上海夜生活,上海夜生活网,上海夜网论坛 - Powered by March 2017

France, Germany step up pressure over Alstom-Siemens deal

PARIS ( ) – France and Germany raised pressure on the European Union’s competition chief to approve the merger of Alstom and Siemens’ rail businesses, warning that thwarting the proposed European champion would be a strategic error.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the French and German governments were fully behind the merger, as were Alstom (ALSO.PA) Chief Executive Henri Poupart-Lafarge and his Siemens (SIEGn.DE) counterpart上海夜生活论坛 Joe Kaeser.

“Refusing the merger between Alstom and Siemens would be an economic error and a political mistake,” Le Maire told journalists on Monday before a visit by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager to Paris.

“We cannot take an industrial decision for the 21st century with the competition rules from the 20th century,” Le Maire ,上海夜生活去哪玩Falkner,added, reiterating a warning to Vestager about rejecting the merger.

People familiar with the matter told on Friday that Siemens’ and Alstom’s plan to create a European rail champion to take on a Chinese rival had failed to win over EU antitrust regulators, despite German and French backing.

Comments from politicians reflect a frustration that the EU’s competition laws no longer reflect modern-day geopolitical realities, and in particular the threat from China.

“We need international champions in Europe that are able to compete globally”, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told on the sidelines of a technology conference in Munich.

“Talks are in an important phase and we will do everything so that this project has a chance,” he added.

During her visit to Paris, Vestager refused to comment on the possible outcome of the antitrust decision due by Feb. 18, but stressed the importance of defending consumers’ interests rather than building European industrial champions.

“We’re dealing with two European champions, we’re dealing with businesses that are very big in the European marketplace and the global marketplace,” Vestager told journalists.

The French and German government have argued in favor of the merger on the grounds that it would create a European market leader capable of competing with Chinese giant CRRC (601766.SS), which currently dwarves other rivals.

Vestager said the European Commission had looked in-depth at CRRC’s position in the global market.

Related CoverageSiemens: Key to have dialogue based on trust with EU about Alstom dealGermany: Siemens/Alstom deal could increase competitiveness

She added that the European antitrust enforcer would review any ,上海021夜网Gabe,measures offered by the companies to ease its ,上海凤楼夜网Larissa,competition concerns, but warned it was extremely late in the process.

“Of course our phone is open, the mailbox as well, (but) when you’re this late in the procedure, you have to be very blunt in remedying concerns if you want to do that,” she said.

German conglomerate Siemens has already offered to license parts of its high-speed train business and sell parts of its signaling operations after the European Commission voiced concerns.

Draghi comments at ECB press conference

FRANKFURT, ( ) – The European Central Bank left its policy stance unchanged as expected on Thursday, keeping a rate hike later this year on the table even as the euro zone economy suffers its biggest slowdown in half a decade.

Following are highlights of ECB President Mario Draghi’s comments at ,上海夜网邀请码Lark,a press conference after the bank’s policy meeting.


Asked about speeding up hiring of his replacement and should the process be expedited, Draghi said:

“It’s a difficult answer and I am a little biased but I don’t have that sense – maybe people like me!”

“I don’t have that sense from the Governing Council.”


“Next will depend on whether we will end up assessing this slower growth as… persistent and then we will consider different contingencies and different elements.

“I don’t want to speculate about what contingency would call for a specific instrument, but if you look at the number of instruments we have in place now, we can conclude that it is not true that the ECB has run out of fuel or has run out of instruments.

“We have all our toolbox still available.”


“Economists say if we are to do TLTROs there should be a good case for monetary policy. In other words, we want to have TLTROs or LTROs to address cases of existing or likely fragmentation in the monetary policy space.

“We don’t want to be again in the situation where we were in 2012/13 and 14 where we lowered interest rates – policy interest rates – and this was not translated into lower lending rates.”


“When markets place the first rate hike in 2020, they are using the state contingent part of our forward guidance. They assess the economic prospects that way and it shows that they have understood our reaction function.”


“If you compare potential disruption coming from Brexit for the aggregate of the euro zone … it doesn’t seem to be extensive.

“But we have to take into account items like value chains (and that) … some countries are more exposed to events in the Brexit case.”


“The Governing Council will give itself more time to assess whether all these risk factors have affected confidence and we are going to have another discussion in March when we will also have the new projections.”


“There was also quite, I would say, unanimity about assessing the likelihood of a recession as being low. Now, again, I don’t want to give numbers here, but some of them are very low, others are on the average since the last 60 years or 50 years. So in any event pretty low.”


“There was unanimity in saying that the key aspect to assess is the persistence of the general uncertainty as being produced by these factors. …if all this were to persist, we should expect a longer weak momentum beyond the near term.”


“We were unanimous about acknowledging the weaker momentum and changing the balance of risk for growth. We are all in agreement on that.

“And we were unanimous in assessing the factors that have caused the slowdown; namely, first and foremost, there is an increase in general uncertainty.”


“This increase in general uncertainty is being produced by the threats of protectionism… actually extensive doubts about the multilateral rules that have underpinned our growth since the Second World War.”


“By and large the banking sector is much stronger than before the beginning of the crisis.”


“There was unanimity in the Governing Council that the likelihood of a recession is low.”


“Several speakers actually raised this issue (of TLTROs), but no decision was taken. So it was because we didn’t discuss policies this time; we only were focused on the assessment.”


“Quite clearly, the assessment will have implications about policy, but we didn’t discuss them.”


“Today, we didn’t discuss the (policy) implications (of changing balance of risk). Today’s meeting was essentially devoted to an assessment – where are we and why are we here, how long will the slowdown last, is the slowdown going to worsen or stay as a shallow上海夜网 lower path? These were the questions that were asked.”


“Headline inflation is likely to decline further over the coming months. Measures of underlying inflation remain generally muted, but labor cost pressures are continuing to strengthen and broaden amid high levels of capacity utilization and tightening labor markets.”


“Looking ahead, underlying inflation is expected to increase over the medium term, supported by our monetary policy measures, the ongoing economic expansion and rising wage growth.”


“The near-term growth momentum is likely to be weaker than previously anticipated.”


“Looking ahead, the euro area expansion will continue to be supported by favorable financing conditions, further employment gains and rising wages, lower energy prices and the ongoing albeit somewhat slower expansion in global activity.”


“Significant monetary policy stimulus remains essential to support the further buildup of domestic price pressures and headline inflation developments over the medium term.

“This will be provided by our forward guidance on the key ECB interest rates, reinforced by the reinvestments of the sizable stock of acquired assets.”


“The Governing Council stands ready to adjust all of its instruments as appropriate to ensure that inflation continues to move towards the Governing Council’s inflation aim in a sustained manner.”


“We intend to continue reinvesting, in full, the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the asset purchase program for an extended period of time past the date when we start raising the key ECB interest rates, and in any case for as long as necessary.”


“Supportive financing conditions, favorable labor market dynamics and rising wage growth continue to underpin the euro area expansion and gradually rising inflation pressures.”


“This supports our confidence in the continued sustained convergenc,上海夜生活桑拿会所Cadence,e of inflation to levels that are below, but close to 2 percent over the medium term.”


