Leigh's Feed
Oct 1, 2014

France defies EU partners with ‘no austerity’ budget

PARIS (Reuters) – France laid down the gauntlet to EU partners on Wednesday with a 2015 budget setting out how it would bring its borrowing back to within EU limits two years later than promised, a retreat it blamed on a fragile economy.

The announcement from Paris came hours after news that Italy too planned to ease the pace of painful deficit-reduction steps to try to counter another year of recession.

Sep 23, 2014

French economy flat-lines as business activity falters

PARIS (Reuters) – French business activity slowed again in September amid weakness in the key service sector, two surveys showed on Tuesday, as the euro zone’s second-biggest economy posted zero growth for the second quarter in a row.

In the face of weak demand, companies are proving reluctant to heed the call of President Francois Hollande’s government to drive a recovery with investment as pledges to cut their payroll tax do little to revive their confidence.

Sep 19, 2014

France dodges rating downgrade – for now

PARIS (Reuters) – Moody’s spared France a fresh downgrade of its debt rating on Friday even though Paris has overrun its deficit targets, warning the outlook was negative in light of difficulties pushing through reforms.

Moody’s kept its rating on French bonds at Aa1, the second-highest level in its scale, saying the size and wealth of the euro zone’s second-biggest economy, coupled with its currently ultra-low borrowing costs, justified keeping the rating for now.

Sep 15, 2014

OECD slashes growth forecasts, urges aggressive ECB action

PARIS (Reuters) – The OECD slashed its growth forecasts for major developed economies on Monday, urging much more aggressive ECB stimulus to ward off the risk of deflation in a subdued euro zone.

The call adds to growing pressure on the euro zone, and the European Central Bank in particular, to boost growth ahead of a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 economic powers later this week in Australia.

Sep 10, 2014

France breaks 2015 deficit-cutting promise

PARIS (Reuters) – France announced on Wednesday it was breaking the latest in a long line of promises to European Union partners to cut its public deficit, conceding it now would take until 2017 to bring its finances in line with EU rules.

The statement by Finance Minister Michel Sapin follows weeks of hints by Paris that weakness in the euro zone’s second largest economy would prevent it bringing the deficit below the EU ceiling of three percent of output next year as promised.

Sep 3, 2014

France says can not deliver first helicopter carrier to Russia

PARIS (Reuters) – The French government cannot go ahead for now with the planned delivery of a first of two helicopter carriers to Russia, the president’s office said on Wednesday, citing Moscow’s actions in eastern Ukraine.

France, due to join NATO partners at a summit in Britain from Thursday, has faced fierce pressure from Washington and other allies to halt the sale of the Mistral-class warships, the first of which had been due for delivery in October.

Aug 29, 2014

France banks on tax breaks to tackle homebuilding slump

PARIS, Aug 29 (Reuters) – The French government offered tax
breaks to property owners on Friday in its second set of
measures in three months to reverse a homebuilding slump that is
holding back growth in the euro zone’s second-biggest economy.

Braving steady criticism from the left that he is too
pro-business, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the government
would also limit plans for rent caps, which builders and
property developers say has scared off investors.

Aug 28, 2014

German finance minister backs French push for pro-growth investment

PARIS (Reuters) – German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Thursday backed French President Francois Hollande’s calls for greater investment to boost growth in Europe, hours after Hollande called for a euro zone summit to coordinate pro-growth measures.

France has for months called for Germany, Europe, and the bloc’s central bank to do more to boost investment and growth in the euro zone, but had so far largely faced reluctance from EU-powerhouse Germany.

Aug 1, 2014

Insurer AXA’s profit surges despite low interest rates

PARIS, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Europe’s second-biggest insurer,
AXA, posted a better-than-expected first-half profit
on Friday and raised its cost-savings target, shrugging off the
impact of falling interest rates.

Net income rose 25 percent on a comparable basis to 3.01
billion euros ($4.03 billion) in the first half, boosted by
strong earnings growth and lower restructuring costs, the
company said in a statement.

Jul 31, 2014

Braving weak French economy, investors pile into its property

PARIS, July 30 (Reuters) – Undeterred by a stagnant local
economy and falling rents, yield-starved investors are pouring
capital into France’s commercial real estate market at the
fastest rate since the start of the financial crisis.

Investors ploughed 10.7 billion euros ($14.34 billion) into
French office, retail, logistics and industrial properties in
the first half of the year, up 73 percent from the same period
last year, real estate adviser CBRE said.