Evening Briefing Europe: Zimbabwe, Airbus, Deutsche, Sweden, Vanuatu
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Armed forces have seized power in Zimbabwe and detained 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the southern African nation since 1980. The military denies it’s a coup. The events come at a time of deep crisis in the country. Mugabe is confined to his home, according to South African president Jacob Zuma. Zimbabwe doesn’t have its own currency, and bitcoin climbed as much as 10 percent on Harare’s Golix exchange. — Leila Taha and Andy Reinhardt
Outside help. U.S. private equity investor Cerberus Capital Management has taken a 3 percent stake in Deutsche Bank AG, making it the fourth-largest shareholder in Germany’s biggest bank and fueling merger speculation: Cerberus also acquired 5 percent of Commerzbank four months ago. “It’s unlikely that Cerberus’s rationale for its investments in Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank is purely based on the expectation that two banks can be turned around,” said Michael Huenseler at asset manager Assenagon, which owns Deutsche Bank stock. Shares in both banks surged.
Dog fight. After a few days of lackluster showing at the Dubai Air Show, Airbus has caught up with rival Boeing, announcing the biggest commercial-plane transaction in history, worth nearly $50 billion. The order for 430 A320neo planes came from U.S. investor Indigo Partners, which will supply low-cost carriers from Denver to Budapest. Never far behind, Boeing secured a $27 billion order for 737 Max jets from discount carrier FlyDubai.
Price shock. Nationwide declines in Sweden’s housing market were so worrisome that they sparked a 1.5 percent slump in the krona against the euro on Tuesday. A weaker currency puts the central bank’s inflation target at risk—which might make the Riksbank think again about its hands-off approach to housing. If the central bank wants to prevent Scandinavia’s biggest property market from sinking into a correction, it could hold rates for longer than expected.
Cyber attacks. Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre disclosed that Russia has carried out Internet assaults on major U.K. energy, technology and media companies. The head of the organization, which is part of the country’s GCHQ security agency, says it has dealt with more than 600 cyber attacks since it was created last year. The announcement comes just days after Prime Minister Theresa May warned the Kremlin is behind a campaign of disruption in the U.K.
Changing times. Vanuatu, a remote archipelago in the South Pacific, built a role for itself over the past 40 years as an offshore financial center with an attractive tax and regulatory regime. But since last year, the microstate has faced international sanctions for not complying with stricter anti-money-laundering rules imposed after the global financial crisis. As the noose tightens on tax havens, Vanuatu’s leaders are trying to carve a new path for the country.
Million bucks. In London last September, some lucky duck paid £826,250 ($1.1 million) for a 1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports Saloon. But you don’t have to dig that deep to get a classic Bentley or Rolls-Royce of your own. The discerning buyer can find a used model for a fraction of that price. You’ll feel like a million bucks behind the wheel. The average value of a Rolls-Royce Corniche Series I is $34,300 for one in excellent condition—or as low as $25,000 for one in fair condition.
Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha
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