“The risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook have moved to the downside on account of the persistence of uncertainties related to the,上海夜网官方网站Paige, geopolitical factors and the threat of protectionism, vulnerabilities in emerging markets and financial market volatility.”


“The persistence of uncertainties, in particular relating to geopolitical factors and the threat of protectionism, is weighing on economic sentiment.”


“The incoming information has continued to be weaker than expected on account of softer external demand and some country and sector-specific factors.”

Danske faces new investor lawsuit threat

LONDON ( ) – Litigation funder IMF Bentham (IMF.AX) has teamed up with legal experts Quinn Emanuel and Njord Law Firm and plans to file a shareholder lawsuit against Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO) by July over a 200 billion euro ($230 billion) money laundering scandal.

IMF’s European subsidiary, IMF Litigation Funding Services Limited (IMF LFS), on Tuesday alleged that Denmark’s largest lender breached the Danish Securities Trading Act and EU anti money laundering rules by failing to promptly inform large, institutional investors about the true scale of the crisis.

Danske declined to comment.

Around half a dozen groups have said they are gathering shareholders to sue Danske bank over a scandal that has already cost it its CEO and chairman, triggered a raft of criminal i上海夜网nvestigations. Danske’s shares have plunged 49 percent since last March, wiping around $15 billion from its market value.

“The act,上海高端夜生活在那里Barney,ion will seek compensation for shareholders who,上海夜生活乌托邦Barbara, lost millions of euros in value as a result of perceived errors and omissions committed … and Danske Bank’s failure to disclose to the market the circumstances and magnitude of alleged unlawful activities within its Estonian branch,” IMF said.

It alleged a false market was created between April 29, 2014 and Sept. 19, 2018, when Danske published an internal report that charted how its tiny Estonian branch helped funnel hundreds of billions of euros from countries such as Russia over more than eight years. [nL8N1W51FB]

IMF declined to name any funds it had already signed up.

The claim hinges on allegations that Danske Bank had sufficient knowledge to publish an internal report into allegations of money laundering far earlier than Sep,上海夜网后花园Hadleigh,t. 19, 2018 and delayed an investigation to the prejudice of its investors.

IMF’s group claim is open to investors who have accrued losses after buying Danske shares between April 29, 2014 and 19 Sept. 19, 2018. IMF will fund the case on a “no win, no fee” basis and will be entitled to costs and a slice of damages recovered if the case is successful.

In the United States, where claimants with a common interest can be automatically grouped together, a New York pension fund has already filed a case against Danske and four former senior executives, seeking class-action status and damages for American depositary share holders. [nL1N1Z91FC]

($1 = 0.8787 euros)

Wall Street wavers as tech gives ground and industrials rebound

( ) – Wall Street was mixed on Tuesday, with Alphabet, Facebook and other technology-related shares dipping, while a rebound in 3M and other industrials elevated the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Apple Inc jumped 4 percent in extended trade after the iPhone maker posted quarterly results following its warning earlier this month that revenue would be less than previously expected due to softness in China, whose economy has been damaged by a trade war with the United States.

Apple’s stock had fallen 1.04 percent during the trading session, and its rebound after the bell helped push S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent, suggesting Wall Street could open in positive territory on Wednesday.

Interest rates were also in focus as the Federal Reserve began a two-day monetary policy meeting. After raising rates gradually last year, the central bank is taking a wait-and-see approach to further tightening in the face of an overseas slowdown and market volatility.

The Fed is widely expected to leave rates unchanged on Wednesday, and investors will look to Friday’s January jobs report for clues about the pace of future inflation.

“It’s a day of indecision. I don’t think anyone wants to make a big bet ahead of all that news,” Willie Delwiche, an investment strategist at Baird, said of corporate earnings, the Fed decision and the employment re,上海夜生活乌托邦Jacob,port.

Th上海夜网e S&P industrials index, which took a beating after a warning from Caterpillar on Monday, rebounded 1.37 percent, helped by better-than-expected reports from 3M Co and defense companies.

Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc and Microsoft Corp, whic,上海夜生活群Macauly,h are all due to report quarterly results later this week, fell more than 2 percent each.

The S&P technology index lost 1.01 percent.

Analysts on average expect S&P 500 companies’ aggregate earnings per share to have risen 14.2 percent in the fourth quarter. But with U.S. corporate tax cuts now a year old, 2019 earnings are seen rising a more moderate 5.6 percent.

As Washington and Beijing officials prepare for a high-level trade meeting this week, the Justice Department leveled charges against Chinese telecom giant Huawei, potentially casting a cloud on the talks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.21 percent to end at 24,579.96 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.15 percent to 2,640, dragged down by technology and communications stocks. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.81 percent to 7,028.29.

Defense contractors L3 Technologies Inc jumped 8.44 percent and Harris Corp climbed 8.78 percent after topping quarterly earnings estimates.

3M rose 1.94 perce,上海夜网千花Barbara,nt after its fourth-quarter results beat estimates, even as the Post-It notes maker trimmed its 2019 earnings outlook, saying that a slowdown at its Chinese business was hurting revenue.

Harley-Davidson Inc dropped 5.05 percent after the motorcycle maker reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hit by declining sales in the United States.

Allergan Plc fell 8.55 percent after the Botox maker forecast 2019 revenue below expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.42-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.23-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 10 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 31 new highs and 29 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.9 billion shares, compared with the 7.6 billion-share average over the last 20 trading days.

IMF fears trade war and weak Europe could trigger sharp global…

DAVOS, Switzerland ( ) – The International Monetary Fund on Monday cut its world economic growth forecasts for 2019 and 2020 due to weakness in Europe and some emerging markets, and said failure to resolve trade tensions could further destabilize a slowing global economy.

In its second downgrade,上海凤楼夜网Jace, in three months, the global lender also cited a bigger-than-expected slowdown in China’s economy and a possible “No Deal” Brexit as risks to its outlook, saying these could worsen market turbulence in financial markets.

The IMF predicted the global economy to grow at 3.5 percent in 2019 and 3.6 percent in 2020, down 0.2 and 0.1 percentage point respectively from last October’s forecasts.

The new forecasts, released on the eve of this week’s gathering of world leaders and business executives in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, show that policymakers may need to come up with plans to deal with an end to years of solid global growth.

“After two years of solid expansion, the world economy is growing more slowly than expected and risks are rising,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told a briefing.

“Does that mean a global recession is around the corner? No. But the risk of a sharper decline in global growth has certainly increased,” she said, urging policymakers to be ready for a “serious slowdown” by boosting their economies’ resilience to risks.

The downgrades reflected signs of weakness in Europe, with its export powerhouse Germany hurt by new fuel emission standards for cars and with Italy under market pressure due to Rome’s recent budget s,上海新夜网龙凤Hadley,tandoff with the European Union.

上海夜网Growth in the euro zone is set to moderate from 1.8 percent in 2018 to 1.6 percent in 2019, 0.3 percentage point lower than projected three months ago, the IMF said.

