You are here: Home » Business (page 19)

Category Archives: Business

Feed Subscription

Apple halts sales in Russia amid ruble turmoil

Russia's currency crisis is making it hard for foreign companies to fix local prices, as the ruble has depreciated strongly this year. US technology company Apple is now taking temporary action, reviewing pricing. For the time being, Apple has halted online sales of its popular iPhones, iPads and computers in Russia, as the ruble continues to fluctuate wildely. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant said Tuesday the interruption was only related to Moscow's currency crisis, as the ruble had fallen more than 50 percent since January. "Due to extreme fluctuations in the value of the ruble, our online store in Russia is currently unavailable while we review pricing," a company spokeswoman said. "We apologize to customers for any inconvenience. In late November, Apple increased its prices in Russia by 20 percent without warning, after its products had suddenly become cheaper in the country than in Europe - something watchful customers noticed. Spending spree One paradoxical effect of Russia's currency crisis is the unleashing of a spending spree, causing a boom in some industries, as consumers hurry to stores to snap up expensive electronics, furniture and cars before prices skyrocket. In general, Russians' spending power has declined with the ruble, but for those with savings, media reports like the popular Argumenty i Fakty advise consumers to hit the shops before prices surge, reflecting the new cost of imports. Analysts said the tactic of going shopping when the economic situation gets tough distinguishes Russia from the West. "In our country, when a crisis comes, it is accompanied by a steep loss of value of the national currency, and people abruptly start spending," said Igor Nikolaev, director of the FBK Strategic Analysis Institute. "And for a time, this softens the situation somewhat."

Russia’s currency crisis is making it hard for foreign companies to fix local prices, as the ruble has depreciated strongly this year. US technology company Apple is now taking temporary action, reviewing pricing. For the time being, Apple has halted online sales of its popular iPhones, iPads and computers in Russia, as the ruble continues to fluctuate wildely. The Cupertino, ... Read More »

France bans rideshare apps like Uber

French taxi drivers have succeeded in persuading the French government to ban rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft. A harsh new law takes effect in January. The move is good for taxi drivers, but will cost consumers money. Taxi drivers staged a protest on Monday affecting Paris's two airports. A few dozen drivers converged on the airports at Roissy and Orly, north and south of the capital, and drove very slowly in an attempt to slow traffic. The action was aimed at drawing attention to taxi drivers' attempt to secure a ban on mobile apps like Uber, Lyft, Curb and Sidecar, which enable people looking for a lift to connect with ordinary drivers - not taxi drivers - willing to offer a lift for a fee. The protest was only sparsely attended, and had little impact on Parisian traffic. The low level of attendance was in part a result of the failure of a syndicate of taxi drivers' unions, FO-UNCP Taxi, to endorse the protest - even though it is lobbying hard for a complete ban on rideshare services, which taxi drivers accuse of giving them "unfair" competition. "We don't want to bother people during the pre-Christmas season," said Nordine Dahmane, an official with FO-UNCP Taxi. Nevertheless, the taxi drivers' wider lobbying efforts against rideshare apps appear to have succeeded. Pierre-Henry Brandet, a spokesperson for the French Ministry of the Interior, was asked Monday on a French TV station, iTélé, whether rideshare apps would be banned in the near future. "Absolutely," Brandet said. "Not only is it illegal to offer this service, but it's a real danger for consumers." A walled garden Brandet said that as of January 1, the operators of mobile apps like UberPOP that connect non-professional drivers and riders would face punishment of up to two years in prison and a fine of 300,000 euros if convicted. Those provisions were specified under a new law that had been passed earlier this year, but that had not yet entered into force. A commerce tribunal on Friday rejected a lawsuit aimed at banning UberPOP, a bargain rideshare service that had gained 160,000 users since it launched in France in February, according to Uber, the company operating the app. The taxi drivers' traffic-disrupting protest Monday was in response to Friday's court judgment. The sparse participation of taxi drivers in the protest may have been partly due to the fact that the new law banning all rideshare apps for non-professional drivers was known to be already on its way. UberPOP has already been banned in Spain and the Netherlands. It is also under legal attack in several other countries, including Denmark and Norway. India said it would ban all rideshare apps earlier this month after a client reported that she was raped by a driver. In some jurisdictions, however, rideshare apps like Uber have been brought in from their legal no-man's-land. Salt Lake City passed a new municipal law in November that allows anyone with a clean driving record to offer rideshare services, after getting their vehicle safety-inspected at a vehicle inspection station and paying a $65 registration fee. Many other cities, particularly in North America, are likely to follow suit with similar regulatory frameworks.

