Europe's main markets were mixed at Thursday's close, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies rising 0.33 percent to end the day at 6,630.47 points. In the eurozone, the CAC 40 in Paris ...
In a new report on Greece's financing needs, the International Monetary Fund also cut the country's economic growth prospects for this year to zero percent from 2.5 percent forecast in April. "Greece faces a significantly larger financing need going forward than we thought last year," a senior IMF official told journalists.
British energy giant BP on Thursday said it had agreed to settle US federal and state claims worth up to $18.7 billion (16.9 billion euros) over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The United States welcomed what it said was a record deal and in London BP's share price rose 4.49 percent to 437.95 pence shortly after the announcement. The head of the US Justice Department, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, said it would take several months to finalise the deal, including taking public comment.
Police in Brazil on Thursday arrested a fourth former high-ranking executive of state oil company Petrobras in the latest chapter of an anti-corruption probe shaking the Latin American giant's political and business elite. Jorge Zelada, former head of the international division at Brazil's biggest company, was among five people being sought for "corruption, fraudulent tenders, embezzlement of public funds, capital flight, and money laundering," federal police said in a statement. Searches and arrest warrants were executed in Rio de Janeiro and nearby Niteroi, police said.
Spain's conservative government raised its growth forecast on Thursday for both this year and next, as official data showed registered unemployment fell for the fifth straight month in June. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his government, which is facing a year-end general election, now sees growth of 3.3 percent in 2015 and of three percent in 2016. The government had earlier this year hiked its economic growth forecast to 2.9 percent for 2015 and 2016.
The US economy added a solid 223,000 net new jobs in June, the Labor Department said Thursday in a mixed report on the jobs market. The unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent, the lowest level since April 2008, but job creation numbers for the previous two months were revised significantly lower, and there was no upward movement on wages. Data from the volatile household survey showed the labor force shrank by 432,000 people in the month, largely explaining the 0.2 percentage point fall in the jobless rate.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls promised Chinese investors "the best welcome in all of Europe" as his Beijing counterpart wrapped up a visit in which he signed billions of euros in accords with France. Chinese premier Li Keqiang inked more than 50 deals on his three-day visit to France which rolled out the red carpet in a bid to boost ties with the Asian giant and breathe life back into its own struggling economy. Paris used the opportunity to try to lure more Chinese investors and rebalance trade between the two countries.
Is it better to vote 'No' in the upcoming referendum and unshackle Greece from its creditors, or say 'Yes' to Europe? Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged people to vote against the latest bailout deal offered by European governments, the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, slamming their conditions as "humiliating". Orange posters urging a 'No' vote line the streets, the word 'OXI' (no in Greek) stamped in large black letters, and towards evening groups of youngsters target the city's bars and clubs with flyers urging people to defy the creditors.
British energy giant BP on Thursday announced it had agreed to settle US federal and state claims worth up to $18.7 billion (16.9 billion euros) over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. "With this agreement we provide a path to closure for BP and the Gulf. It resolves the company's largest remaining legal exposures, provides clarity on costs and creates certainty of payment for all parties involved," said BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg in a statement.
Greece's radical left government said Thursday it may resign if it fails to win a referendum that could decide the country's financial future. Greek Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis said the government "may very well" quit if the public went against it in Sunday's plebiscite and voted for more austerity in return for international bailout funds. The world's financial markets and Greece's creditors -- the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) -- are stepping back after days of dizzying drama to watch the outcome.
Spain's conservative government has raised its economic growth forecast for this year to 3.3 percent and to 3 percent in 2016, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Thursday. The government, which is facing a year-end general election, had earlier this year hiked its economic growth forecast to 2.9 percent for 2015 and 2016. It is more optimistic than the Bank of Spain which sees the eurozone's fourth largest economy expanding by 3.1 percent in 2015 and 2.7 percent in 2016.
The US economy added 223,000 net new jobs in June, the Labor Department said Thursday in a mixed report on the jobs market. The unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent, the lowest level since April 2008, but job creation numbers for the previous two months were revised significantly lower, and there was no upward movement on wages. Data from the volatile household labor survey showed the labor force shrank by 432,000 people in the month, largely explaining the 0.2 percentage point fall in the jobless rate.
Oil prices recovered Thursday as markets tracked the latest diplomacy surrounding Iran and Greece, awaiting more key US data. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for August delivery climbed 21 cents to $57.17 a barrel compared with Wednesday's close, ahead of jobs data due Thursday in main crude consumer the United States. Brent North Sea crude for August gained 57 cents to stand at $62.58 a barrel in London afternoon deals.
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Thursday his country would remain united after the upcoming referendum, rejecting concerns the vote on bailout measures is splitting the country in two. "The day after the referendum, we will be united" to overcome "the temporary difficulty" Greece faces, he said three days before a plebiscite which European leaders insist is effectively a vote on whether to stay in the eurozone.
Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem warned Thursday that Greece's financial situation is deteriorating, saying a 'No' vote in Sunday's crunch referendum would question whether Athens still had a place within the eurozone. "The situation is only getting worse, due to Greek government's behaviour," Dijsselbloem, who is also Dutch finance minister, told a parliamentary question-and-answer session in The Hague. Although Athens insists the referendum is narrowly on tough austerity conditions attached to a bailout that expired on Tuesday, EU leaders say it is a vote on whether Greece wants to remain in the euro.
