Chief Correspondent, Austria, Vienna, Austria
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Sep 24, 2010

Catholic, Orthodox report promising progress on unity

VIENNA (Reuters) – Roman Catholic and Orthodox theologians reported promising progress Friday in talks on overcoming their Great Schism of 1054 and bringing the two largest denominations in Christianity back to full communion.

Experts meeting in Vienna this week agreed the two could eventually become “sister churches” that recognize the Roman pope as their titular head but retain many church structures, liturgy and customs that developed over the past millennium.

Sep 21, 2010

Bank stress puts E.Europe recovery at risk -study

VIENNA, Sept 21 (Reuters) – Pressure on bank earnings due to
new taxes and regulations is threatening a nascent loan recovery
in the former Communist part of Europe and weighing on its
economies, one of the region’s biggest banks said on Tuesday.

Austria’s RZB [RZB.UL] (RIBH.VI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) also said in a study on the
eastern European banking sector that bad debt levels may go on
rising longer than expected in at least some countries as
stagnation or contraction persists.

Sep 20, 2010

ECB’s Nowotny warns on Hungary fx mortgages

VIENNA, Sept 20 (Reuters) – Mortgages in foreign currencies
are an acute risk in Hungary, where homeowners borrowed heavily
in Swiss francs and are now suffering from the forint’s
depreciation, the head of Austria’s central bank warned on

Governor Ewald Nowotny and his central bank have long been
critical of Austrian banks, which collectively are the biggest
lenders to Hungarian borrowers and expanded foreign currency
lending aggressively during Hungary’s boom years.

Sep 17, 2010

Hungary needs to rebuild trust, says EBRD

VIENNA/BUDAPEST, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Hungary needs to
rebuild trust with international investors and doing so will
help the struggling forint currency, the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development said on Friday.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s centre-right government has
confounded markets since sweeping to a huge victory in an April
election, shutting down talks with the International Monetary
Fund to reclaim what he calls Hungary’s “economic sovereignty”.

Sep 17, 2010

ECB officials point to need to act on banking issues

VIENNA (Reuters) – The financial crisis is not over and governments have more to do to pull banks off state support, although no euro zone country should default on its debt, European Central Bank officials said on Friday.

ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny told reporters at a trade union conference that government action was needed to wean banks off the emergency supply of cheap cash the bank has provided since the crisis erupted in late 2008.

Sep 16, 2010

Austrian mint says gold sales down 41 pct YTD

VIENNA, Sept 16 (Reuters) – The Austrian Mint, which makes
the popular Philharmonic gold bullion coin, said on Thursday a
spike in sales it has seen in May due to worries about Europe’s
economic future has abated considerably since June.

Sales of the coin, one of the best-selling worldwide,
dropped 41 percent to 468,507 ounces in the year to end-August
compared to the same period in the “exceptional” year 2009, the
mint’s Kerry Tattersall told Reuters.

Sep 15, 2010

Crisis will strengthen EU role – Austrian finmin

VIENNA (Reuters) – The depth of the European Union crisis triggered by Greece’s debt woes and the risk it presented for the bloc will force even notorious naysayers to agree to a stronger EU role, Austria’s finance minister said on Wednesday.

“While the crisis was so deep and the potential threat to the euro so severe, it was still such a struggle to create the right structures to make decisions, and to make the right decisions,” Josef Proell told Reuters in an interview.

Aug 27, 2010

Austria’s Hypo loss triples as bad debts mount

VIENNA, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Austrian nationalised bank Hypo
Group Alpe Adria lost almost half a billion euros in the first
half of 2010 as its asset clean-up and the economic crisis in
the Balkans made charges for bad loans nearly double.

The scandal-ridden bank, whose former boss was arrested two
weeks ago on suspicion he diverted bank funds, said on Friday
its net loss tripled to 499 million euros ($634 million) and
reiterated it would return to profit only next year.

Aug 20, 2010

Austria seeks whistleblowers amid wave of scandals

VIENNA, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Austria is to give whistleblowers
reduced penalties and create special prosecuting units to try to
stem a tide of white-collar crime and corruption, much of it
linked to politicians.

Investigations into the near-collapses of a bank close to
the late rightist leader Joerg Haider and of real estate groups
with links to politics have threatened to overwhelm understaffed
and underqualified prosecutors, and put the spotlight on Justice
Minister Claudia Bandion-Ortner.

Aug 19, 2010

Bwin pins second-quarter loss on one-off costs

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austrian internet bookmaker bwin (BWIN.VI: Quote, Profile, Research), which is merging with Britain’s PartyGaming (PRTY.L: Quote, Profile, Research), said its second-quarter loss was due to one-off startup and marketing costs and would not recur in the rest of the year.

Bwin, Europe’s biggest online sport betting operator, posted second-quarter core earnings that were only half of what analysts had expected and turned into a loss on the bottom line, mainly due to costs for starting a French betting site.

    • About Boris

      "I am Reuters Chief Correspondent in Vienna and mainly cover the Austrian banking sector. I also help coordinate our coverage of banking in the broader emerging European region, where Austrian banks are among the major players."
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