Friday 20 April 2018

In brief... ECB bond buying

The European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters
The European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters

The European Central Bank (ECB) added state-backed company debt to the list of assets eligible for purchase under its €1.1 trillion quantitative easing programme, widening efforts to spur growth in the region.

Italian utilities Enel SpA, Snam SpA and Terna SpA - Rete Elettrica Nazionale were among borrowers whose debt may now be purchased, according to the ECB's website. Bonds of those companies rallied, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The central bank is seeking to foster lending in the euro area as the crisis in Greece roils markets across the region.

Dirty coal

Germany's main political parties worked out a compromise plan to cut power-industry pollution by handing a six-year lifeline to some of the dirtiest coal-fired plants.

Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said 13pc of power stations burning lignite, a cheap form of coal, would be phased out by 2021 under the programme. The government abandoned talks on proposals to impose a climate-change fee that the industry said would have forced mines and plants to close, threatening jobs.

The decision, which must be ratified by Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet this year, boosted the shares of utilities including RWE AG and EON SE. They had been braced for more stringent measures as Germany cuts emissions in time for a United Nations deal on global warming in December.

China orders

Airbus signed an agreement yesterday to set up its second plant on Chinese soil in a deal that the European planemaker hopes will lead to lucrative new plane orders.

The €150m plant will be placed alongside an existing assembly line for smaller A320 jetliners in the northern port city of Tianjin from late 2017. It will be responsible for completing cabin work on large A330 jetliners.

The contract was signed during a visit by Chinese Prime Minster Li Keqiang to the planemaker's headquarters in Toulouse, along with two other deals on the production of cabin equipment and fasteners for assembling plane parts.

It came 48 hours after China agreed to buy 45 similar jets worth over $11bn.

Irish Independent

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