Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Today's Headlines

  • Stunning Rallies Are Happening in Greece Today. Now Greeks are protesting in favor of the government. Here's one thing that might make a compromise deal for Greece difficult: The hardline negotiating stance taken by Alexis Tsipras is looking very, very popular in GreeceIn recent years, we've become used to seeing protesters in Greece (and elsewhere in Europe) rally against the government.
  • Euro Area Takes Up Greek Rescue, Germany Says No Red Line. Euro-area finance ministers challenged Greece to lay out ideas for a deal with its official creditors, saying they’ll listen without anticipating an immediate accord. After Germany and Greece took clashing positions in the run-up, ministers met in Brussels on Wednesday to kick off negotiations that will continue next week. Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the meetings, said the ministers want to hear Greece’s proposals and look for ways to move forward.
  • Guide to Possible EU Sanctions on Russia Over Ukraine. The European Union’s 28 leaders are due to discuss Ukraine at a summit Thursday in Brussels to be attended by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko. The meeting follows peace talks between Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk, Belarus, later on Wednesday. Following are ways for the EU to stiffen sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis:
  • Getting Greeks to Pay Taxes Is Tsipras Biggest Test at Home. As Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras goes into a Battle of the Titans with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he may find he has as big a fight closer to home: taking on rich tax-evaders. People like Angeliki Katsarolia, a waitress at the Julia café lounge bar in the rundown neighborhood of Omonia in Athens, want to see him cast his net wide. Gesturing to a receipt for coffee curled up in a small glass on a recent afternoon, one of the few signs of success in five years of attempts to get Greeks to pay taxes, she said she’s doing her bit.  
  • Europe’s Banks Face Decade of Japan-Style Woes, Berenberg Says. Europe’s banks face a decade-long “balance-sheet recession” that closely mirrors Japan’s 1990s economic and financial woes, Berenberg analysts said. Europe’s growth may remain squeezed and interest rates near zero for at least 10 years, weighing on bank revenue and pushing up bad-loan losses, Nick Anderson, James Chappell and Eoin Mullany, Berenberg’s analysts in London, wrote in a study on Tuesday.  
  • Brazil’s Currency Falls to a Decade Low as Retail Sales Tumble. Brazil’s real sank to a 10-year low as a record drop in retail sales added to concern that Latin America’s largest economy is slumping. The local currency slid 1.5 percent to 2.8756 per dollar at 3:14 p.m. in Sao Paulo, the weakest level on a closing basis since October 2004. Swap rates on the contract maturing in January 2016, a gauge of expectations for changes in Brazil’s borrowing costs, increased 0.25 percentage point to a six-year high of 13.25 percent
  • European Stocks Decline as Investors Await Greek Talks Outcome. European stocks declined amid investor concern that Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis won’t reach an agreement on new bailout terms at a meeting with his euro-area counterparts in Brussels. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.2 percent to 372.04 at the close of trading, after earlier losing as much as 0.5 percent. The yield on three-year Greek notes jumped 125 basis points to 20.76 percent, while the ASE Index lost 4 percent, the most among 18 western-European markets. Benchmark equity indexes in Spain and Portugal slid at least 1.3 percent.
  • Goldman: The Plunge in Rig Count Still Isn't Enough to Stop Oil From Tumbling. The slump in oil prices may not be over, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The decline in the number of U.S. drilling rigs that’s helped crude futures in New York rebound 14 percent from this year’s low isn’t enough to reduce an oversupply, the U.S. bank said in a note dated Feb. 10. Lower prices are needed for American output to slow sufficiently to rebalance global markets, it said. Goldman joins Citigroup Inc. and Vitol Group, the world’s biggest independent oil trader, in signaling prices may resume a decline amid unrelenting production growth.
  • Oil Producers Outside OPEC Caught in Crossfire With Shale. Oil producers outside OPEC and U.S. shale fields are getting caught in the confrontation over market supremacy that has brought crude prices to near six-year lows. High-cost regions from aging North Sea fields to untapped resources in East Siberia and deep-water projects off Latin America will suffer the most from the clash, say Standard Chartered Plc, Citigroup Inc. and BNP Paribas SA.

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