By Renee Maltezou and Deepa Babington ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday reshuffled his team handling talks with European and IMF lenders, after his finance minister was sharply criticized for his performance at a euro zone meeting last week. Athens is dangerously close to bankruptcy and is scrambling to find a deal with increasingly furious lenders to unlock aid before it runs out of money or defaults on debt payments in May. Tsipras and senior aides expressed support for Yanis Varoufakis and agreed the finance minister would supervise a new team negotiating a reforms deal with lenders, but appointed deputy Foreign Minister Euclid Tsakalotos as coordinator of the group, a government official said.
China will likely cut the number of its central government-owned conglomerates to 40 through a series of mergers, as Beijing pushes forward a plan to overhaul the country's underperforming state sector, state media reported on Monday. Currently, the central government owns 112 conglomerates, including 277 public firms listed on the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock exchanges with a market capitalisation of more than 10 trillion yuan ($1.6 trillion), according to the official newspaper Economic Information Daily. "Resources will be increasingly concentrated on large enterprises to avoid cut-throat competition, like what CSR Corp Ltd and China CNR Corp Ltd did when competing against each other for projects overseas," the paper said. Stocks jumped to fresh seven-year highs on the report, led by heavyweights such as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp and PetroChina Co Ltd .
Whisper it, but the next challenge for financial markets and policymakers may not be deflation, but the remarkable surge in oil prices from the six-year low touched in January. Since then, Brent crude futures have risen 45 percent. These measures have ranged from interest rate cuts to bond-buying "quantitative easing" programs. All have been in response to the fall in inflation rates and inflation expectations driven by the 60 percent collapse in oil prices over the latter part of last year.
By Thomas Atkins and Jonathan Gould FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank will cut 200 billion euros ($217.5 billion) in investment bank assets and exit a tenth of the countries in which it operates as part of a restructuring program designed to boost earnings and cut risk. After sticking with its costly universal banking model in the aftermath of the financial crisis, Germany's largest bank is under pressure from investors to follow rivals such as UBS and Credit Suisse by culling unprofitable operations. Shares in the German lender dropped by more than 3 percent in early trade, the biggest faller among European banks , as investors doubted whether co-chief executives Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen would meet their new targets. "There are 2020 targets and savings/investment plans which we and the market will take with a grain of salt, given their chequered history," said Omar Fall, an analyst with Jefferies International.