In the press today:
Central government debt at €20.74b in 2019
According to the Public Debt Management Office (PDMO), the short-term debt maturities for the fourth quarter of 2019 reached €206m, while in December 2019, a domestic bond worth €750m matured. It was one of the bonds that were conceded to Hellenic Bank, as part of the deal to transfer part of the former Cyprus Co-operative Bank’s operations to HB. Individual bond repayments amounted to €22m, while loan repayments totalling €45m were also made, said the PDMO. It is noted that this is preliminary data, and does not include central government intra-government liabilities, the debt of semi-government organisations included in the central government, and the nominal value of coins in circulation.
New framework for the presentation of NPLs
The banks must provide their supervisor with more information on their performing, non-performing and forborne exposures, while the environment is becoming even more difficult for borrowers. By the end of the year, the banks must harmonise with a European directive and provide additional and more detailed information. Last week, the Government Gazette published the relevant harmonising directive, which among other provides that the banks must submit to the Central Bank information through specific technical standards in a harmonised environment. These will be submitted on a monthly basis.
Laiki and FBME interrupted discussions on a consolidation bill
The court procedures for Laiki Bank and FBME interrupted discussions on a bill regulating credit institutions’ and investment firms’ consolidation. The bill provided for a more correct harmonisation with the European directive that was incorporated in the basic law on how to overcome obstacles when consolidating a group and on renewing the special administrator’s term. The bill was discussed yesterday at the House Finance Committee, where it was mentioned that there are currently two consolidation procedures underway, for Laiki and FBME. For the former, it has been decided that the consolidation regime will be ended. Laiki had not been under the supervision of the European Central Bank and so the European authorities have informed the Cypriot ones that they need to proceed with revoking the licence and placing it under liquidation with a court ruling. The same applies for FBME, with the only difference being that a liquidator has been appointed.
The ECB is asking for our opinion
The European Central Bank (ECB) and the 19 euro area national central banks, which together form the Eurosystem, are inviting euro area citizens and organisations to contribute ideas and comments on the way the central bank conducts its monetary policy within the framework set out by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The ECB is launching dedicated web pages to explain the review process, together with an online form which citizens can use to submit proposals and comments in euro area languages. The ECB launched its strategy review on 23 January with the aim of soliciting ideas and comments from the widest possible public and better understanding how other considerations such as financial stability, employment and environmental sustainability can be relevant in pursuing the ECB’s mandate.
EU: Steady growth of the economy, at 2.8% in Cyprus
The Winter 2020 Economic Forecast published by the European Commission projects that the European economy is set to continue on a path of steady, moderate growth. The euro area has now enjoyed its longest period of sustained growth since the euro was introduced in 1999, it said. The forecast projects that euro area gross domestic product (GDP) growth will remain stable at 1.2% in 2020 and 2021. For the EU as a whole, growth is forecast to ease marginally to 1.4% in 2020 and 2021, down from 1.5% in 2019. In Cyprus the growth rate in the winter of 2020 is projected at 2.8%.
Invest Cyprus: We will all be affected by the coronavirus
The president of Invest Cyprus, Michalis Michael, said yesterday that the coronavirus is expected to affect Cyprus just like other countries. “We can’t say that we will not be affected by the coronavirus,” he said, adding that the virus has impacted on all sectors and all countries. “China has stopped exporting products. Everything has been affected worldwide, even Chinese restaurants,” said Michael. He said business owners were currently carrying out a study among members to see which sectors of the economy have been affected. “Once the findings are recorded, we will decide what measures to take,” said Michael. The citizenship by investment scheme has also been affected he said. The scheme includes all types of investments and for this reason we need to promote other sectors besides real estate, such as tourism, education, health and so on.
Investigation for excessive noise at the port
No provision was made for the installation of special noise barrier panels to reduce noise caused resulting from the operation of platforms in the area north of the Limassol port. As a result of the excessive noise caused and the annoyance to the local residents, it has become necessary for state and local authorities to conduct studies at this stage for the reduction of noise mainly from the activities of the platforms servicing large container ships. The authorities did not foresee the problem coming, and did not take timely measures to prevent it, and as a result, local residents’ quality of living and right to rest is impacted by the 24 hour operation of cranes at the port.
