Financial News from AFP

  • EU defends Greek data as statistician faces court AFP - 10 hours ago
    EU defends Greek data as statistician faces court

    The EU insisted Wednesday that Greek economic data were reliable after Greece's top court reopened a case against the ex-head of the state statistics agency for exaggerating deficit figures. Marianne Thyssen, the European Commissioner for social affairs, urged the Greek government to "challenge the false impression" that the figures were fiddled under Andreas Georgiou. "It is absolutely clear that data on Greek government debt during 2010-2015 have been fully reliable and accurately reported to Eurostat," said Thyssen, the commissioner in charge of the EU's statistics agency.

  • EU and Portugal agree 4.6-bn-euro bailout for CGD bank AFP - 11 hours ago
    EU and Portugal agree 4.6-bn-euro bailout for CGD bank

    The EU and Portugal have agreed on a 4.6-billion-euro deal to recapitalise the state-owned Caixa Geral de Depositos (CGD) bank, the European Commission said Wednesday. The deal was approved by European Union competition chief Margrethe Vestager to meet the 28-nation bloc's tough rules on preventing unfair government aid for businesses. Portugal's banks have been under huge stress after the collapse of the country's major lender Banco Espirito Santo in 2014 due to years of risky lending.

  • PetroChina profit almost wiped out in first half AFP - 12 hours ago
    PetroChina profit almost wiped out in first half

    China?s biggest oil producer PetroChina's net profit plunged 97.9 percent in the first half of this year, it said Wednesday, as it struggled with a weak domestic economy and low oil prices. Net profit was 531 million yuan ($79.9 million) in the January to June period, down drastically from the 25.4 billion yuan it made in the same period last year, PetroChina said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where it is listed. The figure was its lowest half-year net profit since it listed in 2000, Bloomberg News reported.

  • European equities mainly rise on German GDP AFP - 12 hours ago
    European equities mainly rise on German GDP

    European stock markets mostly rose on Wednesday, shrugging off a largely downbeat session in Asia, with sentiment partly lifted by German economic growth data. Strong foreign trade and buoyant consumption ...

  • AstraZeneca sells part of antibiotics unit to Pfizer AFP - 15 hours ago
    AstraZeneca sells part of antibiotics unit to Pfizer

    British drugs giant AstraZeneca on Wednesday agreed to sell part of its antibiotics business to US giant Pfizer for up to $1.6 billion (1.4 billion euros). The deal for the company's small-molecule antibiotics, or those developed using traditional chemistry, is expected to complete in the fourth quarter, AstraZeneca said in a statement. The news comes days after Pfizer bought San Francisco-based biotech firm Medivation, which specialises in cancer treatments, for $14 billion.

  • Asian markets struggle, oil losses widen on glut woe AFP - 15 hours ago
    Asian markets struggle, oil losses widen on glut woe

    Most Asian markets slipped Wednesday as traders trod water ahead of a key speech by Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen this week, while oil suffered fresh losses on persistent glut worries. With speculation growing that US interest rates could rise by the end of the year, Yellen's comments at a global central bankers meeting in Jackson Hole Friday will be scoured for forward guidance on US central bank policy. "While recent US data has been mixed, the base case for the Fed is probably to increase rates in the absence of any compelling reason not to," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist in Sydney at CMC Markets, told Bloomberg News.

  • Australian carrier Qantas soars to record profits AFP - 16 hours ago
    Australian carrier Qantas soars to record profits

    Australian carrier Qantas Wednesday posted record annual profits and announced its first payout to shareholders in seven years, staging a turnaround after axing jobs and selling aircraft in an aggressive restructuring. The results were also boosted by the sharp fall in global oil prices and a less competitive domestic market that has given the firm a stable base of earnings. Qantas reported a net annual profit of Aus$1.42 billion (US$1.08 billion) in the year to June 30, an 80 percent increase from the previous corresponding period.

  • What political deadlock? Spain economy forges ahead AFP - 16 hours ago
    What political deadlock? Spain economy forges ahead

    Spain has for months been awash with warnings that the country's long-lasting political deadlock threatens to harm a fragile recovery, but the economy is forging ahead regardless... for now, analysts say. The country has been without a fully-functioning government for eight months with squabbling political parties unable to reach any kind of pact following inconclusive polls in December, and again in June. Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, whose conservative Popular Party came first in both polls though without an absolute majority, is negotiating to try to form a minority or coalition government.

  • German economy grows at better than expected rate AFP - 16 hours ago
    German economy grows at better than expected rate

    Strong foreign trade and buoyant consumption drove Germany's economy, Europe's largest, to better-than-expected growth in the second quarter, federal statistics office Destatis said on Wednesday. "Compared with the previous quarter, the positive impulses above all came from foreign trade," Destatis said in a statement.

