|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
The Russian government expects the country's gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 2 percent in 2017, pulling the country out of economic recession.
Maxim Oreshkin, Russia's Minister of Economic Development, said that the forecast was based on oil prices rising 0.6 percent from an average of $40 per barrel. He said that the government's full GDP report would be available next month.
"In 2016, growth was concentrated in certain industries, such as agriculture. In 2017, we expect that growth will continue and start to affect the consumer sector,” Oreshkin said. He told investors at a forum in the Russian city of Sochi that the changes would allow the economy to "breathe more freely, to invest more and to grow more."
Last year, the International Monetary Fund forecast that Russia's GDP would grow by 1.1 percent in 2017 and 1.2 percent in 2018.
The World Bank also predicted growth of 1.5 percent growth over the next 12 months, largely boosted by rising oil prices.
Russia's economy contracted by 3.7 percent in 2015, largely thanks to falling oil prices and the impact of international sanctions linked to the Ukrainian crisis.
The number of investors predicting the eurozone will lose at least one member this year has increased, according to the Frankfurt-based Sentix research group. The risk of contagion is regarded to be even bigger than during the debt crisis in 2012/13.
The group’s 'euro break-up' index is based on 1,000 investors. The index rose to 25.2 percent in February from 21.3 percent in January, according to the report quoted by Reuters. This means every fourth investor predicts a euro break-up in the next twelve months.
The risk of contagion has risen above 45 percent, more than during the peak of the 2012/13 eurozone debt crisis, Sentix said.
"After two years absence, the euro crisis is back in the spotlight. However, this time is different. The protagonists have multiplied as France and Italy now join Greece as likely exit candidates," said Sentix researched Manfred Huebner.
"Investors fear forecasters might get it wrong again after last year's surprise victory of [US President Donald] Trump and Brexit," he added. Huebner added that Marine Le Pen’s presidential win in France is less likely.
Last week, a majority in the Netherlands Parliament voted in favor of asking the government’s top advisory body to examine if the single currency works.
According to lawmaker Pieter Omtzigt, the probe will analyze whether it is necessary and possible for the country to ditch the euro and if so how.
In the Netherlands, the Geert Wilders-led Party for Freedom, PVV, is likely to win elections on March 15, shaking up the country’s politics, including eurozone membership.
PVV’s ideology is Dutch nationalism, anti-immigration, anti-Islam and hard Euroskepticism. Wilders has called for a Dutch EU referendum, dubbed as ‘Nexit.'
Samsung's legal nightmare is intensifying.
Prosecutors on Tuesday indicted Lee Jae-yong, the de facto chief of the giant South Korean conglomerate, on bribery and other charges. Four other Samsung executives were also charged with bribery and other crimes under the investigation into a huge political corruption scandal that has shaken the country.
The move means South Korea's highest profile business leader and some of his top lieutenants are now headed for trial. The scandal that has engulfed them has already brought hundreds of thousands of South Korean protesters onto the streets and prompted lawmakers to vote to impeach the president.
Lee, 48, was arrested earlier this month and has been in custody since then.
Prosecutors allege that Lee, who's also known as Jay Y. Lee, pledged tens of millions of dollars to win favor with President Park Geun-hye and secure government support for a merger that helped tighten his grip on Samsung.
They are accusing him of bribery, perjury, concealing criminal profits, embezzlement and hiding assets overseas.
Samsung and Lee have denied the allegations.
The other indicted Samsung executives include Park Sang-jin, president of Samsung Electronics (SSNLF), which is the crown jewel in the Lee family's array of affiliated companies.
Samsung declined to comment directly on the indictments Tuesday, but it announced that Park is resigning. Samsung also said it would shut down its corporate strategy office, which coordinates plans for the conglomerate's various businesses and where some of the indicted executives worked.
Lee is the heir to Samsung's sprawling business empire. His father, the chairman of the group, suffered a heart attack in 2014 and has remained in ill health. Lee is also vice chairman of Samsung Electronics.
Samsung's links to the corruption investigation have done further damage to the company's image after the humiliating fiasco over its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphone last year.
Lee is far from the first South Korean business leader to face accusations of corruption. His father, Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee, was convicted twice -- and pardoned twice.
Analysts say that Samsung Electronics has a strong group of senior managers who can manage the company on a day-to-day basis but that a protracted absence of Lee could affect big strategic decision making.
BEIJING - China opened its foreign exchange derivatives market to overseas non-central bank institutional investors on Monday.
