FRANKFURT, Jan 15 (Reuters) – German hard coal imports in 2021 could fall 18.6% year-on-year to 26.7 million tonnes, according to forecasts of the VDKi lobby group on Friday, citing lower use by steelmakers. in the COVID-19 crisis and price competition with gas and renewable energy in power generation.
The coal importer group also published preliminary data for the past year. It said imports had fallen to 32.8 million tonnes in 2020, a 24% decrease from 2019. (reporting by Vera Eckert; editing by Thomas Seythal)
AMSTERDAM, Jan 15 (Reuters) – Italian bonds showed some recovery on Friday as yields fell, but borrowing costs are set for their biggest weekly gain in 12 weeks as focus remains on government uncertainty in Rome.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte rejected calls to resign on Thursday after a junior coalition party led by former prime minister Matteo Renzi pulled out of government on Wednesday and revoked its majority.
Instead, Conte has signaled he wants to continue his fight for survival in parliament, with his main coalition partners backing a plan to try to find support among opposition ranks to shore up the government.
He will address before the Italian Chamber of Deputies on Monday, followed by a vote of confidence expected to show whether he can keep fighting.
Renzi told Italian daily La Stampa he did not believe Conte had the support to win the vote of confidence scheduled for next week.
On Friday, the Italian bond market was poised to end the week on a calmer note, as the 10-year bond yield fell 2 basis points at 0.59% in early trading.
“We see the new elections as the worst outcome for BTP, but this is very unlikely, in our view,” Societe Generale analysts Jorge Garayo, Ninon Bachet and Adam Kurpiel told clients, echoing views held by many bond analysts.
“There is still a possibility that PM Conte will succeed in gaining support after negotiating with Renzi and other members of parliament. This will be the best outcome for BTP, ”they said, referring to Italian government bonds.
But several heavy selling sessions this week put 10-year yields on track to end the week 10 basis points higher, their biggest weekly gain since the week ended October 23.
BTP outperformed German bonds on Friday, squeezing the gap between German and Italian 10-year bond yields to 113 basis points, down from a seven-week high of around 118 bps reached on Thursday.
But the gap, which is effectively paid for by the risk premium Italy pays on its debt, is up more than 10 bps this week.
Analysts at Mizuho expect it to extend to 130-150 basis points until the problem is resolved, although support from European Central Bank asset purchases is expected to limit the sell-off.
Elsewhere, German 10-year yields are set for their biggest weekly decline in a month, dropping 4 basis points this week, supported by uncertainty in Italy and as January bond issuance was quiet, according to Commerzbank analysts.
They were unchanged in early Friday trade at -0.55%, near one-week lows. (Reporting by Yoruk Bahceli; Editing by Susan Fenton)
BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel wants “very swift action” to counter the spread of the COVID-19 mutation, he said at a meeting of top party officials on Thursday after Germany set a record number of deaths from the coronavirus.
Merkel also told senior Christian Democrat officials that she wanted to hold a meeting with regional leaders planned for January 25, and that tougher measures should be discussed, attendees said.
“The virus can only be stopped with additional efforts,” participants quoted him as saying.
While Germany’s total per capita deaths since the start of the pandemic have remained significantly lower than in the United States, its daily per capita deaths since mid-December have often exceeded US figures.
Germany’s daily death toll currently equates to about 15 deaths per million people, compared to the US death toll of 13 per million.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 25,164 new coronavirus cases and 1,244 deaths, bringing Germany’s total death toll since the start of the pandemic to 43,881.
The mass sales daily Bild reported that Merkel wanted to shut down public transportation services, but attendees at another meeting denied this and reported on it saying:
“We have to reduce the pressure on public transport by doing more headquarters and thus reducing contact.”
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the ruling parties in the eastern state of Thuringia said they were postponing regional elections scheduled for April 25 to September 26, the same day as federal elections this year.
Germany initially handled the pandemic better than its neighbors under a tight lockdown last spring. But cases and deaths have risen sharply in recent months, with the RKI saying people are not taking the virus seriously enough.
RKI president Lothar Wieler said on Thursday the restrictions were not implemented as consistently as in the first wave and said more people had to work from home, adding that the current lockdown needed to be tightened.
Germany imposed a partial lockdown in November that kept workshops and schools open. But it tightened rules in mid-December, closed non-essential shops, and children haven’t returned to classrooms since the Christmas holidays.
Hospitals in 10 of Germany’s 16 states face obstacles as 85% of intensive care unit beds are occupied by coronavirus patients, Wieler said.
Only about 1% of the German population, or 842,455 people, have been vaccinated, reports the RKI.
Germany has recorded 16 cases of people with a fast-spreading variant of the virus first detected in the UK and four with a variant from South Africa, Wieler said, although he noted that gene sequencing of the samples was not widely practiced.
Wieler appealed to people who were offered the COVID-19 vaccination to accept it.
“By the end of the year this pandemic will be under control,” he said.
Reporting by Kirsti Knolle and Thomas Escritt; Written by Caroline Copley, Emma Thomasson and Paul Carrel; Edited by Riham Alkousaa, Angus MacSwan, William Maclean, Nick Macfie and Dan Grebler
BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s Health Ministry said on Wednesday that vaccination of the country’s population against COVID-19 will begin with vaccines imported from China and India as soon as its emergency use is approved by health regulator Anvisa, scheduled for Sunday.
Vaccination of the country’s population will take a maximum of 16 months, Deputy Health Minister Elcio Franco told a news conference. Brazil sent a plane to import 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca / University of Oxford vaccine made by India’s Serum Institute and has imported 6 million doses of the CoronVac vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotech.
Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Leslie Adler Editing by Leslie Adler
BERLIN (Reuters) – The impact of Germany’s current lockdown on the economy is not too severe and Berlin will use sufficient fiscal strength, where support is needed, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said Tuesday.
Berlin expects economic growth to recover by 4.4% this year after an expected 5.5% contraction in 2020, although some private forecasters regard the official outlook as optimistic given the country is once again in the grip of a lockdown.
Last month, the German Ifo Institute of Ifo cut its 2021 growth forecast to 4.2% from 5.1%.
Germany launched a 130 billion euro stimulus package last June, the heart of a fiscal response to COVID-19 that is among the largest of any Western country.
The German government’s additional spending, alone, accounts for 8.3% of economic output, according to the European think tank Bruegel.
That forced Berlin to suspend its constitutional limit on the budget deficit, sending government borrowing soaring to a post-war record.
The government is expected to raise a total of more than 300 billion euros in new debt in 2020 and 2021.