Financial News from AFP

  • Most Asia markets advance, Hong Kong and Shanghai lead way AFP - 10 hours ago
    Most Asia markets advance, Hong Kong and Shanghai lead way

    Asian markets mostly rose on Tuesday, with Hong Kong and Shanghai leading the way, while Tokyo marked an eighth straight gain to a 15-year high. In late trade Hong Kong jumped 1.29 percent and Shanghai climbed 1.89 percent, boosted by hopes for fresh Chinese measures to boost the economy as well as Beijing's decision Friday to relax rules on access to mainland financial markets. With Wall Street and most European markets closed Monday for public holidays there were few catalysts outside Asia to drive business.

  • Ryanair says annual profits soar AFP - 10 hours ago
    Ryanair says annual profits soar

    Irish no-frills airline Ryanair announced Tuesday that annual net profits surged by two thirds, boosted by improved customer services, rising sales and sliding oil prices. Earnings after taxation leapt ...

  • Amazon says has begun declaring sales in UK, Germany, Spain, Italy AFP - 10 hours ago
    Amazon says has begun declaring sales in UK, Germany, Spain, Italy

    Online retail giant Amazon said it has started declaring sales made in major European markets in the respective countries instead of Luxembourg, meaning it will pay taxes on the sales in the nations. Amazon's tax agreement in Luxembourg, under which it recorded European sales and paid taxes on them in the tiny country instead of at the source, had attracted howls of criticism that the giant was trying to evade taxes, and had sparked an EU probe. "More than two years ago we began the process of establishing local country branches of Amazon EU Sarl, our primary retail operating company in Europe," the company said in a statement.

  • Iron ore firm Fortescue soars on China investment talk AFP - 11 hours ago
    Iron ore firm Fortescue soars on China investment talk

    Shares in Australian iron ore giant Fortescue Metals jumped more than 10 percent on Tuesday on speculation that two of China's largest companies are poised to pump money into the struggling miner. Fortescue is one of the world's four big iron ore exporters, along with Australia's BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, and Brazil's Vale, but has been battling slumping prices for the steel-making commodity. The Australian Financial Review reported that China's largest steelmaker Baosteel and its biggest conglomerate CITIC had held talks with Fortescue about an investment to help shore up its balance sheet.

  • Samsung to merge two major units AFP - 11 hours ago
    Samsung to merge two major units

    Samsung Group announced on Tuesday the merger of two major affiliates, as the South Korean business giant accelerates restructuring efforts ahead of a generational power transfer within the founding Lee family. The all stock deal, approved by the boards of both companies, would see Samsung's de facto holding company Cheil Industries -- which has interests from fashion to theme parks -- acquire general trade and construction affiliate Samsung C&T. The merger, which is expected to be completed by September pending shareholder approval, will see Cheil offer 0.35 new shares for each Samsung C&T share.

  • China bottle maker declares default on $100 mln bonds AFP - 11 hours ago
    China bottle maker declares default on $100 mln bonds

    A Chinese bottle supplier for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo said on Tuesday it was unable fully to repay nearly $100 million worth of bonds, the latest default as growth slows in the world's second-largest economy. Zhuhai Zhongfu Industrial Co. has 590 million yuan ($96.6 million) of bonds due on Thursday but will only be able to return a quarter of the principal, it said in a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, where it is listed. China has seen several bond defaults from both private companies and state-owned enterprises in recent months as growth slowed to 7.0 percent in the first quarter, a low since the global financial crisis.

  • Africa seeks super banker to manage new economic frontier AFP - 12 hours ago
    Africa seeks super banker to manage new economic frontier

    Eight candidates are vying to become the next head of the strategic African Development Bank as the continent is undergoing an economic transformation. With 80 ADB shareholders -- 54 African states and 26 non-African countries -- set to vote on Thursday, it is difficult to predict who will succeed Rwandan Donald Kaberuka, bank chief for two consecutive terms since 2005. The new super banker will take over an ADB seeking to diversify beyond its traditional role as a development bank, which lends money for major projects -- a total of $6.8 billion for 317 operations in 2013.

