EU to ban olive oil jugs from restaurants
18 May 2013
Posted at 10:48 Comments (1)
The small glass jugs filled with green or gold coloured extra virgin olive oil are familiar and traditional for restaurant goers across Europe but they will be banned from 1 January 2014 after a decision taken in an obscure Brussels committee earlier this week.
From next year olive oil "presented at a restaurant table" must be in pre-packaged, factory bottles with a tamper-proof dispensing nozzle and labelling in line with EU industrial standards.
The use of classic, refillable glass jugs or glazed terracotta dipping bowls and the choice of a restaurateur to buy olive oil from a small artisan producer or family business will be outlawed.
Read the full article at the Telegraph
Are there really 2.25 million unsold homes now in Spain?
15 May 2013
Posted at 21:06 Comments (0)
I've just been reading the latest article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph where he quotes a figure of 2.25 million as the number of unsold properties in Spain. This is much higher than any other figures I've seen. I think 1.6 million was the highest number I'd previously seen. From the above mentioned article:
Madrid consultants RR de Acuna have a report coming out this month warning that the glut of unsold properties has risen to a fresh peak of 2.25m homes, including those in the hands of builders and banks, or in the eviction process.
"It will take 10 years to get rid of the stock. We're pretty sure that prices will bleed another 15pc," said Fernando Rodriguez de Acuna. "The market is broken, and the quoted prices in many areas are a fiction. You can't sell even if you offer a 50pc haircut. A lot of buildings will have to be knocked down and land is going to revert to farmland, or just to nothing."
Alcohol and tobacco taxes to go up in Spain
14 May 2013
Posted at 21:25 Comments (0)
According to El Pais, the Spanish government is likely to increase taxes on alcohol and tobacco as well as increasing environmental taxes:
The government has ruled out any further hikes in major taxes this year and is instead studying increasing special levies on items such as alcohol and tobacco along with environment taxes to help meet its deficit target for this year.
However, Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro has already flagged that the temporary hikes in personal and corporate income tax introduced last year would remain in place in this year’s budget.
The government feels it has some scope to raise the overall tax burden, given that tax revenues in Spain currently account for only 36 percent of GDP, compared with an average of 46.5 percent in the euro zone as a whole.
Economy minister calls for deposits of over 100,000 euros to be given protection
14 May 2013
Posted at 21:17 Comments (0)
Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos on Tuesday proposed that Europe should provide protection for deposits of more than 100,000 euros in the event of bank failures, arguing that the current guarantee limit of 100,000 euros is “artificial.”
Speaking to reporters in Brussels after a meeting of European finance and economy ministers, De Guindos said that guaranteeing bank deposits of 100,000 euros or less is not in doubt, but that there are moves to reach agreement providing protection for amounts of over 100,000 euros as well, in the case of exceptional circumstances and based on very strict rules.
“We have to send a very clear message: that deposits are adequately protected,” De Guindos said.
Read the full article at el Pais in English
British savers could face losses in eurozone bank stress tests
07 May 2013
Posted at 18:25 Comments (0)
Uninsured depositors and bondholders in eurozone banks could face imposed losses following stress tests carried out before a “single-supervisory mechanism” headed by the European Central Bank begins work next June.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the chairman of eurozone finance ministers, warned that that the ECB checks on the quality of banking assets could lead to banks being shut down, highlighting the need for eurozone agreement on bank resolution rules this summer.
The prospect of eurozone banks facing closure will alarm British expatriates who live and have transferred their savings, proceeds from house sales and other assets to eurozone bank accounts in countries such as France, Spain and Italy.
“The first thing that the ECB will have to do when they take on their supervisory task is to have an asset-quality review of the main banks that will be under their supervision and I think very soon after that all the other banks in Europe as well because there is still the risk of contamination between banks,” Mr Dijsselbloem said.
“The outcome of that asset quality review we don't know yet, but it might be worrying. It might be worrying for some banks in some countries. We don’t exactly know. What I do know is that when we do have an outcome that is worrying, we need to have the instruments to deal with the problems.”
Read the full article at The Telegraph
Berlin rejects calls for domestic stimulus plan to help out Spain
01 May 2013
Posted at 18:11 Comments (0)
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble on Monday reiterated his government’s objection to launching a domestic stimulus package to help out struggling countries such as Spain boost exports, but in an encounter with Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos he floated the idea of German companies investing in smaller Spanish ones to help create jobs.
After a meeting in a luxury hotel in Loja, in the province of Granada, Schäuble and De Guindos outlined the framework of a plan that would be developed outside the auspices of European institutions and under which German companies would inject funding into solid small and midsized Spanish enterprises (SMEs).
