Investment strategy correspondent, London
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Jun 27, 2013

French morale hits record low, state coffers to suffer

PARIS (Reuters) – French consumer confidence has hit an all-time low just as the state auditor warned that a likely economic contraction would knock the government off-course from this year’s deficit reduction target.

June consumer confidence fell to the lowest level since records began in 1972 and households are more pessimistic than ever about their future living standards, according to an index released on Thursday by national statistics institute INSEE.

Jun 27, 2013

French consumer morale hits record low

PARIS, June 27 (Reuters) – French consumer confidence has
hit an all-time low, the latest survey showed on Thursday, just
as the state auditor warned that a likely economic contraction
would knock the government off course on this year’s deficit
reduction target.

The June consumer confidence index fell to the lowest level
since records began in 1972 and households are more pessimistic
than ever about their future living standards, data from the
national INSEE statistics institute showed.

Jun 27, 2013

Won’t move, can’t move: euro zone’s jobless sit tight

PARIS/ROME (Reuters) – The car plant where 46-year-old Agathe Martin works is shutting down, but when PSA Peugeot offered her a job in another factory elsewhere in the Paris region she said “Non”.

After 17 years working in the same plant, taking the job would have meant either a much longer commute or losing her cheap social housing and uprooting her two daughters in a move.

Jun 27, 2013

Won’t move, can’t move: euro zone’s jobless sit tight

PARIS/ROME, June 27 (Reuters) – The car plant where
46-year-old Agathe Martin works is shutting down, but when PSA
Peugeot offered her a job in another factory elsewhere in the
Paris region she said “Non”.

After 17 years working in the same plant, taking the job

would have meant either a much longer commute or
losing her cheap social housing and uprooting her two daughters
in a move.

Jun 26, 2013

Draghi says ECB policy exit distant, ready to act

PARIS (Reuters) – An exit from the European Central Bank’s exceptional monetary policy measures remains distant, ECB President Mario Draghi reiterated on Wednesday, soothing unnerved markets after the U.S. Federal Reserve laid out a plan to reel in stimulus.

Speaking to committees in the French lower house of parliament, Draghi said there were still downside risks to growth in the euro zone economy and the ECB was ready to take fresh action if needed.

Jun 25, 2013

Markets upended because Fed has “no clue” how it will end bond buying-IMF

PARIS, June 25 (Reuters) – Markets have overreacted to the
U.S. Federal Reserve’s plans to stop buying bonds but part of
the problem is a lack of clarity over how it will be done, the
International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

“The Fed has no clue what will happen when it starts selling
assets,” IMF Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard told a meeting of
the Institute of International Finance in Paris. “So it cannot
make any commitments in term of quantities.”

Jun 21, 2013

EU tells France to reform pensions, rein in spending

LUXEMBOURG, June 21 (Reuters) – European Union finance
ministers told France on Friday to revamp its pension system by
year-end and cut labour costs in return for getting longer to
shrink its budget deficit to within EU limits.

The ministers backed the European Commission’s detailed
recommendations on how France should proceed with those reforms,
despite Paris’s instance that Brussels cannot “dictate” its
policies.

Jun 21, 2013

EU to decide who pays when banks fail

LUXEMBOURG, June 21 (Reuters) – The European Union sought on
Friday to forge rules to force losses on large savers when banks
fail, a divisive reform that will shape how the euro zone deals
with its sickly lenders.

Finance ministers in Luxembourg are trying to resolve one of
the most difficult questions posed by Europe’s banking crisis -
how to shut failed banks without sowing panic or burdening
taxpayers.

Jun 21, 2013

Euro bailout fund conditions complicate efforts to separate bad banks and sovereigns

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Euro zone finance ministers on Thursday agreed on how its bailout fund can invest in troubled banks, but imposed so many conditions that they may not completely succeed in their goal of separating problem banks from their indebted home countries.

The 500 billion-euro bailout fund was originally set up to help struggling governments and was later expanded to include banks in an effort to restore confidence in the financial markets, ravaged by three years of debt and financial crisis.

Jun 14, 2013

French should pay into pensions for longer, panel says

PARIS (Reuters) – The French should pay contributions for longer to get a full pension and well-off pensioners should pay more taxes, a much-awaited advisory report to President Francois Hollande’s government said on Friday.

Pension reform, a controversial issue for decades in France, will be closely watched by its euro zone partners, which expect changes in the generous but costly system in return for giving Paris more time to bring its public finances back in line.