Markets drop on eurozone worries
Published: 17th May 2012 19:55:23
Concern over the eurozone debt crisis has continued to weigh on financial markets.
The euro fell more than a cent against the US dollar, to $1.5816 as an interim Greek government was sworn in to steer the debt-ridden country into repeat elections in June.
European share indexes were lower, led by financial stocks.
Shares in Spain's Bankia dropped 15%, which reflects broader fears about the health of the Spanish banking sector.
Shares in French banks like Societe Generale and BNP Paribas dropped more than 3%.
In Germany, Deutsche Bank fell 1.9% and Commerzbank dropped 1.4%. The stock exchange Deutcshe Boerse was down more than 7%.
UK banks also dropped, with Barclays down 3.8% and Royal Bank of Scotland declining 3.7%.
The Spanish government also had to pay sharply higher rates of interest to borrow money on the bond markets, raising investor fears that the worst-case scenario - a bailout - will eventually be needed.
On Thursday, ratings agency Moodys downgraded the credit ratimgs of four of Spain's regions - Catalonia, Murcia, Andalucia and Extremadura - and warned there was only a "low probability that the regional governments will be able to meet the 2012 deficit target".
Greece was also downgraded, to CCC from B-, by rival agency Fitch, which cited political uncertainty over the country's commitment to its last bailout and possible exit of the eurozone.
With Greece facing elections and France under newly-elected President Francois Hollande refusing to sign a pact to force nations to rein in debt, many feel that Europe is in disarray.
In New York, European Commission president Jose-Manuel Barroso told the UN that European Union member states and institutions would "do whatever is necessary" to overcome the crisis.
"We need to stay the course, without being blind to an evolving economic situation," he said. "Fortunately, the rule book allows for adaptability while remaining firmly focused on sustainability and ensuring sound public finances."
Writing in The Scotsman newspaper, Alistair Darling, who was the previous chancellor, said the impact of a Greek exit could be severe.
"A Greek exit could start a fire that would spread all along the Mediterranean as other countries would come under pressure," he wrote. "The repercussions, particularly in the banking sector, could cripple Europe for years to come."
The UK government has said the Treasury has been drawing up contingency plans in the wake of growing concern about the future Greece's membership of the euro.
A Downing Street spokeswoman confirmed the National Security Council has been involved in the plans "for some time".
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Markets drop on eurozone worries [Online] (Updated 17th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1429301/Markets-drop-on-eurozone-worries [Accessed 9th Mar 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
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