Such investment would be jointly “sponsored” by the German and Spanish governments. Schäuble said the main thrust of the plan is to tackle high unemployment in Spain, particularly among young workers, which the German minister said was a major concern for the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Read the full article at el Pais in English
Spain's economy contracts for seventh consecutive quarter
30 April 2013
Posted at 12:59 Comments (0)
Spain's economy shrank for a seventh consecutive quarter between January and March as domestic demand slumped.
The country's gross domestic product fell by 0.5% compared with the previous quarter, according to the National Statistics Institute.
On an annual basis, Spain's economy shrank 2% in the quarter - the worst fall since the end of 2011.
Last week, Spain's government cut its forecast for 2013, saying it now expected the economy to shrink by 1.3%.
Its previous estimate had put the rate of contraction at 0.5%.
Source: BBC News
Lloyds Banking Group sells its operations in Spain to Banco Sabadell
29 April 2013
Posted at 13:13 Comments (0)
Lloyds Banking Group plc (the Group) is today announcing that it has agreed to sell its Spanish retail banking operations, including Lloyds Bank International S.A.U and Lloyds Investment España SGIIC S.A.U, to Banco Sabadell, S.A (Banco Sabadell).
The sale comprises the Group's retail and private banking business and the local investment management business in Spain. The business being sold consists mostly of retail mortgages and deposits, with a large portion of non-resident clients. The Group's Spanish corporate banking operations, serving business clients, are not included in this transaction and will continue to operate as usual.
To ensure continued support for our customers in the Spanish market and in conjunction with the sale, the Group is also developing a collaboration agreement with Banco Sabadell which it is expected would involve exploring potential business opportunities in areas including retail, commercial, private banking, asset finance and asset management.
Under the sale agreement, the Group will receive shares equivalent to approximately 1.8 per cent of the total issued share capital of Banco Sabadell as part of the consideration for the sale. The Group intends to be a supportive shareholder of Banco Sabadell and has undertaken to retain the shares received under the sale agreement for a period of at least two years.
Total consideration will be payable in a mix of shares and cash. At completion Banco Sabadell will deliver 53.7 million ordinary shares out of their treasury holding with such shares being valued at €84 million (£72 million1) by reference to the volume weighted average share price on 26 April 2013. An additional consideration of up to €20 million (£17 million1) may be payable in cash within the next five years dependent on mortgage book margins.
As of 31 March 2013 the total assets of the sale were approximately £1,517 million, comprised almost entirely of customer lending, and customer deposits were approximately £670 million. The business reported a loss of approximately £43 million in 2012, which included an increase in the impairment provision as a percentage of impaired loans to approximately 90 per cent. The sale of the business is currently expected to lead to a loss on disposal of approximately £250 million1 in the Group's accounts.
The sale is in line with the Group's strategy of rationalising its international presence and ensuring best value for shareholders. The current senior management employed by Lloyds Bank International S.A.U and all of the staff of the Spanish retail operations will move across with the subsidiaries on sale. Any cash proceeds of the sale will be used for general corporate purposes.
The sale is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to complete in 2013.
Spanish house prices need to fall another 10%, Goldman Sachs warns
28 April 2013
Posted at 09:31 Comments (0)
Spanish house prices need to fall another 10pc, posing fresh problems for the country’s troubled banking sector, Goldman Sachs has warned.
Another 10pc fall in house prices in Spain would threaten to put the country under even greater pressure. Half a million home owners are in negative equity and the government has had to pass laws to prevent banks repossessing homes, forcing families onto the street.
However, Goldman economists Andrew Benito and Sebastian Graves said more homeowners could be at risk. “Our preferred model values housing based on the relationship between rental yields and real borrowing costs. The current level is consistent with house prices falling by a further 10pc to reach an implied equilibrium,” they said.
Source: The Telegraph
Spain's unemployment rate hits record high of 27.2 percent
25 April 2013
Posted at 21:15 Comments (1)
Spain's unemployment rate has jumped to a record high of 27.2 percent. According to Spain's National Statistics Institute (INE) some 6.2 million people are without work.
The Spanish statistics body reported Thursday that the nation's unemployment rate shot up from 26.02 percent in the last quarter of 2012 to 27.16 percent in the first three months of this year.
The INE said the increase reflected the additional 237,400 people registered as unemployed in the first quarter of 2013.
With more than six million people out of work, the eurozone's fourth largest economy now has the highest unemployment rate since records began in the 1970s.
Source: Deutsche Welle
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