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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Eurozone crisis: dispute over job cuts imperils Greece’s hopes of more aid

Category : Business

Troika of international lenders leaves country after failing to agree over future of 25,000 civil servants

Greece’s “troika” of international lenders – the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF – have left the country amid a dispute over sacking 25,000 civil servants.

After extending their trip by several days, troika inspectors said they would return in April to finish their review.

Insiders confirmed that progress on an agreement to unlock the country’s next €2.8bn aid instalment, vital to public coffers, had been impeded by creditors’ demands to cut 25,000 civil servants from the state payroll by the end of the year.

Athens’s fragile government had hoped to convince lenders of the need to gradually transfer the employees into a special labour reserve by 2014, citing record levels of unemployment, anger with austerity and growing social unease. None of the mission chiefs was persuaded, however, given the reluctance of past administrations to shed staff who under the constitution enjoy jobs for life. Other disagreements included a relief plan for overindebted households and a controversial property tax levied through electricity bills.

Although both sides put on a brave face and played down the postponement – with the Greek finance minister Yannis Stournaras saying “there has been significant progress in the talks with the troika” – well-briefed sources did not share the same view. A member of one of the governing parties said there were “very real concerns” that further aid disbursements to Greece would be stopped. “The government is not going to axe civil servants. Full stop. There are very real concerns that come the summer the next loan disbursement [from the bailout] will not be made. Nothing is certain.”

If Athens refuses to press ahead with redundancies, the inevitability of the government having to adopt further cuts and tax rises looms. With revenue shortfalls in January and February described as much worse than expected, there are fears that the country’s reform programme will be derailed.

The Greek impasse came as European leaders joined battle in Brussels in an increasingly sterile argument over whether austerity or stimulus was the magic formula for arresting decline and spurring growth in the EU and single currency zone.

But for the first time since the sovereign debt and single currency crises ushered in the age of austerity three years ago, the leaders of the 27 countries or the 17 of the eurozone were unlikely to take any far-reaching decisions.

The summit was the first since the heads of government were stunned by the outcome of the Italian election, which delivered a resounding rejection of the harsh medicine prescribed by Germany and administered by Brussels.

“Italy is the talk of the town,” said a senior EU official. “One of the things that has shifted the debate is the Italian election. People are worried,” added a senior European diplomat.

But all the signs from Berlin and Brussels indicated that while voters may kick out policymakers, they cannot overturn the policies since the room for manoeuvre in the declining economies of, say, Italy or France, as well as bailout recipients, is too narrow if they want to retain the confidence of the financial markets.

“If you need to get people to lend you money, if you finance yourself in the markets, an economic policy shift is not viable,” said the senior diplomat. “It’s about credibility.”

The Thursday evening summit focused on economic policy options and was to be followed by another meeting of the 17 eurozone leaders at which Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, was to brief the meeting and was expected to name and blame countries failing to implement adequate structural reform.

While the draft summit communique repeatedly referred to the need to stimulate growth and deplored Europe’s record levels of unemployment – more than 26

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Portugal to hold fire-sale of state assets

Category : Business

State broadcaster could be privatised in move seen as attempt by Lisbon government to impress lenders

Portugal is to embark on a sweeping fire-sale of state companies over the coming months, possibly even privatising state broadcaster RTP, as it bends to the will of the troika of lenders that bailed it out 20 months ago.

With the government of prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho hoping to persuade the troika of the European commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to treat it more leniently in 2013 by lowering interest rates on loans, the sell-off of national companies is seen as one way of winning support.

Airports operator ANA is expected to be sold this week, with French construction group Vinci reported to have bid €3bn (£2.4bn). A consortium led by the Zurich airport operator Flughafen Zurich and Germany’s Fraport is thought to be the other leading bidder.

But finding suitable buyers for Portuguese state companies is not always easy. Brazilian businessman Germán Efromovich tried to buy ailing national airline TAP for €36m last week, but his offer, which reportedly included a further €315m in capital for the airline, was turned down after the government said his financing was not solid enough.

The opposition socialist party, which had accused Passos Coelho’s centre-right government of organising a secret, semi-private sale, welcomed the decision to postpone the sell-off.

