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Bond market return shows 'renewed confidence' in Greece

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday during a visit to Athens that Greece's buoyant return to the international bond markets this week showed the world's "renewed confidence" in the crisis-hit country. "I'm delighted, this exit is proof of renewed confidence in Greece," Merkel told a press conference. "We'll continue to support Greece and the Greek people... on the right path," she added, a day after Athens ended a four-year exile from world bond markets with a better-than-expected five-year debt issue that raised 3.0 billion euros ($4.2 billion).

ECB's Coeure: The stronger the euro, the more need for stimulus - BBG

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said on Friday that the stronger the euro exchange rate, the more need there would be for a more accommodative monetary policy stance. Talking to Bloomberg television, Coeure stressed that the foreign exchange rate was not a policy target for the ECB, though the central bank did take its impact on inflation into account.

Cheap funding costs a boon for French firms

By Blaise Robinson and Leigh Thomas PARIS (Reuters) - As economic prospects in western Europe improve, French companies whose shares are still reeling from the euro zone debt crisis are enjoying rock-bottom financing costs, a boost to their bottom lines that has yet to be fully reflected in their stock prices.

Troubled eurozone states emerge from crippling crisis

Bailed-out Greece made a strong return to the bond markets Thursday after a four-year hiatus, raising 3.0 billion euros and sending a clear sign that the eurozone is putting its crippling debt crisis behind it. Here is a run-down of the situation in eurozone states which came under pressure during the crisis over their public finances. GREECE Athens, which obtained international aid worth 240 billion euros, hopes to exit the massive rescue programme in 2016.

German inflation hits three-year low in March

The rate of inflation in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, fell to its lowest level in more than three years in March, official final data showed on Friday. The cost of living rose by 1.0 percent on a 12-month basis this month, down from 1.2 percent in February, the federal statistics office Destatis said in a statement. The last time inflation in Europe's biggest economy was lower was in June 2010.

France to stick to 3 percent budget deficit target for 2015: minister

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - France will stick to the European Union deadline to reduce its budget deficit below 3 percent by the end of 2015, French Finance Minister Michael Sapin told a news briefing on Thursday. The statement marks a change from his call last week for negotiations on the "rhythm" of reducing the deficit, which stood at 4.3 percent of national output last year, to below the EU treaty limit of 3 percent.

EU backs duties on Chinese solar glass imports: sources

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union has cleared the imposition of hefty duties on Chinese imports of glass used in solar panels, claiming they receive illegal subsidies and are sold at unfairly low prices that threaten European manufacturers. The EU solar glass market is valued at less than 200 million euros ($276.5 million), a tiny fraction of the EU's total imports from China worth 290 billion euros in 2012, but the complaint marks an EU challenge to China and its exporters.

Greece ends market exile with triumphant bond auction

Bailed-out Greece returned to bond markets with a bang on Thursday after a four-year exile, raising 3.0 billion euros and sending a major signal that the eurozone debt crisis is fading. Greece's EU-IMF creditors hailed the move which the Greek prime minister said had "opened the way for cheaper borrowing" for the recession-hit country. "We have opened the way for cheaper borrowing on the markets tomorrow," Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in a televised address.

IMF: ECB action on deflation 'a question of timing'

European Central Bank action to ward off deflation is just a timing question, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said Thursday. Questioned about the ECB's decision last week to not take any action despite IMF warnings over very low inflation in the eurozone, Lagarde stressed that "we respect the judgment of the central bank." She said the ECB had assured that it was prepared to adopt "unconventional" monetary measures to stimulate the economy if necessary.

Booby-trapped car explodes outside Bank of Greece

A booby-trapped car exploded outside the Bank of Greece in central Athens Thursday but no one was injured in the blast, police said, as Greece was set to return to the debt markets after a four-year absence. The car which was parked on the sidewalk facing the central bank building blew up around 0255 GMT. The building is close to the office of Greece's international lenders. Police said the car, a Nissan, had been stolen and was fitted with 75 kilos (165 pounds) of explosives.
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