|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
KIEV, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Russian natural gas transit via Ukraine to European countries increased 21 percent year-on-year to 43.2 billion cubic meters in the first seven months of 2016, official data showed Tuesday.
"The transit is carried out in accordance with the contract obligations -- in full and in a timely manner," the Ukrainian state-run Ukrtransgaz Company said in a statement.
In July, Russian gas transit through Ukraine to Europe has decreased 17.6 percent compared with the same month of last year, the statement said.
Currently, about 164.1 million cubic meters of Russian gas is pumped to consumers in Europe via the Ukrainian pipelines every day, it said.
In January, Ukraine has raised fees for Russian gas transit via its territory by 67 percent to 4.5 U.S. dollars per 100 km.
In 2015, Ukraine delivered 67.081 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to European countries, up 7.9 percent from a year before.
Foreign firms say they are struggling to gain access to China's vast railway market as the country, seeking to transform its domestic industry into an export powerhouse, tightens the bidding criteria on rail tenders.
The complaints echo similar concerns raised in other industries including technology and renewable energy, and highlight what some foreign companies see as an uneven playing field when operating in China.
Four rail suppliers with offshore funding said they were finding it harder to win contracts thanks to the proliferation of government-supported rivals, with at least one saying it was already experiencing discrimination.
"In the last 1-2 years there have been tendencies to disregard foreign-invested companies as Chinese companies, and to prefer Chinese-invested companies versus foreign-invested companies," Ansgar Brockmeyer, board chairman of German brake maker Knorr-Bremse's Asia Pacific arm, told Reuters.
Foreign participation in China's rail market has for the last decade been limited to minority stakes in joint ventures or as sub-suppliers of domestic players, often with the condition that they transfer technology to local partners.
Many, like Germany's Siemens AG SIEG.DE and Canada's Bombardier (BBDb.TO) did and consequently helped build the world's biggest railway network by both length and revenue.
Beijing now wants to help many of these local partners such as CRRC Corp (601766.SS)(1766.HK) become globally competitive behemoths which will export home-grown technology. Its "Made in China 2025" plan released last year described railways as a priority sector.
Some industry insiders say this is causing concern that wholly-local firms are being increasingly favored at the expense of foreign invested companies.
Knorr-Bremse, which has been supplying braking systems to metro operators for 25 years, said it had received tender documents from 11 Chinese cities in 2015 that stipulated new bidding rules which scored down foreign-invested firms versus purely local names. It lost out on three as a result, it said.
"We are concerned that ... this might become a trend but on the other hand we can't really imagine because this would clearly infringe any World Trade Organisation agreement," Brockmeyer said. "We are in discussions with the local governments and the NDRC on this."
The 11 Chinese cities including Kunming, Urumqi and Guangzhou have begun to score companies on whether they are foreign-invested or 100 percent local firms. In the past firms simply had to prove that at least 70 percent of their supply chain was in China. Metro operators award bidders on different categories such as price, which they later add up to determine a winner.
The metro operators of Kunming, Urumqi and Guangzhou as well as the National Development and Reform Commission did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment.
"INCREASINGLY HOSTILE" ENVIRONMENT
The European Chamber of Commerce in China has also raised concerns over tougher conditions for companies with foreign investment, saying recent statements from Beijing about opening the rail market up to private capital "indicates that the government treats domestic capital preferentially."
"For the market for urban rail, the regulatory system also restricts foreign companies from bidding directly for rolling stock and signaling business. In some instances it even prevents Sino-foreign JVs from obtaining a license or qualification to bid," the Chamber said.
The Chamber in June warned of an "increasingly hostile" overall business environment that was tilted in favor of domestic firms.
Such concerns have been particularly prevalent in the technology sector, which lobbied U.S. President Barack Obama last year.
In February last year, China dropped some of the world's leading technology brands from its approved state purchase lists, while approving thousands more locally made products.
Other rail suppliers spoke of growing pressure coming from a proliferation of new local rivals, many of whom are government-supported.
"The new competitors we're facing here in China are purely local companies," said Lv Yachen, who chairs a joint venture between French electronics firm Thales SA (TCFP.PA) and state firm Shanghai Electric Group [SHEGP.UL], which supplies signaling systems to Chinese subway project. "As the NDRC is attaching great importance to independent property rights, we used to have 4-5 signaling suppliers in the industry but now it has become nine and another three are to be approved very soon," he said. Two industry executives who declined to be named for fear that it would affect their business relationships said some firms were considering shifting their focus to other overseas markets, or choosing to downplay the foreign participation in their partnerships to cope with the "buy local" push.
"Now it's all about buying from Chinese companies," said a source from a large European railway supplier. "It's harder to do business here."...
The UK has a 50/50 chance of falling into recession within the next 18 months following the Brexit vote, says a leading economic forecaster.
