ECONOMY

In Brief

Romanian gov’t faces more no-confidence votes Romania’s government will face two no-confidence votes on Monday as the opposition tries for the third time in seven months to topple Prime Minister Emil Boc’s cabinet over austerity measures. The Liberal and Social Democratic parties asked for a vote against the government over the bill that raises public wages by 15 percent in 2011 and a separate vote over a unitary wage law that ties future salary increases to professional performance and experience. Boc urged lawmakers to forgo debate and pass the laws in three days to unlock the next payment from an International Monetary Fund bailout. The opposition has been trying to oust the government since it cut public sector wages by 25 percent and increased a value-added tax to 24 percent to trim the budget deficit to qualify the conditions of the 20-billion-euro ($26.7 billion) bailout. The parties, with 215 votes, need 236 votes to topple the Cabinet. «This is how reforms are being done in Romania, very hard, and that’s why we have to seek fast-track approval of important laws,» Boc told reporters in Parliament yesterday. «I’m not concerned, I haven’t been concerned about any of the no- confidences I had to face because I know that I am proposing the right measures for the country and I trust the solidity of the ruling coalition.» Romania, going through the second-deepest recession in the European Union after Greece, is trying to pass the 2011 budget and a package of wage bills to curb public spending, narrow the budget deficit and satisfy lenders. (Bloomberg) European Goldfields gets 300 mln dollars in debt LONDON (Reuters) – European Goldfields has signed a conditional $300 million debt-financing agreement with a group of financial institutions to fund the expansion of its Hellas Gold projects, it said yesterday. The facility is subject to several conditions including the receipt of a mining permit. Yesterday, the London-listed company said its environmental impact study had been sent to the Greek authorities for final approval. The funds will be used to develop the Skouries open pit and associated processing facilities, the Olympias concentrator and underground mine refurbishment and general corporate purposes. The facility does not require the company to undertake any gold or silver price hedging, allowing it to benefit from gold prices near record highs and silver close to 30-year highs. The mandated lead arrangers are BNP Paribas, Caterpillar Financial SARL, Investec Bank plc and UniCredit Bank AG. Ship sale Louis Plc, the biggest tourism company in Greece and Cyprus, said yesterday the planned sale of one of its cruise ships won’t affect its forecasts. Louis agreed to sell the vessel Aquamarine for $24.3 million as part of a fleet renewal program. The sale is expected to result in an accounting loss of about 1.1 million euros ($1.5 million), the Nicosia-based company said in a statement on the Cyprus Stock Exchange website. The sale of the ship to Mexico’s Corporacion de Cruceros Nacionales SA won’t affect the company’s forecast for losses in 2010, which will be less than in 2009, Louis said. (Bloomberg) Euro pullout? Slovakia has no intention of ditching the euro, Foreign Minister Mikulas Dzurinda said yesterday during a visit to Poland, after his nation’s speaker of parliament said it was time to mull a pullout. «Abandoning the euro is not an issue,» Dzurinda told reporters. «The euro is a good thing, and that’s not always the case for some politicians. We shouldn’t change currency, we should change plenty of politicians,» he said in an apparent swipe at the speaker, Richard Sulik. In an article published Monday, Sulik had said it was time to seriously consider dropping the euro, which the country adopted in January 2009, if the currency union’s problems deepen. (AFP) Portuguese help Portugal will probably need European emergency aid early next year as it struggles to reduce debt and meet bond maturities, while Spain may avoid a bailout, UniCredit SpA economist Tullia Bucco predicted. Portugal will be forced to ask for a rescue because high borrowing costs stemming from slow growth and sagging investor confidence will create a «snowball effect,» complicating debt reduction, Bucco wrote in a note to investors yesterday. (Bloomberg)