Greece's international lenders prepared on Thursday to unblock as much as €8.5 billion in loans that Athens desperately needs next month to pay its bills, and to give some idea of what debt relief they may offer over the long-term. One of the reasons why Greece's bailout program has stalled over the past few months has been a disagreement between the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund on debt relief. The IMF, which has contributed financially to Greece's first two bailouts but not the third, has wanted more information about what debt relief Greece may get before it gets more involved in the current program, which is due to end in the summer of next year.
Zurich gets a new museum. The ‘Swiss Finance Museum’ will open on 28th June and it will be located at the new head office of Six in Pfingstweidstrasse 110. The ‘Swiss Finance Museum’ will offer visitors a new multimedia exhibition illustrating the origins of our economic system as well as the major significance of the financial market and its infrastructure for our everyday life. The exhibition focuses on stock exchange trading, the capital market, financial instruments, payment transactions and technical objects, demonstrating the exemplary innovation of the financial industry
The Swiss National Bank kept interest rates unchanged at record lows, citing the strong currency and an absence of price pressures and the SNB held its deposit rate at -0.75%. It also affirmed its commitment to wage currency market interventions and reiterated that the franc was “significantly overvalued.” Consensus forecasts were for an unchanged policy.
For the second time this year, the Fed hiked interest rates, in a widely expected move that reflects the central bank's confidence in the U.S. economy. After two-day meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee raised their benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1% to 1.25%. The move was essentially a foregone conclusion and the market was pricing in a 99% chance of a rate hike, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced on Tuesday new fingerprint tech will first undergo proof-of-concept tests at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Denver International Airport. TSA did not provide an exact start date, but the evaluation will examine how using fingerprints as both boarding pass and identification will function at security checkpoints over the course of four weeks starting mid-June. It would only work for passengers who previously provided fingerprints by enrolling in the TSA PreCheck screening program.
Relative to Bitcoin, Ethereum was an unknown cryptocurrency. Now, it’s reaching record highs after Russian President Vladimir Putin met with its founder. A new cryptocurrency called Ethereum reached another record high, driven by the potentials of the blockchain technology and supports from Russia, Singapore, and Japan. Ethereum is now up over 5,000 percent since the beginning of this year. On Monday, its price hit $407.10, this was a record level which marked a more than 5,001 per cent rise in price since 1 January when ethereum was trading at $7.98.
Statistics agency Eurostat said 234.2m people were in work across the EU between January and March, of which 154.8m were in the eurozone area. Employment grew by 1.5 percent on average in the eurozone and by 1.4 percent in the EU. Compared to the previous quarter, employment grew 0.4 percent in both the euro area and the EU during the first quarter of 2017. Eurostat had previously estimated increases of 0.3 percent on the quarter and 1.1 percent on the year.
The Vatican Bank has reported a more than 100 per cent increase in profits in their latest annual report thanks to what they describe as a “prudent approach” to managing investments. In the 136 page annual report, the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) report that net profits for 2016 were €36 million up from €16.1 million the year before, with these gains then being distributed in aid of the Holy See’s mission. The statement explains it was achieved through “a prudent approach in managing IOR’s investments in a year characterised by high volatility, global political uncertainty due to unexpected outcomes of major electoral events and low interest rates”. The statement shows that in 2016 the IOR served nearly 15,000 clients worldwide, who entrusted to the Institute assets worth € 5.7 billion.
The 2017 edition of Art Basel is a welcome distraction from the doom and gloom that has dominated the headlines throughout Europe and the world in recent months. The art world’s elite collectors were reaching deeper into their pockets this year than they have for at least the past two editions of the fair. Just hours into Tuesday’s VIP preview, many dealers were reporting multiple sales in the seven- and eight-figure range—a welcome reappearance of a phenomenon that had been rare at art fairs since the market’s most recent peak in 2014.
Dan Gramza gives Picking Alpha a brief review of the USA grains markets and what June 2017 will bring to the markets. Q.: Do you think there are grains or other Agri contracts that were negotiated while Donald Trump was visiting Saudi Arabia? D.G.: The information we have so far is the primary focus was on financial agreements for defense, technology, and energy. I have not seen any information regarding the agricultural markets as part of the discussions. It is important to remember that the budget is the president suggestion and after Congress gets through with it, the final budget rarely ever looks like what the president has suggested.
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