Fund managers said the rising cost of housing - which accounts for as much as a third or more of various measures of inflation and is outpacing other consumer cost increases - has revived price pressure in the economy. "TIPS have had a good tail wind this year.
By Sumanta Dey and Wayne Cole BANGALORE/SYDNEY (Reuters) - Factory activity in Europe and Asia cooled in August after a strong July, as new orders dwindled in the face of escalating tensions in Ukraine and a patchy recovery in China, purchasing managers indexes showed. Despite euro zone manufacturers barely raising their prices, growth in the region slowed slightly more than initially thought, and activity in China's vast factory sector slackened on weak foreign and domestic demand, stoking speculation that further policy stimulus would be needed. "A concerted slowdown in the China, euro zone and UK manufacturing PMIs as the second quarter gets under way raises alarm bells about global demand conditions," said Lena Komileva, chief economist at G+ Economics in London.
Auditor KPMG has refused to approve bailed-out Banco Espirito Santo's first-half report and accounts, published on Monday, citing the bank's failure to provide adequate information on its financial position and also warned of possible further losses. BES's consolidated report confirmed a loss of nearly 3.6 billion euros (4.73 billion US dollar), first revealed on July 30, largely due to its exposure to its founding Espirito Santo family's crumbling business empire. The losses forced the Bank of Portugal to step in on Aug.3 with a 4.9 billion euro rescue plan for the country's biggest bank, using public funds. Regulators also decided to put BES's healthy assets into a new entity, Novo Banco, while BES's exposures to the troubled Espirito Santo business empire as well as its Angolan subsidiary will move into a "bad bank." KPMG, which had been hired to audit the results, said in a report published alongside BES's accounts that these did not provide any adjustments and additional information required as a result of the rescue.
By Jason Hovet PRAGUE (Reuters) - Polish manufacturing activity shrank for a second straight month in August and Czech expansion slowed more than expected, adding to signs weaker euro zone economies and crisis in Ukraine are cooling growth in the EU's east. Economies in central Europe have rebounded strongly from a sharp slowdown or even contraction in the past year but are starting to slow, and analysts expect that to continue for the rest of the year even while a longer-term recovery stays on track. Hungary's seasonally-adjusted PMI, calculated using a different methodology, dropped to 51 from 56.6. Central Europe's economies, which share trade links with Russia, are only just beginning to feel the impact of tit-for-tat sanctions between the European Union and Russia over pro-Moscow separatists fighting in Ukraine.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble renewed a call for a core group of European Union countries to move ahead faster with economic and political integration, 20 years after his ground-breaking proposal fell on deaf ears in key partner France. In an article published in the Financial Times on Monday, Schaeuble proposed creating an EU commissioner with the power to reject national budgets that breach the bloc's fiscal rules, and establishing an inner-core parliament for the euro zone. "In order to make progress in all of these areas, we should keep using the approach that proved its mettle back in 1994: to establish cores of co-operation within the EU that enable smaller, willing groups of member states to forge ahead," Schaeuble wrote in the article, co-authored by fellow German Christian Democrat Karl Lamers. They acknowledged that many EU countries remain reticent about closer political union that would involve transferring more sovereignty to Europe.
A Chinese anti-trust regulator said on Monday it has given Microsoft Corp 20 days to reply to queries on the compatibility of its Windows operating system and Office software suite amid a probe into the world's largest software company. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) questioned Microsoft Vice President David Chen and gave the company a deadline to make an explanation, the agency said in a short statement on its website. Microsoft is one of at least 30 foreign companies that have come under scrutiny by China's anti-monopoly regulators as the government seeks to enforce its six-year old antitrust law. According to a state media report on Monday, Microsoft's use of verification codes also spurred complaints from Chinese companies.
It's been a relatively flat summer for tourism in Ottawa, and some industry leaders say they're not expecting growth until Canada's 150th anniversary celebrations in 2017. Hotel occupancy rates from April through to June are unchanged compared with the same time last year, though there was a large increase in June alone. "It could be a number of factors: conventions coming to town that might have been larger ... I think the weather played a factor â€”Â we had a very late spring season â€”Â and our festivals, of course," said Ottawa Tourism spokesperson Jantine Van Kregten.
Canadian tradesmen from a huge oilsands construction project are waving a red flag about safety hazards and near misses, which they blame on the use of foreign workers who aren't qualified and can't speak English. "When you bring in a bunch of workers who are unqualified to do this job it's only a matter of time before you kill someone," said Les Jennings, who was an ironworker supervisor at the Husky Sunrise plantÂ until a few weeks ago, when he quit in frustration. "People are angry and upset," said journeyman ironworker Johnny Demosten, who is still working at the site.
By Jonathan Cable LONDON, (Reuters) - Euro zone manufacturing growth slowed slightly more than initially thought last month as new orders dwindled and factories suffered amid rising tensions in Ukraine, a business survey showed on Monday. Factories barely increased prices last month, and manufacturing activity in France fell at the fastest pace in 15 months, in disappointing news for the European Central Bank before Thursday's monetary policy-setting meeting. Markit's final August manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index came in at 50.7, the lowest in over a year and below both July's 51.8 and an earlier flash estimate of 50.8. "Although some growth is better than no growth at all, the braking effect of rising economic and geopolitical uncertainties on manufacturers is becoming more visible," said Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit.
Weak investment spending and slow trade led Germany to contract for the first time in over a year in the second quarter, data showed, suggesting Europe's largest economy is running out of steam just as the impact of the crisis in Ukraine starts to bite. Germany's Federal Statistics Office confirmed on Monday an earlier estimate showing a 0.2 percent contraction in seasonally-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) on the quarter. "The second-quarter contraction was a reaction to the strong first quarter so I think we'll return to moderate positive growth in the third ... but there's no shortage of uncertainty factors at the moment," said Thilo Heidrich, an economist at Postbank, referring to the standoff between Moscow and the West over Ukraine and the crisis in Iraq. Gross capital investment in Germany fell by 2.3 percent and construction investment dropped by 4.2 percent, in part due to a mild winter which boosted building activity in the first quarter.