Financial News from AFP

  • US moves to block Chinese purchase of German tech firm Aixtron AFP - 14 hours ago
    US moves to block Chinese purchase of German tech firm Aixtron

    US President Barack Obama moved to block a Chinese company's purchase of German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron by rejecting the inclusion of Aixtron's US business in the deal. The US Treasury Department said a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) chaired by Obama found the risks posed by the deal, which could place sensitive technology with potential military applications in Chinese hands, were too great.

  • In rural Cuba, economy stuck in time after Castro AFP - 18 hours ago
    In rural Cuba, economy stuck in time after Castro

    A convoy is carrying Fidel Castro's ashes across a Cuban countryside stuck in the bleak economy he left behind: Farmers plowing with oxen, people traveling in horse carts and stores lacking basic goods. Crowds have been chanting "viva Fidel!" along the island's roads as a military jeep takes the urn to its final resting place in eastern Cuba on Sunday. "Everybody talks about Fidel's legacy, but to defend this legacy, the economy must improve," said Angel Mora, a 27-year-old electronics engineer in the eastern city of Camaguey.

  • New bird flu outbreak hits French foie gras exporters AFP - 19 hours ago
    New bird flu outbreak hits French foie gras exporters

    A new outbreak of bird flu hit France's foie gras producers just as a ban on exports outside Europe was about to be lifted in time for the crucial holiday period. The agriculture ministry said the outbreak of the "highly pathogenic" H5N8 strain of the virus was detected Thursday on a duck farm in the southwestern Tarn region, the heart of the lucrative, though controversial, foie gras industry. Exports outside the European Union had been suspended after an outbreak a year ago, and producers were waiting for the green light -- which had been set for Saturday -- to resume shipments just in time for the Christmas holidays, when the delicacy is especially popular.

  • EU banks at risk from bad loans, low profit: regulator AFP - 21 hours ago
    EU banks at risk from bad loans, low profit: regulator

    The greatest risks facing European Union banks are high levels of bad loans and lower profitability, the bloc's financial regulator said in a report Friday. The European Banking Authority said that while EU-wide lenders had strengthened their capital buffers, technology-related risks were increasing amid lingering litigation concerns. Presenting its ninth report on "risks and vulnerabilities in the EU banking sector", the EBA pointed to "high levels of non-performing loans (NPLs) and sustained low profitability" as being the main risks.

  • Erdogan urges Turks to convert foreign currency to lira AFP - 22 hours ago
    Erdogan urges Turks to convert foreign currency to lira

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday urged Turks to convert their foreign money into gold and lira to stimulate the country's economy as Turkey's currency continued its slide against the dollar. "For those who have foreign currencies under the pillow, come change this to gold, come change this to TL (Turkish lira). Let the lira win greater value.

  • European stocks slide as political fears top agenda AFP - 23 hours ago
    European stocks slide as political fears top agenda

    European stocks fell Friday in nervy trading before Italy's crunch referendum and Austria's elections, amid fears both could send shockwaves reverberating across markets. Four weeks since US President-elect ...

  • Dow edges down from record after solid US jobs report AFP - 23 hours ago
    Dow edges down from record after solid US jobs report

    Wall Street stocks finished little changed Friday, with the Dow retreating slightly from a record, after US unemployment hit a nine-year low. The jobless rate fell three-tenths to 4.6 percent in November, ...

  • Apple founder street name shakes Paris suburb to the core AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 10:29 PM AEDT
    Apple founder street name shakes Paris suburb to the core

    Now, five years after he died, Apple founder Steve Jobs may be remembered in another way -- on a Paris street. "Rue Steve Jobs" is among names shortlisted for one of the new roads in the French capital's southeastern 13th arrondissement that will lead to a new incubator for hi-tech start-ups. The tech titan's name was put forward by the district's socialist mayor who credited Jobs -- whose company altered the face of computing, revolutionised music with the iPod and launched the iPhone and iPad -- with "changing our daily lives".

  • US blacklists NKorea companies, officials after nuke test AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 10:19 PM AEDT
    US blacklists NKorea companies, officials after nuke test

    The United States blacklisted 23 North Korean companies and officials Friday, notably flag carrier Air Koryo, in response to the country's September 9 nuclear test. It follows the UN Security Council's newest and toughest sanctions resolution against Pyongyang yet, aimed at increasingly isolating the Asian country politically and economically after its nuclear bomb test two months ago. The US Treasury Department laid sanctions, which aim to lock companies and individuals out of the global financial system, on several North Korean banks, construction and trading companies, as well as an oil company.