But Efromovich was expected to bid again for the airline, which is saddled with €1.2bn of debt.

The troika has told Portugal to sell €5bn of state companies as part of the deal which saw it receive a €78bn bailout in May 2011. But it looks set to beat that target thanks mainly to sell-offs in the electricity sector and in airports.

Successful sales completed so far include the 21% of utility company Energias de Portugal taken by China Three Gorges for €2.7bn, and a quarter share in electricity grid operator REN bought by China State Grid for €387m.

Oil-rich former colony Angola is one of the countries that Portugal has tried to tap for investors as it aims to sell off everything from public broadcaster RTP to parts of the postal service, water utilities, state banks, the rail service and oil firm Galp.

Angola’s Newshold, owner of Portugal’s Sol weekly newspaper, has said it is interested in bidding for RTP in what would be the most controversial privatisation of all.

Under the bailout plans, Portugal is due to return to bond markets in 2013. Its borrowing costs have tumbled in recent months, with 10-year bond yields finally falling back to pre-bailout levels of below 7% shortly before Christmas. A successful return to the markets would be seen as a sign that the euro crisis was finally being

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Portugal prepares U-turn on social security payment increase

Category : Business

Ministers pledge to renegotiate austerity measures with unions and employers amid growing popular backlash

Portugal’s government is preparing a U-turn on an announced rise in social security contributions that would have instantly increased workers’ payments by nearly two-thirds amid a growing popular revolt against austerity measures.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to town squares across the country a week ago to protest at the announced rise, which raised contributions from 11 to 18% of salaries, sparking a pledge by the government this weekend to reconsider the unpopular move.

The centre-right prime minister, Pedro Passos Coelho, had solemnly announced the measure to shocked Portuguese workers, who would have lost the equivalent of almost a month’s salary, during a televised speech a fortnight ago.

“The financial emergency that the country sank into in 2011 is still not over,” he said at the time. “We have begun to attack the problems we face but have not yet dominated them.”

But an eight-hour meeting of the presidential state council was besieged by protesters in the small hours of Saturday morning and ended with a government pledge to renegotiate deficit-cutting measures with trade unions and employers.

“The council was informed of the government’s readiness to study, within the framework of the social bargaining process, alternatives to changes in the social security rate,” a statement said after the council meeting. The council is presided over by the president, Anibal Cavaco Silva, and Passos Coelho is one of its members.

Half a dozen protesters who were arrested outside the presidential palace on Friday night are due to appear in court on Monday. Demonstrators had demanded the government’s resignation and chanted: “Thieves, thieves!”

The mounting anger in Portugal about the austerity imposed by the bailout came as France appeared ready to offer concessions to Greece, the first country to need help from eurozone partners. The French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, told the news website Mediapart: “The answer must not be a Greek exit from the eurozone.

“We can already offer it more time … on the condition that Greece is sincere in its commitment to reform, especially fiscal reform,” he said.

Aid to Greece from the IMF and European bodies is reliant on the cash-strapped country meeting tough austerity measures. Last week there were reports – later denied – that the latest inspection by the troika could be delayed until after the US presidential elections in November.

The Portugese rethink marked a turning point in the country’s patience with austerity, which was imposed on it after it asked for a €78bn bailout from the troika of the European Union, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year.

Portuguese voters appeared to accept austerity measures as inevitable at the time and in June 2011 they elected a coalition of Passos Coelho’s centre-right Social Democratic party and more right-wing People’s party to carry them through.

The country is now in its worst recession since the 1970s and the economy is expected to shrink by more than 3% this year. Recession is expected to continue in 2013, further reducing Portugal’s chances of shaking off troika control.

Passos Coelho had his knuckles rapped by the state council, which called for “political and social dialogue to seek consensus” rather than the unilateral imposition of measures in its Saturday morning statement.

The council also asked the government, which had accompanied the rise in individual social security payments with a cut in those made by employers, to share the burden of austerity more evenly. “Any solutions should … guarantee an equitable and just distribution of sacrifices as well as protecting those families with the lowest income,” it said.

Both the council and the government recognised, nevertheless, that Portugal must meet its obligations to the troika – which means finding another way to raise €6bn a year.

