Europe

The European Union on Wednesday urged member countries to provide relief funds to consumers and small businesses hit hardest by rising gas and electricity prices, as criticism mounts that the bloc’s climate change fighting policies are fueling the problem, the Associated Press reported. In recent days, France and Spain have led the charge for change to the rules governing EU energy markets as the price surge ramps up already-high utility bills and increases pressure on many people already hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
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Britain's government bond market is showing signs of strain from the country's energy crisis, with headlines about gas prices sparking heavy selling this week - a new development that points to growing unease over inflation expectations, Reuters reported. There was disarray in Britain in recent days as a deficit of truckers left fuel pumps dry across the land and a spike in European wholesale natural gas prices tipped energy companies into bankruptcy.
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Britain's competition regulator has scrapped its action against Ryanair and British Airways over their failure to offer refunds to passengers prevented from flying by COVID-19 restrictions, saying the legal position was unclear, Reuters reported. During pandemic lockdowns, instead of offering refunds to those legally unable to fly, IAG-owned British Airways offered vouchers or rebooking and Ryanair providing the option to rebook.
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Barcelona was technically bankrupt when president Joan Laporta took over earlier this year, the club said Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. Barcelona CEO Ferrán Reverter presented a grim picture of the club’s financial situation while releasing the results from a Deloitte audit that started after Laporta arrived in March following the resignation of former president Josep Bartomeu and his board of directors last year.
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TUI AG will raise 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) by selling new stock, making it the latest travel company to tap investors for cash to reduce a giant pandemic debt pile, Bloomberg News reported. The share sale, at a discount price of 2.15 euros each in a rights offering, will allow the world’s biggest tour operator to reduce its draw on a state-backed rescue loan to zero, TUI said Wednesday in a statement. Airlines have been selling stock to firm up balance sheets as easing border restrictions begin to revive bookings.
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A post-Covid growth surge in the Irish economy is expected to generate 160,000 additional jobs over the next two years, reducing the unemployment rate to below 6 per cent, the Central Bank has said, the Irish Times reported. In its latest quarterly bulletin the regulator predicted turbo-charged growth of 15.3 per cent this year, nearly double its previous forecast in July, and 7.2 per cent next year on the back of a rapid resurgence in consumer spending linked to the unwinding of €16 billion in excess savings built up during the pandemic.
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The European Union said on Wednesday it will examine the way its power market is run and consider proposals to revamp regulations within the bloc, as it seeks to keep plans to tackle climate change on track amid record-high energy costs, Reuters reported. European electricity and gas prices have rocketed this year as tight gas supplies have collided with strong demand in economies recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Bulgaria'seconomy is expected to rebound with growth of 4% this year and accelerating to 4.9% in 2022, the finance ministry said in its autumn macroeconomic forecast on Wednesday, Reuters reported. The small and open economy contracted by 4.2% in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic hit jobs and businesses. The ministry said strong domestic demand in the first half of 2021 has prompted it to increase its GDP growth forecast from an earlier estimate of 3.5%.
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Iceland‘s central bank raised borrowing costs for the third time this year, citing a continued housing price rally and concerns of growing inflation expectations, Bloomberg News reported. Policy makers lifted the seven-day term deposit rate by a quarter-point to 1.5%, the highest level since March 2020. In May, Iceland became the first country in western Europe to tighten monetary policy since the pandemic struck. One of the main drivers for inflation is housing prices which have surged close to 15% in the last 12 months, helped by lower borrowing costs.
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Beleaguered Italian ferry operator Moby SpA dropped its request for an order blocking Morgan Stanley from trading in the company’s debt or interfering in its restructuring, Bloomberg News reported. Moby told a federal court in New York late Sunday that it was withdrawing its application for a temporary restraining order against the bank, which it accused in a Sept. 27 lawsuit of participating in a secret plan to foil its restructuring in Italy and seize control from other creditors.
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