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Daily press – 13/12/2019



Friday, 13 December 2019

In the press today:

LEI: A new early-warning financial indicator by the ECR and Hellenic Bank

Cyprus has acquired its own Leading Economic Index (LEI), which is a reliable indicator that issues warnings over the course of the economy. The index will be compiled by the University of Cyprus’ Economic Research Centre (ECR) with the support of Hellenic Bank. “This index was absent from the Cyprus economy,” said Head of the Economic Analysis and Research Department of the Hellenic Bank Group Andreas Ashiotis, during a presentation of the new index. He added, “There should be an indicator showing where the economy is expected to move based on the turning points”. The head of the ECR, Elena Andreou, said that the aim of the LEI is to cover a gap in the Cyprus economy, adding that it will be announced on a monthly basis “so that it can give businesses, organisations and policy makers a warning signal on the course of the Cypriot economy”. The LEI presented an annual decrease of 0.71% in October, following year-on-year reductions of 0.69% in September and 0.66% in August, recording downward pressure on economic growth. Importantly, the index does not just take domestic variables into account, but also foreign ones, which is important for a small and open economy. The variables are Brent prices, the Eurozone’s economic climate indicator, tourist arrivals, the value of credit card transactions, the retail trade volume index, the electricity production volume index and the number of approved building permits. “The downward trend of the LEI in October may be due to the deteriorating external environment, which in combination with the positive performance of the domestic variables, offers a forecast that the Cyprus economy is expected to record strong growth rates on the one hand, but on the other that these will be impacted due the external trend to reduce indicators that affect Cyprus’ small and open economy,” Andreou explained. The LEI, the fluctuation of which will be combined with the performance of the Cypriot GDP, begins from 2004 onwards. Ashiotis and Andreou both pointed out that in both the recent cases of recession in the Cypriot economy, in 2009 and 2011, the index showed that the recession was coming five months prior to the growth rate receding to negative levels, while the LEI also foresaw the economy’s recovery.

Opportunities in the Greek market for 30 Cypriot companies

A business forum held on Tuesday in Athens organised by KEVE, the Cyprus-Greece Business Association and the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce with the support of the Cypriot Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry and Enterprise Europe Network unveiled the prospects for cooperation between Greek and Cypriot businesses in the shipping sector and the investment funds sector. The business forum was held at EVEA’s building in Athens and the head of the Central Bank Constantinos Herodotou made recommendations, as did the Chairman of the Cyprus-Greece Business Association, also representing KEVE, Iosif Iosif and the general secretary of the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce, Panayiotis Agniades. Two panel discussions were held as part of the forum, with experts form the two countries who spoke about the investment funds sector and shipping. The speakers of the two panels described the situation in the two sectors in Cyprus and Greece and referred to their prospects. All of them stressed that there is great potential for partnerships between the businesses of the two countries. They also organised tete-a-tete meetings between the businesses where they discussed the details of their cooperation. The Cypriot companies who participated in the forums are the following:  7Q Asset Management Ltd, A.SE.C Emilianides, C Katsaros, S Associates LLC, A Chr.Theophilou LLC, AMF Global Limited Aristodemou Loizides Yiolitis LLC Avantioum Corporate Services Ltd Bank of Cyprus BMKS limited C.X Financial Ltd Centaur Trust Christodoulos Vassiliades LLC Coral Shipmanagement Ltd, Cydris Fund Services Ltd, Eurobank Cyprus, F.C.I Financial Consultants International Ltd, Fiduserve Management Ltd, FMW Financial Media Way, Hanseatic Capital Management, Hellenic Bank, Shipping Centre, KPMG Ltd, N Savvides Zannetou LLC, Nasos A Kyriakides and Partners LLC, Pelagias Christodoulou Vrachas LLC, Prevention at Sea Ltd, PWC Cyprus, Royal Pine & Association, Salamis Lines Ltd, και Marios Κ Mitsides LLC.

Event

The Cyprus Integrity Forum, which is run by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is organising an event against corruption this Monday, 16 December, at 6pm at Hellenic Bank’s headquarters in Nicosia. For the first time ever, political party leaders will answer questions by the public on matters that concern every citizen, in the presence of the Attorney-general, Justice and Public Order Minister, Police Chief and Auditor-general.

