Friday, April 28, 2017
Thursday, April 27, 2017
FILE PHOTO: A woman cycles behind a London bus as they pass by a Deutsche Bank building in the City of London March 30, 2016.REUTERS/Russell Boyce/File Photo -
Deutsche Bank is considering whether it needs to move thousands of staff from London to Frankfurt following Britain's decision to leave the European Union, one of its top executives said.
After Britain triggered Article 50 last month and has begun divorce talks with the EU, financial firms have stepped up planning on how to deal with any disruption that might ensue, such as losing access to the bloc's single market.
"For front office people if you want to deal with EU clients you need to be based in the EU, in continental Europe. Does that mean that I have to move all the front office people to Germany or not?" said Deutsche Bank's Chief Regulatory Officer Sylvie Matherat.
"And we are speaking of 2,000 people – that's not a small number," she told a conference hosted by Frankfurt Main Finance, a group that promotes the German financial capital.
Matherat said that any such move would require the bank to build up its information technology in Frankfurt and would also depend on local regulators' stance on how trillions of euros in future deals should be cleared or processed.
"What are you going to do: Do you have the technical capacity to move it? Do you have the willingness of the local regulators to supervise something that looks like hundreds of trillions in terms of exposure," Matherat said.
She said that some local supervisors also are asking for risk management to be done locally, a demand that would require more jobs to be moved.
"It means another 2000 people. Everybody needs clarity - and the sooner the better." She said the bank had 9,000 staff in Britain.
Despite Deutsche considering such moves, it is likely to retain a large presence in the UK and recently chose a new office for its London headquarters.
(Reporting by Andreas Kröner; Writing by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Keith)
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Government borrowing fell by £20bn to £52bn in the year to the end of March, according to official data.
Monday, April 24, 2017
Friday, April 21, 2017
The World Bank cut its growth projection for sub-Saharan Africa this year because of weak expansion in the region’s three biggest economies.
The area’s gross domestic product will expand 2.6 percent in 2017, the bank said in an emailed copy of its Africa Pulse report Wednesday. That compares with a January projection of 2.9 percent and matches the International Monetary Fund’s prediction released this week.
“The region’s three largest economies -- Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa -- are projected to post only a modest rebound in growth following a sharp slowdown in 2016,” it said. “Investment growth will recover only gradually amid tight foreign-exchange liquidity conditions in major oil exporters and low investor confidence in South Africa.”
The economy of South Africa, which vies with Nigeria’s to be the region’s biggest, expanded 0.3 percent last year, the slowest pace since a 2009 recession, due to a slump in commodity prices, weak demand for the country’s exports and a continuation of the worst drought since records started more than a century ago. Nigeria suffered its first economic contraction in 25 years in 2016 due to a drop in oil exports and foreign-currency shortages that raised inflation to a decade high.
Growth this year will be “better than the 1.3 percent in 2016, the lowest in two decades, but we are not out of the woods yet,” World Bank Africa Chief Economist Albert Zeufack told reporters in a video conference from Washington on Wednesday. “Africa is still growing at negative per-capita rates.”
The bank cut South Africa’s GDP growth forecast for this year to 0.6 percent from 1.1 percent earlier, and raised Nigeria’s to 1.2 percent from 1 percent.
Pravin Gordhan’s ouster as South Africa’s finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle prompted S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings Ltd. to cut the nation’s credit rating to sub-investment grade. Moody’s Investors Service put its assessment of the nation’s debt, which is two levels above junk, on review for a downgrade on April 3.
“The recent events represent a setback to business and investor confidence, and are likely to weigh down on the country’s prospects,” the World Bank said.
The bank reduced its forecast for the region’s expansion in 2018 to 3.2 percent from 3.6 percent in January.
Among non-resource intensive countries, such as Ethiopia, Senegal, and Tanzania, growth is expected to remain generally solid this year, supported by domestic demand, it said.
The economy of Angola, Africa’s biggest oil producer, will probably expand 1.2 percent this year, the bank said, leaving its January forecast unchanged.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Reuters News - Exclusive: Putin-linked think tank drew up plan to sway 2016 U.S. election - documents
A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters.
