Financial News from AFP

  • EU says Brazil must 'restore trust' in meat exports AFP - 10 hours ago
    EU says Brazil must 'restore trust' in meat exports

    The European Union's health commissioner said Monday that Brazil will have to "restore trust" in its meat exports after being hit by a scandal over expired meat being passed off as fresh. "I expect that (the Brazilian authorities) will understand that it's up to them to act as soon as possible to restore trust in the official control system," said health and food safety commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis as he began a visit to Rio de Janeiro. "I expect good cooperation and mutual understanding.

  • 'Beauty and the Beast' dazzles again at box office AFP - 12 hours ago
    'Beauty and the Beast' dazzles again at box office

    Disney's blockbuster "Beauty and the Beast" dazzled the North American box office for a second straight week, raking in $90.4 million over the weekend, according to industry data released on Monday. The movie, starring Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame as Belle and Dan Stevens from the "Downton Abbey" series as the Beast, has shown drawing power usually more typical of a superhero blockbuster than of PG-rated family fare.

  • Uber putting self-driving cars back on the road AFP - 13 hours ago
    Uber putting self-driving cars back on the road

    Uber on Monday said its self-driving cars were being put back in action on roads after a weekend crash prompted the ridesharing giant to halt testing. Self-driving Uber cars went back to work in San Francisco in the morning there and were to return to streets in Arizona and Pennsylvania later in the day, Uber said an email response to an AFP inquiry. The on-demand ride service grounded its test fleet of self-driving cars pending an investigation into a crash of an Uber autonomous vehicle in Arizona.

  • Global stock markets drop on Trump concerns AFP - 13 hours ago
    Global stock markets drop on Trump concerns

    Stock markets mostly fell Monday and the dollar slid on concerns that the collapse of US President Donald Trump's repeal of Obamacare could leave him struggling to push through his promised tax-cut and ...

  • Samsung to sell refurbished safety-recalled Note 7 phones AFP - 14 hours ago
    Samsung to sell refurbished safety-recalled Note 7 phones

    Samsung announced Monday it would sell some Note 7 smartphones that were recalled for safety reasons as refurbished devices, in an effort to manage its stockpile in an "environmentally friendly" manner. The South Korean giant, the world's largest smartphone maker, said it would sell Note 7s as "refurbished phones or rental phones," after consultations with regulators in various markets. Samsung recalled an estimated four million of the flagship smartphones over concerns that batteries could overheat and burst into flames.

  • Gross, Pimco settle breach-of-contract suit AFP - 15 hours ago
    Gross, Pimco settle breach-of-contract suit

    Former Pimco co-founder and bond guru Bill Gross settled a wrongful termination and breach-of-contract suit against his ex-employer, the two parties said Monday in a joint statement released by Pimco. The terms of the settlement were not released, but a person familiar with the matter said Pimco agreed to pay $81 million. Pimco is owned by German insurance and financial giant Allianz.

  • Qatar set to invest £5bn in UK over next five years AFP - 17 hours ago
    Qatar set to invest £5bn in UK over next five years

    Qatar will invest £5 billion in Britain within five years in a boost for the post-Brexit economy, Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani announced Monday. "Over the next three to five years Qatar will invest £5 billion ($6.23 billion, 5.8 billion euros) in the UK economy through various investment funds and relevant parties in Qatar -- which will constitute another addition to its already successful investments in the UK," he said at the Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum in London.

  • Stock markets drop on Trump tax concerns AFP - 18 hours ago
    Stock markets drop on Trump tax concerns

    Stock markets dropped Monday and the dollar slid on concerns that the collapse of US President Donald Trump's repeal of Obamacare could leave him struggling to push through his promised tax-cut and infrastructure ...

