Tag Archives: ECONOMY

Brazil’s Oil Industry Shocks Could Ruin Its Economy | Instant News

Following the dismissal of the CEO of Brazil’s state-controlled oil group Petrobras by President Bolsonaro earlier this week, experts fear greater intervention might be underway in the country’s oil industry.

The removal of CEO, Roberto Castello Blanco, from his position at the head of Petrobras followed a conflict with the President over rising energy prices. Concern that rising diesel prices would lead to protests led Bolsonaro to oppose the Petrobras price hike under Castello Blanco.

President Bolsonaro quickly replaced Castello Blanco with former Defense Minister Joaquim Silva e Luna, who had no previous experience in the industry. However, the outspoken former CEO hit back, warning that state intervention policies could place artificial limits on fuel prices. Castello Blanco explained“If you want to have a market economy, you have to have a market price. The prices below have many consequences, some are predictable and others are unpredictable, but all of them are negative, ”.

The former CEO seemed like it too makes a statement in her wardrobe choices, wearing a t-shirt with the slogan “Mind the Gap”. This reflects the Petrobras 2019 slogan, which refers to its goal of closing performance gaps with leading oil and gas companies around the world. More state intervention is expected to further widen this gap.

Following the change of leadership, Petrobras’ stock plummeted, losing 20 percent of its value Monday, about $ 13 billion. This also had a negative impact on the Brazilian currency, which fell by 2 percent in value.

Related: How High Can Oil Go?

This is not the first time Brazil’s oil industry has struggled with state intervention. Petrobras is on the brink of filing for bankruptcy under former President Dilma Rousseff, easing fuel prices that are wreaking havoc on the industry.

Currently, Brazil pegs its oil prices to international prices, but because the country owns 36.8 percent of shares in Petrobras, and 50.5 of the votes, Bolsonaro holds the card for fuel prices.

Although the president has assured the public that his actions are not the same as ‘interference’, based on previous fuel subsidies by the state, international investors are unsure of the president’s intentions.

With elections set to take place in 2022, Bolsonaro is trying to win public support from major demographics. Reducing fuel costs could significantly affect thousands of truck drivers, who protest against rising fuel costs.

That The President also signaled greater intervention in the energy sector over the next few weeks, this time with a focus on electricity. “If the press is worried about yesterday’s transition [in CEO], next week there will be more, “he said. “We will stop the electricity, which is also a problem”.

However, larger interventions in the energy sector could discourage foreign investment in the country. After being hit badly by the Covid-19 pandemic, this is a worrying prospect for the Brazilian economy.

James Gulbrandsen, head of investment for Latin America at NCH Capital declared moved“If Bolsonaro interferes with the pricing of electricity, it might end his ability to attract foreign capital,”.

Castello Blanco has won national and international support for Petrobras, reduced corporate debt, pushed for greater independence, and made the company attractive to a growing oil market such as India. We are yet to see if Silva e Luna will earn the same respect.

By Felicity Bradstock for Oilprice.com

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The Gateway to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Has Been Closed | Instant News

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad on April 20 2015, to sign fifty-one Memorandum of Understanding which form the core of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which together are valued at about $ 46 billion. While Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signed the initial agreement, Prime Minister Imran Khan plunged into a relationship inherited with enthusiasm. “CPEC is a great opportunity for Pakistan. CPEC connects us with China which is one of the biggest markets, ”he said stated. Asad Umar, his planning minister, spoke about the benefits Pakistan would get. “CPEC is being developed in such a way that it is not only a stimulus for our economic growth but also provides Pakistan’s base for regional integration,” Umar said. While the project has achieved extraordinary results costs for Pakistani sovereignty—China is paying more attention and treating Pakistan as a vassal state—Maybe the biggest losers in CPEC are those who live in it Gilgit – Baltistan.

Pakistan captured Gilgit-Baltistan in October 1947, after that the new government of Pakistan sent military irregularities to the region and took it along with parts of Kashmir. Initially, most of Gilgitis refused their inclusion in Pakistan, however Pakistani authorities be rude to their concerns. Under the 1949 Karachi Agreement, the Pakistani-controlled Kashmir government handed over complete control of Gilgit-Baltistan’s defense and foreign policy to Pakistan’s central government.