  • Ford recalls 650,000 vehicles in N. America over seat belts AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 10:12 PM AEDT
    Ford recalls 650,000 vehicles in N. America over seat belts

    Ford on Friday announced the recall of nearly 650,000 cars in North America over defective seat belts that can fail in a crash. The automaker said two accidents and two injuries have been blamed on the defect, which involves overheating of the cables in the pre-tensioning system of the seat belts, which can prevent them from functioning correctly in an accident. The recall covers the 2013-2016 Ford Fusion and the 2013-2015 Lincoln MKZ, produced at plants in Flat Rock, Michigan and Hermosillo, Mexico.

  • Venezuela fury at Mercosur suspension AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 8:48 PM AEDT
    Venezuela fury at Mercosur suspension

    Venezuela angrily rejected as a "coup" its suspension from South American economic bloc Mercosur on Friday, the harshest international punishment yet for President Nicolas Maduro's crisis-racked government. In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay announced Venezuela was suspended from the group after accusations that the leftist government in Caracas failed to meet democratic and trade standards. "This is a coup d'etat to Mercosur and constitutes a very grave attack on Venezuela," Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez told a press conference.

  • OPEC deal could lead to US shale surge AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 8:43 PM AEDT
    OPEC deal could lead to US shale surge

    With this week's deal to cut output, OPEC is creating incentives for American shale producers to boost output just as the incoming Trump administration vows measures to promote US oil development. Oil prices shot up on the announcement, which was more muscular than many analysts expected, boosting prices by nearly 10 percent Wednesday and lifting the US benchmark contract to above than $50 a barrel Thursday. OPEC's planned production cuts are nearly the same amount US producers trimmed in the wake of a two-year skid in prices.

  • United Airlines to pay $2.4 mn in US bribery case AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 8:25 PM AEDT
    United Airlines to pay $2.4 mn in US bribery case

    The parent company of United Airlines will pay a $2.4 million fine after reviving a money-losing air route to please a now-disgraced New Jersey politician, US market regulators announced Friday. United's chief executive and two other senior officials stepped down in 2015 as the investigation unfolded revealing how the airline shareholders footed the bill to restore an unprofitable flight between Newark, New Jersey and Columbia, South Carolina, bowing to pressure from David Samson, the former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and former New Jersey attorney general. Samson used a lobbyist to pressure United into reinstating the non-stop service even though the company had canceled the route in 2009 for lack of profit, officials said.

  • French oil operator Maurel & Prom recommends buyout AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 8:16 PM AEDT
    French oil operator Maurel & Prom recommends buyout

    Maurel & Prom, a French oil operator that pumps mostly in Africa, recommended Friday that shareholders accept a planned buyout offer from Indonesia's state oil company Pertamina. "The board of directors of Maurel & Prom ... considered that the offer is in the interests of the company, its shareholders and its holders (of convertible bonds) and its employees" and recommended by a unanimous vote they tender their shares, a company statement said. At the end of August, Pertamina took a 24.5 percent stake in Maurel & Prom as a prelude to making a buyout offer.

  • Swiss firm acquires Mars One private project AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 8:16 PM AEDT
    Swiss firm acquires Mars One private project

    A British-Dutch project aiming to send an unmanned mission to Mars by 2018 announced Friday that the shareholders of a Swiss financial services company have agreed a takeover bid. "The takeover provides a solid path to funding the next steps of Mars One's mission to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars," the statement added. Mars One consists of two entities: the Dutch not-for-profit Mars One Foundation and a British public limited company Mars One Ventures.

  • Ending tax havens up to US and Europe: Panama Papers reporters AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 7:51 PM AEDT
    Ending tax havens up to US and Europe: Panama Papers reporters

    Getting rid of tax havens depends on the United States and Europe, but is unlikely to happen anytime soon, journalists behind the publication of the Panama Papers said Friday. "The biggest tax haven in the world today is probably in the United States," Jake Bernstein, a US investigative reporter with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), told a conference in Panama hosted by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.

  • S.Africa dodges junk credit rating despite low growth AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 7:22 PM AEDT
    S.Africa dodges junk credit rating despite low growth

    South Africa's economy evaded a potentially damaging blow Friday when the Standard & Poor's rating agency maintained the country's foreign currency debt status one notch above junk status. S&P however kept its negative outlook for South Africa, which has struggled with political friction under President Jacob Zuma, high unemployment and slow growth. "Political events have distracted from growth-enhancing reforms, while low GDP growth continues to affect South Africa's economic and fiscal performance," S&P warned.

  • France to try 14 execs, JP Morgan Chase over tax fraud AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 7:04 PM AEDT
    France to try 14 execs, JP Morgan Chase over tax fraud

    Fourteen former and current executives of the Wendel investment company will face trial for tax fraud while US bank JP Morgan Chase is to be pursued for complicity, legal sources told AFP on Friday. The former head of Wendel, Jean-Bernard Lafonta, and Ernest-Antoine Seilliere, ex-chief of the main French employer's association, are among those to be tried, legal sources said. An investigation was opened in 2012 following complaints by tax authorities over a scheme called Solfur that saw Wendel executives buy shares at a knockdown price.

