As tensions rise

Iran seizes 2 Greek tankers in Persian Gulf

Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard seized two Greek oil tankers on Friday, May 27, 2022, in helicopter-launched raids in the Persian Gulf, according to officials. The actions were an apparent retaliation for Athens assisting the U.S. in seizing Iranian crude oil in the Mediterranean Sea

War in Ukraine

Nike not renewing franchise agreements in Russia

U.S. sportswear maker Nike has not renewed agreements with its largest franchisee in Russia, the Vedomosti daily reported on Wednesday, marking the latest exit by a major U.S. brand since Russian forces entered Ukraine

For reconstruction

Ethiopia, World Bank agree $300 mln grant

Ethiopia and the World Bank have signed a pact for a grant of $300 million to assist reconstruction and recovery in conflict-hit areas, the finance ministry said. Fighting that erupted in the northern region of Tigray in November 2020

For one year

EU to suspend tariffs on Ukraine imports

The European Commission proposed on Wednesday a one-year suspension of import duties on all Ukrainian goods not covered by an existing free trade deal to help the country's economy during the war with Russia

Deputy minister says

Kazakhstan does not want to be behind new iron curtain

Companies exiting Russia due to the war in Ukraine are welcome to move production to Kazakhstan, the country's deputy foreign minister told a German newspaper, saying Kazakhstan would not want to be on the wrong side of a new "iron curtain"

Abu Dhabi's sovereign fund

Mubadala pausing Russia investments

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment Company is pausing investments in Russia, which represent less than 1% of its portfolio, because of the Ukraine crisis, the chief executive of the $243 billion sovereign wealth fund said on Monday

Minister says

France ready to discuss "autonomy" for Corsica

Paris is prepared to loosen its grip on Corsica in a process that could lead to a yet-to-be decided autonomous status for the island, France's interior minister was quoted by a Corsican newspaper as saying ahead of a visit on Wednesday

Targeting energy, steel, defence sectors

EU approves new round of Russia sanctions

The European Union formally approved on Tuesday a new barrage of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which include bans on investments in the Russian energy sector, luxury goods exports and imports of steel products from Russia

As markets watch for sovereign debt payment

UniCredit considers quitting Russia

UniCredit is urgently reviewing its Russian business and could decide on a costly exit of the country after its invasion of Ukraine, the Italian bank's CEO said on Tuesday, as markets watch for a payment on Russian sovereign debt

The week ahead in markets

Navigating the Ukraine crisis / FOCUS

London - The war in Ukraine, and its fallout, remains central for markets. How much more pain is about to hit Russia's economy? Can oil rise even higher? U.S. inflation data is due on Thursday, the same day the European Central Bank holds a crucial policy meeting

The conflct in Ukraine

How Western sanctions might target Russia / EXPLAINER

The United States and its allies are coordinating new financial and economic sanctions on Russia after Moscow recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent entities, officials said

Due to sanctions

Mali debt defaults exceed $ 93 million

Mali has defaulted on more than 53.99 billion franc CFA ($93 million) in interest and capital payments since January due to regional sanctions, data from the West Africa monetary union's debt agency Umoa-Titres showed on Wednesday

To boost home ownership

Kenya Mortgage Refinance starts selling first bond

Kenya's first mortgage refinancing company is selling a 10.5 billion shilling ($93 million) medium term note, whose proceeds will be lent out to commercial banks to increase affordable home ownership, the company said on Friday

As risks ris

India sees GDP growth slowing to 8-8.5% in 2022/23

New Delhi - India has forecast its economy will grow 8% to 8.5% for the fiscal year starting in April, down from 9.2% projected in the current year, as it fights a spike in COVID-19 cases and rising inflationary pressure

As neighbours cancel flights

Sanctions-hit Mali facing isolation

Bamako - Airlines from neighbouring countries and former colonial ruler France cancelled flights to Mali on Monday, helping isolate a military junta under regional sanctions for trying to extend its hold on power

In line with global markets

UAE to shift to Saturday-Sunday weekend

Dubai - The United Arab Emirates will shift to a working week of four and half days with a Saturday-Sunday weekend from the start of next year to better align its economy with global markets, but private companies will be free to choose their own working week. The oil-producing Gulf state, the region's commercial, trade and tourism hub, currently has a Friday-Saturday weekend

