URGENT ¥¥¥ EU clears 18-bn-euro state guarantee for French bank

European Union watchdogs gave six-month temporary approval on Thursday for an 18-billion-euro ($23.7 billion) French state guarantee to real-estate bank Credit Immobilier de France (CIF).

"This guarantee is necessary to cover CIF's urgent liquidity needs and to give it time to draw up a restructuring or orderly resolution plan," said a statement, with France firmly in the firing line over public deficit prospects ahead of new European Commission economic forecasts due out on Friday.