World Bulletin / News Desk
Greek Cyprus's international lenders began reviewing how the island is meeting the conditions of it 10 billion euro bailout on Wednesday, looking to see whether it should get the next tranche of aid.
The appraisal is the first since Greek Cyprus secured a deal with the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank in March, pulling the cash-starved country away from the brink of financial meltdown.
It dealt a harsh blow to thousands who lost their savings in two major Greek Cypriot banks, however.
Nicosia received a first tranche of aid in June worth 3 billion euros and euro zone finance ministers will decide on whether to issue the next tranche in mid-September, the size of which is yet to be determined.
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said last month that some provisions of the bailout deal needed tweaking to address problems in the island's battered banking sector.
Greek Cyprus had to wind down one lender, Laiki Bank, and use customer deposits exceeding 100,000 euros to prop up another, Bank of Cyprus, as part of the bailout agreement.
One area of focus for the so-called troika of lenders during the two-week review will be why the central bank has yet to finalise how much equity Bank of Cyprus shareholders will receive in exchange for giving up their deposits, a process known as a bail-in.
Finance Ministry officials are keen to see the resolution settled, worried that the uncertainty it is causing is preventing an easing of capital controls, introduced to prevent a cash flight after the bailout was agreed in March.
"Swiftly exiting the resolution status would allow us to take new steps to further ease, and ultimately eliminate capital controls," Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Tuesday.
An independent audit of Bank of Cyprus assets is under way, which would define precisely how much of depositors' cash would be seized.
The island has promised its lenders that it would consider the option of selling some of its gold reserves to help pay down its debt but Georgiades said on Tuesday that that was only one option under consideration.
Under the bailout, Greek Cyprus has agreed to cut its budget deficit to 2.4 percent of GDP in 2016, from an estimated 5.9 percent this year.
Although foreign banks on the island were exempt from most restrictions imposed under the bailout, customers at banks in Greek Cyprus are limited to withdrawals of up to 300 euros a day, cheques cannot be cashed and bank transfers are vetted.
Those restrictions are adding to an acute credit crunch caused by financial institutions which are jittery about their balance sheets in a rapidly deteriorating economy and have put the brakes on lending, economists say.
"Banks aren't lending," said economist Yiannis Tirkides, who did not wish to disclose the name of his company. "A lot has to do with expectations, and that contributes to the uncertainty," he said.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said he expected the oil market "to stabilise itself eventually" but did not comment on talks with Russia held on Tuesday
Ergun Olgun, the Turkish Cypriot negotiator, said their own exploration would continue and even accelerate if Greek Cypriots pressed ahead with their plans to allow multinationals to exploit the area.
The decision to devalue the naira, according to analysts and central bank figures, appears aimed at saving the country's dwindling foreign reserves
Oil market watchers are divided on the outcome of OPEC's meeting in the Austrian capital. Predictions range from a large production cut to revive prices, to a small reduction, or none at all
The proliferation of smugglers' routes into Bolivia shows how difficult it is to eradicate illegal mining without better coordination across frontiers.
Falling crude prices are fueled by slowing global growth and increased supply.
Ukraine's leading banks said most of their loans to Crimean individuals and businesses were now delinquent.
Deputy Energy Minister Jaime Himende said that "Mozambique has great hydroelectricity potential, and recently they have taken some bold steps to use renewable resources efficiently"
Obama, who hosted Modi in Washington in September, will in January become the first U.S. president to visit India twice, completing a remarkable warming in the relationship
The combined damage inflicted on Russia's economy by Western sanctions and falling oil prices totals about $140 billion.
PM Mahlab said that Egypt eyes sustainable growth to improve the living conditions of Egyptians, noting that the Egyptian economy is currently recovering.
The French economist calls for redistribution of global wealth, which he says is too concentrated in the hands of the few.
Bank cites high financing costs and financing difficulties as challenges that need to be addressed to sustain growth.
Smuggling is denying Tanzania some 80 percent of receipts accrued from the precious gemstone
The Africa initiative will create "one huge free-trade union" allowing foreign investors in Egypt to more easily reach 260 million consumers from South Africa to Ethiopia.
Budapest says the collapse of the rival Western-backed Nabucco project to bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, and stalled plans to build inter-connector pipelines within eastern Europe, have left it with no alternative.