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Oct 23, 2012

French industrial morale slides to two-year low

PARIS (Reuters) – Business morale in France’s manufacturing sector slumped in October to its lowest level in over two years as export demand from the euro zone weakened, adding to signs the bloc’s No. 2 economy is contracting.

National statistics institute INSEE said on Tuesday its indicator for morale in the manufacturing sector slumped to 85 in October, worse than the lowest estimate in a Reuters survey of 23 economists. The poll had forecast business morale would be unchanged from last month at 90.

Oct 22, 2012

France backs retroactive support for Irish banks

PARIS, Oct 22 (Reuters) – France backed on Monday a
retroactive recapitalisation of Ireland’s banks with euro zone
cash, highlighting uncertainties within the bloc over how to
deal with existing bad debts racked up by its lenders.

Germany has opposed using the euro zone’s permanent bailout
fund to cover such ‘legacy’ debts, though Chancellor Angela
Merkel has acknowledged that Ireland is a special case.

Sep 28, 2012

France unveils tough budget, Spain’s Rajoy wins time

PARIS/MADRID, Sept 28 (Reuters) – France unveiled an
austerity budget that would tax business and the super rich, but
a report showing Spain’s banks needed a manageable 59 billion
euros in new funds bought time for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
as he seeks to avoid a bailout.

Socialist President Francois Hollande’s 2013 budget amounts
to France’s toughest belt-tightening for 30 years as the debt
crisis takes its toll on the euro zone.

Sep 28, 2012

France targets deficit cut with tax-hiking budget

PARIS (Reuters) – President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government unveiled sharp tax hikes on business and the rich on Friday in a 2013 budget aimed at showing France has the fiscal rigour to remain at the core of the euro zone.

The package will recoup 30 billion euros for the public purse with a goal of narrowing the deficit to 3.0 percent of national output next year from 4.5 percent this year – France’s toughest single belt-tightening in 30 years.

Sep 28, 2012

Hollande stakes credibility on 2013 French budget

PARIS (Reuters) – President Francois Hollande puts his fiscal credibility on the line on Friday when he delivers France’s toughest budget in 30 years in the face of a stagnant economy, record unemployment and plunging opinion poll ratings.

The Socialist leader’s first full budget, to be presented to the cabinet at mid-morning, must secure 30 billion euros ($39 billion) in savings to keep promises on cutting the deficit made as part of euro zone efforts to end the debt crisis.

Sep 20, 2012

French business activity slumps in September: PMI – poll

PARIS (Reuters) – French business activity took a sharp turn for the worse in September, shrinking at its fastest pace since April 2009 as weak domestic demand and a deepening slowdown in southern Europe dragged the euro zone’s No. 2 economy towards contraction.

Economists suggested that the downbeat picture from France, which came against the backdrop of better-than-expected PMI figures from Germany, showed that unemployment running a 13-year high and a raft of tax rises announced by Socialist President Francois Hollande may be weighing on activity.

Sep 15, 2012

France, Germany at odds over pace of EU bank reform

NICOSIA, Sept 15 (Reuters) – German reticence over how fast
to centralise banking supervision in Europe stoked tensions with
France on Saturday, which urged prompt implementation of a plan
designed to tackle the financial crisis and help underpin the
single currency.

The reform, which needs to be approved by the European
Union’s 27 member states, aims to break the link between
struggling banks and indebted governments, an interdependence
that has exacerbated the region’s debt crisis.

Sep 14, 2012

Support grows for revamp to ease Ireland’s debt

NICOSIA (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund and the European Commission backed Ireland’s calls on Friday to lighten the cost of its bank bailout, a move they hope will bolster the island’s borrowing prospects and help wean it off international support.

Debt-laden Ireland wants the terms tied to up to 31 billion euros of IOUs pumped into two failed banks eased, and for the euro zone’s rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism, to take over Dublin’s stakes in other lenders.

Sep 14, 2012

IMF, EU see more time, not more money, for Greece

NICOSIA, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Greece may get more time to
reach financial targets under its 130 billion euro rescue
package but probably not more money, its international lenders
signalled on Friday, saying a decision had to come by the end of

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, leading a country in
its fifth year of recession at a time of rising discontent at
home, wants two more years to implement economic reforms tied to
the bailout to soften their impact.

Sep 14, 2012

Spain urged to clarify aid needs at euro zone meeting

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Euro zone finance ministers pressed Spain on Friday to clarify whether it will seek financial support after the announcement of the European Central Bank’s new bond-buying program brought Madrid’s borrowing costs sharply lower.

Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos deflected questions about a possible aid application on arriving for talks in Cyprus, saying they would discuss in general terms the conditions for ECB intervention in the markets.