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FILE PHOTO: General view of the Danske Bank building in Copenhagen
FILE PHOTO: General view of the Danske Bank building in Copenhagen, Denmark, September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen/File Photo

March 18, 2019

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Last year was a low point for Danske Bank due to the massive money laundering scandal linked to its Estonian branch, but also a turning point for the Danish bank, its chairman told investors at an annual general meeting in Copenhagen on Monday.

“2018 became a low point for Danske Bank. But I also see it as a turning point,” Karsten Dybvad said, adding the bank began an internal dialogue about its role in society.

(Reporting by Teis Jensen; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

50 and 20 Euro banknotes are displayed in this picture illustration
FILE PHOTO: 50 and 20 Euro banknotes are displayed in this picture illustration taken November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Illustration

March 18, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government’s budget plan for 2020 calls for a 1.7 percent hike in spending to 362.6 billion euros and relies on ministries cutting costs to avoid incurring new debt given forecasts for slower economic growth, Finance Ministry sources said on Monday.

The plan assumes that Europe’s largest economy will grow by 1.0 percent in 2019, down from an initially projected 1.8 percent, the sources said.

The Economy Ministry last week said the economy had a subdued start to 2019 and probably grew moderately in the first quarter, its outlook dampened by trade conflicts and sluggish demand for industrial products among other factors.

To balance the budget, government ministries will have to identify combined spending cuts of 625 million euros each year, with program delays and other measures to contribute additional savings, the sources said.

In a move that could anger U.S. President Donald Trump, the budget foresees a further increase in military spending in 2020 but does not provide a plan for how to reach the NATO target of spending 2 percent of economic output on defense.

The ministry sources said military spending would rise by 2.1 billion euros over a previous plan for 2020, boosting the share of defense spending to 1.37 percent of gross domestic product from 1.25 percent in 2018 and 1.3 percent this year.

The military budget is slated to rise to 45.1 billion euros in 2020 from planned spending of 43.2 billion this year, a separate government source said.

However, the share of military spending would drop back to 1.25 percent in 2023, with any further spending increases to be negotiated year by year, the sources said. “We’re taking it one step at a time,” said one of the sources.

That leaves Germany well below the 2 percent target set by NATO members for 2024, and below the 1.5 percent share that Germany has pledged to meet by that date.

(Reporting by Holger Hansen and Andreas Rinke; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Thomas Seythal and Hugh Lawson)

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Brazil's Economy Minister Paulo Guedes talks during a seminar in Rio de Janeiro
FILE PHOTO: Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes talks during a seminar in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

March 18, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said on Monday that Brazil will not reduce its trade with China under the government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Guedes and Bolsonaro are in the United States to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump, who has fought a trade spat with China involving multiple rounds of tariffs.

(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu)

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Naresh Goyal, Chairman of Jet Airways speaks during a news conference in Mumbai
FILE PHOTO: Naresh Goyal, Chairman of Jet Airways speaks during a news conference in Mumbai, India, November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

March 18, 2019

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Jet Airways’ Chairman Naresh Goyal told the airline’s pilots on Monday he would need “a further short time” to finalize a rescue deal for the cash-strapped Indian carrier as the process is complex.

In a letter, Goyal said he is “committed to have the process completed as soon as possible and restore much needed stability” to the airline’s operations, and that he would make it a top priority to settle delayed salary payments for pilots and some other staff once a deal is finalised.

He also said that talks for the rescue deal with the airline’s biggest shareholder, Etihad Airways, and lenders, led by State Bank of India (SBI), are ongoing.

Saddled with debt of more than one billion dollars, Jet is struggling to stay afloat. It has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors – some of whom have forced the airline to ground as many as 40 planes.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah; Edited by Martin Howell)

Source: OANN

Vice-President of the European Central Bank Luis de Guindos speaks during an event in Riga
FILE PHOTO: Vice-President of the European Central Bank Luis de Guindos speaks during an event marking Latvia’s five years with the Euro in Riga, Latvia January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

March 18, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Inflation and growth in the euro zone are continuing to slow this year but they are set to rebound further down the road, the European Central Bank’s vice-president said on Monday.

“Supportive factors continue to be in place that will lift inflation above this year’s muted levels in the more medium term,” Luis de Guindos said in Madrid, largely repeating ECB President Mario Draghi’s comments from earlier this month.

(Reporting By Francesco Canepa)

Source: OANN

Khalid al-Hussan attends a signing ceremony at Tokyo Stock Exchange
FILE PHOTO: Chief Executive Officer of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) Khalid al-Hussan attends a signing ceremony with Japan Exchange Group (JPX) Chief Executive Officer Akira Kiyota (not in picture) at Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), Japan March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

March 18, 2019

By Marwa Rashad

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s listed companies could see holdings by foreign investors rise to 10 percent when their shares are included in index providers MSCI and FTSE’s emerging-market indices, the chief executive of Tadawul told Reuters on Monday.

Tadawul is the Middle East’s largest exchange and Saudi Arabia’s main exchange. It has a total market capitalization of around $541.3 billion, with a free float of about 40 percent.

Saudi shares on Monday joined the FTSE Emerging All Cap Index with a weighting of 2.9 percent. In May, Saudi shares will join the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

Khalid al-Hussan said he expected equities on Tadawul to attract $5 billion of passive fund inflows after the FTSE Russell inclusion. Foreign investors currently hold 5.9 percent of Saudi shares.

