RT Business News /business/ RT Business News en Wed, 19 Jun 2024 21:16:52 +0000 RT /static/img/logo-rss.png RT Business News 125 40 Putin lauds de-dollarization in trade with Asian partner /business/599591-russia-vietnam-trade-national-currencies/ Moscow and Hanoi have been diverting bilateral trade away from “widely discredited currencies,” according to the Russian president
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The share of ruble-dong settlements in mutual trade has been steadily rising, the president says

Around 60% of transactions between Russia and Vietnam are now carried out using the countries’ respective currencies, bypassing the US dollar and euro, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s head of state made the remarks in an article for the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Vietnam ahead of his two-day visit to the Southeast Asian country, published on the Kremlin website on Wednesday.

Putin noted that the two countries were paying serious attention to enhancing mutual trade and promoting investment, particularly in the Russian ruble and the Vietnamese dong.

“Such transactions accounted for more than 40% of bilateral trade last year, and in the first quarter of this year their share rose to almost 60%,” the Russian leader said, adding that this was in line with the global trend towards phasing out the use of “widely discredited currencies” in international trade and investment.

Putin acknowledged the importance of the Vietnam-Russia Joint Venture Bank, which was set up by the two countries in 2006 with the aim of strengthening their economic ties.

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A street in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.
Vietnam working on BRICS membership bid – Izvestia
]]> Citing official statistics, the Russian president said that bilateral trade rose by 8% in 2023 and continues to grow, adding that the energy sector remains a strategically important area of cooperation.

“Food, mineral resources, machinery and equipment are exported to Vietnam. Many Vietnamese goods, including clothing, fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products, are in demand on the Russian market,” Putin stated, lauding the role of the free economic trade agreement between the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Vietnam.

The EAEU, established in 2015, is based on the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. It was later joined by Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. In 2016, Vietnam officially became the first non-regional country to become a free-trade partner of the bloc. The group also has three observer states: Cuba and two other former Soviet nations, Moldova and Uzbekistan. Iran is also expected to join the EAEU.

The union is designed to ensure the free movement of goods, services, capital, and workers between member nations.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 19:41:01 +0000 RT
Russia-EU trade dips to near 25-year low – data /business/599582-russia-eu-trade-drop/ Bilateral trade between Russia and the EU has dropped to its lowest level since 2000 amid Western sanctions, according to a report
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Official statistics have revealed a dramatic drop in bilateral commerce

Trade turnover between Russia and the European Union has continued to fall amid Western sanctions against Moscow, tumbling to nearly a quarter-century low as of the end of April, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday, citing Eurostat data.

The cited statistics show that mutual trade has plunged to its lowest level since January 2000, to €5.6 billion. The figure also marked a month-on-month decrease of 6%.

Exports of Russian goods to the EU in April dropped by 17% from the previous month, to €2.7 billion, plummeting to their lowest level since June 1999.

The report said that Russia mainly sold natural gas to the EU, although supplies decreased by 5% in April, to €1.15 billion. Exports were also dominated by iron and steel, as well as petroleum products.

At the same time, supplies of EU goods to Russia, dominated by pharmaceuticals and equipment, were 6% higher in April than the previous month, rising to €2.9 billion.

Official statistics show that in 2020, the EU was Russia’s leading trade partner, accounting for 37.3% of the country’s total trade in goods. Over 36% of Russia’s imports came from the EU and 37.9% of its exports went to the 27-nation bloc.

]]> READ MORE: EU nation resumes imports of Russian iron and steel – media

]]> Bilateral trade, however, started to decline dramatically as a result of the sanctions imposed on Moscow by Western countries over the Ukraine conflict.

Since February 2022, the EU has implemented multiple rounds of sanctions against Russia, including asset freezes, restrictions on the country’s financial and energy sector, trade embargoes, as well as measures targeting individuals and state companies.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 17:39:13 +0000 RT
Boeing can’t find new CEO – WSJ /business/599553-boeing-cant-find-new-ceo/ US aerospace giant Boeing is struggling to find a new CEO due to scrutiny over its safety record, The Wall Street Journal has reported
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The current chief will resign by the end of the year, following multiple revelations of questionable safety standards at the firm

Several high-profile candidates have turned down offers to run aerospace giant, Boeing, The Wall Street Journal has reported, as the plane-maker faces scrutiny over multiple safety issues with its products.

The aerospace giant announced in March that current chief executive, David Calhoun, would step down by the end of the year, as part of a management shake-up aimed at reviving Boeing’s reputation. 

The company’s airliners have encountered a litany of incidents this year, beginning with a door panel on a 737 MAX 9 operated by Alaska Airlines blowing off mid-air in January, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the plane. 

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FILE PHOTO: MV-22 Osprey.
Boeing sued over deaths of US Marines
]]> The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched several inquiries into Boeing. Whistle-blowers have alleged that the 737 Max, the 787 Dreamliner, and the 777 had serious production issues. As part of one probe, CEO Calhoun was grilled by US senators on Tuesday over the company’s patchy safety record.

GE Aerospace CEO Larry Culp, widely considered the top candidate for the job, has declined Boeing’s request to consider taking over, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said, citing people familiar with the matter. According to the publication, Culp is known as a guru of lean manufacturing, a management philosophy focused on cutting waste while continuously improving quality. Culp has said that he intends to stay on at GE Aerospace.

Other potential candidates – the CEO of Boeing's commercial-airplanes division Stephanie Pope, and Spirit AeroSystems CEO Pat Shanahan – face various complications on their path to the top job, the WSJ wrote. David Gitlin, CEO of the home-appliances firm Carrier and a member of the Boeing board, asked to be removed from the list of potential contenders in April.

Boeing executives have said they hope to have a deal by the end of June, the WSJ noted.

]]> READ MORE: Hundreds of Boeings at risk of midair explosion – media

]]> The US Department of Justice said in May it was considering prosecuting Boeing over two crashes in 2018 and 2019 which killed nearly 350 people. The accidents were found to have been caused by an errant pitch control system that the company had not informed pilots about.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 11:40:40 +0000 RT
Nvidia becomes world’s most valuable company /business/599544-nvidia-worlds-most-valuable-company/ US artificial intelligence chipmaker Nvidia has dethroned Microsoft to become the world’s most valuable company
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The computing infrastructure giant overtook Microsoft’s market capitalization on Tuesday

Nvidia became the largest company in the world on Tuesday, after the US artificial intelligence chipmaker’s valuation exceeded $3.33 trillion, surpassing Microsoft. Two weeks ago, Nvidia edged out Apple from the number two spot.

Nvidia's stock price rose by 3.5% in early trading on Tuesday, to reach an all-time high of $135.58 per share. The software giant Microsoft saw its shares slide 0.45% on Tuesday, to a market cap of $3.32 trillion.