  • Japan takes aid show to Africa in China's shadow AFP - 16 hours ago
    Japan takes aid show to Africa in China's shadow

    Japan takes its aid show to Africa this weekend, with a huge development conference in Kenya, hoping quality will trump quantity in the battle for influence against cash-rich China. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe -- fresh from an appearance as Super Mario at the Olympic Games in Rio -- will meet with dozens of leaders from across Africa in Nairobi. Tokyo has a well-established presence in Africa, but its financial importance to the continent has long-since been eclipsed by regional rival China.

  • Secret data leak hits French submarine maker: report AFP - 16 hours ago
    Secret data leak hits French submarine maker: report

    French defence contractor DCNS has been hit by a massive leak of secret data on its submarines likely to alarm India, Malaysia and Chile which use the boats, The Australian newspaper reported on Wednesday. The 22,400 leaked pages, which the daily said it had seen, detail the combat capability of the Scorpene-class DCNS submarine designed for the Indian navy, variants of which are used by Malaysia and Chile. Australia in April awarded DCNS an Aus$50 billion (US$38 billion) contract to design and build its next generation of submarines.

  • China's COFCO buys rest of Dutch commodity trader AFP - 17 hours ago
    China's COFCO buys rest of Dutch commodity trader

    China's state-owned grain giant COFCO will buy out minority shareholders in Netherlands-based commodity trader Nidera and take full ownership of the company, it said, as it seeks to become an agribusiness powerhouse. COFCO's deal to buy out the remaining 49 percent of Nidera, which trades grains and soybeans among other agricultural commodities, comes two years after it bought just over half of the company for $1.2 billion. The deal would give China greater control over pricing on the world's grain markets, as well as better access to major grain-growing regions, such as Latin America and Russia.

  • Asian markets struggle, oil resumes losses on glut woe AFP - 20 hours ago
    Asian markets struggle, oil resumes losses on glut woe

    Most Asian markets slipped on Wednesday as traders trod water ahead of a key speech by Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen this week, while oil suffered fresh losses on persistent glut worries. With speculation growing that US interest rates could rise by the end of the year, Yellen's comments at a global central bankers meeting in Jackson Hole Friday will be scoured for forward guidance on US central bank policy. "While recent US data has been mixed, the base case for the Fed is probably to increase rates in the absence of any compelling reason not to," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist in Sydney at CMC Markets, told Bloomberg News.

  • Giant cruise ship heads to Arctic on pioneering journey AFP - 20 hours ago
    Giant cruise ship heads to Arctic on pioneering journey

    The Crystal Serenity, which set off from Seward, Alaska on August 16 with nearly 1,000 passengers, is scheduled to dock in New York on September 17. The ship made its last Alaska port call on Sunday, stopping in the remote town of Nome before heading farther north, accompanied by the RRS Ernest Shackleton, a British supply and icebreaking vessel. The voyage marks the first time a passenger ship this size sails the storied Northwest Passage where warmer temperatures and melting ice are opening the Arctic -- one of the most pristine places on Earth -- for business.

  • What went wrong in Brazil? AFP - 21 hours ago
    What went wrong in Brazil?

    At the height of the emerging markets boom, Brazil looked tantalizingly close to finally living down an old joke: that it is the country of the future... and always will be. Tripped up by its worst political and economic crises in recent memory, Brazil will hit a new low Thursday when suspended president Dilma Rousseff faces an impeachment trial before the Senate. Lula and his Workers' Party had the good fortune to arrive at the beginning of a commodities boom, fueled by ravenous Chinese demand for iron ore, oil and other raw materials that are Brazil's specialty.

  • French submarine maker hit by secret data leak: report AFP - 22 hours ago
    French submarine maker hit by secret data leak: report

    French defence contractor DCNS has been hit by a massive leak of secret data on its submarines likely to alarm India, Malaysia and Chile, which use the boats, The Australian newspaper reported Wednesday. The 22,400 leaked pages, which the daily said it had seen, detail the combat capability of the Scorpene-class submarine DCNS designed for the Indian navy, and variants of which are used by Malaysia and Chile. Australia awarded DCNS an Aus$50 billion (US$38 billion) contract last April to design and build its next generation of submarines.

  • Australia carrier Qantas soars to record profits AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 11:30 PM AEST
    Australia carrier Qantas soars to record profits

    Australian carrier Qantas on Wednesday soared to a record annual net profit and announced a first payout to shareholders in seven years in a strong turnaround after major restructuring. Underlying profit before tax -- Qantas' preferred measure -- also hit a record of Aus$1.53 billion.

