By Richard Lough, Eliana Raszewski and Daniel Bases BUENOS AIRES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Argentina failed to strike a deal to avert its second default in more than 12 years after talks with holdout creditors ended without a settlement on Wednesday. The country's economy minister, Axel Kicillof, speaking at a news conference at the Argentine consulate in New York, repeatedly referred to the holdout hedge funds as "vultures" after two days of talks failed to produce an agreement. "Unfortunately, no agreement was reached and the Republic of Argentina will imminently be in default," Daniel Pollack, the court-appointed mediator in the case, said in a statement on Wednesday evening. Kicillof said Argentina offered the holdouts similar terms as other creditors who recently negotiated with the country as it attempts to regain the good graces of international capital markets that it has been frozen out of since its default.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:10:48 -0400
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:03:11 -0400
(Reuters) - Argentina Economy Minister Axel Kicillof on Wednesday said the country has not defaulted on its debt, reiterating that it has sent its required payments to the trustee banks. Kicillof's comments came at a press conference at the Argentine consulate in New York following two days of negotiations with holdout creditors seeking full repayment of the country's restructured bonds. Without a deal, Argentina will be considered to be in default on the bonds after midnight on Wednesday (0400 GMT) because a judge overseeing the dispute has ordered the trustee banks not to forward the payments to Argentina's other creditors.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:44:18 -0400
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:36:25 -0400
(Reuters) - Argentina's Economy Minister Axel Kicillof was expected to speak shortly at the country's New York consulate, a government spokeswoman said on Wednesday. Kicillof has been locked in intense negotiations with holdout creditors demanding to be paid the full value for bonds they own on which Argentina defaulted. The talks have been overseen by a mediator appointed by a U.S. judge who ordered Argentina to pay the creditors. (Reporting by Dan Burns)
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:36:14 -0400
By Jonathan Allen NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York's Metropolitan Opera has proposed bringing in a federal mediator to resolve its most bitter labor dispute with its musicians and other unionized employees in decades, the company said on Wednesday. The suggestion comes a day before current contracts expire, but will not alter the Met's plans to lock out the employees and suspend their health benefits on Friday if new agreements are not reached, the company said. The Met has said its labor force has become too expensive in a time of declining global interest in opera. Peter Gelb, the Met's general manager, said in an interview this week that opera could become obsolete "if measures are not taken to make it fit in the 21st-century economy." The mediation proposal was made during a meeting on Wednesday with the Met's chorus, represented by the American Guild of Musical Artists, said Alan Gordon, the union's national executive director.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:51:51 -0400
By Doina Chiacu and Andrew Cawthorne WASHINGTON/CARACAS (Reuters) - Washington barred a group of Venezuelan officials, including government ministers and presidential advisers, from the United States on Wednesday after accusing them of abuses in a crackdown on protests against President Nicolas Maduro this spring. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, citing visa record confidentiality, did not identify those who would be denied entry and did not say how many officials were on the list. Demonstrators said they were protesting economic hardships and dictatorial government, but Maduro, who replaced the late Hugo Chavez last year, called them a cover for a U.S.-backed "coup" attempt against him. The Venezuelans barred from entry included government ministers, presidential advisers, judicial officials and law enforcement and military officials, a State Department spokesperson said.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:37:03 -0400
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:24:08 -0400
By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended higher on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve gave a rosier assessment of the U.S. economy while reaffirming that it is in no hurry to raise interest rates. Among the biggest positives were bank shares, with the S&P financial index up 0.4 percent, helping to support the S&P 500. Biotechnology stocks boosted the Nasdaq for a second straight day. The Nasdaq biotech index was up 1 percent after Amgen Inc posted better-than-expected earnings and raised its outlook, sending its shares up 5.4 percent to $130.01.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:23:11 -0400
By Michael Flaherty and Jason Lange WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve on Wednesday reaffirmed it was in no rush to raise interest rates, even as it upgraded its assessment of the U.S. economy and expressed some comfort that inflation was moving up toward its target. After a two-day meeting, Fed policymakers took note of both faster economic growth and a decline in the unemployment rate, but expressed concern about remaining slack in the labor market. "Labor market conditions improved, with the unemployment rate declining further," the Fed said in a statement. "However, a range of labor market indicators suggests that there remains significant underutilization of labor resources." The reference confirmed that the central bank believes there is still a ways to go before benchmark borrowing costs need to move higher despite an improving outlook for jobs and prices.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:21:49 -0400
NEW YORK (AP) — Argentina's economy minister led a last-gasp effort Wednesday to strike a deal with U.S. creditors that would prevent the South American country from slipping into default.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:03:45 -0400
(Reuters) - Standard & Poor's on Wednesday cut its credit rating on Argentina's foreign-currency sovereign debt to "selective default" even as talks between officials from Latin America's No. 3 economy and a group of holdout creditors continued in New York. S&P said that in its opinion, Argentina has now failed to make a $539 million payment due on its discount bonds due in 2033. Argentina has exhausted all legal options to avoid payment. The default rating will remain until Argentina makes a payment on the discount bonds, S&P said.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:59:15 -0400
By Leah Schnurr and John Tilak TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index had its highest close on record on Wednesday, boosted by positive U.S. economic data and the Federal Reserve’s commentary on the outlook for monetary policy. The U.S. central bank, which indicated that it was in no hurry to raise interest rates, cut its monthly asset purchases and looked on track to shutter the program this fall. The Fed also noted that it is paying attention to a decline in the jobless rate. "The broader macro theme – a stronger U.S. economy through the first half of the year – is very supportive, together with a very patient Fed that’s still got its eye on slack in the labor market," said Fergal Smith, managing market strategist at Action Economics.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:57:47 -0400
