mercoledì 24 settembre 2014

Marchionne says he admires Renzi's courage

Fiat-Chrysler CEO praises 'exceptional' Renzi speech to CFR

(ANSA) - Rome, September 24 - Fiat Chrysler (FCA) CEO and Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne said Wednesday he admired Premier Matteo Renzi's courage in unveiling a raft of structural reforms. "I like this boy, (his) great courage," Marchionne said of the 39-year-old premier. The FCA boss told ANSA he was looking forward to Renzi's visit to the Chrysler HQ in Detroit Friday.

"Let him do his job in peace," Marchionne said in reference to resistance to Renzi's proposed Jobs Act and other key reforms aimed at freeing Italy of red tape, reforming its labor market, and cutting waste in order to generate funds for stimulus packages. "I see no alternative, and I'm convinced he will make it: we must help him," said the CEO, praising what he said was Renzi's "exceptional" speech to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). "He is changing the system, he is fresh and he has new ideas". Marchionne went on to say his company is ready for its Wall Street debut, which will probably take place October 13.

Draghi warns of fragility, as Squinzi urges investment

Confindustria says govt must 'create conditions' for growth

(ANSA) - Rome, September 24 - There is no risk of recession across the eurozone although it remains "fragile", European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Wednesday even as an Italian business leader urged governments to do more to encourage investment and growth. Draghi said that he sees no risk of recession or deflation across the eurozone economies, but slow growth means that inflation will remain muted for an extended period. "The eurozone is not in recession but recovery is modest, weak and fragile," he said in an interview with Europe 1 radio.

Italy, the eurozone's third-largest economy, is in recession and in August reported deflation as the consumer price index slipped into negative territory. And he repeated his call for structural reforms by government, saying that monetary policy can help to encourage economic growth by injecting cash - but that alone is not enough. Rigid bureaucracies, high taxes, and red tape that ties up businesses strangle growth and discourage the new investment essential for economic expansion, said Draghi. "We can guarantee all the credit possible, but if in some countries it takes a young entrepreneur months before obtaining permits and authorizations to open a new store, in the end he will not request credit," Draghi added.

Italian companies have shed an average 25% of business volumes since the global crisis began in 2007, and that has left some unable to consider taking on loans to expand, the head of one of Italy's largest employer groups said. "It is difficult to evaluate, but in general terms I think that Italian banks have asked for less (from the ECB) because our economy is depressed and internal consumption is not recovering," said Giorgio Squinzi, head of Confinustria representing Italy's largest industrial employers. Last week, the ECB released its first loans to commercial banks under a new program designed to encourage increased lending to business and consumers in the eurozone. But take-up was less than expected.

Squinzi also urged the government to do more to "create the conditions" that will encourage greater business investment, hiring and thus, economic expansion in Italy. "Firms need to invest in their business", he said on the sidelines of the Marmomacc business fair for the stone industry in Verona. "It is therefore necessary to create the conditions that create confidence for Italian (investors) and for foreign investors to come back, to have confidence in this country and to make investments," he said.

One bright note came earlier on Wednesday, when national statistical agency Istat announced that consumer confidence had edged up slightly this month compared with August. That is essential to economic recovery, said Squinzi. "(It's vital) to restore the confidence of consumers because that is crucial to regaining the confidence of investors, which is the most important thing". 

Pulling back on Jobs Act 'unthinkable' says Renzi

Party must toe line after debate and vote says premier

(ANSA) - New York, September 24 - The government is willing to discuss its proposed Jobs Act, but labor law reform cannot be postponed, Premier Matteo Renzi said in New York, where he is attending a United Nations climate summit. "This reform can't be delayed," Renzi said. "Pulling back is unthinkable". Renzi will present his labor reform ideas to the Democratic Party executive body next Monday. "This will be followed by a debate, a decision, and a vote," Renzi said. "After that everyone will have to toe the line, and we will move forward together". 