  • Heineken bottles out in Hungary beer row AFP - 19 hours ago
    Heineken bottles out in Hungary beer row

    A row between Heineken and a small Romanian brewer backed by the Hungarian government looked to be over Monday, just days after Budapest threatened to ban the Dutch giant's famous red star logo. Heineken and Lixid Project, based in Transylvania, a region in Romania with a large ethnic Hungarian population, said in a joint statement that their dispute had been settled out of court. The deal appears to have ended a bitter dispute framed by the Hungarian government as a "David and Goliath" battle against a multinational firm "abusing its power" over a small company run by ethnic Hungarians.

  • EU clears merger of US chemicals giants Dow and DuPont AFP - 23 hours ago
    EU clears merger of US chemicals giants Dow and DuPont

    The EU on Monday approved a $130 billion mega-merger of US agri-chemicals giants Dow Chemical and DuPont, paving the way for major consolidation in a sensitive sector for farmers and the environment. The decision by antitrust regulators was subject to Dupont selling "major parts" of its global pesticide business, said the European Commission, the EU's executive arm. "Due to significant commitments on products and the worldwide research and development organisation, the merger of Dow and Dupont can be approved," EU Competition Margrethe Vestager said.

  • Eurozone firms' appetite for cash slows AFP - Mon, Mar 27, 2017 10:59 AM AEDT
    Eurozone firms' appetite for cash slows

    Growth in eurozone banks' lending to businesses slowed in February, figures from the European Central Bank showed Monday. Lending growth to the private sector -- businesses and households -- in the 19-nation single currency area eased to 2.0 percent in February, after holding steady at 2.2 percent in the previous two months. Growth in lending to the private sector is a closely-watched indicator of the economic outlook.

  • German business morale hits five-and-a-half year high AFP - Mon, Mar 27, 2017 9:55 AM AEDT
    German business morale hits five-and-a-half year high

    German business confidence rose to its highest level in more than five and a half years in March, a regular survey showed Monday, beating analysts' forecasts for a slight decline. The Ifo institute's closely-watched business climate index improved in March, adding 1.2 points to reach 112.3 points, the highest level since July 2011. "The upswing in the German economy is gaining impetus," commented Ifo president Clemens Fuest.

  • Asian markets down on fears about future of Trump agenda AFP - Mon, Mar 27, 2017 9:39 AM AEDT
    Asian markets down on fears about future of Trump agenda

    Asian markets fell Monday and the dollar struggled on fears the collapse of Donald Trump's repeal of Obamacare could mean he will struggle to push through his promised tax-cut and infrastructure spending ...

  • First warning signs appear for UK's resilient economy AFP - Mon, Mar 27, 2017 9:11 AM AEDT
    First warning signs appear for UK's resilient economy

    Britain's economy has for months defied the cataclysmic predictions made by campaigners for staying in the EU ahead of last year's referendum but its smooth run shows signs of hitting the skids. As Britain begins the delicate process of extracting itself from the European Union, headwinds are expected for the economy even though the forecast financial storm has so far failed to materialise. Prime Minister Theresa May has been credited with a deft handling of the economy in the first nine months since the Brexit vote, aided by the Bank of England's injections of liquidity into the banking system and unflagging consumer confidence.

  • Brexit job fears stalk Britain's financial centres AFP - Mon, Mar 27, 2017 7:55 AM AEDT
    Brexit job fears stalk Britain's financial centres

    Worries are whirring in Britain's smaller financial centres -- which together employ far more people than the glamorous City of London -- that the looming EU departure will lead to heavy job losses. In Manchester's buzzing finance district of Spinningfields, a worker at an insurance company said he thought it would have "a huge impact". Financial and professional services, which rely heavily on access to Europe's single market, employ 2.2 million people, or seven percent of Britain's working population, according to TheCityUK, a lobbying group.

  • Toshiba's US atomic unit to file for bankruptcy: report AFP - Mon, Mar 27, 2017 7:22 AM AEDT
    Toshiba's US atomic unit to file for bankruptcy: report

    Toshiba's loss-hit US nuclear unit could be placed under bankruptcy protection as early as this week, a report said Monday, sending shares in the Japanese giant lower. Westinghouse Electric is likely to file for Chapter 11 on Tuesday and is eyeing Korea Electric Power Co to help with its subsequent restructuring, Japan's Nikkei business daily said, without citing sources. Toshiba's stock ended a see-saw session at 218.4 yen, down 2.06 percent.

