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EUROPEAN UNION

Schäuble to urge banks to join Greek bailout

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble wants to meet over the weekend with private German bank directors to encourage them to contribute to a Greek financial rescue plan, a press report said on Friday.

Schäuble to urge banks to join Greek bailout
Photo: DPA

Schäuble has planned telephone conferences with bosses from the main German banks, probably on Sunday, once a deal has been negotiated by Greek officials, the International Monetary Fund and European Union representatives, daily Handelsblatt reported.

The business newspaper quoted sources close to the government as saying that Schäuble wants to extract “a voluntary commitment” from the banks to buy Greek debt as a “stabilisation measure” aimed at volatile financial markets.

Such a move would also help soothe German public opinion, which is currently opposed to helping Athens out of its fiscal jam.

Greece has asked the EU and IMF to activate a three-year rescue package worth €45 billion this year alone as it faces a May 19 deadline to repay €9 billion in maturing debts.

The cost of the bailout plan over three years could reach €120 billion.

A new poll by the Dimap institute cited Friday by the German news television channel NTV found that 53 percent of Germans would now accept a Greek rescue if the banks took part.

Several political leaders have blamed the banks for helping stoke the Greek crisis while Berlin has been reluctant to approve a rescue plan ahead of a key state vote in North-Rhine Westphalia on May 9.

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ECONOMY

Swiss central bank announces big rate hike in inflation fight

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) raises the key interest rate by 0.75 percentage points, putting it back in positive territory at 0.5 percent.

Swiss central bank announces big rate hike in inflation fight

“The rate change applies from tomorrow, September 23rd 2022”, SNB said in a press release on Thursday.

It added that “inflation [in Switzerland] rose to 3.5 percent in August and is likely to remain at an elevated level for the time being”.

The latest rise in inflation is principally due to higher prices for goods, especially energy and food, according to the bank.

The SNB’s forecast for the evolution of inflation is, however, positive.

It forecasts that the rate will drop to 2.4 percent in 2023 and and 1.7 percent for 2024.

“Without today’s SNB policy rate increase, the inflation forecast would be significantly higher”, the bank said.

In mid-June, the SNB tightened interest rates by half a percentage point for the first time in 15  years. Since then, inflation in Switzerland has continued to rise. For August 2022, the statisticians reported inflation of 3.5 percent, after 3.4 percent in June and July.

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