  • Deal reached to end crippling Nigeria fuel crisis AFP - 13 hours ago
    Deal reached to end crippling Nigeria fuel crisis

    Agreement was reached to end a crippling fuel crisis in Nigeria that had left the country at a virtual standstill just days before a new government is installed. Banks had begun to close early and telecoms firms warned their mobile phone networks could be shut down because of fuel shortages, which left domestic airlines grounded and saw petrol stations run dry, hitting businesses and homes. Kassim Bataiya, of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), said his body "fully endorsed" the statement.

  • First Libor rigging trial to begin in Britain AFP - 14 hours ago
    First Libor rigging trial to begin in Britain

    The first financial trader to face prosecution accused of rigging global benchmark interest rates goes on trial in London on Tuesday, following a scandal that handed banks hefty fines and damaged reputations. Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) alleges Tom Hayes was the ringleader of more than a dozen traders it says worked to rig the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) in the mid to late 2000s. Formerly a trader with Swiss bank UBS and its US rival Citigroup, the 35-year-old Briton will go before the court in Southwark, across the river from London's financial centre in a trial expected to last weeks.

  • Hong Kong leads way as most Asia markets advance AFP - 14 hours ago
    Hong Kong leads way as most Asia markets advance

    Asian markets mostly rose on Tuesday, with Hong Kong leading the way as it played catch-up after a public holiday, but Tokyo edged back slightly from a seven-day winning run that has taken it to 15-year highs. Greece's snail-like talks with creditors over reforming its bailout conditions continue to weigh on the euro, with little sign of a deal in sight despite a repayment deadline next week. Hong Kong added 1.68 percent, with Chinese firms listed in the city lifted by hopes for more economy-boosting measures from the mainland government.

  • China, Latin America have profitable but unequal ties AFP - 15 hours ago
    China, Latin America have profitable but unequal ties

    Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang heads home from a Latin American tour on Tuesday with a briefcase full of deals that bolster a relationship profitable for the region's slowing economies but still highly unequal. Li's visit bore the most fruit in Brazil, where he sealed deals for $53 billion in Chinese investment, mainly focused on upgrading the regional giant's strained infrastructure. The visit followed on Chinese President Xi Jinping's last July, when he pressed the flesh in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba, underlining the Asian power's role as a key trade partner for the region.

  • Charter near deal on $55 bn buyout of Time Warner Cable AFP - 19 hours ago
    Charter near deal on $55 bn buyout of Time Warner Cable

    Charter Communications is nearing a $55.1 billion deal to buy out fellow American cable giant Time Warner Cable, which also has been courted by France's Altice, US media reported Monday. As part of the deal, Charter would pay about $195 a share for Time Warner Cable -- $100 in cash and the rest in shares -- The Washington Post reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the deal. The share price would be 14 percent higher than Time Warner Cable's closing stock price on Friday.

  • Mexico cab drivers snarl traffic in anti-Uber demo AFP - 19 hours ago
    Mexico cab drivers snarl traffic in anti-Uber demo

    Thousands of Mexico City taxi drivers snarled traffic in the mega-capital on Monday in a protest demanding that the government ban US ride-sharing service Uber. In response, Uber fired back by offering free cab service "on a day so complicated to move" around the metropolis of 20 million people and four million vehicles. The protesters said the app-based taxi service was costing them between 10 and 50 percent of their work because Uber is exempt from certain taxes and can offer cheaper prices.

  • Greece to keep repaying creditors -- as long as it can AFP - 21 hours ago
    Greece to keep repaying creditors -- as long as it can

    Struggling Greece will keep repaying its EU-IMF creditors for as long as it can, with some 300 million euros due next week and no deal in sight in talks over its remaining bailout funds, a government spokesman said Monday. "To the extent that we are able to pay, we will keep on repaying these obligations," spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told reporters. Greece's radical-left government has been locked in negotiations with its creditors -- the IMF, the European Union and the European Central Bank -- for the past four months in a bid to unlock some 7.2 billion euros in bailout cash.

  • Ukraine agents raid UniCredit in expanding terror probe AFP - 22 hours ago
    Ukraine agents raid UniCredit in expanding terror probe

    Ukrainian security agents on Monday seized documents at the Kiev headquarters of Italy's UniCredit bank as part of a probe aimed at cutting off the suspected illicit financing of pro-Russian rebels in the separatist east. The high-profile probe is part of increased efforts by Kiev's Western-backed leaders to choke off the insurgents' resources and force them to become an even bigger drain on Russia -- whose own economy is undergoing severe stress. A spokeswoman for Ukraine's State Security Service (SBU) said the snap inspections in Kiev were conducted "in order to halt possible operations aimed at financing terrorist organisations" in the separatist east.

