US: ISM Report: Service industry shows fastest growth since last year covering retail, health care, agriculture and construction – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Dec.05: Service Industries in U.S. Expand at Fastest Pace in 13 Months

America’s service industries expanded in November at the fastest clip since October of last year, putting the economy’s biggest sector on a robust growth path.

The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index jumped to 57.2, exceeding all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey, from 54.8 in October, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s data showed Monday. Readings above 50 signal growth. The median forecast called for 55.5.

Measures of business activity and employment strengthened at companies that cover almost 90 percent of the economy, signaling growing optimism about demand.

The group’s factory survey released last week also showed promise, with manufacturing expanding by the most in five months.

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of economists ranged from 54 to 57.

The latest reading puts the ISM services gauge above the 54.5 average for the first 10 months of this year and compares with 57.2 in all of 2015.

The ISM services survey covers a range of industries, including retail, health care, agriculture and construction.

The group’s business activity index, which parallels the ISM’s factory production gauge, jumped to 61.7, also the highest since October 2015, from 57.7. A measure of services employment climbed to a 13-month high of 58.2 from 53.1.

Employment figures from the Labor Department last Friday showed payrolls increased by 178,000 workers and the jobless rate dropped to a nine-year low of 4.6 percent. Business services, health-care providers and restaurants accounted for most of the job gains.

The ISM’s new orders gauge eased to a still-robust 57 in November from 57.7 the prior month.

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DUBAI: IFB: Gold approved as investment for first time under Islamic finance after standards group sets Shariah-compliant rules to trade it Bloomberg reported on Monday – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Dec.05: Gold Can Be Used In the Islamic Finance Business for the First Time

Gold is acceptable for the first time as an investment in Islamic finance after the group that sets standards for the industry adopted Shariah-compliant rules for trading the metal.

The rules approved Nov. 19 allow gold to be used in the $1.88 trillion Islamic finance business, the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions said Monday in a statement. The AAOIFI developed the standards with help from the producer-funded World Gold Council, which has said the new rules could spur demand for “hundreds of tons” of gold.

The SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest exchange-traded fund backed by bullion traded under stock symbol GLD, will probably qualify, and the standard may open new demand to central banks, Mohd Daud Bakar, a Shariah scholar, said at a press conference in Dubai Monday. Comex gold futures wouldn’t qualify because of a physical backing requirement, he said.

“We fully expect to announce imminently that GLD does qualify,” Natalie Dempster, a managing director of the World Gold Council, said at the conference. Physical gold bars and coins may also qualify, she said. The rules require that a bank selling gold has to offer same-day settlement or has to demonstrate it can provide the exact gold being sold within one day, Dempster said. The standard also applies to silver, according to Hamed Hassan Merah, AAOIFI secretary general.

“This is a ground-breaking initiative for Islamic investors and for the gold industry at large,” Aram Shishmanian, chief executive officer of the World Gold Council, said in the joint statement. “We are delighted that there is now definitive Shariah guidance on the permissability of investing in gold.”

Gold joins equities, real estate, Islamic bonds (sukuk) and takaful (insurance) as vehicles approved for Islamic finance, according to the Bahrain-based AAOIFI. Sukuk volume slipped 1.4 percent in 2015 after the Malaysian central bank terminated its short-term sukuk issuance program, the AAOIFI said.

“The time has come for gold instruments in Islamic finance,” Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, said Monday in a World Gold Council report accompanying the statement. The report didn’t say if Templeton plans to invest in the product.

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WASHINGTON: Agrees to Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA setting up two US bases next month that has taken three years of contentious issues over expanding its discount service – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Dec.05: Norwegian Air Shuttle May Open Two U.S. Bases Next Month
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European budget carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA will set up two new U.S. bases as early as next month after Washington approved the airline’s longstanding but contentious application to expand its service.

Norwegian Air spent three years trying to win approval from the U.S. for a new Ireland-based subsidiary to expand the discount airline’s international services….

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GREECE: Report: Debts reach 180 times of GDP as EU-bloc members meet once again to decide on another tranche of funds for the hard pressed country as Germany issues ultimatum: Reform or leave Eurozone – @AceNewsServices

#AceFinanceNews – Dec.05: German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told Greece to carry out unpopular reforms if it wants to stay in the Eurozone, ruling out debt relief for Athens.

The warning may signal yet another emergency in the continent already beset by multiple crises.

As Eurozone finance ministers prepare to meet in Brussels on Monday to discuss short-term debt relief for Greece, Schaeuble delivered an ultimatum to Athens: the country, which already has a staggering €330 billion ($349 billion) debt burden, must reform or face an exit from the EU.

“Athens must finally implement the needed reforms,” Schaeuble told Bild am Sonntag on Sunday. “If Greece wants to stay in the euro, there is no way around it – in fact completely regardless of the debt level.”

To secure new loans from European financial institutions, Greece has to liberalize the labor market, particularly by allowing companies to fire employees more easily and with less legal obstacles. Among other unpopular measures is Brussels’ proposal to curb certain rights of Greek labor unions.

Schaeuble added that Athens must not rely on any assistance from international creditors at the moment, saying, It will not help Greece.”

The German government has promised not to request their parliament for more money for Greece unless the International Monetary Fund (IMF) resumes lending to Athens.

The IMF in turn says that new loans are not an option unless it is reassured that Greece’s debt burden is sustainable. The Greek government, currently led by left-wing party Syriza, has long argued that the country’s overwhelming debt load is the main obstacle to sustainable growth.

Governor of the Bank of Greece Yannis Stournaras said new measures were needed to ease Athens’ debt burden. “We’ve made clear that there is no chance we’ll accept what the IMF demands on [austerity] measures and labor reforms,” Tzanakopoulos said, as quoted by Reuters.

Athens has received three international bailouts since 2010, and its debt, at about 180 percent of GDP, is still the highest in the Eurozone, amounting to over €300bn of emergency loans.

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