Finland’s Varma calls for re-evaluation of euro-zone economic policy

first_img“Monetary policies are very much focused on stimulus measures, and the measures used by central banks are highly exceptional,” he said.“Record low interest rates and quantitative easing now support the markets, and, for pension investors, this shows as negative deposit rates.”He concluded: “While it is beneficial for at least one area of economic policy to strive for growth and inflation, nevertheless, economic policy as a whole should be re-examined within the euro-zone.“The European Central Bank’s policy options are all but exhausted, and even now the policy entails major long-term risks.”Meanwhile, returns from Varma’s equity portfolio – 38.3% of its total investments – were -3.1%, compared with 9.6% for Q1 2015, with listed equities returning -5% (11.7% in 2015).Reima Rytsölä, CIO at Varma, said: “January was bleaker than ever in the equity markets, as concerns over China’s economy escalated and the US economy faced headwinds.“The equity markets plummeted, with the Chinese stock exchanges leading the way.”However, Varma dampened the effect by active diversification of its investment portfolio, markedly reducing the weight of equities in favour of fixed income and real estate.Listed equities make up 78.9% of the equity portfolio, but private equity (16.3% of the portfolio) returned 2.5%, slightly less than for Q1 2015.Unlisted equities (4.8% of equities as a whole) were the highest-performing asset class over the entire portfolio, with a 8.2% return, compared with 1.5% in 2015.Varma said that, in addition to unlisted equities, fixed income and real estate were also unaffected by market fluctuations, returning 0.2% and 1.2%, respectively, for the quarter.Fixed income returns were positive because of a decline in the price of corporate bonds, caused by higher pricing of credit risk in the face of a weakening global economic outlook.As of the end of March, the average annual nominal investment return over five years was 4.4%, and, over 10, 4.3%.Turning to the second quarter, Rytsölä was more optimistic about the economic backdrop.“US economic growth seems to be holding, and China’s situation is no longer completely hopeless,” he said.“The recovery of commodity and especially oil prices has helped to balance market sentiment.” Risto Murto, president and chief executive at Finnish pensions insurance company Varma, has called for a re-evaluation of euro-zone economic policy, as the insurer reported an investment return of -1.4% for the first quarter of 2016, compared with 5.3% for the same period in 2015.Varma, whose portfolio stood at €41.1bn at 31 March, blamed the losses on market uncertainty earlier in the year, in response to concerns over the Chinese and US economies.However, Murto also questioned the direction of economic policy within the euro-zone.Since the financial crisis, fiscal policies have focused on balancing public deficits, with responsibility for active economic policy transferred to central banks. last_img read more

Half-time: Nottingham Forest 2 Fulham 1

first_imgRoss McCormack’s stunning free-kick gave Fulham hope of salvaging something after a disastrous start saw them concede twice inside 21 minutes. Both goals were disputed by the Whites, who claimed Britt Assombalonga handled the first and felt his second from the penalty spot came following a fair challenge by Shaun Hutchinson on Michail Antonio.Controversy aside, Nottingham Forest’s lead was harsh on bottom-of-the-table Fulham who had started well despite the ever-increasing pressure on manager Felix Magath.Home keeper Karl Darlow saved Tim Hoogland’s 20-yard shot and then just about stopped another long-range strike from McCormack.But Forest led when Assombalonga headed home Henri Lansbury’s free-kick and it was 2-0 when Assombalonga found the bottom corner from the penalty spot after Hutchinson appeared to have won a perfectly timed tackle on Antonio as he raced through on goal.But Fulham showed good spirit to pull a goal back when McCormack curled the ball over the wall and into the near post and they almost snatched an equaliser when Hugo Rodallega’s shot was cleared off the line by Eric Lichaj. Fulham: Kiraly; Bodurov, Hutchinson, Burn, Amorebieta; Hoogland, Parker, Fotheringham, Stafylidis; McCormack, Rodallega. Subs: Bettinelli, Eisfeld, Roberts, G. Williams, Hyndman, David, Kavanagh.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

