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Daily Press Review – 24/4/2019

A Reduced financial dependence on Russia

Cyprus is reducing its dependence on Russia, planning the full or partial repayment of the Russia loan, which amounts to €1.5b. The lending relationship that was developed in 2011, with the amount of €2.5b is expected to end or be considerably reduced according to the government’s plan. The Minister of Finance announced yesterday that it will proceed to issue a 30-year bond and a 5-year bond. The bond’s issuance will likely happen today. It is the second time that Cyprus is tapping the markets this year. The first time was in mid-February with the issuance of 15-year long-term European Bond (EMTN) of €1b with interest rate 2.75%. With the new issuance, Cyprus wants to take advantage of the low interest rates and increase the repayment period to 30 years. The Russian loan has an interest rate of 2.5%. The Ministry of Finance, is betting on the low average interest rate, while it will gain a long repayment period. The issuance had been recently announced by the Minister of Finance, Harris Georgiades, destined for the full repayment of the Russian loan which amounts to €1.6b. It is the first time in history that the Republic is issuing a 30-year bond. The article goes on to say that Cyprus recorded a deficit of €900m or 4.38% of the GDP in 2018, compared with a surplus of €344m or 1.8% of the GDP in 2017. Cyprus’ results include the non-recurring expenditure of €1.725m, which concerns the cost of the Co-op’s agreement with Hellenic Bank. If one excludes the cost of this deal, the budget balance for 2018, a surplus amounting to €735.5m or 3.5% of the GDP is recorded.

 

Estia to be launched in the summer

Kathimerini Economy reports that the Legal Service will finalise its assessment of the ESTIA scheme that will finance borrowers with NPLs. The Banks have already proceeded to the necessary arrangements with clients who have NPLs, and the only thing that’s left is singing the contract. It should be noted, the newspaper reports, that the Scheme’s implementation has already been delayed, as according to the timeframes it would have been launched in the end of March. As the banks report, they have already laid the groundwork as they have already called the borrowers to contact the Banks, in order to understand how they can benefit from the Scheme. In the case where the borrowers don’t meet the Estia Scheme’s criteria, the Banks are ready to offer alternative proposals for debt restructuring.

 

Limassol port workers are going on a strike  

Limassol port workers have decided to go on a 24-hour strike on May 9, after they rejected the employers’ position in regards to the renewal of their collective agreement. In a letter addressed to the Cyprus Shipping Association, Eurogate Container Terminal and DP World Limassol, the port workers say that the employers’ points and views that were expressed in a letter on 19/4/2019, weren’t helpful at all, because they suggested terms and conditions that were never a matter of negotiation, nor did they concern our collective agreement. As such, they report that they have unilaterally agreed to reject their proposal and they announced a 24-hour strike on Thursday, 9 May. During the strike, the strikers will hold General Assembly meeting, in order to decide on a potential escalation of measures, if there aren’t enough indications that their differences can be resolved.

 

Citizens Allegiance: Support for anyone registered in the GHS

The president of Citizens Allegiance, Yiorgos Lillikas, sent a letter to the HIO requesting the upgrade of state hospitals and the support for private clinics and doctors who have registered with GHS.

 

Greece is Europe’s champion in private expenditure for pharmaceuticals

Greece is among the top countries compared to others in the EU, concerning the private expenditure per individual for pharmaceuticals, including other health products such as, bandages, vaccinations, serums etc. In Greece the private expenditure rises up to €171 compared to €135 in the rest of EU. The total outpatient pharmaceutical expenditure reached €3,6b in 2018, while it is estimated to be on the same levels for 2019.