EU eases hard line on austerity
Brussels will today give its clearest signal yet that it is moving away from a crisis response based on austerity, allowing three of the EU’s five largest economies to overshoot deficit limits and pushing instead for broader reform. In its annual verdict on budgets of all 27 EU members France, Spain and the Netherlands will be given a waiver on the three per cent deficit limit. Italy will also be freed from intensive fiscal monitoring despite its new prime minister’s decision to reverse a series of tax increases.
Alibaba to snub US with HK listing
Alibaba is prepared to shun US markets and pursue its highly anticipated listing solely in Hong Kong, dealing a blow to global exchanges keen to host what is likely to be the biggest initial public offering this year at $60-70bn.
World Trade Center struggles to find tenants
The World Trade Center has struggled to find tenants as cost-wary corporations, stung by the global financial crisis and its fallout, downsize or search for cheaper office space elsewhere.
Irish opt for plain tobacco packaging Ireland is to become the second country to introduce plain packaging for tobacco, three weeks after Britain opted to omit the measure from the Queen’s Speech. It is set to follow Australia, which became the first country to drive through plain packaging in December.
Britons go cold on heating deal
The number of households insulating their homes has dramatically fallen this year, threatening to torpedo the Government’s energy efficiency drive.
The Daily Telegraph
Companies cut boardroom bonuses
The wave of investor activism last year dubbed the “Shareholder Spring” has been heeded by Britain’s biggest companies, leading them to freeze boardroom pay and cut bonuses.
Nearly a third of FTSE 100 companies have chosen not to raise basic salaries for directors this year, a survey by FIT Remuneration Consultants has found, while the average pay increase was around 2.5 per cent – roughly in line with inflation. Basic salaries for FTSE chief executives averge around £870,000.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Nokia loses lead in home market
Nokia’s attempt to keep pace with rivals hit a new nadir, as the Finland-based mobile handset maker lost the top sales spot in its home market to Samsung.
Goodyear: no offers for French plant
Goodyear Tire & Rubber said it received no viable offers for an unprofitable factory in Amiens, France, that had become the topic of a heated exchange between a US tyre industry executive and French minister.