Active foreign investors in the market have been increasing since the beginning of the year, and the number of qualified foreign investors registering to trade on the Saudi exchange is increasing everyday.

Hussan said he estimates the Saudi exchange to see “around $5 billion of passive inflows coming from FTSE and around $10-11 from MSCI and some inflows from S&P.”

Foreigners have been net buyers of Saudi stocks since the start of the year, plowing more than $2.1 billion year-to-date into the Saudi market. The Saudi index is up nearly 9.6 percent, outperforming its Gulf peers.

“You have to applaud the Saudis for what they’ve done over the past year in relation to opening up the market, said Fadi Al Said, managing director and head of the MENA investment team at Lazard Asset in Dubai.

“I think the opening up the market, the QFI process, has gone through an evolution of simplifying the process,” Al Said said.

Index provider MSCI incorporated shares of United Arab Emirates and Qatar companies into its emerging market index in 2014.

Foreigners excluding strategic investors own less than 2 percent of Saudi stocks, analysts have said. Currently, foreign ownership of listed stocks is capped at 49 percent.

Hussan said it was too early to discuss raising the cap, given current ownership levels and size of the market.

“We would love that challenge to happen in the market and it will show that our market is very attractive, but until then I don’t see that the 49 percent is an obstacle to international investments, taking into the account the size of the Saudi market.”

The Saudi main equities index closed up 1 percent on Monday.

Tadawul is expected to introduce index futures this year, pending the feedback it receives from investors to the rules and regulations of trading derivatives, which will be offered for public consultation over next two weeks, he said.

(Reporting By Marwa Rashad; additional reporting by Nafisa Eltahir, editing by Hadeel Al Sayegh, Larry King)

Source: OANN

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz attends a press conference after the federal cabinet meeting in Potsdam
FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz attends a press conference after the federal cabinet meeting in Potsdam, Germany November 15, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

March 18, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – Trade conflicts are damaging the global economy and Europe must speak with one voice to maximize its bargaining power, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Monday.

“Trade conflicts, as we have seen over the last months – especially between richer countries only thinking of their own (short-term) interest – are damaging the world economy,” Scholz said in speech at a ‘World Policy Forum’ conference in Berlin.

“Trade policy has been an EU-level responsibility for a long time. It is obvious that we have much more bargaining power if we speak with one European voice,” Scholz added. “Only together we are able to set and enforce standards of fair trade.”

(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

Source: OANN

Buildings under construction are pictured in Chengdu
FILE PHOTO: Buildings under construction are pictured in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China November 12, 2017. REUTERS/Yawen Chen

March 18, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will steadily implement a pilot scheme under plans to set up a long-term mechanism in the property market, Vice Premier Han Zheng was quoted by state television as saying on Monday.

China will promote stable and healthy development of the property market and maintain a city-based property policy, Han said.

“We will steadily implement a pilot scheme under plans for a long-term mechanism to ensure stable and healthy development of the real estate market, and evaluate and track the implementation,” state television quoted Han as saying.

The government will stabilize land and property prices and strive to resolve property market risks, Han said but did not give further details.

Leaders have pledged to set up a “long-term mechanism” for the property market, which is seen heralding a long-expected property tax.

Work on a draft property tax in China is “steadily advancing”, senior Chinese parliamentary officials said this month during the annual parliament meeting.

China has considered a property tax for more than a decade.Analysts say the central government may be accelerating the process now as it just pledged to slash trillions in taxes and fees to spur growth in the economy, and as it enters the third year of a campaign against property speculation.

Such a tax would boost local governments’ coffers as a much-needed new source of revenue.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao)

Source: OANN

Frederic Oudea, CEO of French bank Societe Generale, attends a news conference to present the bank's 2017 annual results in Paris
FILE PHOTO: Frederic Oudea, Chief Executive Officer of French bank Societe Generale, attends a news conference to present the bank’s 2017 annual results in Paris, France, February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

March 18, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Societe Generale board said on Monday it will ask shareholders to renew Chief Executive Frederic Oudea for a new four-year term at the next annual assembly to be held on May 21.

The board will also propose the renewal of Oudea’s four deputies, Severin Cabannes, Philippe Aymerich, Philippe Heim and Diony Lebot.

The board also wants shareholders to renew two independent board members Kyra Hazou and Gerard Mestrallet for a four-year term.

Frederic Oudea has held the top job at France’s third largest listed bank since 2009 and has led the lender through a series of set-backs, including the eurozone sovereign debt crisis in 2012 and a 4.9 billion euro loss incurred by rogue trader Jerome Kerviel in 2008.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; editing by Richard Lough)

Source: OANN

Venezuela's Oil Minister and President of Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA Manuel Quevedo listens to a speech during the Petrotech conference in Greater Noida
FILE PHOTO: Venezuela’s Oil Minister and President of Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA Manuel Quevedo listens to a speech during the Petrotech conference in Greater Noida, India, February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

March 18, 2019

BAKU (Reuters) – Venezuela’s oil minister and president of state-run oil company PDVSA, Manuel Quevedo, said on Monday that the country may divert oil initially bound for the United States to Russia or other countries.

Speaking at a gathering of OPEC and non-OPEC oil ministers in Baku, Azerbaijan, Quevedo added that the generator at Venezuela’s primary Jose oil terminal was now working after a blackout that halted crude exports last week.

Quevedo said Caracas would decide where to ship its own oil and that its main goal was to strengthen ties with Russia, with which he pledged to abide by oil supply contracts.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing By Noah Browning; Editing by Dale Hudson)

Source: OANN

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