London (CNN) – Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has lit a fuse that has sparked outrage in Germany and exposed the frayed wires that are holding Europe together.
In an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel, Monti was quoted as saying: "The tensions that have accompanied the eurozone in the past years are already showing signs of a psychological dissolution of Europe."
He added that governments have to "educate" their parliaments as they try to reach agreement on the eurozone's future.
"If governments allow themselves to be entirely bound to the decisions of their parliament, without protecting their own freedom to act, a break up of Europe would be a more probable outcome than deeper integration."
(CNN) – There was lively debate among Business 360 readers on question posed by Friday’s post China slowdown bigger worry than eurozone?
The heart of Friday’s post was the conversation CNN’s Richard Quest had with Jim O’Neill, chairman of asset management for Goldman Sachs, that the slowdown of developing economies such as China was more worrisome than the eurozone crisis.
Many of the dozens of comments from Business 360 readers can be summed up in two words: What slowdown?
Jon B: “I'm an American and I've been living in China for 5 years. Yes, businesses are hurting and prices are rising, but China's people are only getting richer. Their economy is doing just fine for right now. Maybe within the next five to 10 years China will resemble the U.S. and its current struggle, but for now they are full steam ahead. There aren't many icebergs big enough to cripple this boat just yet.”
Hong Kong (CNN) – Will China’s economy have a hard landing, soft touchdown or slow ascension?
The lack of strong action Thursday from the European Central Bank on Europe’s spiraling debt crisis – coupled with similar inaction from the U.S. Federal Reserve on the slowing U.S. economy earlier this week – has ratcheted global investor stress on how China will handle its own slowdown.
The question percolated throughout interviews on CNN International business shows this week.
“It is quite disturbing that Brazil and India have slowed down so much, obviously there’s this huge debate going on about China’s slowdown,” Jim O’Neill, chairman of asset management for Goldman Sachs, told Richard Quest when he argued the slowdown in developing behemoths like China and the rest of the BRIC bloc is more worrisome than the eurozone crisis.
Investor Mark Mobius, head of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, disagreed.
"A lot of people ask me if China is going to have a hard or soft landing," Mobius said. "And I say they are not landing. They're continuing to grow and they're growing at a pretty fast pace."
Still, the signs of a China slowdown are many. Inventories in factories are piling up, and companies ranging from electronics, airlines and sportswear have issued profit warnings.
“While the world fixates on what the Fed and the ECB have up their collective sleeves to stem the sovereign debt contagion and to spur growth, it appears to me that the policy prescriptions might need to include China,” wrote Mike Paulenoff of MPTrader.com. “As in, how to avert a hard landing?”
So, hard days ahead for China? Will its economy touch down gently, or is it likely to trampoline – with help from Beijing – like it did in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial crisis?
Have your say. Leave a comment below.
Hong Kong (CNN) - Beijing has clamped down on information once publicly available on listed and state-owned companies, hurting the effort of Western investors and companies to gauge whether to invest in - or short-sell - Chinese firms.
First reported by the International Financial Law Review, the State Administration of Industry and Commerce now requires company permission before accessing records such as financial reports and shareholder information.
Companies that sell credit reports - which give companies a quick read on the background of the firm they are considering doing business with - have been hindered, said Peter Humphrey, managing director of ChinaWhys, an international business risk advisory firm in Beijing.
Hong Kong (CNN) – China is drafting plans on how to deal with the financial fallout if Greece leaves the eurozone and its economic implications for Beijing’s largest trading partner, according to state-run media.
"The government is working on plans for the worst-case scenario of Greece leaving the eurozone later this year," Wang Haifeng, director of international economics at the Institute for International Economic Research, told state-run China Daily Tuesday.
China Daily quotes unnamed sources as saying the ministries of finance and commerce will examine the potential impact of a Greek exit on exchange rate, capital flows and trade.
(CNN) – Eduardo Saverin, one of the co-founders of Facebook, gave his first major interview published Thursday in the wake of a growing backlash against his renunciation of U.S. citizenship.
