Europe

Swiss banks have criticised planned new measures designed to cool the country's red hot property market, saying the steps were unnecessary and would do nothing to slow rising house prices, Bloomberg News reported. The government said on Wednesday that from October, lenders must increase their cushion against home lending risks, sounding the alarm over one of Europe's most expensive housing markets, where total mortgage lending has swollen to more than $1 trillion.
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Britain hopes to secure significant progress in post-Brexit trade talks with the European Union by February and win the support of pro-British unionists in Northern Ireland opposed to the current arrangements, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, Reuters reported. Truss was speaking on Thursday during a visit to Belfast, where she spoke to politicians and business people about their concerns about post-Brexit restrictions on trade between the British region and the rest of the United Kingdom. "I want to make significant progress by February. That's important.
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Two former Deutsche Bank AG traders were cleared by an appeals court in the latest blow to the troubled transatlantic crackdown on manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, Bloomberg News reported. Matthew Connolly and Gavin Black were found guilty of wire fraud in 2018 for rigging Deutsche Bank’s Libor submission. But the U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Thursday threw out their convictions, saying prosecutors failed to prove the two men influenced the bank into making false or misleading submissions. Prosecutors in the U.S. and the U.K.
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Stellantis is preparing to early repay a 6.3 billion euros ($7 billion) loan backed by Italian government its predecessor Fiat Chrysler obtained at the peak of a COVID-19 outbreak, two sources close to the matter said on Thursday, Reuters reported. Repaying the loan potentially frees Stellantis from a set of conditions that Rome attached to it, including preserving jobs at its Italian operations, timely paying suppliers that are crucial for local plants or financing domestic investments, in particular for electric vehicles. The repayment is imminent, one of the sources said.
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The German government expects consumer price inflation to rise further this year, contrary to earlier projections, which will likely lead to higher wage demands by labour unions, the economy ministry said in its annual economic report yesterday, Reuters reported. The government predicts a national inflation rate (CPI) of 3.3% for 2022 after 3.1% in 2021 as higher energy costs and a scarcity of semiconductors and other intermediate products continue to push up overall prices, the ministry said.
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Sweden will extend its current pandemic measures by another two weeks, the minister for health said on Wednesday, as the Omicron variant is spreading at record speed, Reuters reported. The curbs mean bars and restaurants have to close at 2300 and there is a cap of 500 people inside larger indoor venues. "We have an extremely high level of spread," Health Minister Lena Hallengren told a news conference. "The restrictions must remain in place for two weeks.
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Imerys SA, the French provider of specialty materials, is planning a sale of its high temperature solutions business, Bloomberg News reported. The Paris-based company is working with advisers at Morgan Stanley and Rothschild & Co. to gauge interest in the unit. It could fetch as much as 900 million euros ($1 billion). The high temperature solutions division provides minerals to make insulation materials for molds and furnaces used by metal foundries and iron and steel producers, as well as to protect industrial equipment used in power plants, chemical refineries and cement factories.
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Squeezed by soaring yields and potential government price caps, European utilities are making a dash to the bond market, Bloomberg News reported. Energy companies from Italy’s Enel SpA and Germany’s E.On SE have raised 9.1 billion euros ($10.3 billion) in January, the highest tally in data going back to 2014. Utilities account for a third of all investment-grade corporate bond offerings in Europe so far this year. Issuance is up 53% compared with January 2021.
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Serbia’s second attempt to sell off the bankrupt Putnik Prijepolje tour company and its assets, including the Bosko Buha memorial complex in the south-western Serbian municipality of Prijepolje, was halted on Tuesday, with no reason given, BalkanInsight.com reported. The sale was scheduled for Friday but the Bankruptcy Supervision Agency, which is in charge of state-owned companies that have declared bankruptcy, said on Tuesday that it has decided to “cancel the sale of the real estate of the bankruptcy debtor… and to withdraw the announcement for the sale of its [property] units”.
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The U.K.’s markets watchdog warned it will come down hard on struggling firms that leave customers out of pocket when they resort to legal procedures to manage their liabilities, Bloomberg News reported. The Financial Conduct Authority has seen an increase in the number of firms developing plans that deploy company or insolvency law, such as schemes of arrangement, to manage how much they owe in claims to their clients, the regulator said in a statement on Tuesday. The FCA said it would take action against companies if their proposals unfairly benefit them at the expense of clients.
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