Greece sells treasury bills to repay debt


Eurozone finance ministers will decide on the next 32.6 billion-euro tranche of the international bailout for Greece next week. Also in business news: The biggest corporate energy spenders in the Balkans are Macedonia and Montenegro; and Cyprus launched a fresh round of talks with potential international lenders at the EU, European Central Bank and the IMF.

Eurozone finance ministers decided at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday (November 13th) to give Greece two more years to decrease its budget deficit. [AFP]

Greece sold 4.06 billion euros of short-term treasury bills on Tuesday (November 13th) to raise crucial debt repayments. Without the funds, Athens would have defaulted on the loan, which matures Friday. Eurozone finance ministers decided on Monday to give the country another two years to bring its budget deficit down to 2 percent of GDP. At the same time, the ministers postponed a decision on the next 32.6 billion-euro tranche of the international bailout for the country until November 20th.


Businesses in the Western Balkans do not take sufficient account of energy efficiency and energy saving, according to a study carried out by Macedonian Chamber of Commerce, published on Monday (November 12th). The results revealed that the biggest corporate electricity spenders in the region are Macedonia and Montenegro, followed by Albania and Serbia. Electricity is the most popular source of energy in the region and accounts for 34 percent of the energy mix, followed by wood with 13 percent and natural gas with 12 percent.


The Balkan region is still the most vulnerable to problems arising from the Greek debt crisis because of close trade, investment and banking ties, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said in its latest Transition Report published on November 7th. According to the forecasts, in former Yugoslavia plus Romania, Bulgaria and Albania economic growth will be 0.4% this year before going up to 1.6% in 2013.


The European Investment Bank (EIB), the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced on November 8th they are joining forces to commit 30 billion euros to revive growth in countries that have been hit hard by the eurozone crisis, especially in the Southeast European economies where the Greek crisis has had significant impact. The EIB, which leads the initiative, will give 20 billion euros in 2013 and 2014, the World Bank will provide around 6.5 billion euros, while the EBRD will secure another 4 billion euros.


Cyprus launched a fresh round of talks with potential international lenders at the EU, European Central Bank and the IMF on Friday (November 9th) on a financial aid package between 11 and 16 billion euros. The negotiations aim to secure financing that would help the island buffer its banks and limit widening deficits. Earlier talks to secure a credit line from Russia ended in failure.


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Turkey has made it into a list of seven countries, ranked as the fastest to emerge from the 2008 global financial crisis. The report, published in the November issue of the Foreign Policy magazine, ranks the Balkan nation at fourth place, after South Korea, Indonesia and Mexico.


Russia's VTB Bank and Bulgaria's Corporate Commercial Bank on Monday (November 12th) closed a debt restructuring deal, acquiring 93.99 percent in Bulgaria's former telecom monopoly Vivacom. The deal resulted in reducing Vivacom's total debt from 1.7 billion euros to 588 million euros, the company said in a statement.

(Various sources -- 07/11/12-15/11/12)

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