Global News September 18, 2017

  1. BBC
  2. Global News September 18, 2017

“Portugal Bonds Lead Peripheral Rally on Debt Rating Upgrade.”

Portuguese debt led a rally in euro-area peripheral bonds after S&P Global Ratings raised the nation’s credit rating to investment grade.
The yield on benchmark 10-year notes slid to a 20-month low after S&P revised the sovereign rating to BBB- from BB+ with a stable outlook. Bonds in Ireland were bid after Moody’s lifted the sovereign rating to A2 from A3, citing a faster-than-expected pace of economic growth in the nation.
The risk premium on Portuguese debt declined on Monday as Finance Minister Mario Centeno said he expects greater demand for his nation’s debt from a broader array of investors to spur lower borrowing costs both for the government and corporations. The Bank of Portugal forecasts economic growth in the nation, which exited a three-year international aid program in 2014, will accelerate to 2.5 percent this year from 1.4 percent last year. DBRS already has an investment-grade rating on Portugal.
The yield on 10-year bonds in Portugal fell 27 basis points to 2.53 percent, having earlier touched 2.50 percent, the lowest since January 2016. This took the spread over comparable benchmark German bunds to 209 basis points from 237 basis points on Friday. The yield on 10-year Irish debt fell one basis point to 0.72 percent. Portugal Yield Sets Sights on 2.22% Level After Rating Upgrade
In its statement on Ireland, Moody’s said the flexibility of the nation’s economy provided it a degree of resilience to the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union. The outlook on the rating now stable, “supported by continued robust economic growth and a prudent policy framework that will yield further reduction in public debt,” the statement said.


“Hamas says ready to hand Gaza to a Palestinian unity government.”

Hamas has agreed to dissolve the administration that runs Gaza, it said on Sunday, a major step towards handing control of the enclave to a Palestinian unity government after a decade of bitter rivalry with President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Islamist group, which has ruled Gaza since a brief Palestinian civil war in 2007, said it had taken “a courageous, serious and patriotic decision to dissolve the administrative committee” that runs the territory of 2 million people, and hand power to some form of unity government.
Abbas welcomed Hamas’ move – a result of talks mediated by Egypt – and said he would convene the Palestinian leadership for discussions upon his return from New York where he was attending the U.N. General Assembly.
The development would “enable the formation of a national reconciliation government to work in the Gaza Strip and hold … elections,” he said in a statement on official news agency WAFA. Earlier, a Palestinian government spokesman said Cairo’s mediation had presented a “historic opportunity” that could help Palestinians toward full statehood.
Some opinion polls have showed that if parliamentary elections were held now, Hamas would win both in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the seat of Abbas’s Palestinian Authority. Abbas, 82, is 12 years into what was meant to be a four-year term as president and opinion polls show him to be unpopular. He has no clear successor and no new presidential election appears imminent.


BBC News
“Brexit: UK reveals details of proposed new EU security deal.”

The government has revealed details of its proposed new security treaty between the UK and the EU after Brexit. Ministers want the treaty to provide a legal basis for continued security, law enforcement and criminal justice co-operation after the UK’s departure.
Whitehall officials are understood to be optimistic the plans will be agreed, and that security agencies will find other ways to keep people safe if not. The costs of the proposed new arrangements have not been spelled out.
The plans, published in a government document, are described as a new, «ambitious» model of co-operation. It rejects the idea of negotiating a number of separate agreements covering each area of law enforcement. But it says it should be possible for the UK to secure an agreement with Europol – the EU intelligence agency – that provides the same benefits as now. The UK has the largest defence budget in the EU and, along with France, is one of only two countries in the bloc with permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has previously said Europe can no longer «completely depend» on the US and UK following the election of President Trump and the Brexit vote, while European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker recently called on EU member states to step up their military co-operation. In her letter formally triggering Brexit in March, Prime Minister Theresa May warned that failure to reach a deal with Brussels would mean «co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened».


“U.S. and Iran argue over inspections at nuclear watchdog meeting.”

The United States and Iran quarreled over how Tehran’s nuclear activities should be policed at a meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Monday, in a row sparked last month by Washington’s call for wider inspections.
Key U.S. allies are worried by the possibility of Washington pulling out of a 2015 landmark nuclear deal under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions against it being lifted.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley last month called for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect a wider range of sites in Iran, including military ones, to verify it is not breaching its nuclear deal with world powers. Her remarks were rejected by a furious Tehran.
Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, told the meeting in Vienna that Washington had made “a host of unjustifiable peculiar demands with regard to the verification of our strictly peaceful nuclear program”.
The IAEA has the authority to request access to facilities in Iran, including military ones, if there are new and credible indications of banned nuclear activities there, but diplomats say Washington has yet to provide such indications.
Yukiya Amano, IAEA director general, often describes his agency’s work as technical rather than political and has declined to comment on Haley’s remarks about inspections. In a speech on Monday, however, he defended the deal as an important step forward.