  • China oil giant Sinopec posts 44% jump in net profit AFP - Mon, Mar 27, 2017 6:22 AM AEDT
    China oil giant Sinopec posts 44% jump in net profit

    State-owned Chinese energy major Sinopec said 2016 net profit jumped 44 percent, its first annual profit rise in three years, as strong demand and better margins in its downstream refining business helped offset low oil prices. Sinopec ?- a listed unit of China Petrochemical Corp ?- saw net profit surge to 46.7 billion yuan ($6.8 billion), it said in a statement filed late Sunday to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where it is listed.

  • Wall Street's Trump rally overpriced, economists say AFP - Mon, Mar 27, 2017 5:22 AM AEDT
    Wall Street's Trump rally overpriced, economists say

    Wall Street's historic rallies since Donald Trump's election overvalue the president's pledged pro-business tax and regulatory policies, according to a survey of economists released Monday. "Panelists expect higher oil prices, rising long-term interest rates and further gains in compensation in 2017," NABE President Sean Mackintosh said in remarks accompanying the survey report. Mackintosh said that on the whole the views of panel, comprising about 50 forecasters from different organizations, were "largely unchanged" since a prior survey in December, holding that the economy should expand by 2.3 percent his year before rising to 2.5 percent in 2018.

  • Asian markets mostly down on fears about future of Trump agenda AFP - Mon, Mar 27, 2017 3:42 AM AEDT
    Asian markets mostly down on fears about future of Trump agenda

    Most Asian markets fell Monday and the dollar struggled on fears the collapse of Donald Trump's repeal of Obamacare could mean he will struggle to push through his promised tax-cut and infrastructure spending ...

  • Oxfam exposes tax haven habits of EU big banks AFP - Sun, Mar 26, 2017 11:11 PM AEDT
    Oxfam exposes tax haven habits of EU big banks

    The twenty biggest banks in the eurozone booked over a quarter of their 2015 profits in tax havens, with Luxembourg and Ireland the favourite destinations, a report by Oxfam said on Monday. The findings come as the tax affairs of major multinationals are under the microscope after revelations in the LuxLeaks and Panama Papers scandals showed the methods used by big companies to avoid paying tax. "New EU transparency rules give us a glimpse into the tax affairs of Europe?s biggest banks and it?s not a pretty sight," said Manon Aubry, a tax specialist at Oxfam.

  • 'Beauty' stays on top, but much-maligned 'Rangers' shows box-office power AFP - Sun, Mar 26, 2017 7:28 PM AEDT
    'Beauty' stays on top, but much-maligned 'Rangers' shows box-office power

    Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" continued its blockbuster ways this weekend, dominating North American movie screens with a three-day take of $88.3 million, according to an estimate from the specialized Exhibitor Relations. In just its second week, the film's cumulative North American take of $317 million is the best ever for a March release, according to the Variety website, helping propel domestic box offices for March past $1 billion, the most ever for the month. The movie, starring Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame as Belle and Dan Stevens from the "Downton Abbey" series as the Beast, has shown drawing power usually more typical of a superhero blockbuster than of PG-rated family fare.

  • Le Pen plan to jettison euro spooks French business AFP - Sun, Mar 26, 2017 7:15 PM AEDT
    Le Pen plan to jettison euro spooks French business

    The euro -- and her fervent wish to withdraw from it -- is a central theme of every stump speech by French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, topping her list of 144 election pledges. Le Pen calls the single European currency a "a knife that you stick in a country's ribs to force it to do what its people don't want to do". The leader of the National Front (FN) blames the euro for driving up prices, hurting exports and adding to France's already colossal trade deficit.