French taxi drivers have succeeded in persuading the French government to ban rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft. A harsh new law takes effect in January. The move is good for taxi drivers, but will cost consumers money. Taxi drivers staged a protest on Monday affecting Paris’s two airports. A few dozen drivers converged on the airports at Roissy and ... Read More »

China industrial output disappoints economists

The latest figures for China's industrial output are unmatched by any large Western economy. But analysts are disappointed nonetheless, viewing a small year-on-year dip as a sign of fatigue in the Asian country. China's industrial production measuring output at factories, workshops and mines rose by 7.2 percent year-on-year in November, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported Friday. Economists warned that the figure marked the weakest growth pace since August's 6.9 percent, concluding that together with other key indicators factory output was pointing to weaknesses in the world's second-largest economy. "The data bode ill for GDP growth in the fourth quarter, which is bound to slow further," Credit Agricole CIB economist Dariusz Kowalczyk said in a statement. Pessimism prevails In the third quarter, China's gross domestic product expanded by 7.3 percent, down from 7.5 percent in the previous three months and marking the slowest pace since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis. Analysts warned that China had also been hit of late by tumbling property prices and nagging concerns over corporate and local government debt. A surprise rate cut by the country's central bank last month signaled policymakers' growing unease that their country might be at risk of a sharper slowdown, which could eventually result in tangible job losses and debt default.

The latest figures for China’s industrial output are unmatched by any large Western economy. But analysts are disappointed nonetheless, viewing a small year-on-year dip as a sign of fatigue in the Asian country. China’s industrial production measuring output at factories, workshops and mines rose by 7.2 percent year-on-year in November, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported Friday. Economists warned ... Read More »

Facing default, Ukraine calls for foreign funding

Ukraine's leaders warn the country needs new loans to stave off bankruptcy. But the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has said Ukraine must adopt economic reforms in order to qualify for more credit. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said on Thursday in Kyiv that Ukraine risks defaulting on its debt unless Western donors come up with billions of euros - or dollars - more in financial aid. "In order to survive, in order to prevent a default, we need an international donor conference, the adoption of a Ukrainian recovery plan at this conference, and the help of our Western partners," Yatseniuk told parliament. "Next year, in addition to the programme provided by the IMF - and we didn't say this, the Financial Times said this - $15 billion is needed," he added. Yatsenyuk made the statement after a senior official for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said earlier on Thursday that international lenders would help Ukraine ride out its economic turmoil - provided the government pushed through economic reforms. The EBRD official, Sevki Acuner, is the development bank's country head for Ukraine. In an interview with the Reuters news agency, he said the EBRD would need to see firmer proof that the troubled country's government is cracking down on corruption and implementing reforms before the bank would approve more loans. "I think there is a consensus among all these parties [international lenders] that they will step up to the plate, on the condition of course that the Ukrainian government is performing," he said. A year of revolution and war against pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Donbass region has pushed Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia, to record lows, and crippled an economy that was already near bankruptcy after decades of corruption and mismanagement. IMF litany of austerity and privatization Ukraine's parliament on Thursday approved the recently elected government's package of economic reforms, aimed at securing $27 billion (22 billion euros) in loans from Western backers, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The reforms include overhauling the tax system, raising energy tariffs, and privatizing state firms. It also includes cuts to social benefits. Many Ukrainians face a winter of poverty, with prices rising sharply for imported goods, since the country's currency is expected to weaken further. The main opposition party criticized the reforms, calling them an "austerity package," and saying it was too harsh. "The programme was written under dictation from the IMF. It represents a path towards the impoverishment of our people," said Yury Boiko, head of the Opposition Bloc parliamentary group. The reform package was in fact written with considerable input from Western advisors - in particular, from the new pro-Western Ukrainian government's US sponsors. Ukraine's new finance minister, investment banker Natalie Jaresko, is a former US State Department official who was granted Ukrainian citizenship only a few days ago. President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatseniuk were tipped for their current posts by the US government months before they were elected, as revealed by a leaked recording of a phone call between US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, the US Ambassador to Ukraine that was posted online in early February 2014.

Ukraine’s leaders warn the country needs new loans to stave off bankruptcy. But the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has said Ukraine must adopt economic reforms in order to qualify for more credit. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said on Thursday in Kyiv that Ukraine risks defaulting on its debt unless Western donors come up with billions of euros ... Read More »

