Washington escalates Sino-American trade war

Washington escalates Sino-American trade war

US President Donald J. Trump is escalating the trade war with China; markets in Asia nosedived on Monday morning, with the Chinese yuan reaching an 11-year low. Ahead of the G7 Summit on Friday evening, President Trump announced a 5% hike on existing tariffs – from 25-to-30% — on goods worth $250bn; this will kick-in in September. The US President also announced a 15% tariff on $300bn-worth of Chinese goods, which kick-in in December. By the end of the trading day on Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average had lost…

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Debate rages in Austria over enshrining use of cash in the constitution

Debate rages in Austria over enshrining use of cash in the constitution

It may sound like a strange thing to enshrine in a country’s constitution: the right to pay cash. But a debate on whether to do just that has entered Austria’s election campaign, shining a light on the country’s love of cold, hard currency. The Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP, EPP-affiliated) recently made the suggestion as part of its campaign for a parliamentary election in late September, for which it has a commanding poll lead. This led to other parties — though sceptical of the ÖVP’s proposal — vaunting their commitment to…

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Bundesbank reiterates warning of technical recession in Germany

Bundesbank reiterates warning of technical recession in Germany

The Bundesbank joined members of the government, think tanks and business analysts on Tuesday, warning of a plausible slump for Europe’s export-driven powerhouse. Recession is technically defined as two successive quarters of negative growth, with Germany moving from sluggish growth to negative over the summer. The Bundesbank referred to the Sino-American trade war and Brexit, factors with a significant bearing on industrial production. According to the Deutsche Bank Chief Economist Stefan Schneider, the situation is particularly dire for the automotive and chemical industries. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz warned on Sunday…

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E85 to be allowed at gas pumps, expected to be twice cheaper than Euro98

E85 to be allowed at gas pumps, expected to be twice cheaper than Euro98

The federal government is finalizing a framework to allow the so-called E85 fuel in our country as well. This fuel consists of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, and in France, for example, is only half as expensive as regular gasoline. Whoever is filling up with petrol at the pump today has a choice of roughly two options: euro 95 or euro 98. These two common terms have recently also been given a new name, depending on the amount of ethanol they contain. That ethanol is extracted from plants…

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When the sun sets on oil, a new dawn will be on solar energy

When the sun sets on oil, a new dawn will be on solar energy

When shares in Saudi Aramco eventually go public, there will doubtless be a feeding frenzy on what promises to be the largest initial public offering ever seen. More significantly, the move would also signal Saudi Arabia’s recognition that sunset for fossil fuel is just over the horizon, writes Jonathan Gornall. There was a distinct lack of crucial financial detail, so it wasn’t the world’s most conventional investor relations call. But when the world’s biggest oil producer this month offered a tantalising glimpse behind the veil of secrecy that normally conceals…

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League Government will prioritize tax cuts over deficit

League Government will prioritize tax cuts over deficit

Italy’s ruling League party main economic spokesman, Claudio Borghi, has made clear that his party wants to pursue an ambitious tax cuts program, even if that means a surging deficit. “We need to pursue a tax cut and it is obvious that a small proportion will be funded with the deficit,” Borghi told RAI public TV on Monday. The League is leading in the polls, has withdrawn its confidence in the 14-months coalition government, and is calling for snap elections as soon as possible. The League’s leader, Matteo Salvini, filed…

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British Airways faces a record EU fine for serious breach of data

British Airways faces a record EU fine for serious breach of data

The European Commission is ready to impose a £183.4 million fine on British Airways for its failure to protect the personal details of 500,000 customers. The penalty for a perceived violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) would set a new record; the UK’s Information Commissioner confirms that since June 2018 the company’s weak security allowed user traffic to be diverted from its website to a fraudulent page. The company that admitted the failure in September 2018 is planning to contest the fine. Under EU rules, any organization that…

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EU plans to reduce steel import quotas after industrial protests

EU plans to reduce steel import quotas after industrial protests

The European Commission has proposed boosting measures to protect against a rise in imports spurred by US tariffs after steel companies said the European industry was under threat. The Commission said in a statement on Wednesday (14 August) it planned to cut an increase in import quotas to 3% from 5% effective from 1 October. In June, senior steel executives including from Outokumpu, Salzgitter, and a division chief at ArcelorMittal, urged the Commission to scrap or postpone the 5% increase which took effect on 1 July. EU quotas had been…

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Ten thoughts about coal import parity pricing

Ten thoughts about coal import parity pricing

Some perspectives about the ‘Rotterdam plus’ formula and methods for calculating the wholesale market energy price. Media brought this subject to the surface again as the National Anticorruption Bureau (NABU) served notices of suspicion to several officials because of the import parity formula for coal pricing. The first emotional and political statements didn’t provide us an answer as to whether the NABU decision is solidly grounded and how the case can be resolved. Hence this matter requires pure economic pragmatism. First of all, let’s remember why Ukraine introduced the ‘Rotterdam…

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Patten thinks Chinese intervention in Hong Kong will be a “disaster”

Patten thinks Chinese intervention in Hong Kong will be a “disaster”

Hong Kong’s last British governor Chris Patten on Tuesday (13 August) cautioned that if China intervened in Hong Kong it would be a catastrophe and that Chinese President Xi Jinping should see the wisdom of trying to bring people together. Patten said it was counter productive of the Chinese to warn of “other methods” if the protests did not stop. “That would be a catastrophe for China and of course for Hong Kong,” Patten told BBC radio. “Since President Xi has been in office, there’s been a crackdown on dissent…

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