Europe

The two-year recession in German industry is showing few signs of ending after orders in the country’s manufacturing sector fell more than expected in October with a further shrinkage expected in November, the Financial Times reported. Provisional figures published on Thursday showed that new manufacturing orders fell by 0.4 per cent in October, compared with the previous month, according to the Federal Statistics Office. Economists polled by Reuters had expected an increase of 0.3 per cent.

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Brussels has warned that member states are sharply divided after Eurozone finance ministers failed to agree on plans to accelerate the introduction of a bloc-wide banking union, casting doubt over completion of the project, the Financial Times reported. The planned “road map” for banking union was devised during the sovereign debt crisis to boost financial stability by centralising supervision and crisis management of banks.

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Hopes of striking a grand bargain over the eurozone’s banking union project are in tatters. Coalition woes in Italy and Germany, arguably the two most significant countries in the eurozone’s integration battle, have put the brakes on an elusive compromise that EU finance ministers had hoped to seal this afternoon, the Financial Times reported. It was only last month that Brussels was awash with tentative optimism over Germany dropping longstanding red lines over the vexed issue of European Banking Deposit Insurance (EDIS).

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The commercial court in Paris has given Kosc Telecom six months to find a buyer. In a statement, the wholesale operator said that it will continue to trade as normal while undergoing insolvency proceedings, Telecompaper reported. It also revealed that so far around ten companies, including financial firms, have expressed an interest in the business. At the end of October, the commercial court had given Kosc more time to repay debt owed to Altice France. Since then, the operator has been actively negotiating a way forward with shareholders and potential buyers to avoid liquidation.

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The euro area made some progress toward completing its banking union and reforming its bailout fund, though political turmoil in two of its largest economies torpedoed hopes for a full agreement, Bloomberg News reported. In talks that went late into the night on Wednesday, finance ministers gathered in Brussels couldn’t overcome longstanding differences, missing a goal to finalize a package of measures to strengthen the single currency by year-end. Instead they made marginal progress, leaving key technical issues open, while only agreeing to keep talking on others.

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Clintons Sold Out of Administration

Clintons, the high street greeting card chain, was sold out of administration on Wednesday to the Weiss family, its current owners, in a deal that will save 2,500 jobs and 334 stores, the Financial Times reported. The long-troubled retailer, formerly Clinton Cards, had faced increasing cash flow pressures. In September the company brought in KPMG to review options for restructuring. Wednesday’s transaction will allow the group to escape many of its debt obligations.

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Ailing conglomerate Thyssenkrupp has worked out a new strategy for the group’s steel business, a leading labor representative said on Tuesday, adding the roadmap included significant investments but also restructuring steps, Reuters reported. The strategy paper was presented to the supervisory board of Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe on Tuesday, following labor protests at the division’s headquarters in Duisburg, in the heart of the Ruhr area, Germany’s industrial heartland.

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Sweden’s central bank is this month expected to swim against the tide of global monetary policy by raising interest rates even as the Scandinavian country’s economy softens, the Financial Times reported. A manufacturing sentiment survey published on Monday showed the lowest activity reading since 2012, the latest in a series of gloomy economic data. Growth in the third quarter was weaker than the Riksbank expected, according to figures released on Friday, which showed the economy grew 0.3 per cent compared with the previous quarter and 1.6 per cent year on year.

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UniCredit, Italy’s largest lender, said it plans to cut 8,000 jobs and seek regulatory approval for a share buyback that will be seen as a litmus test for the wider European banking sector, the Financial Times reported. The moves were part of a four-year strategic plan unveiled by chief executive Jean Pierre Mustier on Tuesday, which will also lead to the closure of 500 branches in an effort to save €1bn of costs in Western Europe.

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UK manufacturers reported cutting jobs at the fastest pace since 2012 as they were “squeezed between a rock and hard place”, and reducing their stocks as new orders faltered, according to a closely watched industry survey, the Financial Times reported. The IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing slipped to 48.9 in November, down from 49.6 in October, but above the earlier flash estimate of 48.3.

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