The IMF also cut its 2019 growth forecast for developing countries to 4.5 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from the previous projection and a slowdown from 4.7 percent in 2018.

“Emerging market and developing economies have been tested by difficult external conditions over the past few months amid trade tensions, rising U.S. interest rates, dollar appreciation, capital outflows, and volatile oil prices,” the IMF said.

CHINA’S,上海高端夜生活在那里Gabriella, ECONOMY COOLS

The IMF maintained its U.S. growth projections of 2.5 percent this year and 1.8 percent in 2020, pointing to continued strength in domestic demand.

It also kept its China growth forecast at 6.2 percent in both 2019 and 2020, but said economic activity could miss expectations if trade tensions persist, even with state efforts to spur growth by boosting fiscal spending and bank lending.

“As seen in 2015–16, concerns about the health of China’s economy can trigger abrupt, wide-reaching sell-offs in financial and commodity markets that place its trading partners, commodity exporters, and other emerging markets under pressure,” the IMF said in the report.

The report came hours after data showing China’s economy cooled in the fourth quarter on faltering domestic demand and bruising U.S. tariffs, dragging 2018 growth to the lowest in nearly three decades.

“The numbers we saw for China today are completely consistent with our forecasts,” the IMF’s chief economist Gita Gopinath told the briefing, calling on Beijing to continue with efforts to rebalance its economy by reining in excessive credit growth and reforming its financial sector.

Britain is expected to achieve 1.5 percent growth this year though there is uncertainty over the projection, which is based on the assumption of an orderly exit from the EU, the IMF said.

The rare bright spot was Japan, with the IMF revising up its forecast by 0.2 percentage point to 1.1 percent this year due to an expected boost from the government’s spending measures, which aim to offset a scheduled sales-tax hike in October.

The IMF has been urging policymakers to carry out structural reforms while the global economy enjoys solid growth, with Lagarde telling them to “fix the roof while the sun is shining”. The IMF has stressed the need to address income inequality and reform the financial sector.

However, as growth momentum peaks and risks to the outlook rise, policymakers must now focus on policies to prevent further slowdowns, the IMF said.

“The main shared policy priority is for countries to resolve cooperatively and quickly their trade disagreements and the resulting policy uncertainty, rather than raising harmful barriers further and destabilizing an already slowing global economy,” it added.

Trump’s push to cut federal jobs has modest impact, mostly in defense

WASHINGTON ( ) – President Donald Trump’s campaign to shrink the “bloated federal bureaucracy” so far has made a small dent in the federal workforce, and that largely because of a decline in civilian defense jobs.

Days after his Jan. 20 inauguration, Trump ordered a hiring freeze later replaced with an order for federal agencies to cut staff immediately, and in March he proposed a 2018 budget that sought to shift $54 billion to the military from other departments.

However, federal civilian jobs declined around 6,000 in the first nine months of this year, or just 0.3 percent of 2.1 million such jobs tracked by the Office of Personnel Management, according to calculations based on the latest OPM data published in late October.

The White House Office of Management and Budget declined to comment on the overall drop in federal employment or the mix of job gains and losses across agencies. The Office issued in April the order for agencies to start near-term staffing cuts and to submit plans for longer-term reductions by September.

Trump has not detailed how much “fat” he aims to cut, but spoke of “billions and billions of dollars” of government waste and his aim to shrink the “bloated federal bureaucracy” while preparing his budget proposals in March.

Independent watchdogs agree the federal government could be made more efficient, with Congress’s Government Accountability Office estimating in April that overlap and dupli,上海夜生活怎么玩Mabel,cation lead to “tens of billions” of dollars in unnecessary spending.

Before Trump, Democrats Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and Republican George W. Bush have all spearheaded various efforts to streamline government bureaucracy.

David Lewis, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University, said this year’s numbers showed that Trump’s executive orders had limited power to reshape the federal bureaucracy. Ultimately, the Congress controlled the budgets and had the biggest sway over agencies’ staffing, said Lewis, whose research has largely focused on executive branch politics and public administration.

The White House has said agencies’ longer-term workforce reduction plans w,上海夜生活网交流Dalton,ill serve to develop Trump’s 2019 budget proposal.

The overall decline in federal staffing this year is largely due to a roughly 9,500 drop at the Department of Defense to about 731,000, a 1.3 percent decline, even though Trump’s budget proposal envisaged small increases between 2016 and 2018 in employment measured by hours worked.

Pentagon spokesman Dave Eastburn said hiring was slow during the White House-ordered freeze, but exemption,上海夜生活去哪玩Gabi,s allowed recruitment for mission-critical positions and military readiness was never affected. He described the decrease in staffing this year as “well within historical norms.”

In fact, the number of active-duty service personnel, which was exempt from the hiring freeze, grew by about 7,000 in the 12 months through September, according to Defense Department data.

Still, cuts in the civilian staff could push more work onto relatively expensive contractors and military officers, potentially raising costs over time, said Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, a non-partisan watchdog group.

“If we’re just cutting jobs to cut jobs then mistakes are likely to be made,” Amey said after reviewing ’ calculations of OPM data.

Mallory Barg Bulman, a researcher at the Partnership for Public Service, a non-partisan nonprofit, said targeting the number of jobs in general was not the best way of improving how the bureaucracy works.

“A hiring freeze is not the answer to making the government more effective,” said Barg Bulman. Instead, agencies should invest more in training to boost productivity, she said.

The OPM figures, which exclude the postal service and some smaller independent agencies, showed the declines were in part offset by staffing gains – totaling about 9,000 – at the homeland security and veterans affairs departments. Much of the gains were in divisions that control immigration and in medical care for former soldiers, areas Trump has identified as priorities.

The Department of Veterans Affairs did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswom上海夜生活网an at the Department of Homeland Security said staffing increases owed to revised recruitment strategies as well as temporary hiring for hurricane relief efforts.

Some staffing ups and downs at agencies are part of long-standing budget issues or seasonal factors. The Treasury Department lost staff largely due to budget cuts ordered by Congress in past years for its tax collection service, while the departments of interior and agriculture saw increases due to seasonal hiring.

(This version of the story has been refiled to clarify description of the Partnership for Public Service in paragraph 15)

Hitachi halts UK nuclear project as energy supply crunch looms

LONDON/TOKYO ( ) – Japan’s Hitachi Ltd (6501.T) put a $28 billion nuclear power project in Britain on hold on Thursday, dealing a blow to the country’s plans for the replacement of aging plants.

Hitachi’s UK unit Horizon Nuclear Power failed to find private investors for its plan to build a plant at Wylfa in Anglesey, Wales, which was expected to provide about 6 percent of Britain’s electricity.

“We’ve made the decision to freeze the project from the economic standpoint as a private company,” Hitachi said, adding it had booked a write-down of 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion).

Chief executive Toshiaki Higashihara said Hitachi could seek to withdraw completely from the project and sell the Horizon unit, depending on discussions with the British government.

Hitachi shares have risen 13 percent since Japanese media first reported the possible suspension last week.

The Japanese company had urged the UK government to boost financial support for the planned power station.