The investors are allowed to trade forwards, forex swaps and options over the counter with banks, according to a circular released by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).
Access was granted in light of the increased presence of overseas institutional investors, which held bonds worth 870 billion yuan ($126.6 billion) by the end of 2016, up 83.4 billion yuan from 2015, SAFE said.
China will deepen the opening-up of its foreign exchange market by creating more trade tools and allowing more participants, SAFE said.
A year ago, Peabody Energy Corp's (BTUUQ.PK) chief executive was presiding over $2 billion of losses as the world's largest private sector coal miner spiraled into bankruptcy.
Now, CEO Glenn Kellow and other top executives stand to reap tens of millions of dollars in stock bonuses under Peabody's bankruptcy exit plan, which sets aside 10 percent of newly minted shares for employees.
The executives would collect a big portion of that stock when the company exits bankruptcy, expected in April. The shares would be worth about $15 million for Kellow and between $3 million and $5 million for each of five other executives, according to a company estimate.
But some shareholders and creditors who are challenging Peabody in bankruptcy court say the executives could reap a much bigger windfall. That's because Peabody's estimate severely undervalues the stock, they argue.
The company's valuation, they contend, fails to properly reflect the impact of President Donald Trump's unexpected election victory and regulatory changes in Beijing that have stoked demand for coal in China.
The critics include hold-out creditors who complain they are getting shorted by a deal hammered out by Peabody executives and hedge funds that hold the bulk of the company's debt, which totals about $8 billion. The funds - led by Elliott Management, Discovery Capital Management and Aurelius Capital Management - would benefit from a lower valuation because it would give them more shares of the newly created Peabody stock, which will be used to pay off their bonds.
"You'd think this was one of the hottest IPOs in the world," said Fredrick Palmer, who retired from Peabody in 2014 as a senior vice president and will be left with Peabody's old and essentially worthless stock.
Some shareholders and creditors are expected to oppose Peabody's Chapter 11 exit plan when the company seeks approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis in March.
By any estimate, the stock in Peabody's management incentive plan is unusually valuable for a bankrupt company.
Peabody predicts it will be worth $310 million based on a $3.1 billion market capitalization, a figure the company said is appropriate given the volatile nature of global commodity markets.
Critics contend the stock could be worth up to three times that amount. Palmer estimates the initial stock award to Kellow could be worth as much as $43.5 million. That would top all restricted stock grants in 2015 by U.S. public companies with at least $1 billion in revenue, according to a survey by the Equilar consulting firm.
Peabody spokesman Vic Svec disputed Palmer's estimate and said that one-time bankruptcy exit awards should not be compared with other companies' annual stock grants. Peabody followed widely accepted pay practices for companies in Chapter 11, Svec said, and offers stock grants to all 7,000 of its employees.
Companies emerging from bankruptcy generally give stock to executives to align the interests of management with new shareholders, who are usually former creditors. The percentage of stock being granted to Peabody executives is standard for a company exiting Chapter 11, according to John Dempsey, a partner at the Mercer consulting firm.
AN UNLIKELY RALLY IN COAL
The potentially high stock value stems from an unexpectedly positive near-term outlook for the coal industry, based in part on Trump's promises of deregulation.
"Many coal companies were convinced that Hillary Clinton would seek to destroy the industry," said Nathan Yates, director of research at Forward View Consulting.
For a bankrupt company, Peabody has drawn unusually high interest among investors. The company's bonds rallied in recent months, and the miner was able to easily raise money in financial markets. Creditors including the Appaloosa Management hedge fund sued so they could get access to Peabody's new stock.
Prices for seaborne coal, which Peabody produces from Australian mines, rose sharply in the second half of last year, driven by higher demand from China after the government there closed money-losing coal mines. That sparked a rally in the shares of miners such as Cloud Peak Energy Inc (CLD.N) and Australia's Whitehaven Coal Ltd (WHC.AX).
Long-term prospects for the coal industry, however, remain uncertain. The Chinese government has for years worked toward cleaner energy to ease choking smog in cities and is now considering cuts to coal-consuming heavy industries.
It also remains unclear how Trump policy changes would make coal cheaper than abundant U.S. natural gas.
At Peabody's estimated value, the company would start trading with a market capitalization just below the industry leader, CONSOL Energy Inc (CNX.N), which is shifting from coal to natural gas production.
Kellow and his management team will have to wait one year before they can sell a portion of their incentive-plan stock and three years before they can sell all of it.
