Trade deficit reach €1.9 bn

The first estimate for euro area (EA19) exports of goods to the rest of the world in May 2019 was €203.4 billion, an increase of 7.1% compared with May 2018 (€189.9 bn), according to Eurostat, the statistical service of the EU.

Imports from the rest of the world stood at €180.3 bn, a rise of 4.2% compared with May 2018 (€173.0 bn). As a result, the euro area recorded a €23.0 bn surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in May 2019, compared with +€16.9 bn in May 2018. Intra-euro area trade rose to €172.0 bn in May 2019, up by 4.9% compared with May 2018.

The total value of Cyprus` exports for the reference period was €1.4 billion a -31% drop compared to the same period of 2019 (€0.8 billion to the EU, or 75% increase and €0.6 billion to the rest of the world or -63% decrease). Meanwhile the value of Cyprus` imports  was €3.3 billion, a -13% decrease compared to last year (€2.2 billion from the EU or -3% decrases and €1.1 billion from the rest of the world or -27% decrease). As a result Cyprus registered a -€1.9 billion trade deficit (compared to  -€1.8 last year),  -€1.3 billion with the EU (compared to  -€1.8 billion last year) and -€0.6 billion with the rest of the world (compared to 0.0).

Meanwhile, January to May 2019, euro area exports of goods to the rest of the world rose to €973.5 bn (an increase of 5.0% compared with January-May 2018), and imports rose to €890.8 bn (an increase of 5.2% compared with JanuaryMay 2018). As a result the euro area recorded a surplus of €82.7 bn, compared with +€80.5 bn in January-May 2018. Intra-euro area trade rose to €838.7 bn in January-May 2019, up by 3.3% compared with January-May 2018.

The first estimate for extra-EU28 exports of goods in May 2019 was €178.5 billion, up by 10.7% compared with May 2018 (€161.3 bn). Imports from the rest of the world stood at €170.7 bn, up by 6.1% compared with May 2018 (€160.9 bn). As a result, the EU28 recorded a €7.8 bn surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in May 2019, compared with +€0.4 bn in May 2018. Intra-EU28 trade rose to €308.1 bn in May 2019, +3.5% compared with May 2018.

In January to May 2019, extra-EU28 exports of goods rose to €833.9 bn (an increase of 6.1% compared with January-May 2018), and imports rose to €848.1 bn (an increase of 6.6% compared with January-May 2018). As a result, the EU28 recorded a deficit of €14.2 bn, compared with -€9.9 bn in January-May 2018. Intra-EU28 trade rose to €1 521.9 bn in January-May 2019, +3.9% compared with January-May 2018.

 

Source: Stockwatc

London's mayor blocks plans for controversial 'Tulip' skyscraper

 

London's mayor Sadiq Khan has blocked plans for a controversial tower known as the Tulip, saying the structure would be of "limited" public benefit and "detrimental" to the capital's skyline. In a letter explaining the decision, Khan said the proposal "would not constitute the high standard of design required," and that it would "cause harm to the historic environment, the wider skyline and image of London." The move comes less than four months after city authorities gave a green light to the 1,000-foot-high attraction, which would have become the second-tallest skyscraper in western Europe upon opening in 2025. The proposed design was set to be built amid a cluster of other skyscrapers in the City of London.   The proposed design was set to be built amid a cluster of other skyscrapers in the City of London. Credit: DBOX for Foster + Partners Designed by the prominent architect Norman Foster's firm, Foster + Partners, the proposed tower featured viewing platforms, restaurants and educational facilities for children. The design also envisaged a collection of rotating glass pods that would transport visitors around the building's exterior.     But the proposal attracted criticism from social media users and heritage groups after it was unveiled in November 2018. London's City Airport, located just six miles away, even sought assurance from city planners that the moving pods wouldn't interfere with air traffic control systems. Nonetheless, plans were approved by the City of London Corporation, which governs the City of London. Its Planning and Transportation Committee voted 18-7 in favor of the project in April. The 1,000-foot-high attraction would have become the second-tallest skyscraper in western Europe.   The 1,000-foot-high attraction would have become the second-tallest skyscraper in western Europe. Credit: DBOX for Foster + Partners But Khan moved to intervene Monday, exercising his power to refuse planning permission to any proposals in the city. Expressing concerns about the impact on "strategic views," the mayor cited additional worries about inadequate cycle parking and public spaces. His letter added that the project would result in a "poor quality, unwelcoming, unnecessarily confined pedestrian environment."