  • Greek budget proposals insufficient: IMF's Blanchard AFP - 22 hours ago
    Greek budget proposals insufficient: IMF's Blanchard

    The budget reforms that Greece has proposed to its international creditors are not enough to ensure a surplus this year, the International Monetary Fund's chief economist Olivier Blanchard told French financial newspaper Les Echos on Monday. Greece's radical-left government has been locked in tortuous negotiations with its creditors -- the IMF, the European Union and the European Central Bank -- for the past four months in a bid to unlock 7.2 billion euros ($7.9 billion) in bailout cash. Greece was supposed to have a three percent budget surplus this year, but that now looks out of reach, Blanchard said.

  • Ukraine agents search UniCredit branches in terror probe AFP - Mon, May 25, 2015 5:16 PM AEST
    Ukraine agents search UniCredit branches in terror probe

    Ukrainian security agents on Monday seized documents from the Kiev branches of Italy's UniCredit bank as part of an anti-terror investigation linked to individuals with accounts in the European giant. A spokeswoman for Ukraine's State Security Service (SBU) told Interfax the snap inspections were conducted "in order to halt possible operations aimed at financing terrorist organisations" in the separatist east. Ukraine calls its 13-month war with pro-Russian rebels an "anti-terrorist operation" and probits financial or other links with the leaders or field commanders of the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk "people's republics".

  • Iran to scrap monthly petrol subsidy AFP - Mon, May 25, 2015 5:06 PM AEST
    Iran to scrap monthly petrol subsidy

    Iran will scrap a petrol allowance from midnight on Tuesday as part of a 2010 plan to phase out subsidies on energy products and boost the economy, media reported. Motorists will no longer to be entitled to buy 60 litres of petrol monthly at a reduced price of 7,000 rials (about 24 US cents) a litre, media reported. The reports said a litre of standard petrol will retail at 10,000 rials (around 34 US cents) and super will cost 12,000 rials.

  • Paris and Madrid stock markets close lower AFP - Mon, May 25, 2015 4:50 PM AEST
    Paris and Madrid stock markets close lower

    The Paris Bourse closed lower on Monday in a low-key session, with many markets around Europe and in New York closed for public holidays. Paris' leading CAC 40 index ended the day 0.50 percent down at 5,100 points compared with Friday's close, with extremely low volumes worth less than 700 million euros ($768 million) traded. Most of Europe's major markets -- including London and Frankfurt -- remained closed during the Monday holiday, with Wall Street similarly taking Memorial Day off.

  • Africa's economy to strengthen in 2015 despite Ebola, oil price AFP - Mon, May 25, 2015 4:18 PM AEST
    Africa's economy to strengthen in 2015 despite Ebola, oil price

    Africa's overall economy should advance in 2015, expanding by 4.5 percent, showing resilience despite weak commodity prices and the devastating Ebola epidemic, an annual report published Monday said. "Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to strengthen to 4.5 percent in 2015 and 5.0 percent in 2016 after subdued expansion in 2013 (of 3.5 percent) and 2014 (3.9 percent)," said the report, co-authored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the African Development Bank and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The continent has so far been "relatively resilient to the sharp fall in international commodity prices," said the report, such as crude prices which dropped more than 50 percent between June and January.

  • Petrol, diesel sellers agree to end crippling Nigeria fuel strike AFP - Mon, May 25, 2015 4:14 PM AEST
    Petrol, diesel sellers agree to end crippling Nigeria fuel strike

    The major companies and unions that distribute petroleum products across Nigeria agreed on Monday to end a devastating fuel strike that has largely shut down Africa's biggest economy. The main unions and industrial groups who are collectively responsible for supplying and distributing the majority of petrol and diesel in Nigeria made the announcement after a meeting in Nigeria's Senate. "We have agreed... (to) commence lifting of products from all available depots within the next six hours," said Babafemi Olawore, Executive Secretary of?

