ECONOMY

In Brief

Albania plans to sell bonds next year, refinance debt Albania plans to sell bonds in euros next year after last month’s debut sale as it seeks to repay maturing debt and raise funds to build roads, bridges and railways, Prime Minister Sali Berisha said. The government will seek to raise 300 million euros ($409 million) to 500 million euros, Berisha said yesterday in a phone interview from the capital, Tirana. «Next year we are going to go to the euro markets because we would like our banks to have space to finance the private sector,» he said. «We are not in a hurry. We will go back to the market at the most optimal time.» The Adriatic nation of 3 million people, which is striving to become a candidate for European Union membership, sold its first bonds in euros on October 28. Borrowing costs dropped below those of neighboring Greece as near-zero interest rates in major economies increased investor appetite for higher-yielding emerging-market assets. Albania sold 300 million euros of five-year bonds at a yield of 7.5 percent. Greek notes due August 2015 traded at 12.5 percent yesterday. Standard & Poor’s gives Greece, whose ballooning budget deficit sparked the European debt crisis, a BB+ rating, its highest noninvestment grade. Albania is ranked three steps lower at B+. The price of the bonds has declined on the secondary market since the sale, pushing its yield up 15 basis points to 8.17 percent as of yesterday. The Albanian lek, which is allowed to trade freely, has declined 1 percent against the euro this year, to 138.71 at 11.54 a.m. yesterday in Tirana, following an 11 percent drop last year. (Bloomberg) Russians, Germans boost Cyprus tourism revenues Cyprus’s revenues from tourism rose 10.1 percent in September as the number of Russian and German tourists increased on an annual basis. Tourist spending increased to 220.5 million euros ($303 million) from 200.2 million a year earlier, the island’s statistical service said today on its website. The number of visitors from Russia rose 61 percent in September and 60 percent in October on an annual basis, while German tourist arrivals increased by 22 percent and 23 percent, according to data from the service. Tourism revenues, which directly and indirectly account for about a quarter of the Cypriot economy, rose 3.1 percent for the nine months through September 30. Cyprus’s economy expanded 1.7 percent in the third quarter, according to a preliminary estimate, mainly due to the improved performance of the tourism industry, the service said in a separate statement today. (Bloomberg) Recession over Bulgaria’s economy crawled out of a prolonged recession on a year-on-year basis in the third quarter, expanding 0.2 percent from the same period a year earlier, the statistics office said yesterday. On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 0.3 percent, though that marked a slowdown from a 0.5 percent expansion in the second quarter, mainly due to a drop in consumption and investment, a flash estimate of seasonally adjusted data showed. The Balkan economy shrank in the second quarter by 1.4 percent on an annual basis, seasonably unadjusted data showed, and by 0.3 percent when seasonally adjusted, the statistics office said. (Reuters) No decision Hellenic Postbank SA, a Greek state-controlled lender, said it hasn’t decided whether to sell its 32.9 percent stake in T Bank SA, in response to press reports. «No such decision has been taken by the bank,» according to an e-mailed company statement sent yesterday. (Bloomberg) Romanian assets Romania plans to finish selling minority stakes in utilities Transgaz SA and Transelectrica SA next year as it raises money to finance the budget, Economy Minister Ion Ariton said. The government wants to sell a 15 percent stake in its natural gas transmission company, Transgaz, on the Bucharest Stock Exchange in the second half of next year after starting procedures in the first quarter, Ariton said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg questions. «In Transelectrica’s case, the sale procedures will be initiated by the end of this year and will be finalized in the middle of next year,» said Ariton. (Bloomberg)