Ecofin backs financial transparency
- EU finance ministers agreed on Tuesday (9 October) to measures aimed at improving transparency in financial markets, including proposals for an investigation of credit rating agencies and plans to create fast-track procedures for deciding whether government bail-outs of financial institutions are legal under EU state aid rules.
Eastern Europe ‘vulnerable’ - IMF
- The International Monetary Fund warned on Wednesday (10 October) that eastern European economies were vulnerable to changes in private capital flows. Capital inflows into the region have reached levels that are "unprecedented for emerging market countries in recent history", said the fund in its latest World Economic Outlook analysis. Large capital inflows, it said, are "of particular concern to countries with substantial current account deficits, such as many in emerging Europe".
Romanian car aid
- The Commission opened an investigation on Wednesday into state aid that may have been granted to Romanian car producer Automobile Craiova as part of its privatisation last month. Specific conditions on production levels and employee conditions were attached to the sale of the company to the Ford Motor Company. The Commission wants to know whether these conditions meant Ford bought the company, which had been taken over by the Romanian government in 2006 after the former parent company Daewoo went bankrupt, for a reduced price.
Keeping tabs on China
- The finance ministers of the eurozone called on Monday (8 October) for China to increase the value of its currency, echoing demands from the US, amid growing concern that the weak yuan is destabilising the world economy. An EU delegation including Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank, Joaquín Almunia, the European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, and Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the Eurogroup, will visit China before the end of this year and the issue will be discussed at a meeting of G7 finance ministers in Washington on 19 October. China says it has already allowed the yuan to strengthen more than 9% since 2005. Separately, the EU and China have agreed to set up a joint monitoring system aimed at controlling textile imports, the Commission said on Tuesday. It will monitor both the number of export licences granted in China and the quantity of goods flowing into the EU.
Thomson’s Reuters takeover bid faces in-depth EU probe
- EU antitrust regulators announced on Monday further scrutiny of Canadian group Thomson Corp’s takeover of the information company Reuters. A preliminary review has raised doubts about competition in the financial information sector. The EU probe is set to close at the end of February. A separate US investigation ends in January.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former French finance minister and sometime socialist contender for the French presidency, did the International Monetary Fund (IMF) no favours last week.