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.
Some EU member states remain nervous about the impact on their own fragile economies. The sanctions deal was agreed only after initial proposals were narrowed.
Bankers in Singapore say Russians looking for a new Cyprus have come to the wrong place.
The default could get much messier and take longer to clear up if creditors force an "acceleration" for early payment on their bonds.
The ban came a day after the European Union and United States imposed their first sanctions aimed at hitting broad sectors of the Russian economy
Russia called new U.S. sanctions "destructive and short-sighted"
While the default will obviously hurt the economy, it will not be as severe as in 2001, economists say
The Czechs, who supported the action, have been against sweeping sanctions, worried about trade relations with Russia
The trade program has been criticized for disproportionately benefiting certain industries and a handful of countries, including Nigeria, South Africa and Angola.
The United Kalavrvta tanker, carrying some 1 million barrels of crude worth about $100 million, arrived off the coast of Texas on Saturday but has yet to unload its disputed cargo.
The uncertainty comes at a bad time for the 18 countries in the euro zone, whose economy is already in the doldrums.
"Kalashnikov regrets that consumers are faced with such a problem," said spokeswoman Yekaterina Boni.
Cairo and Khartoum had earlier accepted a proposal by Addis Ababa to hold the talks in Sudan in the third week of August.
Discounting the bulk of Japan's 48 reactors due to their long-term outage, the report said the number of operating units in the world has fallen to 388, 50 less than the peak in 2002.
Over 200,000 NUMSA-affiliated metalworkers declared a nationwide strike on July 1 to demand a 15-percent pay raise for laborers and a ban on labor brokers
The council said in a statement that any trade in oil ISIL or Nusra Front, would violate United Nations sanctions as both groups have been blacklisted.
The project is being implemented in collaboration with the Ethiopian and Norwegian governments at a cost of over $2.8 million.