Pressure has grown from U.S. lawmakers to tighten tax code on expatriates after press reports surfaced that Saverin – a native of Brazil who became a U.S. citizen as a teenager after his family moved to the U.S. – renounced his U.S. citizenship, which was published April 30 on the U.S. Federal Register. Saverin, who has lived in Singapore since 2009, is now a permanent resident of the city.
The public release of his renunciation, coming on the eve of Facebook’s initial public offering (IPO), has raised hackles.
“I’m not a tax expert,” Saverin told the New York Times. He said he filed to renounce his citizenship in January 2011 and it became official in September. “We complied with all the known laws. There was an exit tax.” Bloomberg estimates the billionaire paid exit taxes of about $365 million.
(CNN) – Global investors inhaled deeply when Greek President Karolos Papoulias relayed a difficult call with the head of the nation’s central bank - since Monday, Greeks pulled around 800 million euros (around $1 billion) out of the nation’s banks.
"There is, of course, no panic, but there is fear that could develop into panic," Papoulias said, describing what Central Bank Governor George Provopoulos told him. "He also said that the strength of banks is very weak at the moment."
So how much money is in the Greek banking system? About 170 billion euros (more than $216 billion) at the end of March, according to the Financial Times.
Since 2009, about 25% to 30% of Greek deposits have left the country. That’s not good for Greece, but given the turmoil of the past two years, it certainly could be worse.
(CNN) – JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon shocked Wall Street just after the market closed Thursday with news that the company had lost $2 billion since April 1 on trades in credit default swaps.
Sound familiar? It should. Credit default swaps based on housing mortgages created the tinder that was ignited by rising home defaults to create the conflagration of the 2008 financial crisis.
Trading in derivatives such as credit default swaps were designed to hedge against risk. But as we know, banks and other market players used these tools to create products that seemed to take the danger out of risky bets and reaped huge rewards - right up until the moment they didn’t. Banks and other businesses were stuck on the wrong side of the trade, trapped with a mountain of debt they couldn’t pay.
Speaking on a Thursday conference call – which the Financial Times’ Alphaville called “the most excruciating bank conference call we’ve ever heard” – Dimon said JPMorgan's losses stemmed from trades designed to hedge against risk, but those trades went awry due to "errors," "sloppiness" and "bad judgment." It doesn’t help that, just a month ago, Dimon decried the build-up of credit default swaps at JPMorgan’s London office, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, as a “tempest in a teapot.”
(CNN) – Women have been breaking through the glass ceiling toward senior positions in greater numbers, but U.S. research suggests there is now a “green ceiling” that female executives face to get investor cash.
Researchers at the University of Utah and Washington University found that when MBA students are presented an identical IPO offering, they are less likely to invest if the company is led by a female CEO than a man.
That comes despite the fact women holding corporate officer positions in the U.S. increased to 55% from 10% between 1997 and 2007, the study notes.
“Given the increasing numbers of women executives in the top management teams of IPO firms, the lack of female-led IPO firms is a curious fact, especially since women-owned private businesses represent almost half of the new businesses formed in the United States,” the authors said.
(CNN) – With the election of Francois Hollande as the president of France and a Greek poll dealing a major blow to the coalition government in Athens, voters in Europe are pushing back on austerity.
"I asked for a strong mandate, but people chose differently. I respect their message," Greece’s New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras said late Sunday. "Today's result expresses people's disappointment towards the implemented dead-end economic policy that tested their limits and didn't include the necessary development policy."
Meanwhile, French voters gave victory to the nation’s first a left-wing president since Francois Mitterrand left office in 1995. "Austerity can no longer be something that is inevitable," President-elect Hollande said.
Both elections have shaken the markets, which yet again are faced with uncertainty about the fate of the eurozone. Will a new coalition government adhere to the agreements that kept the fragile Greek economy part of the eurozone, or will political forces place Greece’s membership among the euro nations once again in doubt? “This could be the start of another deeply uncertain period in Greece with consequences far beyond its borders,” observed CNN correspondent Matthew Chance in Athens.
About Business 360
CNN International's business anchors and correspondents get to grips with the issues affecting world business, and they want your questions and feedback.