ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus 2010 growth seen at 0.5-1.0 percent NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s economy is seen as growing by between 0.5 and 1.0 percent in 2010, Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said yesterday. «There is a small acceleration in growth,» Stavrakis told reporters. «A safe assessment [for the whole year] would be for growth of between 0.5 and 1.0 percent.» Cyprus’s economy grew 0.6 percent in the third quarter, its third quarter of growth after five quarters of contraction. Authorities reported an upturn in banking and tourism, while construction remained in negative territory. The Finance Ministry’s main scenario sees nominal gross domestic product expanding to 17.5 billion euros in 2010, from 16.9 billion in 2009. Stavrakis said the island’s budget deficit could fall to 5.5 percent of GDP without any unforeseeable expenses in the last two months of the year. Its deficit reached 5.96 percent of GDP in 2009. Sofia appears to be verging on pipeline pullout SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria will bow out of a planned pipeline to pump Russian crude through its territory to the Greek coast, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov told the newspaper 24 Chasa. Borisov met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Sofia on Saturday. Environmental concerns were behind the decision, he said in the interview published yesterday. Bulgaria has said it will await the final decision of the Environment Ministry on the pipeline and would not pull out of the project earlier to avoid paying compensation to Greece and Russia. «After the environment assessment is ready, it will be decided whether this project will be carried out or not,» a government spokeswoman said yesterday. Borisov has repeatedly said Bulgaria would most likely abandon the planned 300-kilometer pipeline from the Black Sea port of Burgas to Alexandroupoli on the Aegean Sea in Greece and has said the project was not economically viable. The European Union’s poorest member would have received transit fees from the link. Last week Sofia rejected the environmental impact assessment of the project, saying it did not give details of how a possible oil spill would affect fishing and tourism and did not guarantee that such spills would not cause irreversible damage to the bay. Putin said he accepted Bulgarian concerns and that Moscow would seek other routes to transfer its crude while bypassing the congested Bosporus Strait. Romania-IMF Romania intends to sign a precautionary agreement with the International Monetary Fund next spring after the country’s conclusion of its current IMF-EU deal, Cristian Popa, the central bank’s deputy governor, said yesterday. International lenders agreed on November 1 to release the next tranche of loans due under Romania’s 20-billion-euro bailout program, easing concerns about the recession-hit country’s finances. «Once the current agreement with the EU and IMF terminates, and we hope it will be a successful conclusion, in the spring of next year, we intend to go to a precautionary agreement featuring conditionality,» Popa told the panel of an economic conference in Vienna. (Reuters) Bulgaria surplus Bulgaria posted a 538.6-million-euro current account surplus in the first nine months of 2010, more than double a revised 235.5 million surplus from a month earlier, thanks to rising exports and weak domestic demand. Central bank data for January to September showed the surplus for the first nine months was equivalent to 1.5 percent of gross domestic product, while the deficit a year ago of 2.54 billion euros amounted to 7.2 percent of GDP. The government has forecast a current account deficit of 3.2 percent of GDP for the whole of this year, narrowing from last year’s deficit of 9.4 percent of GDP. (Reuters) Bosnia forecast The International Monetary Fund has cut its forecast for Bosnia’s 2011 economic growth to 2.2 percent from 3 percent, the head of the IMF mission for Bosnia said in an interview yesterday. «After the decline of output last year by 3 percent, we expect some small growth this year at around half a percent and we expect slow recovery next year,» Costas Christou told Reuters. «Our projection for real GDP growth is 2.2 percent for next year.» (Reuters)