World’s biggest sovereign wealth fund proposes ditching oil and gas holdings

World’s biggest sovereign wealth fund proposes ditching oil and gas holdings

Energy industry jolted by advice to Norwegian government from its central bank, which runs $1tn fund. The Norwegian central bank, which runs the country’s sovereign wealth fund – the world’s biggest – has told its government it should dump its shares in oil and gas companies, in a move that could have significant consequences for the sector. Norges Bank, which manages Norway’s $1tn fund, said ministers should take the step to avoid the fund’s value being hit by a permanent fall in the oil price. The fund was built on…

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Belgium’s total debt verges on 300% of GDP

Belgium’s total debt verges on 300% of GDP

Eurostat figures, published on Wednesday by De Tijd and L’Echo, showed that the total public and private Belgian debt reached 296% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for 2016. During recent years, the level of debt has increased more quickly in Belgium than in the majority of other countries. The private sector currently has a debt level equivalent to 190% of GDP, whilst a limit of 133% is considered acceptable by the European Commission. This is the observation of both daily publications. At household level, increasing debt is, amongst other factors,…

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Brexit weekly briefing: UK given two weeks to clarify its financial offer

Brexit weekly briefing: UK given two weeks to clarify its financial offer

David Davis’s plea for more imagination and flexibility from the EU in hopes of early start to trade talks met a stony response. The big picture At the end of a brief sixth round of Brexit talks last week, the EU27 set Britain a tight two-week deadline to provide vital further clarification on the financial commitments it is willing to honour as part of the divorce deal. The Brexit secretary, David Davis, asked for more imagination and flexibility in a bid to move the talks on from the key article…

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Belgium will sue Salah Abdeslam for 143,000 euros

Belgium will sue Salah Abdeslam for 143,000 euros

Belgium will sue Salah Abdeslam for a provisional amount of 143,000 euros. He is the last surviving commando involved in the Paris attacks on the 13th of November 2015, which killed 130 people. RTL reported on the story on Saturday. This is damages and for injuries suffered by federal police officers during the rue du Dries shooting in Forest on the 15th of March 2016. The State Attorney has prepared a document detailing the civil costs incurred by the shooting, which injured four police officers. It will be submitted to…

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The tax reduction for low income single parent families is increased

The tax reduction for low income single parent families is increased

The Minister’s Council approved a measure that will increase the tax reduction given to working single parents. It will mainly help them with childcare costs. The measure concerns single parent families with taxable incomes of less than 18,000 euros. The tax reduction will go from 45% to 65%. This reduction will help with the cost of crèches, after school childcare and camps by organisations like the Youth movement. Parents can get a tax reduction on a maximum of 11.20 euros per childcare day. The reduction will go from 5.04 to…

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Tesla bear says Elon Musk makes Donald Trump look like an angel

Tesla bear says Elon Musk makes Donald Trump look like an angel

Breaking into autonomous taxis could drive Tesla shares higher, says one analyst. But a short investor isn’t buying that idea. ARKInvest analyst Tasha Keeney said Friday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” that billionaire investor Ron Baron may not be wrong to believe he can still make 20 times his money on his investments. “If you look at the opportunity in autonomous cars, which we think is the largest market opportunity Tesla has in front of it, that is quite possible,” Keeney said on Friday. The potential market for autonomous taxi services…

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Belgian public money in offshore structure

Belgian public money in offshore structure

A Belgian investment company, SBI, with the Belgian state as a majority stake holder, appears in the “Paradise Papers”, Belgian newspapers reported on Wednesday. SBI has hold a financial interest in a company named “Infra Asia Development (Vietnam) Limited”, registered in the British Virgin Islands, which is on the Belgian blacklist of tax havens. The offshore company was established in October 1996, according to Le Soir, De Tijd and Knack, who met with SBI managers Philippe Hermans and Erna Vandeplas. It was via Infra Asia Development that the SBI was…

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Paradise Papers: critics flag up idleness of EU member states in the face of tax scandals

Paradise Papers: critics flag up idleness of EU member states in the face of tax scandals

The recent global tax scandal, revealed on Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (known as the “ICIJ”), once again points up the weaknesses of a European policy approach. This was found by several NGOs (non-governmental organisations), reacting to the “Paradise Papers.” The NGO, Transparency International, observes that the legislation proposed by the European Commission, to make public information about offshore companies, has still not been approved by member states. This is despite the initial Panama Papers revelations last year. The European branch of the NGO, Oxfam, says, “The…

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Johan Van Overtveldt wishes to bring national debt to below 100% of GDP

Johan Van Overtveldt wishes to bring national debt to below 100% of GDP

The Finance MInister, Johan Van Overtveldt (New Flemish Alliance), wishes to bring the national debt back to below the threshold of 100% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is below the current government projection and is indicated in his general policy note for 2018. It was was reported in L’Echo and De Tijd on Sunday. In his 2018 general policy note, which will be discussed on Wednesday in parliament, Johan Van Overtveldt has announced his intention to bring back to below 100% of GDP the burden of the debt. The…

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The unemployment rate in Brussels has dropped for the last three years in a row

The unemployment rate in Brussels has dropped for the last three years in a row

The unemployment rate in the Brussels-Capitale region has dropped for the last three years in a row, the regional employment body Actiris revealed in a press release on Sunday. At the end of October, the Brussels region had 93,888 job seekers and an unemployment rate of 16.9%. This 36th successive drop in unemployment corresponds to 4,126 less unemployed people than in 2016 (-4.2%), The Brussels Times reports. Youth unemployment has dropped for the 53th consecutive month, to a rate of 26.6% for October. Brussels has 10,541 young unemployed people, 945…

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