Barclays: life in the old dog yet

Barclays, a former basket case of British banking, is beginning to look inspiringly mediocre. The bank has failed Bank of England stress tests less resoundingly than Royal Bank of Scotland. Investors believe its assets are worth only 10 per cent less than their book value, judging from the share price. Although Barclays’s legal team have […]

Continue Reading

Currencies, Equities

Scary movie sequel beckons for eurozone markets

Just as horror movies can spook fright nerds more than they expect, so political risk is sparking heightened levels of anxiety among seasoned investors. Investors caught out by Brexit and Donald Trump are making better preparations for political risk in Europe, plotting a route to the exit door if the unfolding story of French, German […]

Continue Reading


Dollar rises as markets turn eyes to Opec

European bourses are mirroring a tentative Asia session as the dollar continues to be supported by better US economic data and investors turn their attention to a meeting between Opec members. Sentiment is underpinned by US index futures suggesting the S&P 500 will gain 3 points to 2,207.3 when trading gets under way later in […]

Continue Reading


Basel Committe fail to sign off on latest bank reform measures

Banking regulators have failed to sign off the latest package of global industry reforms, leaving a question mark hanging over bankers who complain they have faced endlessly evolving regulation since the financial crisis. Policymakers had hoped to agree the contentious new measures at a crunch meeting held in Chile this week, but a senior official […]

Continue Reading

Banks, Financial

Banking app targets millennials who want help budgeting

Graduate debt, rent and high living costs have made it hard for millennials to save for a house, a pension or even a holiday. For Ollie Purdue, a 23-year-old law graduate, this was reason enough to launch Loot, a banking app targeted at tech-dependent 20-somethings who want help to manage their money and avoid falling […]

Continue Reading

Categorized | Economy

Merkel to court Chinese investors

Posted on January 31, 2012

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, flies to China on Wednesday to explain Europe’s crisis management in the eurozone, and woo Beijing and Chinese financial institutions to invest in Germany and the wider common currency area.

“The chancellor will be seeking to gain the confidence of financial investors,” a senior German official said on the eve of her departure for an official visit to Beijing and Guangzhou. “China also has an interest in seeing confidence growing in the European economy.”

High on the agenda of the chancellor will be to spell out the decisions taken by European Union leaders at a summit on Monday to lay down strict budget rules for the 17 eurozone partners in a formal treaty, and commit themselves to structural reforms to boost growth and competitiveness in Europe’s sluggish economies.

At talks with both Hu Jintao, the Chinese president and Communist party leader, and Wen Jiabao, the prime minister, Ms Merkel will seek Beijing’s support for boosting the resources of the International Monetary Fund to cope with the global financial crisis and invest in eurozone government bonds and bloc rescue funds, Berlin officials said.

“It is not the job of the chancellor to be an investment banker,” the official said. Her role was to restore confidence in Europe’s crisis management.

The German chancellor is also looking for the “constructive co-operation” of the Chinese government to curb any nuclear weapon ambitions that Iran may have and end violence in Syria.

She wants a reassurance that China will not increase its own oil imports from Iran to replace sales lost after the EU imposed sanctions on buying oil from Tehran.

“It is in Germany’s interest that China, an important importer of Iranian oil, should under no circumstances increase its imports,” another senior official said. “It would naturally be nice if China would even join the oil embargo or, alternatively, reduce its purchases.”

Although Ms Merkel will raise some longstanding complaints of German investors and exporters to China about forced technology transfers, lack of equal participation in public tenders and other market access issues, she is not expected to make a big issue of such questions. The chancellor will also raise concerns about the treatment of minorities in China.

“We don’t want to have a wailing wall this time but more of a dialogue on questions of substance,” one diplomat said.

The two-day trip, including meetings with Chinese bankers and businessmen as well as the Communist party leaders, is the fifth such visit by Ms Merkel to China in the past five years, underlining the increasingly close trade ties between the world’s two most successful exporting nations.

Her party will include some 20 business leaders as well as members of the German Bundestag and civil society.

The total volume of trade between the two countries reached €145bn in 2011, according to preliminary estimates, and China is now Germany’s second largest source of imports with sales of some €80bn. German exports to China increased 22 per cent last year, to €65bn, with booming sales of cars, chemicals, machine tools and electronic goods.

Ms Merkel will meet financial investors in Beijing, and deliver a speech on the eurozone crisis, before flying south to Guangzhou to meet investors, accompanied by Mr Wen. She is expected to meet some political critics, including artists and writers at a reception at the German embassy in Beijing.