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Former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan stressed the eurozone is not functioning, saying insufficient balances in the economic stability of EU member countries make the current duty of the single currency a major area of concern.

Greenspan emphasized the great difference among European Union states, with the EU's more wealthier states including Germany regularly financing the shortages of southern countries.

The ex-central bank head, who has been critical about the bloc, said this divergence should not persist. He mentioned the European Central Bank is grappling with greater challenges than the Fed, noting the ECB's balance sheet is bigger than ever.

He also expressed his apprehension regarding the euro's prospect.

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Bank of England Governor Mark Carney hinted on Thursday that financial markets were wrong to assume that an interest rate hike in May should be expected, underlining that there were also “other meetings” this year.

Speaking to BBC news on the sidelines of the IMF spring meetings in Washington, the leader of the English central bank said that the interest rates were still likely to gradually increase this year, but softer data had given the Monetary Policy Committee a reason to hesitate. He said the committee was now aware that there are other meetings in 2018 when it can consider rates.

The comment dashed widespread expectations for monetary policy tightening in May. Interest-rate futures markets have estimated the probability of a rate increase next month of up to 90 percent.

Carney said he does not want to be too focused on the exact timing, but more on the general path of the policy. He added that Britain should prepare for a “few interest rate rises over the next few years.”

The Sterling pound declined almost a cent against U.S. dollar to its lowest level since April 9 on the back of the comments, in which Carney underlined “mixed” economic data.

While unemployment declined to a new 45-year low and employment growth was strong, wage growth was weaker than anticipated. After the disappointing data, a steeper-than-expected decline in inflation.

In the end, Carney said that the result of the Britain's divorce negotiations with the European Union would be the biggest factor in economic decisions in the coming years. He said that the central bank's decision will be adjusted to the impact of those decisions in order to keep the economy on a stable path.

Tags: Policy

European markets ended mixed on Thursday as investors priced in new earnings reports and surging oil prices.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 edged up 0.2 percent, with major bourses and business sectors pointing in different directions.

France's CAC 40 climbed 0.2 percent to 5,391.64, and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.2 percent to 7,328.92. Spain's IBEX 35 added 0.1 percent to 9,868.00. Germany's DAX 30 index fell 0.2 percent to close at 12,567.42, as shares of lender Deutsche Bank AG lost ground.

Household goods led the losses, as it plunged 1.9 percent. Unilever was among the sector's worst performers after the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant posted sales figures that were in line with expectations during the first three months of the year. The maker of Dove soap also said it remained confident shareholders would support its decision to change the corporate structure of the firm. Shares of Unilever lost almost 2.2 percent.

Media stocks rallied during the day's trade, rising 1.7 percent. France's Publicis Group reported better-than-expected underlying sales growth in the first-quarter, buoyed by a bounce in North American activities. Its shares closed 7.4 percent to the upside, topping the European benchmark.

Oil stocks outperformed as oil and Brent crude prices each gained roughly 1.5 percent during the session, leaving the Stoxx Europe 600 Oil & Gas Index higher by 1.1 percent and up for a third consecutive session. Among oil shares, oil producer Tullow Oil rose 3.8 percent, and Total SA climbed 1.2 percent.

Britain's Weir Group was the third best performing stock, with its shares closing 6.2 percent higher. The firm, which makes pumps and valves for mining and energy industries, announced it would try to purchase U.S.-based ESCO Corp for an equity value of more than $1 billion.

The recent flattening yield curve is not an indication that the nine-year-stretch of U.S. economic expansion is nearing its end, according to Federal Reserve Governor Randal Quarles.

In a speech at the Bretton Woods Conference, the Fed official said that he does not perceive the current flattening of the yield curve as a particular indication towards a pending recession.

Yields are increasing more for shorter maturities than for longer maturities, flattening the yield curve.

The yield on the two year note yield stood at 1.73 percent. Meanwhile, the 10-year bond yield now stands at 2.868 percent.

Some Fed officials believe an inversion, where short-term rates increase above long-term rates, is an important indicator of a grave downturn. However, Quarles said that it all depends on what was driving the narrowing of the yield spread.

He said that the flattening of the yield curve currently observed is more of a repercussion of expected lags in the adjustment of the longer-term rates once shorter-term rates begin to rise. He added that if this was what was driving the markets going forward, he believes it that the inversion of the yield curve is an indicator of a looming recession.

Tags: Policy