Irish credit rating is downgraded

26 08 2010

The Irish Republic has had its credit rating downgraded by a leading ratings agency, Standard and Poor’s (S&P).

S&P fears that the growing cost of propping up the country’s troubled banking sector will further weaken the government’s finances.

It now thinks that the Irish government will spend 90bn euros ($101bn; £74bn) helping the banks, 10bn euros higher than previous estimates.

The country’s own debt agency described the analysis as “flawed”.

It claimed that S&P’s outlook was based on an “extreme and unrealistic” scenario of the cost of recapitalising the banks and questioned its calculations.

S&P cut the rating one step to from AA to AA-, its lowest since 1995.

This follows clearance earlier this month for an additional injection of 10bn euros into Anglo Irish Bank.

The agency now forecasts that net government debt – the sum of all borrowing – will rise to 113% of GDP in 2010. That would be a substantial increase on the 64% level recorded in 2009.

Continue Reading: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11081069





Eurozone inflation hits 20-month high

16 08 2010

Inflation in the eurozone hit a 20-month high last month, European Union data has shown.

Annual inflation in the 16-nation bloc rose to 1.7% in July, up from 1.4% in June and the highest rate since November 2008, Eurostat said.

The figure was boosted by more expensive fuel costs for transport, and higher alcohol and tobacco prices.

Across all 27 nations in the European Union, prices were up 2.1% in July, compared with a rise of 1.9% in June.

Some countries – Finland, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Romania – raised their rates of VAT in July, which also helped to push prices higher.

“The core inflation rate is slightly higher but with the VAT hikes that there have been in the eurozone, that’s not surprising,” said Astrid Schilo, Europe economist at HSBC.

On a month-on-month basis, prices in the eurozone fell 0.3% in July, and in the wider EU fell 0.2%.





German economy sees ‘record’ growth of 2.2%

13 08 2010

The German economy grew by 2.2% in the three months to the end of June, its fastest quarterly growth in more than 20 years, official figures show.

“Such quarter-on-quarter growth has never been recorded before in reunified Germany,” the national statistics office, Destatis, said.

The main reason for the higher-than-expected growth was strong exports, helped by a weaker euro.

The eurozone economy grew by 1% during the quarter.

This compares with growth of 0.2% in the first three months of the year, the area’s official statistics agency, Eurostat, said.

The French economy grew by 0.6% in the second quarter, also up from 0.2%, while the Spanish economy grew by 0.2%, compared with 0.1% in the previous three months.

The pace of growth in the Italian economy remained the same, at 0.4%.

Continue Reading: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10962017