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Showing posts from June 27, 2014

Merkel still believes Juncker should get EU top job: aide

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has not altered her view that Luxembourg's Jean-Claude Juncker should become president of the European Commission, a government spokesman said on Friday. _0"> "The German chancellor has very clearly said, including in her recent speech to parliament, that she is in favor of Jean-Claude Juncker becoming the next European Commission president and that she will work towards him getting a majority," Steffen Seibert said, adding that "nothing has changed" in this regard.   true       (Reporting by Stephen Brown and Michelle Martin)

Banks to return 3.7 billion euros in crisis loans to ECB next week

class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Banks will return 3.712 billion euros ($5.05 billion) in long-term crisis loans to the European Central Bank next week, ECB data showed, after the ECB started to charge banks for holding their excess cash overnight and promised more long-term loans. _0"> The amount that class="mandelbrot_refrag"> banks will repay on June 18 is below this week's repayments of 10.588 billion euros, and misses the 7.5 billion forecast in a Reuters poll. The ECB cut interest rates to record lows - the deposit rate is now below zero - and launched a series of measures to pump money into the sluggish class="mandelbrot_refrag"> euro zone class="mandelbrot_refrag"> economy , pledging to do more if needed to fight off the risk of Japan-like deflation.   true       The measures also include a new 400 billion euro four-year loan scheme to give banks an incentive to increase lending to businesses in the class=&q

EU to toughen up bankers pay rules

The European Union's banking watchdog will toughen up its guidelines on bankers' pay after a study uncovered wide variations in how lenders apply the rules across the 28-country bloc and how class="mandelbrot_refrag"> banks are avoiding the bonus cap. The European Banking Authority (EBA) did not say how it will toughen the rules but this is likely to include tighter supervision and more detail in how the rules should be applied. After the 2007-09 financial crisis sparked public anger over bonuses at class="mandelbrot_refrag"> banks that taxpayers had to rescue, the EU introduced curbs on the pay of top bankers earning a million euros or more. The current rules mean that 40-60 percent of a bonus must be deferred over 3-5 years, with the possibility to claw back the cash if problems like misconduct are later discovered. The curbs were toughened so that bonuses handed out from early next year can be no higher than fixed salary, or twice tha

Japan's May exports expected to show first fall in 15 months

Japan's exports likely fell for the first time in 15 months in May due to stagnant demand overseas, and with imports expected to rise the trade balance will probably remain in deficit, where it has been for nearly two years, a Reuters poll showed. In addition to weak demand from emerging nations, the benefit of a weak yen for exports appeared to have run its course. The Reuters poll of 28 economists forecast exports to show a 1.2 percent fall in the year to May, which would be the first decline since a 2.9 percent fall in February last year.   true       In April, Japan's exports rose 5.1 percent from a year earlier. The poll forecast a 1.7 percent increase in imports in May, largely led by higher demand for liquid class="mandelbrot_refrag"> natural gas . The trade deficit was forecast at 1.17 trillion yen. It would be 23rd straight monthly deficit. "Shipments to Europe are expected to stay solid, but those to Asia will probably continue to be stagn

India's Modi kicks into gear with defense, dam projects

India's new government kicked into gear this week, clearing billions of dollars worth of long-delayed defense projects, including a big navy base, as well as approving the scaling-up of one of the country's biggest dams. The decision to give the projects the go-ahead despite concern about their environmental and social impact signals Prime Minister Narendra Modi's no-nonsense approach to issues he considers to be important for national security. The clearances were made over several days and were the first major decisions from the government that swept to power on May 16 on promises of getting Asia's third-largest class="mandelbrot_refrag"> economy moving and building a stronger country. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the government could not compromise on efforts to build military and civil infrastructure on the border with class="mandelbrot_refrag"> China as well the west-coast naval base in as an alternative to crowded