  • World Bank presidency search opens with Kim's hat in ring AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 11:13 PM AEST
    World Bank presidency search opens with Kim's hat in ring

    World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim will seek a second term of office, the global development lender said Tuesday as it announced the start of a selection process for the presidency. Following an unwritten rule, the United States, the Bank's largest shareholder, has always chosen its president, while the International Monetary Fund leader has been drawn from Europe. The World Bank staff association said in an open letter on August 8 that this tradition flew in the face of principles of transparency, diversity and merit-based selection, given that the process had always selected an American man.

  • Australia carrier Qantas posts record net profit AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 11:08 PM AEST
    Australia carrier Qantas posts record net profit

    Australian carrier Qantas on Wednesday soared to a record annual net profit and announced a first payout to shareholders for seven years in a strong turnaround after major restructuring. The airline reported a net annual profit of Aus$1.42 billion (US$1.08 billion) in the year to June 30, an 80 percent increase from the previous corresponding period. Underlying profit before tax -- Qantas' preferred measure -- also hit a record of Aus$1.53 billion.

  • S.African finance minister summoned over police probe: spokeswoman AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 10:28 PM AEST
    S.African finance minister summoned over police probe: spokeswoman

    South Africa's finance minister has been summoned to appear before a special police investigative unit, a treasury spokeswoman told AFP Tuesday. Pravin Gordhan was commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) from 1999 to 2009. An investigation into the matter was reportedly opened in 2015 by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), known locally as the Hawks.

  • Markets rise as investors await Yellen speech AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 10:19 PM AEST
    Markets rise as investors await Yellen speech

    World markets ventured higher on Tuesday, as eurozone data encouraged a measure of optimism and anticipation built for a speech due Friday from the head of the US central bank. Janet Yellen, chair of the ...

  • France sued over control of Titanic artifacts AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 8:09 PM AEST
    France sued over control of Titanic artifacts

    The bankrupt US company that controls thousands of artifacts salvaged from the ill-starred Titanic has sued the French government to be allowed to sell some of them. Premier Exhibitions filed the suit in a Florida federal bankruptcy court to press the French government to clarify it has no interest in the artifacts that would prevent their sale. The judge ruled that the French government could still retain some rights over the first batch of some 2,100 artifacts recovered from the Titanic in 1987 by a Premier subsidiary together with the French maritime institute IFREMER.

  • Irish immigration turns positive for first time in seven years AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 6:25 PM AEST
    Irish immigration turns positive for first time in seven years

    More people came to live in Ireland in the year to the end of April than emigrated for the first time since 2009, with thousands of Irish citizens returning to the Emerald Isle, official figures showed on Tuesday. The state agency reported a 14.4-percent increase in net immigration to 79,300, compared with 69,300 the previous year, the country?s Central Statistics Office (CSO) said. Since then Ireland's economy has recovered and has now recorded 15 consecutive quarters of growth.

  • Canada, Australia privacy watchdogs find Ashley Madison lacked security AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 6:18 PM AEST
    Canada, Australia privacy watchdogs find Ashley Madison lacked security

    The website for cheaters, Ashley Madison, that was hit by a massive hack that exposed millions last year has agreed to bolster its data security after Australian and Canadian investigations found it to be "insufficient or absent," officials said Tuesday. A joint investigation by the offices of the Australian and Canadian privacy commissioners concluded after more than one year that Avid Life Media, which operates the website, "had inadequate security safeguards and policies" in place prior to the July 2015 hack. "Privacy breaches are a core risk for any organization with a business model based on the collection and use of personal information," Canadian Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said in a statement.

  • Berlusconi company seeks 570m euros from Vivendi in pay-tv spat AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 5:51 PM AEST
    Berlusconi company seeks 570m euros from Vivendi in pay-tv spat

    Silvio Berlusconi's Fininvest holding company said Tuesday it was suing media giant Vivendi for 570 million euros ($645 million) in damages over the French group's refusal to go through with a pay-tv deal. The damages and interest are being claimed over losses Fininvest says it incurred as a result of Vivendi pulling out of a deal to buy 100 percent of Mediaset Premium, the pay-tv arm of Berlusconi's company Mediaset. The suit follows similar legal action by Mediaset, which is seeking 50 million euros per month for non-application of the deal, which Vivendi backed out of last month, offering instead to take a 20 percent stake in Premium and a 15 percent stake in Mediaset via a bond convertible into equity.