Both firms are key players in the artificial intelligence boom. Nvidia is the tech industry's go-to supplier for AI chips and integrated software, while Microsoft is the largest investor in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI.

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RT
Musk’s brain chip to be implanted in second patient – WSJ
]]> Apple shares lost 1.1% on Tuesday with iPhone-maker’s market cap slipping to $3.29 trillion.

Nvidia completed a ten-for-one stock split earlier this month, making its shares more affordable to small-time individual investors.

The US firm reached a market cap of $1 trillion one year ago, and $3 trillion on June 5 – representing the fastest growth on record – fuelled by the boom in AI. Many investors believe the company will continue to surge in value.

]]> READ MORE: China launches $47bn super-chip fund

]]> Founded in 1993, Nvidia originally designed graphics cards for computer gaming. It later added features to its chips designed for machine learning, increasing its market share. In recent years the surge of investment in AI tech has caused explosive growth for the company.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 09:16:19 +0000 RT
US puts part of key Russia tax treaty on ice /business/599514-us-russia-tax-treaty/ Washington has announced the suspension, by mutual agreement, of the 1992 tax convention with Moscow
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The action follows Moscow’s earlier suspension of certain provisions of the 1992 agreement

The US Treasury Department has announced it is suspending certain provisions of the 1992 tax convention with Russia. The step follows Moscow’s scrapping of double-taxation treaties last year with those who have imposed sanctions against the country.

According to a press release published on the Treasury website on Monday, a formal notice has been provided to Moscow to confirm the suspension by mutual agreement. This is a response to Russia’s notification dated August 8, 2023, the department said.

The suspension will take effect on August 16, 2024, and will continue “until otherwise decided by the two governments.”

Double-taxation treaties are agreements between states designed to protect against the risk of the same income being taxed twice in both countries. Russia had such agreements with many nations, including EU member states, the UK, Australia, Canada, and the US, all of which have imposed sanctions on Moscow.

In 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the suspension of certain provisions of tax treaties with what Moscow terms ‘unfriendly states’.

]]> READ MORE: Russia cancels tax agreements with 38 Western countries

]]> In particular, the decree cancelled agreements between Russia and the US on the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of tax evasion on income and capital. All in all, Moscow scrapped double-taxation agreements with 38 countries, including the UK, Canada, Switzerland, Japan, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Finland, France, Germany, Spain.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 19:52:07 +0000 RT
EU to challenge US and China in trade /business/599491-eu-trade-us-china/ The European Union will continue looking for ways of competing equitably with its economic partners, Margrethe Vestager has insisted
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The bloc can compete in a strategic way, according to competition chief Margrethe Vestager

The EU will try to challenge the US and China strategically, the bloc’s competition chief has suggested, however it may be no economic match for either.

Margrethe Vestager told CNBC on Tuesday that the EU had become “much better” at defending itself against unfair trade practices, and that it will continue looking for ways to compete equitably with its economic partners.

“The point is to realize we can never outspend China or the US,” Vestager said, pointing out: “We can spend strategically.” 

She cited a €100-billion fund for ten “cutting edge technologies” – including in hydrogen, electric batteries, microelectronics, cloud and health – among the EU’s “strategic” investments that she said have “common European interest.” 

“That, I think, is a strategic way of using taxpayers’ money, crowding in private capital, in order to get what the market will not otherwise deliver,” Vestager argued.

The EU’s competition chief said the bloc was not “copying” its trade partners by implementing such measures.

The remark comes as the US has been investing heavily in technology, clean energy, manufacturing and infrastructure via its $430 billion 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. China, meanwhile, has continued pouring money into its tech and green industries.

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FILE PHOTO: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
US pressing EU to clamp down on Chinese exports
]]> Asked whether such investment levels would enable Europe to compete in the growing tech arms race, Vestager said: “Let’s not get distracted by what they are doing in the US and China. Let’s stick to our guns and make sure that it actually works.” 

Last week, the EU announced new hefty tariffs of up to 38% on Chinese electric vehicle makers, to which Beijing responded by launching an anti-dumping investigation aimed at certain pork products from the bloc. Beijing previously warned that it would target the EU’s aviation and agriculture sectors in response to the duties.

Brussels’ move followed the US having quadrupled tariffs on Chinese EVs to over 100% earlier this month, affecting $18 billion in imported Chinese goods.

Beijing has warned that such measures violate the principles of fair competition and harm the stability of global trade. Chinese officials have repeatedly denounced US trade and tech policies as “economic bullying.”

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 14:46:30 +0000 RT
Russia’s largest private lender expanding to China – Bloomberg /business/599499-alfa-bank-china-new-offices/ Major Russian lender Alfa Bank is set to open offices in Beijing and Shanghai
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Alfa Bank has applied to the Chinese authorities to open offices in Beijing and Shanghai, according to the outlet

Russia’s largest private lender, Alfa Bank, is set to open offices in China as part of a major expansion plan, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

The lender, which seeks to become the first private Russian bank to open fully-fledged branches in China, has applied to the Chinese authorities to open offices in two key cities – Beijing and Shanghai – the outlet said, citing the bank.

The announcement comes after Alfa Bank expanded its client support services for Chinese businesses. The lender said it’s already providing services to thousands of companies working with Russia and has launched a Chinese-language website and support for Chinese-speaking clients.

Alfa Bank’s board of directors first revealed plans to open offices in Beijing and Shanghai last September, saying it views expansion in the Asian powerhouse as “strategically important.” In April, the bank announced it will launch the new branches by the end of 2025, saying the move would facilitate yuan transactions for both Chinese and Russian businesses.

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First Russian bank receives Chinese credit rating
]]> Last year, Alfa Bank emerged as the top lender in Chinese yuan in Russia, accounting for a third of all yuan loans in the Russian market.

The move also reflects growing economic ties between Russia and China after the two countries declared a ‘no limits’ friendship. The process has accelerated in the face of soaring tensions between Moscow and the West over the Ukraine conflict and multiple waves of economic sanctions against Russia.

Earlier this year, Alfa Bank became the first major Russian bank to receive an international rating in China after Lianhe Credit Rating assigned it with an AA- rating with a stable outlook.

The agency attributed its decision to a number of factors such as Alfa Bank’s systemic importance, efficient corporate management, high asset quality, and strong lending capacity.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 14:41:08 +0000 RT
Ukraine on the brink of default – Reuters /business/599441-ukraine-debt-bondholders-default/ The government needs an agreement with foreign bondholders by August on a multi-billion-dollar debt restructuring
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Kiev has failed to strike a deal with its international bondholders, according to a report

The Ukrainian government announced on Monday it had failed to reach an agreement with a group of foreign bondholders that includes financial giants BlackRock and Pimco on restructuring Ukraine’s $20 billion in Eurobonds, according to a report by Reuters.

