Vehicle sales: gas outstrips diesel for first time in 20 years

Vehicle sales: gas outstrips diesel for first time in 20 years

No fewer than 156,413 gasolene-powered vehicles were sold in Belgium in the first half of 2017, the Belgian Car and Cycle Federation, Febiac, announced on Thursday. It added that, for the first time since 2011, this was more than the number of vehicles with diesel motors sold -150,021 units. The market share of vehicles powered by gas thus amounted to 48.5% as against 46.5% for diesel-powered vehicles. “The movement away from diesel on the market has become more pronounced,” said the Febiac, explaining that the trend began around 2011, when…

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FSMA warns against irregular trading of binary options

FSMA warns against irregular trading of binary options

Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority, FSMA, warned on Wednesday that operators have been irregularly offering binary options on the Belgian market. Since 18 August 2016, no investment company, licensed or not, is authorized to offer binary options on Belgian territory, the FSMA recalled in a communique. Moreover, any company that wishes to offer investment products must have a license, the market authority said, adding that the offending actors “are not complying with the abovementioned rules”. “Consumers who have invested in these companies have never recovered their money, so this…

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IMF warns China over ‘dangerous’ growth in debt

IMF warns China over ‘dangerous’ growth in debt

China’s credit-fuelled economic strategy has been branded as dangerous by the International Monetary Fund in a strongly-worded statement warning that its approach risks financial turmoil. The IMF used its annual health check on the world’s second biggest economy to stress that faster expansion in 2017 was coming at the cost of a jump in private sector debt and an increasing use of complex financial instruments. While the IMF increased its forecast for Chinese expansion in 2017 from 6.2% to 6.7%, it stressed that this was the result of the authorities…

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Forget GDP – there’s more to Britain’s wealth than its bank balance

Forget GDP – there’s more to Britain’s wealth than its bank balance

A nation’s cash value is still a go-to measure of wealth. But the quality of housing, healthcare and access to technology are the indicators we should focus on. The idea that GDP growth is the wrong measure of a nation’s progress has become so widely accepted as to be the new common sense. Yet it is still the go-to number for lack of a credible alternative. Measuring happiness or wellbeing is fraught for numerous reasons, not least of which is that such indices make questionable assumptions about what it means…

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Basic Fit reports increases in earnings and fitness clubs

Basic Fit reports increases in earnings and fitness clubs

Basic Fit, a Dutch company that operates fitness clubs in five European countries, has reported increases in its turnover and net profits, along with the opening of 47 new gyms in the first six months of 2017. According to its executive director, Rene Moos, Basic Fit expects to inaugurate a total of 100 new fitness clubs this year. The company has no fewer than 466 fitness clubs in the five European countries where it is present: 163 in Belgium, 149 in the Netherlands, 114 in France, 32 in Spain and…

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Failure to reach Brexit deal ‘suicide’ for UK, says former EU chief

Failure to reach Brexit deal ‘suicide’ for UK, says former EU chief

Romano Prodi, once Italian prime minister, says compromise on both sides is essential and that a second referendum would be almost impossible. Britain will be committing economic suicide unless it is prepared to compromise to reach a comprehensive Brexit deal, a former head of the European Commission has warned. Romano Prodi, the economist and former Italian prime minister, said the Brexit negotiations had made little progress in the first year after the referendum and urged both sides to begin making concessions on trade and immigration to reach a deal. In…

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Companies will be able to offer higher bonuses to top employees

Companies will be able to offer higher bonuses to top employees

Companies will soon be able to offer their most consistent employees a share of their profits that exceeds the possibilities offered by the current bonus system without going through a gauntlet of administrative formalities, L’Echo and De Tijd newspapers reported on Tuesday. This new system, which is to enter into force next year, was decided by the Government of Prime Charles Minister Michel in the summer agreement. The collective annual bonus currently has a ceiling of 3,255 euros per worker. Under the new arrangement, the cap can be up to…

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Prosperity increase benefits poorest Belgians least

Prosperity increase benefits poorest Belgians least

All levels of Belgium’s population saw their available incomes increase between 1985 and 2013, but the increase was greatest among high-income Belgians, according to a study by Wim Van Lancker of the University of Anvers, quoted by De Standaard newspaper on Monday. Factoring in inflation, the available income of the poorest 5% of Belgian households increased by about 16% from 1985 to 2013, while that of the wealthiest 5% rose by 46% and the richest one per cent saw theirs go up by 60%. The middle class thus saw its…

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Brussels touts its assets in bid to host EU banking agency

Brussels touts its assets in bid to host EU banking agency

As the negotiations on Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) continue, Brussels aims to take over as host of the European Banking Authority, currently located in London. This had already been disclosed officially by the EU Council and, on Monday, Belgium’s Foreign Ministry launched a charm operation to back up the candidature of its capital. Belgium has one of the most accessible capitals on the continent, given its “strategic location at the centre of Europe”, said the Foreign Ministry, adding that the country offers “high quality work spaces and…

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Airbnb generates €77 million in six largest Belgian cities

Airbnb generates €77 million in six largest Belgian cities

Online accommodation platform, Airbnb, is generating more than €77 million every year in Belgium. This is in the main cities – Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, Liège and Namur. This is reported on Friday in L’Echo and De Tijd. Almost half of this total has been initiated in Brussels where no less than 4,663 properties have been offered for a total turnover of 34 million per year. Figures for Liège are 1,184 properties for €12 million were put forward for Liège. The market has seen a genuine ‘boom’ since last summer,…

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