Christofias says he bows out with his head held high
NICOSIA (Reuters) – Outgoing Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias said yesterday he was bowing out with his head held high, blaming profligate banks and a global economic crisis for financial turmoil enveloping the cash-starved island. Christofias, a leftist leader elected in 2008, will not be contesting presidential elections scheduled for tomorrow. Rightwing leader Nicos Anastasiades is expected to win the vote, which could extend to a runoff on February 24. “The government cannot be blamed for the economic crisis, ignoring a global crisis and the damaging responsibilities of banks and its regulator,” Christofias said in a televised address. Once the island’s most popular politician, Christofias saw his popularity slump amid economic recession which has created record-high un- employment and empty coffers, and a deadly munitions accident in 2011 widely put down to state incompetence. He has blamed banks’ greed and regulatory shortcomings for Cyprus’s economic collapse. Opposition parties say his government was too slow to respond to signs of trouble, dragging its feet in seeking, and then negotiating, a bailout deal with lenders. “I am leaving with my head held high, because I believe that I did whatever I could for Cyprus, and under exceptionally difficult circumstances,” Christofias said. the PricewaterhouseCoopers 16th global annual survey. Greece aims to start with the funds it borrowed to complete its 11.3-billion-euro bond buyback program, with the assets concerned being a range of real estate properties slated for selloff. Stournaras pointed to a clear improvement in the Greek climate, noting that the economy has stabilized in recent months, but stressed that more needed to be done on the level of tax collection. The cornerstone of a forthcoming overhaul of the tax system will be an electronic assets register that is currently being compiled, he said.
Inflation evaporated in January, hitting its lowest level since data began in 1996, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said yesterday, as the country’s economic downturn sapped consumer price pressures. The EU-harmonized consumer inflation rate (HCPI) was 0.0 percent year-on-year in January, ELSTAT said, below a 0.2 percent forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.
German sportswear company Puma yesterday announced a 70 percent drop in its annual profit. Earnings in the final quarter were hit by costs of 98 million euros related to a payout in Spain to reclaim trademark rights from a former licence holder and costs for closing its operations in Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria. It will continue to distribute products to these countries.
Speaking about the economic crisis in Europe, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said yesterday in an interview with Bloomberg that he is surprised Greece has not left the euro yet, though he still thinks a Greek exit is “more likely than not.”