Squeezed by debt crisis, Greeks ditch cars for bikes

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Greece's dire economic plight has forced thousands of businesses to close, thrown one in five out of work and eroded the living standards of millions. But for bicycle-maker Giorgos Vogiatzis, it's not all bad news. The crisis has put cash-strapped Greeks on their bikes - once snubbed as a sign of poverty or just plain risky - and Greek manufacturers are shifting into fast gear. … [Read more...]

Man United NY float could free up cash for players

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Manchester United plans to cut its debt with a New York flotation that should free up cash for top players after a barren season in which it was replaced at the top of English football by rich rivals Manchester City. Benfica's players warm up during a training session at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, northern England, November 21, 2011.Photo: REUTERS The American Glazer family, owner of the NFL team Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will keep its grip on the 19-times English champions after the planned U.S. float by using a dual share structure. The club has filed to raise up to $100 million to reduce its debt pile of 423 million pounds. ($663.20 million). That is a provisional figure and the size of the issue could yet increase. United ditched plans to raise up to $1 billion in Asia, home to many of United's 659 million global fans, and the move to North America, where English football has a much smaller following, was surprising when flagged last month. However, … [Read more...]

Investors to move with times

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In November Vietnam's stock market witnessed low liquidity with stock prices plunging to lows not seen in several years and some stocks were not worth a cup of tea. Investors can take comfort in the fact that the only way is up for markets The market's mood seems to have darkened with news some commercial banks failed to pay back interbank market loans despite some positive signs the economy may be turning the corner. Inflation cools but risks remain for 2012 November's consumer price index (CPI) increased 0.39 per cent on-month, bringing the 11 months' CPI up 17.5 per cent against the end of last December. Stabilising inflation is positive news. December expects to see no sudden jump in commodity prices, even though the Lunar New Year is coming as hikes in key input materials like electricity, oil and gas, water have not been seen. Inflation risks for 2012, however, remain due to following reasons: - Global crude oil returned to $100 a barrel which will have negative … [Read more...]

Bottom feeders flag bourses to turn corner

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Vietnamese equities plunged to new lows in several months with increasing bottom-fishing efforts, indicating that the market bottom is around the corner. Many investors think the only way is up for the market Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange's VN-Index ended last week at 426.51 points, the lowest level since late July, 2009. For the whole last week, VN-Index lost 15 points or 3.5 per cent against the previous week. Hanoi Stock Exchange's plunged to below 100 points, closing at 99.10 points on November 19. The domestic markets ended lower last week after the State Bank tightened monetary policies by hiking base rate by additional 1 per cent point in early November while narrowing the open market operations (OMO) window to just seven days, compared to 14 and 28 days earlier, making the inter-bank rate spark to as high as 35 per cent. Market analysts said the market's crash was similar to early 2009. It is noticeable that the efforts of bottom-fishing by domestic investors have been … [Read more...]

French auto sales struggle, production dives

Workers of the PSA Peugeot Citroen carmaker plant of Aulnay-sous-Bois, a Paris suburb. (AFP/Lionel Bonaventure)

Sales of new cars in France rallied slightly in July when French brands did well with new models, but in the first six months of the year output by French carmakers plunged by 20.8 per cent, trade data showed on Thursday. PARIS: Sales of new cars in France rallied slightly in July when French brands did well with new models, but in the first six months of the year output by French carmakers plunged by 20.8 per cent, trade data showed on Thursday. Overall sales rose by 0.9 per cent to 150,248 in July, the CCFA body representing manufacturers said. But July this year contained one more business day than the comparable period last year and if this were stripped out, sales fell by 3.5 per cent. July is an important month for sales since many motorists buy a car before leaving on their summer holidays. A spokesman for the CCFA said that the July figure marked the first upturn since October 2011. The French market, in common with many others, was hard hit by the effects of the … [Read more...]

