Thursday, October 27, 2016

Turkey calls for end to NATO's migrant mission in Aegean

Thu Oct 27, 2016 | 8:34am EDT


By Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold | BRUSSELS
Turkey is seeking an end to NATO's counter-migration mission in the Aegean Sea and it is telling the U.S.-led alliance that the sharp drop in refugees trying to get to Greece means there is no longer a need for warships to patrol its coast.

Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik told other NATO defense ministers on Wednesday that Ankara no longer saw a need for the mission to continue beyond the end of December, according to two people briefed on the exchanges, despite strong support across the alliance for the mission.

"This was a temporary mission, and the goal has been reached in this temporary mission. There is no need to extend it further," Isik told reporters in Brussels on Thursday.

Why India Is A Better Investment Bet Than China

OCT 26, 2016 @ 08:14 PM 5,942 VIEWS


Panos Mourdoukoutas ,   CONTRIBUTOR,
"I cover global markets, business and investment strategy  "

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

China may be the world’s largest emerging economy, beating India in many economic and financial indicators. But India is beating China in an indicator that matters the most to emerging market investing: financial market development. This means that India is less prone to a financial crisis than China, and therefore, a better investment than China.

China Gets Desperate About Debt

OCT 26, 2016 5:00 PM EDT

By Christopher Balding


With its debts surging and growth sluggish, China has hit on a new strategy to revitalize its ailing economy. It’s the same as the old strategy. Only this time, it won’t work.

Earlier this month, China’s State Council released guidelines for a new swap program, in which companies can exchange troubled debt with banks in return for equity. The government hopes this will give the firms a chance to restructure on favorable terms, and avoid the prospect of “zombie companies” propped up indefinitely by state-owned lenders.

Euro zone lending growth levels off, keeps ECB on toes

Thu Oct 27, 2016 | 4:46am EDT


Growth in loans to euro zone companies and households is leveling off, European Central bank data showed on Thursday, keeping the pressure on the ECB to maintain its aggressive stimulus policy for months to come.

Lending to companies grew by 1.9 percent year-on-year in September while household loans rose by 1.8 percent, keeping the steady but slow pace seen since the start of the summer

UPDATE 1-Greece names Total-led consortium preferred bidder for offshore gas drilling

Wed Oct 26, 2016 | 1:05pm BST


Oct 26 Greece named on Wednesday a consortium of France's Total, its biggest oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum and Italy's Edison as the preferred bidder for an offshore gas drilling block in the west of the country.

Greece, which signed up to a third bailout last summer, has made several fruitless attempts over the last 50 years to find big oil and gas reserves. Its debt crisis and important findings in neighbouring countries has prompted the country to step up those efforts.

Greece’s Syriza Defiant After Judges Annul Key Policy

Country’s supreme administrative court rules government acted unconstitutionally by licensing TV broadcasters itself

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Oct. 27, 2016 4:27 a.m. ET

ATHENS—Greece’s ruling Syriza party vowed on Thursday to continue fighting for its radical agenda after judges struck down its plan to revamp Greece’s media sector, the culmination of a weekslong power struggle that produced allegations of blackmail and “fascist” methods.

Greece’s supreme administrative court, the Council of State, ruled late Wednesday that the government, led by the left-wing Syriza party, acted unconstitutionally by licensing TV broadcasters itself, a power that the constitution reserves for an independent media regulator.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Greece awaits Obama trip amid tough bailout talks

The Washington Post

By Derek Gatopoulos | AP October 25 at 12:08 PM
ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s government says it was facing pressure from the International Monetary Fund to aggressively scale back union powers and employment rights, as the White House confirmed Tuesday that U.S. President Barack Obama will pay a post-election visit to Athens.