They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies [en.riss.ru/], after the election.
The institute is run by retired senior Russian foreign intelligence officials appointed by Putin’s office.
The first Russian institute document was a strategy paper written last June that circulated at the highest levels of the Russian government but was not addressed to any specific individuals.
It recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama, the seven officials said.
A second institute document, drafted in October and distributed in the same way, warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election. For that reason, it argued, it was better for Russia to end its pro-Trump propaganda and instead intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral system’s legitimacy and damage Clinton’s reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency, the seven officials said.
The current and former U.S. officials spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the Russian documents’ classified status. They declined to discuss how the United States obtained them. U.S. intelligence agencies also declined to comment on them.
Putin has denied interfering in the U.S. election. Putin’s spokesman and the Russian institute did not respond to requests for comment.
The documents were central to the Obama administration's conclusion that Russia mounted a “fake news” campaign and launched cyber attacks against Democratic Party groups and Clinton's campaign, the current and former officials said.
Trump has said Russia’s activities had no impact on the outcome of the race. Ongoing congressional and FBI investigations into Russian interference have so far produced no public evidence that Trump associates colluded with the Russian effort to change the outcome of the election.
Four of the officials said the approach outlined in the June strategy paper was a broadening of an effort the Putin administration launched in March 2016. That month the Kremlin instructed state-backed media outlets, including international platforms Russia Today and Sputnik news agency, to start producing positive reports on Trump’s quest for the U.S. presidency, the officials said.
Russia Today did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Sputnik dismissed the assertions by the U.S. officials that it participated in a Kremlin campaign as an “absolute pack of lies.” “And by the way, it's not the first pack of lies we're hearing from 'sources in U.S. official circles'," the spokesperson said in an email.
Russia Today and Sputnik published anti-Clinton stories while pro-Kremlin bloggers prepared a Twitter campaign calling into question the fairness of an anticipated Clinton victory, according to a report by U.S. intelligence agencies on Russian interference in the election made public in January. [bit.ly/2kMiKSA]
Russia Today’s most popular Clinton video - “How 100% of the 2015 Clintons’ ‘charity’ went to ... themselves” - accumulated 9 millions views on social media, according to the January report. [bit.ly/2os8wIt]
The report said Russia Today and Sputnik “consistently cast president elect-Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional media outlets."
The report said the agencies did not assess whether Moscow’s effort had swung the outcome of the race in Trump’s favor, because American intelligence agencies do not “analyze U.S. political processes or U.S. public opinion.” [bit.ly/2kMiKSA]
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde delivers a speech at the Solvay Library in Brussels, Belgium April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
The International Monetary Fund will not take part in a bailout program for Greece if it deems the country's debt is unsustainable, the international lender's chief Christine Lagarde said in an interview published on Tuesday.
Greece needs to implement reforms agreed by euro zone finance ministers earlier this month to secure a new loan under its 86 billion-euro ($91.58 billion) bailout program, the third since 2010.
The loan is needed to pay debt due in July, but talks continue and the IMF has not yet decided whether to join the bailout. The fund's participation is seen as a condition for Germany to unblock new funds to Greece.
"If Greek debts are not sustainable based on IMF rules and reasonable parameters, we will not take part in the program," Lagarde told German newspaper Die Welt when asked if the IMF would take part in the plan if Greek debt is not restructured.
(Reporting by Joseph Nasr and Paul Carrel)
Friday, April 14, 2017
Mr Trump made the comments days after meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida
'Respect' for Yellen
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrive for a news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
The presidents of the United States and Russia on Wednesday both presented souring views of the relationship between their two countries, exchanging sharp words as Moscow extended an icy welcome to the United States' top diplomat in a face-off over Syria.
In Washington, President Donald Trump said the United States' relationship with Moscow "may be at an all-time low."
Trump's comments came after he made his biggest foreign policy decision of his new presidency last week, firing missiles at Syria to punish Moscow's ally for its suspected use of poison gas. Russia condemned the U.S. action.
(For graphic on battle for control in Syria click here: tmsnrt.rs/2nm68H0)
Hours earlier on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin was equally pessimistic, saying in an interview broadcast on Russian television, "The level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved but has rather deteriorated."
