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Greece can use bank rescue cushion to avert new bailout

Greece wants to use some 11 billion euros ($15 billion) left in its EU bank rescue package to meet upcoming needs and avoid a new bailout loan, a government source said on Wednesday. "The 11 billion euros can keep Greece from needing a third loan," a Greek finance ministry source said on the sidelines of a two-day Eurogroup meeting in Athens. "We are covered for the next 12 months. With this 11 billion we will be covered to 2016. It's simple logic," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

U.S. fines Morgan Stanley for not segregating client funds

By Douwe Miedema WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Thursday fined Morgan Stanley <MS.N> $490,000 for violating rules that require futures brokers to protect clients by keeping their money segregated from other funds on the bank's books. Morgan Stanley's futures trading unit transferred some $16 million from a segregated client account in 2013, and it also mixed segregated funds and its own money during a six-month period in 2012.

Central bank lifts Portugal's 2014 growth path to 1.2%

The Portuguese central bank signalled on Wednesday that Portugal is winning its battle to emerge from a debt crisis and deep recession, sharply upgrading the outlook for growth. The bank said that growth was set to be 1.2 percent this year instead of 0.8 percent estimated previously. The latest figure is a new sign that countries rescued at the height of the eurozone debt crisis are seeing the rewards of radical restructuring and deeply unpopular austerity.

Germany's top court clears euro bailout fund

Germany's highest court on Tuesday ruled once and for all that the European bailout fund is in line with the country's constitution, throwing out a raft of objections by eurosceptics. Confirming a preliminary ruling from September 2012, the Federal Constitutional Court issued its final judgement, saying it saw no obstacle to Germany taking part in the 500-billion-euro ($696-billion) European Stability Mechanism (ESM), set up to bail out troubled countries and their banks.

Germany's constitutional court upholds participation in rescue fund for euro countries

FRANKFURT - Germany's constitutional court has upheld the country's participation in a fund that can bail out troubled governments in the eurozone. The court in Karlsruhe ruled Tuesday that being part of the fund did not violate the German parliament's right to decide how taxpayer money is spent. Germany is the largest backer of the fund because it is the biggest economy in the 18-country currency union.

German top court to rule on ESM, this time for good

Germany's highest court will Tuesday make its final ruling on the legality under national law of the European bailout fund, the ESM, having earlier backed it in principle. Throughout the eurozone turmoil since 2010, the Constitutional Court has repeatedly been asked by eurosceptics to rule on whether new EU crisis-fighting tools are in line with Germany's constitution. The red-robed judges have always validated European decisions, or sent them to a European court, while reinforcing the German parliament's right to be consulted and informed.

New Italian PM: EU's Stability Pact the Stupidity Pact

New Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has branded the Stability Pact rules for eurozone economies "A Stupidity Pact." In comments that will have raised eyebrows in Brussels and Berlin, Renzi defended his centre-left government's efforts to stimulate a stagnant economy with demand-led measures that will push Italy's budget deficit. The deficit is currently forecast by the European Commission to fall to 2.6 percent of GDP by the end of this year. Renzi calculates that his measures will push it up towards the 3 percent ceiling permitted under the Stability Pact.

Revamped Societe Generale triples net profit in 2013

French bank Societe Generale on Wednesday said it tripled net profit last year thanks to an improved balance sheet and would more than double the dividend payout to shareholders. Shares in the bank, France's third biggest by assets, soared nearly six percent on the news, leading gains on the Paris CAC 40 index which was up just 0.41 percent in midday trading.

France capable of more than 1% growth in 2014

Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said on Friday that the French economy could grow by more than 1.0 percent this year, higher than the 0.9 percent forecast until now, if new government reforms lead to a return in confidence. "Yes, we can do more than one percent in 2014. That's our desire," Moscovici told the daily Le Monde. He said "there is a fundamental psychological element of the economy, if all participants ... can mobilise themselves, confidence can return and investment will accelerate."

Firms spend over 6 trillion won on entertainment expenses: data

SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean companies spent some 6.6 trillion won (US$6.24 billion) in 2012 on expenses that mostly go to treating their business clients to meals and entertainment, data showed Tuesday. The amount represents 0.19 percent of the combined sales of the country's 3.6 million companies that are worth 3,450 trillion won, according to the data compiled by market researcher Chaebol.com. It is also a 3 percent increase from a year earlier.
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