Greece on track for cur­rent ac­count sur­plus

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Strong spend­ing by for­eign tourists helped Greece’s cur­rent ac­count bal­ance turn to a sur­plus in the first 11 months of last year, putting the bat­tered coun­try on track for its first such sur­plus since join­ing the euro over a decade ago. With do­mes­tic de­mand, in­vest­ment and in­dus­trial out­put hurt by sear­ing bud­get cuts, tourism has be­come the main growth driver for the eu­ro­zone’s worst-per­form­ing econ­omy, which is ex­pected to re­cover mildly this year. Tourism re­ceipts, the coun­try’s big­gest for­eign-cur­rency earner, slipped 1.5 per­cent year-on-year to 191 mil­lion eu­ros in Novem­ber but to­tal rev­enue in the 11 months of 2013 grew 15 per­cent to 11.83 bil­lion eu­ros, help­ing to gen­er­ate a cur­rent ac­count sur­plus of 1.46 bil­lion eu­ros. One of its twin deficits along­side the bud­get deficit, Greece’s cur­rent ac­count gap had bal­looned to 15 per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct in 2008 be­fore its debt cri­sis ex­ploded. The lat­est data shows Greece is likely to top the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund pro­jec­tion of a cur­rent ac­count deficit of 0.8 per­cent of na­tional out­put in 2013, fu­eled by a fall in im­ports. would scale back its long-term cli­mate and en­ergy am­bi­tions be­cause of tougher eco­nomic con­di­tions. But Greece’s plea would go be­yond the Com­mis­sion’s plan. “We pro­pose that the Euro­pean Emis­sion Trad­ing Sys­tem iden­tify spe­cific ways to as­sist coun­tries in an un­prece­dented eco­nomic re­ces­sion and/or ex­posed to a higher level of EU­com­pe­ti­tion,” the En­ergy Min­istry said in a sep­a­rate doc­u­ment out­lin­ing its pro­posal, seen by Reuters. Greece, which cur­rently holds the EU’s six­month ro­tat­ing pres­i­dency, hopes to rally other coun­tries to its cause, a min­istry ad­viser told Reuters on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Bul­garia-gas.

Bul­garia and Tur­key agreed yes­ter­day to set up a joint com­pany and build a gas pipe­line to link their net­works and en­able im­ports, Bul­garia’s econ­omy and en­ergy min­is­ter said. “We took a con­crete de­ci­sion for build­ing an in­ter­con­nec­tor Bul­gar­i­aTurkey that will be a key source of di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of nat­u­ral gas de­liv­er­ies for our coun­try,” Dragomir Stoynev said af­ter talks in Sofia with his Turk­ish coun­ter­part Taner Yildiz. Bul­garia is largely de­pen­dent on Rus­sian gas sup­plies via trou­bled Ukraine. The EU state be­gan look­ing sev­eral years ago for sup­plies from its neigh­bors – Greece, Ro­ma­nia, Ser­bia and es­pe­cially Tur­key, which im­ports Ira­nian and Azer­bai­jan gas. “It is im­por­tant that we now have con­crete ac­tions and not only po­lit­i­cal in­ten­tions as we saw over the past years,” Yildiz said yes­ter­day.

BoC insurance.

Bank of Cyprus said on Thurs­day it would shift over­sight of poli­cies at its Greek insurance di­vi­sion to Ergo Gen­eral Insurance of Greece.

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