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) says the country will go through a "marked economic slowdown" this year and next.
Inflation will pick up temporarily too, rising to 3% by the end of next year.
"This is the short-term economic consequence of the vote to leave the EU", said Simon Kirby of the NIESR.
Overall the institute forecasts that the UK economy will probably grow by 1.7% this year but will expand by just 1% in 2017.
This would see the UK avoid a technical recession, typically defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.
Mr Kirby argued that the June referendum vote had led to such financial and political uncertainty that this would bear directly on the spending and investment decisions of both businesses and households.
"We expect the UK to experience a marked economic slowdown in the second half of this year and throughout 2017," he said.
"There is an evens chance of a 'technical' recession in the next 18 months, while there is an elevated risk of further deterioration in the near term."
The pick-up in inflation to 3% will mainly be due to the recent fall in the value of the pound, but that should be ignored by the Bank of England the Institute said.
"The Monetary Policy Committee should 'look through' this temporary rise in inflation and ease monetary policy substantially in the coming months," Mr Kirby said.
The institute forecasts that the Bank will reduce interest rates to just 0.1% eventually, after cutting them to 0.25% later this week.
In a separate report, the CBI business lobby group says that the UK's small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMEs) fear they will be hit by a fall in orders in the next three months.
Its latest quarterly survey of SMEs says business optimism has fallen at its fastest rate since January 2009, when the UK economy was falling into recession.
Now, the culprit is the uncertainty following June's Brexit vote.
Despite this, the 472 firms surveyed said that current orders were stable.
Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI's director for economics, said: "The UK's SME manufacturers reported higher production, more staff hired and now expect to sell more of their world-class goods overseas over the next quarter, with a weaker sterling having a hand in this.
"But overall they do feel less optimistic and are scaling back some investment plans in machinery and plants."
The CBI's survey is just the latest to suggest that the effect of the June referendum vote may be, in the short term at least, to depress business activity.
On Monday the Markit/CIPS manufacturing purchasing managers' index suggested that activity among UK manufacturers in July had shrunk at its fastest pace for three years.
Meanwhile shoppers continue to benefit from falling prices in the UK's shops, stores and supermarkets.
According to the latest survey from the trade body the British Retail Consortium, overall prices fell by 1.6% in the year to July.
Food was 0.8% cheaper than a year ago and non-food items were 2.2% lower.
What we believe about a place can often be more powerful than the hard facts. A country's reputation can influence everything from foreign policy to foreign investment – to whether or not people want to visit or live there.
One recent study by the Reputation Institute, a consultant and advisory firm specializing in reputation, sought to quantify the idea of the most well-thought-of countries. They measured 16 different factors – including being a beautiful and safe place to visit, and having friendly and welcoming residents, progressive policies and an effective government – via an online survey with more than 48,000 residents in the G8 countries, representing the world’s eight leading industrialized nations. The 55 countries rated as part of the survey include those with the largest GDPs, largest populations, and countries with relevant events.
To find out if the reputation matched up to the facts, we talked to residents and expats living in the top five reputable countries.
Newly ranked as the most reputable country in the world (knocking out Canada), Sweden hits all the marks of being safe, welcoming and beautiful, according to its residents. The county is also unique in Western Europe, having been spared from much of the impact of World War II and remaining neutral today.
"Swedes seem to be happy with this independent status, while at the same time being one of the most welcoming countries for refugees in all of Europe," said Dr Ernest Adams, an American-born British citizen who lives in Sweden part time as a consultant and a senior lecturer at Uppsala University. "This is a virtue they have had for a long time – they saved almost all of Denmark's Jews during the war."
Most expats live in Stockholm where the business and government hubs are located. English is commonly spoken, though some expats initially feel that residents can be standoffish.
"But after being here a while, you begin to realise that people like to keep themselves to themselves and they afford that respect to others too, for better or worse," said Kat Trigarszky, current resident and author of an An English Mamma in Stockholm. "It's quite usual not to know your neighbours at all well."
Entertainment and luxury items can be quite expensive in the city (VAT is 25%, and residents regularly complain about the high price of alcohol, which averages around 130 krona a cocktail). Still, many Swedes cook at home, and save on car costs by using the country's vast and affordable public transportation network.
Despite dropping to second on the list, Canadians speak more positively than ever about their home country, especially as the government continues an "arms wide open" approach to Syrian refugees.
"There's a national concern to ensure that those who have suffered so much can rebuild the lives they deserve," said Jeremy Arnold, a native and frequent Quora author on life in Canada. "The average Canadian is defined by their zeal to see our inclusive and communal way of life protected. We love seeing the videos of Syrian immigrants enjoying their first Canada Day."
Canada also scores high for being one of the world’s safest countries. That doesn't mean it's without its problems. "It isn't a utopia. We have crime. We have gangs," Arnold explained. "But we also have a strong social safety net and a shared commitment to values like mutual respect and joyful multiculturalism."