Related CoverageUK committed to nuclear power after Hitachi decision: PM May’s spokesman

Higashihara, however, denied turmoil over Britain’s impending exit from the European Union had any impact on Hitachi’s decision to freeze the project. People close to the matter had previously said it had limited the government’s capacity to devise plans.

The withdrawal of the Japanese conglomerate could leave the nuclear newbuild industry open to Russian and Chinese st上海夜生活网ate-owned companies as Western private firms struggle to compete.

China’s General Nuclear Services, an industrial partnership between China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) and French utility EDF (EDF.PA), plans to make a number of investments in Britain’s nuclear power sector, most,上海晚上耍女人的地方Lark, nota,上海高端夜生活在那里Qirin,bly the Hinkley Point C project in southwest England.

China’s CGN told it would bring forward plans to build a nuclear plant in Bradwell, eastern England, helping to plug a potential supply gap.


British Energy Secretary Greg Clark said the government would explore different options for funding new nuclear plants, as costs for renewable energy had fallen so sharply it was diff,上海夜生活Rae,icult to justify higher subsidies.

One option is a regulated asset-based model, under which investors receive some of the funding for projects as they are developed, rather than the contract-for-difference model, which provides funding only when electricity generation has begun.

The government will give an update on this assessment during summer.

Britain wants new nuclear plants to help replace its aging fleet of nuclear and coal plants coming offline in the 2020s, but high up-front costs have deterred construction.

Another Japanese firm, Toshiba Corp (6502.T), scrapped its British NuGen project last year after its U.S. reactor unit Westinghouse went bankrupt and it failed to find a buyer.

In total, the two Japanese projects had aimed to add some 9.6 gigawatts (GW) to UK electricity capacity. Horizon had planned to build in total at least 5.8 GW of new capacity at the Wylfa site and in south Gloucestershire, and Toshiba’s NuGen was expected to add around 3.8 GW with three reactors.

Horizon Nuclear Power said it could resume development at Anglesey in the future. The project, which was slated for completion in the late 2020s, had approval for the nuclear reactor design but had not yet started construction.

The firm said it would begin consultations with existing staff. The plant would have employed 850 people once operational, with construction workforces of up to 9,000.

Mycle Schneider, publisher of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, said the Hitachi decision was a consequence of changing energy economics.

The investment would not even be able to compete with unsubsidized offshore wind, the most expensive renewable energy technology, Schneider said.

“Time for the UK government to come up with a plan B,” Schneider added.

Sparkling Australian wine exports lose their fizz as Chinese…

SYDNEY ( ) – Australian wine shipments to China grew at their slowest pace in four years in 2018, indus,上海夜生活桑拿会所Mabel,try data showed on Tuesday, in another indication that Sino-U.S. trade tensions were dragging on consumer spending in the world’s second-largest economy.

The slowdown in exports to less than a third of 2017’s breakneck speed adds to worries for investors, already on edge amid signs that softening Chinese demand was hurting businesses across the board, particularly after Apple (AAPL.O) issued a rare revenue warning citing weaker iPhone sales in the countr上海夜生活网y.

It also augurs badly for other firms exposed to consumer spending in China – from high-end fashion to milk powder – and most of all for big Australian vintners, who have come to rely on seemingly insatiable Chinese demand to drive growth.

Wine exports to China, Australia’s top market by value, rose 18 percent to A$1.14 billion ($818 million) in 2018, data from Wine Australia showed, versus a 63 percent spike a year ago.,上海夜生活网交流Barney,

That is the slowest pace of growth since China’s anti-corruption crackdown on flashy spending stalled growth in Australian wine exports at 8 percent in 2014.

“I would be concerned if I was a producer relying on that market,” said exporter Greg Corra, who runs Inland Trading Co from his farm outside Canberra. “If it starts to bottom out and then potentially decline, there’ll be some big issues.”

The low-end mass producers, who have gained the most from recent growth – which has surged since a 2015 free trade agreement between Australia and China – would be the most exposed as the wine industry comes off the boil, he said.

Australian wine exports to China have more than doubled in the three years since the deal, helped also by bumper harvests.

“That was always going to taper off,” Wine Australia’s Chief Executive, Andreas Clark, told by phone from London.

But the growth has transformed Australia’s wine industry in ways difficult to unravel, with winemakers turning out vintages to Chinese tastes, lifting production, and Chinese investors even scouring terroir to buy vineyards.

It put a rocket under shares of China-focused Treasury Wine Estates (TWE.AX) – the world’s biggest-listed winemaker and owner of the Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Rosemount labels – which hit a record high last year. The stock has since dropped by a fifth on fears of a slowdown in China, tepid sales in the United States and uncertainty around Brexit.

Economic growth in China, which has generated nearly a third of global growth in recent years, slowed to its weakest pace in nearly three decades in 2018.

“It’s something that needs to be watched,” said Belinda Moore, an analyst at Brisbane-based stockbroker Morgans.

Given slower growth in sales to China last year, total Au,上海晚上耍女人的地方Earl,stralian wine exports came in at A$2.82 billion, up 10 percent from a year ago when shipments had risen 15 percent.

Treasury Wine had no comment on the national figures but said earlier this month it was “very happy” with its trading performance in all markets and was on track to grow earnings by a quarter in the year to June 30.

“It’s a sign of confidence,” said Moore, who rates the shares of Treasury Wine a buy.

GRAPHIC: Australian wine exports – tmsnrt.rs/2Hpk9P4

How Venezuela got here: a timeline of the political crisis

( ) – Pressure mounted on Venezuelan President Nicolas Madu,上海夜哪里艳遇Hal,ro on Monday when the United States sanctioned the economically collapsing country’s key oil exports, in a bid to boost opposition leader Juan Guaido’s plans to hold new elections.

Below is a timeline on how Venezuela’s political crisis has evolved since the death of socialist leader Hugo Chavez, against a backdrop of hyperinflationary economic collapse in the OPEC nation.

MARCH 2013: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who won over the country’s poor with so-called “21st century socialism” during his 14-year rule, dies from cancer at 58. His preferred successor, Vice President Nicolas Maduro, takes office.

APRIL 2013: In presidential elections for a six-year term, Maduro narrowly defeats opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who had lost to Chavez by a wider margin the year before. Capriles and allies say the vote was marred by fraud and call on supporters to take to the streets.

FEBRUARY 2014: Venezuelan security forces arrest well-known opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez on charges of fomenting unrest, after a wave of protests known as ‘The Exit,’ seeking to oust Maduro.

DECEMBER 2015: The opposition Democratic Unity coalition wins control of Venezuela’s legislative body, the National Assembly, for the first time in 16 years, riding a wave of popular discontent with a prolonged recession and rising inflation after oil prices collapsed.

MARCH 2017: Venezuela’s Supreme Court, which has consistently sided with the ruling Socialist Party, announces here it is taking over the functions of the National Assembly. The court quickly walks back the decision amid international outcry. But the event sparks months of anti-government protests that ultimately leave more than 100 dead.

JULY 2017: Venezuela calls a referendum, boycotted by the opposition, to approve the creation of an all-powerful legislative body called the Constituent Assembly. It is nominally tasked with rewriting the constitution but quickly takes over crucial ,上海夜生活论坛Daisy,legislative functions, leading to accusations that Maduro is undermining democracy.

