Tag Archives: International Agency / Treaty Group

Germany opens a third auction for payments to close coal-fired power plants | Instant News


FRANKFURT, March 3 (Reuters) – Germany’s energy regulator has opened a third round of bidding for coal-fired power plant operators to compete for compensation to cover their capacity, part of the country’s shift towards carbon-free power.

Germany has decided to abandon coal in 2038 and achieve a carbon-free energy system by 2050.

A spokesman for the Bonn Bundesnetzagentur-based regulator said a bid had to be submitted by April 30 to cover the 2,481 megawatt (MW) capacity that would go offline by the end of 2022.

The regulator’s website shows the maximum price per megawatt of closed capacity will be € 155,000 ($ 186,883).

In the auction, operators announce the price they will be prepared to close their factories in exchange for funds to cover some of their financial losses.

The winner is determined not only by price but also by the relationship between the costs expected to result in a CO2 reduction.

The second round, which opens on January 4 to deactivate capacity of 1,500 MW and which also sets a maximum price of 155,000 euros / MW, has concluded with results due in the coming weeks, the spokesman said.

Following the first round of bidding, which opened in September, regulators closed 4,788 MW of coal-fired power generation capacity on January 1.

The average pay to operators in the round was set at 66,259 euros / MW after bidding ranged from 6,047 euros / MW and 150,000 euros / MW.

The auction will continue in the coming years, but after 2027, coal-fired power plants can be ordered to close without compensation.

$ 1 = 0.8294 euros Reported by Vera Eckert; Edited by Edmund Blair

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REFILE-Italy Q4 GDP fell 1.9% q / q as domestic demand slumped | Instant News


 (Refiles to correct date and fix incomplete data table)
    ROME, March 3 (Reuters) - Italy's economy shrank 1.9% in the
fourth quarter of last year from the previous three months,
national statistics bureau ISTAT said on Wednesday, as
coronavirus restrictions weighed on domestic demand.
    ISTAT slightly raised its preliminary estimate of a 2.0%
fall in gross domestic product, issued on Feb. 2.
    On a year-on-year basis, fourth quarter GDP was confirmed at
-6.6%.
    The third quarter, covering summer months in which COVID
restrictions were largely lifted, was revised to show a 15.9%
quarter-on-quarter rise and a 5.2% year-on-year drop. These were
previously reported at 16.0% and -5.1% respectively.
    Earlier this week ISTAT reported that over the whole of 2020
GDP shrank by 8.9%, its steepest contraction since World War
Two, taking Italy's inflation-adjusted GDP level back to where
it stood in the late 1990s. 
    The breakdown of GDP components in the fourth quarter showed
consumer spending fell 2.7% quarter-on-quarter while government
spending rose 1.5% and investments edged up 0.2%.
    Overall, domestic demand net of inventories subtracted 1.3%
from GDP.
    Imports rose 5.4%, easily outweighing a 1.3% increase in
exports.
    Looking ahead, Rome officially forecasts a rebound of 6%
this year, although analysts say this will have to be revised
down as the ongoing COVID-19 emergency continues to blight
economic prospects.
    ISTAT gave the following details on contributions to
quarterly growth for the third and fourth quarters of last year.
 
    
 PERCENTAGE POINT CONTRIBUTIONS TO Q/Q GROWTH
 
                                      Q4               Q3
 Final domestic demand               -1.3             13.1
 Final national consumption          -1.3              8.3
 Consumer spending                   -1.6              7.9
 Government spending                  0.3              0.4
 Gross Fixed Investment               0.0              4.8
 Inventory Changes                    0.3             -1.7
 Net Exports                         -1.0              4.4
 GDP                                 -1.9             15.9    

 (Reporting By Gavin Jones; Editing by Jon Boyle)
  

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GLOBAL MARKET- Asian stocks rose as risk assets shone, c. Australian bank view | Instant News


NEW YORK, March 1 (Reuters) – Asian stocks are poised for a rally on Tuesday as a recent halt to sell-off in bond markets calms investors’ nerves and lifted risk assets, although oil prices are on the defensive on fears of slowing Chinese energy consumption . .

Australian stocks jumped 0.8% in early trading, while S&P E-mini futures were up 0.15%. The Japanese Nikkei opened 0.93% higher.

US stocks surged overnight, with the S&P 500 posting its best day in nearly nine months, after declines in bond yields and optimism about more US fiscal stimulus and wider distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine aroused investor appetite for risk.

For now, all eyes will be on Australia’s central bank, which holds its monthly policy meeting on Tuesday. Analysts expect the Reserve Bank of Australia to hold interest rates at a historic low of 0.1% when it announces its policy decision at 0330 GMT.

“There’s a lot to like about the rally in EU and US equity markets,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Group Ltd in Australia.

“Financials are outperforming, with 95% of shares in the S&P 500 higher on the day,” he said, adding that “obviously investors are seeing the world in a new light.”

US stocks were volatile last week when a sell-off on Treasury bonds pushed yields on the 10-year Treasury to a one-year high of 1.614%. The 10-year yield edged down in early trading at 1.4255%.

Demand for riskier assets does not diminish the dollar, usually considered a safe-haven currency, as investors are betting on fast growth and inflation in the United States. The US dollar index rose 0.3% in early trading against a basket of currencies to 91.029, seen from a three-week high overnight.

The Australian dollar was little changed at $ 0.77685 ahead of the RBA meeting.

A stronger dollar weighed on gold, and the precious metal was on the defensive at $ 1,722,887 an ounce early Tuesday.

