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"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award ICC WTO London



Russian bonds & ruble gain on expectation Central Bank will hold rates steady www.rt.com

Russian government bonds and currency advanced for the second straight day on investors assuming the central bank will keep the benchmark interest rate unchanged. It’s sparked demand for Russian bonds with the highest emerging markets yields.
With ultra-low key rates set by the regulators in Europe, the UK, Japan and the US, Russian government obligations are currently extremely attractive for investors. The rate on 10-year bonds dropped two basis points to 8.34 percent.
The ruble advanced 0.3 percent against the US dollar to about 62.19 after Brent crude hit $51.92 a barrel climbing for a second day in row.
The national currency along with the Russian assets are also gaining from local tax payments as well as speculation OPEC members will manage to push oil prices up by capping output.
The Russian Central Bank is expected to keep the key rate unchanged at 10 percent during this week's meeting. Governor Elvira Nabiullina promised to hold off on rate cuts until next year. The move makes ruble assets appealing as so-called carry trade, when investors borrow where rates are low and invest in higher yielding securities.
“The carry trade is pushing both the ruble and the OFZs (10-year bonds) higher as the European Central Bank remains on the easing side and the Fed doesn’t sound hawkish,” said Alexander Losev, CEO at Sputnik Asset Management in Moscow, as quoted by Bloomberg.
The analyst predicts the ruble would probably drop 11 percent to 70 to the dollar by the end of the year as the US Federal Reserve may tighten its monetary policy.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg, selling dollars to buy rubles has brought investors 28 percent this year, the second-highest return among emerging market currencies.


British businesses to pay more for Microsoft Office following pound slump www.theguardian.com

Microsoft will increase the prices it charges British businesses by up to 22% to account for the slump in the value of the pound following the EU referendum result, the software company has announced.
The new prices, which will come into effect in January 2017, see the amounts expected for locally hosted software increase by 13%, while “most” cloud-hosted services will increase by the full 22%, the company said in a statement. While once programs like Microsoft’s Office suite were installed locally on PCs, in recent years the cloud-based subscription version, Office 365, has become increasingly popular.
“We periodically assess the impact of local pricing of our products and services to ensure there is reasonable alignment across the region and this change is an outcome of this assessment,” Microsoft said. “These changes are similar to the recent harmonisation adjustments to pricing in Norwegian krone and Swiss franc we made in April 2016.”
Business customers will only see the price changes if they buy directly from Microsoft, but third-party resellers are likely to increase their own prices to match the headline increase.
Among the software expected to see a price rise is Microsoft’s Office suite of productivity tools including Word, Powerpoint and Outlook, as well as its Office 365 cloud platform. But the price rise will only apply to new purchases, not ongoing contracts, delaying the blow for many businesses and organisations which currently use Microsoft technology.
While Microsoft is one of the first major technology firms to announce such a large price increase for British customers following the collapse of the pound, other businesses have managed to avoid the announcements while still effectively increasing prices.
Amazon, for instance, charges all its Amazon Web Services customers prices denominated in US dollars. Although customers, who include Netflix, Spotify and the Guardian, can opt to pay the bills in local currency, the fees are still determined according to the US dollar exchange rate at the end of each billing month.
Apple managed to smuggle in a price rise of its own when it announced new iPhones and boosted the storage available on iPads. The new phones cost 11% to 15% more than the devices they were replacing. The cheapest iPhone 6s, for instance, was £539, while its successor is £599. The iPad Air 2 used to start at £349, but now costs £379. Although the new version has more storage, in the US, that increase was offered with no change to the bottom line.
Similar increases are expected when the company announces updates to its Mac line of personal computers on 27 October.


China to invest $11bn in Russia's Lake Baikal tourism www.rt.com

Russian tour operator Grand Baikal has made a deal with Chinese investors to create a "world-class tourism cluster" in Siberia on the shores of the world's deepest lake.
A pool of Chinese firms headed by Chungjingxin will invest $11 billion in the project that will include traveler attractions, transport and logistics infrastructure.
A memorandum of cooperation, backed by the governor of Siberia's Irkutsk region Sergei Levchenko, was signed last week.
A feasibility study is underway before the final agreement.
“We are planning to build not only up-to-date tourist attractions, but to create an accompanying transport and far-reaching logistic infrastructure around Lake Baikal to attract a significant number of tourists to the region,” Grand Baikal said.
According to the company, an important condition for the project is observing basic ecological standards and environmental laws to protect one of the world's natural wonders.
The new tourist hub is expected to be built on the site of a former paper mill in the town of Zabaykalsk. The mill was shut down three years ago, and was the lake's biggest source of pollution.
The initiative may jump start social and economic development of the region, according to the statement.