Brazil economic activity up slightly in April, weak second-quarter start

Brazilian economic activity rose slightly in April, in another lackluster showing for the once-booming class="mandelbrot_refrag"> economy that points to a sluggish second quarter. _0"> The central bank's IBC-Br economic activity index rose 0.12 percent in April from March in seasonally adjusted terms, the bank said on Friday. The median estimate in a Reuters survey of 19 analysts was for 0.0 percent growth. The Brazilian class="mandelbrot_refrag"> economy barely grew in the first quarter and a plunge in investment pointed to more weakness in the coming quarter. Economists have repeatedly revised down their economic growth estimates to just 1.4 percent this year from an expansion of 2.5 percent in 2013.   true       For Bradesco economists the slight increase in activity in April reinforced expectations that the second quarter will remain subdued. "It is compatible with our expectations for a slowdown in the second quarter," Brad

Carney signals earlier British rate rise, sterling soars

Britain could become the first major class="mandelbrot_refrag"> economy to tighten monetary policy since the 2008 financial crisis, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has signalled, sending sterling shooting towards a five-year high against the dollar on Friday. British government bond yields soared, class="mandelbrot_refrag"> construction stocks tumbled and interest rate class="mandelbrot_refrag"> futures priced in a first hike by December after Carney said rates could rise sooner than class="mandelbrot_refrag"> markets had thought - his most hawkish comment to date. A Reuters poll of economists on Friday showed most expect a rise in the first three months of next year rather than before the end of 2014.   true       "There's already great speculation about the exact timing of the first rate hike and this decision is becoming more balanced," Carney said in a speech late on Thursday alongside British cla

Weak U.S. producer prices point to tame inflation pressures

U.S. producer prices fell in May after two month of solid gains, but the decline was not enough to change perceptions that inflation pressures are steadily creeping up. The Labor Department said on Friday its producer price index for final demand slipped 0.2 percent after advancing in April by 0.6 percent, which was the largest gain in 1-1/2 years. Economists, who had expected producer prices to edge up, saw the decline as a correction after gains in March and April, and said it did not change their view that prices were firming.   true       "The net result is a pick-up. The net strengthening makes the modest acceleration in the more important consumer inflation measures more credible," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York. The government revamped the PPI series at the start of the year to include services and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> construction . Big swings in prices received for trade servi

U.S. consumer sentiment slips in June

U.S. consumer sentiment fell in June as views by consumers with the lowest incomes soured, a survey released on Friday showed. _0"> The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary June reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 81.2, down from 81.9 the month before. It was below the median forecast of 83.0 among economists polled by Reuters.   true       "The change from May was too small to indicate a significant loss in sentiment," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement. "The small month-to-month variations aside, the main finding from the recent surveys is that consumers have maintained their expectations at reasonably favorable levels for the past six months." The survey's barometer of current economic conditions rose to 95.4 from 94.5 and was below a forecast of 95.7. The survey's gauge of consumer expectations slipped to 72.2 from 73.7, and missed an expected 74.6. The survey's one-year

UK construction data revised higher, policy moves may hold sector back

British class="mandelbrot_refrag"> construction output grew faster than previously thought in the first quarter, new figures showed on Friday, but could slow in the next three months, particularly after the government took steps to cool the class="mandelbrot_refrag"> housing market . Finance minister George Osborne said on Thursday that he would give the Bank of England stronger powers to curb mortgage lending, while BoE Governor Mark Carney said interest rates could rise sooner than financial markets expect. The comments sent sterling and short-dated British government bond yields soaring and caused shares to plunge, with housebuilders particularly hard hit. Some 1.7 billion pounds ($2.85 billion) has been wiped off the value of the six housebuilders and two property groups.   true       Economists say Osborne's announcement means the Bank may adopt a more direct approach when trying to curb mortgage lending. It is expected to announce more contro

OECD sees U.S. growth accelerating through 2015

The U.S. economic recovery should accelerate in coming months as an energy boom, steadily falling unemployment and a rebound in investment push growth to its fastest pace in a decade, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Friday. In its latest overview of the U.S. class="mandelbrot_refrag"> economy , the Paris-based group said U.S. gross domestic product would expand 2.5 percent this year, a touch below a forecast it released last month. But it maintained its 3.5 percent growth projection for next year, which would be the strongest advance since 2004.   true       The OECD is more optimistic on U.S. growth than most private forecasters and some other international organizations, including the World Bank, which looks for growth in 2015 of only 3.0 percent. The OECD said it saw several positive trends converging to make the recovery faster, more entrenched and more driven by private demand. Low energy prices and continued low borrowing cos

