Financial News

S&P: Affirmed ratings for 7 European insurers, but the bias of agency's insurance ratings in Europe remains negative

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed on January 17th the ratings on the following insurers and removed them from CreditWatch, while the outlooks remained negative: ALLIANZ PLC, AVIVA Insurance (Europe) SE, AXA Insurance Ltd., Irish Public Bodies Mutual Insurances Ltd. (IPB), RSA Insurance Ireland Ltd. (RSA Ireland), Pozavarovalnica SAVA d.d. and TRIGLAV Group.

FITCH: EC Ruling shows fiscal measures being put into practice

Fitch Ratings says that the European Commission's efforts to enforce fiscal discipline on five EU member states show that the measures adopted to tackle the eurozone debt crisis last year are being put into practice, although this does not alter the European authorities' gradualist approach to resolving the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.

S&P's: 15 European Insurers Placed On CreditWatch Negative Following Recent Sovereign Rating Actions

LONDON (Standard & Poor's) Dec. 9, 2011--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today placed its ratings on the following insurers (and certain related operating subsidiaries and certain holding companies) on CreditWatch with negative implications: ALLIANZ Group (including the Euler Hermes group), AVIVA Group, AXA Group, CAISSE CENTRALE de REASSURANCE (CCR), CNP Group, GENERALI Group, Irish Public Bodies Mutual Insurances Ltd. (IPB), MAPFRE Group, MILLENNIUM bcp - Ageas Group, NACIONAL de Reaseguros S.A. (Nacional), Pozavarovalnica SAVA d.d. (SAVA), RSA Insurance Ireland Ltd (RSA Ireland), Societa Cattolica di Assicurazione (CATTOLICA), TRIGLAV Group, UNIPOL Group.

HUNGARY: Growth expectation lowered at 0.5%, while HUF exchange rated must be raised

Hungary's economic growth forecast will have to be lowered to maximum 0.5%, while projected forint exchange rates must be raised; fiscal planning will be based on the new figures after an upcoming budget overhaul which will mainly target the key areas of the public sector, from education to the judiciary to the pension system, said Hungary's PM Viktor ORBAN in an interview aired by the public television on Sunday evening and whose main ideas were reproduced by

POLAND announces tough reforms, but rating agencies are not yet convinced

After Polish Prime Minister Donald TUSK set out a program of tough reforms, in his Friday policy speech, the coalition of his centre-right Civic Platform and the agrarian Polish People's Party won a vote of confidence from Parliament's lower chamber on Sunday, November 20th. According TUSK, Poland will focus pending policy initiatives on tax policy, fiscal policy and pension reform as it focuses its efforts on areas it believes can insulate Poland from the global financial crisis to build Poland's position in Europe.

Polish authorities took by surprise by the Moody's outlook downgrade for Poland's banking system

The outlook on Poland's banking system has been changed to negative from stable, reflecting the expectation that the banks' operating environment will deteriorate, said Moody's Investors Service in a Banking System Outlook published on November 15th. Both the NBP Central Bank's President, Marek BELKA and the head of KNF, Poland's financial market regulator, Andrzej JAKUBIAK, called Moody's assesment as "astonishing" and "surprising", and said that there is "no justification for the decision in the condition of the financial sector in Poland" other than the situation of the banking system in Europe.

RZB: 80% of CEE banking assets in six high growth markets

The medium-to longer-term outlook for banking sector growth remains very favourable in at least six CEE markets, a group that includes some of the region's largest economies: Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Albania are likely to remain high growth markets in which nominal loan and asset growth is likely to clearly outpace nominal GDP growth going forward. It is worth noting that these six markets represent 80% of total banking sector assets in CEE, says Raiffeisen's Bank analysts in the most recebt edition of the CEE Banking Sector Report.

S&P: Republic of Kazakhstan FC Ratings Raised To 'BBB+/A-2'; LC Affirmed; Outlook Stable

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said on Nov.7th that it raised its long- and short-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Kazakhstan to 'BBB+/A-2' from 'BBB/A-3'. The agency affirmed the local currency ratings at 'BBB+/A-2'. The outlook is stable. At the same time, S&P's affirmed the 'KzAAA' national scale rating on Kazakhstan. The 'BBB+' transfer and convertibility assessment remains unchanged.

HUNGARY: 2012 GDP forecast lowered to 0.9%

Hungary's government decided on November 9th to lower its initial economic growth forecast for 2012, of 1.5%, to 0.9%. According to Hungarian financial press, the downward adjustment means that previously announced fiscal adjustment measures will need an additional HUF 250 billion package in order to meet the deficit target. This would total an adjustment of about HUF 1,600 billion.

Economic Expectations for the CEE Region Brighten Up

The ZEW-Erste Group Bank Economic Sentiment Indicator for Central and Eastern Europe including Turkey (CEE) has increased by 13.0 points in October 2011 for the first time in the last five months. The indicator has climbed up to the minus 25.0 points mark. Economic Expectations for the Eurozone have also increased by 18.3 points to a level of minus 49.1 points. The economic sentiment indicator for the CEE region and further financial market data have been surveyed monthly by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, with the support of Erste Group Bank, Vienna, since 2007.

OECD launches new report on measuring well-being

Do you like your job? How's your health? Are you spending enough time each day with your children? When you need them, are your friends there for you? Can you trust your neighbours? And how satisfied are you, overall, with your life?

Investment sustains OECD GDP growth in Q2 2011, but slowdown in private consumption continues

Real GDP in the OECD area grew by 0.3% in the second quarter of 2011. Gross fixed investment was the main contributor, adding 0.2 percentage point to overall growth. The contribution from private consumption continued to slow in the second quarter of 2011. At 0.1 percentage point the contribution from private consumption fell to its lowest level since the second quarter of 2009. The negative contribution from net exports reduced overall GDP growth by 0.1 percentage point.

IMF encourages the planned unification of financial supervision authorities in Lithuania

Lithuanian economy has staged an impressive recovery, based on a supportive global environment and determined policy adjustment, is the main finding of the Concluding Statement afetr the IMF Staff recent visit in Vilnius. After contracting sharply in 2008-09, economic activity grew by 1½ percent in 2010 and a robust 6¼ percent in the first half of 2011. The export-led recovery broadened to domestic demand and employment growth accelerated. The recovery reflected both the global upturn and strong policy action, including sizeable fiscal consolidation, the maintenance of confidence in the banking system, and significant wage adjustment that underpinned gains in competitiveness.

Greek recovery not expected sooner than 2013

Greek the recession will be deeper than was anticipated in June and a recovery is now expected only from 2013 onwards, concludes the final document released after the fifth joint review mission carried out by he European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Greece. There is no evidence yet of improvement in investor sentiment and the related increase in investments, in part because the reform momentum has not gained the critical mass necessary to begin transforming the investment climate.

Major financial groups back down from the peripheral EU countries' debt

The increasing concern about the major European financial entities' exposure to fiscally troubled governments in the region already determined some of this big players to unveil their changing investment policies aiming to strongly reduce the "bad" governmental bonds. Thus, ING and Lloyd's announced this week their retreat from the risky peripheral EU markets' debt.

HUNGARIA: 2 Pillars' asstes for sale to reach the deficit target by the end of the year

Hungary's general government deficit stood at HUF 1,544.6 billion (~ EUR 5.3 billion) at the end of August 2011, which corresponds to 130.4% of the full-year target, the Economy Ministry said in a detailed budget report on Thursday, quoted by The ministry emphasised that by the sale of HUF 529 billion (~EUR 1.8 billion) from private pension fund assets transferred to the state the full-year target is safely achievable.

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