Headlines

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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President Nicolas Maduro is funneling cashflow from Venezuelan oil sales through Russian state energy giant Rosneft as he seeks to evade U.S. sanctions designed to oust him from power, according to sources and documents reviewed by Reuters. The sales are the latest sign of the growing dependence of Venezuela’s cash-strapped government on Russia as the United States tightens a financial noose around Maduro, who it describes as a dictator, Reuters reported.

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Turkey’s central bank has bolstered its foreign currency reserves with billions of dollars of short-term borrowed money, raising fears among analysts and investors that the country is overstating its ability to defend itself in a fresh lira crisis, the Financial Times reported. Reported net foreign reserves held by the central bank stood at $28.1bn in early April — a sum that investors already believed was inadequate because of Turkey’s heavy need for dollars to cover debt and foreign trade.

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Embattled Chinese conglomerate HNA Group has denied accusations of embezzlement and financial irregularity made by a rival group of shareholders in Hong Kong Airlines (HKA) as the two sides fight for control of the struggling carrier, Reuters reported. The allegations were made by Zhong Guosong and Frontier Investment Partner who between them control 61 percent of HKA’s shares. On Tuesday, they declared they had taken control of the carrier and made Zhong, a former HKA director, chairman after an extraordinary shareholder meeting.

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The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has ruled out suspending the work of Nama pending the final report of the investigation into the sale of the agency’s Northern Ireland loan portfolio, The Irish Times reported. In June 2017, the Government appointed retired High Court judge John Cooke to investigate Nama’s £1.24 billion (€1.43 billion) sale in 2014 of the Northern portfolio to US distressed-debt firm, Cerberus.

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Pakistan’s finance minister resigned on Thursday following widespread criticism over the country’s economic crisis and his handling of a bailout deal with the IMF, the Financial Times reported. Asad Umar’s departure comes amid frustration from business leaders and opposition politicians with Islamabad’s decision last year to turn to countries including Saudi Arabia and China for at least $7.2bn in short-term loans instead of securing an IMF bailout package.

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British shoppers ignored worries about an impending Brexit deadline and spent heavily in March, official data showed on Thursday, supporting the country’s sluggish economy while companies were cutting back on investment, Reuters reported. Retail sales volumes surged by the most in nearly two-and-a-half years in annual terms, leaping by 6.7 percent. That was way above all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.

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Thousands of employees have been stung by the rapid unraveling of Jet Airways, which, saddled with more than $1.2 billion in bank debt, grounded all its planes on Wednesday after lenders rejected a plea for emergency funds, Reuters reported. The shutdown has deepened the crisis as dues to lessors, staff and suppliers pile up and lenders scramble to find a buyer for what was once India’s largest private airline. Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube told employees on Wednesday that the sale would take time and could throw up more challenges, but he was confident the airline would fly again.

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Ukrainian tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky won a major victory on Thursday in his battle with the government over the nationalization of the country’s largest bank as a court ruled the change of ownership was illegal, Reuters reported. The ruling is a big setback for the government, which wrested PrivatBank from Kolomoisky, a co-founder of the bank, in December 2016. PrivatBank was nationalized as part of a clean-up of the banking system backed by the International Monetary Fund, which supports Ukraine with a $3.9 billion loan program.

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