The European Commission reacted on Tuesday, after the deputies of the Commission for Industries and Services have passed a series of amendments to the Natural Gas Law, according to which the gas producers will be required to fully trade their output on the OPCOM, with the Romanian Commodities Exchange being left out in the cold. Currently, they have licenses for the trading of natural gas on two entities: the Romanian Commodities Exchange, private company, and the OPCOM, a branch of Transelectrica, in which the state owns 58.68%. The amendments made in the Commission for Industries would leave the BRM without a license. On Tuesday, the European Commission wrote to Iulian Iancu, the president of the Commission for Industries, that the proposal for the production of natural gas to be traded completely on the OPCOM is problematic. The commission thinks that moving trading to the OPCOM is not recommended, as the BRM is currently a more liquid market, and granting exclusive rights to the OPCOM raises competition issues. Also, the Commission considers that the trading of 100% of the natural gas output on an exchange can be excessive. A warning letter concerning the "severe consequences" of the amendments to the Law of natural gas was recently received by the president of the Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea, from the PEGAS European natural gas platform. That letter also arrived, among other places, at the Ministry of Energy, the ANRE and the European Commission. It is debatable whether the amendments are compatible with the competition laws of the European Union, since they limit the ability of offering trading services, amid the obligation of using only one platform, according to PEGAS, which also says that there is a risk that the platform used by the operator would not reflect the requirements of the market. Furthermore, the measures proposed can raise an obstacle in the implementation of the EU package of energy, which would lead to an isolation of the Romanian gas market, says PEGAS, the trading platform of the German EEX Group, operated by Powernext, in France. PEGAS had 238 members and offers access to the trading of natural gas on contracts from Austria, Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic and Great Britain.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Business confidence in Europe's biggest economy, Germany, has fallen unexpectedly after the UK Brexit vote, according to a closely watched survey. The Ifo business confidence index, based on about 7,000 company responses, fell to 106.2 points for August from 108.3 in July. It was the steepest monthly fall in more than four years and took the index to its lowest since December 2014.
Despite the gloom, the euro was up slightly against the pound and dollar The latest drop follows a much smaller decline in confidence in July immediately after the UK voted to leave the EU. Economist Carsten Brzeski at ING-DiBa said the ongoing decline "suggests that German businesses have suddenly woken up to Brexit reality". "It is not the first time that the Ifo reacts with a delay of one or two months to global events,'' he said, adding that at present, the German economy remained in a "virtuous circle". Across the sectors it examines, the Ifo found confidence had fallen in all but construction and services. "The German economy has fallen into a summer slump," Ifo president Clemens Fuest said. Other official figures released earlier this month showed the German economy grew 0.4% in the second quarter compared with the previous three-month period. That was a slower pace than the 0.7% growth in the first quarter, but double what economists had expected.
Sunday, May 24, 2015
The European Parliament (EP) has adopted new rules to fight money laundering. This is the final step in the adoption of the legislation. The EU Council already approved the text as agreed in the negotiations between both institutions. The changes are set to come into force in the second half of 2017. These new rules are to safeguard the stability of the financial system from money laundering and terrorist financing. Moreover, they will provide authorities with new tools to prevent criminals from legalising illicit proceeds. Krišjānis Kariņš MEP, Parliament's co-negotiator, said: “Authorities need new means to effectively deal with criminals legalizing illicit proceeds by using the anonymity of offshore companies and accounts. The register of beneficial ownership is a powerful tool which will help in the fight against money laundering and blatant tax evasion.”
Illegally-laundered money accounts for as much as 5% of the world's GDP and is a challenge both for the competitiveness of those working legally in the sector as well as for government coffers. The 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive is aimed at limiting the scope of criminal and terrorist activity in Europe.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Consumer prices in the single currency bloc rose 1.3pc in the year to August, a fall from July’s 1.6pc and below expectations of a fall to 1.4pc, largely driven by lower energy costs. The drop, bringing inflation well below the bank’s target of just under 2pc, gives the bank plenty of room to cut its interest rate again and is likely to place the issue at the center of next week’s debate. Board members have sent out mixed messages in the run-up to their next meeting. Executive board member Peter Praet, speaking earlier this month, said the bank “had not reached the lower bound on our key interest rates” and had not “run out of ammunition”. Cyprus’ Panicos Demetriades also said another cut was still “on the cards”. However, more recent remarks by board member Ewald Nowotny indicated that the nascent recovery in the eurozone will prevent the ECB from lowering rates. “I would not see many arguments now for a rate cut,” he said. Joblessness in the euro area stayed at its record-high of 12.1pc in July, though the headline figure masks huge variations stretching from just 4.8pc in Austria to 27.6pc in Greece. The overall rate has now remained unchanged for four straight months. While signals of economic strength are not yet eroding unemployment in the bloc, they are boosting business sentiment, which this month rose sharply, even in some countries where unemployment is still high. Confidence among business managers in the eurozone polled by the European Commission climbed for a fourth successive month in August. Meanwhile, in Portugal, the government has vowed to meet its cost-cutting targets under its EU-IMF bail-out programme despite opposition to its austerity package, which suffered a third major setback on Thursday when the constitutional court blocked a bill allowing it to fire public sector workers.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Waiting for poverty to strike is no game. It makes ordinary men and women helpless, desperate and scared. "If you look at it mathematically, there is no way out: we will just never be able to repay our bills to the EU and IMF," said Haris Christou, one young Cypriot speaking for his compatriots. "Am I afraid? Of course I am afraid. Everybody knows everything in Cyprus is going to get bad, really bad. And nobody knows where exactly we are headed."
