In the World


Europe toughens powers to grab higher share in crime loot

The European Commission wants new rules for more effective and widespread confiscation of funds and other property acquired through crime. An enhanced legal framework will increase member states’ ability to confiscate assets that have been transferred to third parties, it will make it easier to seize criminal assets even when the suspect has fled and will ensure that authorities can temporarily freeze assets that risk disappearing if no action is…

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Rajoy’s government begins deleverage: 27 state companies to close down now

MADRID | A plan for the restructuring and rationalisation of public sector firms become official on Friday in Spain. The government describes it as the first step of many to achieve a public network of companies without duplicities. Some of the enterprises were founded with the aim of developing activities not yet covered by private initiative and that were of national interest, but their justification is nowadays unclear, official sources said. In…

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Monday’s US charts (especially) for Spain’s labour union leaders

By Luis Arroyo, in Madrid | While some Spanish labour union leaders attend press conferences dressed up in expensive Rolex watches, employment numbers increase somewhere else: in the US, as this graphics show and economist Tim Duy explains in his post. Hiring activity in the US raises 245,000 new jobs since last December. It always is inconvenient and very imperfect to compare different national labour markets and I know better. Yet,…


Make the banks pay for their sins… with taxpayers’ cash?: US latest episode

NEW YORK | These are not the best days for being a banker. Banks lent irresponsibly, they were bailed out with public money, and then started a robo-signing foreclosures campaign. All while tightening the credit to small businesses. Now they are starting to pay their penance –some are taking even more of it than they were supposed to. Bank of America said that it will provide deeper than anticipated principal…


Meet the 2020 Chinese consumers: they will transform their economy

BEIJING | By the year 2020, private consumption will account for a 45% of the GDP (33% in 2010) becoming the main driver of growth of the Chinese economy. This significant increase will be due to a change in consumption patterns, as it is noticed in a report recently released by McKinsey consultancy group “Meet the 2020 Chinese consumer”. But how to fit consumption into the busy schedule of the ideal…

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Wednesday’s graphic: the rat behind US employment numbers

Barclays analysts’ sent a warning about expectations over US employment data, which experts do not quite think are accurate. Ahead of the publication of official figures next Friday, here is a line we mustn’t forget: the white line depicting small and medium companies’ intentions of hiring. “Upcoming employment data could reveal the actual situation of the US economy,” the Barclays team said. “During February, we have noticed that employment numbers…


Long read | JP Morgan’s Colin Fenton (II): “EU secondary oil refineries to revive”

WASHINGTON | Second part of our conversation with Colin Fenton, global head of Commodities Research and Strategy at J.P. Morgan. What will be the effect of the closing of Iranian exports to Europe. Will it take a lot of time or effort to adapt European oil refineries to other types of oil? It always take some time to adapt, and reorientation of supply pathways, especially with trade barriers, tends to have…

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Long read | JP Morgan’s Colin Fenton: “Oil price $130 per barrel by 2014”

WASHINGTON | Colin Fenton is the global head of Commodities Research and Strategy at J.P. Morgan. Fenton believes that there is margin for higher energy prices, with limited economic damage. Brent and WTI are behaving virtually like “two different commodities”, as one trader put it last week. Asia, tied to Brent oil, has relatively strong oil demand and limited supply, while the US is experiencing an energy production renaissance in the context…

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Putin’s rouble: too good to be true?

LONDON | Russian presidential election on Monday arose more questions than certainties, from politics to the country’s economy. As international observers cast a long shadow over the fairness and transparency of the process, thousands of Russians demonstrated to challenge Vladimir Putin’s victory, crowding into a central Moscow square to chant slogans against the former Federal Security Services director. Despite democratic concerns, Putin has once again grabbed the power in Russia….


China can no longer ignore its economic weaknesses

BEIJING | China’s belief that its model of development is legitimate is grounded on the fact that last decades’ rampant economic growth has been possible thanks to the very characteristics that define it. The leadership was convinced that, under such path, success was granted regardless of the fact that they were ignoring certain factors linked to aperture and development. They did not consider defining points as long as there was…