Europe

Britain's post-lockdown economic rebound slowed sharply in May despite a relaxation of social-distancing rules, according to official data which also showed a hit to carmakers from the global shortage of microchips, Reuters reported. Gross domestic product expanded by a monthly 0.8%, much faster than its typical pre-pandemic pace but down from April's 2.0% surge. It was also a lot weaker than the median forecast of 1.5% in a Reuters poll of economists. "Of course, the pace of the recovery was always going to slow as the economy climbed back towards its pre-crisis level.
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French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that he is confident the Group of 20 economies will back a deal on international tax, even as his country pushes for a higher minimum corporate rate, Bloomberg News reported. The G-20 meeting in Venice is poised to give its backing to a deal signed by 131 countries for a minimum corporate levy of “at least 15%,” and new rules for dividing up the tax revenues from the world’s largest companies -- particularly U.S. tech giants.
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British finance minister Rishi Sunak called for progress on a global deal to agree a minimum corporate tax rate and how to split revenue from large multinationals, as finance ministers from 20 of the world's biggest economies prepare to meet, Reuters reported. Sunak chaired a meeting of finance ministers from the Group of Seven in London last month which reached a provisional agreement, and 130 countries backed similar wide-ranging changes after talks in Paris last week. After years of stalemate, global tax talks gained fresh impetus in recent months under the new administration of U.S.
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On the crowded waterside quay of Dublin’s Silicon Docks neighborhood, Google’s European headquarters tower above the skyline. Facebook and Twitter are neighbors. The European bases of Apple, Pfizer and hundreds of U.S. multinationals are implanted around the country, symbols of the commerce produced by Ireland’s famously low corporate taxes.
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The European Central Bank said Thursday that it would adjust the guideposts it uses to set monetary policy, giving it more room to deploy crisis measures even if inflation rises above its official target, the New York Times reported. The bank also said that it would begin using its clout in bond markets to fight climate change. After concluding an 18-month review of its strategy, the bank’s Governing Council said Thursday that it would no longer aim to keep inflation below, but close to, 2 percent, its guiding principle since 2003.
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The United Kingdom is liable to pay 47.5 billion euros ($56.23 billion) to the European Union as part of its post-Brexit financial settlement, RTÉ News reported late on Thursday, according to Reuters. The figures are contained in the EU's consolidated budget report for 2020, according to RTÉ News, with the report adding that the money is owed under a series of articles which both sides agreed to as part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement. The total amount, if confirmed, is significantly higher than expected.
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Packing sweaty, heavy-breathing strangers into enclosed spaces may seem like a disastrous business model for the post-pandemic era. But you wouldn’t know it from the love investors are showing shares and bonds of gyms in the U.K., Bloomberg News reported. Gym Group Plc’s stock has jumped about 28% this year, recouping almost all its losses from Covid-19 closures. In the bond market, investors have piled into high-yield debt offerings from the budget chain Pure Gym PLC and the more upmarket David Lloyd.
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The European Commission said Wednesday that successful vaccination drives and government stimulus will allow the eurozone economy to make up the ground lost because of the pandemic by the end of the year, instead of early next year as previously forecast, the New York Times reported. The commission, the European Union’s administrative arm, said in its official summer forecast that the 19 countries in the eurozone will grow 4.8 percent in 2021, half a percentage point more than previously forecast.
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History suggests Britain's house price surge could threaten hopes of post-Brexit export-powered growth, if finance minister Rishi Sunak uses the housing market to fuel the economy like his predecessors did, Reuters reported. Stoked by his tax break on property purchases and a pandemic-driven rush for larger houses as more people work from home, house prices are rising at the fastest annual rate - at 13.4% in June - since 2004, lender Nationwide says. The housing market holds totemic importance in Britain as a driver of wealth.
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