The rhetorical salvos came as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson received an unusually hostile reception in Moscow, where any hope that the Trump administration would herald less confrontational relations was dashed in the week after the U.S. missile strike on Syria.
Tillerson met Putin in the Kremlin after talking to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, for about three hours. The Kremlin had previously declined to confirm Putin would meet Tillerson, reflecting the renewed tensions.
Trump had frequently called during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign for warmer ties with Putin, despite criticism from lawmakers in his own Republican Party.
But the civil war in Syria has driven a wedge between Moscow and Washington, upending what many in Russia hoped would be a transformation in relations, which reached a post-Cold War low under Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.
As Tillerson sat down for talks with Lavrov on Wednesday, a volley of statements, including from a senior Russian official, appeared timed to maximize the awkwardness during the first visit to Moscow by a member of Trump's cabinet.
Lavrov doubled down on Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, repeating denials that Assad's government was to blame for the gas attack last week and adding a new theory that the attack may have been faked by Assad's enemies.
Tillerson reiterated the U.S. position that Assad must eventually relinquish power in Syria.
"We discussed our view that Russia as their closest ally in the conflict perhaps has the best means of helping Assad recognize this reality," he said.
Asked whether Assad could be subject to war crimes charges, Tillerson said people were working to make such a case, though he cautioned doing so would require clearing a high legal hurdle.
AN ICY WELCOME
Lavrov greeted Tillerson with unusually icy remarks, denouncing the missile strike on Syria as illegal and accusing Washington of behaving unpredictably.
One of Lavrov's deputies was even more undiplomatic.
"In general, primitiveness and loutishness are very characteristic of the current rhetoric coming out of Washington," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russia's state-owned RIA news agency.
But Lavrov said some progress had been made on Syria at the meeting and that a working group would be set up to examine the poor state of U.S.-Russia ties. He also said Putin had agreed to reactivate a U.S.-Russian air safety agreement over Syria that Moscow suspended after the U.S. missile strikes.
Tillerson noted the low level of trust between the two countries. "The world's two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship," he said.
Moscow's hostility to Trump administration figures is a sharp change from last year, when Putin hailed Trump as a strong figure and Russian state television was often full of effusive praise for him.
In another possible setback to a thaw with Moscow, Trump said on Wednesday that NATO is not obsolete, as he had declared during the election campaign last year. But he told a news conference at the White House with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that alliance members still need to pay their fair share for the European security umbrella.
Trump said U.S. relations with Russia were not going well.
"Right now, we’re not getting along with Russia at all. We may be at an all-time low in terms of a relationship with Russia. This has built for a long period of time. But we’re going to see what happens," Trump told the news conference.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said his administration's policy was not to demand Assad step down as part of a "peaceful resolution to the conflict," in some contrast to Tillerson's remarks in Moscow.
"Are we insisting on it? No. But I do think it’s going to happen at a certain point," Trump said.
The Wall Street Journal cited Trump as saying that Assad's use of chemical weapons again would elicit another military response, but he also said he would not intervene in depth in the conflict.
The White House has accused Moscow of trying to cover up Assad's use of chemical weapons after the attack on a rebel-held Syrian town last week killed 87 people.
Trump responded to the gas attack by firing 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base on Friday. Washington warned Moscow, and Russian troops at the base were not hit.
Moscow has stood by Assad, saying the poison gas belonged to rebels, an explanation Washington dismisses as beyond credible.
Russia blocked a Western effort at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to condemn the gas attack and push Assad to cooperate with international inquiries into the incident.
Trump came to the presidency promising greater cooperation with Russia in fighting against the two countries' common enemy in Syria, the Islamic State militant group. Tillerson is a former oil executive who was awarded Russia's Order of Friendship by Putin.
Trump's relations with Russia are also a domestic issue, as U.S. intelligence agencies have accused Moscow of using computer hacking to intervene in the U.S. presidential election to help Trump win. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether any Trump campaign figures colluded with Moscow, which the White House denies.
(Additional reporting by Polina Devitt, Andrew Osborn and Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Peter Graff, Anna Willard and Dustin Volz; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Leslie Adler)