End of oil boom threatens Norway’s welfare model

(Reuters) – Norway’s energy boom is tailing off years ahead of expectations, exposing an economy unprepared for life after oil and threatening the long-term viability of the world’s most generous welfare model. High spending within the sector has pushed up wages and other costs to unsustainable levels, not just for the oil and gas industry but for all sectors, and that is now acting as a drag on further energy investment. Norwegian firms outside oil […]

PHL receives another ratings upgrade from S&P

MANILA, May 8 (PNA) — Projecting that current government reforms in the Philippines will be pursued beyond the Aquino administration, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) on Thursday upped by another notch the Philippines’ investment grade rating to ‘BBB’ with stable outlook from ‘BBB-‘, a year after giving it an investment grade rating. In a statement, the ratings agency said it also upgraded the country’s short-term rating to ‘A-2’ from ‘A-3’, the ASEAN regional scale rating to […]

Yellen cites housing, geopolitical tensions as economic risks

(Reuters) – A slumping housing market and geopolitical tensions risk undermining the U.S. economy and bear close watching by the Federal Reserve, the central bank’s chief said on Wednesday. In testimony to Congress, Fed Chair Janet Yellen repeated her stance that the economy was still in need of lots of support given the “considerable slack” in the labor market. While she offered few new clues on the direction of interest rates, Yellen broke ground in […]

China’s half-year report card on economic reform: slow, safe and steady

  (Reuters) -The caution is still there, the difference is today China is crossing that river in many spots at once and the water is probably deeper. Economists say there is no substitute for fundamental changes if China is to succeed in its transformation from bureaucratically-run, pollution-spewing industrial powerhouse to a more balanced, market-driven economy. However, reforms such as freeing up bank interest rates or dismantling state monopolies will cause much short-term pain, and provide […]

Side deals with Moscow thwart drive to wean Europe off Russian gas By Henning Gloystein

(Reuters) – While officials in Brussels were calling for Europe to reduce its dependency on Russian natural gas and negotiate with Moscow as a bloc, Austria was quietly bypassing the European Commission to cut its own bilateral deal on building a pipeline. The deal on the South Stream pipeline, which will be built under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and on to central Europe, shows the European Union’s difficulty in creating a unified energy policy […]

Strong consumer spending, factory data buoy U.S. growth outlook

(Reuters) – U.S. consumer spending recorded its largest gain in more than 4-1/2 years in March and factory activity accelerated last month, reinforcing views the economy was regaining steam. Economic growth stalled in the first quarter after a very cold and disruptive winter, but the data so far point to a strong second-quarter rebound. “The weakness in growth we saw in the first quarter is not indicative of what is going on in the economy. […]

U.S. consumer confidence rebounds to pre-crisis levels in first quarter: Nielsen

  (Reuters) – U.S. consumer sentiment rose sharply in the first quarter as optimism about the economic outlook improved, according to a global survey which also showed rising confidence in debt-laden euro zone countries. Globally, consumer confidence returned to pre-financial crisis levels in the first three months of this year, at its highest since the first quarter of 2007, the survey by global information and insights company Nielsen showed on Wednesday. Improving job prospects are […]

S&P 500, Dow go up; Apple, Pfizer stocks jump

NEW YORK Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:31pm EDT (Reuters) – The S&P 500 ended higher on Monday after a volatile session, as gains in Apple and Pfizer helped offset another round of selling in some high-growth tech shares. The Dow also managed to end the session with a modest gain, while the Nasdaq closed slightly lower after rebounding from a fall of over 1 percent. Leading the Nasdaq down was, which extended Friday’s sharp […]

Tokyo inflation hits 22-year high, inching toward BOJ goal

(Reuters) – Tokyo’s inflation jumped to a 22-year high in April by a key measure, an early sign that companies are making progress in passing on a new tax increase to customers as policy makers seek to pull Japan out of years of deflation. Friday’s data for the capital, a leading indicator of national trends showed much tamer inflation when the impact of the sales-tax hike is excluded. This underscores the daunting challenge for Prime […]

Alstom denies takeover bid from General Electric

French train maker Alstom has denied it has received an official offer for its shares from US engineering group General Electric. The denial, however, doesn’t silence takeover rumors reported earlier. Alstom was not informed of any potential public tender offer for its shares from General Electric, the French turbine and high-speed train manufacturer said Thursday. “The group constantly reviews the strategic options of its businesses,” Alstom said in a statement, adding that an update on […]

Exclusive: White House considers former banking lawyer for Fed board – sources

(Reuters) – A former lawyer with the American Bankers Association is being considered by the White House as a possible nominee to the board of the Federal Reserve, according to sources familiar with the efforts The lawyer’s name emerged as the White House weighs candidates with community banking backgrounds to fill gaps on the Federal Reserve’s powerful but depleted board, the sources said. The U.S. central bank, which is looking to wind down its most […]