Europe

German brewers have been forced to throw away unsold beer and have asked the government for financial aid as the coronavirus lockdown reduces demand, they said on Monday, Reuters reported. German pubs, hotels and restaurants have been closed since November in the country’s second lockdown following the first one earlier last year. The brewers called on the German government to give beer breweries aid under the country’s programmes to help industry recover from the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Germany’s government has given financial aid to pubs and bars but not breweries.

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European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said her institution is “closely monitoring” the market for government bonds, in a sign that she might act to prevent rising yields undermining the economic recovery from the pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. Yields are on the increase worldwide as investors bet that vaccinations will soon enable countries to end coronavirus restrictions, potentially unleashing a burst of consumer spending -- also fueled by fiscal stimulus -- that could boost inflation.
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Borrowers with higher debt burdens than the current Central Bank of Ireland’s rules allow are more likely to have sought payment breaks during the current crisis, the Irish Central Bank’s deputy governor Sharon Donnery has said, according to a Irish Times report. This was proof that the regulator’s mortgage lending rules had helped the financial sector “absorb rather than amplify the shock of the pandemic”, she said. The Central Bank’s rules curtail consumers to borrowing within strict loan-to-value (LTV) and loan-to-income (LTI) limits.

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Airlines say they've already seen a surge in bookings, following the Prime Minister's announcement of the road map out of lockdown, BBC.com reported. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that a global travel taskforce would put forward a report on how to return to international travel on 12 April. The government would then make a decision on removing restrictions on international travel. However, this would not happen until 17 May at the earliest. Tui reported that they had had their best day of bookings in over a month, with strong interest in Greece, Spain and Turkey for the summer.

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Lawyers representing defunct Belgian airline ChallengeAir moved on Friday to seize Air Namibia’s headquarters after the state carrier failed to honour a 10 million euro ($12.14 million) settlement agreement reached last month to save it from liquidation, Reuters reported. Air Namibia survived liquidation attempts by creditor ChallengeAir SA in January when the two firms reached the settlement agreement minutes before liquidation proceedings were due to kick off.
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A British judge on Friday blocked the release of internal HSBC documents relating to U.S. fraud allegations against Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, Reuters reported. Meng is facing charges of bank fraud in the United States for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to violate U.S. sanctions. She has been under house arrest in Canada since being detained at Vancouver airport in 2018 and has become one of the most high-profile figures in a trade war between China and the United States.
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The Commercial Court of the Republic of Kalmykia has completed bankruptcy proceedings against a firm believed to be formerly controlled by William Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management, according to court records, RASPINews.com reported. The court has granted a petition lodged by Kirill Nogotkov, a bankruptcy manager of the former Browder’s company. In November 2019, the Sixteenth Commercial Court of Appeals upheld recovery of 388,400 rubles ($5,200) from HSBC Bank and HSBC Management in favor of Dalnaya Step, denying granting its claim in full.

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German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz warned next year’s federal budget will be a “challenge,” while pledging not to cut investment or welfare spending, Bloomberg News reported. Scholz, who is running as the Social Democrats’ candidate for chancellor in September’s election, is due to present a draft 2022 budget next month. His comments highlight the fiscal conundrum facing the next government, which polls suggest will again be led by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc after she steps down.

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Renewed COVID-19 lockdowns are pushing Air France-KLM deeper into the red, the airline group warned on Thursday, as it chalked up a 7.1 billion euro ($8.5 billion) net loss for 2020 and postponed a key mid-term profitability goal, Reuters reported. The airline group expects to fly 40% of its pre-crisis capacity in January-March, as tougher travel curbs in France and beyond widen losses from the 407 million euros in negative earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) recorded in the fourth quarter.
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444 businesses declared bankruptcy in Belgium last month, resulting in the loss of 1,002 jobs according to the latest figures from Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, the Brussels Times reported. Of those jobs, 629 were full-time, 209 were part-time, and 164 were employers. In terms of a regional breakdown, the majority of bankruptcies came from Flanders with 219, followed by Wallonia with 136 and 89 in Brussels. This more or less reflects the variance in the number of overall businesses in each region.
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