Economy of Europe

Euro rate stays at 0.5 per cent

The ECB slightly lowered its economic outlook for the euro area this year, saying output would decline by 0.6 per cent in 2013 but grow by 1.1 per cent next year. Photo: AFP

The European Central Bank kept its main interest rate on hold at a record low 0.5 per cent yesterday, saying that improved economic data in May confirmed its forecast of a gradual recovery from prolonged recession later this year.

Friday, 7 June, 2013, 3:46am

EU fails to adapt to borderless world

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Photo: AFP

I do not entirely follow the reasoning of this notable hot-air merchant. If the European Union truly has evidence that its citizens, personal or corporate, defraud it of €1 trillion a year, why do its law-enforcement agencies not take action?

26 May 2013 - 4:35am 6 comments

Euro-zone rate cut unlikely to boost lending

The European Central Bank could cut its interest rates from record lows and unveil new measures to kick-start bank lending, analysts say.

The European Central Bank, meeting in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava today, could cut its interest rates from record lows and unveil new measures to kick-start bank lending, analysts say.

2 May 2013 - 3:47am

Austerity frenzy proven to be wrong. So will it be halted?

Pensioners march in an anti-austerity rally in Athens, Greece. Photo: Reuters

In this age of information, maths errors can lead to disaster. Nasa's Mars Orbiter crashed because engineers forgot to convert to metric measurements; JPMorgan Chase's "London Whale" venture went bad in part because modellers divided by a sum instead of an average. So, did an Excel coding error destroy the Western world's economies?

21 Apr 2013 - 4:56am 3 comments

ECB stands ready to ease policy if needed, says Draghi

ECB stands ready to ease policy if needed, says Draghi

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank stands ready to cut interest rates if the economy deteriorates further, and officials are considering additional measures to boost growth as the debt crisis enters its fourth year.

5 Apr 2013 - 5:10am

Cyprus' bailout marks a turning point

The Governor of Central Bank of Cyprus Panicos Demetriades said in a press conference "a superhuman effort" is being made for the banks to open on March 28 and he also confirmed that a so-called haircut or levy on deposits over 100,000 euros ($130,000) at the stricken Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank would be 'around 40 percent.' Photo: AFP

What has set Cyprus apart is that it is one of the smallest members of the euro zone, with a failed banking system much bigger than its economy. Likewise, the €10 billion (HK$101 billion) rescue deal with international lenders, though more than half its GDP, is small change compared with the hundreds of billions in bailouts for Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. But it marks a turning point in European leaders' approach to bailouts, with the balance of risk shifted from taxpayers to private investors.

27 Mar 2013 - 3:09am

Thank the Cypriot parliament for averting euro-catastrophe

The Cypriot parliament voted unanimously against plans to slap a tax on the islanders' bank deposits. Photo: AP

It can have surprised no one that members of the Cypriot parliament voted unanimously against plans to slap a tax on the islanders' bank deposits.

21 Mar 2013 - 5:20am 4 comments

Cypriots shocked as euro bail out includes 10pc tax on bank accounts

People queue at an ATM in Larnaca, Cyprus, yesterday. Photo: AP

Cyprus government agreed to a €10 billion (HK$101 billion) bailout that includes an unprecedented levy on all bank deposits. The debt rescue package, agreed with the euro zone and International Monetary Fund earlier in the day in Brussels, is significantly less than the €17 billion Cyprus had initially sought.

18 Mar 2013 - 9:48am

Weak Western growth to hit cargo demand

Orient Overseas (International) Limited's Chief Financial Officer Ken Cambie.

Anaemic growth in the US and little improvement in Europe's economic conditions will make 2013 as "challenging" as last year for Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), the financial head of the shipping line's parent company said yesterday.

7 Mar 2013 - 6:12am

US to launch free trade talks with EU

The United States will open talks with Europe to launch what would be the world's largest free trade zone.

Answering mounting calls from the European Union to pursue a grand trade pact to spur growth on both sides of the Atlantic, Obama said the proposed treaty would help boost American exports and jobs.

14 Feb 2013 - 4:53am

China 'will be H&M's top market', says CEO Persson

H&M chief executive Karl-Johan Persson is looking to open outlets in India and South America as European demand struggles. Photo: AP

China's economy is "growing rapidly", Persson said, though he declined to give a time frame for when the country will be the Swedish company's top market. Persson also said H&M would consider opening outlets in India, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina, as European demand struggles to recover.


1 Feb 2013 - 5:22am

German business confidence up more than expected

German Chancellor Angela Merkel  in the Swiss resort of Davos. Photo: AFP

German business confidence has increased more than expected this month as hopes rise that Europe’s largest economy will quickly put behind it a weak patch and benefit from an easing in the continent’s financial turmoil, a closely watched survey showed on Friday.

26 Jan 2013 - 9:53am

Asia-Pacific's time to shine

A key factor in keeping Sydney's prices high is an under supply of property. Photo: Bloomberg

One person's challenge is another's opportunity, or so the saying goes. In the context of property investment, the euro zone's continuing woes seem to augur well for Asia-Pacific markets.

A global research report by real estate services firm DTZ suggests that from an investor's perspective "most Asia-Pacific markets remain attractive", considering the degree of uncertainty elsewhere.

23 Jan 2013 - 4:47am

Le Chinese tour de luxe

Mainland Chinese shoppers are bolstering prospects for luxury European brands like Milan-based Prada. Photo: Bloomberg

Move aside Mona Lisa. More Chinese visitors are headed to Paris and they are picking luxury stores such as Galeries Lafayette over visits to the Louvre.

19 Jan 2013 - 5:12am

World Bank bearish on global outlook

A man begs outside at a market in Valencia, eastern Spain. The World Bank has warned that a slow recovery in developed nations is acting as a brake on the global economy. Photo: EPA

Warning that the global economy continues to be fragile, the World Bank yesterday sharply cut the growth outlook for this year.

The multilateral bank forecast global gross domestic product this year would edge up to 2.4 per cent from 2.3 per cent in 2012, revised down from the 3 per cent growth it predicted in June.

17 Jan 2013 - 3:22am