Europe

Energy giant Uniper posted a net loss of around $39.3 billion for the first nine months of the year—one of the biggest in Germany’s corporate history—highlighting the financial fallout from Russia’s decision to throttle natural-gas deliveries to Europe, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company, which is soon to be nationalized by Germany in an attempt to stabilize it and protect its customers, said Thursday it was finalizing the details of additional state-support measures.
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The Bank of England’s policymakers raised interest rates on Thursday by the largest amount since 1989, intensifying their battle against inflation even as the central bank predicted that the British economy would enter a “prolonged” recession, the New York Times reported. The bank lifted its key policy rate by three-quarters of a point, ramping up its effort to tighten financial conditions and taking the rate to 3 percent, the highest since November 2008.
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Out-of-pocket creditors have been in a forgiving mood since Covid-19 shuttered businesses in 2020, but that looks to be changing, Bloomberg News reported. A form of legal action in which creditors can apply to have companies shut down and their assets sold to pay debts has become increasingly common. Firms were protected from some forms of creditor action by legislation brought in during the pandemic, but those restrictions ended earlier this year.
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The Czech Republic held borrowing costs at the highest level since 1999 as the central bank expects a looming recession to curb the worst inflation in three decades, Bloomberg News reported. Policy makers left the benchmark rate at 7%, keeping it stable for a third meeting after the bank’s new leadership halted a year of rapid monetary tightening. The bank also said it will maintain its intervention policy of preventing excessive koruna swings, which has helped the currency outperform regional peers this year.
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Lending to British consumers rose last month by less than expected and the number of mortgages approved by British lenders eased back, according to Bank of England data on Monday that point to tougher times ahead for Britain's economy, Reuters reported. The BoE said that net unsecured consumer credit rose by 745 million pounds ($861 million) in September, the smallest monthly increase since December 2021, following a 1.215 billion pound increase in August. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to net lending of just under 1 billion pounds.
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Britain, rattled by the recent near meltdown of some pension funds, is pressing ahead to tighten oversight of the so-called shadow banking sector, taking the lead ahead of possible co-ordinated international action, Reuters reported. U.K. regulators could preempt recommendations by the G20's Financial Stability Board (FSB) to require permanently higher liquidity buffers for Liability Driven Investment (LDI) funds - used by UK defined benefit pension schemes - backed by regular stress tests, two sources said.
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International Monetary Fund and Serbian authorities have reached an agreement for 2.4 billion euro ($2.37 billion) loan deal over the next two years, the lender said in a statement on Wednesday, Reuters reported. "This arrangement would help address emerging external and fiscal financing needs given the challenging global economic environment and support the authorities’ macroeconomic policies and structural reform efforts, with a focus on the energy sector," the IMF said in the statement.
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Germany's slowing economy means the government can borrow almost 36 billion euros next year, almost twice as much as expected, the Finance Ministry said, Reuters reported. In a letter to a legislator, first reported by newspaper Bild, the ministry said that provisions in Germany's constitutional debt brake aimed at balancing a cap on borrowing across the economic cycle meant the previously expected cap of 17.2 billion euros could now be exceeded. "This shows that the debt rule contains sufficient flexibility to remain effective even in crises," the letter read.
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The German government said Wednesday that it plans to make plastic manufacturers contribute to the cost of cleaning up litter in streets and parks, the Associated Press reported. The Cabinet agreed on a bill that makers of products containing single-use plastic will need to pay into a central fund managed by the government, starting in 2025. The fund is estimated to collect about 450 million euros ($446 million) in the first year, based on the companies’ past production of single-use plastic. Affected items include cigarette filters, drink containers and packaging for takeout food.
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Bankruptcies for Swedish companies rose to their highest level since the start of the pandemic as prices are soaring and the country’s central bank is raising borrowing costs to quell inflation, Bloomberg News reported. In September, 635 companies in the largest Nordic nation went bankrupt -- the highest level since May 2020 --increasing by 38% from a year earlier, according to data from credit reference agency UC. The data adds to the gloomy picture for the Swedish economy that’s seen contracting the most in the Nordic region next year.
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