Emporiki Bank of Greece SA and Deutsche Schiffsbank AG are among the company’s existing lenders, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. One of the conditions of the arrangement with lenders involved the sale of 54.054 million shares to investors for an aggregate price of $200 million, according to the statement. (Bloomberg) Industrial sales Bulgaria’s industrial sales rose 8 percent in June on a monthly basis, after increasing by a revised 1.1 percent in May, data from the national statistics office showed yesterday. Industrial sales increased 15.9 percent in June from a year earlier, accelerating from a revised 12.9 percent year-on-year rise in May. Sales in the mining industry jumped 24.5 percent in June on the month, while processing industry sales were up 7.8 percent and sales in the distribution of gas, heating and electricity rose 5.5 percent. (Reuters)