Europe

One of Europe’s leading industrialists has said the continent’s largest companies will invest more money in jobs and innovation at home as the attractions of investing in China diminish and the US turns more protectionist. Carl-Henric Svanberg, chairman of the European Round Table of Industrialists and head of Swedish truckmaker Volvo, vaunted the merits of European stakeholder capitalism over the American and Chinese models, saying it was more sustainable despite the heavier burden of taxation and red tape. “I actually think it works better here than it does in the east and west.

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The British government is considering giving lawmakers a vote on a critical piece of Brexit legislation as early as next week, a change of tack as it tries to kick-start the country’s stuttering exit from the European Union. British lawmakers returned to the Brexit treadmill Tuesday after an Easter break, to face the familiar conundrum: finding a deal on the U.K.’s exit from the EU that can win a majority in Parliament. Prime Minister Theresa May wants the U.K.

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Serbia's Bankruptcy Supervision Agency said it is selling assets of insolvent wheat and animal feed wholesaler Mlinostep. The auction will take place on May 24 at a starting price of 170.9 million dinars ($1.6 million/1.4 million euro), the Bankruptcy Supervision Agency said in a statement on Monday. The list of assets put up for sale includes warehouses, silos and land in Stepanovicevo, in northern Serbia. A deposit of 68 million dinars is required to participate in the auction. Mlinostep was declared bankrupt in November 2016.

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The Deposit Guarantee Fund of Ukraine last week sold insolvent banks' assets worth UAH 80.26 million, the fund's press service reports. “Last week the assets of 25 banks, which are in the management of the Fund, were sold for UAH 80.26 million,” the report says. In particular, UAH 50.56 million was received from the repayment of fund creditors' claims, UAH 26.08 million from the sale of main banks' assets, and UAH 3.14 million from the sale of accounts receivable. Also, UAH 0.15 million was obtained from the direct sale of banks’ property.

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Economists in Milan and London are debating whether Italy is carrying so much debt that it might collapse into a Greek-style financial crisis, Business Insider reported. Their fear is that because Italy is so much bigger than Greece — and because Italy is one of the Big Three economies underpinning the eurozone — that the scale of such a crisis might be more difficult to contain this time around.

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The Scottish economist Adam Smith described Britain as a nation of shopkeepers in his book The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. Today, the UK is simply a country of shoppers, the Financial Times reported. Rarely has Britain been consuming so much and saving so little. As a nation — which statisticians break down into households, companies and the government — Britain spends far more than it earns. On this measure, the UK borrowed 5 per cent of national income in 2015, according to the OECD, the Paris-based international organisation.

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UK asset manager M&G Investments has emerged as key to Bank of Ireland being able to remove €375 million of problem loans from its balance sheet. The investment group, a unit of London-based life insurance giant Prudential, has bought 95 per cent of the lowest rank notes – or equity portion – of a bond transaction Bank of Ireland used this month to refinance the non-performing, but mainly restructured, buy-to-let mortgages in the bond market, The Irish Times reported.

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British state-controlled lender the Royal Bank of Scotland has doubled its funding pot to support small businesses to 6 billion pounds ($7.8 billion), but says the extra cash is no longer primarily for Brexit-proofing businesses, Reuters reported. NatWest, the biggest trading arm of RBS, said it had topped up its so-called Growth Fund in response to high demand from firms in industries including green energy and technology. The lender previously topped up the fund from 1 billion pounds to 3 billion pounds in October.

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The eurozone’s manufacturing sector remains stuck in a rut as its two largest economies missed expectations and continued to contract in April, according to a closely watched survey of industry executives, the Financial Times reported. The IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing in Germany rose slightly to 44.5 from 44.1 previously, but this was below expectations in a Reuters poll of an increase to 45. The index for the French manufacturing sector fell to 49.6 from 49.7, despite anticipation of a rise to 50.

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Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into corruption allegations against a junior transport minister who serves as economic adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, judicial sources said on Thursday, Reuters reported. Armando Siri, a prominent member of the right-wing League party, is suspected by prosecutors of taking bribes to help companies operating in the renewable energy sector, the sources said. Siri did not respond to requests from Reuters for comment, but was quoted by Italian newspapers as denying all wrongdoing.

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