Europe

Germany’s finance minister has offered hope of a breakthrough in plans to create a full eurozone banking union by ending Berlin’s opposition to a common scheme to protect savers’ deposits, the Financial Times reported. Olaf Scholz said that Europe’s global role would be undermined if it failed to complete the integration of the eurozone’s financial sector. The plan to centralise oversight of eurozone banks was conceived seven years ago in response to the region’s deep sovereign debt crisis. “The need to deepen and complete European banking union is undeniable.

Read more

Europe’s private banks and asset managers are facing a crisis as business models are hollowed out by negative interest rates, the chief executive of Edmond de Rothschild has warned, the Financial Times reported. Vincent Taupin, who has run the Swiss bank since March, also cautioned that neither acquisitions or attracting more money from customers offers an easy answer for the industry.

Read more

Shareholders in former Latvian bank Trasta suffered a setback on Tuesday when the European Court of Justice ruled that their action against the European Central Bank was inadmissible before the court, Reuters reported. The ECB withdrew Trasta Komercbanka’s banking license in 2016 after it broke rules to fight money laundering and terror financing. The General Court of the European Union had previously ruled in 2017 that the case of the group of shareholders was admissible. However, the European Court of Justice, the EU’s upper court, said that the lower court had erred in its judgment.

Read more

German tennis great Boris Becker has had his bankruptcy restrictions extended to 2031 after an investigation into assets and undisclosed transactions valued at more than 4.5 million pounds ($5.80 million), Reuters reported. Becker, who won six Grand Slam singles titles in his career including three at Wimbledon, was made bankrupt on June 21, 2017 in the London High Court. Under the terms of the bankruptcy order, the 51-year-old was bound to provide full disclosure of assets to the trustee and inform any lenders of his situation when seeking to borrow more than 500 pounds.

Read more

Mothercare is set to close all its British stores with the loss of at least 2,500 jobs after its domestic operations buckled under the weight of the pressures plaguing the retail sector, Reuters reported. The company, a baby products retailer that operates 1,010 overseas franchise stores, has fallen victim to extremely difficult conditions in Britain on the back of stiff competition from online retailers and rising costs. “The UK high street is facing a near existential problem with intensifying and compounding pressures across numerous fronts,” Mothercare Chairman Clive Whiley said.

Read more

Factory activity across the euro zone contracted sharply last month as demand was again stifled by the U.S. trade war with China and the persistent lack of clarity over Britain's departure from the European Union, a survey showed, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. Worryingly for policymakers at the European Central Bank, who have restarted a 2.6 trillion euro (£2.3 trillion) bond-buying programme after cutting interest rates on deposits in September, the malaise appears to be spread across the region.

Read more

Struggling baby products retailer Mothercare is set to appoint administrators to its loss-making British business, putting about 2,500 jobs at risk and dealing yet another blow to the country’s beleaguered retail sector, Reuters reported. Mothercare’s UK sales have been hammered by intense competition from supermarket groups and online retailers as well as by rising costs. The group also has a profitable international business, with over 1,000 stores in over 40 territories.

Read more

Stockpiling ahead of the now-postponed October 31 Brexit deadline limited the contraction in UK manufacturing activity at the start of the final quarter of the year, according to a business survey, the Financial Times reported. The IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index for manufacturing rose to 49.6 in October from 48.3 in September. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a marginal decline to 48.1.

Read more

Geir Karlsen has been busy. Over the past four months, the chief executive of Norwegian Air Shuttle has sold off a large chunk of the airline’s assets at a remarkable pace as he attempts to secure the future of the world’s fifth-biggest low-cost carrier, the Financial Times reported. But the 54-year old acting chief executive, who took the top job in July and also wears the airline’s chief financial officer hat, remains sombre. “We’re not happy”, he said, when asked if he is pleased with the changes he has made, but added that the airline is “on the right track”.

Read more

Nikolaos Karamouzis has honed his knowledge of Greece’s crisis-stricken economy over more than three decades in finance and perhaps sees investment opportunities where others fear to tread, Bloomberg News reported. The former banker is putting together a fund to invest in some of the struggling small and medium-sized enterprises that still play a critical role in the Greek economy, providing six out of 10 jobs -- twice the European Union average. Many are weighed down by soured loans but Karamouzis believes some retain significant potential if money is targeted in the right places.

Read more