Including gas power plant

Myanmar's junta approves $2.8 bln investment

Yangoon - Myanmar's military rulers have approved new investment in projects worth nearly $2.8 billion, including a liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant that will cost $2.5 billion, the country's investment body said. Approvals for 15 projects were given on Friday by the Myanmar Investment Commission, according to a statement on the website of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration

The country faces 200 MW power generation deficit

Power generation woes in Ivory Coast and Ghana hit industry and neighbours

Abidjan - A drop in electricity generation in Ivory Coast and Ghana has left households and businesses fuming as well as cutting power supplies to neighbouring West African countries Mali and Burkina Faso, officials said. A prolonged dry season has reduced water levels at hydropower dams in both countries that in some cases could take months to resolve

But signs of recovery emerge

Philippine economic slump extends into Q1

Manila - The Philippine economy shrank more than expected in the first quarter, though sequential momentum showed a recovery was underway and suggested the central bank will keep rates at a record low at this week's policy review to support the revival. Gross domestic product fell 4.2% in the March quarter from a year earlier

Under new NAFTA

U.S. unions lodge first Mexico labor grievance

Mexico City - U.S. unions on Monday filed the first labor rights petition against Mexico under a new regional trade pact, vying to bring a complaint against an auto parts company on the border that they say has denied workers the right to independent representation

Modelling hadn't factored in government shutdowns

Underwriters puzzle over how to make pandemics insurable again / FOCUS

London - When much of the global economy locked down last year, insurers, facing estimated losses of more than $100 billion globally, reached straight for their red pens to strike pandemic cover from all new business policies

Column

Carbon pricing - markets, taxes or regulation?

London - The cost of EU emissions allowances has doubled over the last two years, which is likely to renew debate over the relative merits of market-based and tax-based approaches to pricing carbon dioxide emissions

Blinken says

"West must be very careful about Chinese investment"

London - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the West had to be very careful about the exact nature of Chinese investment in Western economies and think very carefully about investments in strategic assets. China's spectacular economic and military rise over the past 40 years is among the most significant geopolitical events of recent history, alongside the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union that ended the Cold War

As relations curdle

China suspends economic dialogue mechanism with Australia

Beijing - China "indefinitely" suspended on Thursday all activity under a China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, its state economic planner said, the latest setback for their strained relations: "Some Australian Commonwealth Government officials launched a series of measures to disrupt the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia out of Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination," China's NDRC said

In $4.5 bln deal

France to sell Egypt 30 fighter jets

Paris - Egypt has signed a contract with France to buy 30 Rafale fighter jets, its defence ministry said in a statement early on Tuesday, in a deal that was worth 3.75 billion euro ($4.5 billion). President Emmanuel Macron said in December he would not make the sale of weapons to Egypt conditional on human rights because he did not want to weaken Cairo's ability to counter terrorism in the region

IMF says

Saudi Arabia could ease fiscal adjustment to help recovery

Dubai - Saudi Arabia's plans to balance its finances are making good progress but a slower pace of adjustment could be considered this year to support the recovery from the coronavirus crisis, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday

In France

Lebanon's central bank governor faces new corruption allegations

Paris - An anti-corruption group has submitted a legal complaint in France against Lebanon's central bank governor over foreign investments including property he owns worth millions of euros, two people involved in the filing said on Monday. Sherpa, a non-governmental organisation that defends victims of economic crimes

The top presidential candidate

Peru, Castillo vows to curb foreign firms "looting" mining wealth

Lima - Peruvian presidential election front-runner, socialist Pedro Castillo, said on Saturday he would, if elected, review contracts with foreign miners in the copper-rich country and seal a deal for Russia's Sputnik V vaccine. Castillo leads in the polls ahead of a run-off vote on June 6 against right-wing opponent Keiko Fujimori

And other economic changes

Tanzania's new president plans income tax cut

Nairobi - Tanzania's new President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on Saturday the government would reduce the income tax rate by 1 percentage point to 8%, in the 2021/22 financial year beginning in July, and also planned to remove "unfriendly taxes and charges to Tanzanians"

energy

China drills deep in disputed South China Sea

Tensions in the region have escalated since a U.S. Navy strike group entered the South China Sea on Sunday. That came after the president of the Philippines, a U.S. ally, voiced concern about Chinese vessels massing in Manila's 200-mile (320-km) exclusive economic zone.

The incident

Reinsurers set to bear brunt of costs for Suez Canal grounding

Alan Mackinnon, chief claims officer with UK Club, the Ever Given's P&I insurer, said it expected a claim against the ship’s owner from the canal authorities for possible damage to the canal and for loss of revenues, and separately claims for compensation from some of the owners of the delayed ships.

As deluge shuts rails, slows port

Australian coal exports disrupted

Melbourne - Coal deliveries to Australia's Port of Newcastle, the world's biggest coal export port, have been halted because flooding in the Hunter Valley region has shut rail lines, with heavy rains also slowing ship movements at the port. Heavy rains along Australia's east coast over several days have caused the worst flooding in half a century

After Erdogan sacks central bank chief

Turkish lira plunges to near record low

Istanbul - Turkey's lira briefly fell 15% to near its all-time low on Monday after President Tayyip Erdogan abruptly fired the central bank governor at the weekend and installed a critic of tight policy who is expected to reverse recent rate hikes. Sahap Kavcioglu, a former ruling party lawmaker who shares Erdogan's unorthodox view that high interest rates cause inflation

The world's top producer

Qatar tightens global gas market grip

 Qatar Petroleum is cranking up the pressure on high-cost rivals with bold expansion plans that will boost supplies over the coming decade and potentially push prices down further

In 2021

WFP to procure 200,000 tonnes of wheat for Sudan

Khartoum - The World Food Programme will procure 200,000 tonnes of wheat for Sudan in 2021, in the second year of a programme that allows the country to help prevent shortages while preserving precious foreign currency reserves, a WFP official told Reuters. The system agreed with the WFP last year allows Sudan to reimburse the organization for the wheat in local currency, and aims to help reduce the impact of frequent shortages of wheat

As pandemic keeps many shops closed

Inditex's net profit falls 70%

Madrid - Zara owner Inditex said on Wednesday its net profit fell 70% in 2020 to 1.1 billion euros ($1.31 billion), a steeper drop than expected, after a year of global lockdowns and dampened demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Fourth-quarter net profit fell 53% to 435 million euros out of sales of 6.3 billion euros as restrictions on shopping came back into force across much of Europe during the end-of-year holiday season

The African country's information minister said

Zimbabwe says China's Tsingshan to build iron ore mine, steel plant from May

Harare - China's Tsingshan Holding Group is set to start developing an iron ore mine and a carbon steel plant in Zimbabwe from May, the African country's information minister said late on Tuesday, three years after the firm first announced the investment deal

Reports record profit

Malaysia's Top Glove says no systemic forced labour found at firm

Kuala Lumpur - Top Glove said an independent consultant has found there is "no longer" any indication of systemic forced labour at the world's largest medical glove maker after it took steps to address U.S. allegations of such practices. The firm announced the findings on Tuesday as it posted a fourth consecutive quarter of record profit

As coronavirus deaths spike

Peru slammed by oxygen shortage

Lima - The death toll in Peru continued to mount on Friday as a relentless second wave of the coronavirus left many hospitals short of oxygen for critical patients even as daily infections continued to climb. In Lima, long lines snake down city blocks as friends and relatives seek to snatch up the last remaining bottled oxygen available in the capital

Germany says

Talks about Franco-German fighter jet still ongoing

Berlin - Negotiations about the next steps in the development of a Franco-German fighter jet are still going on, the German defence ministry said on Friday of Europe's biggest defence project. A defence ministry spokesman was commenting on the latest round of talks between the defence ministers of both countries which took place on Thursday

After pandemic debt surge

ECB faces tricky balancing act

Frankfurt - As the euro zone begins to emerge from the depths of a pandemic-induced recession, the European Central Bank is facing a difficult balancing act between supporting indebted governments and keeping creditors onside. Encouraged by the ECB's massive bond purchase programme and ultra-low interest rates, national governments have taken on a mountain of new borrowing to cushion the coronavirus pandemic

China punishing Australia's call for COVID-19 inquest

Africa's miners and winemakers toast China's row with Australia

Cape Town - For South African winemaker Vergenoegd Löw, the pandemic could have been a disaster but a bitter trade war between China and Australia has thrown the 325-year-old estate a lifeline. Bottles of its reds, whites and roses piled up when South Africa banned alcohol sales under a strict lockdown and visitors who once flocked to the vineyard near Cape Town to sip wine and snap photos of its famed Indian Runner ducks vanished

In Q1

Recovery in global trade to stall again

Geneva - A recovery in global trade is expected to slow again in the first quarter of 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic keeps disrupting the travel industry after world trade contracted 9% in 2020, a U.N. report said on Wednesday. After lockdowns caused trade to shrink 15% in the first half of 2020, it rebounded in the second half, with global trade in goods up about 8% in the fourth quarter compared with the third, UNCTAD said.

As energy transition speeds up

State oil firms risk wasting $400 bln

London - National oil companies (NOCs) risk squandering $400 billion on expensive oil and gas projects over the next decade that may only break even if the world fails to meet the Paris climate goals, a non-governmental organisation said on Tuesday. In a new report called Risky Bet, the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) estimated that NOCs could invest $1.9 trillion over the next ten years

Figures released by the Federal Statistics Office showed

Chinese demand helps German manufacturers weather COVID-19 pandemic

Berlin - Germany's industrial sector avoided a contraction in December despite coronavirus lockdowns at home and abroad as strong demand from China helped export-oriented manufacturers in Europe's largest economy weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Industrial output was flat on the month after an upwardly revised increase of 1.5% in the previous month

As election row escalates

Somalia's opposition cease recognising president

Mogadishu - An alliance of Somali opposition parties proposed the creation of a national council of lawmakers, opposition leaders and civil society to govern the war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation after the president's term expired on Monday with no clear plan for succession. The power vacuum and divisions between political leaders was a boost to the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgency, a Somali security analyst warned

The infrastructure

Pipe laying for Nord Stream 2 restarts in Danish waters

Moscow - The consortium behind the Russia-led Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline has resumed laying pipes in the waters of Denmark, it said on Saturday, despite mounting pressure on the project from Washington. Construction of the link, which would double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream pipeline to 110 billion cubic metres of gas per year, was suspended in December 2019 due to the threat of sanctions from Washington

Use of EU funds without reforms won't be enough

Bank of Italy says country needs cohesion to grow and cut debt

Milan - Italy's central bank called on Saturday for cohesion as the country battles a government crisis, saying it was imperative to revive growth and reduce a public debt that the coronavirus pandemic has pushed to levels last seen after World War One. Italy's debt is expected to approach 160% of domestic output at the end of this year

As farm protests widen

Tractors, trucks block India's roads

Kundli - Thousands of farmers across India blocked roads on Saturday with makeshift tents, tractors, trucks and boulders to pressure the government to roll back agricultural reforms that have triggered months-long protests. While the initial protests were started by rice and wheat growers from northern India who camped out on the outskirts of New Delhi, demonstrations have spread across the country

FY net profit 113 mln euros vs 5.7 bln loss in 2019

Investment banking boom lands Deutsche Bank first profit since 2014

Frankfurt - Deutsche Bank eked out a small annual profit in 2020, its first since 2014, saying on Thursday it had made strong gains at its investment banking division. Over the past 10 years, Deutsche has lost a total 8.2 billion euros ($9.8 billion) and the return to profit marks an important milestone for Chief Executive Christian Sewing as analysts had been predicting another loss in 2020

Jakarta increasing share of palm oil in biodiesel

Indonesia's palm oil-powered "green diesel" fuels threat to forests

Kuala Lumpur - Indonesia's ambitious biodiesel programme will increase the risks of deforestation as more tropical forest could be cleared to grow palm oil, environmentalists have warned, urging policymakers to implement a long-term ban on new plantations. Indonesia - which is home to the world's third-largest tropical forests but is also its biggest producer of palm oil - has steadily increased the portion in its biodiesel mandate derived from palm oil

At the World Trade Organization

Qatar suspends dispute with United Arab Emirates

Geneva - Qatar has suspended a trade dispute with the United Arab Emirates at the World Trade Organization, a document showed on Tuesday, after tensions between Doha and its Gulf neighbours eased. Doha launched its case with the WTO in 2017 over trade in goods, services and intellectual property after the UAE and other Arab states in the Gulf and beyond cut diplomatic and business ties with Qatar as part of a political dispute

Munich Re says

Natural disasters cause $210 billion in damage in 2020

Frankfurt - Natural catastrophes around the world resulted in $210 billion in damage in 2020, with the United States especially hard hit by hurricanes and wildfires, a top insurer said. The damage, tallied by the German reinsurer Munich Re, increased from $166 billion in the previous year, and comes as a warming planet heightens risks

Global prices rise

Russia plans to raise wheat export tax from March 1

Moscow - Russia, one of the world's largest wheat exporters, plans to impose a higher export tax on wheat from March 1, its economy minister said on Friday, in another push to curb a rise in domestic food prices triggered by the COVID-19 crisis. Wheat prices in Chicago and Paris jumped after the proposal, which the Russian government has yet to sign

But concerns over vaccine hesitancy

EU eyes 'Vaxproof' document to revive travel

Brussels - The European Commission is working on a vaccine certificate, dubbed 'Vaxproof', that could help restore cross-border travel, EU officials said, but the plan is dividing EU nations. The issue has been discussed for months but has led to no compromise because of fears over vaccine hesitancy and privacy. The EU executive Commission is working on a system for mutual recognition in all 27 EU countries of a certificate proving the holder has been vaccinated

Lack of availability

Asian spot prices rise to record high

Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) jumped nearly 50% this week to a record high, based on available data going back to 2009, as logistical issues disrupt supply to the world’s top consuming region

After years of division

Libyans start using new exchange rate

Libya - The Central Bank of Libya on Sunday introduced a new unified exchange rate agreed last month after years of division between rival branches based on opposing sides of the front line. As part of the change, the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli suspended a fee on foreign currency transactions that it introduced two years ago to bring the official rate closer to the black market rate

The dispute

Ivory Coast says Hershey cocoa beans deal could derail farmer income scheme

Abidjan - U.S. chocolate maker Hershey's move to buy cheap beans from the New York futures exchange is an attempt to derail plans by Ivory Coast and Ghana to increase farmers' income, the Ivorian cocoa regulator alleged in a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday. Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world's top producers, are expected to sell their first full cocoa crop this season under a new scheme that includes a price premium of $400 per tonne

On LNG storage ships

GTT fined over unfair sales practices in S. Korea

Seoul - South Korea's antitrust regulator said Wednesday it has fined a French engineering company 12.5 billion won (US$11 million) for its unfair tie-in sales to South Korean shipbuilding clients

Weighed down by COVID-19 and oil prices

Nigeria slips into recession

Lagos - Nigeria has slipped into a recession after its gross domestic product contracted for the second consecutive quarter, according to data released on Saturday which showed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and low oil prices. Africa's biggest economy was last in recession in 2016, its first in a generation

After Albayrak and Uysal

Turkey's new economic chiefs need new crisis playbook / ANALYSIS

London - Turkey's two new economic czars will need a fresh crisis playbook if they are to keep the lira and the economy from plunging into deeper turmoil. The shock departure of finance minister Berat Albayrak, who is President Tayyip Erdogan's son-in-law, and central bank chief Murat Uysal over the weekend gave the lira its best day in over two years on Monday

In step towards emissions target

Gabon signs hydropower deal

Libreville - Gabon and Paris-based asset manager Meridiam signed a $210 million deal to build a hydroelectric dam as part of the central African nation's international commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Once operational in 2023, the Kinguele Aval project on the Mbei River is slated to have production capacity of around 205 gigawatt hours per year, or 13% of the current consumption of the capital Libreville, 100 kilometres to the west

To help cut budget deficit

Sudan doubles domestic fuel prices

Khartoum - Sudan doubled domestic fuel prices on Tuesday, a move that should help reduce a gaping budget deficit but is sure to anger many of the country’s impoverished citizens. The government, which has long fixed fuel prices at some of the lowest levels in the world, raised the price at the pump of locally produced diesel to 46 Sudanese pounds ($0.8364) a litre from the previous 23 pounds

For Donbass

Ukraine expects $100 mln loan from World Bank

Kyiv - Ukraine will receive a $100 million loan from the World Bank to finance the recovery of the eastern Donbass region badly hit by a six-year military conflict with Russia-backed separatists, the Ukrainian president said on Saturday. In a Twitter post, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy expressed gratitude to the World Bank "for supporting Ukraine's territorial integrity."

Due to political crisis

Ivory Coast cocoa port arrivals plunge

Abidjan - Cocoa arrivals at ports in Ivory Coast tumbled this week due to a violent political standoff following a disputed presidential election in the world's top growing nation. The delivery of cocoa beans to Abidjan and San Pedro ports between Monday and Wednesday were estimated 29,000 tonnes

As lira slides

Turkey's Erdogan ousts central bank governor

Istanbul - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan fired central bank governor Murat Uysal on Saturday and replaced him with ex-finance minister Naci Agbal, acting after a 30% plunge in the lira currency's value to record lows this year

As Adriatic Metals digs in

Bosnia's mountain minerals offer hope / FOCUS

Vares - In a remote mountain town with a history of mining that dates from Roman times, hopes are high that British mineral company Adriatic Metals will bring jobs and spur some of the economic revival Bosnia craves. Foreign direct investment in the country had already fallen as bureaucracy deterred investors. In the first half of this year, it was down nearly 50% compared with a year ago as the pandemic paralysed economic activity

If Karabakh talks fail

Azeri leader says he will fight "to the end"

Baku - Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said on Sunday his troops would "go to the end" should negotiations fail to result in an agreement by ethnic Armenian forces to withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. Aliyev spoke during a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in the Azeri capital Baku

The technology maker

Wartsila's Q3 earnings per share below forecast

Wartsila posted third-quarter earnings per share below market forecasts on Friday, saying the COVID-19 pandemic continued to limit investments in both its marine and energy markets

Duterte

Philippine approve resumption of energy projects in South China Sea

Manila - Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has lifted the moratorium on petroleum exploration in the South China Sea, paving the way for three projects to resume, including a possible joint venture with China. Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said on Thursday that service contractors were notified to resume energy-related activity in the area

Green policy

France to rein in export guarantees for oil and gas industry

Paris - France will stop providing state export guarantees to projects involving dirty forms of oil such as shale from next year, followed by all types of oil from 2025 and gas from 2035, the finance ministry said on Monday. The French state stopped giving export guarantees, which companies often need to get bank credit, to projects this year where fracking and flaring were involved and also dropped its financial support for coal developments

Erdogan tells EU's Michel progress needed on Turkey-EU ties

Greek-Turkish tensions rise in crisis over eastern Mediterranean

Istanbul - A Turkish ship set sail on Monday to carry out seismic surveys in the eastern Mediterranean, prompting Greece to issue a furious new demand for European Union sanctions on Ankara in a row over offshore exploration rights. France expressed its concern after the Turkish vessel, the "Oruc Reis", began its voyage

Backed by the EU

New gas pipeline could heat up Azeri-Russian rivalry

Azerbaijan’s ties with Russia, already strained by conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, face further pressure from the launch later this year of a gas pipeline that is poised to squeeze Moscow’s diminished gas sales to Europe and Turkey

The 16-year-old dispute

WTO backs EU tariffs on $4 bln U.S. goods over Boeing subsidies

The U.S. Trade Representative and the EU's Washington office did not immediately answer requests for comment. Boeing declined comment on the confidential WTO report but accused Airbus of ignoring its recent decision to forego tax breaks in Washington state to try to resolve the dispute. Airbus, which recently announced its own concessions on funding in France and Spain

Biggest fall in records going back to 1955

UK GDP collapsed nearly 20% in Q2 in historic COVID hit

London - Britain suffered a record collapse in economic output in the second quarter of 2020 when COVID-19 lockdown measures were in force and people had few opportunities to spend

Northern Africa

How strongly can Libya's oil rebound? / ANALYSIS

Cairo - A blockade on Libya's oil facilities has been partially lifted, allowing a gradual reopening of some ports and fields, but obstacles and uncertainties complicate a full recovery