SURVIVING CHAPTER 11
Surviving the bankruptcy at all is a victory for Peabody executives. Top managers are often shown the door when a company declares Chapter 11.
Many energy producers, however, retained executives during the recent wave of industry bankruptcies, which many boards of directors blamed on a once-in-a-generation price collapse rather than mismanagement.
Kellow joined Peabody from BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP.AX) in 2013 and took the helm in May 2015, after the industry had slumped on weak China demand and a shift by U.S. power plants away from coal to cheap natural gas.
In his first three years, as the company stumbled, the board awarded Kellow restricted stock worth a combined $6.58 million, as part of his overall pay of $14.37 million.
Those shares were rendered essentially worthless by the bankruptcy, but the company replaced much of the lost compensation with a plan that could allow up to $11.9 million in cash bonuses for executives, including up to about $4 million for Kellow.
The cash bonuses would be paid in addition to the stock awards that executives stand to collect. Peabody said the cash bonus plan, which is based on 2016 and 2017 performance benchmarks, was in line with other bankrupt companies.
For both the stock and cash incentives, creditors had the chance to object when the plans were negotiated, said Jonathan Lipson, a professor at Temple Law School.
"The creditors apparently accepted it," he said, "and it's their money."
(Reporting by Tracy Rucisnki and Tom Hals; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Brian Thevenot)...
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Tsagaan Sar or Lunar New Year officially begins when the sun rises on the first day of spring /by lunar horoscope/. This lunar year is attributed as a Red Fire Rooster.
The ancient nomadic people’s first statehood, the Hun was established over 2000 years ago in the current territory of Mongolia and later became the Great Mongol Empire under Chinggis Khaan’s rule. Mongolians wake up early before the sun, wearing their freshly made deel (Traditional costume), brews their tea to offer the best to the mother-earth and proceeds in greeting their family.
Each family member greets the elders first. The edge of Khadag /traditional ceremonial scarf/ must face the greeting person. Traditionally, the younger person greets the elder by grasping their elbows to show support for them and say “Ta amarkhan sain baina uu?” (Are you living peacefully?), allowing the elder to kiss them on both cheeks. The elder should respond “Amar mend ee” (Living trouble-free). After sitting behind the feast table, the guests and the elders exchange Khuurug (snuffle-bottle with a fine-ground tobacco inside) with its lid released and say “Ta sar shinedee saikhan shinelej baina uu?” (Are you celebrating well?). And the response should be “Saikhan, saikhan” (Good and well).
For Mongolians, exchanging khuurug means to strengthen the bonds between family and friends. Same-aged people greet by crossing their wrists. Also, it is a taboo for spouses to greet each other, as their souls are counted as one. For pregnant women to greet each other is another taboo for Mongolians as it claims that the genders of the unborn would change.
Another tradition that tourists find strange is the ethics of starting footprints. The good and taboo directions of 12 years and 28 stars are explained upon the drawings of celestial direction in the pictorial representation of ‘eight seats’ in lunar horoscope which wards off the misfortunes of that year. This unique tradition is mostly related to Mongolian shamanism.
Tsagaan Sar traditions are originated from the ancient Daoism and was enriched by Buddhism, which became the unique cultural and religious heritage of Mongolia. On the first day of Lunar New Year, the head of a family practices the tradition of ‘starting footprint’, wearing a full garment of Mongolian traditional costume and ride their horses to the top of the hill before sunrise in order to offer treats and pray to the spirits.This represents the anticipation of good fortunes in business and work in the upcoming year. The tradition is still being kept in modern days as the people in the city prioritizes the tradition of starting footprints on the first day of spring.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ On February 24, a signing ceremony of Mongolia to join the Global Consensus on Sustainable Livestock, which was initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Ts.Jambaldorj, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Italy and Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the FAO signed the consensus and Mongolia becomes 17th country at a government level and 83th member of the program.
Following the ceremony, Ambassador Ts.Jambaldorj and Fritz Schneider, Global Agenda Chair of Global Consensus on Sustainable Livestock delivered remarks respectively.
With its commitment to the consensus, Mongolia, with over 60 million livestock population, will enjoy opportunities to closely cooperate with other member states on sustainable development of animal husbandry, making livestock animals healthy, manufacturing products of animal-origin and eco-friendly production of raw materials and exporting them to global markets.
