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Swiss Acclimatize to New World After Losing Franc Shelter
(Bloomberg) -- For family-owned watchmaker H. Moser & Cie., whose timepieces are produced by hand, the Swiss franc's 20 percent surge to near parity with the euro means business will have to adapt.
Acclimatizing to an uncertain new world after the central bank unexpectedly dropped its currency cap of 1.20, Chief Executive Officer Edouard Meylan is looking at options including partnerships for the production of parts and cutting some spending as he tries to protect sales and profits.
The Swiss National Bank's Jan. 15 decision delivered a shock to the export-oriented economy, which has outperformed the neighboring euro area every quarter since 2012. While the immediate market turmoil has faded, companies are still coming to terms with the stronger currency and a radically changed outlook, with forecasts ranging from a slowdown in growth to outright recession.
Greece outlines debt 'menu' in bid to win over skeptical euro zone
(Reuters) - Greece's new government dropped calls for a write-off of its foreign debt and proposed ending a standoff with its official creditors by swapping the debt for growth-linked bonds on Monday, a week after its election on an anti-austerity platform.
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, in London to reassure private investors that he was not seeking a showdown with Brussels over a new debt agreement, said the new left-wing government would spare privately held bonds from losses, a source told Reuters.
The reported proposals, which included a pledge to reform the Greek economy, contrast sharply with the government's strident vows in Athens last week to ditch the tough austerity conditions imposed under its existing bailout.
Late on Monday, Varoufakis issued a statement saying that comments of his to financial investors had been misinterpreted. He gave no details but he was widely reported in Greek media to be backing down from the government's aim of reducing the debt.
Australia's RBA cuts rates to record low, market hankers for more
(Reuters) - Australia's central bank cut its cash rate to an all-time trough of 2.25 percent on Tuesday, breaking an 18-month hiatus on stimulus as it seeks to spur a sluggisheconomy while keeping downward pressure on the local dollar.
The currency AUD=D4 duly sank more than a full U.S. cent after the Reserve Bank ofAustralia (RBA) ended its first policy meeting of the year by announcing the quarter point cut.
"Overall, the Bank's assessment is that output growth will probably remain a little below trend for somewhat longer, and the rate of unemployment peak a little higher, than earlier expected," said RBA Governor Glenn Stevens in a brief statement.
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