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European stocks, oil slide as growth fears add to Brexit pressure

Comments (0) Business, Europe, Latest Updates from Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – European shares hit a four-month low on Thursday as banks dropped sharply, while oil prices headed for a sixth session of losses after the Bank of Japan refrained from further stimulus and the U.S. central bank struck a cautious note.

U.S. stock index futures were down around 0.4 percent, indicating a lower Wall Street open.

Sterling hit a two-month low against the euro, underscoring worries that Britain, the world’s fifth-largest economy, will vote to quit the European Union on June 23.

According to an Ipsos MORI survey, British support for Brexit hit 53 percent, the highest for the “Leave” campaign recorded by the pollster in more than three years.

A vote to end Britain’s 43-year-old EU membership would spook investors, undermining decades of European integration and placing a question mark over the future of the United Kingdom and its $2.9 trillion economy.

Concerns over Brexit, in combination with dimmed expectations on global growth, have driven investors towards safe-haven assets such as German bunds and gold, and out of oil and stocks.

Euro zone banking stocks dipped to near four-year lows, with Deutsche Bank, down 2.8 percent, and Credit Suisse touching record lows.

“The global economic and political outlook is dark,” said Chirantan Barua, an analyst with Bernstein. “Brexit is fuelling uncertainty and will have ripple effects across Europe. With so much uncertainty, why would you buy a bank stock now?”

Brent crude prices, which last week hit their highest this year, have fallen every day since June 8, dropping more than 8 percent in all.

Germany’s 10-year bond yield fell to a record low as fading expectations of U.S. rate hikes this year provided further fuel to a global bond market rally.

Spot gold climbed 1.4 percent, close to a two-year high.

Earlier in the day Asian markets were firmly in “risk-off” mode, with the yen surging to a 20-month high against the dollar and the Nikkei down more than 3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 2 percent.

Benchmark equity indices across Europe followed suit with Italy’s FTSE MIB down 1.6 percent. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 fell 0.7 percent.

Shares of UBS and Credit Suisse fell 1.3 percent and 2.8 percent respectively after the Swiss National bank said both banks were likely to need to raise an extra 10 billion Swiss francs to meet new leverage requirements.

 

 

(By Vikram Subhedar Additional reporting by Atul Prakash in London and Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Keith Weir and John Stonestreet)

 

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Bouygues, Movenpick to invest 55 million euros in luxury hotel in Abidjan

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Europe, Latest Updates from Reuters

abidjan

(Reuters) – French company Bouygues and Swiss group Movenpick will team up with Ivorian firm Saprim to invest 55 million euros ($61.56 million) on a luxury hotel in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, the firms said on Monday.

Work on the new five-star hotel will begin in the next six months and is expected to be ready within 30 months, or by the end of 2018, according to a statement by the three companies.

“The cost of the hotel is around 55 million euros of which most will be financed by Saprim and Bouygues,” said Jean-Gabriel Peres, chief executive officer of Movenpick hotels and resorts.

Four years after the end of a civil war, economic powerhouse Ivory Coast’s coastal city of Abidjan is booming and its hotels are often fully-booked.

The hotel and tourism sector currently accounts for 4.8 percent of Ivorian GDP versus 0.6 percent in 2011.

(By Ange Aboa, Reuters)

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Bollore invests 30 mln euros in Ivory Coast-Burkina rail link

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Europe, Latest Updates from Reuters

bollore rail

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Bollore has invested 30 million euros ($33.6 million) to buy trains for the freight and passenger line it operates between Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, the French company said.

Landlocked Burkina Faso relies partly for its exports and imports on the ports of its southern neighbour Ivory Coast, the biggest economy in French-speaking West Africa. It also uses ports in other neighbours Ghana and Togo.

“We have invested around 30 million euros to acquire trains, including six received today,” Lionel Labarre, director of Bollore Africa Logistics, said on Wednesday.

“We are still waiting for nine locomotives that will add to the 20 that are already in service,” he said, adding that Bollore would also develop the station in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s main city.

Trains take about 36-hours to do the 1,260-km (787-mile) journey between Abidjan and Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, and carriages are often packed with people, trade goods and animals being carried to market.

Bilateral trade between Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast hit 290 billion CFA francs ($495 million) in 2014, up from 165 billion in 2011, Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan said at a ceremony to mark the arrival of the six new engines.

Most of the trade runs via rail and road links. Cargo traffic between the two countries stood at 610,000 tonnes last year, up from 402,000 tonnes in 2011, Duncan said.

Developing the rail line is a strategic priority for Ivory Coast and a tool for regional integration, said Duncan, adding that the country was aiming for 2 million passengers a year in the next few years up from 300,000 now.

Bollore has operated the Ivory Coast-Burkina Faso railway since 1995 and has recently been awarded a concession for a rail link between Niger, Benin and Togo.

 

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Glencore reins in debt as commodity price slump persists

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Europe, Latest Updates from Reuters, UK

By Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

(Reuters) – Mining and trading company Glencore acknowledged on Monday the severity of the global commodity market slump as it suspended dividends and said it would sell assets and new shares to cut heavy debts built up through years of rapid expansion.

The London-listed company came under pressure to cut its net debt of $30 billion, one of the largest in the industry, as prices for its key products, copper and coal, sank to more than six-year lows. (more…)

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