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Monte Paschi sees return to profit, shaping up for M&A MILAN: Monte dei Paschi di Siena , expects to return to profit in 2015 for the time in four years and expects to launch a 3 billion euro rights issue this month as Italy's third largest lender shapes up for a merger. The bank, which has lost 14.6 billion euros ($16.3 billion) since 2011 and emerged as the weakest lender in a Europe-wide review of banks last year, said it was starting to see the first positive signs from a painful restructuring plan. Monte dei Paschi, the world's oldest bank, beat forecasts in the first three months of the year with a net profit of 72.6 million euros -- its first quarterly profit in three years -- thanks to strong trading income and higher fees. The Tuscan bank has been selling assets, closing hundreds of branches and cutting 8,000 jobs to boost its finances. It plans to sell 2 billion ...

Bank of England keeps rates steady before inflation update LONDON: The Bank of England kept interest rates steady at a record-low 0.5 percent on Monday, judging that the outlook for prices and wages is still too weak for it to raise the cost of borrowing despite solid growth prospects. The Bank issued no statement but Governor Mark Carney will explain more on Wednesday, when he presents a quarterly update to the central bank's forecasts for growth and inflation. Most economists do not expect the ...

China auto sales down 0.5pc in April BEIJING: Auto sales in China, the world's largest car market, fell 0.5 percent year-on-year to 1.99 million vehicles in April, an industry group said Monday.For the first four months of the year, auto sales increased 2.8 percent on the same period last year to 8.14 million vehicles, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).The fall in April compared with a rise of 3.3 percent in March, CAAM figures showed.Slowing economic growth, limits by ...

Airbus shares hit following A400M crash in Spain PARIS: Shares in European aerospace giant Airbus fell more than three percent in opening trade Monday after one of its A400M military planes crashed in Spain over the weekend, killing four.In opening trades, shares in Airbus were down 3.36 percent, underperforming the wider market which was down less than one percent.Earlier Monday, Malaysia became the latest country to ground its only A400M, following similar decisions by Britain, Germany and Turkey.France, which has six of the ...

Philippine central bank seen keeping rates steady on Thursday MANILA: The Philippine central bank is expected to leave its benchmark interest rate steady for a fifth meeting in a row on Thursday, a Reuters poll showed, due to easing inflation and a strong growth outlook.All 10 economists polled by Reuters predicted the overnight borrowing rate would be kept steady at 4.0 percent on May 14, saying the central bank can afford to take a wait-and-see approach on rates given manageable inflation.Inflation hit its lowest ...

India's second-biggest state lender Bank of Baroda's Q4 net halves MUMBAI: India's Bank of Baroda reported on Monday a near-halving of its quarterly net profit, lagging estimates, as the nation's second-biggest state-owned lender was weighed down by higher provisions for bad loans.The Mumbai-based bank said standalone net profit fell to 5.98 billion rupees ($93.76 million) for its fiscal fourth quarter to March 31, from 11.57 billion rupees reported a year earlier.Analysts, on average, had expected a net profit of 9.58 billion rupees, according to data ...

China's smartphone market contracts in Q1: IDC SINGAPORE: China's smartphone market contracted in the first quarter for the first time in six years with Apple becoming the top vendor, researchers said Monday.International Data Corporation (IDC) said figures from its mobile phone tracker show that 98.8 million smartphones were sold in China in January-March, down 4.3 percent from the same period last year."This is the first time in six years that the China smartphone market declined year-on-year as the market continues to mature," ...


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Banking Review 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.586 bln
Exports $1.932 bln
Imports $3.518 bln
WeeklyMay 21, 2015
Reserves $17.75 bln