U.S. calls on automakers to make cyber security a priority www.reuters.com

Automakers should make shielding the electronic and computer systems of vehicles from hackers a priority, developing layers of protection that can secure a vehicle throughout its life, U.S. regulators said on Monday.
The cyber security guidelines issued by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are recommendations, not enforceable rules. However, they mark a step toward establishing a road map for industry behavior as lawmakers and consumers pressure automakers to show how they will protect increasingly connected and automated vehicles from cyber attacks.
Some of the agency's proposals, included in a paper titled "Cybersecurity Best Practices for Modern Vehicles," echo moves major manufacturers are making already, including establishing a group to share information about cyber security threats.
Automakers will carefully review the technical aspects of the agency's proposals as well as proposals related to the disclosure of information about "the secret sauce" of electrical and data systems, which is highly competitive, Jonathan Allen, acting executive director of the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center, said in an interview on Monday. The group, often referred to as the AUTO-ISAC, was established by automakers as a clearinghouse for companies to share information about cyber security threats and countermeasures.
Automakers accelerated efforts to address hacking threats over the past year after data security researchers successfully took remote control of a Jeep Cherokee and publicized their feat. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in July 2015 recalled 1.4 million vehicles to install software to protect against future data breaches.
Other automakers, including BMW AG and Tesla Motors Inc, have disclosed actions to fix potential data security gaps.
The security of data and communications systems in vehicles is also critical as more auto manufacturers gear up to follow Tesla's lead and begin offering significant vehicle upgrades through wireless data links. The Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this year warned that criminals could exploit online vehicle software updates.
The NHTSA recommends manufacturers conduct tests of vehicle systems to see if the cyber security systems can be breached, and document their testing and their assessment of the risks.
Democratic U.S. Senators Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said the NHTSA should do more. “If modern day cars are computers on wheels, we need mandatory standards, not voluntary guidance, to ensure that our vehicles cannot be hacked and lives and information put in danger," the lawmakers said in a statement Monday.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said on Monday the NHTSA guidelines appear to support the steps being taken by the AUTO-ISAC. The Alliance represents General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Daimler AG, among others.


Hanjin shares tumble on closure of Europe business www.bbc.com

Shares in embattled South Korean shipper Hanjin have tumbled on Monday after the company said it would close its European business.
The firm said it planned to pull out of more than 10 countries, including its regional headquarters in Germany.
Shares plunged to close 12% lower.
In the industry's biggest bankruptcy to date, Hanjin Shipping filed for receivership in August after creditors refused a restructuring plan for the firm's $5.4bn (£4.4bn) debt.
The company has since been granted legal protection preventing its ships from seizure in various ports including South Korea, the US and Japan.
Hanjin Shipping expects to start the closure process in Europe later this week after obtaining approval from the Seoul Central District Court.
Earlier this month, the company got approval to auction its major assets, including its Asia-US route network, in order to pay back creditors.
Hanjin's bankruptcy is the largest to hit the shipping industry and affected global supply chains.
Before the bankruptcy, Hanjin was the world's seventh-largest container company and had been unprofitable for four of the past five years.
The global economic downturn in recent years has affected profits across the cargo shipping industry.


