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Rising energy and fuel bills are driving growing numbers of UK companies into insolvency, as firms struggle to cope with higher costs, supply and staff shortages, and the withdrawal of Covid support packages from the government, the Guardian reported. Corporate insolvencies in England and Wales jumped by more than 80% in the past quarter from a year earlier, while the number of firms opting to be liquidated hit the highest level in at least six decades. They accounted for almost nine in 10 of the total.
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The Italian parliament has given its final approval to a highly contested bill to promote competition in product and services markets, required to help secure a new tranche worth 19 billion euros ($19.4 billion) of post-pandemic European funds, Reuters reported. The reform championed by the outgoing government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi has triggered protests from lobby groups, especially taxi drivers who were against opening up their sector to broader competition including from multinationals.
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Euro zone retail sales plunged in June and factory gate prices continued to rise, data showed on Wednesday, adding to fears the 19-country single currency zone is heading for recession, Reuters reported. The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said the volume of retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro, already adjusted for inflation, fell 1.2% month-on-month in June for a 3.7% year-on-year decline. Economists polled by Reuters had expected unchanged monthly sales and only a 1.7% annual fall.
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The German government will have to amend its energy security law again in September as its gas levy cannot yet be imposed on all consumers, including those with fixed prices contracts, government and parliamentary sources told Reuters on Wednesday. A gas levy, which had been set to come into force from October, was envisaged as a tool to collect funds from all gas consumers to support ailing gas importers that are struggling with soaring prices due to falling Russian gas export flows.
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The pace of job creation is slowing in Canada, hammered by the sharp rise in interest rates, but that is yet to hold back companies from hiring as they face a tight labour market that has pushed the unemployment rate to a record low, Reuters reported. Statistics Canada is set to release its latest jobs data on Friday, and a Reuters poll forecast employment in July to rise by a net 20,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate ticking up to 5% from 4.9% after 43,200 jobs were lost in June.
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Sri Lanka’s new president said Wednesday that his government is preparing a national policy roadmap for the next 25 years that aims to cut public debt and turn the country into a competitive export economy as it seeks a way out of its worst economic disaster, the Associated Press reported. President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his speech to Parliament said Sri Lanka needs long-term solutions and a strong foundation to stop a recurrence of economic crises.
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The International Monetary Fund said it would work with Bangladesh to design a loan program request in coming months that meets the country's economic and social dynamics and has "safeguards" in the event of a further deterioration in economic conditions, Reuters reported. In a revised statement of support for Bangladesh's request for a loan from the new IMF Resilience and Sustainability Trust, the Fund said that work on an RST loan will proceed as the new trust is being made operational.
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European banks are hoping the boost to their businesses from higher interest rates will be long-lasting as they navigate the economic fallout of war, soaring inflation, and a looming energy crisis, Reuters reported. The German lender Commerzbank on Wednesday reported a bigger-than-expected second-quarter net profit that it said was especially helped by higher interest rates.
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The three-month London interbank offered rate for dollars climbed to a nearly 14-year high as traders brace for steady interest-rate hikes from the Federal Reserve, backing away from speculation the central bank will ease up as the economy shows signs of cooling, Bloomberg News reported. The Libor rate rose for the fourth straight session, climbing roughly 2.5 basis points to 2.83%, the highest since November 2008. The spread of Libor over overnight index swaps was slightly narrower at around 17.3 basis points.
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Mexico's COVID-battered aviation sector has benefitted from a robust reactivation of travel, but analysts fear its takeoff could be soon shaken by recession in the United States, Reuters reported. Profits of air terminal operators in Mexico's most important tourist destinations grew strongly last quarter, thanks to solid traffic numbers for both domestic and international passengers. "Aviation has had a surprising recovery," said Pablo Casas, director of the National Institute of Aeronautical Legal Research (INIJA).
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