FEBRUARY 2018: Mediation talks between the government and the opposition collapse amid di,上海夜网邀请码Caden,sagreement over the timing of the next presidential election. The government announces the vote will be held in the first half of the year, and the main opposition parties pledge to boycott.

MAY 2018: Maduro cruises to re-electihere over a lesser-known opposition candidate amid low turnout and allegations of vote-buying by the government. The domestic opposition, United States and Lima Group of mostly right-leaning Latin American governments say they do not recognize the results.

JANUARY 2019: Maduro goes ahead with his inauguration for a second six-year term, ignoring the advice of several Latin American governments. Juan Guaido, a virtually unknown here opposition lawmaker who assumed leadership of the largely toothless National Assembly days earlier, calls Maduro a “usurper.”

JANUARY 2019: Guaido swears himself in here as interim 上海夜生活president at the opposition’s largest rally since 2017. He is recognized as the country’s legitimate president by the United States and many of Venezuela’s neighbors.

JANUARY 2019: The United States implements sanctions here preventing state oil company PDVSA from collecting proceeds on crude exports to U.S. refineries, cutting off the main source of Venezuelan government revenue to place pressure on Maduro to step aside in favor of Guaido.

(This story corrects date of Supreme Court taking over National Assembly’s functions to March 2017, not March 2016)

Wynn to settle with Nevada regulators after founder’s sexual…

HONG KONG ( ) – Wynn Resorts said it has agreed to an undisclosed settlement in response to a disciplinary complaint filed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board following a series of sexual misconduct claims against former chief executive Steve Wynn.

The casino company, which has operations in Las Vegas and Macau, said in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, the investigation into Steve Wynn had completed and it looked forward to reviewing the settlement.

Founder Wynn resigned as CEO of the company in 2018 following claims he subjected women who worked for him to unwanted advances. He has denied the accusatio,上海夜生活去哪玩Barrett,ns.

The company called the settlement an “important remedial step”, adding that any employee mentioned in the Nevada Gaming Board’s investigation, who was aware of Wynn’s ,上海凤楼夜网Idris,sexual assault allegations “is no longer with the company”.

Steve Wynn was not immediately reachable for comment.

Wynn Resorts has over the past year tried to refresh its image with the company’s largest shareholder Elaine Wynn, who co-founded the firm with her ex husband, agitating for changes on the company’s board.

In August last year, Wynn named industry veteran Phil Satre its vice-chairman. Satre, who was previously chief executive of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc, now known as Cae,上海高端夜生活在那里Dalton,sars Entertainment Corp said he believed the board’s follow up and reaction to the investigations has been “thoroug上海夜生活网h and decisive”.

The company said it has taken several steps including adding more female directors to result in a board now nearly 50 percent women.

Shares in Wynn Resorts closed down 0.3 percent on Monday while shares in Wynn Macau fell 1 percent in trading on Monday.

Steve Wynn, who started in Las Vegas in the 1960s, created some of the neon strip’s most iconic landmarks like the Mirage, Bellagio and Treasure Island.

The 77-year-old businessman, whose signature denotes the company’s logo, had built two lavish resorts in the former Portuguese colony of Macau where only six companies have licenses to operate casinos.

Macau authorities told they had met with top executives from Wynn Macau last year to “better understand” the situation but declined to give any further update.

EU fines Mastercard 570 million euros over cross-border barriers

BRUSSELS ( ) – The European Commission said on Tuesday it had fined Mastercard (MA.N) 570.6 million ,上海夜网官方网站Daisy,euros ($648.3 million) for limiting the possibility for merchants to benefit from better conditions offe,上海新夜网龙凤Radcliff,red by banks elsewhere in the European Union.

“By preventing merchants from shopping around for better conditions offered by banks in other member states, Mastercard’s rules artificially raised the costs of card payments, harming consumers and retailers in the EU,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

The Commission granted Mastercard a 10 percent fine reduction for cooperating with its investigation.

The fine is the latest in a series of actions over the past decade that the Commission, acting as the antitrust regulator for the 28-member European Union, has taken to reduce card fees for merchants.

It has, for example, taken decisions to make legally binding commitments by Visa Europe to cap the levels of interchange fees for all debit and credit card transactions within the European Economic Area.

Related CoverageMastercard: EU fine of 570 million euros to be taken as charge in the fourth quarter of 2018

It has also looked into the fees charged on card payments made by tourists visiting the Euro上海夜生活网pean Union.

($1 = 0.8801 euros)

(This story was re,上海足浴夜网联系方式Dahlia,filed to remove extraneous text at end of story)

Data dependent? Five questions for the ECB

LONDON ( ) – The European Central Bank holds its first meeting of the year on Thursday as concern grows about weak economic growth at home and risks abroad from global trade tensions and Brexit.

Having ended its stimulus scheme in December, ECB chief Mario Draghi is likely to be pressed on how the central bank will address further economic weakness.

Here are some of the key questions on the radar for markets.

1. Will the ECB change its assessment of the risks facing the economy?

A string of disappointing data, notably from powerhouse economy Germany, suggests a slowing of growth momentum is perhaps deeper than anticipated.

Draghi said last week the slowdown could last longer than expected and that the economy still needed support. But he added that the bloc was not heading for a recession.

In December, the ECB tweaked its statement to reflect increased economic worries but kept a reference to balanced risks. Economists expect that wording to remain in place this week and add that a shift to say the balance of risks to growth points down is more likely in March, when the next set of economic forecasts are due.

While some argue that the balance of risk assessment could be downgraded, if this was done, markets would look for a policy response and none will come. So, the argument against changing the assessment is to keep expectations muted.

For an interactive version of the chart below, click here tmsnrt.rs/2HmeskS.

Graphic: German data disappoints – tmsnrt.rs/2Hm6jwL

2. What about the guidance that rates will stay on hold through the summer. Could that change?

No immediate change is expected this week, but the rate guidance is clearly in focus given weak data and concern about the impact of developments outside the bloc such as a Chinese slowdown and Brexit. A government shutdown could also hurt the U.S. economy, adding to global growth worries.

Since the ECB last met, markets have reassessed the rates outlook for major central banks. Bets on U.S. rate hikes this year have been priced out.

Euro zone money market pricing suggests investors do not expect the ECB to lift rates until well into 2020. In December, a 10 bps hike this year was anticipated.

Economists have also shifted their views: ABN AMRO believes the ECB will signal that rates will be left on hold through 2019 by the June meeting. HSBC does not expect any change in the ECB’s deposit rate until at lea,上海晚上耍女人的地方Jace,st the end of 2020.

Graphic: When will the ECB raise interest rates? tmsnrt.rs/2AQmxc2

3. When does the ECB expect inflation to move higher?

Easing inflation complicates the ECB’s rate-hike plan. Inflation in the bloc eased more than expected in December to 1.6 percent, moving away from the ECB’s just-under 2-percent target.

Some comfort for the ECB, and perhaps something Draghi may focus on if questioned about inflation, is the pick-up in underlying price pressures as wage growth increases.

