Turkey outshines region in gold reserves


Turkey tips the scale with the highest gold reserves in the region. Also in business news: Cyprus' bond rating falls and Romania's economy registers growth.

Many countries in the region have large gold reserves. [Reuters]

Turkey, with of 295.5 tonnes, has the highest gold reserves in Southeast Europe, ranking 14th in the list of global gold reserves as of October 2012, published by the World Gold Council on Friday (October 5th). Greece is at 32nd with 111.8 tonnes, closely followed by Romania at 34th with 103.7 tonnes. Bulgaria is at 47th with 39.9 tonnes. Serbia and Cyprus are at 59th and 60th with 14.8 tonnes and 13.9 tonnes respectively. Macedonia is also in the top 100 at 75th place with 6.8 tonnes. Bosnia and Herzegovina is at 93th with 2 tonnes, and Albania is at 98th with 1.6 tonnes.


Emerging economies from Central and Eastern Europe, which include Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Serbia and Croatia, are exposed to limited risk of contagion from the eurozone debt crisis and can expect their economic growth to increase from 2 percent this year to 2.5 percent in 2013, the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook, published on Tuesday (October 9th).


Rating agency Moody's Investors Service on Monday (October 8th) cut Cyprus' bond rating three notches to Ba3 further into junk territory with negative outlook, citing the "profound difficulties" in the island's banking sector.


The Albanian government announced on Wednesday (October 3rd) that US-based consortium Vetro Energy has won the tender for local oil company Albeptrol. The consortium offered 850 million euros, or 10 percent of Albania's GDP, for the state-controlled firm.


Serbia opened the tender for the Zelezara Smederevo steel mill, in a fresh effort to sell the money losing enterprise on Monday (October 8th). The previous owner, US Steel, abandoned the plant a year ago to cut losses, and the Serbian government bought it for $1 to avert the potential loss of 5,500 jobs. Candidates have until October 26th to file their bids.


Bosnia and Herzegovina's power utility EPBiH announced on Thursday (October 4th) it has received non-binding offers from 12 international companies and consortia to build a 450mW coal fire unit at the Tuzla power plant. The construction of the unit is expected to cost around 768 million euros, and is seen as one of the biggest investments in the country's energy infrastructure.


Iran and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding on the building of the Kars-Igdir-Bazarghan-Julfa railroad estimated to cost around $800 million. During a visit of an Iranian delegation, led by first vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi, to Turkey last week, the two countries also discussed the possibility of building an oil pipeline to Europe via Turkey's territory and ways to further boost trade exchange.


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Romania's economy has registered a growth of 0.5 percent in the second quarter of the year compared to the previous one on the back of higher domestic demand, official figures from the National Statistics Institute showed on Friday (October 5th). On an annual basis, GDP expanded by 1.1 percent.


The National Bank of Greece made a voluntary proposal on Friday (October 5th) to buy all the outstanding ordinary shares issued by Eurobank Ergasias SA at a value of 2.22 euros/share. If the deal goes through, it could create the biggest lender in Greece with combined assets of 177.7 billion euros and deposits of 87.9 billion euros.

(Various sources -- 03/10/12-10/10/12)

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