Daily Archives: March 21, 2013

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Bank industry chief warns Cypriot banks must reopen in days

A SOLUTION must be found to reopen Cypriot banks within days before it is “too late”, one of Europe’s top bankers warned yesterday, saying he feared the island’s problems risked knocking confidence across the region.

“Everything needs to be solved very quickly. This is a matter of a very few days before it gets too late,” Christian Clausen, president of lobby group the European Banking Federation told Reuters in an interview.

“Speed is extremely important,” said Clausen, who is also chief executive of Nordea Group, the Nordic region’s biggest lender.

Clausen’s comments were echoed by Hung Tran, deputy managing director of the Institute of International Finance, a global bank lobby group.

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Russian residents play the waiting game

AS the eyes of the world are turned on Cyprus, Russian residents in Paphos are waiting for details of a contingency plan being hammered out by the government. 

Olga Sozou, is the president of ‘The Cyprus-Russian Association of Paphos’ which was formed in 2011 by a group of Russians and Cypriots – who according to Sozou – represent the leading educational associations and business groups in Paphos, cultural and recreational centres and Russian media.

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‘Russians don’t want to leave the island. They feel safe here’

RUSSIAN residents have expressed solidarity with Cyprus in the wake of Parliament’s ‘no’ to the troika on a bailout deal.

According to Russian entrepreneur and editor of Russian community website sevodnya.com, Irina Bykova, Cypriot’s “show of strength” inside and outside parliament on Tuesday endeared them to their Russian counterparts.

“Russians don’t want to leave the island, they feel safe here, and so they are waiting to see what decisions will be made both in Nicosia and Moscow in the coming days,” she said. 

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Deposit haircut would affect tens of thousands of non-Cypriots

THE NUMBER of non-Cypriots living on the island number over 170.000, the vast majority of whom would have Cypriot bank accounts and are would be affected by a deposit haircut.

The full figure of 170,383 is from the population census carried out by the statistical services in October 2011, published in January this year.

Of the 170,383 non-Cypriots living in Cyprus at the time, 106,270 were EU citizens and 64,113 were non-European. From the European citizens, statistics show that the number of Greeks was the highest at 29,321, then Britons at 24,046, Romanians 23,706, and Bulgarians 18,536. 

From the non-European citizen, Filippinos numbered 9,413, Russians 8,164, Sri Lankans 7,269, and Vietnamese 7,028.

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More card usage observed

THE BANKS’ closure, and continued closure, until next Tuesday has caused a spike in card usage islandwide.

“We send an electronic file to the banks concerning the electronic transactions made during the day,” JCC payments systems said yesterday. “It is then the bank’s job to update the personal accounts with the transaction details. However these accounts have not been updated since Monday.”

The company said its data showed that cards were being used much more frequently at ATMs in the past few days, plus they are being used to purchase items people would normally pay for with cash.

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Electricity will not be cut off as long as bank accounts inaccessible

THE Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) will not cut-off the supply to those who will not be able to pay their electricity bills on time due to the banks remaining closed.

On Tuesday the EAC instructed the groups of employees who handle the cut-offs to postpone their programme until further notice. 

According to the announcement made by EAC, the cuts that were made at the beginning of the week were not because of late payments “but because of illegal connections to the authority’s network, which is a criminal offence. The amount of electricity consumed has not been recorded for such cases,” the announcement stated.

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Church offers all of its land to help exit crisis

THE CHURCH said yesterday it was at the government’s disposal to save the economy and the banking sector by offering all the land it owns to help Cyprus.

out of its current financial troubles. 

Speaking after a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades, Archbishop Chrysostomos II said he suggested to the president to issue a national bond. 

“All of the parishes, dioceses and monasteries will receive government bonds,” he said. “All the land that belongs to the church is at the state’s disposal to help the people so that the banking sector does not collapse and so we can stand on our own feet,” he added.

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Cypriot ‘no’ inspires Greeks to rail against austerity

GREEKS and opposition parties inspired by the Cypriot rejection of an unpopular bailout deal urged Athens yesterday to stand up to foreign lenders whose demands have resulted in repeated rounds of austerity that have made Greek life a misery.

“See what Cyprus did? We are proud of them,” said Fey Papadopoulou, 22, a university student. “They should be an example for our politicians, who have succumbed to every demand.”

“The Cypriots set an example to follow,” left-leaning Eleftherotypia said in its leading editorial. “How can the Cypriots say ‘no’ and we can’t even reject a single property tax?”, ran a headline on Greek television channel Antenna.

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In Cyprus standoff, Germany refuses to blink

FOR THREE years, the eurozone crisis has played out according to a familiar pattern: German Chancellor Angela Merkel took a rock-hard line towards struggling southern states only to buckle at the last minute and offer aid when disaster threatened.

No longer. With Cyprus, a tiny Mediterranean island that for Berlin exemplifies much of what is rotten with Europe’s currency bloc, this pattern may be finally breaking down.

In public statements and private conversations, top German officials led by wheelchair-bound Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble are sending strong signals that, this time, they will not blink.

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Cyprus plays risky geopolitical game

AS IT tries to play Russia off against Europe to salvage its economy, Cyprus has embarked on a high-stakes poker game that could see almost everyone lose.

Its banks shattered by exposure to Greek debt, the island state urgently needs a way of bailing out its financial system.

Cypriot policymakers hope they can begin to monetise as yet undeveloped offshore gas fields and position themselves as a vital source of energy for Europe.

However, such income is still years away and delusions of becoming the Qatar of the eastern Mediterranean in the 2020s may prompt Cyprus to overplay its hand now.

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