Obama’s Nov. 15 trip could boost efforts by the left-wing government in Athens to press for debt relief from European bailout lenders, as the country’s national debt approaches 180 percent of Greece’s stagnant gross domestic product. Obama will travel on to Germany after his Greek visit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Euro Gripes Threaten Economic Recovery as Populism Advances

Alessandro Speciale
October 25, 2016 — 7:00 AM EEST


Anti-establishment parties are gaining ground in the heart of the European Union, and they may pose a bigger challenge to the region’s economy than any of those that have drawn support in the periphery over the past years.
While populists in Spain or Italy are revolting against restrictive fiscal policies and a weakening of social safety nets, the backlash in France and Germany focuses on monetary union itself. Parties openly advocating a break from the euro are building momentum ahead of a year of election across the region and politicians skeptical about EU integration are already twisting policy decisions. Belgium’s Wallonia region blocked a trade deal with Canada just last week.

Greece Set to Receive Fresh Loans Under Bailout Agreement

Eurozone bailout fund officials expected to sign off on disbursement Tuesday

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 24, 2016 2:45 p.m. ET
BRUSSELS—Greece’s creditors are expected to approve €2.8 billion in fresh loans for the debt-ridden country after it completed a set of key economic overhauls, three eurozone officials said Monday.

The disbursement of the next slice of financial aid, to be officially signed off by the eurozone bailout fund on Tuesday, marks the formal end of the first review of Greece’s up-to-€86 billion bailout, which was agreed to in August last year.

The loans will comprise of €1.1 billion to be used for debt servicing and €1.7 billion to repay arrears owed to domestic contractors.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The threat from Russia

How to contain Vladimir Putin’s deadly, dysfunctional empire
Oct 22nd 2016

The Economist

FOUR years ago Mitt Romney, then a Republican candidate, said that Russia was America’s “number-one geopolitical foe”. Barack Obama, among others, mocked this hilarious gaffe: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the cold war’s been over for 20 years,” scoffed the president. How times change. With Russia hacking the American election, presiding over mass slaughter in Syria, annexing Crimea and talking casually about using nuclear weapons, Mr Romney’s view has become conventional wisdom. Almost the only American to dissent from it is today’s Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

What is China’s plenum and why does it matter?

Oct 23rd 2016, 23:27 BY J.P. | BEIJING

The Economist

THE 200-odd highest-ranking members of China’s Communist Party—its central committee—meet only once a year. The closed-door gathering is called a plenum. This year’s starts today, October 24th, in Beijing and runs until the 27th. The agenda does not sound consequential. It will discuss, in the unlovely words of the official announcement, “the norms of political life within the party…and a revision to an intra-party supervision regulation.” So why does it matter?

China Deal Watch

(for full article with interactive plots see

Chinese companies are buying up overseas assets at a faster pace than U.S. buyers for the first time on record. This graphic, updated weekly, takes a close look at what China is acquiring, and where. The numbers reveal a lot about the country’s growing global ambitions.

On Oct. 18, China Life Insurance Co Ltd agreed to buy select-service hotel portfolio from Starwood Capital Group LLC for $2 billion. Here’s how this deal compares to China’s other overseas acquisitions:
Rank 17th largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company this year
2016 Total $206.6B in foreign mergers and acquisitions
Growth 212% increase from the same period in 2015

Brexit Bulletin: Bankers Threaten Exodus

Bankers threaten early exodus, while PM May tries to head off a constitutional crisis


Emma Ross-Thomas

Banks will start moving operations out of the U.K. late this year and early next as they anticipate a hard Brexit. That's according to  Anthony Browne, chief executive officer of the banking lobby group BBA, writing in the Observer newspaper on Sunday.

International banks’ “hands are quivering over the relocate button,” he wrote. “Many smaller banks plan to start relocations before Christmas; bigger banks are expected to start in the first quarter of next year.”
Without identifying any banks by name, he said lenders can’t wait until the last minute and have to “plan for the worst,” especially because “public and political debate at the moment is taking us in the wrong direction.”
Handily, some real estate companies are already finding them new digs.  A property company managed by Schroders Plc is bidding for an office building in Frankfurt, joining CBRE Global Investors LLC and Standard Life Plc, which are seeking to purchase office space in cities from Dublin to Amsterdam.

Opinion: Appearance and reality in Greece

Greece's euro crisis has disappeared from the headlines, but the problem has still not been resolved. And since nothing much is changing in Athens, it will soon be a hot topic once again, says Spiros Moskovou.

