According to sources quoted by the Financial Times, three American banks — Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley — are “drawing up plans to move some London-based activities to Ireland to address concerns” the UK would leave the European Union after a referendum on EU membership to be held possibly in 2017.
France’s finance minister sends tremors through European capitals with a defiant warning that his country would no longer try to meet deficit targets
Eurozone strategy is in tatters after economic recovery ground to a halt across the region and France demanded a radical shift in policy, warning that austerity overkill is driving Europe into a depression.
Growth slumped to zero in the second quarter, with Germany contracting by 0.2pc and France once again stuck at zero. Italy is already in a triple-dip recession.
Yields on 10-year German Bunds fell below 1pc for the first time in history, beneath levels seen during the most extreme episodes of deflation in the 19th century. French yields also touch record lows. Much of the eurozone is replicating the pattern seen in Japan as it slid into a deflation trap in the late 1990s.
It is unclear whether tumbling yields are primarily a warning signal of stagnation ahead or a bet by investors that the European Central Bank will soon be forced to launch quantitative easing, buying government bonds across the board.
Spain’s public debt has topped one trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) for the first time, the central bank announced Thursday, despite years of government-imposed austerity.
The nation’s accumulated public debt mushroomed to 1.007 trillion euros at the end of June from 996 billion euros a month earlier, the Bank of Spain said in a report. Continue reading
Data from Germany, Italy and Portugal put pressure on ECB to act
Portugal has crashed into deep deflation and Italy’s inflation rate has fallen to zero as the eurozone flirts with recession, automatically pushing these countries further towards a debt compound spiral.
The slide comes amid signs of a deepening slowdown in the eurozone core, with even Germany flirting with possible recession. Germany’s ZEW index of investor confidence plunged from 27.1 to 8.6 in July, the sharpest fall since June 2012, during the European sovereign debt crisis. “The European Central Bank has to act now,” said Andrew Roberts, credit chief at RBS. Continue reading
To get economy moving again, policymakers should go ahead with quantitative easing to boost liquidity and allow the euro to weaken
The euro zone’s “softly, softly” approach to the financial crisis is not working. The economy is sinking into deflation, dragged down by a zombie banking system and spiralling government debt. It is slipping back towards recession. A future break-up of the euro zone remains a potent threat.
Policymakers can ill afford to keep kicking the can down the road. The bailout earlier this month of Portuguese lender Banco Espirito Santo was a sharp reminder to investors the euro zone was not out of the woods by a long stretch. Continue reading
ROME — Italy slipped into recession for the third time since 2008 in the second quarter, underlining the chronic weakness of the eurozone’s third-largest economy and pressuring the government to complete promised reforms.
Figures on Wednesday from statistics agency ISTAT showed gross domestic product unexpectedly declined by 0.2% in April-June from the previous three months. A Reuters poll of economists had forecast growth of 0.2%.
The economy also shrank by 0.1% in January-March, meaning it has returned to recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction.
Italian stocks fell after the data and the risk premium between Italy’s 10-year bonds and those of Germany widened. Continue reading
Germany’s cabinet has approved draft laws that effectively give the go-ahead to Europe’s plans for banking union – its main confidence-building response to the financial sector crisis.
With the laws, Germany is pressing ahead of EU requirements in protecting German taxpayers from having to foot the bill when a bank gets into trouble. Instead, in a process dubbed a “bail-in”, creditors and owners will have to take losses from 2015, a year before EU rules take effect. Continue reading
(Reuters) – The European Central Bank is poised to impose negative interest rates on its overnight depositors, seeking to cajole banks into lending instead and to prevent the euro zone falling into Japan-like deflation.
At its meeting on Thursday, ECB policymakers may also launch a loan program for banks with strings attached to make sure the money actually gets out into the euro zone economy.
It will be the first of the “Big Four” central banks – ECB, Bank of England, Bank of Japan and U.S. Federal Reserve – to go the negative interest rate route, essentially charging banks to deposit with it. Continue reading
BRUSSELS – Cash-strapped Greece recorded its first primary budget surplus in a generation last year, according to data released by Eurostat on Wednesday (23 April).