In February 2022, bondholders granted Ukraine a two-year debt freeze in view of the conflict with Russia. But that agreement ends in August, and bondholders are anxious for Kiev to begin paying interest on its debt again. Ukraine could end up in default if new debt relief is not arranged, which would damage the country’s credit rating and complicate its ability to borrow in the future.

Formal talks between Kiev and an ad-hoc creditor committee representing a fifth of the country’s $20 billion in outstanding Eurobonds have been underway for nearly two weeks. Ukraine is urging bondholders to accept a steep writedown of the value of the debt as is tries to meet IMF demands to restructure the bonds in order to retain access to international markets.

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World Bank issues Ukraine bankruptcy warning
]]> “Although Ukraine and the Ad Hoc Creditor Committee did not come to an agreement on restructuring terms during the consultation period, [they] will continue engagement and constructive discussions through their respective advisors,” the government said in a statement, adding it would also continue talks with other investors.

The negotiations with bondholders will continue, Ukrainian Finance Minister Sergey Marchenko confirmed, adding that he expected an agreement to be reached by August 1.

According to the minister, the country’s economy is in a “fragile balance” that hinges on consistent and substantial support from its partners. “Timely debt restructuring is a critical part of this support. Strong armies must be underpinned by strong economies to win wars,” Marchenko argued.

The report highlighted that Ukraine offered to swap bondholders’ existing debt for five sovereign bonds maturing between 2034 and 2040, as well as a so-called state-contingent debt instrument (SCDI) linked to tax revenue collection. The value of that instrument would be determined in 2027 when it transforms into a bond coinciding with the expiration of the country’s current IMF program.

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FILE PHOTO: Preparations for the G7 Summit in Apulia, Italy.
G7 to give Ukraine $50 billion loan with Russia’s money –?media
]]> Investors had reportedly asked for instruments that would generate a steady cash flow from the outset and the new bonds would have paid interest at a symbolic rate of 1% for the first 18 months, rising to 3% for 2026 and 2027 and then 6%, for a total payment of $700 million over the course of the IMF program.

The offer translated into a writedown of between 25% and 60%, depending on the performance of the SCDI. Ukraine also offered investors an option including only conventional bonds.

Bondholders put forward two counter proposals, both of which would have carried a nominal haircut of 20%.

Ukraine said neither bondholder proposal met the IMF requirements.

Since the start of the conflict, the World Bank and IMF have provided more than $85 billion in state budget financing to Kiev, according to Reuters.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 19:28:21 +0000 RT
China ahead of US in nuclear energy – report /business/599444-china-us-nuclear-power/ The Asian superpower’s civilian nuclear sector is more than a decade ahead of the US, an American think tank has declared
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The Asian superpower is over a decade more advanced than the US, an American think tank has declared

China is building nuclear reactors faster than the US, and Beijing's nuclear firms are up to 15 years ahead of their American counterparts when it comes to the latest reactor technology, according to a new report by a US think tank.

Currently, China has 56 operational nuclear reactors in China, and 27 more are under construction, the Washington-based Information Technology & Innovation Foundation stated in a report published on Monday. With authorities in Beijing aiming to complete between six and eight new nuclear plants every year for the foreseeable future, the report’s authors predict that China will have more operational plants than the US by 2030.

However, China is already leading the US when it comes to so-called ‘fourth-generation’ reactors, the report noted. The world’s first fourth-generation plant – the 200 megawatt gas-cooled Shidaowan-1 facility in China’s Shandong province – came online in December, with China’s Nuclear Energy Administration boasting that “90% of the technology in the new plant was developed within China.”

“China likely stands 10 to 15 years ahead of where the United States is in nuclear power,” the report stated. “Looking ahead, China appears likely to use this established domestic capacity as a foundation for competitive reactor exports, much as its ‘dual-circulation’ strategy has accomplished in other areas, such as electric vehicles and batteries.”

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FILE PHOTO of DF-5B intercontinental ballistic missiles at a military parade in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China.
China rapidly expanding nuclear arsenal – report
]]> The US still has more operational nuclear plants than any other country, with 94 operational reactors to China’s 56. However, China tripled its nuclear capacity over the last decade, adding as much power in 10 years as the US did in 40.

Back in 1973, then US President Richard Nixon called for the construction of 1,000 nuclear plants by the year 2000, in a bid to lessen US dependence on foreign energy in the wake of the 1973 Oil Crisis. A glut of reactors were built between the 1970s and 1990s, but the nuclear boom fizzled out when global oil prices stabilized and shale gas extraction exploded in the early 2000s.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average American nuclear plant is now 42 years old. Two new reactors came online at a plant in Georgia in 2023 and 2024, but both were completed years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget, and no additional reactors are under construction anywhere in the country. 

]]> READ MORE: US may expand nuclear arsenal – Biden aide

]]> China’s success is a result of “state financing, [a] state supported supply chain, and a state commitment to build the technology,” industry analyst Kenneth Luongo wrote in the report. China’s state-owned banks can offer loans to energy firms with interest rates as low as 1.4%, allowing them to build plants for around $2,500 to $3,000 per kilowatt, about a third of the cost of recent projects in the United States.

“It is generally agreed the US has lost its global dominance in nuclear energy,” Luongo wrote. 





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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 16:34:58 +0000 RT
Biden may tap US strategic oil reserves – FT /business/599423-biden-us-oil-reserves/ US President Joe Biden is reportedly hoping to tame rising gasoline prices and inflation in the lead-up to November’s election
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The move is being touted as a way of reducing prices at the pump ahead of the presidential election, according to a report

US President Joe Biden may order the release of more crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an effort to tame rising gasoline prices and inflation ahead of the election in November, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

The SPR is an emergency stockpile of petroleum maintained by the US Department of Energy, which was established after an OPEC oil embargo in 1973 and 1974. It serves as a buffer against spikes in oil prices in times of supply disruptions.

In an interview with the FT, Biden’s closest adviser on energy, Amos Hochstein, pointed out that prices at the pump were “still too high for many Americans,” and said he would like to see them “cut down a little bit further.” 

Biden has tapped the SPR more than any of his predecessors, announcing releases from the reserve in late 2021 and again in 2022, following Russia’s oil production cut due to Western sanctions.

Any decision in the coming months to release more barrels from the SPR would anger Republicans, who have accused Biden of “political abuse and misuse” of the stockpile, the FT wrote.

In a letter sent last month to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, senior Republicans reportedly called on the administration to “ensure that the SPR is not abused for political purposes in this election year.” It described Biden’s decision to tap the reserves in 2022 as “a transparent attempt to influence the midterm elections.”

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An anti-Trump, anti-Biden poster, West Hollywood, California, June 2, 2024.
Record number of Americans dislike both Biden and Trump – poll
]]> The Biden administration has promised measures including curbs on healthcare costs and banking fees in a bid to control inflation, which has fallen by about 60% since hitting multi-decade highs in 2022.