  • Asia stocks extend gains, Tokyo lifted by weak yen AFP - Mon, May 25, 2015 11:17 AM AEST
    Asia stocks extend gains, Tokyo lifted by weak yen

    Asian markets advanced on Monday, with Tokyo boosted by a weaker yen after the US Federal Reserve chief stuck to her plan to raise interest rates by year-end. Tokyo closed 0.74 percent higher, adding 149.36 points to reach a 15-year high of 20,413.77, while Sydney jumped 1.00 percent, or 56.8 points, to 5,721.5. Fed chief Janet Yellen said on Friday she expects to raise rates from historic lows "at some point this year", warning that a delay could risk overheating the economy.

  • Greece to keep repaying creditors as long as it can: official AFP - Mon, May 25, 2015 11:15 AM AEST
    Greece to keep repaying creditors as long as it can: official

    Struggling Greece will keep on repaying for as long as it can its EU-IMF creditors, who have demanded reforms and withheld release of the country's remaining bailout funds, a spokesman said Monday. "To the extent that we are able to pay, we will keep on repaying these obligations," government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told reporters. Sakellaridis's remarks came a day after a cabinet minister said Greece had "no money" to make a series of repayments to the International Monetary Fund from June 5.

  • Fukushima operator wins Qatar utility contract AFP - Mon, May 25, 2015 5:32 AM AEST
    Fukushima operator wins Qatar utility contract

    The operator of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has jointly won a large power and water infrastructure contract in the desert state of Qatar, it said Monday. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp have been selected by a company backed by the Qatari government to build and operate power and water plants for 25 years, in a project worth some $2.5 billion. The announcement will be welcome news for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has led the drive for Japanese companies to sell their technology abroad and represents TEPCO's biggest foreign commercial success since the triple meltdowns at Fukushima in 2011.

  • Japan trade account returns to deficit in April: govt AFP - Mon, May 25, 2015 2:12 AM AEST
    Japan trade account returns to deficit in April: govt

    Japan swung back to a trade deficit in April after the first surplus in almost three years in March, but the shortfall shrank drastically year-on-year thanks to stronger exports and lower energy bills, official data showed Monday. By region, US-bound shipments soared 21.4 percent, far outpacing a 2.4 percent increase in exports to China and a 0.8 percent rise in exports to the European Union. "Japan's economy will be more robust this year, led by domestic consumption and external demand," said Yoshitaka Suda, an economist at Nomura Holdings.

  • Greece 'has no money' to meet IMF debt repayment AFP - Sun, May 24, 2015 4:58 PM AEST
    Greece 'has no money' to meet IMF debt repayment

    Greece warned Sunday it has no money to repay the International Monetary Fund on time in June unless a deal is reached with its creditors, in a stark warning that the country could be just days away from defaulting. With the clock ticking down to four more debt instalments from June 5, Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis told Mega TV that the country has nothing left for the IMF in its coffers. Greece's radical-left government has been locked in negotiations with its creditors -- the IMF, the European Union and the European Central Bank -- for the past four months in a bid to unlock some 7.2 billion euros in bailout cash.

  • Amazon 'now paying tax on German sales in Germany' AFP - Sun, May 24, 2015 2:06 PM AEST
    Amazon 'now paying tax on German sales in Germany'

    Online retailer Amazon has started paying tax on profits from its sales to German customers in Germany instead of in Luxembourg, a newspaper reported Sunday. The change to book sales from Amazon.de in Germany rather than Luxembourg took effect May 1, the online edition of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily quoted a company spokesman as saying. Amazon is among several large companies under the spotlight in Europe over tax deals in Luxembourg and elsewhere.

  • Varoufakis admits recording stormy Riga meeting AFP - Sun, May 24, 2015 2:03 PM AEST
    Varoufakis admits recording stormy Riga meeting

    Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis admitted Sunday on his personal blog that he recorded a reportedly stormy April 24 meeting in Latvia with his European counterparts, a precaution he often takes. "In the absence of minutes, I often record my interventions and responses on my mobile phone... to be able to recount my exact phrases and, accordingly, to brief my Prime Minister, the Cabinet, Parliament etc. on precisely what I said," Varoufakis wrote. The acknowledgement comes as tense negotiations between Athens and its European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund creditors over terms for the release of 7.2 billion euro ($7.9 billon) in blocked bailout funds near their critical phase.