Divided opinions

The heritage group Historic England, a longstanding critic of the design, welcomed Monday's decision. In a statement it described the building as "essentially a tall lift shaft with a bulge on top," adding that the proposal would have caused "permanent and irreversible damage to... the image and identity of the capital."     The group behind the proposal, the Tulip Project, has claimed that the attraction would welcome 1.2 million visitors a year, creating hundreds of jobs and injecting £970 million ($1.2 billion) into London's economy by 2045. Despite high-profile criticism, a Comres poll commissioned by the project's planners found that 65% of the 1,011 Londoners polled thought it would be an "attractive" addition to the skyline. In a statement emailed to CNN, the Tulip Project said it was "disappointed by The Mayor of London's ... direct refusal of planning permission, particularly as the Tulip will generate immediate and longer-term socio-economic benefits to London and the UK as a whole." The group declined to comment on whether it would submit revised plans for the site, saying it would "now take time to consider potential next steps" for the project. The design featured moving glass pods to take vistors around the building's exterior.   The design featured moving glass pods to take vistors around the building's exterior. Credit: DBOX for Foster + Partners In 2008, the Mayor of London's powers were significantly expanded to include the authority to refuse planning permission to buildings deemed contrary to the London Plan -- the city's spatial development strategy -- or "otherwise contrary to good strategic planning in Greater London." Yesterday's decision marks the 10th time that Khan has exercised this power since his election in 2016, according to official records.     Khan's predecessor Boris Johnson -- now the front-runner to be named Britain's new prime minister -- used the power on seven occasions. In 2009, he also used his mayoral authority to overrule local concerns and approve a controversial £450 million ($562 million) tower in East London, although the project was eventually shelved.  

Cypriot bonds purchased by ECB amount to rise to €1.8 billion

Cypriot bonds purchased by the European Central Bank (ECB) through redemptions of maturing bonds purchased during the Asset Purchase Programme (APP) amounted to €1.8 billion.
 
The ECB in June purchased Cypriot bonds amounting to €96 million with the total stock of Cypriot bonds held by the ECB in end-June amounting to €1,178 million.
 
The bonds’s remaining weighted average rose to 6.96 years in June from 6.3 years in end-April.
 
By the end of 2018 when the ECB terminated new bond purchases as part of the APP, the stock of Cypriot bonds acquired by the ECB amounted to €678 million that correspond to approximately 0,03% of total purchases.
 
A spokesman of the Central Bank of Cyprus told CNA that following Cyprus’ return to investment-status, that rendered the island’s bonds eligible for purchases, the ECB will increase the purchase of Cypriot bonds to Cyprus’ capital key of 0.2%.

Source: StockWatch

 

Finance Minister notes importance of corporate social responsibility policies

The government of Cyprus has prepared a bill which should be adopted by the Parliament by the end of the year in an attempt to enforce the establishment of companies which adopt policies of corporate social responsibility, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades has said.

Addressing on Friday the 12th conference on corporate social responsibility which took place in Nicosia, the Minister said that the society requires all organizations and businesses to undertake their responsibilities and  account for their actions.

He added that increasing demands for transparency, responsible behavior and the need for everyone to contribute to sustainable development goals require businesses and organizations to adopt actions on the environment and the society.
 
Georgiades said that in this regard, the promotion of policies of corporate social responsibility gains significance and  also stems from the wishes of modern customers and investors, who show their preference to companies that are socially responsible, respect people, legislations, business ethics and the environment.

He added that an increasing number of companies understand this necessity and acknowledge that there are many and long term benefits that come from the implementation of such actions.

 

Source: StockWatch

London to get 'world's first' infinity pool with 360-degree views ( Video & Photos)

Get a new bikini and ready your Instagram – an infinity pool is coming to London.

This is not just any infinity pool, however. This is an infinity pool on top of a building in the centre of the city, providing 360-degree views of the area.

 

 

 

The designers, Compass Pools, say the pool is a ‘world first’, describing the concept as ‘the only building in the world to incorporate a 360-degree infinity pool’. Sounds fancy, right?

The plan is to have the pool sit on top of some hotel rooms at the top of a skyscraper, just to fully hammer home the luxury aspect.

The floors and sides will all be transparent, so visitors will see the swimmers paddling above them. Handy for exhibitionists who want to show off their breaststroke.

The designers imagine entry through a spiral staircase that rises in the water

In order to keep the pool looking glorious, there are no stairs on the outside of the pool or the building. How do you get in the water, you may ask?

Apparently, a spiral staircase will rotate and rise through the pool to provide access.

 

 

The concept images don’t show how this works, so we’re intrigued to see if this can actually become a reality.