Sanctions-hit Russia turns to India

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have announced a deal for Moscow to help New Delhi build more nuclear reactors - to Washington's chagrin. Modi confirmed Thursday that Russia would build at least 10 more reactors in his country as the nation stepped up efforts to expand its civilian nuclear program. "Today, we have outlined an ambitious vision for nuclear energy; we will have the highest standards of safety in the world," Modi said after a summit meeting with Putin in New Delhi. Putin added the two nations had also agreed to cooperate in building additional nuclear power plants for third countries. Fellow BRICS nations to the rescue The high-level business talks came as Russia continued to suffer from sanctions imposed by the US and the EU over its role in the Ukraine conflict. Analysts remarked the Russian leader made a point of focusing on boosting two-way trade, standing at just $10 billion (8 billion euros) a year despite strong ties between the two countries that date back to the 1950s. India has opposed Western sanctions against Russia and looked adamant in disregarding a caution from Washington that now was not the right time to do business with Moscow. Reuters reported that Sergey Aksyonov, the new leader of Crimea, had also arrived in India for talks on boosting trade with the Black Sea region. That news might prove another irritant before US President Barack Obama visits India next month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have announced a deal for Moscow to help New Delhi build more nuclear reactors – to Washington’s chagrin. Modi confirmed Thursday that Russia would build at least 10 more reactors in his country as the nation stepped up efforts to expand its civilian nuclear program. “Today, we have outlined an ... Read More »

Airbus shares tumble amid delays, uncertainty

بازار حصص میں طیارہ ساز ادارے ایئر بس کے شیئرز کی قیمتیں گر گئی ہیں۔ اس ادارے کے سربراہ ٹوم اینڈرز نے جنیوا میں سرمایہ کاروں کے اجلاس سے خطاب میں کہا کہ 2017ء سے ایئر بس کے بنیادی آپریشنز میں اضافے کا امکان ہے۔ تاہم اس سے قبل ایئر بس کے شیئرز میں دس فیصد کے محتاط منافع کے اندازے لگائے گئے تھے۔ ایئربس کے سب سے بڑے طیارےاے-380 کا مستقبل بھی غیر واضح ہے۔ ابھی تک ایئر بس کو اس طیارے کے صرف 318 آرڈرز ملے ہیں، جو اندازہ لگائی جانے والی مانگ کا صرف ایک چوتھائی ہے۔ ماہرین کا خیال ہے کہ یہ ادارہ اس صورتحال میں اپنی صنعتی پیداوار کو کم کر سکتا ہے۔

Airbus has been among the biggest losers on the European stock markets for a second day running. This came amid rumors that the company’s A380 project could be mothballed. Shares in the European consortium Airbus dropped by around 3 percent on the Paris stock exchange on Thursday, following Wednesday’s 10-percent drop. The selloff came after Qatar Airlines announced on Wednesday ... Read More »

German exports smash yet another record

An increase in geopolitical tensions has not stopped German exports from rising steadily, fresh figures for October have shown. Monthly shipments abroad even logged a new record. For the third time this year, monthly German exports surpassed the 100 billion-euro threshold, with the figures for October showing no sign of a major impact of geopolitical crises in the Middle East or Ukraine. In October, Germany exported goods to the tune of 103.9 billion euros ($127.9 billion), thus improving September's record of 102.5 billion euros, the National Statistics Office Destatis reported Tuesday. In a year-on-year comparison, shipments abroad rose by 4.9 percent and imports increased by 0.9 percent from October 2013 to October 2014. Going from strength to strength The country's trade surplus amounted to 21.9 billion euros in October, up from 17.8 billion euros a year earlier. Destatis noted that exports to countries outside the 28-member European Union rose by 6.6 percent, with shipments to EU member states logging a 3.9-percent increase. The Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) said it expected full-year exports to rise by 3 percent. It added it was even more optimistic about 2015 for which it penciled in a 4-percent surge in shipments abroad.

An increase in geopolitical tensions has not stopped German exports from rising steadily, fresh figures for October have shown. Monthly shipments abroad even logged a new record. For the third time this year, monthly German exports surpassed the 100 billion-euro threshold, with the figures for October showing no sign of a major impact of geopolitical crises in the Middle East ... Read More »