Excluding interest on its debt repayments and a number of one-off measures to prop up its banks, Athens recorded a surplus of €1.5 billion, worth the equivalent of 0.8% of its economic output in 2013. Despite this, Greece still recorded an overall deficit figure of 12.7 percent, up by 4 percent on the previous year as the crisis-hit country endured a sixth straight year of recession. Continue reading
Russia’s border with Europe is the bloodiest place in the world. Caught between the major powers of the West and the might of Russia, the region has seen some of the worst conflicts in history.
During World War II, roughly 17 million soldiers lost their lives in battles on the Eastern front. By way of comparison, in the West, fewer than four million soldiers died—including D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge and all the other battles we hear about more often. And these figures don’t include the huge number of civilians who lost their lives in the Battle of Stalingrad or the Siege of Leningrad, and other horrific clashes.
The numbers for World War i are also appalling; rough estimates indicate that 5 million soldiers lost their lives fighting on the Eastern front.
Conflicts between Europe and Russia are bloody and frequent. This history gives the context necessary to appreciate what is happening in Ukraine, and how Europe will react.
Council on Foreign Relations compares Germany’s hardline stance with US policy towards Britain at the end of the Second World War
The eurozone debt crisis is deepening and threatens to re-erupt on a larger scale when the liquidity cycle turns, a leading panel of economists warned in a clash of views with German officials in Berlin.
“Debts above 130pc of GDP for Italy and 170pc for Greece are a recipe for disaster once we go into the next downturn,” said Professor Charles Wyplosz, from Geneva University.
“Today’s politicians believe the crisis is over and don’t want to hear any more about it, but they have not tackled the core issues of fiscal union and public debt,” he said, speaking at Euromoney’s annual Germany conference.
The central banks signed a memorandum of understanding in Berlin today, when Chinese President Xi Jinping met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Frankfurt-based Bundesbank said in an e-mailed statement.
Germany’s financial capital prevailed over Paris and Luxembourg in a euro-area race to win trade in renminbi, which overtook the euro to become the second-most used currency in global trade finance in October, according to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. The U.K. Treasury said on March 26 that the Bank of England would sign an initial agreement with the PBOC on March 31 to clear and settle yuan transactions in London.
“Frankfurt is one of Europe’s foremost financial centers and home to two central banks, making it a particularly suitable location,” said Joachim Nagel, a member of the Bundesbank’s executive board. “Renminbi clearing will strengthen the close economic and financial ties between Germany and the People’s Republic of China.” Continue reading
The European Central Bank could buy loans and other assets from banks to help support the eurozone economy, Germany’s Bundesbank said Tuesday, marking a radical softening of its stance on the contested policy.
The ECB has cut interest rates to a record low, and promised to keep them low for some time, having also flooded the banking system with cheap crisis loans. But the eurozone economy is still weak, and inflation remains stuck well below the central bank’s target.
With the debate over possible alternative measures picking up pace, Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said the ECB could consider purchasing eurozone government bonds, or top-rated private sector assets.
Head of German Institute for Economic Research demands €60bn of bond purchases each month to halt contraction of credit and avert Japanese-style trap
A leading German institute has called for full-blown quantitative easing by the European Central Bank (ECB) to head off a deflation spiral, marking a radical shift in thinking among the German policy elites.
Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin, demanded €60bn (£50bn) of bond purchases each month to halt the contraction of credit and avert a Japanese-style trap. Continue reading
Last week’s ‘thunderbolt’ ruling on eurozone rescue policies by Germany’s top court marks a serious escalation of Europe’s governance crisis and may ultimately force Germany to withdraw from the euro, the country’s most influential magazine has warned.
A sweeping report by Der Spiegel said the court ruling amounts to a full-blown showdown between Germany and the European Central Bank over the methods to shore up southern Europe’s debt markets.
“It is nothing less than a final reckoning with the crisis-management strategy pursued by the ECB. The German justices insist that the German constitution sets limits on the ECB’s crisis strategy. In a worst-case scenario, the Court could forbid Berlin from contributing to efforts to save the euro or even force Germany to leave the currency zone entirely,” it said. Continue reading