W. Balkans labour market improvements decelerate
Labour market performance in the Western Balkans continued to improve at a slower pace than the previous year despite the stronger economic growth in the region, the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW) and the World Bank said on Tuesday. About 68,000 new jobs were generated between the second quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018, compared to 231,000 a year earlier, while gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the region increased to 3.9% in 2018 from 2.5% in 2017, the WIIW and the World Bank said in their Western Balkans Labour Market Trends 2019 report.
Agrana to consider coming to Serbia only after sugar prices stabilize
It is only when the price of sugar stabilizes that we will consider plans for a further expansion, the CFO of Agrana, Stephan Buettner, announced. The Austrian sugar manufacturer had planned to enter the Serbian market before the prices of sugar dropped in the world markets. The current price of sugar prohibits further acquisitions, Buettner explained in his statement for APA. According to Buettner, however, this will not happen for at least one or two years. In 2016, Agrana decided to expand, and in 2017, it was authorized by the Serbian authorities to take over the biggest Serbian sugar manufacturer, Sunoko. Those plans were then stopped due to the drop of the price of sugar.
CEFTA "needs recovery to stay alive"
Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic says the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) "needs recovery to stay alive." Speaking to Politika daily, Ljajic said the existence of the 2006 trade deal was in doubt after Pristina's decision to introduce taxes and non-tariff barriers for Serbian goods. Serbia is losing around a million euros a day due to the inability to market its goods in Kosovo and Metohija, he said.
Dow drops more than 100 points, led by banks, after the Fed signals no rate hikes this year, Brexit drags European markets lower, Bayer shares tumble, Sterling slips
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 closed lower on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary-policy announcement dragged Treasury yields lower, pushing bank shares down. Goldman Sachs led the 30-stock Dow to ended the day down 141.71 points at 25,745.67. The S&P 500 closed 0.3 percent lower at 2,824.23. The Nasdaq Composite eked out a gain, closing 0.1 percent higher at 7,728.97.
The Fed forecast no rate hikes in 2019, and that is down from two hikes forecast earlier. The central bank also indicated it intends to end the reduction of its massive $4.2 trillion balance sheet by September. However, the Fed also trimmed its economic growth forecast for 2019. Equities were also under pressure after President Donald Trump said U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods could stay on for a long period of time.
FedEx shares fell more than 3 percent after CFO Alan Graf warned in the company’s quarterly report that “slowing international macroeconomic conditions and weaker global trade growth trends continue, as seen in the year-over-year decline in our FedEx Express international revenue.”
European stocks were lower on Wednesday, as investors awaited a policy decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the U.K. officially requested a delay to its departure from the EU. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally down 0.78 percent during Wednesday trade, with all sectors and major bourses in negative territory. Europe’s autos stocks led the losses, down almost 2.3 percent, amid media reports of U.S. concerns that China is pushing back against American demands in trade talks.
Germany’s Bayer tumbled to the bottom of the European benchmark after a second U.S. jury found the company’s Roundup weed killer was a “substantial factor” in causing a man’s cancer. Shares of the pharmaceutical group fell more than 9 percent on the news.
Sticking with Germany, shares of BMW slipped almost 5 percent. It comes after the Munich-based car maker announced it expects pretax profit to fall by over 10 percent in 2019. BMW also launched a sweeping 12 billion euro ($13.6 billion) cost savings and efficiency plan to help offset higher tech investment and currency costs.