A dip in euro zone inflation and growth was anticipated so it is not enough to unravel expectations of a rate hike, Sabine Lautenschlaeger, the most prominent hawk on the ECB Executive Board, said in an interview last week.

Graphic: Easing inflation complicates ECB’s rate hike plan – tmsnrt.rs/2AQuG03

4. Has the weak data encouraged the ECB to start discussing new multi-year loans to banks?

Minutes from the ECB’s last meeting showed policymakers are likely to debate new multi-year loans to banks, a potent stimulus tool, in coming months as they navigate a “fragile and fluid” global context.

Investors are keen for details on what a new set of loans to banks may look like. That means a question on new bank loans may come up at the press conference even if analysts say it’s still early days for the ECB to 上海夜生活网give any details.

The multi-year loans inject liquidity into the financial system by giving incentives to commercial banks to lend to companies and consumers. The previous four-year TLTROs expire in mid-2020 and lenders will need to start deciding about a year before their maturity on how to replace them.

Graphic: Gap between euro corporate bond and benchmark government yields – tmsnrt.rs/2RTOqcB

5. Is the EC,上海夜生活去哪玩Caitlin,B prepared for a no-deal Brexit?

Britain’s March 29 deadline for leaving the European Union is fast approaching, but Prime Minister Theresa May’s exit deal has just suffered a resounding defeat in parliament.

While a high degree of uncertainty remains, concerns about the UK leaving ,上海夜网后花园Kai,the EU without a deal have eased.

Risk reversals in the British pound suggest currency markets are less worried about prospects of a no-deal Brexit.

While the popular market gauge, which shows the ratio of calls to puts on a particular currency, still highlights caution, it has recovered from the extreme bearishness on the pound in November.

The financial sector is prepared to cope with any fallout from a no-deal Brexit, the ECB’s Francois Villeroy de Galhau said last week.

“Draghi may be asked about what the ECB would do in the event of a no deal,” said Frederik Ducrozet, a strategistat Pictet Wealth Management in Geneva.

“…The path of least resistance would be to use the forward guidance to not hike rates this year at the minimum.”

Graphic: Sterling risk reversals – tmsnrt.rs/2Hhc4vS

Viacom will buy Pluto TV streaming service for $340 million

( ) – Viacom Inc (VIAB.O) said on Tuesday it will buy Pluto TV, a free video streaming TV service, for $340 million in cash to expand its advanced advertising business.

The owner of MTV Networks and Nickelodeo,上海夜生活服务Barbara,n sees the purchase of the six-year-old company as another way to build a so-called direct-to-consumer business, Viacom said, while avoiding the capital intensive task of competing directly against subscription video services owned or to be built by Netflix Inc(NFLX.O), Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) and AT&T Inc’s (T.N) WarnerMedia.

Viacom’s moves reflect a rekindled,上海夜生活网交流Hadrian, interest in advertising supported digital media kicked off by Roku, a device maker that helped viewers stream online videos on TVs that was spun off from Ne上海夜生活论坛tflix. Amazon has also launched a free TV service recently.

,上海夜生活去哪玩Lake,Pluto TV claims 12 million monthly active users and licenses programming from 130 film and TV partners, including Viacom.

It is available on devices made by Roku Inc(ROKU.O) , Amazon.com Inc(AMZN.O), Sony Corp(6758.T) and Apple Inc(AAPL.O). The app is also available on smart televisions from Samsung(005930.KS) and Vizio.

Viacom said it sees Pluto TV as an important outlet for it to sell advanced advertising that has the ability to target viewers based on their habits.

While Viacom has no plans to make current shows on pay TV services available for free on the service, it sees Pluto TV as a way to make money off its archives.

Avianca Brasil’s legal fight with plane leasing firms escalates

SAO PAULO ( ) – Avianca Brasil’s battle with its aircraft leasing firms intensified on Friday after Brazil’s aviation regulator said it woul,上海夜网推油Lake,d no longer ground 10 of the struggling carrier’s planes and another lessor renewed its effort to repossess 10 others.

Aircastle Ltd (AYR.N) and General Electric Co’s (GE.N) GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) unit, among other lessors, have been trying to repossess planes from Brazil’s fourth largest airline since it fell behind on lease payments, but their efforts were hampered when Avianca Brasil filed for bankruptcy protection in December.

ANAC, the country’s aviation regulator, announced on Friday that it would not intervene in the dispute, a move that came a day after it had said it would ground 10 of Avianca Brasil’s 46 planes at the request of GECAS.

“Avianca will be able to operate its previously scheduled flights normally,” ANAC said in a statement, citing what it described as an agreement between Avianca and its aircraft leasing firms.

Separately, a representative for U.S.-listed Aircastle said on Friday the firm would file an appeal of a legal order that stayed 上海夜生活repossession of Avianca Brasil’s planes for 15 days until Feb. 1. Aircastle has leased 10 planes to Avianca Brasil and the airline is its largest customer.

The escalating legal battle has added to the uncertainty surrounding Avianca Brasil’s ability to maintain its current flight schedule, even as the carrier so far has successfully fended off multiple repossession attempts.

Avianca Brasil said in ,上海凤楼夜网Fabian,a statement that it “continues operating normally,” but did not directly address a question on how an appeal from Aircastle could affect its operations.

Related CoverageBrazil aviation regulator will no longer ground 10 Avianca Brasil planes

The 15-day stay on repossessions currently in place was requested by a bankruptcy judge in Sao Paulo after the airline and its lessors failed to reach an agreement at a hearing on Monday, according to the legal order, which the lessors signed.

It specifically states that the leasing firms did not agree with the judge’s ,上海夜网邀请码Mace,decision, Aircastle said in a statement.

“His decision is completely contrary to the Cape Town Convention,” Aircastle said, referring to a little-known international treaty that allows for swift repossession of aircraft. Brazil and the United States are among the countries that have signed the treaty.

Activist target Pernod boosts board independence with new role

PARIS ( ) – French spirits group Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA) named business veteran Patricia Barbizet to the newly created role of lead independent director on Wednesday as it faces pressure from activist investor Elliott to improve its governance.

Pernod Ricard, which makes Martell cognac and Jameson whiskey, also said longtime founding family ally and former chief executive Pierre Pringuet was stepping down as vice-chairman of the board, although he will remain a director.

By creating the role of lead independent director, a position which is ,上海夜网千花Jackson,not widespread in corporate France, Pernod Ricard is bringing itself more in line with corporate governance norms in the United States and Britain.

“The decision …is the continuity of a thought-process that started in July 2018,” Pernod Ricard Chairman and chief executive Alexandre Ricard said, adding that it followed a triennial external review of the board and long-term shareholder feedback.

U.S. activist fund Elliott said in December it had spent around 930 million euros ($1.1 billion) to build a stake of just over 2.5 percent in the world’s second-biggest spirits maker.

Elliott, which could not immediately be reached for comment, has called on Pernod Ricard to raise profit margins to bring them more in line with larger rival Diageo (DGE.L) and improve governance.