Greece's radical left government suggested it would resign if it fails to get its way in a make-or-break referendum Sunday that could decide the country's financial future. Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the government "may very well" quit in a radio interview Thursday in which he also said "we are on a war footing" to ensure the rushed referendum happens in time. International creditors and markets are stepping back after days of dizzying drama over the Greek crisis to watch the outcome of the consultation at the weekend.
Write down, write off, restructure, reprofile...whatever term you choose, if Greece doesn't completely default on its debt, its creditors will have to address the issue of its massive debt. As part of its bailout Greece has slashed spending, pensions and wages while hiking taxes to generate funds. Economist Charles Wyplosz said that from Greece's first bailout in 2010, the bailout programme "should have started with a reduction in debt.
A French appeals court on Thursday found German safety standards body TUV had "fulfilled its obligations" in certifying breast implants that were found to be faulty and sparked a worldwide scare. The ruling overturns a decision by a lower French court in 2013 which had found TUV liable and ordered it to pay millions of euros in compensation to distributors and victims. TUV certified that implants made by French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) conformed to safety rules -- even though they were subsequently found to contain substandard, industrial-grade silicone gel.
Germany has scrapped plans to tax its oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants after fierce opposition from unions and operators, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Thursday. Instead it will shutter some of the old coal plants in coming years and keep them on stand-by during power shortfalls, as it increasingly relies on renewable energy to meet its climate goals. Gabriel, who is also vice chancellor, announced that his planned levy on the biggest polluters had been dropped after talks by members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's left-right coalition.
A French appeals court on Thursday found German safety standards body TUV had "fulfilled its obligations" in certifying breast implants that were found to be faulty and sparked a worldwide scare. The ruling overturns a decision by a lower French court in 2013 which had found the body liable and ordered the company to pay millions of euros in compensation to distributors and victims. TUV certified that implants made by French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) conformed to safety rules -- even though they were subsequently found to contain substandard, industrial-grade silicone gel.
Sweden's central bank on Thursday cut its repo rate by 10 basis points to a record low -0.35 percent, to avoid a strengthening of the krona amid the Greek crisis. "Inflation is rising and economic activity in Sweden is continuing to strengthen. "In this uncertain environment, monetary policy needs to be even more expansionary to ensure that inflation continues to rise towards the target of 2.0 percent," it said.
With speculation swirling that Greece might be forced out of the euro and have to print its own money after a weekend referendum, its finance minister on Thursday said the country no longer had the presses to make drachmas. "We don't have the capacity," Yanis Varoufakis told Australian public radio network ABC. In 2000, the year before Greece joined the eurozone, "one of the things we had to do was get rid of all our printing presses" as part of the bloc's assertion that "this monetary union is irreversible," he said.
New car registrations in Germany, a key measure of demand in one of the most important sectors of Europe's top economy, rose strongly in June, data showed on Thursday. A total of 313,600 new cars were registered last month, a jump of 13 percent compared with the figure for the same month last year, the VDA automobile industry federation said in a statement. A total 511,100 cars rolled off German production lines last month, an increase of 12 percent year-on-year, VDA said.
The number of registered unemployed fell in Spain for the fifth straight month in June, government data showed Thursday, but the country continues to battle one of the highest jobless rates in Europe. Jobless claims declined last month by 94,727 or 2.25 percent to 4.12 million, the labour ministry said in a statement. The labour ministry's monthly figure is a different measure from the quarterly unemployment rate, which is based on surveys and stood at 23.78 percent in the first quarter, according to the National Statistic Institute.
Greek's Yanis Varoufakis said in an interview on Bloomberg TV Thursday that he would no longer serve as finance minister if the 'Yes' vote wins in the weekend referendum on the country's bailout. Asked if he would be finance minister on the day after Sunday's referendum if the 'Yes' vote wins, Varoufakis said: "I will not".
Sweden's central bank announced Thursday a 10-basis-point cut to its key interest rate, the repo rate, to -0.35 percent, and increased its bond purchases, citing uncertainty over the Greek crisis. "Inflation is rising and economic activity in Sweden is continuing to strengthen. Sweden, like the neighbouring eurozone, has been concerned about the threat of deflation.
Europe's main stock markets edged higher in opening trade on Thursday as attention turned to US jobs data ahead of Greece's weekend referendum on it bailout. London's FTSE 100 index edged up 0.01 percent to 6,609.01 points compared with Wednesday's close. In a volatile week's trading, European stock markets rebounded on Wednesday as Greece proposed a reworked deal on its bailout that was closer to the position of its creditors.
Asian markets tracked global stocks higher Thursday on hopes for a deal to keep Greece in the eurozone as the country prepares for a crucial weekend referendum, but Shanghai tumbled again despite authorities relaxing trading rules to temper recent volatility. Buying was also supported by a healthy pick-up on Wall Street that came after another strong batch of US data suggesting the world's top economy is on the recovery path.
A French appeals court on Thursday found German safety standards body TUV had "fulfilled its obligations" in certifying breast implants that were found to be faulty and sparked a worldwide scare. The ruling that TUV had committed "no error" overturns a decision by a lower French court in 2013 which had found the body liable and ordered the company to compensate distributors and hundreds of victims.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged Greeks to vote 'No' in a referendum Sunday on bailout proposals after European leaders ruled out any further debt talks until seeing the outcome. A defiant Tsipras said in a TV address Wednesday that a 'No' vote would strengthen his hand in negotiations with international creditors after six months of tortuous talks have failed to produce a deal. Tsipras insisted voting 'No' would not signify "a rupture with Europe" despite efforts by EU leaders to cast it as a referendum on Greece's place in the bloc.