On Wednesday night men and women, some young, some old, gave voice to that fear. They gathered outside the offices of the European commission, and then lined the road that leads up to Cyprus's colonial-era presidential palace, to protest against a rescue programme that, wittingly or not, will destroy their country's banking sector and bring its economy to its knees.
"Out with the troika", "Fuck the troika", "Go home Troika", said the placards. "No to the policies of austerity." "No to privatisations." "No to the memorandum of catastrophe."
But more than words, or any amount of hoarse chanting, it is uncertainty that now speaks loudest in Cyprus. The uncertainty that has come with the knowledge that the island's economic output will shrink dramatically as a result of the austerity now being demanded in return for €10bn in aid. The uncertainty unleashed by policies that will see many Cypriots wake up with much less than they once had in the bank. And the insecurity of suddenly being the subject of capital controls that possibly could change Cypriots' lives for years....I, too, would be inclined to withdraw all my funds from any Cyprus bank and I suspect there will be a run on them. There are 'policies in place' to restrict such a run but I don't see how they can prevent people taking out what is their own money. That is the worry. The Russians called it theft and so would any Cypriot who cannot access savings. The safest place to deposit money is still the UK and I'm surprised that London has not offered to make itself a safe haven for Italians, Portuguese and the Spanish to place their life savings. That's what I'd do if I were a Mediterranean saver. The GBP and USD have their moments but nobody will lose a penny by keeping their money in those currencies which are trusted around the world. I don't know how any Cypriot would be able to do a SWIFT transaction to get cash out of harm's way but surely it can be done.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
US government debt is a cornerstone of the world's financial system, is held in large amounts by foreign creditors such as China and Japan and is used as collateral on a daily basis by banks and investors. While the move has been anticipated by markets since last week's deal in Washington agreed a cut of only $2.5trillion in the deficit, it's unclear how markets will react when they open on Monday. America's debt is still rated AAA by Moody's and Fitch, the two other largest agencies. Analysts at Capital Economics said the move will "surely rock the financial markets when they open on Monday" but added that any moves are likely to be short-lived because the slowing global economy makes US government debt, or Treasuries, an attractive place for investors to park money. At roughly $9trillion in size, the Treasury market has advantages and liquidity that rival government bond markets, including Britain's, cannot match. Despite the threat of the downgrade, the prices for Treasuries are close to their highs for the year as investors seek safe-havens and expectations for economic growth diminish. Whatever the reaction next week, investors are clearer that the downgrade is a severe blow to America's prestige and is also likely to increase the US government's borrowing costs. JPMorgan this month estimated that such a move could add about $100bn a year to America's funding costs as lenders demand more to compensate for the greater risk. The US spent $414bn last year on interest payments. "I have a feeling the dust may settle quite quickly," said David Buik of BGC Partners in London. "The US Treasury market is the most liquid in the world." Either way, it frays nerves further before what was already going to be tense opening of financial markets next week.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Five cajas failed Europe-wide stress tests on banks last year. The Bank of Spain has forced them into a round of mergers, reducing their number from 45 to 17 last year. High levels of bad property loans at the cajas are seen as a major risk for Spain as it slashes its budget deficit to stave off fears it will need an Irish or Greek-style rescue from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. Estimates of the cost of recapitalising the savings banks range from €17bn (£14.4bn) to €120bn, with consensus falling in the €25bn to €50bn range, according to Reuters. Economists say Spain could afford that level of rescue without seeking outside aid.The banking sector has so far set aside €88bn to cover losses on total loans of €439bn to real estate and construction. Spain's borrowing costs have soared amid worries that the sovereign debt crisis that forced Greece and Ireland to seek bailouts will spread to Portugal and then Spain. A budget deficit of 9.3% of GDP in 2010 and stagnant growth have added to the worries, though the government is hitting deficit reduction targets and pledges pension and labour reform shortly. Analysts welcomed the promise of caja recapitalisation. "This underpins hopes that Spain is now on the right track," Commerzbank strategist David Schnautz told Reuters.