In particular, Elliott says Pernod’s 15-member board needs to be more,上海高端夜生活在那里Octavien, diverse and have more i上海夜生活ndependent voices, as many directors are linked to the Ricard family.


With Pernod Ricard’s combined chairman and CEO roles, the lead independent director position could help provide a counterweight to family influence at the company.

Barbizet is an influential French business figure who became an independent Pernod Ricard board member in November 2018 and was recently appointed chairwoman of a committee that sets corporate governance standards for big French companies.

She has served as CEO of Artemis, the holding company of the Pinault family which controls luxury giant Kering, and has also headed auction house Christie’s.

Her new role entails being in charge of corporate governance matters and overseeing corporate efficiency, Pernod Ricard said.

Alexandre Ricard, the 46 year-old grandson of the firm’s founder who took over in 2015, has met at least twice with Elliott representatives, including last week in Paris in talks both camps have said were cordial and constructive.

The company says its efforts to improve its governance began long before Elliott’s arrival, and it had already hired three independent directors, including Barbizet, in November.

Ricard is expected to present his new three-year strategy later this year, though some analysts expect the company to give some direction on margins with first-half earnings on Feb. 7.

Of its 15 board directors, Pernod Ricard classifies seven as independent, including two who represent Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL), a long-time Pernod investor which owns a 7.5 percent stake and has said it supports the group’s strategy.

The Ricard family itself controls 15 percent of Pernod’s sh,上海晚上耍女人的地方Fabiana,ares and 21 percent of voting rights.

After billion-barrel bonanza, BP goes global with seismic tech

LONDON ( ) – Buoyed by the success of seismic imaging that found an extra billion barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, BP is looking to take its latest technology to Angola and Brazil.

The software used in the Gulf, based on an algorithm created by Xukai Shen, a geophysicist straight out of Stanford University, led to BP discovering the crude in an area where it had long thought there was none to be found.

Industry experts said the scale of the discovery 8 km below BP’s Thunder Horse field, announced last week, marked a major leap forward for deepwater exploration – a costly business known for its low success rate and high risk. It is an example of how technology is helping deepwater make a comeback after a decade when the industry has focused on advances in onshore shale.

The new deposit was found with software known as Full Waveform Inversion (FWI), which is run on a super-computer and analyses reverberations of seismic soundwaves to produce high-resolution 3D images of ancient layers of rock thousands of meters under the sea bed, helping geologists locate oil and gas.

It is more accurate than previous surveying methods, BP said, and processes data in a matter of days, compared with months or years previously.

While the discovery marked the biggest industry success for digital seismic imaging, the British oil major’s rivals are hot on its heel with similar techniques.

(Oil majors’ R&D: tmsnrt.rs/2ATrIHU)

BP scientist John Etgen, the company,上海夜生活Jack,’s top adviser on seismic imaging, said it aimed to retain its edge with a new machine it has developed, Wolfspar, to be used alongside FWI.

The submarine-like Wolfspar is dragged by a ship through the ocean and em上海夜生活论坛its very low frequency soundwaves, which are particularly effective for penetrating thick salt layers that lie above rocks containing fossil fuels, he added.

Etgen told that BP planned to roll out Wolfspar alongside FWI in the second half of this year at the Atlantis field in the Gulf of Mexico, where a large salt layer still hides parts of the site. The company plans to expand the use of the technology to other big oil and gas basins, including Brazil next year and Angola at a later stage, he said.

“Seeing through very complex, very distorted salt bodies was the hardest problem we had, the most challenging,” the Houston-based scientist said in an interview.

In both Brazil and Angola, oil deposits are locked under thick salt layers. Brazil’s deepwater oil fields comprise one of the world’s fastest-growing basins in terms of production. BP last year signed a partnership with Brazil’s national oil company Petrobras to develop resources there.


Billion-barrel oil finds are rare, particularly in mature basins like the Gulf of Mexico. But the scale of output from deepwater wells means they can compete with the most lo,夜上海论坛Sabina,w-cost basins in the world, in particular U.S. shale.

BP is far from ,上海足浴夜网联系方式Tallulah,alone in focusing on technology; all big oil companies have put a growing emphasis on digitalization to reduce costs following the oil price collapse of 2014.

In fact, BP’s spend on R&D was the third lowest among the world’s top publicly traded oil companies in 2017 at $391 million, compared with Exxon Mobil’s $1.1 billion and Royal Dutch Shell’s and Total’s budgets of over $900 million.

Other majors have also made advances. Italy’s Eni has launched the world’s most powerful industrial computer to process seismic data, for example, while France’s Total is using drones to carry out seismic mapping in dense forests such as in Papua New Guinea.

However Barclays analysts said in a report last year that BP and Norway’s Equinor had the most advanced deployment of technology among oil majors.


The seismic breakthrough for BP came when Xukai Shen tested a new idea he had for the FWI algorithm in 2016.

“What happened was magic – the pieces came together,” recalled Etgen. “We finally had the right algorithm with the right data set to create the model of the salt formation and use the model to remove distortion.”

BP says its new seismic technology could save it hundreds of millions of dollars in exploration hours by pinpointing the location of the most promising deposits.

“It allows us to drill the right wells, drill wells at lower costs, drill wells in the best part of the reservoir, drill fewer wells,” Etgen said.

The costs of the technology are a fraction of BP’s oil and gas production budget of around $12 billion per year.

An FWI survey costs up to $20 million to carry out, while processing the data costs up to $10 million, Etgen told . The annual spend on the super-computer that runs the software is about $20 million.

“The companies that are investing in technology are coming through and winning the race,” Henry Morris, technical director at independent North Sea-focused explorer Azinor Catalyst.

“That’s where BP are doing a good job. It’s working.”

Seeing through salt layers with confidence “adds real value” and saves companies the premiums they must pay to acquire resources through acquisitions, according to Bernstein analysts.

“With high-performance computing, the seismic processing and interpretations are being done in two weeks rather than 1,000 years, as it would have been if they still used 20th century computers,” they said.

“Investors should therefore expect more from BP with this edge.”

U.S. oil up 1 percent on Venezuela turmoil, but hefty stock build…

NEW YORK ( ) – U.S. oil prices rose by 1 percent on Thursday, boosted by the U.S. threat of sanctions on Venezuela, but gains were capped by record high gasoline inventories and an unexpected big build in crude stocks in the United States.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 51 cents to settle at $53.13 a barrel, a 0.97 percent gain. Brent crude futures fell 5 cents to settle at $61.09 a barrel.

Washington signaled it could impose sanctions on Venezuela’s crude exports as Caracas descends further into political and economic turmoil. The threat to reduce supplies supported futures prices.

The United States, the top importer of Venezuelan crude, is seeking to ensure that the OPEC member’s oil revenue goes to opposition leader Juan Guaido, who swore himself in as interim president, and to cut off money from President Nicolas Maduro, a top U.S. official said on Thursday.

“The breakdown in diplomatic relations was interpreted as upping the possibility of a U.S. sanction on Venezuelan oil that would likely force U.S. refiners to seek alternative supplies at higher prices, hence the WTI gains,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said in a note.

