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and appreciated 0.8% compared with its pre-entry rate. This has raised hopes that interest rates will be cut when the Monetary Policy Committee meets on May 20, with the official rate 225 basis points above the equivalent in the eurozone (ECB marginal lending: 3%; deposit: 1%).
The combined assets of the 25 investment companies listed on the CSE rose 7.5% in the first quarter to CYP 223.5 mln, but still short of the 230 mln at the end of March last year. The return matched the CSE performance with their combined NAV up 17.45% compared with the CSE GENX rise of 17.06%.
After a relative lull, the franchise wars have heated up again, with PHC clinching the second KFC license, Symeonides’ Costa Coffee taking on Marinopoulos-operated Starbucks and Marks & Spencer starting a Home unit to take on IKEA opening in late-July, Greece’s Hondos is pulling out and Lidl is expected to make its first inroads.
President Tassos Papadopoulos has warned against raising hopes too soon for the resumption of a new round of talks to solve the Cyprus problem.
Home prices continued to rise for a second month in April, up 0.6% from March, to a year-to-date increase of 2.5% according to the BuySell index. The average home price is CYP 85,317. Meanwhile, Cyprus Cement Co. said it is expected to raise prices 8-9.5%.