Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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Jan 13, 2014

IMF sees tepid 2014 recovery in emerging Europe

VIENNA (Reuters) – Central, eastern and southeastern Europe is poised for just a “tepid” economic recovery this year, lagging other emerging markets even as major western trading partners rebound, a senior IMF official told Reuters on Monday.

Aasim Husain, deputy director of the International Monetary Fund’s European department, said countries with large current account and fiscal imbalances still risked market buffeting as central banks in advanced economies unwind extra-loose policy.

Jan 10, 2014

Austria sees extra 90 mln eur from bank tax change

VIENNA, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Austria’s banks face a 90 million
euro ($122 million) hike in a levy imposed to help cover the
expense of propping up the sector in the financial crisis,
adding to their costs at a time when profits are already under

Banks such as UniCredit unit Bank Austria, Erste
Group and Raiffeisen Bank International have
previously complained that the levy hits profits just as they
need to build up capital and are also being urged to keep
lending during an economic weak patch.

Jan 9, 2014

Raiffeisen kicks off share sales by European banks

VIENNA, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank
International has kicked off a year of capital raising
by European banks keen to convince regulators and investors that
they are robust enough to weather any more financial storms.

Central and eastern Europe’s second-biggest lender said late
Wednesday it could sell up to 2.25 billion euros ($3.06 billion)
of shares, boosting its equity capital by about 40 percent to
beef up its finances and help repay state aid.

Jan 8, 2014

Raiffeisen Bank Int’l eyes 2-2.25 bln euro capital hike

VIENNA, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International
may increase its equity capital by up to 2.25 billion
euros ($3.06 billion) in the next six months, it said on
Wednesday, mirroring Austrian rival Erste Group’s move
to shore up capital and repay state aid.

Central and eastern Europe’s second-biggest lender has long
said it could sell more shares to bolster its relatively weak
balance sheet and a statement after the market close was the
most detailed yet on what the Vienna-based bank has in mind.

Dec 17, 2013

Kurz, 27, puts fresh face on Austrian foreign policy

VIENNA (Reuters) – Sebastian Kurz, who became Europe’s youngest foreign minister this week at the age of 27, hopes to refresh Austria’s stuffy image and present it as a modern country open to the world

His appointment may also help the centrist coalition government revamp its own image after barely scraping a combined majority from voters weary of the status quo in September elections, in which the new youth-oriented Neos scored surprisingly well.

Dec 16, 2013

Protests greet new Austrian government

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s renewed coalition government of mainstream pro-Europe parties got off to a rough start on Monday as hundreds of people dismayed by the scrapping of the science ministry protested outside the swearing-in ceremony.

“Heinzi, don’t do it”, one sign read, a half-humorous appeal to President Heinz Fischer not to accept the coalition agreed last week by center-left Social Democrats (SPO) and conservative People’s Party (OVP).

Dec 13, 2013

‘Cerebral’ Spindelegger takes on Austrian finances

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austrian conservative leader Michael Spindelegger, set to replace the combative Maria Fekter as the euro zone country’s finance minister, is as plain vanilla as Fekter is brash.

A man who describes himself as cerebral, responsible and calm has put himself into the finance ministry hot seat in a cabinet shake-up accompanying a new version of the coalition his OVP People’s Party struck with the Social Democrats.

Dec 12, 2013

Austrian govt accord boosts bank levy surcharge-sources

VIENNA, Dec 12 (Reuters) – The coalition accord struck by
Austria’s two big parties on Thursday calls for increasing a
bank levy surcharge that the country imposed last year, two
sources familiar with the agreement said.

Austria launched a special bank levy in 2011 to help recoup
costs of propping up the sector during the financial crisis. The
underlying levy, originally supposed to last until 2017, raises
around 500 million euros ($690 million) a year.

Dec 12, 2013

Mainstream parties clinch Austrian coalition deal

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s mainstream pro-Europe parties agreed on Thursday to govern in coalition for the next five years, promising to ensure continued prosperity in the Alpine euro zone nation.

The Social Democrats (SPO) and conservative People’s Party (OVP) had promised a new, progressive approach to politics after September elections in which voters tired of party paralysis punished them and bolstered the far right.

Dec 11, 2013

Verbund says needs more time to decide on gas plants

VIENNA, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Energy group Verbund
needs more time to decide the future of its struggling gas-fired
power plants, which it had hoped to resolve by the end of the
year, it said on Wednesday.

Verbund is battling a difficult environment for gas power
plants in Europe, where demand is low due to a weak economic
climate, while competing renewable energy sources are being
heavily subsidised in neighbouring Germany, the continent’s
biggest economy.

    • About Michael

      "Mike has worked for Reuters for two decades and reported from more than a dozen countries on business and general news. His beats have included covering the European automotive industry, business news from Switzerland, German defense and security policy, and Hungary's transition to a market democracy after the collapse of communism in eastern Europe"
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