Business And Finance

The three Rs behind global banks’ recovery

IN THE Bible, seven years of feast were followed by seven years of famine. For banks there have been ten lean years. Subprime-loan defaults started to rise in February 2007, causing a near-collapse of the industry in America and Europe. Next came bail-outs from governments, then years of grovelling before regulators, mass firings of staff and quarter after quarter of ...

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Supervisors put off finalising reforms to bank-capital rules

SOME banks find existing capital requirements too taxing. To no one’s surprise, on December 23rd Monte dei Paschi di Siena, at present Italy’s fourth-biggest bank, asked the Italian state for help, having failed to raise from the private sector €5bn ($5.2bn) in capital demanded by the European Central Bank before the year’s end. Three days later Monte dei Paschi said ...

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Plastic planes will allow airlines to increase cabin pressure

A FELLOW Gulliver, cheery chap that he is, kicked off the new year explaining why 2017 might be even worse for business travellers than the year we have just put behind us. The reasons are largely geopolitical: the fallout from Brexit, the uncertainty surrounding soon-to-be-President Donald Trump, the likely rise in oil prices, the Chinese economic slowdown and the threat ...

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Wage growth surges, just in time for the Trump presidency

THE news that average wages grew by 2.9% in December, the final full month of the Obama presidency, provides more evidence that America’s labour market is heating up. For some time, America has been creating plentiful jobs—2016 was the fifth consecutive year with more than 2m job gains. But wage growth has been weak enough to cast doubt on the ...

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The Greenspan legacy

MORE than ten years have elapsed since Alan Greenspan stepped down from the Federal Reserve; a decade that has not been kind to his reputation. Having just read Sebastian Mallaby’s comprehensive biography*, “The Man Who Knew”, it struck me that his career was a classic example of cognitive dissonance. The main post-crisis criticism of Mr Greenspan was that he was ...

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2017 might be even worse for business travellers than 2016

THE YEAR 2016 was not a great one for business travellers. In Britain, the Brexit referendum and related collapse in the value of the pound made travelling abroad costly; transport strikes meant getting around was an ordeal for those who stayed put. In continental Europe, terror attacks targeted airports and tourist spots, while striking workers blockaded sea ports, grounded airlines ...

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Japanese banks grapple with ultra-low interest rates

BANKS the world over are wrestling with low interest rates. Nowhere have they grappled for longer than in Japan. Although the Bank of Japan (BoJ) introduced negative rates only in January, almost 20 months after the European Central Bank, its rates have been ultra-low for years: they first hit zero in 1999. In its long battle against deflation, it pioneered ...

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