Cyprus requests more help as UK data suggests avoidance of triple dip

ECONOMIC indicators today hinted at growth in the UK while the Eurozone saw more gloomy data as finance ministers met to finalise a rescue package for Cyprus and the Cypriot President said he would appeal for more help from Europe.

The Office for National Statistics revealed that construction in February had risen 5.5 per cent on the previous months. Although this was seven per cent lower year-on-year, the news provided yet more indications that the UK will avoid a triple-dip recession.

However, industrial output figures in the Eurozone were less positive, with an annual fall in industrial output far worse than expected. Factory production in February was down 3.1 per cent year-on-year, compared to forecasts of around 2.5 per cent, although month-on-month growth was 0.4 per cent.

The figures sent the value of the Euro sliding against the dollar this morning, as Eurogroup finance ministers met in Ireland to seal plans for a Cypriot bailout.

The country’s President, Nicos Anastasiades, said this morning he would appeal to the European Union’s leaders for extra assistance after it emerged that Cyprus would have to find €6bn (£5.1bn) of extra funding for a rescue package.

The EU has offered €10bn towards the effort, but officials said yesterday that Cyprus was not asking for more money, but wanted long-term structural funds to be handed over sooner to encourage growth.

Anastasiades requested the measure after the total cost of the bailout rose from €17.5bn to €23bn, increasing the burden on Cyprus to find funds.