R1bn boost for South African farming

first_img22 June 2012 South Africa’s emerging and commercial farmers will benefit from financial assistance after the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a R1-billion line of credit to the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa on Wednesday. The support will be also used to assist agricultural co-operatives and agri-related businesses; it will help mobilise financial resources, ultimately contributing to job creation and income generation. “The line of credit from the AfDB will be dedicated to the agricultural sector which is generally labour-intensive,” said the AfDB’s private sector and micro-finance department director, Tim Turner, in a statement. “Its benefits are expected to emphasise low-skilled workers, especially with the Land Bank’s focus on emerging farmers.” Turner said that the projected 2 700 loans to be given to emerging farmers are expected to generate some 14 000 jobs, while the financing to the commercial farmers, cooperatives and agri-related businesses is expected to create at least 2 000 jobs. “This will have multiple positive inclusive growth effects by targeting underserved populations such as rural communities, women and black emerging farmers,” he added. The credit also includes a technical assistance component for capacity building at Land Bank and will enable the government to support, promote and facilitate the development and transformation of the agricultural sector in South Africa. As one of the most employment intensive sectors of the South African economy, agriculture’s potential impact on empowerment and poverty relief is much larger than its actual weight in the economy suggests. While the primary agricultural sector contributes about 3% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), it represents about 7% of formal employment. If the entire value chain of agriculture is taken into account, its contribution to GDP actually reaches 12%. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Army in for the long haul in Doklam

first_imgThe Army is ready for the long haul in holding onto its position in the Doklam area near the Bhutan tri-junction, notwithstanding China ratcheting up rhetoric against India, demanding pulling back of its troops.The soldiers deployed in the disputed area have pitched tents, in an indication that they are unlikely to retreat unless there was reciprocity from Chinese personnel in ending the face-off at an altitude of around 10,000 feet in the Sikkim section.A steady line of supplies is being maintained for the soldiers at the site, official sources said, signalling that the Army is not going to wilt under any pressure from China. At the same time, they sounded confident of finding a diplomatic solution to the dispute, citing resolution of border skirmishes in the past through diplomacy.Though China has been aggressively asserting that it was not ready for any “compromise” and that the “ball is in India’s court”, the view in the security establishment here is that there cannot be any unilateral approach in defusing the tension.Security implicationsBoth the countries had agreed to a mechanism in 2012 to resolve border flare-ups through consultations at various levels.The mechanism has not worked so far in the current case as the standoff near the Bhutan trijunction, triggered by China’s attempt to build a road in the strategically important area, has dragged on for over three weeks.New Delhi has already conveyed to Beijing that such an action would represent a significant change of status quo with “serious” security implications for India. The road link could give China a major military advantage over India.Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region. China and Bhutan are engaged in talks. India argues that since it is a tri-junction involving the three countries, it also has a say in the issue.last_img read more

Azkals survive Tajiks in thriller, firm up hold of top spot in Group F

first_img1 dead in Cavite blast, fire NBA: Russell Westbrook named ‘Shaqtin’ a Fool’ MVP After the defeat to China, Dooley said “the team had many meetings and all of them positive but direct to the point why things happen in football.”“I know we would do great, but we still have a lot to learn,” Dooley added.The Azkals now have six points from two matches, two points ahead of Yemen which battled Nepal to a goalles draw in Kathmandu. Tajikistan remained winless from two matches.The Azkals face Yemen on Sept. 5 at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod. Only the Top 2 teams from the group will qualify for the Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2019.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ CONTRIBUTED PHOTOThe Philippine Azkals survived a late Tajikistan uprising for a thrilling 4-3 win to firm up its hold of the top spot in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers at Republican Central Stadium in Dushbane. Captain Phil Younghusband opened the scoring with a free kick in the 28th minute, before a brace from Javier Patinño off two assists from Mike Ott put the Azkals on their way to what looked like a comfortable victory before 15,000 fans in the Tajik capital.ADVERTISEMENT What ‘missteps’? Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guidecenter_img Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES MOST READ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Patiño scored with a composed finish from just inside the box in the 42nd minute, before grabbing his second with a breakaway goal off another fine pass from Ott.But Tajikistan struck twice in quick succession with Parvizchon Umarbaev scoring from the spot in the 57th minute off a questionable foul called on Amani Aguinaldo and Dilshod Vasiev finishing off a quick counter four minutes later, setting the stage for a nervy finish.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutLeftback Daisuke Sato restored the two-goal advantage for the Azkals with a long range strike with 10 minutes remaining but Manuchekr Dzaliliov late strike put the game back on a knife-edge and the Azkals would feel relief more than anything after another unconvincing display on the heels of the 1-8 friendly loss to China.“The players did a great job,” said Azkals coach Thomas Dooley. “They where focused from the beginning and tried to do everything we talked about, even in the free kick.” Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage View commentslast_img read more