We can only imagine how slippery those stairs will be. Guests at the hotel will be able to see the swimmers from underneath 

 

 

 

Swimming pool designer and technical director Alex Kemsley said: ‘We faced some quite major technical challenges to this building, the biggest one being how to actually get into the pool. ‘Normally a simple ladder would suffice, but we didn’t want stairs on the outside of the building or in the pool as it would spoil the view – and obviously you don’t want 600,000 litres of water draining through the building either. ‘The solution is based on the door of a submarine, coupled with a rotating spiral staircase which rises from the pool floor when someone wants to get in or out – the absolute cutting edge of swimming pool and building design and a little bit James Bond to boot!’ At night time the pool will be lit up with twinkling lights. Pretty.

 

 

Alex adds: ‘Architects often come to us to design roof top infinity pools, but rarely do we get a say in the building design because the pool is usually an afterthought. ‘But on this project, we actually started with the pool design and essentially said, ‘how do we put a building underneath this?’ ‘When we designed the pool, we wanted an uninterrupted view, both above and below the water.

 

Source: Metro

FinMin: The economy enters new promising phase

The government remains committed to maintain fiscal discipline but also to continue promoting an ambitious reform agenda to enhance the competitiveness and the growth potential of our economy, Cyprus Minister of Finance Harris Georgiades said on Friday.
 
Speaking to 4rth Cyprus International Investors Summit, Georgiades said that although the economy is advancing with a strong steady pace with rising asset prices and rising investment and consumption, Georgiades said the Government remains committed to maintain fiscal discipline but also to continue promoting an ambitious reform agenda in order to continuously enhance the competitiveness and the growth potential of our economy.
 
“This is exactly my parting message to you. That you should feel safe, you should feel welcomed and you should pursue the business and investment opportunities that Cyprus has to offer,” he said.
 
Georgiades gave an upbeat tone, noting that “the Cyprus economy has already entered a new promising phase.”

As he pointed out, the said that the productive base is gradually expanding into new sectors including Higher Education, Research and Innovation, offshore natural gas, renewables and investment fund management.
 
“And we know that there is a potential to lead the Cyprus economy even higher, so we should do more in terms of reform, we should invest more in technology and we should continue to promoting incentives for new business. I can assure you that this is exactly the plan of our government.”
 
On the banking sector, Georgiades said following the expansion in the decade, latest actions have included the strengthening of the legal framework and most notably the carving out of almost half of the Non/performing loans (NPLs) from the banking sector.
 
“So obviously a full cleanup of the balance sheets of the Cyprus banks can only happen gradually, but it is encouraging that a new credit is picking up and is of a much more improved quality,” he said.
 
Furthermore, the Finance Minister expressed concern over the rising instability and the escalated tensions to world trade, noting that Cyprus closely monitors the developments regarding Brexit.

Noting that a no-deal Brexit is not off the table, Georgiades said “we are not complacent about this prospect but at the same time we are not panicking either, feeling that the comparative advantages of our small  open economy will dampen any downside.”

 

Source: StockWatch

Cabinet approves debt relief scheme for homeowners

Eligible borrowers will apply in September and the first payments are expected to be made in December  

The long-awaited debt relief scheme for vulnerable homeowners was approved by the cabinet on Wednesday and is expected to be fully implemented by the end of the year, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said.

The stated purpose of Estia is to assist, support and protect vulnerable households who have mortgaged their primary residences houses for their loans and at the same time reduce the high number of bad debts.

“We consider Estia a scheme that adds to the toolbox for tackling this old residue, the serious problem of non-performing loans by focusing on what is perhaps the most sensitive category of borrowers, those who have their primary residence as collateral,” the minister said.

“We will monitor how it will be implemented, remaining optimistic that it will be a scheme that will substantively help households first and foremost, borrowers who found themselves in difficult position, and management of the problem.”

Parliament has already approved the budget, and banks and other asset management entities will enter the scheme next month. Eligible borrowers will apply in September and the first payments are expected to be made in December, the minister said.

It applies to loans (mortgages) that were classed as non-performing as at September 30, 2017. Loans designated as non-performing after that date are not eligible. The primary residence which is mortgaged must have a maximum market value of up to €350,000.

The scheme applies to the first mortgage on a residence, and covers loans or credit facilities regardless of currency.

Total household income of the applicant must not exceed the following: €60,000 for a family with at least four dependents; €55,000 for a family with three dependents; €50,000 for a family with two dependents; €45,000 with one dependent; €35,000 for a couple with no children, and €20,000 for a single-member household.

The criteria also apply for single-parent families.