Univision held preliminary sale talks with CBS, Time Warner: WSJ

The owner of Univision Communications Inc [UVN.UL] have recently held preliminary talks about selling the Spanish-language broadcaster with class="mandelbrot_refrag"> CBS Corp ( id="symbol_CBS.N_0"> CBS.N ), class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Time Warner Inc ( id="symbol_TWX.N TWX.N ) and other media companies, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. _0"> The talks, however, appear to have gone nowhere, the people said, citing the $20 billion Univision's owners are seeking for company as an issue. ( ) _1"> Univision spokeswoman Monica Talan said the company does not comment on rumors. Univision is based in the United States, and owned by Univision Communications Inc.   true       CBS representatives declined to comment on the report, while representatives for class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Time Warner did not immediately respond to a request for comment out

Senate panel to examine AT&T plan to buy DirectTV

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel will hold a hearing on June 24 to examine the proposed purchase by class="mandelbrot_refrag"> AT&T ( id="symbol_T.N_0"> T.N ) of DirectTV ( id="symbol_DTV.O DTV.O ), the committee said on Thursday. _0"> The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will hold its hearing on the same day to discuss plans by class="mandelbrot_refrag"> AT&T , the No. 2 U.S. cellular operator, to buy the largest U.S. satellite TV provider for $48.5 billion. _1"> AT&T has said that it wanted to buy DirectTV in order to offer consumers access to video in a variety of media and to give the company scale to compete with larger cable competitors.   true       The deal is one of three roiling the cable and wireless landscape. The other two are Comcast's ( id="symbol_CMCSA.O_2"> CMCSA.O ) $45.2 billion bid for class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Time War

Talks on EBRD stakes in Ukraine's banks to start in months

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development expects to start talks on building stakes in Ukrainian banks in the next few months as it looks to ensure that Ukraine's financial system does not rupture in the wake of tensions with Russia. In an interview with Reuters, Francis Malige, the EBRD's new head for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, said the situation in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Ukraine looked to have stabilized in recent weeks, although it was still far too early for optimism. The EBRD's latest forecasts, issued in May, have Ukraine's class="mandelbrot_refrag"> economy shrinking 7 percent this year.   true       "We don't see at this stage an element that should push us to revise them in any direction," Malige said. "If I was a rating agency I would say it's not on negative watch, but it's not on positive watch either." He said the EBRD's involvement in a big road building project, e

Exclusive: Demand for Abengoa Yield IPO was 16 times offer - Abengoa CEO

Demand for shares in the initial public offering of renewable energy firm Abengoa Yield Plc was $10 billion, more than 16 times what was on offer, the chief executive of Spanish parent company Abengoa told Reuters on Friday. _0"> The class="mandelbrot_refrag"> banks handling the share sale would sell a greenshoe package of 3.727 million shares in the coming hours, CEO Manuel Sanchez Ortega said by telephone from New York. The shares priced earlier on Friday at $29 per share, valuing Abengoa Yield at around $2.32 billion. (Reporting by Jose Elias Rodriguez; Writing by Fiona Ortiz ; Editing by Sonya Dowsett)   true      

Greece's Alpha Bank close to buying Citi's Greek retail ops: sources

Greece's fourth-biggest lender Alpha Bank is close to clinching a deal to buy Citibank's class="mandelbrot_refrag"> retail operations in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Greece , two Greek banking sources told Reuters on Thursday. _0"> Greece's debt crisis has prompted foreign class="mandelbrot_refrag"> banks , including France's Credit Agricole and Societe Generale, to sell local units to Greek banks in recent years. "We're close," said one banking source who spoke on condition of anonymity. "There are just some formalities left."   true       Greece's bank bailout fund, the HFSF, a majority owner of Alpha Bank with a 69.9 percent stake, has approved the deal, a second source told Reuters. "We have given the green light," the source said. Greece's top four class="mandelbrot_refrag"> banks control about 90 percent of its banking market after a wave of consolidati

