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Tag Archives: Europe

Brick-and-Mortar Melts Down in the UK, Worst Decline Since 2009, as Big Retailers Collapsed, 14,500 Stores Closed

But even red-hot online sales cooled off late in the year as consumers turned sour. By Wolf Richter and Nick Corbishley, for WOLF STREET. Consumers in the UK, generally a hardy bunch when it comes to borrowing and shopping, were not in a shopping mood before the holidays. Retail sales in December at non-food brick-and-mortar stores – ranging from specialty stores to department stores – fell 1.6% compared to December last year, seasonally adjusted, according to the UK’s Office for...

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Nutty Bond Wonderland in Europe Just Reached New Heights of Madness

Not even the “bankruptcy” word hanging over super-troubled Italian infrastructure giants Atlantia and Autostrade, whose bridge collapsed last year, can get their bonds to reflect any kind of serious risk. By Nick Corbishley, for WOLF STREET: On Monday, Standard & Poor’s slashed Italian infrastructure giant Atlantia SpA’s credit rating by three notches, from investment-grade BBB- to BB- (“junk”) amid concerns the Italian government could revoke its all-important road concessions...

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How Much Money Have Folks Already Lost Who Bought that Negative-Yielding 30-Year German Government Bond last August?

Something funny’s happening in NIRP land: long-term yields are rising, negative yields are turning positive, and investors are getting punished for having handed their brains to central banks. By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET. So how much can you lose in a little over four months buying one of the most conservative investments, the German government 30-year bond, during peak-hype of the negative-interest-rate era? At peak-hype of the negative-interest-rate era, in mid-August 2019, the...

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2020, Already the Year of Zombie Airlines

And the year has just started. By MC01, a frequent commenter on WOLF STREET: In South Korea: Hyundai Development Company (HDC) and Mirae Asset Daewoo (MAD) were “selected” in November by the Korean government as “preferred bidders” to purchase a large share in the country’s second largest airline, Asiana, whose financial troubles we have previously covered. Asiana’s financial situation has been steadily deteriorating: Total debt at the end of the first half of 2019 ballooned to 9.6...

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More ECB Bond Holdings Get in Trouble: Infrastructure Giant Atlantia, Infamous for Collapsed Genoa Bridge, Could Lose its Core Business

Amid a slew of problems. By Nick Corbishley, for WOLF STREET: Italy could be on the verge of approving rules that would make it much easier and cheaper to revoke highway concessions. And that could be very bad news for Autostrade per l’Italia (ASPI), the private toll road operator that controls more than half of Italy’s aging toll roads and which is blamed for the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa in 2018 that resulted in 43 fatalities and left 600 people homeless. The regulatory...

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Young People Still Crushed by Housing Bust, Banking & Economic Crisis: Bank of Spain

The contrast with retirees could not be starker. By Nick Corbishley, for WOLF STREET: Over the past five years, Spain’s economy has grown at a faster rate than almost any other in the Eurozone. But not everyone has benefited. And a new report by the Bank of Spain confirms, no one has paid as heavy a price as the generation that came of age in the years immediately before and after the collapse of Spain’s insane housing bubble and the banking crisis that followed. The Bank of Spain’s...

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First Central Bank Exits Negative Interest Rates

Today’s rate hike by the central bank of Sweden ends an absurdity. ECB and other central banks with negative rates are getting ready to follow. The central bank of Sweden, the Riksbank, has thrown in the towel on negative interest rates, and has become the first central bank in history to do so. At its meeting on October 24, it said that it would “probably” do so, after already suggesting at its September meeting that it would do so. And today, it did so. It announced that it raised...

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REITs Pull Back from Housing Market in Spain as Rental Boom Runs Out of Gas

“Many families, scratching a living on badly-paid zero-security jobs, just cannot pay the sort of rents many landlords, especially the big funds, have been asking for.” By Nick Corbishley, for WOLF STREET: By buying up large numbers of rental properties in Spain starting in 2014, publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) — or Socimis, as they’re called in Spain — played a leading role in the country’s multi-year rental boom. They’ve also helped to lure foreign investors,...

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THE WOLF STREET REPORT: Is the Corporate-Debt Bubble Ripe Yet?

What does it mean when the Fed and other central banks jointly bemoan the effects of their own policies? Worried about not being able to keep all the plates spinning? (11 minutes) Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? Using ad blockers – I totally get why – but want to support the site? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how: Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new...

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Another UK Mutual Fund Leaves Investors Twisting in the Wind

Another “run on the fund.” More investors can’t get their money out but contemplate big losses. By Nick Corbishley, for WOLF STREET: In what is beginning to look like a trend, another British open-ended fund slammed its doors on investors today. After a surge of redemptions, M&G Investments, the fund management arm of UK insurance giant Prudential, decided to halt dealings in its direct property fund, which has more than £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) in assets under management, as...

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