Earlier this month the troika agreed to relax Portugal’s deficit targets for the next two years but the government believes fresh measures are still needed to meet the new targets.

Portugal’s trade unions will bring their own deficit-cutting proposals to the table. They include a tax on financial transactions, higher business taxes, a harder line on tax fraud and higher taxes on dividend payments to large shareholders. A 0.25% tax on financial transactions would raise €2bn, according to the General Workers Confederation of Portugal.

Passos Coelho’s government will propose a new cut in holiday subsidies for workers, the Expresso weekend newspaper reported

IMF chief Christine Lagarde pops into the APEC summit in Vladivostok and says the fund is interested in helping to design and monitor the ECB’s bond-buying program. After all, what would the Troika be without the IMF?

Category : World News

IMF chief Christine Lagarde pops into the APEC summit in Vladivostok and says the fund is interested in helping to design and monitor the ECB’s bond-buying program. After all, what would the Troika be without the IMF? 1 comment!

See the original post here: IMF chief Christine Lagarde pops into the APEC summit in Vladivostok and says the fund is interested in helping to design and monitor the ECB’s bond-buying program. After all, what would the Troika be without the IMF?

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Greek PM to miss EU summit, ‘troika’ postpones trip – Reuters

Category : Stocks


msnbc.com
Greek PM to miss EU summit, 'troika' postpones trip
Reuters
* PM Samaras recovering from eye surgery * Incoming finance minister also in hospital * Officials from 'troika' of lenders postpone visit * Greece wants to renegotiate bailout terms By Lefteris Papadimas and Deepa Babington ATHENS, June 24 (Reuters)
Greek PM cannot attend EU summitHindustan Times
Greek lenders postpone mission to AthensFinancial Times
Greece's ailing leaders to miss EU summit on eurozone crisisThe Guardian
New York Times

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Hurried Spanish banking bailout fails to calm market nerves

Category : Business

Spain’s borrowing costs rise closer to levels considered unsustainable – dragging Italy towards danger zone

A bailout of up to €100bn for Spain’s ailing banks failed to calm nerves about the future of the euro on Monday amid confusion over the plan’s details and worries that Greek voters might choose to abandon the single currency.

The hurried bailout announcement after an emergency video conference of eurozone finance ministers at the weekend was meant to ease pressure on Spain and other troubled European economies ahead of Sunday’s elections in Greece.

But Spain’s borrowing costs rose on Monday, nudging closer to levels that are considered unsustainable and dragging Italy towards the danger zone. Europe’s stock markets fell slightly, despite an early bounce, the FTSE 100 in London finishing down 0.05%.

Investors worried about uncertainty over the amount of bailout money Spain would take, the mechanism for providing it and the conditions attached to the deal.

“The size of the deal is meant to show a real commitment on the part of the eurozone to stabilise the system,” said Robert Pavlik, of Banyan Partners. “However, this just moves the problem down the road and shows how nervous the EU was going into the Greek election.”

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s triumphant approach to the bailout appeared to annoy Germany and other eurozone countries who must persuade sceptical voters that the money is well spent.

As he tries to escape the devastating political price paid by other European leaders who have asked for bailouts, Rajoy has told Spaniards that the €100bn comes with no strings attached except for the banks receiving the money. He refuses to call it a bailout.

But Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, warned that – as with Greece, Portugal and Ireland – Spain must answer to the feared “troika” that enforces the debt repayment terms imposed on other bailed out countries like Portugal, Greece and Ireland. The troika is made up of the European commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank.

“The Spanish state is taking the loans, Spain will be responsible for them,” Schäuble said. “There will likewise be a troika. There will of course be supervision to ensure that the programme is being complied with, but this refers only to the restructuring of the banks.”

“Of course there will be conditions,” EU competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia added in a radio interview. “Whoever gives money never gives it away for free.”

The eurozone ministers who approved the deal warned they would watch Spain’s deficit-busting and reform programme carefully, but did not say whether loans would depend on Rajoy’s government hitting targets.

Rajoy’s achievement in limiting the explicit conditions to Spain’s banks has been broadly welcomed in a country that believes the rest of its economy needs no international oversight.

