Europe

During his eight years at the helm of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi has earned a reputation for getting his way, the Financial Times reported. As he lines up a fresh salvo of monetary stimulus next week, investors are betting heavily that the Italian can corral any reluctant colleagues one last time. Government bonds in the eurozone have staged an unprecedented summer rally, with yields sinking to record lows across the currency bloc.

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Eversmart Energy has ceased trading, British energy market regulator Ofgem said on Friday, Reuters reported. The company has around 29,000 domestic customers and a very small number of business customers. The company confirmed it was ceasing trade on its website but did not give a reason. Ofgem said it will choose a new supplier to take on all of Eversmart Energy’s customers. This supplier will contact customers shortly after being appointed.

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Switzerland’s UBS plans another shake-up of its investment banking arm to help boost earnings and curb costs after tough market conditions precipitated a performance dip, Reuters reported. The world’s largest investment banks have had their worst start to a year since 2006, the latest data published by industry analyst Coalition on Thursday shows. “What’s been communicated today was a reorganisation, which did not include a specific number of job cuts,” a person familiar with the matter said, adding that the restructuring would be carried out by the end of the year.

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When policymakers at the European Central Bank meet next week to debate the prospect of a fresh economic stimulus package, one of the key issues on the table will be whether their own measures are doing more harm than good, the Financial Times reported. The era of unprecedented monetary policy loosening that Mario Draghi launched in 2012 when he declared that he would do “whatever it takes” to support the single currency heralded a shift towards negative interest rates. The ECB’s main deposit rate hit zero that year and successive cuts have left it at -0.4 per cent since 2016.

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Peugeot automaker PSA Group and its Chinese partner Dongfeng Group have hammered out a plan to restructure their joint venture operations, slashing costs in the short term and aiming to boost annual sales to 400,000 vehicles by 2025, PSA said on Thursday, Reuters reported. Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobiles (DPCA), the joint venture based in Wuhan, central China, plans to reduce the break-even point to below 180,000 vehicles in 2019 and further reduce to below 150,000 vehicles between 2020 and 2021, according to a post on PSA’s social media account in China.

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Ayondo GmbH (AYG), the Frankfurt-based subsidiary of the retail trading group, has filed for insolvency, Finance Magnates reported. Updates on the group’s stock exchange news feed indicate that the company, which provides social trading services, made the filings on 14th of August. Just over a week later, on the 22nd of August, ayondo also said that ayondo Holding AG, a Swiss subsidiary of the group and the parent company of AYG, had also filed for insolvency.

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Restructuring of JSC Ukrzaliznytsia can last from one to three-four years depending on the scenario the government will choose, Ukrzaliznytsia head Yevhen Kravtsov told the journalists in the European Business Association (EBA) on Wednesday, Interfax reported. "There was an instruction to prepare a restructuring plan for Ukrzaliznytsia. For our part, we completely got in this process. We have already suggested in previous discussions with the minister a possible scenario for restructuring.

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Sweden’s central bank plans still to raise interest rates this year or early next but increases would then be at a slower pace than previously forecast, prompting the currency to rally against the euro in early trading, the Financial Times reported. The Riksbank, in a statement on Thursday accompanying its decision to keep rates on hold at minus 0.25 per cent, said that “as before” borrowing costs “are expected to be raised towards the end of the year or at the beginning of next year”.

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There is no predicting where the UK is headed: an election, a no-deal Brexit, a second referendum, all of the above? But we can say something about the state in which the UK economy finds itself on the cusp of whatever it is that it is facing, the Financial Times reported. That state is evidently not good. Since the Brexit referendum, UK growth has been lagging behind that of the G7 as a whole, after leading it for the preceding four years. The past quarter put the UK at the very bottom of the G7 growth table, with a contraction of 0.2 (an annualised rate of nearly 1 per cent).

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Deutsche Bank’s chief executive has warned about the negative side effects of a likely cut in interest rates by the European Central Bank next week, arguing it would do little to stimulate the economy but would deepen divisions in society, the Financial Times reported. Christian Sewing told a banking conference in Frankfurt that an expected lowering of eurozone interest rates further into negative territory “may make refinancing cheaper for governments but it will have serious side-effects”.

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