  • European markets rise on better data AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 4:57 PM AEST
    European markets rise on better data

    European stock markets rebounded on Tuesday, driven by improving eurozone data and signs that the initial impact of Britain's shock EU exit vote may not be as bad as feared. Investors were also looking ...

  • European markets rise on better data European stocks rebound AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 4:45 PM AEST
    European markets rise on better data European stocks rebound

    European stock markets rebounded on Tuesday, driven by improving eurozone data and signs that the initial impact of Britain's shock EU exit vote may not be as bad as feared. Investors were also looking ...

  • Terror, strikes and rain: France sees 7% tourism drop AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 4:28 PM AEST
    Terror, strikes and rain: France sees 7% tourism drop

    The number of tourists visiting France has dropped seven percent since January, with foreigners deterred by terror attacks but also by bad weather and transport strikes, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Monday. "Tourist arrivals since the start of the year have fallen by seven percent across the country," with Paris worst- hit, said Ayrault, who is also tourism minister. France is the world's top tourist destination.

  • ECB 'may act' if governments don't reform faster: Board member AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 3:25 PM AEST
    ECB 'may act' if governments don't reform faster: Board member

    The European Central Bank (ECB) may be forced to bolster its monetary stimulus programmes if governments fail to act to boost their economies, board member Benoit Coeure said on Tuesday. "If there is not much taking place on the structural reform front, if there's not much taking place on the fiscal policy front... then the ECB will do more," Coeure told a Geneva panel discussion, Bloomberg News reported. The ECB's governing council is to meet on September 8, after members chose to take no new measures at a July meeting weeks after Britain's shock vote to quit the EU.

  • US new-home sales hit nearly nine-year high AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 3:11 PM AEST
    US new-home sales hit nearly nine-year high

    Sales of new homes in the United States hit their highest pace in nearly nine year in July, helped by pent-up demand and ultra-low mortgage rates, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics noted that the monthly housing sales data is very volatile and that a recent slowdown in mortgage applications could signal somewhat weaker demand in the coming months.

  • Price rise for anti-allergy EpiPen sparks furor AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 3:01 PM AEST
    Price rise for anti-allergy EpiPen sparks furor

    A five-fold price hike for EpiPen, which allergy sufferers use to counteract life-threatening reactions, has made Mylan the newest drugmaker to come under attack in the United States for profiteering. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, which holds a near-monopoly position on the epinephrine injectors used by millions against severe allergic attacks, was assailed by two powerful US senators for pumping up the price over six years from $100 to more than $500. "I am concerned that the substantial price increase could limit access to a much-needed medication," senior Republican Senator Charles Grassley, chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee, said in a letter to the company.

  • European markets bounce back European stocks rebound AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 2:37 PM AEST
    European markets bounce back European stocks rebound

    European stock markets rebounded on Tuesday, driven by slightly improving data in the eurozone. In the countries that use the single currency, economic activity edged higher in August with few signs that ...

  • Turkey cuts rates again, defying inflation leap AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 1:39 PM AEST
    Turkey cuts rates again, defying inflation leap

    Turkey's central bank on Tuesday cut its main interest rate by 25 basis points, defying a sharp jump in inflation following the failed July 15 coup. The central bank said the overnight lending rate was trimmed to 8.5 percent from 8.75 percent and its one-week repurchasing rate remained stable at 7.5 percent. The cut was the fifth straight trimming by the central bank under new governor Murat Cetinkaya amid strong pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a more dovish monetary policy to stimulate growth.

  • Qatar Airways announces first AFL sponsorship deal AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 1:28 PM AEST
    Qatar Airways announces first AFL sponsorship deal

    Qatar Airways, sponsors of FC Barcelona, have branched into a new sport, signing a deal with Australian Football League team Sydney Swans, the airline announced on Tuesday. The three-year deal will allow Qatar Airways to receive "prominent branding" at Sydney's home games and at the club's training grounds, the airline said in a statement. "We strongly believe in connecting with our global travellers through their passion for sport, and have been looking for the right partner for Qatar Airways in Australia's sports arena," said the carrier's CEO, Akbar Al Baker.

  • VW reaches deal with suppliers, heading off production crisis AFP - Tue, Aug 23, 2016 12:51 PM AEST
    VW reaches deal with suppliers, heading off production crisis

    Troubled German car giant Volkswagen said Tuesday it had reached a deal with suppliers to resume deliveries after a stoppage that forced the group to halt production at several plants. "The affected sites are preparing step-by-step to resume production," VW said in a statement. VW and suppliers Cartrim and ES Guss -- which make seat covers and gearbox parts -- had been locked in a dispute over the component makers' decision to halt deliveries.