An applicant’s other net assets in 2016, 2017, and 2018, must not exceed 80 per cent of the market value of the main residence after its evaluation. In any case they should not exceed €250,000.

Any cash or deposits exceeding €10,000, or 20 per cent of the rest of the applicant’s net assets, whichever is higher, and which are not used to secure any other loans, must be paid towards the non-performing facility before the restructuring procedure.

Other terms and conditions also apply.

The loans will be written down to the market value of the primary residence and then the borrower will have to pay two-thirds of the rescheduled loan every month and the taxpayer (the state) is going to subsidise one-third of the monthly instalments on that rescheduled loan.

Source: CyprusMail

FinMin: State monopoly is not the answer in competitive sectors

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades has said that state monopolies are not the answer when it comes to competitive sectors.

Replying to journalists’ questions at the Ministry, on Friday, Georgiades dismissed opposition parties’ criticism over recent rise in airline tickets and allusions that this is related to the state air carrier Cyprus Airways shutting down in January 2015.

He spoke of previous bad management which led to the carrier’s defaulting and the European Commission’s unavoidable conclusion that state aid granted in support of the ailing airline in past years had been illegal.

“Without a doubt I reiterate now that state monopolies is not the answer in such competitive sectors,” the Finance Minister stressed.
According to him the answer is for market forces to be able to work. That is what institutions such as the Competition Protection Committee are there for.

A Finance Ministry press release shows that after Cyprus Airways shut down the Air Transport Passengers Index presented a significant drop and that from 2016 onward when low cost airlines made an appearance in Cyprus the index remains stable.

According to the graphics contained in the press release, there are significant changes in airline tickets for different destinations.

In particular, the cost to fly to Athens and to Thessaloniki, has presented a significant increase in June 2019.  

On the other hand, airline tickets to London and Manchester follow a downward trend.

In comparison to the relevant EU index for the period December 2016 to May 2019 the timeline seems to follow the same tendency but a lower price level.

 

Source: Stockwatch

House prices dropped by 8% between 2010-2018

 

Cyprus is among the few countries in the EU where house prices fell between 2010 and 2018, a new Eurostat report published on Wednesday said.

The largest decreases among member states were observed in Italy (-17 per cent), Spain (-12 per cent) and Cyprus (-8 per cent).

Overall, between 2010 and 2018, house prices increased by 15 per cent in the EU. Among the member states, the highest increases during this period were observed in Estonia (+83 per cent), Latvia (+61 per cent), Austria (+56 per cent), Sweden (+55 per cent) and Luxembourg (+50 per cent).

House prices, including purchases of both new and existing houses and flats, have fluctuated significantly since 2006 with annual growth rates in the EU of around 8 per cent in 2006 and 2007, followed by a fall of 4 per cent in 2009 as a result of the financial crisis. Prices started going up again in 2014.

Source: CyprusMail

Accept Direct Crypto Payments Using the Rocketr Gateway

It’s in the best interest of businesses to offer their customers a variety of payment options. Cryptocurrencies can undoubtedly bring more buyers and many merchants have introduced support for digital assets. A platform called Rocketr helps merchants accept payments in crypto, including bitcoin cash.

 

Rocketr is a payment gateway that allows merchants to integrate a variety of payment methods including traditional options like credit cards and Paypal, but it has also been supportive of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin cash (BCH). Its services are offered for a relatively low fee of 0.5% on all transactions and there are no other hidden charges for setup or maintenance.

The Rocketr Payments platform lets you accept all kinds of payments and invoice clients directly from a single dashboard. Its API provides you with the opportunity to customize checkouts and it allows for webhooks and instant payment notification. These features notify your Rocketr application when an order is completed.

Accept Direct Crypto Payments Using the Rocketr Gateway

Companies can also use a product called Storefront which is a complete e-commerce platform. It is designed to satisfy the needs of online businesses specializing in sales and delivery of products and services in the digital space. Many of its integrated features, such as the built-in messaging system and livechat support, are offered free of charge.

Rocketr has also developed a POS application that supports multiple cryptocurrencies including BCH. It lets you accept direct payments in several other major digital coins like BTCETH and LTC as well as fiat currencies such as USD, EUR and GBP. The software, which is available in Apple’s App Store, comes with many useful features, one of which lets customers add a tip to their bills.

If you want to process BCH payments you can also check out the Bitcoin Cash Register app for both iOS and Android devices. The simple Point of Sale software developed by Bitcoin.com allows merchants to accept electronic cash at any retail location. Payments are easy, safe and no account or registration is needed to install and use it.

 

Source: Bitcoin.com

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