Hosts Italy make winning start at volleyball world tourney

Azzurri sweep aside Tunisia 3-0 (25-11, 25-13, 25-8)

(ANSA) - Rome, September 24 - Hosts Italy made a winning start at the women's volleyball world championship, thrashing Tunisia 3-0 (25-11, 25-13, 25-8) before a 10,000-strong crowd at Rome's PalaLottomatica arena on Tuesday. The Azzurre, world champions in 2002, are aiming to become the first hosts to win the title since Japan in 1967.

They now face Croatia in their second Pool A match later on Wednesday in Rome. Italy is hosting the women's volleyball world championship for the first time, having staged the men's equivalent twice. The competition will climax with the final in Milan on October 12. 

Grillo's blog calls on Renzi party rebels to sink govt

PD divided over change to regulation on unjust dismissals

(ANSA) - Rome, September 24 - A post on the blog of Beppe Grillo, the leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), on Wednesday called for rebels within Premier Matteo Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) who are opposed to the government's labour reform to stage a mutiny and help bring down the executive. The PD is split over the government's so-called Jobs Act, which includes changes to Article 18 of the 1970 Workers Statutes guaranteeing people unjustly sacked the right to their job back. The Jobs Act would change this for newly hired workers so that if a court finds they were unjustly sacked, they would get compensation, rather than being rehired. Italy's biggest and most leftwing union, CGIL, is outraged by an attack on what it considers a fundamental right.

Furthermore, a minority within the PD, led by Renzi's predecessor as party leader Pier Luigi Bersani, are planning to file seven amendments to the Jobs Act to stop Article 18 effectively being scrapped for new hires. "Renzi is managing to do what (ex-premiers Mario) Monti and (Silvio) Berlusconi failed to do," read the post on the popular blog, which gave life to the Internet-based M5S in 2009. "He is treating (the country's biggest trade union) CGIL like a doormat: PD comrades, why are you waiting to occupy the (party) offices and make your voices heard," continued the piece, signed by M5S theorist Aldo Giannulli. It added that the battle over Article 18 was an "opportunity to send Renzi packing".

Article 18 is seen by many as discouraging firms from offering workers regular, steady contracts as it makes it very hard from them to get ride rid of a staff member once on the books. This has been blamed for high unemployment levels, especially among young people, and the fact that most new entrants to the job market are hired on freelance or temporary contracts that give few rights and low job security. The Jobs Act, which has been approved at the committee stage, raises safeguards for new hires, slashes temporary contracts, and establishes a minimum wage and universal unemployment benefit. 

Italian farmers raise health alarm over 20% drop in fruit, veg spending

'Italians buy less than recommended quantity of produce'

(ANSA) - Rome, September 24 - Italian consumers and farmers are at risk as spending on fruits and vegetables has dropped by fully 20% since the start of the global economic crisis, producers' association Coldiretti said on Wednesday.

As a result, Italian families are putting their health at risk by neglecting to eat essential food groups while the fall in demand may drive producers out of business, the group suggested. It tied the fall to the crisis that began in 2007 and has led to Italy suffering three recessions, including the present downturn. "The effects of the downward spiral of deflation and consumption which began in 2007 are putting businesses and consumers' health at risk", Coldiretti said.

Italians are buying approximately 700 pounds of produce annually - significantly less than the World Health Organization's recommended amount of 880 pounds per year, according to the producers group.

Although sales of apples, oranges and bananas have increased, produce purchases fell by 2% in the first half of 2014 compared to 2013, the group said. Italian orchards have reduced acreage by 28%, Coldiretti added. 

Draghi says no risk of deflation, recession in eurozone

ECB head says inflation will remain low in long term

(ANSA) - Rome, September 24 - European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Wednesday that he sees no risk of recession or deflation across the eurozone - but inflation will remain muted for an extended period. "The eurozone is not in recession but recovery is modest, weak and fragile," he said in an interview with Europe 1 radio. Italy, the eurozone's third largest economy, is in recession and in August reported deflation as the consumer price index slipped into negative territory.