UNWTO encourages Mongolia to become the heart of world nomadic tourism www.en.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Minister of Environment and Green Development D.Oyunkhorol noted “Mongolia will be the heart of nomadic tourism” at today’s press statement in the light of the Government’s first 100 days.
One of the key actions, taken in the last three months, is the International Silk Road Conference hosted in Ulaanbaatar, she added. The United Nations World Tourism Organization has pledged its support in establishing a Center for Nomadic Tourism and encouraged Mongolia to become the center of world nomadic tourism and the regional leader.
This is the very time for Mongolia to promote tourism growth, the Minister went on. The government will put more effort to raise the number of employees in tourism - the waste-free industry - from 50 thousand to 100 thousand, she said.
It is of high importance for Mongolia’s tourism to foster infrastructural development in Khentii, the birthplace of Chinggis Khaan, she said and added a tourism complex is planned to be built in Dadal soum of Khentii province in this spirit.
She also stated that the Ministry is making endeavors to resume the Air Pollution Fund's function, having this issue and the draft budget of MNT 5.0 billion reflected in the government budget assumptions for 2017.
Working groups have been set up to handle environmental pollution problems around Onon and Balj rivers of Khentii, Orkhon river of Arkhangai and Eroo river of Selenge province, and pertinent decisions have been made to intervene mining operations near these rivers, Ms Oyunkhorol noted.
Regarding the dried up Lake Ganga of Sukhbaatar province, she said the main cause of the incident was connected to the climate change, especially, overheat. The Lake has been recovering thanks to the prompt measures, including the building up of fences around the springs that feed the lake and evacuation of livestock herding families near the lake’s water sources.
According to the high-ranking officials, the Ministry has been preparing a bill on environmental rehabilitation for submission to the Parliament.


Belgium given EU ultimatum to secure Canada trade deal, but Wallonia defiant www.theguardian.com

The European Union has given Belgium’s federal government until late on Monday to secure backing for an EU-Canada trade deal from the region of Wallonia or a planned summit to sign the pact will be cancelled.
European Council president Donald Tusk, who chairs the collective body of the EU’s 28 national leaders, will speak to Belgian prime minister Charles Michel by late on Monday, an EU source told Reuters, so that Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau can decide whether to fly to Brussels for the signing on Thursday.
If Michel cannot assure Tusk that Belgium will be able to let the EU sign the Ceta agreement, then Thursday’s EU-Canada summit will be postponed.
No new date will be set, although the source said neither the EU nor Canada was willing to give up on a free trade pact that has been years in the making.
But Paul Magnette, the leader of the Wallonia region, told the Belga news agency on Sunday that the ultimatum from the EU “is not compatible with the exercise of democratic rights”. Belgium’s federal government cannot agree to the deal without the consent of five regional authorities, including French-speaking Wallonia.
Magnette, a Socialist, says the deal is bad for Europe’s farmers and gives too much power to global corporate interests.
Magnette hit out at the EU, despite efforts by the bloc to provide reassurances to his government over investment protection – one of the major sticking points in negotiations between Brussels and Wallonia. One European diplomat said that the reassurances “responded to all of Mr Magnette’s concerns”.
Tusk was expected to call Michel on Monday, a source told Agence France-Presse, and ask “one simple question: will Belgium be in a position to sign the agreement on Thursday, yes or no?”.
Tusk will also call European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, “to share an assessment of where we are,” and also Trudeau.
“Regarding Thursday, if Belgium is not in a position to say that they guarantee they can sign, it’s very clear for Tusk that it doesn’t make sense to have a summit, and there will be no summit, and there will be no date set for a new summit,” the source said. Any decision would be made jointly by Tusk and Trudeau.
Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s trade minister, flew home from Brussels on Saturday saying the ball was in the EU’s court after talks on Friday failed to overcome the differences.
The CETA – or comprehensive economic and trade agreement – would link the EU market of 500 million people with the world’s tenth biggest economy.
The deal is opposed by anti-globalisation groups who say it is a test model to push through an even more controversial EU-US trade agreement called TTIP, talks on which have also stalled.
Sebastian Dullien, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, criticised the commission for its role in the failure of negotiators to secure an agreement on the deal.
“The European Commission carries part of the blame because it didn’t quickly seek a dialogue with doubters. And for this type of deal, you need a large consensus,” he said.
Wallonia has some support for its position elsewhere in Europe.
On Saturday, 8,000 people including young people, farmers, union leaders and entrepreneurs joined a rally in Amsterdam in a show of solidarity, organisers said.
They held banners saying “Our world is not for sale” and “Stop these bad trade treaties”.
Wallonia has also enjoyed support from activist groups like Greenpeace which charged that the deal risked satisfying “corporate greed” and trampling on people’s rights and health standards on both sides of the Atlantic.
British prime minister Theresa May on Friday dismissed warnings that the EU-Canada deal raised serious questions about whether London could strike a similar agreement with the bloc after Brexit.


