Europe

A Conservative Party row over cuts to U.K. foreign aid spending is a warning of bigger challenges to come for Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, as he tries to repair public finances battered by the pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. Privately, officials acknowledge the government has its hands full in Parliament despite holding a significant majority, because a group of MPs in Boris Johnson’s ruling party have repeatedly shown their willingness to rebel. That’s proved especially problematic on foreign aid, which is legally mandated at 0.7% of gross domestic product.
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Exemptions to mortgage lending rules fell during the Covid-19 pandemic but there was no sign of a deterioration in borrower credit quality, according to a report from the Central Bank of Ireland, the Irish Times reported. Just 13 per cent of new home lending by value was granted an exemption to rules on income multiples and home value in 2020, the regulator found, down from 17 per cent in 2019. The rate of exemptions had been higher than 2019 in the first three months of the year, but there was a sudden drop in exemptions in April as the impact of the first Covid lockdown was felt.
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The U.K.’s chief negotiator called on the European Union to show “pragmatism and common sense,” instead of threatening to retaliate, as the two sides meet to resolve differences over the deal that was supposed to keep trade flowing after Brexit, the Associated Press reported. David Frost made the comments after his EU counterpart said the bloc was ready to act “firmly and resolutely” if the U.K. fails to honor its commitments under the divorce agreement.
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Ryanair will appeal against funds made available to the government-owned Italian airline that will replace Alitalia as it considers them illegal state support, the chief executive of the Irish carrier said on Saturday, Reuters reported. "As soon as this money will be injected in the newco we will take the (due) steps," CEO Eddie Wilson told Italian daily la Repubblica in an interview. "We are waiting to see, but it is clear that it is illegal aid and we will defend our interest by appealing against this umpteenth loan," he added.
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In mid-March, shares in ViacomCBS Inc. and Discovery Inc. rocketed skyward. That was great news for Bill Hwang. His firm, Archegos Capital Management, had borrowed billions from Credit Suisse Group AG to make wagers on a handful of stocks, including the entertainment companies, according to a Wall Street Journal reported. As is standard practice, Archegos had handed over cash to Credit Suisse to secure its bets. With the stocks more than doubling since the start of the year, Archegos asked for some of that money back, and it was credited.
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The auditor of Greensill Capital’s German bank withdrew its certifications of the failed lender’s 2019 annual accounts after allegations of irregularities, Bloomberg News reported. Ebner Stolz, a Stuttgart, Germany-based auditing firm, informed the bank’s insolvency administrator on April 23 about the step, according to a filing published on Friday in Germany’s Bundesanzeiger, the federal gazette for company disclosures. Greensill Bank was shuttered by German financial regulator BaFin in March as the lender’s parent company, founded by Lex Greensill, collapsed.
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Britain has clinched post-Brexit trade agreements with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein as it seeks to forge new global trading relationships after leaving the European Union, Reuters reported. The three nations, which are part of the European Economic Area allowing them access to the single market, have relied on temporary trade arrangements with Britain since the end of a Brexit transition period on Dec. 31.
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Finance ministers from the main industrialised countries are set to discuss a deal on the reform of the global corporate tax system , including a minimum tax rate for multinationals, at a G7 meeting in London this weekend, the Irish Times reported. The ministers look certain to signal support for a deal and reports on Thursday evening pointed to efforts to achieve a breakthrough on key details, including a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15 per cent, above the Republic’s 12.5 per cent rate.

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Invesco Ltd. and Searchlight Capital Partners LP are lobbying creditors of Mediapro to back a restructuring deal enabling them to take a stake in the producer of top-flight Spanish soccer broadcasts left reeling by the pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. The investment firms sent a restructuring proposal to lenders to Mediapro including Cairn Capital Ltd. and Carlyle Group, on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matter.
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Amigo has fuelled fears among investors that it will fall into insolvency by saying it will not challenge a High Court decision to block its plan to cut compensation payments to customers who were mis-sold loans, the London Times reported. Shares in the guarantor lender fell by as much as 15.6 per cent yesterday after it said that it had decided against pursuing an appeal against last week’s judgment from Mr Justice Miles.
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