Pier Carlo Padoan, Italy’s former finance minister, has been named as the next chairman of UniCredit, the country’s largest financial institution by assets, the company said in a statement.

Mr Padoan, currently a member of parliament for the Democratic party, Italy’s junior coalition partner, has been appointed as a non-executive director to replace Elena Zambon, who resigned last month, and will serve as a board member until Unicredit’s annual general meeting later this year. 

The bank said Mr Padoan, 70, was “the best candidate for the position of chairman for the next term 2021-2023” and his candidacy had been vetted by rigorous internal processes. He will succeed Cesare Bisoni, who was named chairman after the sudden death of Fabrizio Saccomanni, another former finance minister, at the end of 2019.

Mr Padoan’s appointment comes at a crucial time for Italy’s fragmented banking sector as regulators and political institutions demand consolidation, which has been opposed by UniCredit chief executive Jean Pierre Mustier. 

Despite Intesa Sanpaolo’s takeover of UBI Banca, the country’s third-largest bank, Mr Mustier has rejected demands by the Italian government to buy Monte dei Paschi di Siena. The lender was bailed out with taxpayers’ money in 2017 by Mr Padoan’s ministry and is currently majority-owned by the state.

Bankers in Milan and government officials in Rome believe Mr Padoan’s appointment is a “conservative pick” and a clear signal that UniCredit will be forced to play a direct role in the consolidation of the Italian banking sector, despite Mr Mustier’s pushback.

“Padoan is a heavyweight in the country. His won’t be an honorary role. He’s going to have a strong say within the board,” said one person close to UniCredit.

According to two executives in Milan and one official in Rome, Mr Padoan’s appointment could pave the way for a

BERLIN (Reuters) – The latest economic data provide hope that Germany’s economy can return to pre-crisis levels in early 2022, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday.

a group of police officers riding on the back of a car: FILE PHOTO: VW re-starts Europe's largest car factory after coronavirus shutdown

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FILE PHOTO: VW re-starts Europe’s largest car factory after coronavirus shutdown

Germany’s rising level of government debt is not a problem because the country can tackle the situation with “good growth”, Scholz told TV station CNBC in an interview.

Scholz rejected concerns that state aid was artificially keeping alive companies that were in financial troubles in the wake of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Olaf Scholz wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: German Finance Minister Scholz and Justice Minister Lambrecht hold news conference in Berlin

German Finance Minister Scholz and Justice Minister Lambrecht hold news conference in Berlin

Germany’s government has taken steps such as allowing firms to delay bankruptcy filings until the end of the year, extended from an original deadline of end-September.

Helped by these measures, the number of firms declaring insolvency in Germany fell 6% in the first half of 2020 compared with the year-earlier period.

Critics say suspending insolvencies delays but does not prevent the collapse of “zombie companies” that are artificially kept afloat.

Firms are making necessary decisions and adjustments despite the crisis, Scholz said. For instance, many companies are cutting staff at the moment instead of making use of state aid that would allow them to cut workers’ hours, he said.

“The debate about zombie companies is nonsense,” Scholz said.

(Reporting by Christian Kraemer, writing by Kirsti Knolle, editing by Maria Sheahan)

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AMMAN, Oct 12 (Reuters)Jordan’s Finance Minister Mohamad Al Ississ will keep his job in a new cabinet due to be sworn in later on Monday, underlining the country’s commitment to ambitious economic reforms backed by the International Monetary Fund, officials said.

Harvard-educated Al Ississ, who has won IMF praise for his handling of the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic,helped negotiate a four-year IMF programme worth $1.3 billion, approved in March, that signalled confidence in Jordan’s reforms.

The IMF deal will enable Jordan to access more than $3 billion in cheaper financing through concessionary loans and grants from its major Western donors that will help soften the effects of COVID-19 on its economy, they said.

Jordan’s economy is expected to shrink by more than 5.5% this year, the sharpest contraction in two decades. Before the pandemic struck, the IMF had estimated economic growth of 2%.

The country’s public finances and balance of payments have been strained by the collapse of tourism, a major source of foreign currency, and lower remittances from workers overseas.

Unemployment hit a record 23% in the second quarter as layoffs and bankruptcies increased and poverty deepened in an aid-dependent country that was already struggling before the pandemic.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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NEW DELHI, Oct 12 (Reuters)India’s finance minister on Monday announced steps to stimulate consumer demand including advance payment of a part of the wages of federal government employees for spending during the festival season, part of efforts to bolster the pandemic-hit economy.

The government will also allow its employees to spend travel allowances that are an income-tax-exempt part of their salaries on goods and services, Nirmala Sitharaman told a news briefing.

“This is expected to create a consumer demand of about 280 billion rupees ($3.83 billion),” she said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which imposed a tough lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus in March, is pushing ahead with a full opening to try to boost the economy ahead of the usually high-spending festival season.

($1 = 73.1541 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Aftab Ahmed and Manoj Kumar; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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A customer takes a photo with his mobile phone at a Thai Airways pop-up airplane-themed restaurant at the airline’s headquarters in Bangkok on Sept. 10, 2020.

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Thailand will focus on spurring domestic consumption and reopening an economy badly hit by the impact of the coronavirus crisis, the country’s new finance ministry said on Monday.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy suffered its deepest contraction in 22 years in the second quarter as the pandemic hammered the key tourism sector and domestic activity.

The other main tasks include boosting liquidity, supporting tourism and accelerating public spending, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told reporters on his first official day at work.

“The most urgent task is to boost liquidity for businesses affected by Covid-19 as the business sector accounts for 70% of GDP,” he said.

The government will continue to introduce measures to support domestic consumption, which makes up half of the economy, and tourism, Arkhom said.

Later on Monday, the cabinet will consider planned tax breaks to increase spending, which is estimated to add 120 billion baht ($3.9 billion) into the economy.

The ministry will speed up government spending, which accounts for 20% of GDP, including a delayed 400 billion baht budget earmarked for reviving the economy under a bigger 1 trillion baht borrowing plan, Arkhom said.

Regarding a persistently strong baht, Arkhom said it is “an unresolved problem” and the ministry will closely

“But the central bank will take care of it,” he said, speaking after the baht hit a more than two-week high last week.

Longer-term measures will include reopening particularly to foreign tourists to help the economy to continue to expand next year, Arkhom said.

“Although the situation looks better next year and there may be a vaccine, it will still take one or two