Balazs's Feed
May 19, 2015

Faster ECB money-printing excites investors

FRANKFURT/ BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Central Bank will accelerate the pace of money printing to buy government bonds over the next two months, one of its top officials said, while voicing concern about recent swings on bond markets.

The comments from Benoit Coeure, initially made in private on Monday at a conference attended by one of Britain’s richest hedge fund managers Alan Howard, some of his peers and academics, sent markets into a flurry when they were published on Tuesday.

May 13, 2015

Norway’s $900 bln fund seeks faster action against unethical firms

OSLO, May 13 (Reuters) – Norway’s $900 billion wealth fund,
one of the world’s biggest investors, plans to move faster
against firms in its portfolio that misbehave, weeding out the
worst offenders and “crooks” that do not mend their ways, the
fund’s new ethics chief said.

Johan Andresen, who heads the Council on Ethics, told
Reuters that the fund hoped this push against unethical or
illegal business practices would improve its investment returns
and even “make the world a better place”.

May 4, 2015

NATO starts anti submarine exercise in North Sea as tension with Russia rise

ABOARD THE USS VICKSBURG, North Sea (Reuters) – NATO launched one of its biggest-ever anti-submarine exercises in the North Sea on Monday, inviting non-member Sweden for the first time, amid increasing tensions between Russia and its northern neighbors.

More than a dozen vessels from 11 countries are participating in the “Dynamic Mongoose” exercise. NATO will simulate detecting and attacking submarines in one of the most hostile seas, with rugged but shallow underwater canyons, rapid currents and unusually high sound pollution from freshwater pouring in from Norway’s fjords.

Apr 30, 2015

Writedown pushes Statoil into red, dividend maintained

OSLO, April 30 (Reuters) – Oil major Statoil swung
to a surprise first quarter net loss on a writedown in the value
of its U.S. shale business but its operating figures beat
forecasts and the firm pleased investors by maintaining its
dividend.

State-controlled Statoil, which operates in dozens of
countries from Canada to Africa, said it had cut its price
outlook for its U.S. business. It took about $6 billion in
impairments, felt the effects of plunging crude and gas prices
and enjoyed only a modest benefit from higher refining margins.

Apr 23, 2015

Betting on oil price recovery, Statoil snips where rivals slash

OSLO, April 23 (Reuters) – Norway’s Statoil is
cutting investments less than any other oil major this year,
positioning for a crude price recovery but taking a risk should
the slump be protracted.

By continuing to spend on projects that won’t start making
returns for a up to a decade, the state-controlled energy giant
hopes to sidestep the kind of boom-to-bust cycle often seen in
the oil sector. Crude oil prices halved last year.

Apr 8, 2015

Looking past commodities slump, Sweden moves a town for a mine

KIRUNA, Sweden, April 8 (Reuters) – Undaunted by falling
commodity prices, a Swedish company will start dismantling and
moving the historic Arctic town of Kiruna this month to make way
for the expansion of Europe’s biggest iron ore mine.

The northernmost town in Sweden, famed for its ice hotel and
a red wooden church that was voted the country’s most beautiful
building, is inhibiting the expansion of state-owned LKAB’s
mine, once the backbone of Scandinavia’s industrialisation.

Mar 19, 2015

Norway keeps rates on hold as economy resilient; currency surges

OSLO, March 19 (Reuters) – Norway’s central bank kept
interest rates on hold on Thursday, defying near-unanimous
expectations for a cut and pushing the crown currency up more
than 3 percent even as it virtually promised a rate cut before
mid-year.

The bank said the crash in the price of crude oil, Norway’s
top export earner, has had only a modest impact on the economy,
while house prices have continued to rise quickly, indicating
that the pronounced downturn its December rate cut was aimed at
preventing is not materialising.

Mar 11, 2015

Strike deal clears way for Norwegian Air’s expansion plans

OSLO, March 11 (Reuters) – Norwegian Air’s battle
with striking pilots cost it millions of dollars – but it may
view that as a price worth paying as it preserved a successful
expansion strategy that defies Scandinavian labour doctrine.

Europe’s third-biggest budget airline has grown rapidly over
the past decade, with its fleet increasing more than eight-fold.
Faced with a Norwegian labour landscape of high wages, generous
benefits and powerful unions, it has instead based some of its
crew and jets in cheaper countries like Spain and Thailand.

Mar 5, 2015

Upbeat ECB ready to start printing money next week

NICOSIA/FRANKFURT, March 5 (Reuters) – The European Central
Bank said it will start printing money to buy bonds next Monday
and delivered a robust economic outlook that will make it hard
to extend the plan beyond its envisaged Sept. 2016 end-date.

The ECB is embarking on the programme of quantitative easing
(QE) with a view to raising euro zone inflation from below zero
back towards its goal of just under 2 percent, and to helping
buoy economies across the 19-country bloc.

Mar 5, 2015

ECB set to raise growth forecasts, flesh out bond buying plan

FRANKFURT, March 5 (Reuters) – Keen to keep a low profile
over the Greek crisis, the European Central Bank will focus on
improved growth prospects when it meets on Thursday and unveil
some but not all the details of its 1 trillion euros-plus bond
buying plan.

Meeting in Cyprus, the ECB will keep rates on hold, likely
lift growth forecasts to reflect a string of positive data
surprises but cut inflation projections as it incorporates the
full effect of a dramatic oil price fall, backing its case to
buy 60 billion euros worth of bonds a month from March to spur
inflation.