“Any president facing a tough re-election, especially in a fragile economy, is going to be anxious about the risk of a gasoline price spike,” said Bob McNally, a former energy adviser to George W. Bush and head of consultancy with Rapidan Energy.

According to the AAA motoring group, cited by FT, petrol prices in the US averaged $3.45 a gallon on Sunday, down slightly from a year ago but still more than 50% higher than when Trump left the White House in 2021.

Trump has used petrol prices as an attack line against Biden in the current presidential campaign, telling supporters at a rally in Las Vegas last weekend: “We’re going to drill, baby, drill. We’re going to bring down your energy costs.”

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 15:03:00 +0000 RT
Russia surpasses US in gas supplies to Europe – FT /business/599378-russia-gas-europe-tops-us/ In May, gas imports from Russia to Europe exceeded those from the US for the first time in almost two years
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Shipments from across the Atlantic fell behind those from Moscow in May for the first time in nearly two years, data shows?

Europe’s gas imports from Russia overtook supplies from the US in May for the first time in almost two years, the Financial Times has reported, citing data from the consultancy ICIS.  

Last month, shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US reportedly accounted for 14% of the entire supply to the region, marking the lowest since August 2022. Meanwhile, Russian pipeline gas along with LNG supplies made up 15% of total supply to Europe, defined as the EU, UK, Switzerland, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and North Macedonia.  

According to the newspaper, supplies in May were impacted by several factors, including a disruption of operations at a major US LNG export facility, as well as increased flows of Russian gas via the TurkStream gas pipeline ahead of planned maintenance that was carried out in June 5-12. Meanwhile, FT notes, demand for gas in the region has remained relatively weak, while storage levels are close to record highs for this time of year.  

Despite the sharp drop in Russian gas deliveries to the region due to Ukraine-related sanctions and the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, a number of European countries continue to greatly rely on Russian gas.   

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RT
EU nation resumes imports of Russian iron and steel – media
]]> Transit via Ukraine and the European branch of TurkStream are currently the only two operating conduits for piped Russian gas to reach central and southern Europe. Kiev had previously said that it won’t extend the current transit agreement with Russian energy giant Gazprom that expires at the end of 2024.  

Last month, the Russian business daily Vedomosti reported, citing data tracked by the European Network of Gas Transportation System Operators (ENTSOG), that Russian gas supplies to the region via TurkStream had surged nearly 40% to 5.11 billion cubic meters in the first three months of the current year.  

In May, the European Council approved a regulation for renewable gas, natural gas, and hydrogen that will allow EU member states to suspend gas supplies from Russia and Belarus starting in 2026. It will also give the European Commission the option of temporarily excluding supplies of natural gas or LNG supplies from both nations for a period of up to one year.  

Earlier this month, the head of Russian oil major Rosneft, Igor Sechin, said that EU member states spent over $630 billion on non-Russian gas imports over the past three years through 2023. He added that this figure equals the EU’s total gas spending over the previous eight years.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 15:21:04 +0000 RT
EU nation resumes imports of Russian iron and steel – media /business/599347-spain-russia-steel-iron-imports/ Spain returned to purchasing Russian steel and iron in April, RIA Novosti reports, citing trade data
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Spain reportedly began purchasing the metals in April after a three-month hiatus

Spain has returned to importing Russian steel and iron after a three-month pause, RIA Novosti reported on Saturday, citing statistical data.

Madrid halted purchases of the metals from the sanction-hit country last December but resumed the imports this past April. Statistics analyzed by the news agency showed that since then Spain has bought 21,300 tons of Russian iron and steel worth €8 million ($8.57 million).

Spanish imports of Russian aluminum reportedly increased 50% to €13 million, while purchases of titanium nearly doubled to €1.5 million. This comes even as bilateral trade between Russia and Spain dropped 14% in April to €248 million, with Russian exports totaling €177.2 million.

The EU banned imports of Russian iron and steel products in 2022, shortly after the launch of Moscow’s military campaign against Ukraine. Further restrictions barred the import of iron or steel products processed in third countries but containing Russian-origin iron or steel inputs. 

As part of the Ukraine-related sanctions, Brussels has banned imports of Russian-made aluminum wire, foil, tubes and pipes, but purchases of aluminum ingots, slabs, and billets from the country remain excluded from restrictions. Aluminum, which is significantly lighter than steel, is vital for manufacturing electric vehicles.

]]> READ MORE: Airbus allowed to use banned Russian titanium

]]> Russia is the world’s second biggest producer of the light metal. US sanctions imposed on Russian producer Rusal back in April 2018 sent aluminum prices on the London Metal Exchange soaring 35% to seven-year highs within a few days.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that buyers across the EU and US would compete aggressively for aluminum produced in Middle Eastern countries if the bloc opts to bar Russian metal in the future. Many analysts believe that such a ban could trigger a wave of price spikes similar to those in 2018.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 13:25:05 +0000 RT
Sales of Chinese cars top those of US rivals for first time – report /business/599312-china-carmakers-outpace-us-sales/ China’s automakers outdo US rivals for first time in 2023, with over 13 million new vehicles sold globally, researcher JATO Dynamics finds
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The Asian country’s automakers sold over 13 million new vehicles globally in 2023, according to researcher JATO Dynamics

Chinese auto manufacturers sold more cars globally than their US counterparts for the first-time ever in 2023, according to a report issued by researcher JATO Dynamics on Thursday. 

Data showed that Chinese brands, led by Shenzhen-based BYD, sold 13.43 million new vehicles last year, while US brands sold about 11.93 million. Japanese brands “maintained a strong position,” leading with 23.59 million in global sales.

The report also indicated that China-origin companies’ sales growth exceeded that of the US, up 23% from the previous year, compared with the 9% growth for American firms.

“Negligence from legacy automakers, which has resulted in consistently high car prices, has inadvertently driven consumers towards more affordable Chinese alternatives,” said Felipe Munoz, senior analyst at JATO.

“As car prices continue to rise elsewhere, Chinese car brands are capitalizing on this trend to gain market traction at a much faster pace,” he explained.

According to the report, the market share of Chinese car brands soared across regions such as the Middle East, Eurasia, and Africa, while posting growth in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Chinese car brands also gained share in developed economies, including Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel.

BYD’s compact sedan, the Qin, was the most popular Chinese model, according to the JATO report.

While the Chinese domestic market showed “signs of deceleration,” the country’s manufacturers were searching for “sources of growth abroad.” 

Chinese brands have already been successful across emerging economies due to easier access policies, lower trade barriers, and higher price sensitivities among consumers, the report showed.

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US slaps steep tariffs on China
]]> “Over 17.5 million new cars were sold in the emerging economies in 2023. That is more than the total sales in the US or Europe during the year,” Munoz pointed out.

