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Jan 19, 2015

SocGen picks former ECB executive board member as chairman

PARIS, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Societe Generale is to
split its top job into two with the appointment of former
European Central Bank executive board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi
as chairman, while Frederic Oudea will remain chief executive.

Societe Generale was the only big French bank not to have
separated the two roles and was expected to do this to comply
with European Union regulations and recommendations from French
employee associations.

Jan 17, 2015

France’s Hollande defends freedom of speech after anti-Hebdo clashes abroad

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday that anti-Charlie Hebdo protesters in other countries do not understand France’s attachment to freedom of speech.

He was speaking a day after the satirical weekly’s publication of a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad sparked violent clashes, including deaths, in some Muslim countries.

Jan 16, 2015

French municipal borrowers collateral victims of Swiss franc surge

PARIS, Jan 16 (Reuters) – French municipal borrowers are
seeing the cost of billions of euros in Swiss franc-linked debt
spiral dangerously higher, making them collateral victims of the
Swiss currency’s surge.

Up to the 2008-2009 financial crisis, many municipalities
and local governments took out long-term loans linked to foreign
currencies, offering low interest rates in the initial years and
floating rates afterwards.

Jan 13, 2015

Charlie Hebdo to publish Mohammad cartoon on front page

PARIS, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Charlie Hebdo will publish a front
page showing a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad holding a sign
saying “Je suis Charlie” in its first edition since Islamist
gunmen attacked the satirical newspaper.

With demand surging for the edition due on Wednesday, the
weekly planned to print up to 3 million copies, dwarfing its
usual run of 60,000, after newsagents reported that large
numbers of customers around the country were placing orders.

Jan 13, 2015

France’s Charlie Hebdo to print tearful Mohammad on front page

PARIS (Reuters) – Charlie Hebdo will publish a front page showing a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad in its first edition since Islamist gunmen attacked the satirical newspaper.

With demand surging for the edition due on Wednesday, the weekly planned to print up to 3 million copies, dwarfing its usual run of 60,000, after newsagents reported that large numbers of customers around the country were placing orders.

Dec 18, 2014

Credit Agricole starts search for peacemaker CEO

PARIS, Dec 18 (Reuters) – Credit Agricole has
launched the hunt for a new boss who must reconcile warring
factions within France’s third-largest bank and find a way to
simplify its ownership structure.

The bank’s Byzantine cross-holdings tying its listed arm to
its regional mutuals are a drag on the valuation of the listed
entity and are disapproved of by regulators who say they reduce
transparency for investors and make oversight more difficult.

Nov 7, 2014

IMF, U.S. encourage ECB, Japan monetary stimulus

PARIS, Nov 7 (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund and
the United States encouraged the European Central Bank and the
Bank of Japan toward greater monetary stimulus on Friday and
urged governments around the world to do their share to
encourage growth in their countries.

Calling the world economy “fragile, brittle and fragmented”,
IMF Managing Director Christian Lagarde told a conference of
central bankers in Paris it was “perfectly legitimate and
appropriate” for the ECB and the BoJ to take unconventional
steps to combat low inflation and economic stagnation.

Nov 7, 2014

ECB’s Noyer sees need for government bond buying if deflation looms

PARIS, Nov 7 (Reuters) – The European Central Bank should be
ready in an emergency to buy government bonds to combat
prolonged low inflation, a senior ECB policymaker said on
Friday, just as the United States is ending such so-called
quantitative easing.

Speaking a day after the ECB ordered its staff to start
preparing for bolder measures if needed, Governing Council
member Christian Noyer said central banks should be prepared to
buy public debt if needed to avert deflation or a run on
sovereign bonds.

Nov 6, 2014

Credit Agricole slams govt policy as weak France drags on Q3 banking results

PARIS, Nov 6 (Reuters) – Credit Agricole’s chief
executive tore into French government economic policy on
Thursday as the French bank and rival Societe Generale
blamed weak demand for a fall in revenues at home.

“The absence of a clear vision and lack of coherence in
economic policies is weighing on confidence and therefore
investment and economic activity,” Agricole CEO Jean-Paul
Chifflet told reporters on a conference call.

Nov 6, 2014

OECD sees gradual U.S.-led recovery despite euro zone weakness

PARIS (Reuters) – The global economy is only gradually picking up momentum as stagnation in the euro zone and growing weakness in some big emerging economies weighs on the U.S.-led recovery, the OECD said on Thursday.

With the euro zone a stubborn weak spot in the global economy, the OECD called on the European Central Bank to live up to a promise “to do what ever it takes” to revive its economy and begin purchasing government bonds.