ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus to step up fiscal austerity measures with three-year plan NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus is drafting a three-year program to trim spending and plans revenue-boosting measures soon, its government said yesterday. Cyprus is under pressure from the European Union to cut a budget deficit set to hit 6 percent this year and 5.4 percent in 2011. Under an EU excessive deficit procedure instituted earlier this year, it must cut the shortfall to below 3 percent by 2012. «We hope to be in a position as soon as possible to go ahead with [fiscal] measures,» government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said. The three-year plan required a more «comprehensive» approach, he said. The island state, which represents 0.2 percent of the eurozone economy and whose two main trade partners are Britain and Russia, is also feeling the heat from warnings by rating agency Standard and Poor’s that it could lose its A+ rating if it does not improve its performance soon. An increase in value-added tax, now at 15 percent, is among several options being floated by the government to bring the deficit for 2011 down to the 4.5 percent of gross domestic product demanded by the European Union. NBG brings Babis Mazarakis on board as chief financial officer National Bank (NBG), Greece’s largest lender, said yesterday its board had appointed Babis Mazarakis as the bank’s chief financial officer, reporting to group chief financial officer Anthimos Thomopoulos. Mazarakis, 46, was formerly chief operating officer at Excel Maritime Carriers and has worked as chief financial officer at Titan Cement and Vodafone-Greece. (Reuters) Romanian T-bills Romania sold its planned amount of one-year treasury bills yesterday with the average yield rising 7 basis points to 7.07 percent from an October 25 tender, overshooting its yield cap for the second time in a row. Analysts said it was too early to say whether the Finance Ministry has abandoned a self-imposed yield cap of 7 percent, which has led to smaller issuance and failed tenders since May. The ministry sold three-year bonds for the first time since April last week, as yields edged up above its 7 percent cap. (Reuters) Montenegro bank Montenegro is considering setting up a state development bank next year if commercial banks do not ease their lending practices to the European Union applicant country, one of the country’s three deputy prime ministers said yesterday. (Reuters) Turkey output Turkey’s industrial output rose 10.4 percent on the year in September, the country’s statistics institute said yesterday, lower than a forecast for a rise of 11 percent in a Reuters poll. Production fell 0.4 percent on the month in September on a seasonally adjusted basis. Turkey’s economy is expected by the government to grow 6.8 percent this year, although the pace of growth is seen as slowing in the second half. In August industrial production rose 10.8 percent on the year. (Reuters) Power auctions Serbia’s and Hungary’s grid operators will begin joint daily and monthly auctions of cross-border power capacity starting in January 2011, an official of Elektromreza Srbije (EMS) said yesterday. The total capacity available for allocation will be 600-700 megawatts, Milos Mladenovic, assistant general manager at EMS, Serbia’s grid operator, told Reuters. Grid operators in the two countries also hope to finish the paperwork needed to start yearly capacity auctions by the end of November, he added. (Reuters)