This growth, reports add, has come despite growing trade tensions between China and the West and other factors, such as high interest rates and rising vehicle prices.

This week, the EU hit China’s electric vehicle (EV) makers with hefty tariffs of up to 38%. Beijing has warned that it would target the bloc’s aviation and agriculture sectors in response to these duties. Brussels’ move followed the US having quadrupled tariffs on Chinese EVs to 100%.

Türkiye has also announced 40% additional tariffs on vehicles from China over the weekend, drawing strong criticism from Beijing, which urged Ankara to immediately remove discriminatory duties.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 19:37:38 +0000 RT
Coca-Cola applies to register trademarks in Russia – media /business/599259-coca-cola-register-trademark-russia/ US soft-drinks maker Coca-Cola has applied to register several trademarks in Russia, Vedomosti has reported
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The US soft-drinks giant quit the country in 2022 after the start of the Ukraine conflict

Coca-Cola has submitted applications to Russia’s intellectual property service, Rospatent, to register several trademarks in the country, Vedomosti newspaper reported on Friday.

The American soft-drinks giant, which had operated in Russia for over four decades, pulled out of the country in March 2022 due to Western sanctions linked to the Ukraine conflict.

The Atlanta-based company is now reportedly seeking to register three brands in Russia – Coca-Cola, Fanta, and Sprite, Vedomosti wrote, citing Rospatent’s database. The application, submitted in April, relates to the manufacture of soft beverages, alcoholic drinks, soda, and other products.

The move could mean that Coca-Cola is planning to return to the Russian market in the future, patent experts told Forbes. Under Russian law, trademarks may be canceled if unused for three years. Given that Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta quit the market in 2022, their legal protection could be terminated next year, and the US firm wants to secure the rights to its brands, the publication wrote.

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FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians walk a busy Central Moscow street.
Western firms ‘backtracking’ on Russia exit plans – FT
]]> Coca-Cola had been present in Russia since 1980, when it was made available during the Olympic Games held that year in Moscow. In 1990, it was made available at the first McDonald’s restaurant in the Soviet Union. Large-scale production of the beverage in Russia started in 1992, right after the collapse of the USSR.

Before its exit in 2022, the US company had operated 10 factories in Russia, producing soft drinks including Fanta, Sprite and Schweppes, along with local brands.

After the firm quit, its Russian branch changed its name and started producing a cola-flavored beverage called Dobry Cola at factories that had belonged to Coca-Cola HBC Russia, the bottler of the original drink.

The Dobry Cola brand increased its market share from 2.8% to 25% in monetary terms from 2022 to 2023, becoming the most popular soft drink in the country. During the same period, the share of the original Coca-Cola, imported to Russia via third countries, dropped six-fold, RBK news daily reported earlier this year, citing data from research company Ntech.

]]> READ MORE: Starbucks applies to register trademarks in Russia – media

]]> US coffeehouse chain Starbucks has also reportedly submitted applications to Rospatent to register several trademarks Russia.

Swedish multinational conglomerate IKEA reportedly extended its trademark rights in Russia for ten years earlier this year.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 09:17:48 +0000 RT
Do the new US sanctions mark Russia’s final divorce from the dollar? /business/599240-russia-forex-us-sanctions-dollar/ Western currency trade restrictions are pushing Russia closer to China
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Washington’s policies are simply pushing Moscow further along a path it has already embarked on

The endless parade of Western sanctions on Russia barely makes the news anymore. But this week the US Treasury did manage to conjure up something that has generated attention.

In what may be the most ambitious package since the initial wave back in February 2022, the American authorities greatly increased the scope for applying secondary penalties on foreign financial institutions found working with restricted Russian entities, and placed the Moscow Exchange and its clearing house under blocking sanctions, among other measures. The exchange subsequently announced that it was suspending all settlements in dollars and euros. It’s the latter that is the most interesting and has elicited the most chatter.

But, before pursuing this train of thought, let’s dig into the nitty-gritty a little bit and sort out what is actually going to happen to currency trading in Russia.

How currency trading actually works

To trade currencies on the Moscow Exchange, banks and other players send ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ bids to the exchange throughout the day. These buyers and sellers do not trade with each other directly but rather though the exchange’s clearing house, the National Settlement Center (NSC). In the evening, these trades would be settled by the clearing center, which had correspondent accounts in foreign banks for each currency. In other words, currency trading on the exchange involved the participation of foreign banks. It was not an enclosed system such as trading in Russian stocks (where the shares of Russian companies are bought and sold in rubles by investors without the involvement of any foreign entity).

It is exactly this ability to clear currency trades that has been taken away by the new sanctions. American correspondent banks will now be barred from carrying out settlements with the NSC. From a technical standpoint, it is actually the sanctions against the NSC – rather than the exchange itself – that are most sensitive.

]]> Read more
RT
Schizophrenic world order: The West is willing to destroy its financial system to punish Russia
]]> The Russian central bank has stated that currency trading will henceforth take place over-the-counter (OTC), meaning in decentralized fashion. But what is important to understand is that this is hardly a radical move – currency markets across the globe are conducted OTC, so this will in a sense merely bring Russia in line with standard practice. Russia was unusual in that currency trading primarily took place on a centralized exchange, whereas generally currencies are traded through a decentralized network of banks, a system much more flexible than relying on an exchange. The New York Stock Exchange, for example, does not host currency trading.

Moving to OTC doesn’t mean that currency trading in Russia is going to resemble every other currency market. But it does provide a bit of a context to understand that this shift itself isn’t particularly radical. In fact, Russia is already essentially halfway there. According to the latest report from the Bank of Russia, 58% of currency trading in the country takes place off-exchange.

The central bank will use as its official rate some sort of average based on information obtained each day from banks. The new arrangement will almost certainly be a bit messy, especially at first: spreads will be wider, liquidity lower, transparency reduced, and price discovery in general harder. Transactional costs will be higher, a sensitive point for importers, for example. The market will be more prone to manipulation, and some analysts have posited that different exchange rates could emerge: an official central bank rate, the rates offered by various banks and a black-market, ‘street’ rate. However, on Thursday the Bank of Russia provided assurances that the exchange rate would remain market-driven and unified. 

Where the ruble might be headed

What exactly will happen to the ruble exchange rate remains to be seen, but there are strong grounds to believe that it will not move significantly from current levels. After all, the fundamental supply-demand structure of the market will not change in any dramatic way. The ruble’s exchange rate is determined by supply and demand from foreign trade and not on which platform trading takes place. Early indications are the market will largely shrug off the closure of dollar and euro exchange trading.

]]> Read more
RT
Abuse only gets worse with time: How the US increasingly mistreats its closest allies
]]> There is another important angle to consider here. Formally, only American correspondent banks have been barred from working with the NSC. But experience has shown that once a Russian entity falls under US sanctions it is seen as radioactive elsewhere and other institutions steer clear. The increasingly bellicose rhetoric about secondary sanctions emanating from Washington will surely only exacerbate this tendency.

Therefore, it’s entirely possible that the correspondent banks of other countries – even friendly ones – will fear secondary sanctions and will pull back as well. If and how the Chinese will continue to work with the NSC is a major question. China may stick with its pattern of stepping in where the West departs and playing the dominant role in the Russian forex market. This seems likely, given recent trends. In such a scenario, it wouldn’t be the large Chinese banks getting involved – they are too wary of secondary sanctions – but smaller ones.

In any case, the Russian central bank has declared the yuan, already the most-traded currency in Moscow, with a 54% share in May, the country’s main foreign currency. The yuan-ruble rate will become a benchmark for market participants and will help set the trajectory for other currency pairs, including the euro and dollar. In other words, market participants will rely on the cross rate of yuan-ruble and yuan-dollar and yuan-euro to determine the fair market rate. It’s also possible that in some conversions the yuan could find itself in the previously almost-unthinkable role as the pivot currency in ruble-dollar conversions: rubles would be exchanged into yuan and then from yuan to dollars, for example. 

Implications for a changing world

Let’s now step back a bit and survey the big picture. What we see is yet another manifestation of the strange incongruity in Washington’s approach. It is ostensibly in America’s interest to stem the tide of dedollarization, but instead it is degrading the greenback and pushing it even further out of the trade of a major global power. 

Careful observers of Russia’s long experience with sanctions will notice a certain pattern. A restriction will be imposed that causes a disruption in the way a certain economic process was carried out. Russia is temporarily inconvenienced and endures certain negative effects, with varying degrees of short-lived panic. Then it adapts and emerges more resilient and stronger. And with new infrastructure free of the West to show for it. This case will hardly be different.

]]> Read more
RT
Death of empires: History tells us what will follow the collapse of US hegemony
]]> In fact, the adjustment process might be a lot more painless than imagined. When asked about the closure of dollar and euro trading on the exchange on Thursday, one major Russian commodity exporter told Reuters: “We don’t care because we have yuan.”

Furthermore, in its desperation to somehow stifle Russia’s economy and isolate Moscow, it is simply catapulting Russia toward the type of self-sufficiency and sovereignty the Russian government may have dreamed about but could have never have implemented on its own. And this ultimately makes Russia stronger.

As case in point, it will now become more difficult for Russian capital to be whisked out of the country, which will have the effect of boosting investment at home. The initial rounds of sanctions established that to be the case; the latest measures will only enhance this trend. The Russian government has for years been fighting to bring capital back home and have it invested domestically. The Biden administration has proven an unmatched ally in that endeavor. As a corollary, Russians will find it much more difficult to buy assets abroad and to hold money outside of Russia. This also means more investment at home.

Meanwhile, the latest sanctions, which also targeted seven Chinese and Hong-Kong-based companies for shipping millions of dollars of possible dual-use goods to Russia, are yet another sign of the US’ willingness to confront China. The Chinese have so far tread carefully in their dealings with both the US and Russia, but this flagrant violation of its sovereign right to do business with whomever it chooses has again rankled Beijing. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian called for the US to “immediately stop slapping illegal unilateral sanctions” due to China's economic ties with Russia. Beijing will avoid rash steps and will pick its battles, but there is no question of capitulation to Washington. 

And, finally, this is yet another step on the inexorable march toward a multipolar world. The expanded authority to impose secondary sanctions is a violation of sovereignty of such staggering boldness that their actual use can only presage the crack-up of the system itself. US hegemony seems to have entered its self-immolation phase. There would have been better ways, to put it mildly, than blunt confrontation to keep the show going at least a while longer.

]]> Read more
RT
China hints at its asymmetric warfare system aimed at dethroning US dollar
]]> The French monarch Louis XIV sought to maintain control over the aristocracy by bringing them into the luxurious and warm embrace of a comfortable court life at Versailles. The ploy had a certain logic to it: kept close at hand and occupied by frivolous matters of court life, France’s nobles posed less of a threat and failed to develop the resiliency and resourcefulness that a confrontational approach by the monarch would have necessitated.

The US could have opted for a similar approach of granting generous access to the dollar-centered system even to foes and scrupulously preserving that access even in the midst of competition. This would have kept even adversaries in the US orbit and comfortable and complacent about the status quo. Without a pressing need, few countries would have embarked so determinedly on the path of building a whole new infrastructure and revamping trade ties. But such an approach would have required far more foresight than is found in Washington these days.

In the short term, Russia will, somewhat paradoxically, seek workarounds to maintain its ability to convert between dollars and rubles. But at the same time, the ground is being laid for the yuan to play an even more prominent role in Russia’s economy. And it hardly bears mentioning that other countries are taking notice. This trend toward a new financial order is one that the US, in its blind zeal to punish Russia, keeps stumbling into new ways to encourage.

 

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 19:59:14 +0000 RT
Yuan to replace dollar as Russia’s main foreign currency – Central Bank /business/599225-yuan-moscow-exchange-trading/ The renminbi has surpassed the US dollar to become the most traded currency with the ruble in Moscow, according to Russia’s central bank
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The renminbi accounted for a 54% share of the FX market in May, according to the regulator

The yuan/ruble exchange rate will now set the trajectory for other currency pairs on the Moscow Exchange (MOEX), including for the euro and dollar, the Bank of Russia (CBR) announced on Thursday.

The statement comes as the latest round of US sanctions prompted the MOEX on Wednesday to suspend trading in dollars and euros. The UK followed Washington’s lead on Thursday, introducing restrictions against the Russian financial system. Transactions in US dollars and euro will continue on the over-the-counter (OTC) market.

“The yuan/ruble exchange rate … will become a reference point for market participants. The share of the yuan in Moscow Exchange trading in May was 54%,” the Bank of Russia said. “Thus, the yuan has already become the main currency in exchange trading,” it added.

According to the regulator, the share of the dollar and euro in the Russian market has consistently declined over the past two years as a result of the redirection of trade flows to the East and a change in the currency of settlements to rubles, yuan and other currencies of friendly countries.

Russia has actively begun to replace the dollar and euro in foreign trade amid Western sanctions imposed over the Ukraine conflict. It has since dramatically reduced the number of bank accounts and transactions between companies and financial institutions involving Western currencies. Prior to the conflict, the share of the US dollar and euro in Russia’s settlements was around 90%.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week addressing a plenary session at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum that the share of payments for Russian exports in the so-called ‘toxic’ currencies of unfriendly states has decreased by half.

]]> READ MORE: Moscow exchange suspends trading in dollars and euro

]]> The share of the ruble in Russia’s foreign-trade operations continues to grow while payments in the currencies of ‘unfriendly’ states – those who imposed sanctions against Russia – is declining, Putin stated.