Low oil price threatens billions of investments

Plummeting oil prices have forced producers to suspend multibillion-dollar projects and call off the search for new fields. Analysts say OPEC will have to stop drilling to stabilize the market. It's cheers vs. jeers on the oil market these days, as the steep drop in barrel prices has pitted producers against consumers. While the latter is looking forward to lower energy bills, the former could be looking at multibillion-dollar losses. Plunging prices could force oil and gas companies around the world to halt exploration projects worth more than $150 billion (121.2 billion euros) next year, according to estimates by Norwegian consultancy Rystad Energy. "The [exploration and production] companies have been under a large pressure the last years due to galloping costs, and the result have been delayed and cancelled projects, reducing their investment commitments," said Rystad in a statement. Better days? On the one hand, the companies have been forced to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into new projects to access hard-to-reach oil reserves, with older oil fields drying up. It typically takes up to five years and billions of dollars before companies see the first drop of oil from new fields. On the other hand, global oversupply - driven by a U.S. shale extraction boom - has sent barrel prices diving by 40 percent since this summer to around $70 a barrel. Analysts expect that to inch up to an average of $82.50 next year - still nowhere near what's needed for some producers to see a viable return on investment. "[Little] doubt remains that a sustained $80 oil price will have significant negative effects on the markets, and that drillers will have to be even more patient in their wait for better days," Rystad cautioned. Stop the engines The uncertain outlook has led several companies to take precautionary steps. One of the world's leading oil and gas firms, Total, has decided to suspend development of its $11-billion Joslyn oil sands mine in Canada due to high costs, said Bertrand Hodée, a research analyst at Raymond James. In the Barents Sea, Statoil is expected to delay work on its Jonathan Castberg field, given projected costs of up to $19 billion, according to Hodée. The analyst said he suspected any offshore project with development costs exceeding $30 per barrel would be scrapped under the current conditions. Drill, baby, drill? If the oil price plateaus at $80, Rystad said he "expects the [oil field service] purchase growth to fall from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent year on year towards 2020." Rystad Energy warned that continuing current rates of US shale production would "cause an increasingly severe over-supply situation ahead." To stabilize the market, Rystad said OPEC members must reduce output to at least 29.5 million barrels per day (bpd) - reversing the current price trajectory would require a cut to 29.0 BPD. Yet, the solution might not be that simple. "OPEC faces a dilemma. A voluntary cut in supply will support oil prices and likely improve member countries' revenue. However, it will also ensure strong growth from US shale drillers and other competing producers while reducing OPEC's market share in the medium term," , Rystad said.

Plummeting oil prices have forced producers to suspend multibillion-dollar projects and call off the search for new fields. Analysts say OPEC will have to stop drilling to stabilize the market. It’s cheers vs. jeers on the oil market these days, as the steep drop in barrel prices has pitted producers against consumers. While the latter is looking forward to lower ... Read More »

ECB slashes eurozone growth forecasts

The European Central Bank has signaled it could implement new stimulus measures in the eurozone next year. Its head, Mario Draghi, said the bank has "intensified its preparations" for combating deflation. The European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday slashed the eurozone's growth and inflation forecasts and said it would reassess the impact of its monetary policy early next year, after considering the effect of lower oil prices on the flagging economy. ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank had "stepped up" preparations for more stimulus action, which could be implemented in a "timely manner" if necessary. According to analysts, this may be a clear hint the bank could go ahead with large-scale purchases of government bonds, a practice known as quantitative easing (QE), which has been used by the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan. The ECB also decided to keep its main interest rate unchanged, which is at a record low of 0.05 percent. Inflation is expected to slow to 0.5 percent this year. European and US stocks fell in response to Draghi's remarks Thursday.

The European Central Bank has signaled it could implement new stimulus measures in the eurozone next year. Its head, Mario Draghi, said the bank has “intensified its preparations” for combating deflation. The European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday slashed the eurozone’s growth and inflation forecasts and said it would reassess the impact of its monetary policy early next year, after ... Read More »

Putin’s plan to save the Russian economy

روسی صدر ولادیمر پوٹن نے اپنے سالانہ اسٹیٹ آف یونین خطاب میں مغربی ممالک پر الزام عائد کیا ہے کہ وہ یوکرائن کے مسئلے کو بنیاد بنا کر روس کے اعتماد کو دبانا چاہتے ہیں۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ وہ کسی بھی صورت یورپ اور امریکا کے ساتھ تعاون روس کی جانب سے کم نہیں ہو گا۔ انہوں نے تاہم کہا کہ روس کے دشمن اسے بھی یوگوسلاویہ کی طرح ٹوٹ پھوٹ کا شکار دیکھنا چاہتے ہیں۔ انہوں نے اس عزم کا اظہار کیا کہ روس خود کو درپیش ہر چیلنج کا مقابلہ کرنے کے لیے تیار ہے۔ واضح رہے کہ مغربی پابندیوں اور عالمی منڈیوں میں تیل کی قیمتوں میں گراوٹ کی وجہ سے روسی معیشت شدید تناؤ کا شکار ہے۔ مغربی ممالک کا کہنا ہے کہ روس مشرقی یوکرائن کے مسئلے کو ہوا دے رہا ہے، جب کہ روس ان الزامات کو مسترد کرتا آیا ہے۔

Russia’s President has called for tough actions to revive the country’s ailing economy in an address to the nation. Putin is facing mounting pressure to stop the bleeding after biting sanctions by the West. President Vladimir Putin offered carrots and sticks as he presented plans to shore up Russia’s capsized economy in his annual state of the nation address on ... Read More »

Scroll To Top