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Banks will have 8 years to write down bad debts under new EU rules – source

Banks in the European Union will have eight years to write down bad debts backed by collateral under proposals from the European Commission designed to tackle their 759 billion euros (668.64 billion pounds) in soured loans, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday. The source, confirming a press report in Italian daily Il Messaggero, said the percentage of writedowns required every year once a loan is classed as impaired would rise gradually over time. High levels of bad debts, a legacy of the euro zone’s debt crisis, are ...

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Atlanta Fed President Says ‘Things Continue to Look Up’ for U.S. Economy

The U.S. central bank is carefully raising interest rates against a brightening economic background that has perked up conditions for the nation’s lenders, said Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic. After years of emergency-era monetary policy, Fed officials are now “in an increasing-rate environment, and are in the midst of a carefully-calibrated return to a more normal Fed footing, which includes the gradual reduction in our balance sheet,” Bostic, a voter this year on the Fed’s rate-setting panel, told a banking conference in Atlanta Thursday. “Banks have anticipated ...

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Euro zone inflation slows in Jan, core measure picks up

Euro zone consumer price growth slowed slightly in January but the core measure closely watched by the European Central Bank edged higher for the first time in months, data from the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat showed on Friday. Eurostat said consumer prices in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell 0.9 percent month-on-month in January for a 1.3 percent year-on-year increase, confirming its earlier estimates and market expectations. But unprocessed food prices rose 0.7 percent month-on-month for a 1.1 percent annual increase and energy prices jumped 1.8 percent during ...

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Xi confidant emerges as front runner to head China’s central bank – sources

Liu He, a Harvard-trained economist who is a trusted confidant of Chinese President Xi Jinping, has emerged as the front runner to be the next governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), according to three sources with knowledge of the situation. Liu may be in a position to become one of China’s most powerful economic and financial officials ever, as he is already top adviser to Xi on economic policy and is also expected to become vice premier overseeing the economy. Liu would replace current PBOC chief, 70-year-old Zhou ...

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Highlights – EU leaders’ summit on top jobs and future budget

European Union leaders meet in Brussels on Friday for an informal summit to discuss the future post-Brexit budget and other issues, such as how to determine the next European Commission president and what to do with Britain’s seats in the European Parliament. The following are comments from leaders arriving at the summit. AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR SEBASTIAN KURZ “Our position is clear: we want a strong European Union which handles taxpayers’ money frugally, which tries to become leaner where possible to have more available budget for big, important tasks such as security ...

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What kind of away day would help ministers crack Brexit differences?

Eleven government ministers are meeting at Chequers to hammer out a policy on Brexit. It’s a kind of Whitehall away day. The hope is that by bringing them together in a fresh setting, it will help overcome what seem like insurmountable differences. Sceptics will doubt just how much long-lasting trust team building away days can achieve. On the other hand, it’s always good to boost morale. So here are some suggestions of popular corporate away day activities that might appeal to Theresa May & Co in future, if they feel ...

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Germany’s GDP Expands As Estimated In Q4

Germany’s economy expanded as initially estimated in the fourth quarter largely on foreign demand, detailed report from Destatis showed Friday. Gross domestic product climbed 0.6 percent sequentially, slower than the 0.7 percent expansion seen in the third quarter. The rate came in line with the estimate published on February 14. On a yearly basis, the calendar-adjusted GDP advanced at a faster pace of 2.9 percent, after rising 2.7 percent a quarter ago. Similarly, price-adjusted GDP grew 2.3 percent versus 2.2 percent in the third quarter. Both annual growth rates matched ...

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U.S. M&A lending hits early year high with jumbo loans

A flurry of huge US acquisitions is pushing high-grade M&A lending to early year highs as blue-chip firms take advantage of US tax reform and try to fight off the threat of online retail giant Amazon. Looser US tax rules could produce a record year for M&A deals. About US$120bn of M&A loans have been completed or are in process so far this year, including a record US$100bn loan backing Broadcom’s hostile bid for rival Qualcomm. This compares with US$203bn of loans completed in 2017, according to Thomson Reuters LPC ...

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Experts to discuss possibly regulating crypto-currencies-EU vice president

A group of high-ranking experts will next week discuss the possibility of introducing regulation of crypto-currencies, European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said on Friday. Speaking during a visit to Berlin, Dombrovskis also said he did not see any threat to Latvia’s creditworthiness in view of a probe into whether its central bank chief accepted a bribe, allegations Ilmars Rimsevics has denied as his lawyers fight for him to keep his job. “It is more a question of damage to the reputation,” he said, adding that the European Union was looking ...

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Japan Producer Prices Advance 0.7% On Year In January

Producer prices in Japan were up 0.7 percent on year in January, the Bank of Japan said on Friday. That was shy of expectations for a gain of 0.8 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous month. On a monthly basis, producer prices were down 0.6 percent after adding 0.2 percent in December. Prices were down for leasing, transportation and financial services, while they were higher for advertising services. Source: RTT News

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Fed sees rate hikes on track; continued U.S. growth

The U.S. Federal Reserve, looking past a recent stock market sell-off and concern about inflation, said it sees steady growth continuing and no serious risks on the horizon the might pause its planned pace of rate hikes. “The economic expansion continues to be supported by steady job gains, rising household wealth, favorable consumer sentiment, strong economic growth abroad, and accommodative financial conditions,” the Fed’s Washington-based Board of Governors wrote in its semiannual report to Congress on monetary policy. “Upbeat business sentiment appears to have supported solid growth over the past ...

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BOE Official Ramsden Says Brexit Clarity Would Aid Productivity

A senior Bank of England official said Friday that greater clarity over the U.K.’s future ties to the European Union after Brexit could aid productivity growth. David Ramsden, deputy governor for markets and banking, said uncertainty about Britain’s relationship with the EU following its scheduled departure in March next year is putting businesses off of investment. Negotiators from London and Brussels still have to hammer out the shape of future bilateral trading arrangements, as well as the terms of a planned transition period to bridge the gap between when the ...

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RBS reports first profit in 10 years

Royal Bank of Scotland has returned to profit for the first time in a decade as it continues its recovery. Chief executive Ross McEwan told the BBC it was “a really symbolic moment.” The bank, which is majority-owned by the taxpayer, made an annual profit of £752m compared with a £6.95bn loss the year before. RBS still faces a potentially massive fine from the US Department of Justice over the sale of financial products linked to risky mortgages. What happened to RBS? RBS expanded rapidly in the boom years of ...

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Japan’s Inflation Hits Consumers But Not Kuroda’s Price Target

A surge in fresh food prices pushed Japan’s headline inflation to the highest in almost three years while the central bank’s core gauge that strips out produce stalled again at 0.9 percent. Frigid January weather brought with it the most expensive fruit and vegetable prices since at least 1970, a blow to households that aren’t seeing significant increases in wages. While the weather will pass, there are few signs that consumers are ready to loosen their purse strings when spring comes around. “Don’t read too much into the latest surge ...

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Weak Dollar Means Fed Rate Hikes Pose Low Asia Threat, NAB Says

Asia is in a good position to ride out interest-rates hikes from the Federal Reserve, given prospects of a weaker dollar and a solid outlook for exports, according to Christy Tan, National Australia Bank Ltd.’s head of markets strategy in Singapore. In three of the last four Fed tightening cycles, the dollar has weakened, a pattern that bodes well for a basket of Asian currencies that’s already rising against the greenback this year, said Tan. While that would ordinarily reduce the competitiveness of export-reliant economies in Asia, strong global growth ...

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