Deutsche Welle

"I hereby declare the nonprivatization of the state electricity company DEI to be one of Syriza's key political concerns," Energy Minister Panos Skourletis announced at the governing party's conference in Athens last weekend. Yet last May, the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, together with the Greek parliament, approved an initial list of state-owned businesses for privatization.
An important point here is the sale of a quantity of shares in DEI. The whole privatization package is intended to bring in revenue of 2.5 billion euros ($2.7 billion) for the Greek treasury by the end of the year.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Monetary Policy And Political Problems To Drive The Euro Lower

OCT 22, 2016 @ 11:57

Stephen Pope ,   CONTRIBUTOR


Over the past week, foreign exchange markets have been offered opposing views on the next play in European and American monetary policy. The differences are wider than the Atlantic Ocean.

In Europe, the Bank of England (BOE) faces many problems as the falling level of Sterling threatens to ignite inflation from its current 1.0% at a time when the economy is struggling to accommodate the uncertainty over the terms of Brexit.

A larger dilemma faces the European Central Bank (ECB). With a tepid economy, GDP growth just 0.3% and unemployment of 10.1% coupled to a fragile banking system it is obliged to hold open the door for further monetary stimulus in December and maintain that accommodation deep into 2017.

Scotland demands to be equal partner in Brexit negotiations

The lead Scottish minister in the process is concerned that the UK is heading for a hard Brexit

The Independent

David Hughes, Lucinda Cameron

The Scottish Government has demanded to be treated as an “equal partner” by Theresa May in the Brexit negotiations, as the Prime Minister called for a “grown up” relationship with the devolved administrations.

The Prime Minister will host the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on Monday to discuss the Brexit process and her Government's economic plans.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Rodrigo Duterte’s impetuous pivot

Image result for south china sea map claims

Is the Philippines, until now a staunch American ally, falling into the Chinese camp?
Oct 19th 2016 | Asia

The Economist

EVEN in a year of extraordinary reversals, few would have expected it. In July China reacted with fury when an international tribunal upheld a complaint from the Philippines and rubbished China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. This week it is rolling out the red carpet for the mercurial Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte. He is being feted in a four-day state visit, with 400-odd businessmen in tow. Rub your eyes: America’s strongest ally in South-East Asia appears to be plopping like a ripe mango into China’s hands.

Greece Might Just Get a Boost From an Unlikely Source

The cash-strapped nation stands to gain a lift to demand from the aid effort for refugees


Nikos Chrysoloras

October 20, 2016 — 7:01 AM EEST

As European Union leaders gather in Brussels on Thursday with the refugee crisis on the agenda, some of them may repeat the claim that their economies can't bear the cost of aiding people fleeing war and persecution. Greece ought not to be one of them.
After all it has been through in the past six years, the arrival of tens of thousands of refugees from across the Aegean may in fact be giving the country a mild, short-term stimulus.
Hundreds of millions of euros have been spent so far to provide shelter, provisions, and support to migrants and asylum seekers, in a period when government-funded spending has taken successive cuts.

World’s Fourth-Biggest Currency Trader Sees Euro Decline Ahead

Lananh Nguyen


Deutsche Bank AG is sticking with its weaker euro call.
The currency dropped to the lowest in almost three months and the world’s fourth-largest foreign-exchange trader says it’s got further to fall. The bank sees the shared currency declining to $1.05 by year-end, more bearish than the $1.10 median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Traders will be watching the European Central Bank’s policy-setting meeting Thursday for signals about its monetary stimulus efforts, which haven’t prevented the euro from climbing this year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Saudi Arabia to Offer International Investors $17.5 Billion in Bonds

Gulf countries are increasingly raising funds through international markets

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 19, 2016 7:27 a.m. ET
DUBAI—Saudi Arabia plans to raise up to $17.5 billion by selling bonds for the first time to international investors this week, two people aware of the transaction said Wednesday.

The kingdom also tightened its pricing guidance for the potential multi-tranche issue, which along with the estimated issue size reflects a strong appetite for the potential issue, bankers say.

For the five-year tranche, Saudi Arabia said it would pay around 140 basis points above U.S. Treasurys, compared with an initial guidance of around 160 basis points above U.S. Treasurys.