Investment strategy correspondent, London
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Apr 15, 2013

French 2014 budget to raise tax take, trim spending

PARIS (Reuters) – French taxpayers face a heftier tax bill next year, the country’s finance minister said on Monday, even though the focus of fiscal tightening is set to shift from raising extra revenue to trimming spending.

The additional tax burden of about 6 billion euros will show up in a revised multi-year budget plan the government will unveil on Wednesday, key to its efforts to win a one-year reprieve from its euro zone partners on its deficit target.

Apr 11, 2013

Ireland may go it alone without precautionary funds: EU source

PARIS (Reuters) – Ireland may go it alone when it comes off emergency aid later this year and not sign up to a precautionary credit line that would smooth its bailout exit but bring political difficulties, a euro zone source said on Thursday.

Rescued by Europe and the IMF in late 2010, Ireland has consistently hit the targets set under its bailout and closed in on weaning itself off emergency assistance last month by raising 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) in a landmark 10-year bond sale.

Apr 10, 2013

France’s Hollande pledges more transparency for banks, politicians

PARIS, April 10 (Reuters) – French banks must give more
details on their operations in tax havens, while ministers will
disclose personal assets from next Monday, President Francois
Hollande said in a drive to restore public trust after a tax
fraud scandal.

Seeking to show he is improving transparency after his
budget minister quit over a secret Swiss bank account, Hollande
pledged to step up the fight against tax havens. He also
appointed a specialised financial prosecution office.

Mar 29, 2013

French economy dogged by weak spending, fiscal strain

PARIS, March 29 (Reuters) – Bleak French consumer spending
and budget deficit data on Friday highlighted the Sisyphean task
facing the government, which insists it can meet its pledges to
revive growth and the public finances.

President Francois Hollande sought to reassure the public in
a TV interview on Thursday that he has the tools to restore
France to growth, promising measures to boost consumer spending,
which accounts for more than half of the economy.

Mar 20, 2013

France says no change to cuts plan after minister quits

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s new budget minister said on Wednesday he would stick to the spending cuts planned by his predecessor, whose sudden resignation in a tax fraud investigation threw an unwelcome spotlight on the country’s fiscal dilemma.

Jerome Cahuzac, whose brief was to figure out how to rein in public spending further without extinguishing the stagnating economy’s growth prospects, quit late on Tuesday over investigations he held a secret bank account in Switzerland. He has protested his innocence.

Mar 17, 2013

Airbus wins landmark Lion Air order – sources

PARIS (Reuters) – Europe’s Airbus has landed a record order potentially worth $20 billion at list prices from Indonesia’s Lion Air, sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday, smashing rival Boeing’s (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) grip on one of the world’s fastest-growing airlines.

In a sign of the rising importance of Asian budget carriers for high-tech manufacturing jobs, the deal is set to be announced on Monday at a ceremony overseen by French President Franciois Hollande, the sources said, asking not to be named.

Mar 11, 2013

French January industrial output drops, base year change weighs

PARIS, March 11 (Reuters) – French industrial output slid
1.2 percent in January, dragged down by weak auto and agri-food
production but also by a change in the base year used for the
data.

It was the latest gloomy news for an economy struggling to
avoid recession.

The 1.2 percent monthly drop, the sharpest fall since
September, was much worse than a forecast for a flat reading. It
was affected by the change in the base year used by the INSEE
statistics office and by a new weighting of the indices.

Mar 8, 2013

French central bank sees flat economy in first quarter

PARIS (Reuters) – France will barely dodge recession in the first quarter of the year, with the weak economy hurting the government’s efforts to rein in the budget deficit, data showed on Friday.

In a monthly survey, the central bank maintained its forecast of 0.1 percent growth in the January to March period for the euro zone’s second biggest economy, which contracted by 0.3 percent in the last quarter of 2012.

Mar 7, 2013

French unemployment rises again to highest since 1999

PARIS, March 7 (Reuters) – France’s jobless rate hit its
highest level in more than 13 years in the last quarter of 2012,
underscoring the challenge the government faces over its pledge
to reverse the upward trend by year-end.

Thursday’s official data prompted a renewed government plea
for action at European level to spur growth as the euro zone’s
No. 2 economy shows increasing signs of languishing behind a
more resilient Germany.

Feb 28, 2013

Funds lift equity holdings in February, but cash up too

LONDON (Reuters) – Global investors raised their equity holdings to a 10-month high this month as a healing world economy saw portfolios rotate further out bonds, but cash levels also rose, for the first time since May.

In a monthly Reuters poll of 52 leading investment houses in the United States, Europe and Japan, funds on aggregate held 52.2 percent of their investments in equities, the highest since April and up from 52.1 last month. But this marginal rise slowed sharply from the biggest monthly jump in the survey’s history in January, of more than two percentage points.