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REPORT: 11 Banks Are About To Fail Europe’s Biggest Ever Stress Tests

Spanish news wire EFE says that that at least 11 of the 130 banks the European Central Bank is now in charge of testing have failed their reviews. That’s across six countries. 

Three of the banks are Greek, three are Italian, Two are Austrian, one is in Cyprus, one is Belgian and one is Portuguese, according to the report.

It definitely looks like there was a market reaction: here’s the euro falling against the dollar just as the report broke at 3:46 a.m. ET.

Euro dollar

Full results on the stress tests are out this Sunday, deliberately timed out of market hours.

The stakes on the asset quality review, as the tests are formally known, are huge. Capital Economics’ Jessica Hinds explains here (emphasis hers):  

Given that previous stress tests failed to expose serious problems in a number of key financial institutions – some were given a clean bill of health only to need rescuing just months later – there is a lot at stake, not least the ECB’s reputation and confidence in the entire euro-zone banking sector. 

SEE ALSO: Credibility Meets Compromise In Europe’s Bank Stress Test

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Rakuten takes another stab at the UK market with rakuten.co.uk e-commerce site

Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce company already known in the UK for play.com and the streaming service Wuaki.tv, has launched a new online marketplace at rakuten.co.uk. The site is similar to eBay and Amazon Marketplace, giving independent retailers a platform to sell their physical goods. Rakuten is starting with retailers inside the UK, but plans to expand the site’s scope and support international merchants in the future. Furthermore, the company said customers would eventually be able to buy products “from Rakuten marketplaces worldwide.” In short, it’s the same model that Rakuten has perfected in Japan. In 2013, Rakuten announced that it would stop selling DVDs,…

This story continues at The Next Web

Ricky Martin – Adiós – Behind the Scenes

Official “Behind the Scenes” video by Ricky Martin performing Adíos (C) 2014 RM Enterprise

Listen to “Adíos” (English) now on iTunes: http://www.smarturl.it/Adios
Google Play: http://www.smarturl.it/AdiosGP
Amazon: http://www.smarturl.it/AdiosAmazon

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Shaky Japanese economy hit by growing trade deficit

Japan's shaky economy is dealt another blow as official data shows a widening September trade deficit

Tokyo (AFP) – Japan’s shaky economy was dealt another blow Wednesday, as official data showed a widening September trade deficit that puts the world’s number-three economy on track to log a record annual shortfall.

The worse-than-expected deficit of 958.3 billion yen ($8.96 billion) adds to a string of weak figures and follows a sharp economic contraction in the second quarter after an April sales tax rise slammed the brakes on growth — fuelling fears of a recession. 

The latest numbers translated into a trade deficit of 10.47 trillion yen for the first nine months of the year, a 35 percent leap from a year ago.

Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund nearly halved its 2014 growth projections for Japan — to 0.9 percent from 1.6 percent — underscoring the damage that the tax increase inflicted on the economy.

And on Tuesday the Japanese government downgraded its outlook for the economy for the second month in a row, raising more questions about whether Tokyo will raise the levy again next year to 10 percent from 8 percent.

“The government and Bank of Japan (BoJ) have assumed that the domestic economy may be weak due to the consumption tax rise, but that it would be offset by foreign demand,” said Takeshi Minami, an economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

“That scenario may be collapsing. China is slowing down and there are risks of Europe entering recession.”

However, improving shipments to Asia — which rose 8.1 percent in September — could help smooth out Japan’s trade picture, according to SMBC Nikko Securities.

“Asian production has been slack since 2011 and was part of the reason that Japanese exports stalled,” it said in a research report.

“But it is increasing gradually now and may lead to a recovery in Japanese exports.”


- Tax rise uncertain -


The gloomy figures will heap more pressure on the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his economic growth plan dubbed “Abenomics”.

The plan stalled when Tokyo raised the sales tax on April 1 — for the first time in 17 years — to help pay down one of the world’s biggest public debt burdens.

Abe’s economic plan helped sharply weaken the yen as the central bank launched massive monetary easing stimulus.

But the currency’s drop has not translated into a strong pick-up in exports as Japanese companies shift production to lower-cost venues abroad.

Japan’s September trade deficit of 958.3 billion yen was a record for the month, up from 943.2 billion yen a year earlier, and was much worse than a market median forecast of a 768-billion-yen deficit.

The shortfall was up 1.6 percent year-on-year.

The finance ministry said exports rose 6.9 percent to 6.38 trillion yen helped by higher shipments of cars, steel and ships. 

Shipments to China rose 8.8 percent, while exports to North America rose 4.7 percent and were nearly flat to the European Union, inching up 0.7 percent. 

Imports climbed 6.2 percent to 7.34 trillion yen, boosted largely by purchases of liquefied natural gas and telecommunications equipment, which was partly tied to the launch of the newest iPhone in Japan last month.

Natural gas buying has remained high as Japan tried to plug a yawning energy gap after the 2011 Fukushima crisis forced the shutdown of nuclear reactors, which once supplied more than one-quarter of the nation’s power.

Japan’s economy contracted 1.8 percent on-quarter in the three months to June — or 7.1 percent on an annualised basis — its steepest quarterly drop since the quake-tsunami disaster, raising concerns about another downturn in the July-September period.

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WOMEX 2014, Santiago de Compostela


Maybe it’s a reluctance to admit that summer is finally over, but it’s hard to believe that WOMEX 2014 starts today. Four of the Songlines crew are heading out to sunny Galicia for the annual world music gathering, this year in Santiago de Compostela.

A quick glance through the line-up and lots to get excited about. Here are just a few of the music showcases I’m particularly looking forward to. Don’t forget, this is just a shortlist – there are legions of other new acts to be discovered!  If you’re making your way to Spain this year, please do stop by the Songlines stand (#1.50) and say hello.

Listen to our WOMEX 2014 playlist here.

Frank Yamma

The Aboriginal singer-songwriter will make a special and rare European appearance, showcasing songs from his latest album, Uncle.

La Chiva Gantiva
The Brussels-based Colombian band rocked festival stages this summer with their unique mix of Colombian folk, punk and funk – punfklore, as they call it. They are sure to bring the party-time atmosphere to Spain.

We haven’t heard much from the Congolese king of cool since his last release, Kinshasa Succursale, in 2011. I hope this appearance means he’s got something – a tour or new album – up his sleeve. 

El Gusto Orchestra
Algeria’s super orchestra of veteran Jewish and Muslim musicians.

Sékouba Bambino
This will be a special chance to check out the superstar from Guinea, with his passionate voice and potent songs. Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Bambino in #103.

It’s good to see the young Hungarian group make an appearance. If their live shows are even half as good as their two most recent – both Top of the World – albums, then this will be a showcase not to be missed.

The Bristol string and accordion quartet went down a storm at last weekend’s Homegrown festival in Bury, so they’re sure to impress the Galicians and WOMEX delegates with their minimalism that brings to mind composers like Philip Glass or Steve Reich.

The four-piece from Malaysia perform Bidayuh roots music from Sarawak on pratuokng, a zither that is made entirely of bamboo.

Noreum Machi
Expect theatrical brilliance and a wall of sound from Korea’s percussion ensemble.

Maru Tarang
An interesting collaboration between Australian slide guitarist Jeff Lang, tabla player Bobby Singh, sarangi maestro Asim Kahn Lange and khartal player Bhungar Manganiyar. They first met at Jodhpur RIFF and got a really positive response when they performed at Celtic Connections festival earlier this year.


And don’t forget to check out the bonus CD of Galician music with the current issue.



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