Almost all Canadian residents live in cities that are within 100 miles of the US border, making it especially easy for American expats to come and go. "We also have fairly open visa policies for member countries of the Commonwealth of Nations," Arnold said. Vancouver and Toronto are perennial favourite expat spots, but many choose to live near friends and family or where previous generations of a country's expats have settled.
While both Vancouver and Toronto are expensive cities relative to world prices, Canada in general is relatively affordable compared to many other developed countries. Even the big cities can be navigated affordably by living a little further away from main amenities, said Arnold.
While natural beauty may be a matter of luck, factors like friendly residents and progressive policies come down to a country's wealth and culture, both of which Switzerland has in spades, explained Jason Li, who lived in Switzerland for three years and now lives in Canberra, Australia.
"It’s needless to say that Switzerland is a wealthy country. It has a long tradition of organized hospitality ever since the days of the grand tours of the English aristocracy and Thomas Cook’s first organized tours of the country in 1841," he said. "Twenty percent of Swiss residents are expats, and tourism is a significant industry, so those who work in hospitality and tourism are accustomed to dealing with foreigners."
While many expats end up in business centres like Geneva, Basel and Zurich, Li found himself partial to Lausanne, located in 60km east of Geneva.
"Unlike Zurich or Geneva, it is university town that is not dominated by industry," said Li. "Students from UNIL [Université de Lausanne] and EPFL [École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] provide the energy and thrust, and it has one of the best nightlife scenes in Switzerland."
Despite Zurich being consistently ranked as one of the world's most expensive countries, residents who enjoy a Swiss salary find it manageable, since there is rent control and universal healthcare.
The land down under is loved by residents for its feelings of safety, security and peacefulness, driven in some part by the country's stance on firearms.
"Australia banned guns few decades back, which means that gun violence is minimal," said Ganesh Krishnan, originally from India who currently lives in Melbourne. "Here in Melbourne we can be assured that we can walk free of fear anytime, night or day, on the streets."
Retired US Navy sailor Pedro Vasquez feels similarly from his three years stationed in Canberra, praising the illegality of firearms. "This is very important to me because as someone that values life, I do not want to put mine at risk," he said. "I also like that Australians care so much about the environment and about animal welfare. Of course, it helps that Australians are such a friendly bunch."
Melbourne has been ranked as one of the world's most liveable cities, largely due to its extensive public transportation system that covers the city and much of the suburbs. Family-friendly Perth and economic hub Sydney also typically top the list of cities that attract expats from around the world.
The country tends to be very affordable to live, with universal and high-quality health care and government-funded tertiary education.
As a safe and scenic country, Norway more than lives up to its reputation according to residents.
"The prejudices about Norway are all true: the people are beautiful, gender equality is anchored in daily life and the natural scenery is breathtaking," said Barbara Schwendtner, an Oslo resident from Austria, and a guide for Your Local Cousin, a travel startup that matches travellers with locals. Norway is also a rich country, and is both investing oil money in development and saving in funds for future generations.
Expats also fit in here easily; residents don't really distinguish between locals and those who've moved from abroad. Most residents choose to live in Oslo, which is not a very big city, so activities usually congregate around the city centre.
No matter where they live, Norwegians spend plenty of time in the fresh air. "Norwegians are crazy about the outdoors!" Schwendtner said."They love to be outside, go cross-country skiing in winter and hiking in summer. The activity level of the population is extremely high, with gym memberships often offered to employees."
That love for the outdoors can be a good thing, especially as other activities can be quite expensive. "While one can dine out several times a week in other countries, the same lifestyle is certainly not recommended in Norway," Schwendtner said. "Naturally, people try to find leisure activities for less money, such as training or enjoying nature."
Analysts from the Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs have downgraded their prediction for US and European stocks for the next three months. They expect a reversal of investor positioning and say further growth requires a better economic environment.
Goldman expects the S&P 500 and the STOXX Europe 600 to contract about 10 percent over the period.
"Given equities remain expensive and earnings growth is poor, in our view equities are now just at the upper end of their 'fat and flat' range," said the analysts.
The downgrade follows a recent rally in risk assets, driven by both light positioning into the Brexit vote and a search for yield, according to the bank.
“Our risk appetite indicator is near neutral levels and its positive momentum has faded, suggesting positioning will give less support and we will need better macro fundamentals or stimulus to keep the risk rally going. But market expectations are already dovish, and growth pick-up should take time,” they added.
Goldman Sachs is downgrading stocks to 'underweight' for the next three months, but keeping a 'neutral' position in the next year, staying 'overweight' in cash.
On Friday, the S&P 500 touched an all-time high of 2,177.09. This happens at a time, when the US economy grew 1.2 percent in the first half of the year, well below the predicted 2.5-2.6 percent growth.