Twenty-five years later, Islamabad repealed the State Subjects Rule, which prevented outsiders from seeking permanent residency, for Gilgit-Baltistan. The result is gradual sectarian and ethnic cleansing. In 1948, when Pakistan invaded, Gilgit-Baltistan was at least 85 percent Shia; that number has dropped dramatically and now the odds are under 50 percent.

Meanwhile, CPEC has burdens Pakistan with debt, it’s not fulfilling yet ambition, leaving Pakistan to face the inevitability of mortgaging further sovereignty to China or international financial institutions. Gilgit-Baltistan, however, is what the Pakistani government calls “The gateway to the CPEC, “It is now a symbol of CPEC’s false promises for areas that have been neglected.

While Gilgit was geographically critical to CPEC’s success and Pakistani authorities promised construction along the highway, nothing materialized. The promised opportunities in terms of education, employment and welfare also did not materialize. In contrast, Pakistan’s main political parties have siphoned most of the money and related projects into their own political strongholds in Punjab, Sindh and other regions. At the last minute, for example, Islamabad scrapped plans for the Gilgit-Chitral road and supported a fifty-mile four-lane highway between Chakdara to Fatehpur in Swat. Imran Khan even agreed that China would send four hundred thousand construction workers to Gilgit-Baltistan at the expense of local labor.

For Gilgit-Baltistan, the problem is not only failure to reap the benefits of CPEC but also that Khan’s desire to please China means net loss. On orders from Chinese mining companies, for example, Pakistan did it cancel the license local miners. Chinese developers have also displaced thousands of residents without compensation.

Here, Khan’s cynicism towards Gilgit-Baltistan and poor management could ultimately hurt CPEC even more. By diverting funds from the Gilgit-Chitral road, Khan has forced the region to remain dependent on a single highway, a road that can be easily and repeatedly blocked by angry locals. At best, it could disrupt the CPEC schedule further, but at worst, it could render many other projects unworkable. The uptake of Gilgit-Baltistan by Pakistan has always been illegal. Increasingly, neglected areas can get the last laugh.

Michael Rubin is a scholar remains at American Enterprise Institute and a frequent writer for National Interest.

Image: Reuters


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Delta CEO Predicts Return of Business Travel in 2021 | Economy | Instant News

Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta, spent much of the first quarter of 2021 talking about the coming “year of recovery”. With hopes that the vaccinations will restore consumer confidence in aviation and fuel the fire of pent-up demand, he’s gearing up to turn a profit by the middle of the year – which is badly needed afterwards. record losses of $ 12.39 billion in 2020. The company saw an improvement at the end of last year: it cut its third-to-fourth-quarter and fourth-quarter cash flow in half. $ 755 million is pale compared to that of the United States and the United States, both around $ 2 billion, but Delta and its competitors still expect a bumpy road. “It’s always darker before dawn, and that’s exactly where we are,” says Bastian. He expects the United States to reach an initial stage of herd immunity in early summer, barring the emergence of vaccine-resistant mutations of covid-19. “This will be the key to starting the journey – even if it will only be a step, a significant step, as we return to a new normal.” The same milestone, he says, could be the trigger that will allow Delta to reopen reservations for the middle seats, which it has blocked for social distancing throughout the pandemic. Another significant step, he says , will be the reopening of international borders. “More precisely in Asia, they will be very conservative [about this]”Bastian said. “But in 12 to 18 months, I believe international travel will be back.” It’s a bit of a wait. But the upside, he explains, is that travelers will come back to see that the aviation industry has improved in several ways. The pandemic and the events of 2020 have led companies and their leaders to reinvent themselves for sustainability, resilience and industry-wide improvements inspiring inclusiveness that will long outlast covid-19. Last February, Delta pledged to spend $ 1 billion on greening its operations over the next decade, with the goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral airline through the use of alternative fuels, carbon offsets, and better recycling and waste reduction efforts. “We have to prepare the ground for the next generations that will follow and follow us,” says Bastian, presenting sustainability efforts as both moral and economic imperatives. “You can’t have a business opportunity and a platform for growth if the world doesn’t see your product and service contributing to society.” It would certainly be easier for many to accept the socio-economic benefits of the $ 1.7 trillion travel industry if massive amounts of aviation fuels were not needed. “We know that in our industry the footprint we create represents between 2% and 3% of the global carbon footprint,” says Bastian. “Left unattended, that number will double in the next 10 to 20 years, so the more people who join us on this mission the better. social investments and corporate governance) taking on a more important role than ever, many companies that use Delta for their business travel are reassessing their carbon footprint, particularly in the technology sector. “We don’t want them to go net zero by eliminating air travel,” says Bastian, “so we need to make sure that the work Delta is doing to save its own footprint can be linked to [their] “. The same can be said of the company’s diversity and inclusiveness efforts, which have been of personal concern to Bastian since the 2020 protests surrounding the death of George Floyd. Delta is committed to doubling black leadership roles within the company by 2025, doubling spending with black-owned businesses, and reviewing its talent acquisition strategies to create a better pipeline. for the professional development of blacks. (The company also tracks its progress against these goals publicly, for accountability purposes.) Like greening, these inclusiveness goals are also good for Delta’s bottom line. “We will best serve our customers and connect the world if we reflect the world,” says Bastian. “We are stronger when we have more views expressed around the table, and we can better anticipate the needs of our customers – better understand them when they board our planes – if they are served by people who look like them. “In an environment where traditional loyalty – the type of points and miles – has been increasingly devalued, these efforts can also be an important means of attracting and retaining customers.” Today’s younger generations hui demand it, “says Bastian.” Consumers demand it more and more and are loyal to companies that reflect their own values. ” Waiting for the government to sort out the big problems of our time is also not an option, says Bastian, especially since many are politically fractured. With topics such as sustainability and diversity having a global impact, it is important that global companies take some responsibility for designing solutions. “We all have our part to play. In as divided times as I can remember, we cannot leave everything to government. Business needs to step up its role. efforts and accountability, “he says. This focus on sustainability and diversity has earned Bastian plenty of praise, as well as critics who say he’s become too political. But Bastian thinks 2020 has rewritten the book. rules for a lot of things, including how to be a good leader. “As a business CEO, you are trained to stay out of the line of fire on any subject that is generally not specific. ical to your mission and business purpose, ”he says. “But it is perhaps more broadly defined than ever these days – and I believe our customers, our company and our leaders around the world have a voice when they see inequalities. Or else, silence also speaks. Delta’s pledge to block off the middle seats during the pandemic has been a public relations triumph for the company, which is expected to last until April. Pressed to find out if that expiration date would be met, Bastian admits popular policy will likely be extended until the summer. “We know it’s safe to sit there,” Bastian says, “but we’re going to follow the confidence and comfort of our customers. When we see the demand for those middle seats start to increase, that will be the signal for us to start selling them. “Although Bastian is bearish on international travel in 2021, he is convinced that domestic air travel will make a good comeback. summer, in line with the US vaccination program. That will not change, these are all the new protocols put in place around cleanliness and safety. Antimicrobial trays at TSA, rules on wearing masks and state-of-the-art air filtration systems are here to help. Bastian also sees a new take on business travel to supplant the traditional two-meeting, in-and-out, road warrior style of years past. It is a country in which a new generation of digital nomads will benefit from an exchange. cultural age wherever they can connect to the Internet. “People will travel because they can work remotely, and businesses will find it helps build loyalty and lower costs,” he says. This version of the business trip, says Bastian, “will have a similar scale from what we know, but the purpose and form will be different. That, combined with a continued focus on private space for leisure travelers, will keep demand for seats in the front of the plane high, he expects, resulting in a more business model. resilient that is not so heavily dependent on stable business activity. The bottom line, Bastian says, is that once the pandemic is over, “the real value of travel will be clear and people will give it a higher premium.” .

