George Soros, on the sideline of Davos Forum, gave his views on the state of the world. The EU, according to billionaire investor, is disintegrating following last year's Brexit vote and Italian referendum, a course that must be reversed. The trading bloc has become dysfunctional because it is governed by laws that are "not appropriate to the current circumstances" and not easily changed, he said. "If Europe breaks down, the consequences will be very dire," the investor said. "But I do see a way it could be saved, and this is also recognized by many of the people in Brussels. They can't say so publicly, but they know that Europe is not functioning."
Swiss Life company Zurich will cut 240 jobs in the UK as part of a business restructure. The company said it will remove 240 jobs from the UK business after plans were announced last year to merge the life and general insurance departments. The new structure will be effective immediately but the firm will consult on the job cuts before making any decisions. Zurich said the jobs cuts would not be in 'market facing' roles and were likely to be from back office positions. It said cuts would be made where there was overlap between life and general insurance positions.
The European Central Bank (ECB) made no changes to its record-low interest rates and announced no new measures on Thursday in what was its first policy decision of 2017. Specifically, the ECB left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record-low 0.0%, in line with forecasts. The central bank also held its deposit facility rate steady at -0.4% and its marginal lending rate remained at 0.25%. Additionally, the Governing Council confirms that it will continue to make purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP) at the current monthly pace of €80 billion until the end of March 2017 and that, from April 2017, the net asset purchases are intended to continue at a monthly pace of €60 billion until the end of December 2017, or beyond, if necessary, and in any case until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim.
A major shift from brick and mortar to online shopping is taking place in the major consumer markets, and jewelry companies are trying to get in on the action, offering steep discounts to customers on their e-commerce websites.
Deutsche Bank has warned its employees of more job cuts to come. In addition to announcing radically reduced 2016 bonus payments for top managers, the bank told some staff on Wednesday that layoffs will continue, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions as Bloomberg reported. In a note to staff on Wednesday, John Cryan, chief executive, said Deutsche’s management board had decided to waive their bonuses for 2016, the second consecutive year in which top executives at Germany’s biggest bank have forgone such awards after it finalised its $7.2 billion legal settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice related to the sale of mortgage bonds into the peak of the global financial crisis.
Invented in 1986 as a light-hearted guide to purchasing power parity, the Big Mac Index compares the cost of a McDonald’s Big Mac burger in countries across the world, published by the Economist. Using the US dollar as the base rate, Switzerland won the top spot again for the most expense burgers. A Swiss Big Mac costs $ 6.35 (CHF 6.50), compared to $ 5.06 in the US, meaning the Swiss franc is overvalued by 25.5%.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s executive chairman Jack Ma said the company’s ambitions to link up with Hollywood remain strong and also urged people to give President-Elect Donald Trump “some time” because “he’s listening.” Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, the Chinese billionaire said Alibaba had a debate five years ago about what Chinese people want. “Happiness and health,” he said. “We believe the movie industry brings happiness. Today, no one is happy. Rich people aren’t happy. Poor people aren’t happy. At least when I watch a movie I’m happy.”
Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Wednesday that Credit Suisse will pay $5.28 billion in the settlement, which relates to the packaging, securitization, issuance, marketing and sale of residential mortgage-backed securities between 2005 and 2007. Credit Suisse announced in late December that it reached a settlement in principle with the DOJ which made it official. Under the terms of the settlement, Credit Suisse will pay $2.48 billion as a civil penalty under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act.
MasterCard has put forward proposals to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after the watchdog expressed concern over its acquisition of VocaLink. The CMA said the merger could make it difficult for the UK ATM network Link to negotiate a good infrastructure service because of reduced competition. The CMA had given MasterCard and VocaLink an ultimatum to remedy its competition concerns or face an in-depth investigation.
The top boss of HSBC, Stuart Gulliver, has said it is planning to move some staff from London to Paris following Britain’s exit from the European Union. Speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Gulliver said in an interview Bloomberg Television that "about 1,000 jobs which are carrying out activities which are covered by European legislation... would probably need, in our case, to go to France". While Gulliver had in the past already hinted at such a switch of investment banking jobs, his comments appeared more precise as he suggested France would take precedence over other EU nations.
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