  • Spain pledges to meet EU deficit target in 2018 AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 6:39 PM AEDT
    Spain pledges to meet EU deficit target in 2018

    Spain laid out its budget plans Friday, pledging to drop its deficit below a EU-stipulated three-percent limit after several failed attempts while also tackling unemployment. Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro outlined proposed tax rises to cut the deficit, including an increase in levies on alcohol and tobacco products, and a new sugar tax on soft drinks. Re-instated last month after a lengthy period of political limbo caused by two inconclusive elections, Spain's conservative government finds itself stuck between a rock and a hard place.

  • Stocks slide as European political fears top agenda AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 6:35 PM AEDT
    Stocks slide as European political fears top agenda

    European stocks fell Friday in nervy trade before Italy's crunch referendum and Austria's elections, amid fears that both could send shockwaves reverberating across markets. Four weeks since Donald Trump's ...

  • France to try 14 execs and JP Morgan Chase over tax fraud AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 5:33 PM AEDT
    France to try 14 execs and JP Morgan Chase over tax fraud

    Fourteen former executives of the Wendel investment company will face trial for tax fraud while US bank JP Morgan Chase is to be pursued for complicity, legal sources told AFP on Friday. The former head of Wendel, Jean-Bernard Lafonta, and Ernest-Antoine Seilliere, the former head of the main French employer's association, are among those to be tried, legal sources said. An investigation was opened in 2012 following complaints by tax authorities over a scheme called Solfur that saw Wendel executives buy shares at a knockdown price.

  • Adidas ends sponsorship of doping-tainted IAAF AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 5:08 PM AEDT
    Adidas ends sponsorship of doping-tainted IAAF

    Sportswear giant Adidas on Friday ended its sponsorship of the IAAF in the wake of doping and corruption scandals that have rocked track and field. Adidas' 11-year sponsorship deal with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) was set to run until 2019. The deal is said to be worth tens of millions of dollars to the IAAF.

  • Athletics: Adidas ends sponsorship of doping-tainted IAAF AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 4:59 PM AEDT
    Athletics: Adidas ends sponsorship of doping-tainted IAAF

    Sportswear giant Adidas on Friday ended its sponsorship of the IAAF in the wake of doping and corruption scandals that have rocked track and field. Adidas' 11-year sponsorship deal with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) was set to run until 2019. The deal is said to be worth tens of millions of dollars to the IAAF.

  • Spain to drop below EU's 3% deficit limit in 2018: minister AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 2:58 PM AEDT
    Spain to drop below EU's 3% deficit limit in 2018: minister

    Spain's finance minister pledged Friday that the deficit would fall to 2.2 percent of GDP in 2018, which would finally see the country adhere to EU rules after years of failed attempts. Cristobal Montoro told reporters the government planned to "go below three percent (limit set by the EU) to 2.2 percent" in 2018. Already under EU scrutiny, Spain must reduce its deficit to 4.6 percent of its GDP this year, and 3.1 percent in 2017.

  • Venezuela rejects Mercosur suspension: foreign minister AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 12:55 PM AEDT
    Venezuela rejects Mercosur suspension: foreign minister

    Venezuela on Friday angrily rejected its suspension from the South American economic bloc Mercosur, saying it did not recognize the action taken by the group's four other member states. Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay had informed the leftist government in Caracas that it was being suspended for failing to meet democratic and trade standards, a Brazilian government source said Thursday. "Venezuela does not recognize this null and void action sustained by the Law of the Jungle of some officials who are destroying MERCOSUR," Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said on her Twitter account.

  • New bird flu scare hits holiday hopes of French foie gras exporters AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 12:40 PM AEDT
    New bird flu scare hits holiday hopes of French foie gras exporters

    A new outbreak of bird flu hit France's foie gras producers on Friday just as a ban on exports outside Europe was about to be lifted in time for the crucial holiday period. The agriculture ministry said the outbreak of the "highly pathogenic" H5N8 strain of the virus was detected Thursday on a duck farm in the southwestern Tarn region, the heart of the lucrative, though controversial, foie gras industry. Exports outside the European Union had been suspended after an outbreak a year ago, and producers were waiting for the green light -- which had been set for Saturday -- to resume shipments just in time for the holidays.

