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

Persian Gulf

Iran opens Naval base along oil chokepoint

Teheran - Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps opened a new naval base along one of the world’s busiest oil transit routes on the Persian Gulf as frictions with the U.S. and its allies in the region loom over security in the waterway. The Shaheed Rahbari base near the port of Sirik, on the eastern side of the Strait of Hormuz, took six years to build and will give Iran “full control” of various vessels that use the channel

Geopolitics

Tankers carrying Iranian fuel begin entering Venezuelan waters

Teheran - The first of a group of three tankers carrying Iranian fuel for gasoline-starved Venezuela entered the waters of the South American nation on Monday, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, in the most recent sign of the countries' expanding trade. The two OPEC members have increased cooperation this year by exchanging crude, fuel, food, equipment for refineries and other industrial goods

The referendum

Swiss voters clearly reject curbs on EU immigration

Around two-thirds of the 2.1 million foreigners living in Switzerland in 2019 were citizens of the EU, as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, which with Switzerland are members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

Energy

Trump extends drilling ban off North Carolina

The Trump administration, which has worked to expand U.S. oil and gas drilling and roll back Obama-era rules on pollution from fossil fuels, originally wanted to expand offshore drilling off many of America's coasts, including Florida

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