SYDNEY (Reuters) – ExxonMobil has canceled a potential sale of its multi-billion dollar oil and gas assets in Australia’s Bass Strait, according to the Australian Financial Review.
The decision by major US oil companies comes just six weeks after the deadline for indicative bids for the portfolio set by JPMorgan advisers.
“After completing an extensive market evaluation, ExxonMobil has decided to retain its Australian-operated Gippsland Basin production assets,” a spokesman for ExxonMobil Australia’s local affiliate Esso was quoted as saying by AFR.
He hinted that the sales process had not yielded sufficiently attractive offers, AFR reported.
An ExxonMobil spokesman could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
LONDON (Reuters) – The COVID-19 epidemic in the UK has retreated slightly, with a reproduction of the “R” number estimated to be below 1, indicating that Britain’s second national lockdown is stemming infections, government scientists said on Friday.
The number of new infections in the UK is shrinking between 0% and 2% on a daily basis, the UK Government Office for Science said, after being forecast to grow between 0% and 2% in a release last week.
The R number is estimated to be between 0.9 and 1, meaning every 10 infected people will continue to infect between 9 and 10 people, down from last week’s range of 1.0-1.1.
Government scientists said the estimate was based on the most recent data for the UK through November 24, but the slowness means the impact of the national restrictions imposed on Britain on November 5 is just now visible and cannot yet be fully evaluated.
“The R estimate for the UK may continue to decline in the future and may already be below 1 for all regions,” the Government Science Office said in a statement.
The lockdown in Britain – home to about 85% of Britain’s total population – ends on Wednesday and will be replaced by a regional system of tiered restrictions.
SOME CHRISTMAS CHEER
A third of Britain faces the strictest COVID-19 restrictions after the previous tier system – which was in place before the lockdown – failed to keep infection rates down. That resulted in Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing the latest UK-wide lockdown on October 31.
The stricter tier system comes before the planned relaxation of rules for Christmas, when three households can gather indoors for five days.
While scientists’ suggestions to loosen rules for no more than a week – and focus on limiting household bubbles and not just numbers of contacts – are being followed, a note from the government’s pandemic modeling subgroup SPI-MO said easing rules on Christmas season still carries risks.
“Any relaxation during the festive period will result in increased transmission and increased prevalence, potentially in large numbers,” he said in the latest version of the note dated November 18 and published on Friday.
Reporting by Alistair Smout; Edited by Kate Holton, Stephen Addison and Gareth Jones
* Intesa says standards have been improved, complaints have decreased (Adding Intesa’s statement)
ROME, November 26 (Reuters) – Italy’s antitrust authorities said on Thursday it had opened an investigation into the businesses of the RBM Salute Intesa Sanpaolo and Previmedical for alleged unfair commercial practices in health insurance services.
Regulators said in a statement that they had received more than 1,000 complaints about possible “aggressive commercial practices” by the two groups that had led to customers giving up the service and reimbursement they were entitled to.
Clients say they face requests to provide redundant documentation, delays in obtaining authorization for required care and difficulties in contacting call centers. Some failed to get reimbursed for their health services for no good reason, regulators said.
The regulator said it had carried out inspections at the headquarters of the two companies on Wednesday with the help of the Italian financial police.
Intesa Sanpaolo said the complaint was related to the period before the acquisition of RBM Salute in May 2020.
“Since that date, concrete steps have been taken to align the quality of service provided to customers with the high standards held by the entire Intesa Sanpaolo group,” said Italy’s largest bank.
Intesa said complaints had halved in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period in 2018, with only 0.07% of customers being insured.
Previmedical did not reply to a Reuters email seeking comment. (Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri, additional reporting by Maria Pia Quaglia and Valentina Za in Milan; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
(Reuters) – European stocks were little changed on Thursday as the extension of coronavirus restrictions in Germany and dismal growth forecasts for the UK bring focus back to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pan-European STOXX 600 Index was flat at 0920 GMT, with gains in technology and health care stocks offset by declines in the auto and energy sectors.
A second wave of COVID-19 infections swept Europe last month, prompting Germany, France and the UK to once again impose strict lockdown measures, dealing a heavy blow to business activity as restaurants, gyms and shops remain closed.
However, the benchmark STOXX 600 index is still on track for the best month on record and market participants expect European equities to hit record highs next year, following promising vaccine trial results from three major drug manufacturers.
“The global rally appears to have stopped for now … while the release of vaccine results is promising, we do not yet know when this pandemic will fully end,” wrote Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at trading firm FXTM in a note. .
Trading volume is expected to be thin due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that Germany would extend restrictive measures imposed earlier this month to contain a second wave of infections sweeping much of Europe until at least December 20.
Germany’s blue-chip DAX was mostly flat, while the French benchmark CAC 40 also erased early gains to trade slightly higher after a survey showed consumer confidence in the country fell to a two-year low in November.
Investors are also awaiting details on the UK’s post-lockdown restrictions.
UK health secretary Matt Hancock will tell parliament at a later date which of the three tiers, ranging from the lowest at level 1 to the highest at 3, any UK local authority will fall, when the national lockdown ends next week.
Domestically exposed British stocks extended losses after a sell-off earlier in the day, when Finance Minister Rishi Sunak warned the economy would shrink 11.3% this year and revealed plans to borrow amounts not seen previously during Britain’s peacetime.
In corporate news, Amigo Holdings fell 1.3% after a subprime lender reported a 36.5% drop in first-half revenue and marked “material uncertainty” about future operations.
Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta
BRASILIA (Reuters) – Formal job creation in Brazil spiked to a record high in October, figures showed on Thursday, as the dominant service sector bounced back to account for about 40% of new jobs.
The 394,989 net formal jobs were created in October, the economy ministry said, marking the fourth straight month of gains and significantly more than the 233,500 forecast in a Reuters economist poll.
The economic ministry chart below shows the scale of job growth in October compared to the same month in previous years.
Graph: Brazilian formal employment growth –
That reduced the net number of formal job losses in the first 10 months of this year to 171,139, the ministry said, also significantly less than 2015 and 2016 when Brazil was last in recession.
Welcoming the record, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said that Brazil could end the year with no formal job losses at all as the economic rebound in the second half of the year brought back most of the jobs lost in the first half.
“In this recession … we don’t lose focus, we bounce back, and we create jobs very quickly. We can reach the end of the year without losing our formal jobs. Zero, “said Guedes, adding that this represents” a historic year for the Brazilian economy “.
In October, 1.55 million jobs were created and 1.15 million cut, the ministry said. Services leads with 156,766 new jobs, followed by trade (115,646) and industry (86,426).
In the first 10 months of 2015 and 2016, 818,918 and 751,816 jobs were lost, respectively, according to economy ministry figures.
The figures also show that the formal labor market in October consisted of 38.6 million workers, the highest since March this year as desperate workers returned to find work.
Official labor market data for the three months to September will be released next week. The unemployment rate is expected to rise to a new high of 14.9% from 14.4%.
Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Edited by Angus MacSwan