europe

Hungary government offers to buy Budapest airport

The Hungarian government would like to acquire a majority stake in Budapest Airport again through negotiations with theowners, the Innovation and Technology Ministry told Reuters in a statement, adding it was "strategically important to have the airport in Hungarian hands again"

green economy

ECB adds its clout to climate change battle

The EU has set itself a target of cutting net emissions by 55% by 2030 in an effort to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as set out in the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.

In the first half 2021

S. Africa says mine deaths rose 33%

Johannesburg - South Africa's mines recorded 32 deaths in the first half of 2021 compared with 24 during the same period in 2020, the mines ministry said on Thursday, continuing a spike in deaths which began last year in some of the world's deepest mines

covid

EU Commission wants tougher rules for consumer credit deals

The proposal also includes caps on the total cost of creditand the annual percentage rate of charge, rules on tacitlyaccepted overdrafts and an obligation by the creditor or theprovider of crowdfunding credit services to assess thecreditworthiness of the consumer.

As borders stay closed

N. Korea's currency, commodity markets in turmoil

Seoul - Currency exchange rates and commodity prices appear to be wildly fluctuating in North Korea as a resumption in major trade with China hasn't materialised, increasing the hardship for residents facing food shortages

But political feud rumbles on

Kuwait assembly backs budget

Kuwait's parliament approved the 2021-22 state budget on Tuesday but failed to quell a bad-tempered standoff between government and opposition that has blocked economic reforms and hampered decision-making at the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund. Rowdy scenes broke out after the vote, supported by 32 out of 63 lawmakers in attendance including 50 elected members and government ministers

In sharp recovery

Dutch economy to grow 3.2% in 2021

Amsterdam - The Dutch economy is expected to recover much faster from its coronavirus slump than expected, as the rollout of vaccinations lets businesses reopen, government policy adviser CPB said on Tuesday

while more downpours were needed in other regions

Above-average rainfall supports Ivory Coast mid-crop cocoa

Abidjan - Above-average rains last week in Ivory Coast's central cocoa-growing regions will help the development of the last stage of the mid-crop while more downpours were needed in other regions, farmers said on Monday

And proposes new path

Spain welcomes bank efforts on job cuts

Madrid - Spain on Monday welcomed efforts by banks to reduce the number of initially planned layoffs after talks with unions, while calling on lenders to explore new paths to profitability. Comisiones Obreras, Spain's largest financial sector union, has called for a one-day-strike on Tuesday in protest at plans by Caixabank to cut to cut more than 7,500 jobs

Congolese Finance Minister Andely says

China agrees to reschedule Congo Republic's $2.4 bln debt

Brazzaville - Chinese President Xi Jinping has agreed in principle to reschedule Congo Republic's debt, Congolese Finance Minister Rigobert Roger Andely said on Monday, adding that the move would help unlock stalled International Monetary Fund lending

Local buying target of 1.2 mln tonnes unrealistic

Syrian drought puts Assad's 'year of wheat' in peril

Amman - The "year of wheat" campaign pushed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in jeopardy after low rainfall risked leaving an import gap of at least 1.5 million tonnes, according to preliminary estimates by officials and experts. The agricultural blow and lack of funds to finance the imports will add to pressure on a Syrian economy already reeling from 10 years of conflict and buckling under the pressure of U.S. sanctions

Trade restrictions linked to COVID-19 have ticked up

WTO head says pandemic-related trade barriers are rising

Geneva - The head of the World Trade Organization said on Monday that trade barriers related to medical supplies used against COVID-19 had risen and urged member states to drop them, as it intensified efforts to reach a deal on vaccine-sharing: "The trend is going in the wrong direction, - WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told a virtual U.N. forum

Nuclear power

EDF says informed of build-up of inert gases at Chinese nuclear facility

Paris - French power group EDF said on Monday it had been informed of a build-up of inert gases at its nuclear power station in China, and had called for a meeting with its Chinese partner to review data on the plant. CNN reported on Monday that the U.S. government had spent the past week assessing a report of a leak at the Taishan power plant in Guangdong province run by a joint venture between EDF and China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN)

International tensions

The Emirati oil deal that has infuriated Israeli environmentalist / FOCUS

Jerusalem - The first cargo ships from Dubai that docked last year in the Mediterranean port of Haifa were met by celebration in Israel. Flags waved. Reporters gathered. The prime minister walked the pier and gave a speech about the fruits of making peace

Hydrogen, offshore wind seen as future industries

Norway not ready to let go of oil, gas in push for greener energy

Oslo - Norway is betting on hydrogen and offshore wind for its energy transition but will continue to extract oil and gas until 2050 and beyond, the outgoing centre-right government said as it presented its long-term energy strategy on Friday. Europe's second largest oil and gas producer will continue to hold regular licensing rounds

Average cost of a litre of gasoline in Mumbai has risen above 100 rupees

India's low- income frontline workers burned by rising fuel prices

Chennai - Rizwanudeen, a 37-year old worker who delivers food in the southern Indian city of Chennai, struggles to pay his rent and loan instalments at the end of every month as he has been hit by the double whammy of higher fuel prices and fewer food orders. Millions of weekly wage earners like Rizwanudeen who make their living ferrying goods or people throughout India have been hit hard by record high fuel prices which are among the highest in Asia

Chinese firms at risk

Peru's Castillo has copper tax deals in his sights

Lima - Peru's presidential front-runner is taking aim at copper mining firms' coveted tax stability agreements that freeze tariffs, and the plan could have an outsized impact on Chinese miners in the world's No. 2 producer of the red metal. Socialist candidate Pedro Castillo, the narrow favorite to win Sunday's run-off vote, has proposed new royalties on mineral sales and has floated a plan to renegotiate long-standing tax deals struck under previous governments

Worth 12 billion dollars

TSMC says has begun construction at its Arizona chip factory site

London - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) has started construction at a site in Arizona where it plans to spend $12 billion to build a computer chip factory, its chief executive said on Tuesday. Speaking at the company's annual technology presentation to clients and investors, held online for the second straight year because of the pandemic, CEO C.C. Wei said the planned factory remains on track to start volume production of chips

And that's a worry

China's banks are bursting with dollars / ANALYSIS

Shanghai - A mountain of dollars on deposit in China has grown so large that banks are struggling to loan the currency and traders say it poses a risk to official efforts to control a fast-rising yuan. Boosted by surging export receipts and investment flows, the value of foreign cash deposits in China's banks leapt above $1 trillion for the first time in April

Despite pandemic

Russian Davos to go ahead in person with Putin

Moscow - Thousands of officials and executives will gather in person in St Petersburg this week - and President Vladimir Putin will give a speech - as the annual economic forum Moscow pitches as "the Russian Davos" returns despite the COVID-19 pandemic

The announcement

France to set up 3 bln euro company support fund

Paris - France will set up a new three billion euro ($3.67 billion) fund to support mid-sized and large companies as they emerge from the coronavirus crisis, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday. The fund aims to help firms on a case-by-case basis with loans or equity injections so that businesses that were viable before the pandemic but now have strained balance sheets

Through July

OPEC+ sticks to plan to ease supply cuts

London - OPEC+ oil producers agreed on Tuesday to stick to the existing pace of gradually easing supply curbs through July, as they sought to balance expectations of a recovery in demand against a possible increase in Iranian supply. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies - known collectively as OPEC+ - decided in April to return 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) of supply to the market during May through July

markets

Iran bans cryptocurrency mining for 4 months amid power cuts

According to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, around 4.5% of all Bitcoin mining takes place in Iran, allowing it to earn hundreds of millions of dollars from cryptocurrencies that can be used to lessen the impact of U.S. sanctions. Iran's economy has been hit hard since 2018

A year after cave destruction

Aboriginal group seeks to strengthen ties with Rio

Melbourne - The Aboriginal group whose sacred rock shelters Rio Tinto destroyed in Western Australia last year for an iron ore mine said it was committed to improving its relationship with the miner to ensure such desecration never happens again

Via crowdsourcing

BHP, Rio, Vale launch contest to cut haul truck emissions

Melbourne - The world's top three iron ore miners on Thursday launched a competition to crowdsource efficient ways to deliver power to battery-electric haulage truck fleets as they strive to cut greenhouse gas emissions

After cyberattack

Colonial Pipeline has no plan to pay ransom to hackers

Washington - Colonial Pipeline does not plan to pay the ransom demanded by hackers who have encrypted its data, according to sources familiar with the company's response on Wednesday. The hack prompted a pipeline shutdown that is now in its sixth day and has led to panic buying and gasoline shortages in the southeastern United States

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