Here are the top business stories in Cyprus from the week starting July 31:

Hellenic Bank on Tuesday announced that chief executive officer Oliver Gatzke will be stepping down from his position a year early.

The decision comes after Gatzke informed the bank of his intention to terminate his employment contract, valid until July 22, 2024.

Cyprus witnessed a significant surge in private debt during the first quarter of 2023, reaching a staggering 218 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), amounting to €60.1 billion, according to a report released by the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) on Monday.

The Bank of Cyprus Group on Monday released a statement in which it confirmed that it has successfully completed the EU-wide stress test for 2023.

Cyprus has recorded a fiscal surplus of €155.5 million, equivalent to 0.5 per cent of GDP, during the first half of 2023, according to the latest preliminary results, released on Monday by the state’s statistical service.

The housing market in Cyprus experienced a notable upswing during the first quarter of 2023, as property prices continued to soar, particularly in the apartment segment, primarily driven by increased demand.

Cyprus’ retail trade boomed in June 2023, with both volume and value seeing a significant increase when compared to the same month in 2022.

Eurobank Cyprus on Wednesday released its financial results for the first half of 2023, with the figures reflecting a solid performance characterised by strong capital adequacy and profitability.

The bank’s net profit after tax soared to €90.8 million during this period, marking a remarkable 144 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, with a growth of €53.6 million.

Restaurants and bars in Cyprus experienced occupancy rates ranging between 70 and 80 per cent in July, in another disappointing month for local business owners, according to Neophytos Thrasyvoulou, president of the association of entertainment venues on the island.

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) on Wednesday reported a positive growth trend in the Collective Investments sector for the first quarter of 2023.

The number of Management Companies and Undertakings of Collective Investments (UCIs) reached 335 and the Total Assets Under Management (AUM) totalling €10.7 billion.

The Cyprus Real Estate Agents Registration Council on Wednesday noted that the local property market has performed better during 2023, although it looks forward to drawing more meaningful conclusions after the year has concluded, according to president Marinos Kineyirou.

In an effort to bolster the local research and innovation landscape, the Research and Innovation Foundation on Thursday unveiled a new funding scheme worth €6 million.

State-owned asset management company Kedipes on Thursday announced that in the coming days, it will be returning interest payments totalling €4.6 million to borrowers with restructured credit facilities for the first half of 2023.

Cyprus saw its net new borrowing, excluding restructurings, reach €1.73 billion in the first half of 2023, showing a modest annual increase of 1.26 per cent, according to a report released this week by the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC).