ECB STIMULUS SURPRISE SENDS STOCK MARKETS SLIDING
European stock markets have fallen and the euro has soared following the economic stimulus measures announced by the European Central Bank.
After initially rising following the broader than expected package, Frankfurt closed down 2.3%, Paris ended 1.7% lower and the FTSE 100 slid 1.8%.
The euro initially fell 1.6% against the US dollar to $1.0822 before jumping as high as $1.1218.
It was one of the biggest one-day swings in the currency's history.
Sharp rises for European banks were also largely wiped out.
The ECB cut its main interest rate from 0.05% to 0% and cut its bank deposit rate, from minus 0.3% to minus 0.4%.
The bank will also expand its quantitative easing programme from €60bn to €80bn a month.
Jasper Lawler, of CMC Markets, said: "Stocks came off highs of the day when some of the initial euphoria was nullified by the suggestion by ECB president Mario Draghi that rates would not be cut any further."
Simon Derrick, chief currency strategist at BNY Mellon: "If the intention of the ECB board was to help weaken the euro then their work was entirely undone by Mr Draghi's comments about the future path of rates."
John Hardy, head of currency strategy at Saxo Bank, said: "This was a much bigger bazooka than the market was expecting and shows the ECB trying to get ahead of the confidence curve after learning its lesson in December."
The stimulus measures announced three months ago have largely failed to drive economic growth higher or boost inflation.
Mr Draghi told a news conference in Frankfurt that the bank had cut eurozone inflation projections to reflect the recent decline in oil prices.
The bank now expected inflation to be just 0.1% this year - substantially lower than the previous estimate of 1% and underlining the need for the ECB to go further than expected.
Inflation should rise to 1.3% in 2017 and 1.6% the following year, according to its estimates.
"We are not in deflation," Mr Draghi stressed.
He also warned that risks to economic growth across the 19 countries that use the euro remained "tilted to the downside".
The ECB cut its growth forecasts to an increase of 1.4% this year - down from 1.7%; 1.7% for 2017 - down from 1.9%; and 1.8% for 2018.
The governing council expected the bank's key interest rates "to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of our net asset purchases".
The bond-buying programme will continue at least until the end of March 2017.
As well as government debt, the bank will now be allowed to use its newly printed money to buy bonds issued by companies as well. That scheme will start towards the end of the second quarter this year.
The market for the European investment-grade corporate bond market is worth about €800bn, according to UBS analysts.
"The devil is in the detail of what will be included in the corporate bond purchases, and right now that presents more questions than answers," one analyst said.
Analysis: Kamal Ahmed, economics editor
Mario Draghi will be now be watching to see if the ECB's actions have any effect on economic growth.
If they don't, the central bank has a major problem. As do the major European economies, held in a deflationary spiral by slowing growth, low global demand and crumbling commodity prices.
Once you have fired the bazooka, you had better hope it has the desired effect.
FEDERAL RESERVE WON'T BACKPEDAL ON INTEREST RATES, JANET YELLEN SAYS
The Fed expects the domestic economy to keep chugging along. Investors fear a global downturn.
The Fed says it is still thinking about raising its benchmark interest rate again as soon as March. Investors are betting the Fed will not move before 2017.
The split-screen divide was on display Thursday, as the Fed’s chairwoman, Janet L. Yellen, delivered a relatively upbeat assessment to the Senate Banking Committee while investors were dumping stocks and shoveling money into safe havens like government debt and gold. The Dow Jones industrial average finished the day down nearly 255 points, or 1.6 percent.
“A lot has happened” since December, when the Fed predicted it would spend 2016 gradually raising rates, Ms. Yellen acknowledged. And risk-averse investors could disrupt slow-and-steady economic growth, she allowed.
“We will meet in March, and our committee will carefully deliberate about what impact these developments have had,” Ms. Yellen told Congress and the cameras, referring to the market turmoil and next month’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. “Today I think it’s premature to render a judgment.”
But economic jitters are shaping the questions Ms. Yellen is facing, as retirement accounts shrink and investors’ stomachs churn. Pressed by Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, Ms. Yellen said she did not think the Fed had contributed significantly to the convulsions in financial markets by its December decision to raise its benchmark interest rate for the first time since the financial crisis.
“I don’t think it’s mainly our policy,” she told Mr. Heller.
But some analysts say the Fed is playing a role. They worry that the Fed, and its counterparts around the world, either cannot or will not move to shore up growth. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has lost 10 percent of its value this year, closing Thursday at 1,829.08. The price of the benchmark 10-year Treasury climbed to the highest level since 2012.
“It seems central banks have reached the end of road,” said Markus Schomer, the chief economist at PineBridge Investments in New York. “No support for scared financial markets here.”
The price of Fed funds futures, bets on the future level of the Fed’s benchmark rate, now reflect roughly a 10 percent chance the Fed will raise rates this year. That means investors don’t expect the Fed to make things worse. But they see little prospect that the Fed will expand its efforts.
Indeed, Ms. Yellen said on Thursday that the Fed did not intend to cut rates back to zero.
She also continued to play down the possibility that the Fed would seek to provide new stimulus by imposing negative interest rates — basically reversing the normal order of things so that lenders pay a fee for lending while borrowers collect a fee for borrowing.
A growing number of central banks, including the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan, have turned to negative rates to supplement standard measures. Sweden’s central bank said Thursday it would push its benchmark rate even further below zero, to negative 0.5 percent.
Ms. Yellen surprised some members of the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday when she testified that the Fed had not considered the idea in detail. On Thursday she was slightly less dismissive, telling senators the Fed was reviewing the issue, but emphasizing again that she did not foresee a need for negative rates here.
“I wouldn’t take those off the table, but we would have work to do to judge whether they would be workable here,” she said.
There are reasons for economic optimism. Ms. Yellen pointed to the strength of consumer spending and said she still expected lower oil prices to stimulate growth. The magnitude of the decline in prices took the Fed by surprise, and the costs have been larger than expected, but Ms. Yellen said the Fed still expected the average household to reap a benefit of about $1,000.
Ms. Yellen also played down some reasons for pessimism. She has previously pointed to stronger wage growth as an important sign that the economy is improving, and on Thursday she said that she was not overly impressed by signs of acceleration in the recent data. “At best the evidence of a pickup is tentative,” she said.
But in an exchange with Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, Ms. Yellen also appeared to back away from her previous emphasis on that indicator.
“I would not say that wage growth is a litmus test for changes in monetary policy,” she said.
Republicans and Democrats sparred with Ms. Yellen over the Fed’s ability to improve economic conditions, but the tone of the hearing was significantly less confrontational than her appearance Wednesday before the House committee.
Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, emphasized that a crucial reason for the slow pace of economic growth in recent years was the relatively slow growth of productivity, or the economic output of the average worker.
“Does monetary policy affect workers’ knowledge or skills?” he asked Ms. Yellen.
As she began to answer, he interjected, “The answer is no.”
“It’s a ridiculous notion, is it not?” he added. “That’s our job.”
He meant that Congress could improve productivity by effective investment in areas like education or by changing the tax code to encourage innovation.
Ms. Yellen said she generally agreed, but she noted that the Fed did have a role to play by encouraging economic growth. Companies curtail investments during downturns, and workers without jobs begin to lose their skills.
Asked by Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, what more the Fed could do to reduce long-term unemployment, she emphasized the point.
“What we are trying to do to contribute to the solution of that problem is to keep the economy growing at a steady pace, to keep the labor market improving, in the hope and expectation that a stronger labor market will improve the status of all groups,” she said.
Yet Ms. Yellen disappointed Democrats too by suggesting that in her view the Fed was doing enough. She reiterated the Fed’s position that it was necessary to raise interest rates to maintain control of inflation as job growth continued.
“I see it just the other way,” Mr. Schumer said. “I am less worried about inflation and more worried about slow wage growth.”
IRAN-OPEC-OIL-PRICE-1: Oil prices fall because some OPEC countries think about United States interests - Velayati - ITARTA 04-Feb-2016
MOSCOW, February 4. /TASS/. The reason for the decline of oil prices is that some OPEC countries are not oriented towards their own interests, but the interests of the United States, Adviser to Iran's supreme leader Ali Akbar Velayati said Thursday.
"The fact is that, unfortunately, some countries - OPEC members do not think about their own national interests, they think more about the interests of consumers - countries such as the United States. This is why the price of oil is in decline. I hope that the time comes when they will think about the interests of their own people," he said.
According to him, Iran welcomed the idea of holding a meeting of oil-producing countries. He noted that in the past, there were meetings between the OPEC countries and producers who are not members of OPEC.
THE SUPREME COURT CONSIDERS THE FIRST EIGHT RESOURCES FOR HEALTH CENT
The employer transportation Fenadismer said that the state must return all proceeds from 2002
Room III of the Supreme Court (TS) has acknowledged Tuesday the first eight contentious-administrative resources demanded the return of the state hospital. These claims come from the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union on 27 February 2014, which stated that the law authorizing the tax was contrary to European standards. The National Federation of Transport Associations in Spain (Fenadismer) said that the decision of the Supreme Court will force the state to return all money raised since 2002, when it launched the tax.
The ruling was retroactive and European judges in Luxembourg administration accused Spanish (also Catalan, which was implemented from 2004 the regional rate) had not acted "in good faith to keep this tax for more ten years ", ignoring previous rulings already warned of their illegality.
At the time the ruling was issued was estimated that the decision could force the state to return 13,000 million, although much of this amount could be prescribed.
In November 2015, following the European text, the Supreme Court created a special section with six officials and a judicial secretary to resolve thousands of resources that were generated. Is this specific section has now solved the first eight resource called witnesses or preference.
In principle the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to follow the same pattern with the 4,000 remaining resources. The law allows creating these specific sections if there are many contentious-administrative identical.
The employer Fenadismer, which groups 32,000 SMEs road transport, recalled that the European Court of Justice was established in the judgment against the tax had no time limit by which made their implementation.
In compliance with that judgment since the tax has raised claims for reimbursement of undue corresponding to the last four years of operation of the tax but not claiming to previous years arguing that there was no liability of Administration, which is the way established by legislation calling for prescribed periods.
Now Fenadismer indicates that the pronouncement of the Supreme Court "gives reason to the thousands of claims filed by that route, which will force the state to return all proceeds from 2002".
IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL: KEY DETAILS
Sanctions imposed by the UN, US and EU in an attempt to force Iran to halt uranium enrichment have crippled its economy, costing the country more than $160bn (£110bn) in oil revenue since 2012 alone. Iran stands to gain access to more than $100bn in assets frozen overseas, and will be able to resume selling oil on international markets and using the global financial system for trade.
Iran will not see sanctions lifted until the IAEA confirms that it has followed through with its end of the JCPOA. Should Iran violate any aspect of the deal, the UN sanctions will automatically "snap back" into place for 10 years, with the possibility of a five-year extension.
If the Joint Commission cannot resolve a dispute, it will be referred to the UN Security Council.
Iran has also agreed to the continuation of the UN arms embargo on the country for up to five years, although it could end earlier if the IAEA is satisfied that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful. A UN ban on the import of ballistic missile technology will also remain in place for up to eight years.
NEW TOOL IN THE ONLINE CUSTOMER AREA
Petromiralles, constantly looking at ways to improve its services, offers its customers a new tool in the online Customer Area at www.petromiralles.com, the so-called Advanced Area, where customers can manage their fuel cards directly: change the card limits, (de)authorize products, change PIN-codes and block cards in case of necessity.
For security reasons, the customer must assign an Account Administrator to manage the Advanced Customer Area, who will be responsible for registering other users as well as defining their functions. The Administrator may choose between the following profiles for the users he authorizes.
• Inquiry User. This user type can only request information on supplies, invoices and consumptions/card balances. This user may registered without further authorization on www.petromiralles.com.
• Advanced User. This user is authorized to make changes in the card settings.
Procedure for Advanced User Area registration:
1- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your customer code, customer name and email address.
1- Petromiralles will generate a contract with the details of the authorized representative of the company who appears on the fuel card contract.
2- Petromiralles will send this contract by email.
3- The customer must print two copies and sign both.
4- The contract will provide the user name of the Account Administrator. Only one Account Administrator per customer is given.
5- The Account Administrator must sign the contract and complete the requested information:
a. Cell phone number
b. Email address
6- The Account Administrator provides the details of users to be assigned for card management (Advanced User).
7- The customer must send two signed contract copies to Petromiralles.
8- If the customer wishes to allow access to the Advanced Area to additional third authorized users (Advanced Users), then Petromiralles will create the corresponding user names.
9- Petromiralles will send an email with the password of the Account Administrator to the Account Administrator’s email.
10- Petromiralles will send a separate email with the user names and passwords of the requested additional users (Advanced Users) to the Account Administrator’s email address.
Petromiralles will sign a copy of the original contract and return it to the customer by regular mail.
NEW FUEL STATION AT BENEIXIDA
Petromiralles expands its service station network with the addition of a new station at Beneixida. With this new location, Petromiralles continues its commitment to quality service and proximity to its customers. The Petromiralles network now consists of 62 strategically located stations throughout Spain.
To see the exact location as well as the services and products offered at each station, please go to the service station map on this website.
INFORMATION ON ACCESS TO PETROMIRALLES SERVICE STATION 24 HOURS, PETROMIRALLES LLERS/FIGUERES
The new entrance to the PETROMIRALLES SERVICE STATION at Llers-Figueres is finished and open to all traffic. Vehicles traveling on the AP7 in both directions (North to France and South to Spain) can Access the station taking EXIT 3 (Figueres Nord) without restrictions.
To return to the highway AP7 after filling up, take the service road and then enter the highway through ENTRANCE 3 (Figueres Nord).
For further information, please see the attached PDF file "Access to Llers-Figueres".
"PETROMIRALLES EN RUTA", OUR NEW APP
Our new App, PETROMIRALLES EN RUTA, (for Android and IPhone) has arrived. This new application was designed to help Petromiralles customers plan their routes and offers plenty of useful information while on the road, apart from updates and news about our service.
The geolocator of PETROMIRALLES EN RUTA show your nearest Petromiralles fuel station as well as those that are optimal for your route. It also provides information about available products and service at each station.
PETROMIRALLES EN RUTA has a self-registration option so customers can enter into their customer account from their mobile handset to view their transactions, invoices and balances.
You can download this App for free using the banner on this website or through the Apple Store or Google Play, depending on your device.
APPROVED THE REFUND OF REGIONAL TAXES FOR PROFESSIONAL USERS OF DIESEL OIL IN CATALONIA
As stated by a publication in the “Diario Oficial de la Generalitat de Catalunya” (Official Journal of the Generalitat de Catalunya (DOGC)), Law 2/2014, of January 27th, regarding tax, administrative and financial measures in the public sector, approves the refund of regional taxes for professional users of diesel oil in the Autonomous Region of Catalonia. This regulation will come into force on February 1st 2014 and recognizes the right to partial recovery of the regional tax rates on hydrocarbon products paid by professional users for their purchases of diesel oil (general use). The rate is established at €48 per 1000 liters.