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LONDON European shares hit an 18-month high and the euro and euro zone periphery bonds climbed on Tuesday, buoyed by a pick-up in German confidence indicators and expectations the Federal Reserve will keep pumping money into the U.S. economy. Following some disappointing euro zone data this month, the ZEW survey provided some relief for markets, showing confidence among German investors and economists increased sharply in November. Markets had been rattled on Monday by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti’s announcement he would step down some weeks early. But the upbeat ZEW data helped lift shares and the euro from their gloom. [...]

FRANKFURT The ZEW economic expectations index, a gauge of German investor sentiment, rose more sharply than expected in December, the Mannheim-based Center for European Economic Research, or ZEW, reported Tuesday. The index rose to 6.9 versus a reading of minus 15.7 in November. Economists had forecast a reading of minus 11.3. “Although the cooling down of the economic activity will last until the beginning of 2013, Germany will not have to face a recession. However, this only applies if the crises in the euro zone do not deepen once again,” said ZEW President Wolfgang Franz. The ZEW current-conditions index rose [...]

BERLIN Germany’s lower house of parliament will approve a fresh bailout for Greece on Friday in a vote seen as a test of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s authority over her centre-right coalition less than a year before federal elections. The outcome of Friday’s vote in the Bundestag is not in doubt but unease over the costs of the euro zone debt crisis and over talk of another write-down of Greek debt means the number of coalition lawmakers voting against will be keenly watched. The package of measures to be approved is aimed at reducing Greece’s debt load to 124 percent of [...]

MADRID The euro surpassed $ 1.29 on Friday after the German Ifo index of business sentiment beat expectations with a rise to 101.4 in November, according to media reports. Economists had been expecting the index to drop to around 99.5, as the German economy has suffered from a downbeat outlook for the global economy and euro-zone problems. That was reportedly the first rise in the business climate index in eight months. Economists at Ifo reportedly said the German economy is holding up despite the crisis in the euro zone. The euro was trading just above $ 1.287 ahead of the [...]

LISBON German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised on Monday the resolve of the Portuguese people to deal with the debt crisis that engulfed their country and forced it to seek an international bailout. “I sense a great sense of determination here in Portugal to overcome this difficult phase,” she said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho on her first visit to Lisbon since the crisis erupted. “I know that it’s very hard for some people – unemployment is high, especially among young people, so Germany wants to support Portugal in particular with professional training for young [...]

PARIS EADS blamed a funding row with Germany for contributing to a 3 billion euro cash outflow so far this year, which put a blot on the Airbus parent’s stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings on Thursday and hit its shares. Finance Director Harald Wilhelm said the European group was in talks with Germany’s government over its decision to withhold a development loan for the Airbus A350, which officials say is in protest at the share of jobs on the $ 15 billion project. The company’s claim came as a Reuters investigation into resurgent political tensions over the world’s largest planemaker found that [...]

BERLIN Cyprus’s request for a bailout has created a political headache for German Chancellor Angela Merkel on concerns wealthy Russians could be the chief beneficiaries, the weekly magazine Der Spiegel said on Sunday, citing an intelligence agency report. Cyprus is in talks with international lenders on the terms of a bailout expected to total 10 billion euros after its two largest banks incurred huge losses due to the Greek debt writedown earlier this year. The scale of the aid is tiny compared to Greece and other struggling euro zone countries. But a report prepared by Germany’s intelligence agency (BND) on [...]

BERLIN German joblessness rose for a seventh month in a row in October, highlighting the vulnerability of Europe’s biggest economy to the euro zone crisis. Economists expect the trend to reverse, however, as growth revives in the new year. The number of Germans out of a job rose to 2.937 million in October, up 20,000 from the previous month. The consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of 31 economists was for unemployment to rise by 10,000.. Joblessness, however, remains near its lowest level since German reunification more than two decades ago. Labour Office data released on Tuesday showed the unemployment [...]

BERLIN German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble ruled out public investors accepting a debt restructuring, or “haircut”, on their Greek debt holding but said a debt repurchasing program could be considered. “(A haircut) is a discussion that has little to do with the reality in the member states of the euro zone,” Schaeuble said in an interview to be aired on Deutschlandfunk radio on Sunday. Schaeuble added he would not speculate on a debt repurchase program until the troika of the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund had presented their final report on Greece’s progress. “That is a [...]

As the euro crisis drags on and no end seems to be in sight, two players have emerged that will be key to solving the deficit problems of many ailing states like Greece, Spain and Portugal: Germany and the European Central Bank (ECB).Germany is the strongest economy in the eurozone and the one of the few that has not yet been sucked into recession by the economic downturn on the continent. The Germans, led by Angela Merkel, have the economic firepower to withstand market forces that could possibly drag weak eurozone countries into recession.On the other hand the ECB also [...]

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