September 30 (SeeNews) - Following are some of the main stories in Bulgarian newspapers on Wednesday morning. SeeNews has not verified these reports and cannot vouch for their accuracy.
- A smaller economic crisis awaits the Eastern European Union member states in the middle of 2010. The increasing state debt and the rising fiscal deficit in those countries will delay the revival of those economies until 2011. A forthcoming upgrade in the credit ratings of those countries is not expected, analysts at the international rating agency Moody’s said at a regional forum organised by Reuters in Vienna.
- Gas prices could surge by 10%-15% as of January next year, the chairman of the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (SEWRC), Angel Semerdzhiev said. Last week state-owned monopoly Bulgargaz said it believes that domestic gas prices should rise by 25% to 470 levs per 1,000 cubic metres, value-added tax excluded, in the first quarter of next year. Gas prices in Bulgaria are revised every quarter in line with the expected fuel oil prices, crude oil prices and the exchange rate of the Bulgarian lev versus the U.S. dollar.
- The future markets and the average price of the electricity produced by the future nuclear power plant at Belene remained unknown after a four-hour session of the parliament's energy commission. According to the estimations of Bulgaria’s state run power grid operator NEK, electricity consumption in Bulgaria will rise to 46.7 terrawatt hours (TWh) by 2020, from average 38 TWh for 2009. Under estimations of the state energy regulator annual electricity consumption will fall to 34.5 TWh thanks to energy saving measures promoted by the government and the EU.
- Before raising indirect taxes the government should make sure that all possible cost-cutting measures are implemented, Georgi Angelov, senior economist at the non-profit Open Society Institute said. There is still room for expenditure cuts, he said. The Finance Ministry said earlier this week it is considering increasing the excise duties levied on fuel and cigarettes as of January next year, aiming to boost budget revenue.
- The profit of the Belene nuclear power plant for a 60-year exploitation period is expected at 60 billion euro, Bogomil Manchev, executive director of consultancy company Risk Engineering, said.
- The state-owned tobacco group Bulgartabac will go bankrupted by March next year if the excise duties on cigarettes are increased, the former head of the group Kornelia Ninova said. The finance ministry wants to raise the duties to 76 euro per 1,000 pieces as of January 2010 from 52.3 euro now in a bid to increase budget revenue. Bulgaria has to raise the tax as of January to 64 euro per 1,000 pieces, according to a deal that aims at bringing this excise duty in line with the minimum level in the European Union.
(1 euro=1.95583 Bulgarian levs)