You are here: Home » Business

Category Archives: Business

Feed Subscription

New Berlin airport to finally open next October

Germany’s long-delayed Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) is set to finally be operational on October 31, 2020, nine years after it was supposed to open. Berlin’s long-delayed airport has a new opening date, operators announced on Friday, following a series of scandals involving corruption and shoddy design. The problem-plagued project has become something of a laughing stock throughout Germany, particularly considering ... Read More »

Black Friday backlash: Protests against Amazon erupt across France

Activists across France have staged Black Friday protests against Amazon, decrying consumerism and its impact on the environment. Dozens of protesters gathered outside the company’s French headquarters in Clichy, north of Paris. Protesters also tried to blockade a shopping centre in Paris and a logistics centre near the eastern city of Lyon. In video from Lyon riot police can be ... Read More »

Cybertruck: Tesla truck gets 150,000 orders despite launch gaffe

Tesla has received almost 150,000 orders for its new pickup truck, boss Elon Musk has said, despite an embarrassing hiccup at its launch. Mr Musk was caught out on stage when the windows of the Cybertruck shattered during a demonstration supposed to show their durability. Tesla shares dived 6.1% after the event on Thursday and several bad reviews. With its ... Read More »

No new tax on bike, rickshaw: FBR

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has clarified that no new withholding tax is being levied on motorcycle and auto rickshaw. An official statement issued said that no change or increase in tax has been levied on motor vehicles under section 231B and 234 of Income Tax Ordinance 2001. Further, there is no suggestion under consideration to levy tax ... Read More »

Pakistan discusses economic recovery plans with WB, IMF

WASHINGTON: Senior managers of the Pakistani economy engaged with the officials of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington this week, exchanging views on plans for an economic recovery. The group included Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue and Dr Reza Baqir, Governor State Bank of Pakistan. A government ... Read More »

‘We have completed all the tasks given by IMF’: Raza Baqir

The governor of State Bank of Pakistan Raza Baqir, in a press conference held today, said he was pleased to play a role in the overall process of reaching an agreement with the IMF, as he had a prior experience of working with the fund. He informed that IMF will be holding a board meeting on July 3, 2019, following ... Read More »

Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund to remain invested in Big Oil stocks

Oslo has said the oil fund will only shed its stakes in oil and gas explorers and producers. It was widely expected that the world's biggest sovereign fund would dump all of its oil and gas investments for good. The Norwegian government said on Friday its $1 trillion asset manager— the world's biggest sovereign fund — will sell its stake in oil and gas explorers and producers but will continue to invest in energy companies that have refineries and are engaged in distribution and retail sales of oil and gas products. The announcement means the fund will remain invested in Big Oil companies such as Shell, BP, Total and ExxonMobil, in which it owns significant stakes. Oslo said the move is based solely on financial considerations and that it does not reflect any particular view of the oil industry's future prospects. Return on the fund's investment in oil and gas stocks fell 9.5 percent last year. Norway's central bank, which manages the mammoth fund, has long maintained that the divestment was aimed at reducing the country's exposure to the energy sector. The fund is used to invest the proceeds of the country's oil and gas industry, amounting to more than 20 percent of Norway's revenue. "The Government is proposing to exclude companies classified as exploration and production companies within the energy sector from the Government Pension Fund Global," the finance ministry said in a statement. "The objective is to reduce the vulnerability of our common wealth to a permanent oil price decline." It was widely expected that the fund would dump all of its oil and gas investments for good. Norges Bank, the central bank, had in 2017 proposed a total divestment of oil and gas stocks. The fund had holdings worth around $37 billion — 5.9 percent of its total equity investments — in the oil sector at the end of last year. But a bulk of that amount is invested in integrated oil companies that are engaged in everything from exploration to selling fuel at the roadside. 'Missed opportunity' Norway's decision evoked mixed feelings among climate activists, who were expecting Oslo to go the whole hog. "It's a lost opportunity," Martin Norman of Greenpeace's Norwegian chapter told DW. "We are running against time and Norway had a chance to move fast but instead decided to move slowly." Norman, however, said the Norwegian government's announcement was a "step in the right direction" that would prompt other investors to back away from fossil fuels. "The government has acknowledged the problem of over exposure to oil," he said. "But I disagree with the medicine they are prescribing."

Oslo has said the oil fund will only shed its stakes in oil and gas explorers and producers. It was widely expected that the world’s biggest sovereign fund would dump all of its oil and gas investments for good. The Norwegian government said on Friday its $1 trillion asset manager— the world’s biggest sovereign fund — will sell its stake ... Read More »

Do sanctions against Russia work?