Movement against foreclosures to protest outside of the Cyprus Association of Banks

The Movement Against Foreclosures plans to hold a new protest, this time outside the offices of the Cyprus Association of Banks, against the banks’ plans to start auctioning off primary residences on the new e-auction platform. The movement is inviting all those affected to a mass gathering on Wednesday, 18 December at 10am. The Movement said that the banks’ insistence on establishing the e-auction platform, with the full support and cooperation of the parties DISY and DIKO, is going to lead to a tsunami of mass foreclosures. “The banks would not have taken on the costs of creating such expensive infrastructure if it was to support today’s levels of auctions. The e-auctions are a very effective means for mass foreclosures which society should pay close attention to.  The faceless procedure of e-auctions facilitates the sell-off of primary residences and small business, as potential buyers do not have to come face-to-face with the families that they are about to leave homeless and therefore there are no emotional dilemmas that made auctions in the past ineffective,” said the movement.

We asked for the extradition of a tycoon and when he came, we released him

The Supreme Court has cancelled an arrest warrant against Russian businessman, who is active internationally through a complex of companies that are based in Cyprus. The arrest warrant was issued following a request by anti-money laundering unit MOKAS, to interrogate the businessman on suspicion of crimes including theft of shares and fraudulent disposition of property. A complaint had been filed by an investor, who said that he had lost shares worth over $100 million as a result of the aforementioned illegal activities. As part of the investigation, a request was submitted to the Russian Federation to locate the man and interrogate him. A statement was taken and sent to the Cypriot police. Its contents, however, were deemed as insufficient and superficial by the local force, which led it last May to issue international and European arrest warrants, and seek the businessman’s extradition to Cyprus.

Kazakos re-elected at the Association of European Shipowners

The General Director of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber Thomas Kazakos was re-elected unanimously for another two years as Chairman of the European Community Ship Owners` Associations (ECSA) Committee on State Aid to Maritime Transport, thus continuing the active participation of the Chamber in the design of the European Shipbuilding Tax Policy. The Chamber reports that the Union of European Shipowners ECSA which included national shipowners associations of the European Union held a meeting of the Board of the Council on 11 December 2019 in Brussels.

Maritime integration is at an advanced stage

The two shipping associations the Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC) and the Cyprus Union of Shipowners (CSU) are merging under the name Union of Cypriot Shipowners.  According to information, a merger agreement outline, approved by the board of directors of the two associations, was the outcome of a serious effort on both sides that came to an agreement in principle for merging into a single representative association. The agreement will be presented to the board members of the two associations CSC/CSU respectively for consideration and subsequent formal approval, together with all the relevant transitional arrangements that will need to be made in order for the new association to be formally set up that will represent the industry in Cyprus and internationally.

The end of EastMed

According to the article, an announcement of the new President of the European Commission German Ursula von der Leyen (unlike those of Junker and Stylianides in the past), went unnoticed by the authorities. This announcement a few days after von der Leyen took over the European Commission represents a blow to the efforts of Greece and Cyprus to become an energy hub in the area because it emerged that the funding for the EastMed  pipeline along with the funding of the Poseidon pipeline (connecting EastMed wtith Europe) will both be frozen. Italians had expressed reservations about the project since May 2019. Ultimately the power game is now starting and its evolution is unknown.

Signing for gas today

Today, the deal that’s been expected for 20 years and will change the energy sector in Cyprus for the better, will be signed at the Presidential Palace. The agreement is for the construction and operation of port infrastructure and floating storage and de-gasification unit for gas production (LNG terminal).  According to yesterday’s information, all procedures related to the agreement have been completed with the contract, and the Chinese side accepted the modifications previously made by the Legal Service.

Plot demarcation and removal of trees near the casino

New investments are coming in Akrotiri area next to the casino-resort in Limassol, after the environmental authority greenlit the demarcation of 78 plots and the removal of hundreds of trees. According to the Environmental Impact Assessment Study, the separation of the plots submitted by CPZ Properties and Developments Ltd will require the removal of 101 cypresses, 112 eucalyptus trees and 30 year-old shrubby eucalyptus trees spread in an area of approx. 275 sqm. The land is bounded on the north by the casino, which is under construction, on the northeast by the My Mall shopping center, on the west side by the Limassol Greens Golf Resort, and located about 500 m away from Limassol Port. The development falls in residential and agricultural zones. The proposed plot demarcation aims to create a single and organized, with a view to create a residential environment, with organized green spaces, walkways, bike lanes, playgrounds, and the necessary infrastructure as well as the provision of various kinds of readymade houses, as well as apartments. It should be noted that the project’s developer has already planted around 400 cypress trees along the southern border of the development and is expected to make up for the removals with an equal number of trees, that will preferably be cypress trees.