Fiat first quarter profit soars

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Italian auto giant Fiat said Thursday its net profit in the first quarter soared ten-fold to 379 million euros ($500 million) thanks to its US partner Chrysler, without which it would be in the red. The group had banked 37 million euros in profit in the first quarter last year -- before snapping up a majority stake in the US automaker in a move which has more than offset poor Fiat results in a sluggish European market. Chrysler, which fell under Fiat's operational command in June 2009 when it emerged from a government-supported bankruptcy, reported its own four-fold leap in first quarter profit on Thursday to $473 million (357 million euros). "Chrysler is firing on all cylinders. I have really no bad news to share with you," Sergio Marchionne, chief of both Fiat and Chrysler, said in a conference call. Built on sales gains that surpassed the industry average, Chrysler's results set an "incredible foundation for 2013," Marchionne said, adding "most of our plants now are being … [Read more...]

As profits surge, Europe’s carmakers rev up global ambitions

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Two years after a world economic downturn all but wiped them out, European carmakers have bounced back to the spotlight with Volkswagen aiming to be the industry leader and Fiat carving out a global brand for itself. Unfettered of their obligations to repay state aid and riding out the expiry of government "cash-for-clunkers" schemes that initially plunged their revenue, carmakers this week gave rosy outlooks for the rest of fiscal 2011. Germany's Volkswagen reported a three-fold profit leap in the three months from January through March to 1.71 billion euros (USD2.5 billion), selling two million cars, a new milestone for Europe's biggest automaker. The comparable figure for 2010 was 473 million euros. Finance director Dieter Poetsch said a cash pile worth 19.6 billion euros gave the group impetus to overtake General Motors and Toyota and become the leading global car maker by 2018. With respect to 2011, Chairman Martin Winterkorn, who has boosted VW's fortunes since he took … [Read more...]

US consumer confidence takes recession beating

Shoppers on Fifth Avenue in New York City. US consumer confidence tanked in October amid growing worries about jobs in the recession-wracked economy, boding ill for the key holiday shopping season, the Conference Board said Tuesday. (AFP Photo)

US consumer confidence slumped in October amid worries about jobs in the recession-wracked economy, boding ill for the important holiday shopping season, the Conference Board said Tuesday. The private research firm said its consumer confidence index declined for the second month in a row, to 47.7 in October from a revised 53.4 in September. The September reading initially was reported at 53.1. The decline in the October index was much steeper than expected by Wall Street, with most analysts expecting a 53.5 reading. The downbeat start of the fourth quarter raised a red flag over consumer spending, which drives about two-thirds of activity in the world's largest economy and is particularly crucial for retailers' year-end holiday sales. Lynn Franco, research director of the Conference Board, said that labor market condition played "a major role in this grimmer assessment." "Consumers also remain quite pessimistic about their future earnings, a sentiment that will likely … [Read more...]

Vietnamese should be prouder of goods produced domestically

Your Say (11-09-2009) Vietnamese should be prouder of goods produced domestically Last week, Viet Nam News asked readers how to promote made-in-Viet Nam products. Here are some of the opinions we received: Pham Thanh Truyen, Vietnamese, HCM City Vietnamese enterprises need to do more. Unlike other countries in Asia, Vietnamese people prefer foreign products. Ten or 15 years ago, few doubted that foreign products were superior to local ones. Unfortunately, that mindset hasn't changed. It is undeniable that nowadays Vietnamese products have vastly improved in terms of quality and packaging. The difficulty is getting that message across? It's useless to just say "Hey! My products are not as bad as you think". It's also ineffective for enterprises to act on their own. There needs to be central government help. The recent campaign to encourage Vietnamese to consume domestically made products launched by the Politburo is a good example. … [Read more...]

Canada’s Parliament Hill reopens following Wednesday shooting

OTTAWA, Oct 25 - Canadians returned to the grounds of their parliament building on Saturday, three days after a homegrown radical rushed in armed with a rifle after shooting dead a soldier in the second attack on the country's military at home in a week. The grounds of the hilltop gothic building, whose clock tower is a centerpiece of Ottawa's skyline, attracted scores of visitors, many still stunned by Wednesday's attack, which took place as Prime Minister Stephen Harper was meeting with lawmakers. … [Read more...]