The European Union is mulling its own Magnitsky Act — meaning more pressure on Russia. Time to ask what impact current US and EU sanctions have had on the creaking Russian economy so far. The Dutch government has held talks with EU member states aimed at establishing an EU sanctions regime against Russia based on human rights violations, which is known as an EU Magnitsky Act, adding to existing sanctions. "It appears to have momentum and is going forward," Bill Browder, who has campaigned for the legislation known as the Magnistky Act in the US, told DW. "If successful, this would have a devastating effect on Putin and his cronies because they keep a huge amount of their money and property in the EU." But will it? EU sanctions were established in March 2014 after Russia's encroachment in Ukraine and have been in force since. Reviewed every six month by the European Council, they are now in place until January 31, 2019, and include asset freezing, an import ban on items from the Crimea and Sevastopol and a ban on tourism to the same areas. The US State Department said two weeks ago Washington intended to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia. The US already slapped Russia with more sanctions in August following the March attack on ex-Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal in the UK. The intended effect is to exert pressure on the Russians and undermine President Vladimir Putin's ambitious foreign policy without damaging other global economies. Mixed effects Sanctions have knocked 6 percent off Russia's GDP since 2014, a Bloomberg report noted recently. The GDP of the "world's biggest energy exporter" is now 10 percent smaller than might have been expected at the end of 2013, before the Crimea crisis, it said. Lower oil prices have hit the economy, but sanctions are the "bigger culprit," the report said, adding that Russia's economy is over 10 percent smaller compared with what might have been expected at the end of 2013. Growth has been sluggish at 1-2 percent in the last two years. The International Monetary Fund recently predicted the Russian economy would grow by 1.7 percent in 2018 and 1.8 percent in 2019. Russia has done much to insulate itself from sanctions, but the government's forecasts of growth of over 3 percent by 2021 are in doubt. Western sanctions have played a key factor over the past four years, the study by Bloomberg Economics said. "Part of the gap is likely to reflect the enduring impact of sanctions both imposed and threatened over the last five years," Scott Johnson, an analyst at Bloomberg Economics, said. Inflation-targeting But the 6 percent gap is also due to other factors, such as the central bank's inflation-targeting strategy and the pessimism that has hit most emerging markets. ''In a short term, the impact of oil prices is much more important for Russia than any sanctions,'' said Sergey Khestanov, a professor at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) . Oil income makes up 40 percent of federal budget revenues and is trading at its highest level in more than four years. Russia has also been helped by the collapse in the ruble, which has boosted export revenues. Russian economy adjusts The Bank of Russia said this week it expected the impact of possible new US sanctions on Russia's economy would be smaller than it was in 2014-2015. "We are not willing to argue that all the negative effects [of possible new sanctions], which we may face, will affect us in a painless manner, and that it will not have any impact on the Russian economy," the director of the bank's Research and Forecasting Department, Alexander Morozov, said in a statement. "This is certainly not the case. But the effect cannot be overestimated since in most of the scenarios it will be much less than the one we observed in 2014-2015." Countereffects One side effect has been to induce the central bank to create reserves, making the Russian economy more stable after the Finance Ministry introduced a fiscal rule protecting the economy from fluctuations in oil prices. The other factor is of course political. Sanctions have so far failed to dislodge Putin or create much of a dent in his hold on power.

The European Union is mulling its own Magnitsky Act — meaning more pressure on Russia. Time to ask what impact current US and EU sanctions have had on the creaking Russian economy so far. The Dutch government has held talks with EU member states aimed at establishing an EU sanctions regime against Russia based on human rights violations, which is ... Read More »

APEC summit sees China and US at odds over trade war

The Asia-Pacific summit has become the latest stage for the trade dispute between the US and China. Beijing called for consultations as Washington threatened more tariffs. The main protagonists in the US-China trade war set out their positions at the start of an Asia-Pacific summit in Papua New Guinea on Saturday. Ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping was first to speak and said there would be no winners from a trade war or a new Cold War. Protectionist actions were shortsighted and doomed to fail, Xi said. "We should say no to protectionism and unilateralism," Xi said, in evident reference to President Donald Trump's "America First" policies. "Attempts to erect barriers and cut close economic ties work against the laws of economics and the trends of history," Xi said. "This is a shortsighted approach and it is doomed to failure." The Chinese leader said the world should "uphold the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all." Xi's comments follow months of a trade dispute between the US and China, with each imposing tariffs on the other's goods. "History has shown that confrontation — whether in the form of a cold war, hot war or trade war — will produce no winners," he said. He also called for a resolution to the dispute through consultation, in a spirit of equality and mutual understanding. US VP Mike Pence defiant But when US Vice President Mike Pence addressed the assembly, he said Washington would not back down in its trade dispute with China and could double its tariffs unless Beijing agreed to its demands. "We have taken decisive action to address our imbalance with China," Pence declared. "We put tariffs on $250 billion (€218 billion) in Chinese goods, and we could more than double that number." "The United States, though, will not change course until China changes its ways," Pence stated. Pence also attacked China's global infrastructure "Belt and Road" initiative, calling many of the projects low quality and saying it left developing countries with debt they were unable to afford. Xi had defended the initiative: "It is not designed to serve any hidden geopolitical agenda, it is not targeted against anyone and it does not exclude anyone ... nor is it a trap as some people have labeled it," he said. "Mankind has once again reached a crossroads," Xi remarked. "Which direction should we choose? Cooperation or confrontation? Openness or closing doors. Win-win progress or a zero-sum game?" The assembled leaders were from Pacific Rim countries, which account for 60 percent of the world's economy.

