Morning papers: Eurozone fund’s first debt issue positive

The eurozone’s long-term bailout fund took its first step into public debt markets on Tuesday, selling €1.9bn ($1.5b) of treasury bills shortly after Japan committed to remaining a key investor in the European financial rescue project, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The European Stability Mechanism received solid demand in its first short-term debt auction, which signaled a shift in the way euro-area countries that face unsustainable borrowing costs will be financed. The region’s temporary rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, conducted its last bill auction in December.

Pensioners feel chill of austerity measures

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Wealthy pensioners will no longer be insulated against the full force of austerity measures after the next election, as senior Conservatives prepare to end their pledge to cut universal benefits, including £2bn in winter fuel repayments, reports the Financial Times.

HSBC’S $9bn sale of stake in Ping An at risk

The sale of HSBC’s $9.4bn (£5.9bn) stake in the insurer Ping An is in doubt after Chinese authorities appeared to withdraw funding for part of the deal, reports the Independent.

Eurozone unemployment hits new high

Unemployment in the eurozone hit a fresh high in November after the jobless rate jumped to 11.8 per cent, illustrating the difficulties faced by officials in Brussels seeking to show the bloc is on the mend, reports The Guardian.

Pensioners face ‘stealth attack’ from change to the inflation index

Pensioners and savers should brace themselves for a “stealth attack” on their income from a change to the way inflation is calculated, experts warned yesterday, reports the Daily Mail.

The Office for National Statistics will tomorrow reveal the results of its two-year investigation into whether or not to change the retail prices index, known as RPI.