Celestyal Cruises receives the Excellence Cruise Award for its itinerary “3 Continents”
Celestyal Cruises, the main cruise operator of Greek origin, has been garlanded for its itinerary “3 continents” in the thirteenth edition of the Cruise Excellence Awards. These awards are orchestrated by Cruises News Media Group and are decided as a result of the votes given by national cruise passengers and travel agencies in the national territory. “3 continents” of Celestyal Cruises, chosen as the best 2019 itinerary in this edition of the Cruise Excellence Awards, is a spectacular itinerary that visits exotic and incredible destinations in Europe, Asia and Africa on the same trip, a unique adventure on a 7-day cruise with cruise calls in 7 different destinations taking in 4 countries and 3 different continents with great archaeological, religious and cultural content.
EuroAfrica route from Egypt, kickoff with obstacles from Turkey
Phileleftheros reports that Turkey is obstructing the drafting of the electricity cable route that will unite Egypt with Cyprus and then Greece with the issuance of an irregular Navtex, in relation to Cyprus Navtex for cable routing surveys. The Navtex indicates that for safe navigation through part of the area committed by the Republic of Cyprus’ Navtex for the undertaking of surveys, sailors should contact Turkey. Specifically, the Republic of Cyprus has issued a Navtex advising that in a large area, which falls under the Republic of Cyprus’ jurisdiction, geological investigations will be carried out for research – rescue from 26 February until 25 March by ” Odin Finder ». It is a special research vessel operating in recent years in various cases for underwater investigations, both for the Euroasia Interconnector and for the Euroafrica Interconnector, which is also at an advanced stage. The Odin Finder has begun specific work since Sunday, departing from the port of Alexandria – Egypt. It is impressive to note that the new Turkish irregular Navtex, is trying to ‘set’ limits of its own responsibility south of Cyprus.
‘Even if Charles de Gaulle comes, Ankara will not back down’
No progress in the eastern Mediterranean can be made without Turkey, so called Minister of Economy and Energy of the occupied areas, Hasan Taçoy said. Speaking at Turkey’s 3rd Energy and Natural Resources Summit, Hasan Taçoy said the eastern Mediterranean is a “boiling cauldron”, adding that while Turkey is in the eastern Mediterranean even France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier will not make it back down and abandon its just cause”. “We will continue to protect our rights within our ‘EEZ’, we will continue our work,” he said. The Turkish politician said it was clear that any steps taken in the eastern Mediterranean could not succeed without Turkey. Speaking of the opening of Varosha, Hasan Taçoy said a significant period had begun. “Instead of waiting for another 50 years for the Greek Cypriots, our request to open Varosha will work,” the Turkish politician said, arguing that they would proceed on Varosha according to international law. Hasan Taçoy said they are committed to this matter.
Real estate is the most efficient and safe investment
In an interview with InBusinessNews, Michalis Zavos, CEO of D. Zavos Group says that investing in real estate is the best choice than ever, stressing that not only is it safe to invest in property, but it is the most efficient investment, given the negative interest rates that banks are now imposing on deposits. As it comes to choosing which property to invest, Mr Zavos stresses that there are high yields for properties located in the tourist areas of the large cities, as well as properties in the urban centres that are up for rental to students and individuals working for foreign companies. Zavos goes on to talk about the company’s projects, which cover the needs of people who are looking to buy a contemporary and modern house which ensures high yields. Some of these projects is the Sunset Court in Ayios Spiridonas, Arion Court in Petrou & Pavlou area, Majestic Court in Mesa Yitonia, Bel Air Mansions in Ayios Athanasios, and La Maison Court in Germasogia. There are all located close to the centre of Limassol, the shopping centre, the port, the new casino, and the Group assumes the responsibility to rent them on behalf of the buyer and offer a guaranteed yield of up to 5%. These projects have two- and three-bedroom apartments, whose prices start from €195.000.
Yeroskipou now has a legal casino – it opens today
Adesmevtos reports that the Paphos casino opens today, with a delay of approximately one year. The casino, which would initially be located near the Limanaki of Kato Paphos, was finally built in the tourist area of Yeroskipou, at the end of the Thea Aphrodite Avenue and boasts about 50 gaming machines, in a building that covers 550sqm. The casino will not have roulette tables or other table games. Municipal Councillor Antonis Trakkides told Radio Kosmos that the local municipality will not get any proceeds from the operation of the casino, but it is expected to benefit since the casino will serve to promote tourism in the area. He also wished that the local society will not be negatively affected by its operation.
Complete regulation of store opening hours
The issue of store opening hours is coming to a complete overhaul, five years after the changes voted by the House were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Today (25/02), the House Labour Committee will make a final decision on a bill, giving back to the Minister of Labour the powers to set store opening hours, and set the date for its submission to the Plenum. The goal of this bill is to establish the opening hours of stores as well as tourist shops, the products available for sale as well as the services provided in special stores, through decrees of the Minister of Labour.