Europe

Getting ahead in global finance after Brexit needs sustained British government impetus, the City of London's policy chief said on Wednesday, adding that COVID-19 may be masking some of the impact of leaving the EU, Reuters reported. Britain's financial sector lost most of its access to the European Union, which had been its single biggest export customer, after completing its exit from the bloc a year ago.
Read more
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire dangled the possibility of further tax cuts for industry, in a sign President Emmanuel Macron is preparing to again run on a pro-business platform in April’s elections, Bloomberg News reported. Addressing company executives in Paris, he said the state needs to look further at how to lessen a burden that disadvantages France’s manufacturing sector compared to European peers.
Read more
Government tax receipts surged to a record €68.4 billion last year as consumer spending and employment rebounded from the pandemic at a sharper-than-expected rate, the Irish Times reported. Year-end exchequer returns, published by the Department of Finance, show tax receipts rose by almost 20 per cent or €11 billion last year despite the negative impact of restrictions to curb the coronavirus at the start of the year. The latest numbers pointed to an exchequer deficit of €7.4 billion for 2021, an improvement of nearly €5 billion on 2020.
Read more
British consumers took on the most debt since July 2020 in the runup to Christmas, with a surge in borrowing on credit cards, Bloomberg News reported. Consumers added 1.2 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) to their unsecured debts in November, up from 828 million pounds in the previous month, Bank of England data published on Tuesday show. Economists had expected a gain of about 800 million pounds. The figures indicate strength in the economy in the weeks before the omicron variant of the coronavirus struck the U.K.
Read more
Some European property reinsurance rates rose by more than 50% at Jan. 1 renewals after the region suffered record insured losses last year from natural catastrophes such as floods and storms, a report by broker Gallagher Re showed on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Reinsurers insure the insurers, and reinsurance rate rises are often passed onto insurers' customers.
Read more
German retail sales rose unexpectedly in November, data showed on Tuesday, lifting them to a record annual high despite renewed COVID-19 restrictions which held back a consumer-led recovery in Europe's largest economy, Reuters reported. The Federal Statistics Office said retail sales were up 0.6% on the month in real terms. That beat a Reuters forecast of a fall of 0.5%. For 2021, retail sales rose 0.9% in real terms and 3.1% in nominal terms, reaching record highs despite curbs on non-essential visits to the shops.
Read more
German unemployment fell more than expected in December, data showed on Tuesday, in a further sign that the labour market in Europe's largest economy remains resilient despite rising COVID-19 infections, Reuters reported. The Labour Office said the number of people out of work fell by 23,000 in seasonally adjusted terms to 2.405 million. A Reuters poll had forecast a fall of 15,000. "The labor market developed well at the end of the year. The recovery of the previous months continued," Labour Office head Detlef Scheele said.
Read more
Poland may decide to introduce new restrictions if cases of new coronavirus infections continue to grow, Polish health minister Adam Niedzielski told radio station RMF FM on Monday, as the country prepares for the spread of the Omicron variant, Reuters reported. Poland has been dealing with persistently high daily case numbers in a fourth wave that forced authorities to tighten restrictions in December.
Read more
Restaurateur Jay Bourke faces a battle to get court approval for a massive debt write-off, after a creditor owed €12.2m lodged an objection to the proposal, the Sunday World reported. Mr. Bourke has debts totaling €13.7m, and it emerged in November he intended to ask the High Court to sanction a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA) that would wipe out around €12.5m of what he owes and allow him to keep his €1.4m family home in Rathmines, south Dublin.
Read more