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ANDY BRACK: Scratch your urge to travel to South Carolina | Chroniclers | Instant News

“Parts of our state’s hotel economy have exploded, such as golf and state parks, but regular family businesses need our support now more than ever.” So if you live in the Lowcountry, you might want to consider visiting the upstate to see just how hip downtown Greenville has become. Someone from the upstate could deepen their love for South Carolina by visiting the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden in Bishopville or enjoying small towns in Pee Dee such as Lake City, where the art scene is bustling. People often joke about Columbia – mostly because of the job, or lack of work, at the Statehouse, but the area has plenty for everyone. And then there are miles of beaches and outdoor fun along the coast. “Our desire to see and discover a bigger world is the subject of my new book, ‘Why travel? A way of being, a way of seeing, ”said Bill Thompson, Charleston travel writer, in a column published this week. “And while this moment in the pandemic may seem like a rather odd time to publish it, this collection of essays and travel articles comes with a silver lining that soon we can start planning our trips again.” Traveling offers people a way to “Doctor, poet and humorist Oliver Wendell Holmes noted that a mind enlarged by a new experience never retreats to the limits of its old dimensions,” he said. “This is what we are looking for. An expansive and expansive view. You don’t understand that by sitting still. .

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UK imposes new sanctions on generals, Myanmar tensions escalate | Military News | Instant News

Six generals were cited for human rights abuses and companies were told not to work with military-linked businesses following the February 1 coup.

Britain has announced new sanctions against Myanmar generals behind the February 1 coup and said British companies should not do business with companies linked to the military, as tensions mount in Myanmar amid mass opposition to a military takeover.

The latest moves are aimed at military commander Min Aung Hlaing, as well as five other members of the Council for State Administration, which the military formed to run the country after the coup. Every member of the council is now subject to British sanctions.

In addition, the British government said it would suspend all trade promotions with Myanmar to conduct a review of its trade approach with the Southeast Asian country.

“Today’s package of actions sends a clear message to the military regime in Myanmar that those responsible for human rights violations will be held accountable, and that the authorities must hand back control to the government elected by the Myanmar people,” British Foreign Minister Dominic. Raab said in a statement.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Myanmar to oppose the coup with many workers also on strike as part of a national civil disobedience movement.

Tensions have escalated over the past week with at least two people killed in Mandalay, the country’s second largest city, last weekend when police used force to disperse crowds.

On Thursday, there was more violence as pro-military groups, armed with knives and catapults, confronted anti-coup protesters in Yangon, while authorities used tear gas to disperse crowds protesting against local military replacements. official.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which tracks detentions, said 748 people have now been arrested since the coup began, with many being taken from their homes at night.

A military supporter faces pro-democracy protesters during a rally in support of coup leaders in Yangon on Thursday [Reuters]

The UK sanctions, which come into effect immediately, will prevent designated individuals from traveling to the UK and mean businesses and institutions cannot handle their funds or economic resources in the UK. The United States has announced similar sanctions, while the European Union this week said it was “ready to adopt restrictive measures targeting those directly responsible for military coups and their economic interests”.

As part of the trade review, the Department of International Trade will work on measures to “ensure that British companies in Myanmar do not trade with military-owned businesses,” the government said, stressing that trade also has an important role to play in reducing poverty.

The campaigners are calling on the international community to impose certain sanctions on vast military commercial empire, known as Tatmadaw in Myanmar, includes the giant conglomerate Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC).

The United Nations Fact-Finding Mission, established after the 2017 crackdown on Rohingya, details the extent of armed forces ‘involvement in the economy – revealing 106 MEHL and businesses owned by MEC and 27 close affiliations to the military – and the armed forces’ dominance over Myanmar’s natural resources. , including jade mining.

The Tatmadaw’s commercial interest net allows it to “protect itself from accountability and surveillance,” the UN says. “By controlling its own business empire, the Tatmadaw can circumvent the accountability and oversight that usually comes from civilian oversight of military budgets.”


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