The boxy white and grey factory of this rainy northern town makes fewer than half the washing machines it did when Italy joined the euro. Home appliance maker Electrolux, which owns the factory, wants to cut the salaries of some 5,000 workers at the plant and three other factories across Italy by up to 15 percent over the next three years. The Swedish company says lowering labor costs is the only way its washing machines, fridges and other home appliances can compete against rival products made in eastern Europe and Asia. "It's a matter of survival," says Annarita Licci, a 38-year-old mother of two, who moved to Porcia in 2000, the year after Europe introduced its single currency.
Mark Carney faces probably his toughest questioning so far as Bank of England governor next week when lawmakers will seize on a foreign exchange scandal to press their demands for tighter oversight of the central bank. Carney arrived from Canada last July as an outsider with a mandate to shake up the 320 year-old institution, from monetary policy to its relationship with the powerful banks of the City of London. A group of influential members of parliament wants Carney to change the way the BoE polices itself too. Their long-standing frustrations with what they say is the Bank's outdated governance system broke out again last week when the BoE suspended an official amid an internal review into whether Bank staff turned a blind eye to possible manipulation of key rates by foreign exchange traders.
China's consumer prices rose at their slowest rate in 13 months in February as pork prices fell by their most in over a year, a sign that slowing growth rather than rising prices poses a bigger risk to the world's second-biggest economy. The consumer price index rose 2 percent in February from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday, exactly in line with market expectations. And in an indication that China's wobbly economy is fighting substantial slack, producer prices fell for the 24th consecutive month by dropping 2 percent, slightly above forecasts for a 1.9 percent drop. The tepid price data could fuel investor worries about the health of China's economy, which drew new concerns this week after figures showed export growth slumped by nearly a fifth last month.