In case you missed the biggest business stories of the last few weeks we’ve rounded them all up.
Leaked documents revealing that HSBC bankers offered tax-avoidance strategies to its customers and hid $120 billion in Swiss accounts. The United States, France, Argentina and other countries are investigating the banking giant.
Sweden’s Central Bank
Sweden’s economy is growing faster than the Eurozone but still lags behind the targeted rate of 2% growth. To boost economic activity the Riksbank has cut interest rates to -0.1% and initiated a program of quantitative easing.
The telecommunications giant was fined a staggering $975 million by China for violating anti-trust laws. Qualcomm had been found to have abused its large market share in smartphone chips to boost revenue. Similar charges are being investigated in South Korea.
Spain reached its largest growth rate since 2007 as the economy grew by 1.4% in 2014.
On February 10th Apple’s value surpassed $700 billion, making it the most valuable company in history – about $300 billion more than second place Exxon Mobil.
The United States surpassed employment forecasts by adding almost 260,000 jobs in January.
The Greek parliament voted to end the current bailout agreement. The new Prime Minister vowed to end austerity reforms while the Finance Minister refused to budge in a meeting with his Eurogroup peers which ended without any progress. In response the euro continued to falter as investors remain wary of the consequences of a Greek exit from the Eurozone. Today Greece’s request for a 6 month extension of its Eurozone loan was rejected by Germany.
A weak euro has boosted exports from Germany which has the world’s 2nd largest trade surplus (behind only China) as the country’s exports exceeded €1 trillion.
Bank of Canada
Late last month the Bank of Canada cut its interest rate from 1% to 0.75% overnight. The cut in interest rates combined with the falling price of oil has dropped the loony to 80¢ compared to the USD. Last week Carolyn Wilkins, the Deputy Governor of the the Bank of Canada, hinted that the interest rate could be slashed further in March.
Earlier this month Staples agreed to buy Office Depot for $6.3 billion. The same acquisition was blocked in 1997 due to anti-trust concerns. The two companies are the largest retailers of office equipment and stationary in the United States.
Australia’s stock market hit its highest point in nearly 7 years following a drop in interest rates to 2.25 by the central bank.
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