Energy transition

Shell launches major cost-cutting drive

London - Royal Dutch Shell is looking to slash up to 40% off the cost of producing oil and gas in a major drive to save cash so it can overhaul its business and focus more on renewable energy and power markets. Shell's new cost-cutting review, known internally as Project Reshape and expected to be completed this year

Recovery Fund

Spain faces unusual problem: how to spend billions in crisis funds

Madrid - After securing a generous portion of European Union recovery funds for the coronavirus crisis, Spain faces an unlikely problem - how to make use of all the money, government sources told: "This is not a crisis of dough (money), it is a crisis of ideas," one of the sources said, referring to concrete investment projects to help the economy out of a record recession. In a country that has not managed to approve a full-year budget since 2016

Inventory glut

Oil refiners worldwide struggle with weak demand

London - Global oil refiners reeling from months of lackluster demand and an abundance of inventories are cutting fuel production into the autumn because the recovery in demand from the impact of coronavirus has stalled

Public finances

Norway's government in deficit for the first time in 25 years

Oslo - Norway's quarterly public spending exceeded the government's overall income for the first time in 25 years during the three months from April to June, Statistics Norway (SSB) said on Wednesday. The unusual deficit, amounting to $9.5 billion, came as the COVID-19 pandemic caused a sharp fall in tax revenue and in the price of crude oil

more than 90,000 cases

India reports global daily record of new coronavirus cases

The pandemic will not finish this year as the virus has spread from big cities to other parts of the country, Randeep Guleria, the director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, said in an interview with India Today TV

Statistics

Turkey's economy shrinks nearly 10% in Q2 under pandemic impact

Istanbul - Turkey's economy contracted by 9.9% in the second quarter as a coronavirus lockdown brought activity to a near standstill, according to data on Monday that showed its worst year-over-year performance in a decade

New rules

Royal Canadian Navy drops 'seaman' title for gender-neutral term 'sailor'

Ottawa - The Royal Canadian Navy is ditching the term “seaman” in favour of the gender-neutral “sailor,” the organization said Thursday: “By adopting gender neutral designation for junior members of the Royal Canadian Navy, we demonstrate to all Canadians that the Canadian Armed Forces will welcome anybody who wants to serve their country and uphold the values of inclusion and diversity"- Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement

Bok data

North Korea economy returns to grow

Seoul - The economy of isolated North Korea grew for the first time in three years in 2019 as better weather conditions boosted crop yields, but sanctions imposed to stop its nuclear ambitions kept factory output weak, South Korea's central bank said. Gross domestic product (GDP) in North Korea last year rose 0.4%

Diplomacy

UAE cancels Israel boycott, allows economic agreements

Tel Aviv - The president of the United Arab Emirates has issued a decree cancelling a law on boycotting Israel and allowing trade and financial agreements between the two countries. The decree from UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan aims at "supporting bilateral cooperation in order to arrive at (the establishment) of bilateral relations"

New rules

Greece says new insolvency code gives 'second chance' to debtors

Athens - Greece's conservative government has drafted a bill which overhauls its insolvency code, seeking to help over-indebted households and businesses make a fresh start after a crippling decade-long debt crisis. More than one million individuals and 300,000 businesses owe money to banks and the state, legacy of a decade-long financial crisis that shrank the country’s economy by a quarter

Amid EU aid

For all the debt, new Italy or Spain bonds may be hard to find / FOCUS

Amsterdam - Investors may struggle to find new southern European government bonds for the next two years, as the European Union's support programmes could cover much of the new funding needs of countries worst hit by the pandemic. Together with ongoing European Central Bank bond buying, the net supply of new sovereign Italian bonds to the open market may even shrink

Pandemic crisis

We share workers: Chinese factories redeploy staff to weather pandemic blow / REPORTAGE

Beijing - When the government of the south China city of Zhongshan heard that watchmaker Kam Yuen Group was furloughing more than 100 workers, it brokered a deal to shift the surplus staff to another manufacturer - a growing practice The arrangement will see Guangdong Welland Technology Co, which makes smart-watches and weighing scales, take on 140 Kam Yuen workers over the next six months

After demonstrations

Putin says Russia has set up 'reserve police force' to help Belarus leader if needed

Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday the Kremlin had set up a "reserve police force" to support Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, although it would not be deployed unless unrest there got out of control, Interfax news agency reported. The remarks were the strongest signal the Kremlin has given yet that it is prepared to use force if needed in Belarus

Trade war

China only fulfils 5% of Sino-U.S. energy trade deal in first half of 2020

Beijing - China bought only 5% of the targeted $25.3 billion in energy products from the United States in the first half of 2020, falling well short of its trade deal commitments at a time when relations between the two top economies are already sour. China's imports of crude oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG), metallurgical coal and other energy products totalled around $1.29 billion this year through June

First normal dialogue since May

U.S., China reaffirm commitment to Phase 1 trade deal in phone call

Washington - Top U.S. and Chinese trade officials reaffirmed their commitment to a Phase 1 trade deal, which has seen China lagging on its obligations to buy American goods, giving a boost to financial markets on Tuesday. The pledge was made in a telephone call between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He

The strategy

Sweden beefs up Baltic Sea forces amid regional tensions

Stockholm - Sweden is beefing up its military presence in the Baltic Sea amid concerns over increased Russian activity in the region and heightened tensions in Belarus following a disputed election. Sweden has been rearming in recent years after running down its military following the end of the Cold War

Statistics

UK economic output collapses by record 20% in second quarter

London - Britain's economy shrank by a record 20.4% between April and June, when the coronavirus lockdown was tightest, the largest contraction reported by any major economy so far, according to official figures published on Wednesday. The data also showed the world's sixth-biggest economy entered a recession as it shrank for a second quarter in a row

Statistics

Wind and solar produced 10% of global electricity in H1 2020

London - Wind turbines and solar panels produced a record 10% of the world’s electricity in the first half of 2020 as coal-power declined, but steeper change is needed to meet targets set under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, a report said on Thursday. Scientist say huge cuts to greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector are required over the next decade to limit global warming and curb the worst impacts of climate change

Minister Le Maire says

France aims to help SMEs with $3.5 bln aid

Paris - The French government's economic recovery plan, which will be unveiled later this month, will entail three billion euros ($3.5 billion) in aid for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the Sud Ouest reported citing Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire:"A lot of the SMEs were in good financial health before the crisis

New businesses

Spice is right as Indonesian startups eye value in vanilla / REPORTAGE

Jakarta - Indonesian Sofa Arbiyanto had a manufacturing job in South Korea two years ago when he learned about the high price of vanilla on the global market, and decided to try his luck at growing it. Now he has 2,000 vanilla vines on a 1,200-sq-metre (0.3-acre) farm in Blora, Central Java, started after he did some internet research and joined online groups of vanilla farmers

Commercial war

China hopes U.S. will create conditions to implement Phase 1 deal

Beijing - China hopes the United States will stop taking restrictive and discriminatory action against Chinese firms and create conditions for the implementation of a Phase 1 trade deal, Assistant Minister of Commerce Ren Hongbin said on Thursday. Senior U.S. and Chinese officials are due to review the deal during a video conference this weekend

Extraordinary expenses

Swiss see $23 bln 2020 deficit, COVID relief costs less than planned

Zurich - The Swiss federal government expects a deficit of $22.87 billion for 2020, it said on Wednesday, as the country's coffers are hurt by lower receipts and costly programmes to offset the new coronavirus's hit to the economy. The shortfall results from an ordinary budget deficit of 3.1 billion francs, as well as extraordinary spending to combat the COVID-19 pandemic projected at 17.8 billion francs

After port blast

Next Lebanon government to face $30 billion reform test / FOCUS

Beirut - Lebanon may be in line for $298 million in emergency aid after the Beirut port blast, but the more than $30 billion some estimate it may need to rebuild its shattered economy will not be forthcoming without reform

A rebound is expected within 2021-2022

Philippines suffers first recession in 29 years

Manila - The Philippine economy fell into recession for the first time in 29 years with a record slump in the second quarter, as strict lockdown measures ravaged economic activity

Clashes in the country

Bolivia protests rattle political truce as military mobilized

La Paz - Bolivia's government said on Monday it had ordered police and military to protect key installations and the transport of medical oxygen after clashes broke out over protests and roadblocks by opposition supporters demanding a quick election. Tensions are brewing as the South American nation heads for a key presidential election on Oct. 18, which has been delayed due to COVID-19

The Ray-Ban tycoon

Italy's Del Vecchio eyes up to 14% stake in Mediobanca

Milan - Italian eyewear tycoon Leonardo Del Vecchio is planning to raise its stake in financial group Mediobanca to 13-14% after he receives an approval from the European Central Bank later this month, two Italian dailies reported on Tuesday. Del Vecchio, founder of Ray-Ban owner Luxottica, sought ECB clearance in June to spike his Mediobanca holding above 10% and up to 20%

The economic crisis

Turkey's tumbling lira tests Erdogan's rate resolve / ANALYSIS

Istanbul - Turkish central bank head Murat Uysal has stuck to the rate-cutting script since President Tayyip Erdogan hired him to lift Turkey out of a recession and currency crisis. A year later with the COVID-19 pandemic now crushing the lira, some traders and analysts say they think Uysal will instead hike rates to head off a deeper crisis

Rocky road to recovery

European factory activity returned to modest growth

London - Euro zone manufacturing activity expanded modestly last month, its first growth since early 2019, and Asia's pain eased as the contraction slowed in export-reliant nations, adding to hopes the sector is emerging from the hit of the coronavirus pandemic. Just over 18 million people have been infected by the coronavirus and the hit from lockdowns and social distancing policies to contain its spread have had a devastating impact on global growth

Coronavirus

Philippines fears for economy as tough lockdown returns

Manila - Tens of millions of people in and around the Philippine capital will go back to a strict lockdown from Tuesday, threatening incomes and hopes for reviving a once dynamic economy as authorities take drastic measures to halt surging virus cases. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Philippines was one of Asia's fastest growing economies

Budgets

Azerbaijan lowers its economic outlook

Baku - Azerbaijan has lowered its economic outlook, projecting its oil-driven economy will shrink by 5% this year from an earlier forecast of 3.8%, the finance ministry said on Saturday. Its updated budget will be discussed next week. The ministry also lowered its 2020 oil price forecast, which it uses to calculate its budget

Latest data

Austrian economy shrank 10.7% in the second quarter

Vienna - The Austrian economy shrank 10.7% in the second quarter, marking its biggest contraction since the data series began after World War Two, as the coronavirus pandemic hit both domestic and foreign demand

Eni's marketing unit shines in challenging quarter

Shell, Total avoided expected loss due to trading

London - The trading units of European oil and gas majors have shielded their second-quarter results from the full force of the corona-induced collapse in demand for fuel, but big writedowns showed the scale of the challenge ahead, results showed on Thursday. France's Total and Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell scraped out small profits against expectations of losses

Worth of 20 million dollars

380 kg of Cocaine found in container at London Gateway Port

London - British officials have seized about £15.2m ($19.4m) worth of cocaine hidden in the floor of a refrigerated container at the London Gateway port in Essex. Border Force officers found 380 kg of the drug in a container carrying bananas from Costa Rica to Germany, after an X-ray revealed an anomaly in the insulation cavity

Post Covid-19

Iron ore, Rio Tinto sees China demand recovery

Rio Tinto on Friday reported a 1.5% rise in iron ore shipments for the second quarter and said demand for the steelmaking ingredient was improving in China as its economy recovers from the coronavirus outbreak

Post-Covid

China's export slump to ease in June

The slump in China’s exports likely eased in June as some countries reopened their economies, while imports contracted less sharply on higher crude oil and commodities purchases, a Reuters poll shows

The ceremony

Cyprus takes first step into LNG era

Nicosia - Cyprus takes its first step into the natural gas era on Thursday when President Nicos Anastasiades lays the foundation stone of the island’s first LNG terminal at Vasiliko, Larnaca. The €289 mln project is considered to be Cyprus’ largest energy venture and features an LNG floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), a jetty, mooring facilities, a pipeline, and other onshore and offshore related infrastructure

Covid

Chesapeake files for bankruptcy

Chesapeake Energy, the emblem of the American revolution for shale, is facing bankruptcy following the collapse of oil and gas prices linked to coronavirus

Slow recovery

LNG-Asian pricese steady despite cargo cancellations

Asian spot liquefied natural gas prices remained steady this week on a continued stream of spot supply even though traders continued to cancel cargoes loading from the United States due to poor economics

On the Baltic Sea

Poland signs deal to expand its LNG terminal

Poland has signed contracts worth 1.9 billion zlotys ($483 million) to expand its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Swinoujscie to 8.3 billion cubic metres (bcm) by 2023 from 5 bcm now in response to increasing domestic demand.

The "Golsan"

Another Iranian cargo ship en route to Venezuela

Teheran - Another Iranian oil tanker is en route to Venezuela, as the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to defy the sanctions put on both the nations (Iran and Venezuela) by the United States of America’s (USA). As per various reports received, the Iran-flagged "Golsan" is en route to Venezuela and is expected to dock soon

Troubles in the Med

Libya releases 14 Ukrainian seafarers after three years in jail

Tripoli - 14 Ukrainian seafarers who were arrested off Libya in 2017 have finally returned home. None of them were ever formally charged with a crime, but officials in Tripoli held them for more than three years. The Ukrainian crew and their ship, the product tanker "Ruta", were intercepted by Libyan Navy forces in April 2017 and detained for allegedly smuggling a cargo of diesel

Dnv Gl

Autonomous drone inspections move step closer after successful test

Trondheim - A drone has successfully inspected a 19.4 meter high oil tank on board a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel. The video shot by the drone was interpreted in real-time by an algorithm to detect cracks in the structure. It is the latest step in a technology qualification process that could lead to tank inspections becoming safer and more efficient

He left the Company last August

Ex-chairman of CSIC under investigation for corruption

Shanghai - Hu Wenming, the former chairman and Party chief of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), is under investigation for "suspected serious violations of discipline and law," according to Chinese anti-corruption investigators

Fiscal crises

Algeria pins hopes on oil prices to avert cuts and renewed unrest

The government is offering debt and tax holidays and an $80 cash handout to needy families. "Losses of firms are being assessed. We are ready to provide financial support. Even self-employed people such as taxi drivers and hairdressers will be helped," Tebboune said

First client: Genting Cruise

DNV GL launches new certification in infection prevention for the maritime industry

Hamburg - DNV GL, the world’s leading classification society, has launched a new certification in infection prevention for the maritime industry. The release of this custom certification aims to help the maritime industry resume operations better prepared for COVID-19 or other emerging pathogens. Genting Cruise Lines is the first customer working towards the CIP-M certification for their vessel “Explorer Dream”

The initiative

Panama threatens sanctions for ships disabling positioning signals

Panama City - Panama’s maritime authorities issued a stern warning to all Panamanian flagged vessels seen as another crackdown on common tactics used by ships trying to avoid international restrictions or hide their activities. Panama’s directive follows the United States that recently highlighted the tactics used by illegal shippers and rogue nations

Qatar's strategy

Biggest LNG shipper signs $20 billion deal to secure more vessels

Doha - Qatar has signed a deal worth around $20 billion with South Korean shipbuilders to help cement its position as the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas. The Gulf emirate entered into agreements with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and Samsung Heavy Industries Co

Covid

Pandemic forces virtual safety checks for oil tankers

Ship assessors are resorting to virtual inspections of oil tankers to keep vessels afloat, as the coronavirus pandemic makes physical visits to check for seaworthiness tougher and a slump in fuel demand increases the need for ships as storage

Introducing the world's largest containership

Moon says S. Korea’s shipping industry reviving, vows continued support

Seoul - President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that South Korea’s shipping sector has set sail toward a renaissance with the introduction of the world’s largest container ship. He was attending a ceremony to christen the 24,000-TEU vessel, the "Algeciras", for use by the South Korean shipper HMM

The Covid-19 effects

Moody's expects poor GDP numbers for the first quarter / ANALYSIS

London - Preliminary first -quarter GDP estimates for several euro zone member countries and for the currency area itself will make the coming week extremely busy. We expect the numbers to be awful. Whole swaths of the European economies were forced to shut down in March owing to the COVID -19 crisis

Energy and strategy

Trump to lease oil storage to nine companies

Washington - The U.S. Energy Department is negotiating with nine companies to rent about 23 million barrels of oil storage capacity in its Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of a Trump administration bid to help drain the country’s growing glut of crude

Energy

Russia hails oil deal it says will save millions of U.S. jobs

Having been in a stand-off with western nations from 2014 on everything from Crimea's annexation from Ukraine to allegations of election meddling, Moscow has sought to rebuild ties since the coronavirus outbreak. It sent medical support to Italy and the United States to fight the pandemic and has supported the historic oil supply pact