According to Jeffrey Gundlach, the CEO of DoubleLine Capital, this means the market has become overly complacent.
“The artist Christopher Wool has a word painting, 'Sell the house, sell the car, sell the kids.' That's exactly how I feel sell everything. Nothing here looks good. The stock markets should be down massively but investors seem to have been hypnotized that nothing can go wrong,” Gundlach told CNBC on Friday. His DoubleLine Capital is keeping money in gold and gold miner assets, the traditional safe haven for investors.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Talkh Chikher Co.Ltd. (MSE:TSK) presented to the public its financial report for the first half of 2016, on August 1. The Company leaders noted that the main focus of 2016 has been the excellence of quality and hygiene standards, and that the Company renewed packages of its products.
The management team is maintaining the ISO 9001:2000 quality system in their operations, and has launched a campaign to adopt the ISE 14000 (HACCP) system. Major investment and developments are being conducted for extension of factory, overhaul storage, and the commissioning of a certified laboratory.
Although the net profit has been reduced in the first half of this year due to the general decline in the economy, the scope of sales has expanded, having increased the local distributions by twofold. The management team has also been working on exporting its products.
A Nigerian man alleged to be the mastermind behind an international crime ring that swindled individuals and companies out of $60 million has been arrested.
According to a statement by Interpol, the man, known only as 'Mike,' ran an international criminal network that hacked the email accounts of small and medium-sized businesses across the globe.
Once the scammers had control of the accounts, they sent fake payment requests to the company's partners and then diverted the funds to accounts they controlled.
One victim was conned into paying $15.4 million, Interpol said.
SAVINGS RATES BY SAVINGS RATES BY
In another scam, the ring would hack an executive's email account, and then send a wire fund transfer request to the company employee authorized to handle them. The funds were then paid into the criminal's bank account, Interpol said.
A 38-year-old person was also arrested by the Nigerian authorities.
Both individuals are facing charges including hacking, conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretenses.
The arrest was a joint operation between Interpol and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
The businesses affected were in countries including Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Romania, South Africa, Thailand and the U.S., the statement said.
The alleged mastermind headed a network of at least 40 individuals across Nigeria, Malaysia and South Africa who provided the malware and helped carry out the scams, Interpol said. The gang also had money-laundering contacts in China, Europe and the U.S. who provided bank accounts to receive the illicit cash.
Following his June arrest in southern Nigeria's Port Harcourt, a forensic examination of devices seized by the EFCC showed Mike had been involved in a range of criminal activities including romance scams.
TOKYO -- Nippon Express will work with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding to ship Japanese goods to China for around 30% less than current prevailing rates.
The Japanese shipper will transport goods from companies doing business on Alibaba's TMall.com platform to China, while an Alibaba affiliate will handle home delivery. Goods can either be flown across the sea when ordered or shipped by surface in advance and stored in warehouses.
Nippon Express is Japan's largest business-to-business and international shipper, enabling it to hold down costs by purchasing space on ships and aircraft in bulk. In teaming up with TMall, which controls 60% of China's online retail market, the shipper aims to handle half of all online purchases headed there from Japan.
Currently, Japan Post ships 90% of online purchases traveling to China via airmail with its express-mail service. But a fee hike of around 30% in June to 1,400 yen ($13.68) for packages up to 500 grams has raised headwinds to the service's use. Nippon Express will keep fees for similar items around 1,000 yen, aiming to pick up customers put off by the increase. Both services take four to six days for delivery in China.
Nippon Express and Alibaba will also take on the complex business of dealing with customs for companies on TMall. China updated rules on cross-border e-commerce in April and now requires such information as what is being shipped, prices and logistics to be submitted electronically. Nippon Express will be the first Japanese logistics company to create a digital link with Alibaba allowing this data to be combined and submitted in one neat package.
China's cross-border e-commerce retail market is expected to grow roughly twelvefold from 2014 levels to $245 billion in 2020, according to U.S. professional services company Accenture.
A number of Japanese companies are competing to offer better and cheaper shipping options to China, creating new chances for even smaller businesses here to access that enormous market. Yamato Holdings inked a partnership in April with companies including JD.com, TMall's smaller rival, to offer international shipping and home delivery. ANA Holdings plans to offer a service handling everything from customs procedures to delivery starting in September.
Such Japanese products as cosmetics and household goods have gained a sterling reputation for safety and quality in China. Consumers there are on track to buy 2.33 trillion yen ($22.8 billion) in goods from Japan online in 2019, according to the Japanese trade ministry. This is roughly triple the 2015 level.
E-commerce is growing more important to Japanese companies as a source of continuous demand from China. This stands in contrast to consumption by Chinese tourists in Japan, who have been spending less per capita of late.