Some European banks that received billions in cheap loans
to keep them afloat at the peak of the eurozone debt crisis are to repay
them early, the ECB says.
Starbucks has held a meeting with government officials,
but dismisses reports it was in response to concerns it was being
singled out for criticism over tax avoidance.
Jan 27, 2013
28 January 2013 Last updated at 02:18 GMT
Another fall in Apple's shares means the company loses the title as the world's most valuable publicly-traded company.
In an effort to end decades of deflation the Bank of Japan doubled its inflation target to 2%. The central bank made an "open-ended" pledge to buy unlimited amounts of short-term government debt to achieve its goal, starting next year. The move comes after intense pressure from Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, for the BoJ to do more for the "real economy". Japan's trade deficit last year was the largest on record. The bank's move is seen by some as an attempt to weaken the yen and boost Japanese exports, raising expectations of another "currency war". See article
China's economy grew by 7.8% last year, according to the official statistics agency. It was the slowest pace of growth since 1999, although manufacturing and retail sales rebounded in the fourth quarter.
In contrast, South Korea's economy struggled in the fourth quarter, dragging down GDP growth for the year to 2%, the weakest since 2009.
You can thank the ECB
Investor confidence in Spain improved markedly this week, as it raised €7 billion ($9 billion) in an auction of ten-year government bonds that was more than three times oversubscribed. In another boost for the euro zone Portugal returned to the long-term bond markets for the first time since its bail-out in 2011, issuing five-year notes.
The Moscow Exchange, which was created in 2011 by the merger of Russia's two largest stock exchanges, said it would soon launch an initial public offering of its shares. The Russian government is hoping the IPO will make the exchange more attractive to big domestic companies, many of which are part-listed on foreign stockmarkets.
A judge in London rejected a request for media anonymity from a group of bankers at Barclays whose names have been submitted to regulators investigating the LIBOR rate-fixing scandal. The judge is presiding over the first lawsuit in Britain relating to LIBOR, which will come to trial later this year.
The investigation into the safety scares that grounded Boeing's 787 Dreamliner focused on the Japanese maker of the lithium-ion batteries that power the aircraft's electrical systems. Yuasa, a company based just outside Kyoto, promised to do everything it could to assist, as American and Japanese aviation officials visited its head office. See article
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of easyJet, upped the ante in his disagreement with the British airline's expansion plans. Sir Stelios sold some of his shares in what he called a "token disposal" and warned the board that he could reduce his stake further.
Back down to earth
Apple's share price came under more pressure after its latest earnings disappointed investors. Although it sold 11m more iPhones in the last three months of 2012 compared with a year earlier, and iPad sales were up by 49%, its net profit remained flat at $13.1 billion because of the costs it incurred churning out new products. The growth in sales of Apple's smartphones no longer outpaces the competition. See article
Google said its revenues passed the $50 billion mark for the first time last year. The internet company enjoyed a bumper fourth quarter, in which it saw a much slower rate of decline in the money it takes from clicks on advertisements, a rate that investors usually fret about.
IKEA waits for a cabinet
India's foreign-investment agency recommended IKEA's $2 billion investment plan to open 25 stores in the country over 20 years. The Swedish company will be the first foreign retailer wholly to own its subsidiary in India under new rules on investment. A cabinet committee is expected to give its final approval soon. See article
Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who is one of Thailand's richest men, looked set to win control of Fraser and Neave, a conglomerate based in Singapore, after the only other bidder dropped out. Fraser and Neave has assets in property, food and publishing, including the Marshall Cavendish brand.
The price of carbon fell below €5 ($7) a tonne for the first time on the European Union's Emissions Trading System. A glut of polluting permits has caused carbon prices to fall by 70% since 2011, providing little incentive for companies to cut emissions rather than pay for the permits. Officials want to withdraw some of the permits in the hope that the price will rise, which some countries, notably Germany, are resisting.
Atari filed for bankruptcy protection in America. A pioneer in video games, Atari has had several owners since its heyday in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was snapped up by a French company a decade ago. Its assets include such ground-breaking games as "Asteroids" and "Pong", as well as its logo. See video
Labels: The Economist | Business this week: Highlights of news coverage from January 19th - 25th 2013.
David Cameron gave a big speech on Britain's future relationship with the European Union. The prime minister called for a radically leaner EU and promised to negotiate a new settlement that will be put before British voters (if he wins an election in 2015) in a referendum that will offer an "in" or "out" option. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said she wanted a "fair compromise": "Germany, and I personally, want Britain to be an important part and an active member" of the EU, she said. See article
In Germany Mrs Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and its centre-right partners lost power in Lower Saxony, after the opposition Social Democrats and Greens narrowly won an election in the state (by just one seat). A general election in Germany is due in September. See article
Greece brought criminal charges against Andreas Georgiou, the head of Elstat, the independent statistical agency, and two officials who were responsible for assessing the country's debt pile. The charges come after a 15-month investigation into allegations, made by a statistics professor who was sacked from Elstat's board, that Mr Georgiou's team inflated the size of the 2009 deficit. The figure was taken into account when working out Greece's bail-out package.
