Europe biz: German exports rise, bank chiefs' pensions cut
Updated 23:12, 08-Nov-2019
By Alex Hunt

German exports defy trade tensions

German exports totaled €14.2bn in September, up 4.6% year-on-year (Credit: AP)

German exports totaled €14.2bn in September, up 4.6% year-on-year (Credit: AP)

German exports jumped higher than expected in September, pushing the country's trade surplus to 19.2 billion euros ($21.2 billion) in September, up from 18.1 billion euros in August, according to the federal statistics office Destatis.

Exports totaled 114.2 billion euros in September, up 4.6 percent year-on-year, while imports were up 2.3 percent to 93 billion euros.

ING Diba bank analyst Carsten Brzeski described it to AFP as an "unexpected rebound in exports" helped by non-eurozone EU countries, where exports rose seven percent.

The figures suggest the country might be on track to avoid the economy shrinking for a second successive quarter – which would mean a technical recession. The GDP figures for the third quarter are out next Thursday. 

Standard Chartered bosses' pension benefits cut

Standard Chartered has cut the pension allowances for its chief executive Bill Winters and finance director Andy Halford after 40 percent of shareholders opposed the existing arrangements earlier this year.

Winters' pension allowance will fall from $607,000 (20 percent of salary) to $303,000 (10 percent of salary). Halford's will be cut from $376,000 to $188,000. The 10 percent pension figure is in line with the bank's other staff in the UK

The announcement came as Standard Chartered reported a 16 percent rise in pre-tax profit to $1.24 billion in the third quarter and said revenue rose in Hong Kong despite the protests and disruption seen there in recent months.

Net profit came in at $772 million, slightly up from $752 million in the same quarter last year. The London-based firm's shares rose 2.7 percent in afternoon trade in Hong Kong.

Juncker: US won't put new tariffs on EU cars

Jean-Claude Juncker with US President Donald Trump in June (Credit: AP)

Jean-Claude Juncker with US President Donald Trump in June (Credit: AP)

The soon-to-depart European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has said he does not believe the US will impose new tariffs on imported European cars.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on vehicle imports. After postponing measures in May, he is due to decide by mid-November whether to impose the supplemental tariffs on cars built in EU countries. 

But Juncker told Germany's Suddeutsche Zeitung  newspaper he was "fully informed" on the issue and that Trump "will not do it." "Trump will criticize a little, but there will not be tariffs on cars," he said.

On Sunday, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross suggested Washington may not need to impose new customs taxes on auto imports.

Insurer Allianz posts upbeat results

The insurance group Allianz reported a better-than-expected net profit in the three months to the end of September, up 0.6 percent to 1.95 billion euros ($2.2 billion) on the same period in 2018.

Operating profit was stable at 2.98 billion euros, while revenues climbed 8 percent to 33.4 billion euros, with growth in its life insurance business in Germany, Italy and the US.

The Munich-based group said it expects to reach the higher end of its 2019 operating profit target, which it initially set at between 11 billion euros and 12 billion euros, depending on events such as natural disasters.

Royal Mail seeks injunction to halt strikes

The UK's red post boxes are a well-known sight (Credit: AP)

The UK's red post boxes are a well-known sight (Credit: AP)

The UK's Royal Mail is taking legal action to stop a series of strikes by postal staff, which it says could hit postal votes in the 12 December general election, and also disrupt its vital Christmas season.

Last month, 97 percent of Communication Workers Union (CWU) members voted to strike, claiming Royal Mail had breached an agreement on pay and other employment conditions reached last year.

Royal Mail is seeing a court injunction claiming "potential irregularities in the ballot." The CWU says it will contest the action when the case is heard on Tuesday 12 November.

Source(s): AP ,AFP