Jury's still out on PlayStation VR www.asia.nikkei.com

TOKYO -- The debut of the PlayStation VR earlier this month stirred up some excitement -- among hardcore gamers. But the virtual reality headset from Sony Interactive Entertainment could also have some potential to win over a wider audience.
The headset costs 44,980 yen ($431) plus tax. It does not work on its own. A player also has to have a PlayStation 4 console, which starts in the 20,000 yen range, as well as a special camera. Altogether, he or she will have to spend 90,000 yen or so.
Too expensive for video gaming? That's a loaded question. VR isn't only for playing around.
But so far, entertainment is the killer app. For example, PS VR users get a "Shin Godzilla" short, a special outtake from the summer blockbuster. Wearing the headset, users are thrown into the virtual world of Godzilla.
The VR movie clip has nothing to do with gaming. Viewers can be right there as Godzilla tramples around, or feel the devastation that the monster leaves behind.
Think of the short as a simple piece of entertainment that allows VR beginners, who sometimes suffer from motion sickness, to get used to their new worlds.
2.5-D musicals
The new VR wearable could be fun for anime fans, too. Tokyo-based Marvelous, a game and content developer, has released two 2.5-D musicals -- "Touken Ranbu the Stage" and "Ensemble Stars! On Stage" -- for the PS VR.
Making anime into 3-D live-action musicals is hot these days. Watching one of these productions through VR gear puts the viewer in the middle of the front row -- the best seat in the headset from which to lust after the handsome idols.
It would be near impossible to buy such a premium seat for a stage production, and the VR experience makes viewers feel as though the actors are performing exclusively for them.
It's like renting out an entire theater.
This could be a big attraction for people who so far haven't found themselves wanting a PlayStation. Fans of 2.5-D musicals are mostly young women -- probably not a big part of the PlayStation or VR demographic.
The PS VR appears to be a luxury toy for grown-ups to enjoy new types of entertainment at home, but not so much of a gaming tool for kids or gadget for particular otaku maniacs.
The range of content for it is limited. Also, some people may find the large, thick eyewear uncomfortable. It is recommended that potential buyers first try on the device in a retail shop, then decide to fork over their money or keep it in their wallets.
Leave the online shopping experience for the familiar.
No one can say whether the PS VR might be among this holiday shopping season's big hits. According to a Japanese industry magazine, the PS4's total unit sales recently reached 3 million. This does not bode well for a pair of $431 goggles that only work in tandem with the console.
If there is a sales boom, it is more likely to come into full swing next year or later.


Boeing takes on peers, partners in bid for replacement parts business www.reuters.com

