Here are the top business stories in Cyprus from the week starting April 29:

The Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC) recently announced its support for the adoption of the Net-Zero Industry Act proposal by the European Parliament. Notably, the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA), proposed on March 16, 2023, aims to bolster European manufacturing capacity for net-zero technologies, thereby assisting the transition to a climate-neutral economy. This regulation seeks to enhance competitiveness and resilience in the EU’s net-zero technology industrial base, aligning with the goals of the Green Deal Industrial Plan. It also emphasises promoting investments in key products essential for achieving climate neutrality.

In line with technological innovation, Adonis Hadjigeorgiou, a doctoral student at the University of Cyprus, recently showcased InvasiCell, an innovative technology, at the Tahko Ski Lift Pitch startup event in Kuopio, Finland. Developed in the laboratory of Professor Paris Skourides at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cyprus, this technology replicates the microenvironment of malignant tumours. According to the University of Cyprus, Hadjigeorgiou presented this technology to potential investors, mentors, and the scientific community, reaching the semi-finals of the event. His participation was facilitated through the University’s Innovation Management Division within the YUFE Alliance, showcasing its commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

Reflecting on institutional milestones, Monday marked the 97th anniversary of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce & Industry (Keve), an institution that has played a pivotal role in shaping the country’s economic landscape. The chamber, founded on April 29, 1927, amid challenging conditions, was established by visionary entrepreneurs who unified the business community. Keve highlighted its historical role as a steadfast advocate for economic development and social cohesion, emphasising industrial peace in its advocacy.

Meanwhile, economic conditions in Cyprus reveal that the demand for business loans is decreasing due to high interest rates. However, bankers estimate that anticipated rate cuts in the summer may revitalise the market. Xenios Konomis, Director of Corporate & SME Banking at the Bank of Cyprus, projected stable demand for business loans throughout 2024 despite the high rates, noting that the criteria for granting loans have remained constant.

Corporate governance and social responsibility remain crucial topics, as emphasised by Cyprus Stock Exchange senior officer Eliza Stasopoulou in a recent analysis. She underlined the importance of companies implementing these policies, citing their contribution to enhancing performance, improving services and products, and fostering transparency and rational management.

From a global perspective, the Deputy Ministry of Shipping summarized Minister Marina Hadjimanolis’ recent visit to China, where she met with executives from various industries. Her visit coincided with the naming ceremony of the newly built cargo vessel “AAL Limassol,” constructed with modern environmental standards and now registered under the Cyprus ship registry.

Furthermore, Cyprus received positive attention during the ‘Cyprus: the New Global Tech & Innovation Hub Summit,’ where experts highlighted the country’s attractiveness for living, working, and business.

In the real estate sector, the top ten most expensive property sales in March amounted to €48.1 million, with an office building in Limassol leading at €28 million. According to Ask Wire, the largest 50 transactions collectively were worth over €78 million. The company shared data on the ten most expensive sales completed in March 2024, highlighting the market’s substantial value.

Interestingly, economic sentiment in Cyprus marginally improved in April, with the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) rising by 0.8 points compared to March 2024. The University of Cyprus’ Economic Research Centre attributed this to strengthening business sentiment, especially in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

On fiscal matters, the Public Debt Management Office (PDMO) released its 2023 annual report, emphasising the robust cash reserves of Cyprus, nearly €2.83 billion, providing substantial support in addressing global economic uncertainty.

Moreover, the Cyprus Real Estate Agents Registration Council expressed support for a new government bill aimed at changing the frequency of property valuations from every three years to five. The Council’s president, Marinos Kineyirou, highlighted that the council had advocated for this change to allow the Department of Land and Surveys to focus on other tasks.

In fiscal developments, the Cyprus government generated a surplus of €45.1 million in the final quarter of 2023, a notable increase from the previous year, driven by a significant increase in revenue.

Confidence in Larnaca’s real estate market was showcased during the ‘Property Show Larnaka 2024’, where industry professionals discussed the city’s development, competitiveness, and attractiveness to investors. Organised under the auspices of several key local institutions, the conference emphasised the redevelopment of the port and marina.

Meanwhile, Hellenic Bank’s acquisition of CNP’s insurance operations in Cyprus and Greece is expected to diversify its revenue streams. Fitch, the rating agency, noted that the acquisition would have a manageable effect on the bank’s regulatory capital.

DP World Limassol highlighted a significant increase in cargo traffic since it took over the port’s operations, processing around 60,000 Ro-Ro units in 2023. The diversification of services has been a notable trend at the Limassol port since DP World took over in 2017.

Finally, to foster scientific excellence, the Research and Innovation Foundation (RIF) announced two new programmes,with a total budget of €14.5 million, aimed at encouraging young researchers to lead projects, reinforcing Cyprus’ commitment to innovation and research.</strong