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