China and UK to sign deals worth at least $30 billion next week

class="mandelbrot_refrag"> China and Britain will sign business deals worth at least $30 billion next week during a visit to London by China's Premier Li Keqiang, the Chinese ambassador to Britain said on Friday. _0"> "The total value may be record-breaking," Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to Britain, told a news conference in London, saying that over 40 separate agreements whose total value was at least $30 billion would be signed. The deals would cover a range of sectors, including energy, education and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> finance , he added. "This visit is a priority to class="mandelbrot_refrag"> China and the UK. Expectations are very high," he said, saying Li would be joined by over 200 Chinese business leaders.   true       The two sides will discuss possible Chinese investment in Britain's planned HS2 high-speed rail network linking the north of England with London and in its nuclea

Mitsubishi mulls stake in Alstom: papers

Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is considering taking a direct stake in French class="mandelbrot_refrag"> engineering group Alstom as part of an offer with Germany's Siemens, two French newspapers said on Thursday. _0"> Financial daily Les Echos said Mitsubishi is considering buying part of French Bouygues's 29 percent stake in Alstom and would also buy Alstom's steam turbines while Siemens would take over its gas turbines. At a later stage, after an expected offer for Alstom on June 16, Siemens would contribute its transport assets to Alstom, which would remain a listed company with activities in power grids, wind turbines and transports, les Echos wrote.   true       Le Figaro said Mitsubishi would propose an alliance with Alstom modeled on the Renault-Nissan alliance, which would involve Mitsubishi taking a minority stake in Alstom's power activities (excluding grids) or even buying part of Bouygues's stake. The paper said Siem

Drug-linked payouts: complex fix for Pfizer's next Astra bid?

The world's biggest would-be drugs merger hit a wall last month but speculation about smart ways that Pfizer could yet seal a deal with AstraZeneca remains intense. Even as talks fell apart last month, some in Pfizer's camp remained optimistic the transaction could be revived - and certain AstraZeneca advisers have not ruled out renewed talks. Under British takeover law, the UK firm can approach Pfizer at the end of August to discuss a sweetened bid, or Pfizer can try again in November. While the most obvious method for Pfizer to win AstraZeneca around might seem to be more cash, some class="mandelbrot_refrag"> hedge funds think the U.S. firm could structure payouts by tying them to the performance of key AstraZeneca drugs.   true       A so-called contingent value right, or CVR, was a winning formula for class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Sanofi in its 2011 battle for Genzyme and the tradeable product - promising additional payouts once future benchm

RPT-Fitch: Credit Suisse Saw Only Moderate US Money Fund Outflows

(The following statement was released by the rating agency) Money market fund outflows from Credit Suisse were only moderate in May following its guilty plea to helping US clients evade tax, Fitch Ratings says. Money fund flows are driven by various factors, including pricing, and can react to headline risk either by reducing exposures or by shortening maturities. class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Banks do not rely on these short-term funds and in most instances place deposits from the money funds with the Federal Reserve.   true       US prime money fund allocations to Credit Suisse fell 8% in May compared to relatively stable total prime fund assets, according to data from Crane. The monthly decline is higher than the average monthly variance of 4.8% for Credit Suisse's money fund exposures over the previous six months. But the exposures are still slightly above the end-2013 level, so the overall fall is not material. The bank was still one of the top 15 hel

INSIGHT-Argentina's economy minister: from 'flaming Red' to pragmatic negotiator

When he became Argentina's class="mandelbrot_refrag"> economy minister late last year, many in the business community feared Axel Kicillof, who was once described by a critic as a "flaming Red Marxist," might plunge Latin America's No. 3 economy deeper into isolation in the name of ideology. Instead, the enigmatic scholar who previously lambasted foreign firms for "looting" the country, has in a few months resolved some of Argentina's long-running disputes with companies and creditors, in a bid to attract investment back into the country. Deals with the Paris Club of creditor nations to pay back almost $10 billion in debt and with Spanish oil major Repsol to compensate it for the seizure of energy company YPF have sent Argentine bonds and equities climbing as investors show renewed confidence in a country that has been cut off from global credit class="mandelbrot_refrag"> markets since a 2001/02 default.   true       Th