Venezuelan oil is predominantly ,上海夜生活论坛Octava,heavy crude, which requires extensive refining. It is frequently blended with lighter crudes to give refiners higher-value products.

With Iran already crippled by U.S. sanctions, a drop in Venezuelan exports could squeeze global supply further.

Geneva-based Petro-Logistics said on its website that Iranian crude and condensate exports in December “fell steeply” from November to less than 1上海夜生活论坛 million barrels per day (bpd) due to U.S. sanctions – lower than some other estimates.

Both Brent and WTI are both backed by light, sweet crudes, and are not directly linked to Venezuelan oil.

But concern about the supply of heavy crudes is apparent in the U.S. physical market, where the price for Mars Sour, a medium crude, shot to its highest since early 2011.

Two of the world’s biggest commodities trading houses, Glencore and Mercuria Energy Group, predict more oil price volati,上海夜生活服务Cade,lity in coming months due to concerns about supplies from Venezuela and Iran.


Weighing on oil futures, U.S. crude inventories sharply rose by 8 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said on Thursday, versus forecasts for a decline of 42,000 barrels.

Gasoline stocks rose for the eighth straight week to a record 259.7 million barrels, as demand for the motor fuel over the past four weeks fell 0.1 percent from a year ago.

“The report was rather bearish, punctuated by the large crude oil inventory increase,” said John Kilduff, partner at Ag,上海夜生活去哪玩Barney,ain Capital Management. “Gasoline demand remains anemic.”

Worries about the longer-term outlook for global economic growth, and therefore demand for crude, has pressured oil prices. Persistent concerns about the U.S-China trade war as well as slower world growth forecasts have kept investors wary.

Malaysia open to talks if Goldman pays $7.5 billion, minister says

KUALA LUMPUR ( ) – Malaysia’s finance minister said on Friday the government would be ready to discuss dropping criminal charges against Goldman Sachs (GS.N) linked to the 1MDB scandal if the bank pays $7.5 billion in reparations.

Goldman Sachs is being investigated by Malaysian authorities and the U.S. Department of Justice for its role as underwriter and arranger of three bond sales that raised $6.5 billion for 1Malaysia Development Berhad. The bank has denied wrongdoing.

U.S prosecutors last year charged two former Goldman bankers with the theft of billions of dollars from 1MDB.


Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said Malaysia was seeking $7.5 billion in reparations from Goldman Sachs over its 1MDB deals, which上海夜网 included fees paid to the bank and bond coupons that were “higher than the market rate”.

Asked by a reporter on Friday if Malaysia would drop the charges against the bank if it paid the reparations, Lim said: “Pay the $7.5 billion, then we can discuss.”

Malaysia reopened domestic investigations into 1MDB last year, after a historic,上海足浴夜网联系方式Jacklyn, election that saw the country’s first change of government in more than 60 years.

The government of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak set up the 1MDB fund in 2009, and the U.S. Justice Department estimated $4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level fund officials and their associates between 2009 and 2014.

Najib has denied wrongdoing.

On Wednesday, Goldman Sachs chief executive David Solomon apologized to the Malaysian people for the role played by Tim Leissner in the 1MDB scandal, but said the bank had conducted due diligence before every transaction.

Leissner, a former partner for Goldman Sachs in Asia, pleaded guilty in the United States to conspiring to launder money and violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Lim said the apology was “necessary but not sufficient” and that the whole scandal had caused “agony and trauma suffered by the Ma,上海仙霞路夜生活Dahlia,laysian people”.

“If not for the change of government, do you think Goldman Sachs would have apologized? We are talking about the largest investment bank in the world… it’s not easy to get an apology from them,” Lim said.

“An apology is not enough. An apology with $7.5 billion, that is what matters.”

Etihad files lawsuit in Britain against Air Berlin administrators

ABU DHABI ( ) – Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways on Wednesday said it has begun le,上海夜网推油Kade,gal proceedings in London, disputing a claim by the administrators of Air Berlin AB1.DE for damages of up to 2 billion euros ($2.26 billion).

State-owned Etihad filed its case in the High Court in London on Wednesday, a company spokesman told , and believes that the case initiated in December by the German airline in Berlin sho,上海夜生活服务Quay,uld be determined by the English court.

The insolvency administrator’s lawsuit said that Etihad had not complied with its financial obligations to Air Berlin..

Etihad, which had withdrawn backing for上海夜生活 Air Berlin only months after saying it would continue to provide funding, said in a statement that it had “invested in Air Berlin as a UK public company” and th,夜上海论坛Nadia,at its relationship is subject to the jurisdiction of the English courts.

“The insolvency administrator’s case has no basis and we are confident that we will prevail wherever the case is determined,” an Etihad spokesman said, adding that the London court is the proper venue for the dispute.

Air Berlin acknowledged the statement made by Etihad but said it still believes “the jurisdiction for this lawsuit is Berlin”.

Etihad held a 29 percent stake in Air Berlin and had been providing funding since becoming a shareholder in early 2012 and sent a letter to the company in April 2017 stating its intention to continue to provide funding for the next 18 months.

Kerrisdale says Qualcomm’s stock could shrink by half: report

BOSTON ( ) – Activist investor Sahm Adrangi, who cemented his reputation with successful bets against Chinese internet companies, said that he has taken a short position against Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O), arguing the chip supplier’s stock price could shrink by half.

Adrangi’s hedge fund Kerrisdale Capital published a research paper that suggests Qualcomm’s profits could be at risk as the company faces lawsuits, especially one in the United States.

If the company loses to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Kerrisdale said that Qualcomm would be forced to “license core patents to competitors and to renegotiate all of its existing licenses on fair terms.”

That would create a “period of immense confusion and uncertainty about Qualcomm’s prospects – and … could realistically cut Qualcomm’s licensing revenue, earnings power, and stock price in half,” the report says.

The Federal Trade Commission filed its case in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and is alleging that Qualcomm’s patent licensing and chip sale practices were anticompetitive and sought to preserve a monopoly on so-called premium LT,上海夜生活论坛Rachel,E modem chips, which help mobile phones connect to wireless data network.

“In the past Qualcomm has been able to keep its business model going, but this time the threats are far more severe,” Adrangi said. Previous legal troubles cost the company money.

A judgment against the company in this case coul,上海足浴夜网联系方式Paige,d force an overhaul of its business model, the hedge fund argues. “As Qualcomm’s long-running game of monopoly draws to a close, there will be no ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card,” the report said.

Kerrisdale is arguing that Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding over the case, has already ruled against the company on several matters and may be inclined t上海夜生活论坛o rule for the FTC.

Qualcomm’s stock traded at $54.16 on Tuesday and Kerrisdale sees a chance for it to fall by half in the next year or two.

The company has a market capitalization of $66 billion and its stock is owned by mutual fund companies such as Vanguard and Fidelity.

Kerrisdale is a New York- based hedge fund managing roughl,上海夜玩网论坛Hadley,y $150 million in assets. But it has taken on big targets before, including satellite communications company Globalstar. It has a large social media presence and boasts a 37 percent gain in 2018, far better than the average hedge fund which lost roughly 4.5 percent.