  • Negotiations on TPP in 'end-game', says US trade representative AFP - Sun, May 24, 2015 1:43 PM AEST
    Negotiations on TPP in 'end-game', says US trade representative

    Negotiations to form the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade zone are in the "end-game", US Trade Representative Mike Froman said Sunday. "The focus will now shift to the US House of Representatives when they come back from recess and we look forward to working with them to get it passed as soon as possible," he said at a meeting of trade ministers of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in the Philippine resort island of Boracay. The United States was seeking to address this issue through the G7, the G20 and the International Monetary Fund.

  • Greece issues fresh warning on IMF payment in June AFP - Sun, May 24, 2015 11:52 AM AEST
    Greece issues fresh warning on IMF payment in June

    A Greek government minister said Sunday that Athens will be unable to repay the IMF on schedule next month, reiterating previous warnings by officials during tense talks with the country's creditors. "The instalment to the IMF won't be paid," Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis told Mega TV. Voutsis added however that the negotiations between Athens and its creditors were taking place "on the basis of cautious optimism that there will be a strong agreement".

  • Renault makes concessions to striking workers in Turkey AFP - Sun, May 24, 2015 11:46 AM AEST
    Renault makes concessions to striking workers in Turkey

    French car giant Renault has offered a cash payment to striking workers in western Turkey where a wage dispute has hit the thriving Turkish car sector ahead of June 7 elections. Oyak Renault factory, a joint venture between Renault and the Oyak army pension fund located in the western city of Bursa, said it offered workers a cash lump sum of 1000 Turkish lira ($370 or 350 euros) if they returned to work at midnight on Monday. The workers will not face disciplinary action or layoffs due to the strike, Oyak-Renault said in a statement released overnight Saturday.

  • Nigeria fuel crisis could shut down mobile phones, operator warns AFP - Sun, May 24, 2015 10:33 AM AEST
    Nigeria fuel crisis could shut down mobile phones, operator warns

    Nigeria's biggest mobile phone operator MTN has warned that its network faces shutdown due to fuel shortages that have crippled the nation. The company, the biggest subsidiary of the South Africa-based MTN Group, said it needed a "significant quantity of diesel in the very near future to prevent a shutdown of services across Nigeria". "If diesel supplies are not received within the next 24 hours the network will be seriously degraded and customers will feel the impact," it added on its Twitter account @MTNNG on Saturday evening.

  • Phone operator MTN warns over Nigeria fuel crisis AFP - Sun, May 24, 2015 10:15 AM AEST
    Phone operator MTN warns over Nigeria fuel crisis

    Nigeria's biggest mobile phone operator MTN has warned that its network faces shutdown due to fuel shortages that have crippled the nation. The company, the biggest subsidiary of the South Africa-based MTN Group, said it needed a "significant quantity of diesel in the very near future to prevent a shutdown of services across Nigeria". "If diesel supplies are not received within the next 24 hours the network will be seriously degraded and customers will feel the impact," it added on its Twitter account @MTNNG on Saturday evening.

  • Greeks back government's red lines, but want to keep euro AFP - Sun, May 24, 2015 10:06 AM AEST
    Greeks back government's red lines, but want to keep euro

    Cash-strapped Greeks remain supportive of the leftist government's tough negotiating style, according to a new poll published Sunday, but hope for a deal with creditors that will keep the euro in their wallets. The poll conducted in May by Public Issue for the pro-government newspaper Avgi, shows 54 percent backing the Syriza-led government's handling of the negotiations despite the tension with Greece's international lenders. The Syriza-led government is locked in talks with the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to release a blocked final 7.2-billion-euro ($7.9 billon) tranche of its 240-billion-euro bailout.

  • Abandoned Tube station used by Churchill awaits new tenant AFP - Sun, May 24, 2015 9:52 AM AEST
    Abandoned Tube station used by Churchill awaits new tenant

    An abandoned Underground station used by Winston Churchill as a bunker during World War II could become London's latest go-to bar or gallery under a plan launched by the city's transport agency. The facade has lost its sign but kept the traditional crimson-red tiles once used for stations on the Underground, the oldest metro system in the world. Now Transport for London (TfL) hopes it will be the first of seven or eight off-limits empty stations under the capital to be leased for commercial use.