To ease Saudi dispute

Lebanon's information minister quits

Beirut - Lebanon's information minister resigned on Friday saying he was putting the nation before his personal interest as he sought to end a diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia sparked by his comments. George Kordahi said he had quit before the French president visited Riyadh in the hope Emmanuel Macron would help ease the crisis sparked by the Lebanese TV host-turned-politican's critical remarks about Saudi Arabia's role in the Yemen war

Faces "unprecedented pressure"

Belarus says it will retaliate against sanctions

Moscow - Belarus said it would retaliate after the United States and its allies imposed sanctions against dozens of individuals and entities there, and it complained that its economy was facing unprecedented external pressure

For industrial sectors

China releases five-year green development plan

Beijing - China's industry ministry on Friday unveiled a five-year plan aimed at the green development of its industrial sectors, vowing to lower carbon emissions and pollutants and to promote emerging industries so as to meet a carbon peak commitment by 2030. The world's top greenhouse gas emitter is aiming to bring its carbon emissions to a peak by 2030 and become carbon-neutral by 2060

The country set to receive largest single chunk of EU fund

Skills shortage in southern Italy could stymie recovery drive

Bari - Mayors in Italy's poor south should be relishing the prospect of billions of euros from the European Union's pandemic recovery fund, but a lack of project management expertise could mean they are unable to take full advantage of the scheme

Insight

African nations mend and make do as China tightens Belt and Road Initiative

Nairobi - Deep in Kenya's Great Rift Valley, members of the National Youth Service tirelessly swing machetes to clear dense shrubs obscuring railway tracks more than a century old. It's a distinctly low-tech phase for China's Belt and Road drive in Africa to create the trade highways of the future

Bucking global tapering trend

Japan unleashes record stimulus package

Tokyo - Japan unveiled a record $490 billion spending package on Friday to cushion the economic blow from the COVID-19 pandemic, bucking a global trend towards withdrawing crisis-mode stimulus measures and adding strains to its already tattered finances

After South China Sea standoff

Philippines tells China to "back off"

Manila - The Philippines on Thursday condemned "in strongest terms" the actions of three Chinese coast guard vessels that it said blocked and used water cannon on resupply boats headed towards a Philippine-occupied atoll in the South China Sea

Insight

Saudi Arabia's race to attract investment dogged by scepticism

Dubai - Saudi Arabia could have a credibility problem if it keeps shifting the goal posts for the amount of foreign investment it wants to turn its vision of a future beyond oil into a reality, financial sources and analysts said. Five years since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched Vision 2030 to end the kingdom's dependence on fossil fuels

After midterm rout

Argentina's Peronists face identity crisis

Buenos Aires - Argentina's Peronist ruling coalition is teetering on the brink of political crisis, with President Alberto Fernandez facing a fight for control after voters abandoned his center-left party in bruising midterm elections, sapping his power in Congress

Column

A winter of market confusion

London - If any investor tells you they are sure of what happens next in macro markets, they are likely to be fibbing. Such is the confusion in policy and investment circles right now over the course of inflation, output, jobs, financial prices and central bank policy that the next three-six months is likely impossible to predict with any conviction

By creditors

China's HNA restructuring plan approved

Shanghai - Creditors of China's HNA Group have voted to approve the company's restructuring plan, according to a court comment posted on HNA's official WeChat page on Saturday. The court said the vote had been conducted in accordance with the country's bankruptcy laws

The deal

Global tax criticized for "no teeth"

Paris - A group of 136 countries on Friday set a minimum global tax rate of 15% for big companies and sought to make it harder for them to avoid taxation in a landmark deal that U.S. President Joe Biden said levelled the playing field

Shengjing demands repayment of debts due to it

China Evergrande to sell $1.5 bln stake in Shengjing Bank to state firm

Hong Kong - Scrambling to avoid defaulting on its debts, cash-strapped China Evergrande Group said on Wednesday it plans to sell a 9.99 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) stake in Shengjing Bank Co Ltd to a state-owned asset management company. Shengjing Bank, one of the main lenders to Evergrande, had demanded that all net proceeds from the disposal be used to settle the financial liabilities of the property developer due to the lender

Real estate crisis in China

Evergrande begins repaying wealth product investors with property

Beijing - Cash-strapped developer China Evergrande Group has begun repaying investors in its wealth management products with real estate, a unit of its main Hengda Real Estate Group Co Ltd unit said. Evergrande, with over $300 billion in liabilities, is in the throes of a liquidity crisis that has left it racing to raise funds to pay its many lenders and suppliers

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"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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"

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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."

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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