The U.S. Federal Reserve decided to raise interest rates for the first time in 2016 and the second time in a decade. At the conclusion of its two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) December meeting, committee members voted unanimously to raise the U.S. central bank’s target range for the federal funds rate to 0.50 to 0.75 percent. The FOMC raised interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade last December. Janet Yellen, the Fed chairwoman, said “growth is a touch stronger, unemployment is a shade lower” as she announced a 0.25% increase in the benchmark rate to 0.50-0.75%.
The Fed has finally delivered a second rate hike a year after the last one in this cycle. “What’s more interesting is their guidance on where interest rates might go from here. This time last year the Fed turned out to be wildly off mark in what they were predicting. But this year there are reasons for thinking the Fed’s guidance is more realistic. The economy is in a more advanced stage of recovery and market pricing reflects this. We can expect rates to slowly climb through next year and beyond.”
An Italian judge approved on Wednesday a settlement agreement between Credit Suisse AG and the country's authorities under which the Swiss bank will pay 109.5 million euros to end a tax probe, Reuters reported. Milan prosecutors have been investigating since 2014 an alleged fraudulent system used by the bank to transfer up to 14 billion euros to offshore accounts, mainly through the use of insurance policies. Some 13,000 clients are allegedly involved and remain under investigation.
The start-ups of the EPF Lausanne have already raised CHF 397 million and the counters of the year 2016 are still running. This is 50% better than in 2014 when they had raked 242 million, according to an EPFL statement. The funds were raised by spin-offs created as a result of technology developed in an EPFL lab or created by a campus researcher, as well as companies located within EPFL’s Innovation Park, a tech community on the EPFL campus that hosts over 120 start-ups and 23 large companies including Intel, Logitech and Siemens.
Google is setting up its self-driving car unit as its own separate entity called Waymo under the Alphabet umbrella, the company announced today. The name is derived from its mission of finding “a new way forward in mobility.” "We'll continue to have access of infrastructure and resources Alphabet provides, but we also have this feeling of being a venture-backed startup," said John Krafcik, formerly CEO of Google Cars and now leader of Waymo, said at an event here Tuesday. There were no details provided on Waymo's business plan, although the mission is to bring the company's technology to market and monetize it via a partnership with an automotive company.
The USD/JPY currency pair remained relatively unchanged on Tuesday, managing to retain its position above the 115.00 mark. From the technical point of view, the Buck is likely to strengthen against the Japanese Yen today, rebounding from the four-week up-trend and putting the immediate resistance area circa 116.30 to the test. On the other hand, with fundamental events being the main drivers today, the outcome can be less pleasant for the American Dollar. There are risks involved, which can cause the given pair drop even below 113.00, completely ignoring the two closest demand areas.
Brazil’s antitrust body has slapped five banks with fines worth a combined 183.5 million reais (US$ 54 million) for creating a cartel to manipulate exchange rates, official sources announced. CADE, an office in charge of preventing economic abuse, announced that it had hit Barclays, Citicorp, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase with the fines for participating in anti-competitive activities. The ruling is linked to an investigation begun in Switzerland, Britain and the United States in which 15 companies have been accused of manipulating exchange rates. The fines so far handed down in this case have reached almost 6 billion U.S. dollars.
Family allowances paid in 2015 in Switzerland amounted to approximately CHF 5.8 billion, as announced by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). The beneficiaries are 1.1 million people. The most important part (97%) consists of the benefits paid under the Federal Act on family allowances (FamZG), the note precise. The remainder comes from the Federal Law on Family Allowances (LAF) and other insurance systems (unemployment, disability).
Switzerland's Xavier Justo, jailed in Thailand for blackmailing his former employer in a case linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, will be among the thousands of prisoners pardoned by King Maha Vajiralongkorn. "He met the condition for his release from prison after receiving the latest royal pardon, as he has less than one year of his jail term," Justo's lawyer, Worasit Piriyawiboon told Malaysia’s Bernama news agency today. The Swiss national is expected to be released from prison in three to seven days after the announcement of the pardon.
The forecasts on the world of Swiss labor are not positive for the coming months. According to a survey by Manpower Switzerland, the Swiss employers would not be willing to make major changes in the staff of their companies. Over nine out of ten employers, 91%, would not intend to recruit staff in the first quarter of next year. The 5% is even expected a cut, only a 2% increase, while the remaining 2% did not express an opinion. The overall balance is negative for the first time in the past decade, staring at -2%, down 3% both on an annual and quarterly basis.
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