Three arrested for online gambling

In the framework of the Police’s effort to tackle illegal online gambling, members of Paphos’ Crime Prevention Department, in cooperation with members of the Office for Combating Intellectual Property Theft and Illegal Gambling, carried out a search yesterday afternoon at a house in Paphos. During the course of the search, which was carried out in the presence of house’s administrator as well as the owner, 17 personal computers were found which as seemingly were used for online casinos. The police also found several notes as well as money. All of the above were seized as evidence, while three persons aged 34,54 and 26 were arrested based on a court order to facilitate interrogation. Paphos’ Crime Investigation Department is still investigating.

Cyprus Airways: Flights to Rome

Cyprus Airways will be carrying out two flights per week to Rome from the summer of 2020 onwards. According to a Cyprus Airways announcement, flights begin on 13 June every Wednesday and Saturday. Cyprus Airways will be also flying to Verona as it announced last month. Both Italian cities are popular destinations for local travellers, the announcement reports. The Commercial Director of Cyprus Airways Natalia Popova, said that we are absolutely excited to add this historic city to our network. It is a magical place, ideal for a short escape, romantic and family vacations, she added. Tickets are already on sale via Cyprus Airways’ website.

Peyia pulls it off with Coral Bay

A reader writes to Phileleftheros to congratulate the Peyia Municipality for organising the Coral Bay beach in Peyia, bringing important an important income to the Municipality and benefiting the Paphos district in general. “The budget, due to the surplus, will allow us to schedule and proceed with projects needed for next year, without a particular problem to get a loan”, said Marinos Lamprou. “Most of these projects”, Lamprou told the paper’s correspondent Dora Christodoulou, “are related to the revamp of the entire centre, improving the Mchalakis Kyprianou avenue and the coastal walkway”. Preparations for the implementation of these big projects in 2020, are now at a good point, he said, while at the same time smaller projects will be promoted on road safety, cleanliness and improving the daily-lives of the local community.

GHS: abuses and medicine shortages

Haravgi reports on the same issue as above, while stating that abuses, medicine shortages and overprescribing are GHS’ main problems, concerning health professionals. Efforts are underway to establish restrictions and protocols so as to deal with this issue before the implementation of the second phase. It’s worth noting that the President of the Cyprus Pharmaceutical Association, Eleni Piera, mentioned the shortages observed, which continue to exist up to a degree, the overprescribing prior to the implementation of protocols and restrictions, as well as the need to ensure the cash flow of pharmacies.

€2m to fight against cancerous tumours

University of Cyprus professor Triantafyllos Stylianopoulos secured a €2m funding for a research proposal aimed at fighting against cancerous tumours, by the European Research Council. As the Research and Innovation Foundation announced, the proposal entitled Immuno-Predictor managed to stand out in a very competitive selection procedure at the European level, securing a 5-year funding in the framework of the ERC Consolidator Grant call of the Horizon 2020 programme. It is a procedure that awards excellent researches with 7-12 years of experience, after securing a PhD with a view to establish and further develop their labs.

Expecting children’s vaccines in June

The integration of three new children’s vaccines into the GHS is expected by the end of the first semester of 2020, since the procedures for their purchase are still at a very early stage and it will take time to announce the offer. With their integration however, parents will be rid of one considerable financial burden since these vaccines will be administered for free by the system’s paediatricians. The Health Minister said that the three new vaccines included in the revised national vaccination programme are the MenACWY vaccine, Varicella( or chickenpox) vaccine and Hepatitis A vaccine that were previously only available in the private sector.

New and innovative treatments for thalassemia

The 1st International Forum for New & Innovative Treatments for hemoglobinopathies took place on Thursday, in the presence of the President of the House of Representatives Demetris Syllouris, the former Minister of Transport Communications and Works Vasiliki Anastasiades and CyMA President Petros Agathangelou. The event was also attended by patients, doctors and representatives of pharmaceutical companies who had the opportunity to be informed of new revolutionary scientific developments in pharmaceuticals and treatments for Thalassemia and other hemoglobinopathies. According to the relevant announcement, this Forum aims to be a step towards dialogue, exchange and merging of opinions between the stakeholders of the health sector.

The First “Plastic Free” Christmas event

In an effort to promote and encourage the reduction of single-use-plastics, the Sotira Municipality, is organising its first “plastic-free” Christmas event on Sunday 15 December. The event will have entertainment from Sotira’s music schools, dance schools and municipal choirs. At the event there will be recyclable or paper packaging, in cooperation with the TUI’s “Keep our Sand and Sea Plastic Free” programme, making this the first “Plastic-Free” event.

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