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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
PARIS (Reuters) – Countries that apply for an ECB bond-buying program will not necessarily be asked to make more cuts because some have already taken strong steps in that direction, ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure said on Saturday.
Coeure, in remarks that might assuage concerns in Spain about requesting ECB support to cut borrowing costs, said the idea of the central bank’s program “is not to pile more austerity on top of austerity”.
PARIS, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Countries that apply for an ECB
bond-buying programme will not necessarily be asked to make more
cuts because certain governments have already taken strong steps
in that direction, ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure said
Coeure, in remarks which could assuage some concerns in
Spain about requesting ECB support to lower its sovereign bond
yields, said the idea of the central bank’s programme “is not to
pile more austerity on top of austerity”.
PARIS, Sept 7 (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande
insisted on Friday he would press ahead with spending cuts and
promised tax reforms next year, amid reports his Socialist
government was watering down flagship measures such as a 75
percent tax on the rich.
Elected in May on a pledge to curb unemployment and tax the
rich, Hollande said a stagnant economy made it crucial for
France to stick to a target of cutting the deficit to 3 percent
of gross domestic product (GDP) next year or else risk losing
PARIS, Aug 14 (Reuters) – France’s economy flatlined for the
third quarter running in the three months to June, but it may
struggle to gather significant momentum going into 2013 given
looming budget cuts and a steadily rising jobless rate.
Growth came in at zero, Tuesday’s figures from national
statistics agency INSEE showed, as a rise in investments and
exports defied expectations for a contraction.
BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) – Germany posted modest economic growth in the second quarter of the year and France stagnated, official data showed on Tuesday, suggesting the euro zone as a whole contracted over the three months.
Europe’s largest economy eked out growth of 0.3 percent over the quarter, marginally beating forecasts, but it is unlikely to be able to defy gravity indefinitely unless decisive action is taken to tackle the currency bloc’s debt crisis.