In search of higher profits margins, Boeing Co (BA.N) is aiming to win more of the lucrative market for replacement parts and repair services, pitting the plane maker against major suppliers who view that growing $62 billion a year market as their turf.
Boeing told Reuters it has added 35,000 parts to stocks it positions around the world to serve airlines in the last year, after analyzing its vast store of aircraft data to see where the parts will be needed. It has also cut prices on 24,000 parts to be more competitive, and it is expanding training and other services.
Boeing is trying to capture more profit from spare parts made under license by suppliers as well. To get there, it is producing some new parts in house to gain control over repairs, and sifting its databases to help airlines predict when planes will need service.
The maker of such flagship jets as the 787 Dreamliner and top-selling 737 has been building its aftermarket business for years. But as demand for planes has slowed over the last 18 months, Boeing is now turning more aggressively to spare parts and services to help meet its own ambitious targets of doubling overall margins to the mid-teens by 2020.
The main reason: a dollar of added aftermarket sales is more valuable than a dollar of new aircraft sales.
Boeing's aftermarket sales have risen over the last three years and are outpacing the 4.5 percent growth of the broad aftermarket, Dennis Floyd, vice president of services strategy and business development at Boeing, told Reuters.
"That means we're taking market share," he said.
Boeing's effort is ratcheting up competition with many of its biggest suppliers, including Honeywell International Inc (HON.N), United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) and Rockwell Collins Inc (COL.N), and repair operations such as Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) Technical Operations and Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) Technik - which are all taking action to defend their lucrative franchises.
Aftermarket sales typically offer margins of 20 percent or more - which makes expanding its presence in that market crucial to Boeing's effort to hit Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg's overall profitability goal, analysts say.
Boeing doesn't break out aftermarket revenue, and has not publicly discussed its aftermarket strategy in detail. Analysts estimate parts and services generate about $15 billion a year, or nearly 16 percent of Boeing's $96 billion in annual sales, split roughly evenly between its commercial aircraft and defense businesses.
Industry experts say Boeing aims to more than triple aftermarket sales to as much as $50 billion over the next 10 years. Boeing declined to confirm a specific target, but the company's "leadership has set high aspirations," Floyd said. "We are investing heavily into these businesses."
Boeing has logged its largest number of orders for its "GoldCare" aircraft maintenance service this year, and now counts 60 customers and 2,200 planes in the program.
"We're seeing the returns on these investments," Floyd said.
Boeing partners with the likes of Honeywell Aerospace to do some repairs. But both are trying to increase their own sales of repairs and parts to airlines. That's why the two manufacturing heavyweights are "competimates," said Mike Beazley, vice president of aftermarket sales at Honeywell.
"There's a segment of the market that will pay a premium to deal with one company" through Boeing GoldCare, he said. But many "would still like to have a direct relationship with the biggest suppliers."
At Honeywell Aerospace's 360,000 square-foot aftermarket center in Phoenix, the largest of its 40 repair stations around the globe, Andrew Newingham recently circled a small auxiliary aircraft engine on his workbench.
As a robotic voice called out questions and Newingham answered, a computer logged details about what work the engine needed, reducing to minutes what was formerly an hours-long task involving paper checklists and typing on a computer.
Honeywell aims to cut engine repair times to 20 calendar days or less, and offers upgrades and enhancements when engines come in for repairs.
"What keeps us competitive and allows us to win new business is being able to offer speed," said Steve Foust, senior plant director.
Repair organizations also are reacting as Boeing and its European rival Airbus Group SE (AIR.PA) try to grab business.
Boeing partners with Lufthansa Technik [LUFT.UL] on some services. But it also undercuts Lufthansa on others.
Low-cost, long-haul airline Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (NWC.OL), for example, considered several service groups, including Lufthansa Technik. In the end it picked GoldCare to maintain its 737 MAX and 787 jets, Asgeir Nyseth, chief operating officer of Norwegian Group, said in an interview.
Boeing's service "was the cheapest one," he said, adding Norwegian benefited from the increased competition Boeing provided.
Boeing and Airbus "have the advantage that they can combine an after-sale service package with the sale of the aircraft," said Lufthansa Technik's Frank Berweger, senior vice president of corporate sales for the Americas.
In part to counter the aircraft makers, Lufthansa Technik plans to quadruple investment in research and product development to 200 million euros ($219.52 million) to 2018 from 2015, on top of increased spending on tooling and training to service new Boeing and Airbus jetliner types.
Engine repairs make up nearly half of the service market, but those are largely beyond the reach of Boeing or Airbus. Engine makers such as General Electric Co (GE.N) and Pratt & Whitney locked up their aftermarket more than a decade ago.
Kevin Michaels, president of consulting firm AeroDynamic Advisory, says Boeing will find it difficult to capture $50 billion in services revenue annually -- not to mention making a profit -- given the strength of some of the suppliers and specialist service companies.
"Boeing has to be agile and cost competitive enough to win business from established players," Michaels said. "They need to be entrepreneurial. That's a challenge."


Virtual cash rewards introduced at Tokyo firm www3.nhk.or.jp

A securities company in Tokyo is using a virtual currency to spur employees to work shorter hours and take better care of their health.
Kabu.com Securities has named the e-cash "OOIRI," meaning "good business." It uses Bitcoin technology.
Staff earn 10 OOIRI when they head home without doing overtime. If they walk 10,000 steps during a work day, they get 100 units.
An employee says the reward system is going to change the way people work and help them leave the office on time.
Company officials say the OOIRI will be available for spending at local restaurants cooperating in the program.
Kabu.com Securities President Masakatsu Saito says that as a financial institution, the company can manage any problems that may crop up with the virtual money.
He says he wants employees to have fun with the currency reward as they improve their productivity.