Eurozone deposits surge
Eurozone banks deposited the biggest amount of overnight funds at the European Central Bank (ECB) in more than a year on Monday, official data showed yesterday in a signal of banks’ wariness of lending to each other. Banks put 346.36 billion euros (US$446 billion) on deposit for 24 hours at the ECB, the highest amount since June last year. The level of deposits at the ECB bank is an indicator of the reluctance of banks to lend to each other on the pivotal interbank market. The money deposited earns an interest rate of 0.25 percent, which is less than the rate available on the interbank market.
UK officials mull stimulus
Bank of England Chief Economist Spencer Dale said the central bank has scope to add to stimulus as the eurozone debt crisis dampens the outlook. “The near-term outlook has weakened very materially,” Dale said in a speech in London yesterday. “Although the precise reasons why the economy appears to have slowed are uncertain and we can’t rule out some intensification of domestic headwinds, the most likely explanation would seem to be the growing fallout from the euro area as it has lurched from one mini crisis to another. The growing malaise within the eurozone has affected our economy in a variety of ways.” The Bank of England increased the target for bond purchases in October and some officials have said more might be needed.
Australia lowers forecast
Australia, the largest shipper of iron ore and coal, lowered its forecast for minerals and energy export earnings by 4.2 percent amid concern Europe’s debt crisis might hurt global economic growth, slowing raw-material demand. Sales might total a record A$205.8 billion (US$207 billion) in the 12 months to June 30, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics said in a report yesterday. That compares with a September forecast of A$214.8 billion, and a revised estimate of A$179.2 billion for the year ended on June 30 next year.
AT&T trial postponed
AT&T Inc and the US Department of Justice agreed on Monday to put off their upcoming antitrust trial over the telephone company’s proposed acquisition of smaller rival T-Mobile USA while the wireless carriers determine the fate of the deal. US District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle quickly approved their motion to cancel their February trial and set a hearing on Jan, 18 about the future of the deal. The development comes as the US$39 billion deal is under increasing government opposition, with analysts now giving it a slim chance of going through. In a statement, AT&T said it and T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom AG of Germany, want the delay “to allow the two companies time to evaluate all options.”
Mac App Store booming
Apple Inc on Monday said that more than 100 million mini-programs tailored for Macintosh computers have been downloaded from the Mac App Store since it opened at the start of the year. The company launched the online shop in early January on the momentum of its App Store for iPhone, iPad, and iPod programs. The Mac App Store offers third-party applications in an array of categories including education, games, design, lifestyle and productivity. Developers get to price applications, some of which are free.