  • Venezuela rejects Mercosur suspension AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 12:39 PM AEDT
    Venezuela rejects Mercosur suspension

    Venezuela on Friday angrily rejected its suspension from the South American economic bloc Mercosur, saying it did not recognize the action taken by the group's four other member states. "Venezuela does not recognize this null and void action sustained by the Law of the Jungle of some officials who are destroying MERCOSUR," Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said on her Twitter account. Although Venezuela joined Mercosur in 2012, the other members complain it has yet to ratify a number of rules governing trade, politics, democracy and human rights.

  • Airbnb imposes limit on London home rentals AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 10:57 AM AEDT
    Airbnb imposes limit on London home rentals

    Airbnb will impose a 90-day limit on the sharing of private homes in London, the home rentals website has revealed amid fears over the British capital's housing market. The online lettings firm announced the move on Thursday after studying its impact in London and elsewhere, adding it would also enforce a 60-day limit in Amsterdam. In addition, the San Francisco-based company pledged to remove "unwelcome" commercial operators in London under plans that will be in place by spring 2017.

  • Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to step aside, stay as chairman AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 3:30 AM AEDT
    Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to step aside, stay as chairman

    Howard Schultz, the charismatic head of Starbucks, will step aside as CEO next year, turning a major page in the history of a company he built into an iconic global brand. Having led the company's rise from a sleepy Seattle chain into the world's biggest coffee business, Schultz will stay on as executive chairman and chairman of the board, the coffee giant said Thursday in a surprise announcement that sent the share price down after hours. Schultz will hand the reins to president and chief operating officer Kevin Johnson, a close friend who was tapped as number two at the company in 2015 and has been a Starbucks board member since 2009.

  • Key bloc Mercosur suspends Venezuela: source AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 2:55 AM AEDT
    Key bloc Mercosur suspends Venezuela: source

    The key South American economic bloc Mercosur has suspended crisis-hit Venezuela for failing to meet democratic and trade standards, a government source in member country Brazil said. Member countries Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay have informed Venezuela that its rights as a member "are suspended," the source, who asked not to be named, told AFP. Mercosur members had already threatened to suspend Venezuela because it has failed to incorporate key Mercosur accords into its national law.

  • In Trump's victory lap, a warning to US firms: stay or pay AFP - Fri, Dec 2, 2016 12:01 AM AEDT
    In Trump's victory lap, a warning to US firms: stay or pay

    Donald Trump launched into a post-election victory lap Thursday by visiting a company where he claimed credit for saving American jobs, as he warned other US firms they will face consequences if relocating abroad. The president-elect, who made guaranteeing jobs for blue-collar American workers a key plank of his campaign, strode triumphantly through an Indiana factory that makes Carrier air conditioners, trumpeting a deal to keep 1,100 manufacturing positions from being shifted to Mexico.

  • Starbucks' Schultz to step aside as CEO; stay on as chairman AFP - Thu, Dec 1, 2016 11:04 PM AEDT
    Starbucks' Schultz to step aside as CEO; stay on as chairman

    Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz will step aside as CEO but remain with the company as chairman, the coffee giant said Thursday in a surprise announcement that sent the share price down after hours. Schultz, who helped grow Starbucks from a sleepy chain in Seattle to an iconic global brand, will stay on as executive chairman and chairman of the board. The move comes as the firm faces an increasingly crowded market for higher-quality retail coffee shops and seeks to bolster foot traffic.

  • Dow ends at fresh record; Nasdaq tumbles 1.4% AFP - Thu, Dec 1, 2016 11:01 PM AEDT
    Dow ends at fresh record; Nasdaq tumbles 1.4%

    Strong gains by banking and industrial equities propelled the Dow to a fresh record Thursday, but an acceleration of the tech sell-off pushed the Nasdaq sharply lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ...

  • US car sales heat up in November, boosted by discounts AFP - Thu, Dec 1, 2016 10:29 PM AEDT
    US car sales heat up in November, boosted by discounts

    Deep discounts and extra selling days boosted US car sales in November among many brands, as Black Friday shopping helped reverse three months of year-over-year declines, automakers reported Thursday. GM, the biggest US carmaker, reported a sales surge of 10.2 percent compared to the year-ago period. GM also expressed optimism, saying it was ahead of schedule in selling off its 2016 model year inventory and expected robust December sales.

  • Gazans hope Coca-Cola plant refreshes economy AFP - Thu, Dec 1, 2016 10:17 PM AEDT
    Gazans hope Coca-Cola plant refreshes economy

    The head of the Gaza Strip's first Coca-Cola plant said Thursday he hoped the venture would send a "message to investors" that the beleaguered Palestinian enclave was open for business. "It's a message to a lot of investors and global companies that investments in Gaza can succeed," said Yasser Arafat, Gaza manager of Palestinian Coke franchisee National Beverage Company (NBC). It will provide around 120 jobs immediately, Coca-Cola said, with an eventual expansion to 270.