UBS shares sink after Credit Suisse buyout

Zurich, Switzerland | AFP | Monday 3/20/2023 UBS share price plunged on Monday as a deal to take over its troubled Swiss rival Credit Suisse for $3.25 billion failed to calm stock market nerves. The buyout, in which Switzerland’s biggest bank will take over the second largest, was vital to prevent economic turmoil from spreading throughout the country and beyond, the Swiss government said Sunday. But investors remained on edge, with UBS shares falling as […]

Kuwait Oil Company declares ‘state of emergency’ after oil spill on land

Kuwait City, Kuwait | AFP | Monday 3/20/2023 The Kuwait Oil Company declared a “state of emergency” on Monday following an oil spill on land, but said no injuries or disruption to production had been reported. The emergency followed an “oil leak in the west of the country”, the state-owned company said in a statement, as video posted by Kuwaiti media showed a gushing pipe surrounded by a large slick of oil. “No injuries have […]

Baidu shares fall after disappointing AI chatbot debut

Beijing, China | AFP | Thursday 3/16/2023 Chinese search engine company Baidu’s shares fell as much as 10 percent on Thursday after the company unveiled its ChatGPT-like AI software, with investors unimpressed by the bot’s display of linguistic and maths skills. The artificial intelligence-powered ChatGPT, created by San Francisco company OpenAI, has caused a sensation for its ability to write essays, poems or programming code on demand within seconds, sparking widespread fears of cheating or […]

Sweden rediscovers poverty as inflation soars

  Stockholm, Sweden | AFP | by Viken KANTARCI It’s not yet 6 am and dozens of homeless people are already queuing outside Stockholm’s central station for breakfast, their numbers bigger than ever, charities say. Hit by the highest inflation in more than 30 years and poised for recession, Sweden’s visible signs of poverty are mounting amid rising inequality. “So many people are coming here to breakfast,” said Kavian Ferdowsi who runs a charity helping […]

Argentina inflation exceeds 100%

Inflation in Argentina came in at 102.5 percent in the 12 months to February, exceeding the symbolic triple-digit mark and reaching a new 32-year high. Latin America’s third largest economy saw inflation grow 6.6 percent in the month of February and 13.1 percent since the beginning of the year, the Indec national statistics institute said. Argentina has one of the highest inflation rates in the world. In 2022, it reached 94.8 percent, the country’s highest […]

Lebanese pound hits historic low of 100,000 to dollar

The Lebanese pound sank to a historic low against the dollar on the parallel market Tuesday, the latest sombre milestone in an economic meltdown that has plunged most of the population into poverty. Officially pegged at 15,000 to the dollar, the pound was trading at 100,000 against the greenback, dealers said — a dizzying plunge from 1,507 before the economic crisis hit in 2019. The currency’s market value was at around 60,000 to the dollar […]

Asian markets sink as SVB contagion fears hit banking sector

Hong Kong, China | AFP | Tuesday 3/14/2023 Asian markets sank Tuesday, with banks bearing the brunt of the selling on fears of contagion in the sector after the collapse of two regional US lenders. The swift closure of Silicon Valley Bank on Friday, followed by Signature Bank days later, forced US authorities to immediately pledge support for other lenders and depositors. The move by the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. […]

SVB collapse causes headaches for US Fed before rate decision

by Daniel AVIS The dramatic implosion of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) last week could bring the Federal Reserve’s current cycle of interest rate hikes to an end far sooner than many analysts expected. Traders and analysts who had previously predicted that the Fed would increase the pace of hikes to tackle inflation have now dialed back their expectations, with some saying the US central bank will hold its benchmark rate next week due to the […]

Four days that shook the US banking system

by Thomas URBAIN The US banking system has been gripped in recent days by a series of convulsions that has seen the collapse of three banks and authorities undertaking extraordinary measures to reassure depositors. It all began Wednesday night with a liquidation announcement from the small regional Silvergate Bank, a favorite among the cryptocurrency crowd. The California business was swept up in several crypto mishaps, particularly the implosion of exchange platform FTX, before facing a […]

After Saudi deal, Iran says hopes to restore Bahrain ties

  Iran said Monday it would welcome restoring ties with Bahrain to end seven years of ruptured relations, following a recent China-brokered deal to heal rifts between Tehran and Riyadh. “The resumption of political relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia shows the effectiveness and success of the diplomatic solution to resolve misunderstandings,” said Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani. Tehran, pleased by the rapprochement with the Saudis, believes “relations between Iran and Bahrain are no […]

HSBC buys failed US bank SVB’s UK arm for £1

by Roland JACKSON The UK arm of failed US lender Silicon Valley Bank has been bought by HSBC for a nominal £1 ($1.2) in a rescue deal, the government and HSBC announced Monday. The sale, overseen by the Bank of England and the Treasury, comes after SVB collapsed Friday sparking panic in Britain over its key customers in the technology and life science sectors. “Silicon Valley Bank (UK) Ltd has today been sold to HSBC,” […]

SVB’s demise a sign of worry, but limited contagion risk: analysts

New York, United States | AFP | by Juliette MICHEL The surprisingly rapid implosion of Silicon Valley Bank has markets jittery over a potential sign of widespread turmoil, but analysts see only a limited risk of financial contagion. SVB’s woes are the result of “idiosyncratic stresses and not one that we see as systemic that would affect the banking industry,” said CFRA Research’s Ken Leon, saying stricter US regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis […]