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France angles for new EU timetable on budget limits

France's reshuffled government took a combative tone with Brussels on Thursday, with new Finance Minister Michel Sapin saying the "pace" of deficit reduction would be raised in talks with the EU. In his first public comments since being named on Wednesday, Sapin said he would work with the European Commission to "find the path to common interests" as the EU pushes France to reduce its deficit. "Europe will be in better shape when France is in better shape," Sapin said.

New French finance minister says pace of deficit reduction should be renegotiated with EU

PARIS - France's new finance minister sparked a dispute with Europe on his first day in office Thursday when he suggested Paris renegotiate the speed at which it cuts its budget deficit to limits set by the European Union. Michel Sapin told radio station France Inter that France still aims to reduce its deficit to 3 per cent of GDP, but that the pace at which that is achieved should be discussed. France had previously promised to do so by 2015.

Exchange rate 'important' but no policy target: ECB chief

The European Central Bank takes exchange rates into account when setting interest rates, but has no firm target for the euro-dollar, its president Mario Draghi said on Thursday. "The exchange rate is very important for price stability," but it is "not a policy target," Draghi told a news conference after the ECB's regular monthly policy-setting meeting. spm/dlc/hd

ECB 'resolute' to maintain easy money policy

The European Central Bank "remains resolute in our determination" to keep monetary conditions in the euro area accommodative and will "act swiftly" if necessary, president Mario Draghi said on Thursday. "We do not exclude further monetary easing," Draghi told a news conference after the ECB held its key interest rates steady at their current all-time lows for the fifth month in a row. spm/dlc/hd

New French government seeks leeway on deficit deadlines

By Mark John and Leigh Thomas PARIS (Reuters) - France's reshuffled government lost no time on Thursday in announcing it would seek to renegotiate its budget deficit reduction deadline with the European Commission, setting it on a collision course with EU partners. New Finance Minister Michel Sapin hinted that Paris hoped to secure more understanding in Brussels for its efforts to win a further delay in its budget target by parachuting his predecessor, Pierre Moscovici, into a key EU economic post.

ECB to use all methods needed to fight prolonged low inflation: Draghi

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank will use whatever unconventional measures it has available to ensure low inflation does not take hold for too long in the euro zone, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Thursday. "The (ECB's) Governing Council is unanimous in its commitment to using all unconventional instruments within its mandate in order to cope effectively with risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation," he told a news conference after the central bank kept its interest rates unchanged.

France angles for new EU timetable on budget limits

France's newly reshuffled government took a combative tone with Brussels on Thursday, with new Finance Minister Michel Sapin saying the "pace" of deficit reduction would be raised in talks with the EU. In his first public comments since being named on Wednesday, Sapin said he would work with the European Commission to "find the path to common interests" as the EU pushes France to reduce its deficit. "Europe will be in better shape when France is in better shape," Sapin said.

Euro mixed in Asia ahead of ECB meet

The euro was mixed in Asia Thursday as investors turn their attention to a European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting later in the day, after worrying inflation data had sparked speculation of a rate cut. The single currency edged up to 143.01 yen from 142.96 yen in New York Wednesday, while it weakened to $1.3757 from $1.3765. The dollar gained on the Japanese unit to 103.94 yen, from 103.85 yen in US trade. There was speculation a few weeks ago that the central bank would take action to counter the possibility of deflation.

Euro slips ahead of ECB meeting

The euro lost ground against the dollar Wednesday after three straight sessions of gains amid caution ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting. Most expect the ECB to hold the course on rates Thursday without introducing any special stimulus after some relatively positive data on eurozone growth in recent days. Most traders seem to have given up speculation from a few weeks ago that the central bank would take action to counter the threat of deflation, with ECB officials saying they don't see a real threat.

Greece sees 'trial and error' bond foray, full return in 2016

By Lefteris Papadimas and Deepa Babington ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's first foray into bond markets after a four-year exclusion will be on a "trial and error" basis but the nation expects to fund itself unaided in 2016, its finance minister told Reuters on Wednesday. Buoyed by bond yields at a four-year low and a long-awaited deal with EU/IMF lenders that has unlocked more aid, Athens says it could issue debt as early as within the next three months.
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