MOEX said on Thursday that the suspension of trading in dollar and euro affects foreign and precious metals trade as well as stock and money trading on Russia’s largest public trading markets. Except for dollars and euros, all other financial instruments remain operational. The derivatives market has also been unaffected by the changes, with trade going on as usual, it said.

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 17:09:02 +0000 RT
UK falls in line with US sanctions on Russia /business/599215-uk-new-russia-sanctions/ The latest measures are aimed at disrupting Moscow’s ability to circumvent the Western oil price cap, according to a statement
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The British government has followed Washington’s lead by targeting the country’s energy sector and key financial institutions

The UK on Thursday announced wide-ranging new sanctions against Russia targeting the country’s energy sector and financial system. The move follows similar action by the US and comes in coordination with other Group of Seven (G7) nations, according to a government statement.

In total, 50 entities and individuals were identified in the sanctions list, aimed at disrupting Moscow’s ability to get around a price cap on Russian oil through the use of an alleged ‘shadow fleet’ of tankers.

New targets also include institutions at the heart of Russia’s financial system, particularly the Moscow Stock Exchange and its two subsidiaries, the National Clearing Center (NCC) and the National Settlement Depository (NSD). The action was taken in coordination with the US, which designated the MOEX a day earlier, the UK government said.

The new measures also target suppliers of munitions, machine tools, microelectronics, and logistics to Russia’s military, including entities based in China, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, and Türkiye, along with ships which transport military goods from North Korea to Russia, according to the statement.

“Today we are once more ramping up economic pressure through sanctions to bear down on Russia’s ability to fund its war machine. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin must lose, and cutting off his ability to fund a prolonged conflict is absolutely vital,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said. “The UK will always stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine in its fight for freedom,” he added.

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U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen.
US expands sanctions against Russia
]]> Sunak is attending the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Italy, where the British government reportedly plans to provide £242 million ($309 million) in financial support to Ukraine.

The latest UK measures come on the heels of the US sanctioning 300 additional individuals and entities in Russia and elsewhere on Wednesday, over what it described as having links to Moscow’s “war economy.” 

Moscow’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, denounced the action, stating that Russia will respond “decisively” to sanctions and any other “confrontational” moves by the US.

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 14:35:26 +0000 RT
Moscow exchange suspends trading in dollars and euro /business/599188-euro-dollar-suspense/ The Moscow exchange has suspended trading in dollars and euros, citing fresh US sanctions imposed on the platform
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The move has been prompted by a new round of sanctions imposed by the US, the group has claimed

The Moscow Exchange (MOEX) suspended trading in dollars and euros on Wednesday, the move having been prompted by a new sanctions package unveiled by the US Treasury earlier in the day.

The suspension affects foreign and precious metals trade as well as stock and money trading on Russia’s largest public trading markets, MOEX noted in a statement. Except for dollars and euros, all other financial instruments remain operational. The derivatives market has also been unaffected by the changes, with trade going on as usual, MOEX noted.

Russia’s Central Bank elaborated on the matter in a separate statement, explaining that “transactions in the US dollar and euro will continue on the over-the-counter market.” To establish exchange rates, the Bank of Russia will be using “bank records and information from digital over-the-counter trading platforms,” the regulator added.

Earlier on Wednesday, the US Treasury Department rolled out a new package of restrictions against Russia, targeting the country’s “foundational financial infrastructure.” Announcing the package, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen claimed Russia has fully transitioned into a “war economy” and is now “deeply isolated” from the international financial system. 

“Today’s actions strike at their remaining avenues for international materials and equipment, including their reliance on critical supplies from third countries,” Yellen asserted.

Apart from the MOEX, the sanctions package targeted its two subsidiaries, namely the National Clearing Center (NCC) and the National Settlement Depository (NSD).

The suspension of dollar and euro trade on the platform, which has been booming lately, comes into effect on Thursday. The MOEX reported registering all-time high private investor activity back in February, with a total of 4.1 million individuals conducting transactions on the platform. Last month, the total trade volumes across the platform’s markets measured at 126.7 trillion rubles ($1.4 trillion) compared to 94.2 trillion ($1 trillion) during the same period a year ago.

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Wed, 12 Jun 2024 16:38:11 +0000 RT
Musk drops case against OpenAI – reports /business/599177-musk-drops-case-openai/ Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has dropped a legal case against the creator of ChatGPT, OpenAI, which he helped set up in 2015
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The withdrawal comes amid a rift between the Tesla and SpaceX CEO and the creator of ChatGPT

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has unexpectedly dropped a legal case against OpenAI, shortly after he criticized the ChatGPT owner's recently announced partnership with Apple.

Attorneys for Musk asked the California state court to dismiss the lawsuit against the artificial intelligence (AI) research firm without giving a reason for the move, Reuters has reported, citing a filing in San Francisco Superior Court.

The Tesla and X (formerly Twitter) boss filed the case against OpenAI in February, arguing that the company, which he had helped establish in 2015, had abandoned its founding mission of developing AI for the benefit of humanity and not for profit. OpenAI’s ChatGPT has since become the face of generative AI thanks to investment from Microsoft.

]]> Read more
RT
ChatGPT maker ignoring fatal threat posed by AI – insider
]]> Musk dropped the case just a day before the court was expected to hear OpenAI’s bid to have it dismissed. The firm described Musk’s lawsuit as a contrived attempt by the tech billionaire to advance his own AI interests, Reuters said, citing court filings.

Musk founded his own artificial intelligence startup last year. Called xAI, it announced in May that it had raised $6 billion in funding that would help bring its “first products to market”. xAI has so far launched a generative artificial intelligence chatbot dubbed Grok as a rival to ChatGPT. Grok is available via X. 

Earlier this week, OpenAI and iPhone maker Apple unveiled a partnership to boost Siri voice assistant with ChatGPT. The announcement triggered criticism from Musk, who warned that the tie-up would result in an “unacceptable security violation.”

]]> READ MORE: Musk threatens to ban iPhones

]]> In a post on X, the mogul threatened to ban staff at his companies from using Apple devices if the iPhone maker integrates OpenAI’s artificial intelligence software into its operating systems.

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Wed, 12 Jun 2024 13:21:08 +0000 RT
EU energy giant terminates Russian gas supply contracts /business/599166-germany-uniper-terminates-gazprom-contracts/ German utility Uniper has decided to terminate its gas supply contracts with Gazprom Export following an arbitration court’s ruling
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Germany’s Uniper has won arbitration proceedings against a Gazprom subsidiary

Germany’s largest gas importer, Uniper, has decided to terminate its gas supply contracts with a subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom, legally ending its long-term relationship with the corporation on Wednesday.

Uniper launched arbitration proceedings against Gazprom Export in 2022, claiming damages due to undelivered gas supplies.

