Europe

  • 2019-06-13 06:05


    By Luke Heighton

    BERN (MNI) - The Swiss National Bank (SNB) could lower its already negative interest rates still further should the economic situation demand it, Governor Thomas Jordan said Thursday.

    "We still have room to manoeuvre, we can go to an even more expansionary monetary policy," Jordan said. "We have sufficient room to change our monetary policy in order to react to certain shocks."

    Asked when the SNB might return to positive interest rates, Jordan said: "If you look at the global economy at this moment, the point of time when interest rates will go up is probably postponed and pushed further into the future.

  • 2019-06-11 06:01


    By David Robinson

    LONDON (MNI) - Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Michael Saunders said Brexit was to blame for the disconnect between his message that more tightening was likely to be needed and market rate expectations of no rate hikes through 2020.

    "The disconnect is more to do with Brexit assumptions" than MPC communication, Saunders said in evidence to the Treasury Select Committee.

    --Saunders noted that the MPC's fan-charts, its probabilistic growth and inflation projections, under-estimated the uncertainty of the outlook by excluding the no-deal and remain options.

    "If either were to become the central case, the economic outlook could change materially," Saunders said in his written evidence.

    --Saunders said a no deal Brexit would likel

  • 2019-06-11 04:49


    By Les Commons and Laurie Laird

    LONDON (MNI) - The robust UK jobs market confounded forecasts of a slowdown in the three months to April, with employment and regular earnings both recording healthy gains.

    The following are the key points from the February to April employment reported released on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics.

    - Employment increased by 32,000, well ahead of single-digit gains expected by analysts. The employment rate remained at a record high 76.1%.

    - The LFS unemployment rate remained at 3.8%, matching its lowest level since the last quarter of 1974.

    - Regular earnings growth exceeded expectations, rising by 3.4% after a 3.3% gain in the first quarter.

  • 2019-06-10 04:52


    By Les Commons and Laurie Laird

    LONDON (MNI) - GDP growth fell at its fastest monthly pace since March 2016, dampened by Brexit-related shutdowns of car factories.

    The following are the key points from UK GDP data published Monday by the Office for National Statistics.

    - GDP slumped by 0.4% in April, the biggest fall since March of 2016, a much greater decline than forecast by analysts. However, economic strength in the month of February lifted 3m/3m growth to 0.3% in April, despite a slight decline in GDP in March.

    - Manufacturing weakness accounted for nearly all of the slump in monthly GDP, dragged lower by a 29% plunge in motor vehicle production.

  • 2019-05-29 04:54


    By Luke Heighton

    FRANKFURT (MNI) - Uncertainty surrounding global economic growth prospects has contributed to bouts of high volatility in financial markets, according to a European Central Bank report, while "weaker than expected growth and a possible escalation of trade tensions could trigger further falls in asset prices."

    May's Financial Stability Review (FSR) identified three areas of core concern for the eurozone:

    -- The materialisation of downside risks to economic growth could spark greater financial market volatility.

    -- Persistent downside risks to growth emphasising the need to strengthen the balance sheets of highly indebted firms and governments

    -- Subdued bank profitability prospects related to slow progress in addressing structural issues.

  • 2019-05-24 06:57


    --Brexit Uncertainty Weakens Retailers' Investment Intentions

    LONDON (MNI) - Retail sales volumes contracted in May following last month's Easter euphoria, according to the CBI Distributive Trades Survey, published Friday.

    --Retail sales volumes declined to -27 in May, the fastest pace of decline since

    October 2017, following Easter-led growth of +13 in April.

    --Expectations for sales turn positive in June.
    --Orders placed on suppliers in the year to May also fell at their fastest pace

    in 19 months but were expected to contract again next month, albeit at a slower pace.

    --Non-store retailing was the only sub-sector that reported growth.
    --The quarterly survey showcased a more dismal business environment for

    retailers.

    --Year-ahead investment intentions hit a record low, amid uncertai

  • 2019-05-24 05:01


    By Shaily Mittal and Laurie Laird

    LONDON (MNI) - Retail sales volumes remained steady in April, far exceeding expectations of a retreat after an unusually-strong showing in March.

    The following are the key points from UK Retail Sales data published Friday by the Office for National Statistics.

    - Brexit uncertainty has failed to discourage the UK consumer. Retail sales volumes were unchanged between March and April, far exceeding expections of a 0.8% fall.

    - Unusually-strong sales in March were revised even higher, rising by 1.2% over April.

  • 2019-05-20 12:53


    By David Robinson

    LONDON (MNI) - Bank of England Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent said that the negative impact of the Brexit process on business investment would be worse if business executives continued to take the view that the end was in sight.

    In a speech at Imperial College Business School Broadbent said that the evidence showed businesses which were expecting uncertainty to evaporate in the near future held off investing more than if uncertainty was expected to persist.

    Persistent speculation that there could be a resolution of Brexit soon only amplifies the hit to business investment.

    The following are key points from the speech:

    -The Brexit deadline for a deal to be agreed between the UK and the EU, allowing a transition period, was originally set for

  • 2019-05-20 11:12


    -BOE Carney And Colleagues Hearing Tues Cancelled; Problem Not With BOE

    LONDON (MNI) - Tuesday's scheduled hearing with Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and colleagues at the Treasury Select (TSC) Committee has been cancelled.

    A TSC official confirmed the cancellation but did not offer a reason, although Market News understands that the cancellation was triggered by the TSC and not by the Bank.

    Mark Carney, Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent, and external MPC members Silvana Tenreyro and Michael Saunders were scheduled to give evidence on the May Inflation Report at 0930 GMT.

    All TSC meetings scheduled for Tuesday have been cancelled and no alternative date for the MPC hearing has yet been proposed.

    --MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2223; ema

  • 2019-05-17 11:35


    By Luke Heighton

    FRANKFURT (MNI) - The eurozone slowdown may prove temporary, the governor of the Bulgarian National Bank told MNI, but whether Europe emerges from the current soft patch by the second half of 2019 is uncertain.

    "The euro area's economy beat many economists' expectations in the first quarter.