ECONOMY

In Brief

Deposits rise in August to 219 billion euros FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Deposits in commercial banks in the countries hit hardest by the eurozone debt crisis edged up in August, data showed yesterday. Deposits with Greek banks, when excluding deposits by central government and financial institutions, rose to 219.1 billion euros ($295 billion) in August from 218.4 billion euros in July, the first rise after seven monthly falls in a row, data released by the European Central Bank showed. Bank deposits in Portugal and Spain were also on an upward trend but fell slightly in Ireland. Irish deposits decreased to 216.3 billion euros in August from 216.9 billion the previous month, the third consecutive month of falls. Spanish deposits hit 1.670 trillion euros from 1.664 trillion the month before and in Portugal they rose to 208.7 billion euros from 207.7 billion. Large monthly fluctuations are common in the figures, which are for all currencies combined and euro-area counterparts. The data are not seasonally adjusted. However, the figures released by the ECB show a slightly different picture from the national central bank data. Belgrade seeks approval to borrow 250 million Serbia sought parliamentary approval for its plan to borrow 250 million euros ($336 million) from nearly a dozen foreign-owned banks on the local market as the country seeks new ways of financing its budget deficit. The government will borrow 140 million euros from a group of banks including Banca Intesa, UniCredit Bank, Raiffeisenbank and Societe Generale, at a cost of 5.3 percent over three-month Euribor, according to a draft law on borrowing submitted to parliament in Belgrade. It will cost the same to borrow 30 million euros from Erste Bank and 20 million euros from Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank. Serbia will borrow 20 million euros from Eurobank EFG and the same amount from Vojvodanska Banka, part of Greece’s National Bank of Greece, at 5.20 and 5.25 percent over three-month Euribor, according to the draft. The Serbian arm of Belgium’s KBC Groep NV has offered to lend 10 million euros at 4.25 percent over three-month Euribor, while Slovenia’s Nova KBM d.d. will charge 5 percent of the three-month benchmark for euro-borrowing. (Bloomberg) Drilling gig DryShips Inc, a Greek owner of deepwater drilling rigs and vessels that haul iron ore and coal, said it has signed a contract worth $135 million for one of four new rigs that will be delivered next year. The company said in a statement yesterday that its fully owned subsidiary Ocean Rig has been awarded a deal by an unidentified American exploration company for offshore drilling in West Africa for a period of about 300 days, starting in the first or second quarter of next year. DryShips expects two new rigs to be delivered in the first half of 2011 and another two in the second half. (Bloomberg) FYROM leg The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) wants to join a pipeline planned by Russia’s Gazprom and Italy’s Eni SpA that will carry Russian natural gas across the Black Sea through Bulgaria to Western Europe. FYROM’s government will meet with Gazprom officials in the capital Skopje on October 1 to discuss extending a leg of the link to the Balkan nation of 2 million people, the country’s Finance Ministry said yesterday on its website. FYROM, along with Romania, is seeking to join countries including Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia and Serbia as a partner in the onshore section of South Stream that is scheduled to deliver gas by the end of 2015. One section of the pipeline would terminate at OMV AG’s Baumgarten hub, currently the destination for about a third of Russia’s gas exports to Western Europe. South Stream competes with the OMV-led Nabucco pipeline, which aims to bring gas from the Caspian Sea region and the Middle East to Austria via Turkey to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian supplies. (Bloomberg)