A hooded assailant flung acid in the face of Sergei Filin, the director of Russia's Bolshoi Ballet. It is believed that the incident is linked to bitter internal fights. Doctors were unsure about the extent of the damage to Mr Filin's vision and face, but said he would not lose his sight. See article
Please keep talking
Colombia's FARC guerrillas announced that they would not renew the unilateral two-month ceasefire they declared at the start of peace talks with the government. The guerrillas have called for a bilateral truce, but the government says it will not agree to hold fire until a peace deal is signed. See article
Mexico's Supreme Court ordered the release of Florence Cassez, a French woman jailed in 2006 for allegedly belonging to a kidnapping gang, on the ground that the authorities had violated her legal rights during her arrest. The ruling, reversing a decision issued last year, should improve the country's difficult relations with France. See article
A fibre-optic cable connecting Cuba to the internet seemed to have been activated at last. Construction was completed in 2011. Although the government has not publicly commented, some connections on the island are now operating much faster than the maximum speed provided by satellite hookups.
Barack Obama was inaugurated in Washington for a second term. The president's inauguration speech laid out a surprisingly robust defence of progressive liberalism and the role of government, with not much to say about the political compromises that may be necessary if he wants to achieve his agenda. Republicans accused Mr Obama of being partisan, which was probably his point. See article
Congress agreed to fudge an impending decision on increasing the federal debt limit by pushing back a vote until mid-May. The plan allows the Treasury to continue borrowing in the interim. See article
The Pentagon reversed its long-standing policy of banning women from frontline combat duties as medics, pilots and so on. It does not, however, intend women to take on a big fighting role.
The White House nominated General John Allen, the top American soldier in Afghanistan, to be NATO's commander in Europe. General Allen was earlier cleared by the Pentagon of any wrongdoing in relation to the extramarital affair that led to the resignation of David Petraeus as CIA chief last year. General Allen had e-mailed Mr Petraeus's lover; the Pentagon said the contact was not inappropriate.
A shining son
Rahul Gandhi, a scion of India's most famous political dynasty, was elevated to the position of vice-president in the ruling Congress party. His mother, Sonia, is the party's president. Some party leaders have been seeking a more public role for the younger Gandhi, and want him as their candidate for prime minister in next year's election. See article
The trial began in Delhi of five of the suspects accused of last month's rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman, a crime which sparked national protests about the lack of official concern over women's safety. The five are being tried under a "fast-track" process.
North Korea said it was continuing with plans for a third nuclear test, which it could conduct at any time (the previous two took place in 2006 and 2009). The statement came two days after the UN Security Council condemned North Korea for a rocket launch in December. See article
A court in Thailand sentenced a former magazine editor to ten years in prison for insulting the king, the latest conviction under the country's strict lèse-majesté laws to be criticised by human-rights groups. The court decided the editor was responsible for publishing two articles. Although the works were fictional, the judges ruled they "conveyed connection to historical events". The journalist who wrote them has since fled to Cambodia.
Algerian security forces ended a four-day assault by 30-odd Islamist terrorists on the In Amenas gas plant in the country's south-east, killing all but a handful of them. But the Algerian counter-attack also left at least 37 foreign workers from America, Britain, France, Japan and Norway, among other places, dead. See article
French forces, which intervened in Mali on January 11th to stop jihadists advancing south on Bamako, the capital, made further progress, chasing them out of Diabaly and other towns that had been overrun. Reinforcements from France and from friendly African countries in the region, led by Nigeria, started to arrive. See article
Israel's incumbent prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, won a general election. An alliance of his Likud party and Avigdor Lieberman's equally hawkish Yisrael Beitenu won 31 out of the parliament's 120 seats. But a centrist party headed by Yair Lapid, a former talk-show host, stunned the pollsters by coming second with 19 seats, perhaps preventing Mr Netanyahu from forming a coalition of the hard right alongside religious parties. See article
Labels: The Economist | Politics this week: Highlights of news coverage from January 19th - 25th 2013.
GATA | THE GATA DISPATCH (January 27, 2013).: Alasdair Macleod: Bank of England gold -- the doubts remain
Alasdair Macleod: Bank of England gold -- the doubts remain
GoldMoney's Alasdair Macleod today deduces evidence that if central bank gold reserves are really intact, a primary custodian, the Bank of England, should be vaulting more gold than the 5,738 tonnes it reports. Macleod's commentary is headlined "Bank of England Gold: The Doubts Remain" and it's posted at GoldMoney's Internet site here:
CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.
Nick McDonald discuss what he expects to happen on stock and currency markets for the week ahead.
View this week's market outlook videos
January 27, 2013
Compiled 21:45 GMT
Compiled 21:45 GMT
By SIMON ROMERO
A fire ignited by a live band's pyrotechnic spectacle swept through a nightclub filled with university students early Sunday morning in Santa Maria, a city in southern Brazil, leaving at least 232 people dead, police officials said.
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's president, declared a state of emergency in the provinces hit hardest by the wave of violence that has left more than 50 dead in three days.
By ANNE BARNARD
Fierce fighting and desperate living conditions have sent 30,000 Syrians fleeing into Jordan in the past month.
The British prime minister is ambivalent about his country's future in the European Union, but he can't pretend to have it both ways.
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and MAYY EL SHEIKH
The government appeared to have lost control of Port Said, a major city, after a court sentenced 21 soccer fans to death and their supporters poured into the streets.
By STEVEN ERLANGER
About 125,000 people in Paris marched to support a same-sex marriage bill that lawmakers will begin to debate on Tuesday and that stands a good chance of becoming law this year, with the backing of the president.
By STEVEN ERLANGER and LYDIA POLGREEN
The fabled oasis town had been under the control of rebels and Islamist fighters for 10 months.