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:49:06 -0400
By Angela Moon NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar held gains against a basket of major currencies while U.S. Treasuries yields surged on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised its assessment of the U.S. economy while reiterating it is in no hurry to increase interest rates. The Fed took note of a decline in the jobless rate and signaled more comfort that inflation was moving up toward its target. "We only expected marginal changes, and for the most part we got that - with the caveat that they were a bit more hawkish than was widely expected," said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC capital markets in New York.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:29:52 -0400
By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy rebounded sharply in the second quarter as consumers stepped up spending and businesses restocked, putting it on course to close out the year on solid footing. Gross domestic product expanded at a 4.0 percent annual rate after shrinking at a revised 2.1 percent pace in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:25:48 -0400
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:24:30 -0400
Italy has agreed to sell a 35 percent stake in its electricity grid to China's state power company for at least 2.1 billion euros ($2.8 billion) as part of its privatisation drive. The board of state holding company Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) on Wednesday gave the green light for the sale to China's State Grid Corp., according to a statement. The deal is the latest move by China to buy up government-owned infrastructure in Europe from cash-strapped states still struggling to clean up their finances after the debt crisis. Italy's reformist Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has vowed to cut the towering debt pile of the eurozone's fifth-largest economy by selling off up to 12 billion euros of government assets.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:15:19 -0400
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:04:57 -0400
The US economy rebounded vigorously in the second quarter, growing at a peppy 4.0 percent pace that erased the impact of the sharp winter contraction, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. The initial estimate of second-quarter growth was far better than expected and showed solid recovery in private investment and consumer spending, especially on durable goods like cars and appliances. The Commerce Department said the January-March contraction was only 2.1 percent, compared to the more severe 2.9 drop percent previously reported, and it upped its estimate of growth in 2013 to 2.2 percent from 1.9 percent, due to a much stronger second half. - Fed still sees weakness -
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:58:44 -0400
Argentina was locked in 11th-hour talks on Wednesday to seek a deal with "holdout" creditors and stave off a crippling new default -- the second in 13 years -- at day's end. Buenos Aires had until midnight to resolve its dispute with two US hedge funds whose refusal to accept a write-down on debt it defaulted on in 2001 has pushed Latin America's third-largest economy to the brink of a new crisis. Argentina is due to make a $539 million payment on its restructured debt by Wednesday, the end of a 30-day grace period. Argentine Economy Minister Axel Kicillof and his team made no statement as they arrived Wednesday morning at the offices of the US court-appointed mediator tasked with breaking the impasse.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:57:27 -0400
The EU on Wednesday imposed an asset freeze and travel ban against two close associates of President Vladimir Putin who are leading shareholders in a bank catering to senior Russian officials. The EU's Official Journal listed eight people and three firms immediately hit by the sanctions due to their alleged involvement directly or indirectly in the crisis in eastern Ukraine and the March annexation of Crimea. Far wider sweeping EU economic sanctions affecting capital markets, banks, arms and oil-related technology are expected to be published in the Official Journal on Thursday or Friday and come into force later this week. Among those blacklisted Wednesday were Yuriy Valentinovich Kovalchuk, chairman and leading shareholder of Rossiya Bank, who had a 38 percent stake in it last year, and Nicolay Terentievich Shamalov, second largest stakeholder in the institution considered the personal bank of senior Russian Federation officials.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:24:38 -0400
Moscow dismisses Western sanctions as mostly bark, but analysts warned the latest measures announced by the EU and US will also bite the Russian economy, which is teetering on the edge of recession. Washington and Brussels announced on Tuesday the strongest sanctions on Russia since the Cold War over Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in Ukraine. The US prohibited three leading Russian banks from raising anything but short-term funding on US markets. It also banned future arms sales to Russia, restricted the export of goods with both defence and civilian applications, and clamped down on technology transfers, especially in the energy sector.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:07:01 -0400
By Sanjeev Miglani NEW DELHI (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who arrived in India on Wednesday for an official visit, has pressed New Delhi to drop its opposition to global trade reforms, saying it was a test of the country's commitment to advance economic liberalization. Kerry made the call in a newspaper article, penned along with U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, published hours ahead of his arrival for talks aimed at revitalizing ties that have been mired in disputes over trade, intellectual property rights and climate change. India has threatened to block a worldwide reform of customs rules, saying it must be accompanied by a parallel agreement allowing developing countries more freedom to subsidize and stockpile food grains. Kerry said India stood to gain by creating a level playing field instead of erecting trade barriers.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:04:43 -0400
Russia on Wednesday dismissed Washington's accusations that it has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Treaty as "unfounded", and said it had its own complaints against the United States over the treaty. This includes... production of armed drones by the Americans, which...fall into the category of ground-based cruise missiles as defined by the Treaty," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The ministry was reacting to Washington's allegations that Moscow had violated the 1988 accord. The exchange of the accusations took place amid the deepest East-West rift since the end of the Cold War over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis and the EU and United States economic sanctions against Moscow.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:46:50 -0400