Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 25th 2013 Contents A27
Thursday, July 25, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
This computer generated
image provided by the Bank
of England shows the
concept design for the
reverse of the new ten-
pound note with a picture
of Jane Austen. The Bank of
England chose the
chronicler of 18th century
English country life as the
new face of the note,
bowing to critics who
complained that the
venerable institution was
ignoring women as
candidates to be featured
on the currency. AP PHOTO
LONDON---A closely watched
survey has raised hopes that
the laggard of the global econ-
omy---the 17-country euro-
zone---may be growing again.
Financial information com-
pany Markit said yesterday that
its monthly purchasing man-
agers index---a broad gauge of
economic activity---for the euro-
zone rose for the fourth month
running, to 50.4 points in July
from 48.7 the previous month.
The increase reflected improve-
ments in both the manufactur-
ing and services sectors.
That s the first time in 18
months that the survey rose
above 50, the threshold that sep-
arates growth from contraction.
The increase was also larger than
anticipated---the consensus in
the markets was for a more
modest increase to 49.1.
"Today s PMI data corroborate
our assessment that the euro-
zone economy is slowly moving
from contraction to stabilisa-
tion," said Tom Rogers, senior
economic adviser at Ernst &
Even so, Rogers said a "real
recovery remains a long way off,"
with jobs continuing to be shed
in a number of countries in the
region and amid tight bank cred-
it conditions for companies. The
European Central Bank has
unveiled a new plan to boost
lending to firms, but it s unclear
how long it will take to have an
"Much more remains to be
done by both the ECB and gov-
ernments if the recovery in the
coming 12-18 months is not to
be weak and prone to setbacks,"
Still, the PMI figures will raise
hopes that the recession in the
eurozone, which has lasted since
the fourth quarter of 2011, is
coming to an end. The recession
has been largely due to the dif-
ficulties afflicting many of the
countries at the forefront of
Europe s debt crisis, such as
Greece, Portugal and Spain.
However, some of the bigger
economies, including Germany,
have also come off the boil in
recent quarters as they feel the
impact of the weak economy
among key trading partners in
Yesterday s figures showed
solid improvements for Germany
and France, the single currency
bloc s two largest economies.
Official figures for the second
quarter are due next month and
some economists think they may
show the eurozone recession has
come to an end.
"In all, then, there are some
signs that the eurozone economy
is on the mend and might per-
haps soon exit recession," said
Ben May, European economist
at Capital Economics.
"Nonetheless, the PMI and other
business surveys have signaled
several false dawns in the recent
While the eurozone sank back
into recession, the world s other
leading economies fared better.
The US economic recovery is
strong enough that the Federal
Reserve is considering tightening
its super-easy monetary policy,
while Japan s long-stagnant
economy is showing signs of
responding to stimulus efforts
by the government and central
Eurozone recovery hopes
mount after survey
BERLIN---The European Union said yesterday that
it plans to cap some credit and debit card fees in
a move that would save retailers up to €6 billion
($7.9 billion) per year.
The European Commission, the 28-nation bloc s
executive arm, said limiting the fees paid by retailers
to banks every time a customer uses a card will ulti-
mately lead to lower prices for all consumers.
The proposed legislation would cap the so-called
interchange fees at 0.2 per cent of a transaction s
value for debit cards and 0.3 per cent for credit cards.
In some countries, fees are currently as high as 1.5
per cent of a purchase s value.
Most consumers, however, are unaware of the
"The interchange fees paid by retailers end up on
consumers bills," EU Competition Commissioner
Joaquin Almunia said at a news conference in Brussels.
"This needs to change."
The proposal still needs approval by the European
Parliament and a majority of EU member nations.
One credit card company, Mastercard Inc, warned
against the planned cap, saying that the move could
lead to higher card fees for consumers.
"We are concerned about the harm these proposals
will cause to consumers and small merchants in the
EU," the company said in a statement yesterday.
But EU Commissioner Michel Barnier, who is in
charge of financial services, insisted the legislation
will lead to lower prices for consumers, dismissing
Mastercard s lobbying efforts against it as an "unbear-
able campaign" of disinformation.
Competitor Visa, however, joined in the criticism
yesterday, warning "these proposals will be detrimental
to the innovation that will support European economic
The lobby group for Europe s retailers said the
caps should be even harsher, but welcomed the pro-
posals as a significant step to foster competition and
"They should allow retailers to pass savings on to
consumers, bringing them real benefits in these times
of hardship," said EuroCommerce chief Christian
The Commission s proposal also aims at axing
another, more widely understood, credit card fee:
The surcharges imposed by some merchants on card
payments, notably on purchasing airline tickets. (AP)
down on card
NEW TEN-POUND NOTE
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