But those countries already under troika control warned that they will demand a revision of their bailout terms if Spain receives special treatment.

“We will be watching the process of the specific programme for Spain’s banking system closely,” Portugal’s prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho said.

“We cannot have first class and second class states,” warned Portugal’s opposition socialist leader Antonio José Seguro.

Ireland’s prime minister, Enda Kenny, has already said that if Spain wins soft terms, then these must be offered to others.

Those terms will not be clear until Spain formally requests a sum of money. It is not clear whether this would be provided by the European Financial Stability Facility or the new arrangement which replaces it in July, the European Stability Mechanism.

Other European leaders admitted that the bailout decision had been taken to avert yet another moment of panic in Europe’s long-running debt crisis.

“We have managed to avoid a major crisis but the problems are still there,” Finland’s prime minister Jyrki Katainen told Reuters.

Investors worried that the bailout was a temporary solution to Spain’s problems as it falls back into recession and suffers 24% unemployment.

“Call it what you like, but this is a bailout, the first (and only for banks), but most likely not the last for Spain,” said Oliver Burrows of Rabobank Credit Research, who pointed to the amount of government debt held by Spanish banks. “We suspect that inevitably the Spanish government will have to seek its own bailout.”

The IMF said on Friday that Spain’s former savings banks and some of its medium-sized commercial banks would jointly need at least €40bn.

The government has said it will wait for two independent auditors to produce valuations of Spain’s total bank assets before deciding how much money to ask for.

They will make their first reports by 21 June and government sources have already suggested they will be close to the IMF figures.

Recently part-nationalised Bankia has asked for €19bn and officials have recognised that two other banks need a further €9bn.

But Spain’s government has twice underestimated the sums needed to rescue its banks this year, with two rounds of provisioning totalling €80bn, and investors remain wary.

“Markets will certainly ask the question about whether a second bailout might be required and the margin for error between the sort of €40bn the IMF is saying and the €100bn ceiling,” said Mark Miller of Capital Economics.

In New York the Dow Jones index closed down 142 points, or 1.14%, having briefly rallied in early trading. Last week the Dow enjoyed its best rally of the year, in part on hopes of a concrete solution to the eurozone crisis.

VTB Capital Sweeps Institutional Investor Surveys in Russia Research, Sales, Trading

Category : Stocks, World News

Troika Dialog Is No. 2; Deutsche Bank Is Highest-Ranked Non-Russian Bank

Follow this link: VTB Capital Sweeps Institutional Investor Surveys in Russia Research, Sales, Trading

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The IMF breaks from the rigid Troika orthodoxy about fiscal policy and says that chasing deficit targets "may not be the best policy" for Portugal if its recession, which is already pretty bad, "turns out deeper than projected."…

Category : Stocks, World News

The IMF breaks from the rigid Troika orthodoxy about fiscal policy and says that chasing deficit targets “may not be the best policy” for Portugal if its recession, which is already pretty bad, “turns out deeper than projected.” However, the fund stopped short of easing those targets. 1 comment!

Read the original post: The IMF breaks from the rigid Troika orthodoxy about fiscal policy and says that chasing deficit targets "may not be the best policy" for Portugal if its recession, which is already pretty bad, "turns out deeper than projected."…

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Greece may need a 3rd bailout of ;50B as soon as 2015 according to a draft of the recent Troika report on the country, reports Der Spiegel. This unpleasantry was left out of the final report under pressure from the German government.

Category : Stocks

Greece may need a 3rd bailout of €50B as soon as 2015 according to a draft of the recent Troika report on the country, reports Der Spiegel. This unpleasantry was left out of the final report under pressure from the German government. 7 comments!

Continued here: Greece may need a 3rd bailout of ;50B as soon as 2015 according to a draft of the recent Troika report on the country, reports Der Spiegel. This unpleasantry was left out of the final report under pressure from the German government.

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Greece’s parliament is expected to tonight pass the austerity and other measures needed for the country to receive its second, EUR130B ($171B) rescue. However, the Troika is considering whether Greece needs a further ;15B. The nation apparently has…

Category : Stocks

Greece’s parliament is expected to tonight pass the austerity and other measures needed for the country to receive its second, EUR130B ($171B) rescue. However,

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