French private sector growth hits seven-month high
Tree in blossom frame the Eiffel Tower on a sunny spring day in Paris.
Good news from France….its private sector is growing at the fastest rate in seven months.
Markit, the data firm, reports that new business has picked up, encouraging French firms to take on more staff.
This pushed up the French composite index up to 51.1 for May, from 50.2 in April. That’s the highest level since last October shortly before the Paris terrorism attacks.
The service sector led the way, with companies reporting faster growth. The factory sector lagged behind, but at least it contracted at a slower rate:
Flash France Services Activity Index climbs to 51.8 (50.6 in April), 7-month
Flash France Manufacturing PMI rises to 48.3 (48.0 in April), 2-month high
Fred Ducrozet, economist at Swiss bank Pictet, says it’s a good performance:
Updated at 8.29am BST
22m ago 08:08
Last night’s vote wasn’t without incident. One government MP, Vassiliki Katrivanou, refused to back parts of the package, saying Greece’s lenders were taking too much control.
Katrivanou has now resigned, meaning she can be replaced as an MP leaving Tsipras’s narrow majority of 155 MPs, out of 300, intact.
31m ago 07:59
Photos: Greece’s austerity vote
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addressing MPs last night
Greek PM Alexis Tsipras addressing MPs last night Photograph: Michalis Karagiannis/Reuters
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras cut a defiant figure at last night’s vote.
He told MPs that this latest package of austerity is the last one:
“Greeks have already paid a lot, but this is probably the first time that the possibility of these sacrifices being the last is so evident….
Tsipras also gave eurozone finance ministers a dig in the ribs to sign off Greece’s bailout funds at Tuesday’s meeting.
“European leaders will receive a message tonight, that Greece fulfils its obligations. Tomorrow, the other side must also take responsibility.”
But outside the parliament, protesters demonstrated against the package of tax rises and reforms:
Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against a new package of tax hikes and reforms in front of the parliament building in Athens, Greece, May 22, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis
Photograph: Michalis Karagiannis/Reuters
Supporters of the communist-affiliated union PAME chant slogans during an anti-austerity rally in Athens, Sunday, May 22, 2016.
One demonstrator, 60-year old businessman Panayiotis Kehris, told Reuters:
“It’s a disaster! We will cut down on everything, from food to driving.”
49m ago 07:42
The agenda: Greece approves latest austerity measures
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the financial markets, the world economy, the eurozone and business.
Greece is on the brink of receiving a much-needed dose of bailout, after its parliament agreed to the latest batch of austerity measure to be piled on its already weakened economy.
Last night MPs in Athens approved the package, which includes €1.8bn in tax increases, VAT hiked from 23% to 24%, and a new privatization fund.
That should be enough to allow eurozone finance ministers to sign off a €3.5bn bailout payment to Greece when they meet in Brussels tomorrow.
That would ease fears of another summer of Greek drama, with Athens struggling to meet debt repayments. It should also trigger more detailed discussions about debt relief.
But as our correspondent Helena Smith reports, these latest restrictions on Greece are the toughest yet:
The belt-tightening legislation, outlined in a 7,500-page omnibus bill, includes measures that range from the taxation of coffee and luxury goods to the creation of a new privatisation fund in charge of real estate assets for the next 99 years. Under the stewardship of EU officials, the body will oversee the sale of about 71,500 pieces of prime public property in what will amount to collateral for the €250bn in bailout loans Greece has received since 2010.
“They are with the exception of the Acropolis selling everything under the sun,” said Anna Asimakopoulou, the shadow minister for development and competitiveness. “We are giving up everything.”
Greece pushes fresh austerity drive through parliament
Alexis Tsipras gained approval by 152 of 153 of his deputies, despite many of them having previously rejected the proposals
But some big problems remain, including whether the International Monetary Fund will take the plunge and support Greece’s current bailout. Germany demands the IMF’s involvement, but balks at the Fund’s key demand substantial debt relief for Athens.
We’ll be tracking all the reaction to last night’s vote, and the build-up to tomorrow’s eurogroup meeting.
Also coming up today…
On the economic front, data firm Markit is releasing its latest PMI reports, showing how the eurozone’s factory sectors are faring this month. We also get the latest measure of consumer morale across the euroarea.
8am: Flash French manufacturing PMI for May
8.30am: Flash German manufacturing PMI for May
9am: Flash eurozone manufacturing PMI for May
3pm: Eurozone consumer confidence for May.
The markets? They look rather quiet this morning, with IG calling the FTSE 100 index up just 4 points.
And on the corporate front, budget airline Ryanair is reporting results. It has just posted profits to €1.242bn for the last financial year a 43% jump, but not enough
Courtesy : theguardian.com