The excess of risky assets is not helping the energy market. Oil prices fell more than 1% overnight after data showed growth in Chinese factory activity slumped to a nine-month low in February, partly due to disruptions during the Lunar New Year holiday. There are also concerns among energy investors that OPEC could increase global supplies after this week’s meeting.

Brent crude fell 1.7% to $ 63.31 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.6% to $ 60.3.

Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Edited by Sam Holmes

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Italy repatriates its ambassador and bodyguards who died in Congo | Instant News


GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Reuters) – A military plane leaving eastern Congo bound for Italy on Tuesday loaded the bodies of the Italian ambassador and bodyguards in coffins wrapped in the Italian flag, a day after they were shot dead in an ambush at the United Nations Convoy.

Ambassador Luca Attanasio, 43, and his bodyguard Vittorio Iacovacci, 30, died while traveling in a World Food Program convoy to visit a school feeding project. WFP driver Mustapha Milambo also died.

The two crates were loaded onto an Italian military cargo plane in the city of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, near the Rwandan border. The plane then took off for Rome.

According to the Congolese presidency, a two-car convoy was stopped on the road north of Goma by six gunmen, who killed the Milambo driver and took the other six passengers away. Soldiers and park rangers tracked the group and a gun battle ensued, during which the kidnappers shot the two Italians.

RWANDAN REBELS DON’T BLUE

Congo’s interior ministry blamed Rwandan Hutu rebel militias called the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) for the attacks. The FDLR, one of about 120 armed groups operating in eastern Congo, has denied responsibility for what it called the “cowardly killings”.

“The FDLR stated that they were not at all involved in the attack,” the group said in a statement.

The local governor said that the attackers spoke the Rwandan language Kinyarwanda.

The FDLR, set up by former Rwandan officers and militia blamed by the United Nations and others for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, has been blamed for previous kidnappings, including two British tourists who were detained for several days in May 2018.

President Felix Tshisekedi sent his top diplomatic adviser to Goma to support an investigation by local authorities, and the Congolese envoy in Rome will hand over a letter from Tshisekedi to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, the Congolese presidency said.

Dario Tedesco, an Italian volcanologist living in Goma, pays tribute to his friend Attanasio.

“He was able to talk to all of us, very differently because, he adapted to each of us, (made) us feel we were important,” said Tedesco. “He believes in what he is doing and this shouldn’t be his last trip.” (This story corrects the number of passengers to six, in paragraph 4)

Reporting by Fiston Mahamba and Hereward Holland; written by Hereward Holland; editing by Nellie Peyton, Philippa Fletcher, Giles Elgood and Peter Graff

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Police are investigating a COVID vaccine offer to Italian territory | Instant News


MILAN, Italy, February 19 (Reuters) – Italian police are investigating a bid for a COVID-19 vaccine by an unnamed intermediary to the Veneto regional authorities, suggesting possible attempts to create a black market parallel to national and EU-level procurement processes, two sources. with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

Veneto governor Luca Zaia and regional health director Luciano Flor said this week they were evaluating two offers they received for a total of 27 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, without specifying who approached them.

Flor said the two bids were selected from a total of about 20 proposals the Veneto region received from various intermediaries in recent days, including some involving Russia’s AstraZeneca and Sputnik vaccines.

The approach is unusual in that drug makers producing vaccines have reached agreements with national governments and, in the case of the European Union, with the European Union Commission, which have negotiated procurement programs on behalf of its members.

The Italian probe is trying to determine whether a parallel market has emerged, said a source with direct knowledge of the investigation. The source said it was unclear whether drug makers could legally sell their vaccines to non-governmental entities in Europe.

“The regulatory framework is completely unclear,” the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was confidential and ongoing.

Andrew Widger, a spokesman for Pfizer, which has produced its vaccine with German partner BioNTech, said “at this time, we are prioritizing the doses available for supply through established agreements with government and supra-government organizations”.

“In the European Union, doses are given directly to the government under the terms of the supply agreement with the European Commission. Currently there is no Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine available through an intermediary, “he added.

BioNTech did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An AstraZeneca spokesman said the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker would not allow the delivery of its vaccine outside of its existing supply agreement with the European Union. There should be no supplies from the private sector to sell or distribute in Europe, he said.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund that is responsible for marketing the Sputnik V vaccine abroad, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

‘REFINED WATER’

The chairman of the European Union Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said this week there was an increase in cases of fraud and fraudulent attempts related to the corona virus vaccine. He said the Commission is taking action to bring those responsible to justice, adding it could be very risky to take vaccines offered by black market traders.

Zaia said on Friday that she had asked her regional health director Flor to write to the Italian NAS police, which specialize in food and drug fraud investigations, to notify them of vaccine offers.

Police visited the Veneto regional headquarters on Friday and retrieved documents regarding the case, one of the sources said.

“I welcome this operation (by the police) because it will ultimately provide clarity and allow us to understand whether we are dealing with a fraud or not,” Zaia told reporters.

Veneto has also contacted the national drug agency AIFA and Italy’s special COVID-19 commissioner, Domenico Arcuri, to ask them to evaluate whether the offer is valid.

“We haven’t had any negotiations on prices or anything because we are waiting to see if we can continue,” said Zaia. “We don’t know whether the vaccine is good or bad, whether it’s just distilled water. We just do what we have to do – we don’t go to the black market. “

An Arcuri spokesman confirmed contact with Veneto authorities, while AIFA did not comment.

In a related case, prosecutors in the central region of Umbria are investigating a man who they say claims to be a legitimate trader and tried to sell a dose of AstraZeneca vaccine to local authorities there. (Additional reporting by Riccardo Bastianello in Padua, Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt and Mike Erman in New York Editing by Frances Kerry)

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