The world this week
American banks had a bumper first quarter, with profits and revenues beating analysts’ expectations. They were helped by frenzied market activity, such as the surge in special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) and retail investing. And, thanks to America’s recovering economy, some banks were able to release funds that had been set aside to cover bad loans. JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs both reported record revenues. Returns on tangible common equity, a measure which compares profits to capital, jumped to 29% at JPMorgan and to 33% at Goldman. Wells Fargo posted strong results too.
Consumer prices in America rose by 2.6% in the 12 months ending in March, compared with 1.7% in February. The jump was in part caused by the fact that inflation figures compare prices today with what they were a year ago. That was when the first COVID-19 wave spread through the country, pushing down prices.
America’s budget deficit grew to a record $1.7trn in the six months since October. Federal spending soared last month, following the third round of stimulus payments aimed at boosting the economy.
Britain’s economy improved slightly in February as GDP grew by 0.4% compared with the previous month. The uptick was caused by a recovery in post-Brexit trade with the European Union and by businesses adapting to lockdown conditions.
The International Energy Agency revised up this year’s forecast for the growth in oil demand by 230,000 barrels a day to 5.7m. The revision is the result of faster economic recoveries than previously expected, particularly in America and China.
Bernie Madoff, the former financial adviser, died aged 82. He was the mastermind behind the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme, which defrauded investors out of $19bn. He died in a federal prison in North Carolina while serving a 150-year sentence.
After a long and bitter battle, Suez and Veolia, two French water companies, agreed to merge. For months Suez’s board resisted the tie-up. But a higher bid that values Suez at 13bn euros ($15bn) helped secure the deal. The transaction will create a giant in the water industry with revenues of 37bn euros. Both companies’ share prices rose by nearly 10%.
经过漫长而艰苦的斗争，两家法国水务公司苏伊士和威立雅同意合并。苏伊士集团董事会几个月来一直抵制这次合并 。不过，在对收购苏伊士集团的报价提高至130亿欧元(合150亿美元)后才最终敲定了这笔交易 。这笔交易将缔造一家销售额为370亿欧元的水务行业巨头 。两家公司的股价都上涨了近10% 。
1. thanks to 由于；幸亏
I would like to propose a vote of thanks to our host.
2. tie-up 联合；合并
They're negotiating a tie-up with Ford.
3. push down 向下推；叠加；遏制
The government had done everything it could to push down inflation.
4. set aside to 预留
Money was set aside to cut fees and provide guarantees for major SBA lending programs.