In this connection, the Government of Mongolia is developing a national program on the livestock industry. It is expected that the national program would be of assistance to the effective implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030, by corresponding with the Global Consensus on Sustainable Livestock and becoming wider in terms of its scope.
The world's most valuable company, oil monopoly Saudi Aramco, could be worth just $400 billion, or 80 percent less than the $2 trillion estimated by Riyadh, according to analysts at Wood-Mackenzie.
A worker operates the drill at the Rosneft oil company © Sergei KarpukhinRussia overtakes Saudi Arabia as world's top crude producer
Ahead of the initial public offering (IPO), Saudi Aramco’s value is no more than a guess. The company has stuck to its claim that it has 261 billion barrels of proven reserves, enough for decades to come, and has never publicly released financial statements.
The $2 trillion estimate put forward by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last March comes by multiplying the industry-standard estimate of $8 a barrel by the number of Saudi-claimed reserves.
However, as Bloomberg reports, quoting unnamed WoodMac clients in London, the British consultancy group estimates Aramco’s business at $400 billion. Wood-Mackenzie is acknowledged for its analysis and valuation of energy companies.
WoodMac took into account the current tax rate, a cost of capital of 10 percent and its own oil price forecast, the clients told the media.
According to Bloomberg, if calculation like the one proposed by the Saudis is made for other oil companies, Russia’s Rosneft would be worth $272 billion instead of $64 billion, and the valuation of Exxon Mobil would be 53 percent less.
“I didn’t know that the value of an oil company was a multiplicator of the reserves of the company,” Total SA chief executive officer, Patrick Pouyanne said, as quoted by the media.
Several factors should be “discounted” before “we’ll see what will be the real value of" Aramco, he said.
The Saudis have scheduled the IPO for 2018. If investors agree with the price set by Riyadh, just a five percent stake will raise $100 billion, four times more than China's Alibaba in 2014.
HMD Global, the authorized manufacturer of Nokia brand, unveiled a new generation of Nokia smartphones on Sunday, marking the global launch of the brand's first android phones in the market.
Three new budget models, Nokia 3, Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and upgraded Nokia 3310, were all introduced one day ahead of the Mobile World Congress (MWC). More than 125 million Nokia 3310 units have been sold since the original version was first introduced in 2000.
All the models will start to be shipped this summer with price tag of about 1,500 yuan.
Arto Nummela, CEO of HMD Global, said: "Nokia has been one of the most iconic and recognizable phone brands globally for decades. In the short time since HMD was launched into the market, the reception we have had has been overwhelming."
According to Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer of HMD Global, the Nokia 6, unveiled last month by the Finnish startup to exclusively target Chinese consumers, has received positive feedback from the country.
"Ninety-five percent of our Chinese buyers on the online distribution partner JD.com, gave positive feedback," said Sarvikas. "Among the new users, three of four are young generations who have never purchased the brand before."
"The global launch that unveiled a series of new products, including a feature phone, shows Nokia's ambition to return to the handset market," said James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research. "It's obvious that by introducing the new budget models, the company is expecting promising shipping volumes."
But Yan expressed caution about the brand's business potential in China, where consumers are demanding high-profile products to replace their old phones.
"The newly launched Nokia 3310 will definitely focus on the emerging markets, such as India and many countries in Africa," said Yan.
Jamie Rosenberg, head of Android, was also invited on the stage during the event, hinted at Nokia's embrace of the Google-backed mobile software platform for the first time since it launched the first Windows Phone in 2011.
The Trump administration has made another pro-coal decision, this time relating to how Washington calculates royalties on coal mined from federal and Indian lands.
iPolitics reported on the weekend that the Interior Department has put on hold changes to the value of coal extracted from public lands, meaning current rules governing the industry will remain in place pending court decisions. The Obama administration had sought to change the rules – saying they were improperly calculated – and argued that the changes were to ensure that taxpayers were given a fair share of coal sales to Asia and other export markets.
Trump's decision is likely to be controversial. IPolitics quotes a Montana rancher saying “This announcement is a gift to coal companies trying to avoid paying their fair share,” but some Western U.S. politicians are on board with it. Rob Bishop of Utah, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, told the online news site the rule changes would increase electricity rates for consumers by forcing utilities to pay more for coal. “The Trump administration made the right decision to suspend this illogical and legally dubious rule,” he said.
On Feb. 16 President Trump signed legislation to end the regulation protecting waterways from coal mining waste. The Surface Mining's Stream Protection Rule was enacted by Obama but was resisted by coal miners.