  • Oil producers look into rollover of output cuts AFP - Sun, Mar 26, 2017 3:48 PM AEDT
    Oil producers look into rollover of output cuts

    OPEC and non-OPEC producers said Sunday at a meeting in Kuwait they were looking into extending an output cuts deal aimed at stabilising the market, as compliance with the milestone pact increases. The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee "expressed its satisfaction with the progress made towards full conformity with the voluntary production adjustments and encouraged all participating countries to press on towards 100 percent conformity," producers said after their day-long meeting. The committee, formed by OPEC and non-OPEC members to oversee compliance with the deal to reduce output reached last year, also studied the possibility of extending the cuts for another six-month period.

  • Iran to sanction 15 US companies for Israel ties AFP - Sun, Mar 26, 2017 1:19 PM AEDT
    Iran to sanction 15 US companies for Israel ties

    Iran said Sunday it will impose sanctions on 15 US companies for supporting Israel's "terrorist actions" as part of reprisals for the increasing pressure being announced by Washington lawmakers. The decision, which is largely symbolic since the firms do not do business with Iran, come two days after the US announced new sanctions against groups and individuals that it accuses of collaborating with Iran's weapons programme. The sanctions target firms that provide arms and equipment to Israel "for use against the Palestinians", IRNA said.

  • Businesses cursed by 'devil's waters' of S. Korea ferry sinking AFP - Sun, Mar 26, 2017 8:08 AM AEDT
    Businesses cursed by 'devil's waters' of S. Korea ferry sinking

    When South Korea's Sewol ferry sank three years ago killing more than 300 people, it also devastated businesses close to the wreck site. The ship went down in an archipelago off southwestern South Korea, whose 1,700 islands make up the Dadohaehaesang national park, the country's largest.

  • Uber grounds self-driving cars after accident AFP - Sun, Mar 26, 2017 6:38 AM AEDT
    Uber grounds self-driving cars after accident

    Uber has grounded its fleet of self-driving cars pending an investigation into the crash of an Uber autonomous vehicle in Arizona, a spokesperson for the car-hailing service said Sunday. No one was seriously injured in the accident which occurred Friday in Tempe, Arizona while the vehicle -- a Volvo SUV -- was in self-driving mode, the company said. "We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no backseat passengers in the vehicle," the Uber spokesperson said.

  • Brexit sparks race to host European Banking Authority AFP - Sun, Mar 26, 2017 5:46 AM AEDT
    Brexit sparks race to host European Banking Authority

    Along with banks that have signalled they will be moving jobs abroad, Brexit will probably see the European Banking Authority leave London -- and rival cities are jockeying to be its next host. The London headquarters of the European Union's financial regulator, in the Canary Wharf district, has 170 staff members from 27 of the 28 European Union nations. Brexit is "a major talking point among the staff", executive director Adam Farkas told AFP, as Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to take the historic step of launching the exit process this week.

  • East German boom town breaks populist, backward stereotypes AFP - Sun, Mar 26, 2017 4:55 AM AEDT
    East German boom town breaks populist, backward stereotypes

    With higher unemployment rates than western Germany and support for the anti-immigration AfD party reaching 20 percent, the country's former communist east has often been associated with economic decline and xenophobia. Take the city of Jena in Thuringia state -- population 100,000, unemployment rate 6.5 percent. Long known as a "lighthouse" of the region, the city boasts a flourishing high-tech sector and a strong optical technology sector that even the communist years didn't extinguish.

  • After crisis, Spain textiles sector dons new colours AFP - Sun, Mar 26, 2017 4:51 AM AEDT
    After crisis, Spain textiles sector dons new colours

    Spain's textile sector, flush with the glittering success of brands such as Zara, is beginning to recover from a crisis sparked by cut-throat competition from Asia that destroyed a third of its firms in less than a decade. Inditex, owner of a range of brands such as Zara, Massimo Dutti and Bershka, easily beat its closest rival, Sweden's H&M, in terms of earnings last year, booking a bottom-line net profit of over 3.0 billion euros ($3.4 billion). Thanks to the success of Inditex's "fast-fashion" brands, along with that of two other major Spanish high street clothing retailers, Mango and Desigual, Spain is a key player in the global fashion sector.