The Asia-Pacific summit has become the latest stage for the trade dispute between the US and China. Beijing called for consultations as Washington threatened more tariffs. The main protagonists in the US-China trade war set out their positions at the start of an Asia-Pacific summit in Papua New Guinea on Saturday. Ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit ... Read More »

US sanctions on Iran raise concern in Turkey

Turkey has been exempt from oil sector sanctions imposed by Washington on the regime in Tehran. But Turkish businesses fear the possible consequences of a likely shift in Donald Trump's mood toward Turkey. The Trump administration announced sanctions against Iran earlier this week, with a strong focus on hitting the country's oil and petrochemical sectors especially hard. So far, however, Turkey and seven other nations have been spared the US president's wrath as they were allowed to continue importing Iranian oil. But the six-month exemption from the ban granted to Turkey seems only cold comfort for the country's companies and businesses, which have enjoyed booming trade with Tehran in recent years. They fear a massive slump in their business with the neighboring Mullah regime. Umer Kiler, head of the Committee for Turkish-Iranian Trade Relations within the Council for Foreign Trade (DEIK) considers the American sanctions as the "lesser evil." What worries Turkish business leaders more, he says, is the temporary nature of the exemptions to Turkey because they had hoped for complete sanctions relief. "Turkey is the country which stands to be the most affected by the sanctions. That is why we'd initially thought the US administration would adopt a more considerate approach," Kiler told DW. After the new sanctions regime has come into effect on Monday, all the Turkish trade official is now hoping for is a partial relief for some sectors of the economy. "What we are demanding is improvements for trade in the oil and gas sectors. No matter how long the sanctions will remain in place, it's impossible for us to completely shutter trade in those sectors because of our common border with Iran. The traders will always find a loophole." What gives Kiler hope in this respect is the recent rapprochement between Washington and Istanbul that he hopes will have a positive effect on Trump's willingness to exempt Turkey from the trade embargo for a longer period of time. Whipsaw trade Over the past three decades, trade between Turkey and Iran has seen ups and downs. From a meager $1 billion (€880 million) in 1996, goods exchanges grew significantly during the presidency of current Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with a peak reached in 2012 when $22 billion worth of goods and services were traded. However, bilateral trade has fallen substantially over the past five years, slumping from $21 billion to $10 billion in the period. While Tehran in the past exported primarily oil, Turkish cross-border shipments were mainly gold to pay for it. As a result, the trade balance between the two countries used to be skewed in Iran's favor up until 2016, when Turkey's exports grew to $5 billion overtaking $4.7 billion worth of imports from its neighbor for the first time ever. Volumes changed back in Iran's favor in 2017, with Istanbul suffering a trade deficit that year of $4 billion. While Iran has continued to ship primarily oil, Turkish exports now include a range of manufactured goods such as automobiles, machinery, textile and food products. The latest trend of falling bilateral trade was manifested in data released recently by the Council of Turkish Exporters (TIM), showing that cross-border shipments reached only a volume of $1.8 billion in the first nine months of 2018. The main reasons for the downturn given by the industry group was US pressure exerted on those countries doing business with Iran, and secondly, higher taxes on Turkish exports imposed by Tehran. Mixed picture Bulent Aymen, deputy chairman of the Union of Mediterranean Exporters (AKIB) says Iran is traditionally a major competitor of Turkey in a number of markets and sectors in the region. Nevertheless, a weakening Iranian economy will have "consequences for Turkish companies doing trade with Iran," he told DW. Other experts are not convinced of the negative scenarios for Turkey. Eyup Ersoy, Middle East expert at Bilkent University, says he thinks US sanctions are mainly targeted at Iran's energy and financial sectors and won't impede trade in goods. "Sectors outside oil will only be indirectly affected by the sanctions," he told DW. Ersoy is also convinced that a further thaw in US-Turkish relations will lead to more sanctions relief for Ankara, substantially benefitting the oil trade between the two countries. Nevertheless, he thinks that if Washington won't prolong the exemptions, Turkey will find ways to secure supply and limit the effects of an oil embargo. "For Turkey to find alternative solutions doesn't mean a lot of risk and higher costs," he told DW.

Turkey has been exempt from oil sector sanctions imposed by Washington on the regime in Tehran. But Turkish businesses fear the possible consequences of a likely shift in Donald Trump’s mood toward Turkey. The Trump administration announced sanctions against Iran earlier this week, with a strong focus on hitting the country’s oil and petrochemical sectors especially hard. So far, however, ... Read More »

Scroll To Top