Countries expecting fewer tourists from Russia


Bulgaria and Montenegro are expecting a drop in Russian tourists this summer. Also in business news: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will invest 500 million euros in Cyprus.

The number of Russian tourists visiting the region this summer is expected to decline. [AFP]

The escalating situation in Ukraine is affecting economies in the region, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said in a report. Bulgaria and Montenegro may suffer a drop in the number of Russian tourists, but Serbia retains strong trade links with Russia, the bank added. The bank lowered its growth forecast for the nations of the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and Turkey to 1.3 percent, from 2.8 percent in January.


The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will invest 500 million euros in Cyprus to help the country recover from its economic crisis. The decision was made following a request for financing from Cyprus and will complement the island's international bailout programme worth 10 billion euros.


After six years in junk territory, rating agency Standard & Poor's upgraded Romania's long-term and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings from BB+/B to BBB-/A3. The outlook was revised from positive to stable. The decision was made in light of Romania's fast progress in improving its external balances.


Voters in Greece's second-largest city of Thessaloniki and 10 municipalities in the area voted against the privatisation of the Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewage Co. The referendum aimed to find out the public opinion of the sale, which is part of the government's efforts to meet its international bailout obligations.


Albania's economy has achieved all targets set by the IMF for a 330.9 million euro loan programme, IMF Albania team leader Nadeem Ilahi said. Still, the country needs to urgently implement reforms in its electricity sector, which poses a serious fiscal risk.


The Macedonian, Bulgarian and Zagreb stock exchanges have set up a joint venture headquartered in Skopje that aims to create regional infrastructure to serve companies quoted on the three exchanges. The exchanges expressed hope that in the future their project will be joined by other regional stock markets.


European Coastal Airlines plans to launch the first-ever hydroplane service in Croatia this summer. It will connect cities on the coast to some of the country's islands that are most attractive to tourists. The line is expected to start operating on August 1st, offering flights from Split to Jelsa and the island of Hvar.


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Three international oil and gas consortia have filed bids for oil exploration and drilling rights off Montenegro's Adriatic Coast. US-based Marathon Oil Corporation and Austrian energy firm OMV; Italy's Eni and Russia's Novtek; and UK-based Mediterranean Oil & Gas Plc and Greece's Energean Oil & Gas will be competing for the contract, which may be signed by the end of 2014.


Cyprus has won a fourth consecutive positive review by its international creditors in terms of its bailout plan, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said. He said this year the economy will shrink less than earlier forecast: by 4.2 percent, or 0.6 percent better than expected.

(Various sources -- 14/05/4-21/05/14)

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