  • Russia set to repay all Soviet Union's foreign debt AFP - Sun, Mar 26, 2017 4:45 AM AEDT
    Russia set to repay all Soviet Union's foreign debt

    A quarter of a century after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia is finally set to pay off all the foreign debt it inherited from the vanished Communist empire. Keen to establish a reputation of a reliable borrower -- despite Western financial sanctions over the Ukraine conflict -- Moscow announced last week it would pay off $125.2 million in Soviet-era debt to Bosnia-Herzegovina within 45 days. The payment "completes the settlement of the external public debt of the former USSR, which is a historic event," said Russia's deputy finance minister Sergei Storchak.

  • Brexit plunges EU fishing into troubled waters AFP - Sun, Mar 26, 2017 4:28 AM AEDT
    Brexit plunges EU fishing into troubled waters

    EU fishing fleets are increasingly anxious about their future access to teeming British waters as Britain prepares to trigger the two-year countdown to its exit from the bloc. Fleets from nine EU countries including France, Germany and Spain have banded together in a newly-created European Fisheries Alliance, formerly launched at the European Parliament last week, warning of steep losses if divorce proceedings turn bitter. European fleets obtain one-third of their catch in the exclusive economic zone around the British Isles, and loss of access to those waters could cut their profits in half in the short term, the fishing alliance says.

  • Brazil tainted meat: Three key markets resume imports AFP - Sat, Mar 25, 2017 9:33 PM AEDT
    Brazil tainted meat: Three key markets resume imports

    Brazil won a major victory Saturday in the fight to restore credibility amid a tainted meat scandal, with key markets China, Egypt and Chile lifting their bans on its products. The three countries, which had totally closed their markets to Brazilian meat at the beginning of the week, said they would open them to all but imports from the 21 Brazilian processing plants under investigation. About 20 countries this week -- including the European Union, Japan and Mexico -- closed fully or partially their doors to Brazilian meat imports, whose sales brought in more than $13 billion to the Brazilian economy in 2016.

  • China lifts ban on Brazilian meat imports AFP - Sat, Mar 25, 2017 4:38 PM AEDT
    China lifts ban on Brazilian meat imports

    Brazil, trying to recover from a rotten meat scandal that has pummeled its agribusiness industry, said Saturday that major trading partner China had lifted a ban on imports of its products. "China announced today it has fully reopened its market to Brazilian meat," Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said in a statement. Maggi did not say when the resumption of Brazilian meat imports, suspended Monday by China, would take effect.

  • Nigeria's vice-president and a fragile peace in the delta AFP - Sat, Mar 25, 2017 2:33 PM AEDT
    Nigeria's vice-president and a fragile peace in the delta

    While Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari was receiving treatment in London for an undisclosed illness, his energetic deputy Yemi Osinbajo was wooing the country's oil heartland. In stark contrast with Buhari, a 74-year-old former general who rarely ventures outside the capital, Abuja, the vice-president went on a whirlwind tour around Africa's most populous nation. Out of all his stops during Buhari's 49-day absence, Osinbajo's trips to the Niger delta -- the oil-rich southern swamplands that dictate Nigeria's economic fortunes -- were the most productive.

  • SeaWorld to expand in China after investment deal AFP - Sat, Mar 25, 2017 8:33 AM AEDT
    SeaWorld to expand in China after investment deal

    A Chinese real estate investment firm has announced it has become the largest shareholder in SeaWorld and intends to import the US company's controversial theme parks into China. The Zhonghong Zhuoye group said in a statement released Friday night it will buy a 21 per cent stake in SeaWorld Entertainment, whose shows featuring killer whales have been slammed by animal rights groups. The purchase, which is expected to be finalised in the second quarter, will make Zhonghong the largest shareholder in SeaWorld, with the possibility of raising its stake to 24.9 per cent.