Only limited gas had been delivered since June 2022, and the company halted purchases completely in August of that year after the EU introduced sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine conflict. The Nord Stream pipelines were blown up the following month.

However, the long-term supply contracts between the two companies remained legally in force. Gazprom Export said at the time that it did not admit to breaching the contracts and pledged to dispute Uniper’s claim for compensation.

An arbitration tribunal in Stockholm issued a ruling earlier this month, awarding Uniper the right to terminate the contracts, the company said.

The utility posted a record loss of €19.1 billion (more than $20 billion) for 2022, citing the complete cessation of Russian gas supply as a major reason for the drop. The firm was nationalized in December 2022.

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO: A logo stands in the foyer of the head office of the energy supply company Uniper in Düsseldorf.
Germany mulling sale of stake in top gas importer – Bloomberg?
]]> The arbitration court awarded Uniper damages in the amount of more than €13 billion ($14 billion) for the losses. Any amounts recovered would flow to the German federal government, the statement added.

Russia’s share of EU gas imports fell from 41% in 2021 to 15% in 2023 in the aftermath of the Ukraine conflict and ensuing sanctions. Over the summer of 2022, the Nord Stream pipeline, which was once the main artery transporting Russian gas to Germany, saw a string of technical and maintenance issues linked to Western sanctions. The pipeline was eventually shut down in early September 2022 and later that month sabotaged by explosions. 

No culprit has been identified, despite multiple Western investigations. 

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Wed, 12 Jun 2024 08:48:28 +0000 RT
BRICS frustrated by West’s trade protectionism – Lavrov /business/599150-us-trade-protectionism-brics-lavrov/ BRICS foreign ministers have condemned US protectionism in global trade, Russian Foreign Minister reports from ministerial meeting
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The group’s foreign ministers gathered in Russia this week to discuss economic cooperation and need for a multipolar world order

Participants in the BRICS ministerial meeting have condemned the US and its allies for engaging in protectionism in international trade, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

His remarks come in the wake of a two-day meeting of the BRICS foreign ministers chaired by Lavrov in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod. It’s the first ministerial meeting since the expansion of the group.

“Most delegations emphasized the destructive nature of the egoistic policy of trade protectionism pursued by the United States and its allies,” Lavrov told a press conference on Tuesday following the event.

The Russian FM pointed out that “all delegations spoke in favor of reforming the existing systems of global governance, with a focus on giving the countries of the Global South a bigger voice.”

The participants acknowledged the need for joint decisions in achieving the goals of sustainable development, security and economic growth, according to Lavrov.

The transition to a new world order could take an entire historical era and will be thorny, according to Lavrov. He spoke about new centers being formed by the countries of the Global South and East for making globally significant political decisions based on sovereign equality and diversity.

]]> Read more
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Western hegemony is over – Moscow
]]> The BRICS economic bloc, formed in 2009, has presented itself as an alternative to Western-dominated international institutions. It originally comprised Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, but underwent a major expansion when Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates joined in early 2024. Numerous other states have expressed interest in joining, with some having already formally submitted applications.

According to analytical company Statista, BRICS overtook the G7 countries’ share of the world’s total GDP in terms of purchasing power parity in 2020. As of 2023, BRICS accounted for 32% of global GDP.

The head of the BRICS bank (NDB), Dilma Rousseff, said earlier that the addition of the new members would see the group’s share in global economic output rise to 40% by 2028.

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Tue, 11 Jun 2024 20:09:36 +0000 RT
World Bank raises estimate for Russian economic growth /business/599140-russia-economic-growth-forecast/ The Russian economy will grow stronger in 2024 than previously expected, according to a new report
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The country’s GDP is projected to expand 2.9% this year, according to the institution’s latest report

The World Bank has raised its growth forecast for the Russian economy based on revised figures published on Tuesday. 

According to Global Economic Prospects 2024, Russia’s GDP will grow 2.9% this year and 1.4% in 2025. This is an upward revision from its previous projection of 2.2% and 1.1% growth, respectively.

The World Bank added that the Russian economy outperformed expectations in 2023, with growth picking up to 3.6% last year, a sharp increase from its January prediction of 2.6% and October projection of 1.6%.

“The upgrade largely reflects stronger-than-expected private demand, supported by subsidized mortgages, fiscal measures, and a tight labor market,” the institution wrote, noting that increased military expenditures have also boosted activity.

It further stated that “while the carry-over from strong growth in late 2023 and the beginning of 2024 is expected to boost activity throughout 2024, the anticipated tightening of macroprudential measures and the scaling back of the provision of subsidized mortgages are set to temper private demand.” 

The report also pointed out that Russia’s trade ties with China have grown; more transactions are being conducted in the Chinese yuan amid Moscow’s ongoing ‘pivot’ to the East.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the country’s economic growth exceeds the global average. In an address to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) last week, Putin said that Russian GDP expanded by 3.6% last year, bouncing back from a 1.2% downturn amid Ukraine-related sanctions in 2022. This year, the economy has continued to expand, he stated, adding that the growth has largely been driven by non-resource sectors.

]]> READ MORE: Russian economic growth exceeding global average – Putin at SPIEF

]]> In April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it expects the Russian economy to grow faster than all advanced economies in 2024. According to its projections, the country’s GDP is forecast to expand by 3.2%, exceeding the expected growth rates for the US (2.7%), the UK (0.5%), Germany (0.2%), and France (0.7%).

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov earlier said he expects GDP growth in 2024 to equal that of last year, while the Bank of Russia has put it at 2.5–3.5%.

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Tue, 11 Jun 2024 18:19:33 +0000 RT
EU wants to keep Russia-Ukraine gas transit – Bloomberg /business/599099-ukraine-gas-transit-talks/ The EU reportedly wants to keep using Ukraine’s infrastructure to buy natural gas from Azerbaijan, while stopping deliveries from Russia
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Brussels has reportedly approached Azerbaijan for a swap deal

European Union officials are trying to negotiate the continued use of Ukraine’s natural gas transit infrastructure after its contract with Russia’s Gazprom expires at the end of the year, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Regardless of the conflict between Kiev and Moscow, Gazprom has continued to honor the terms of its transit contract with Ukraine’s Naftogaz, delivering about 15 billion cubic meters of gas a year to Austria and Slovakia.

According to Bloomberg, talks are still in the “early phase” and many of the details need to be sorted out. The EU would prefer to buy gas from Azerbaijan instead of Russia and have it delivered via Ukraine’s infrastructure.

“I’m doing everything to find a solution [so] that the Ukrainian gas transportation system will continue to be operational because it’s a big asset and someone should be a customer,” Alexey Chernyshov, CEO of Naftogaz, told Bloomberg. “Otherwise it’s loss generating.”

Kiev would like to keep the revenue from gas transit, which amounted to $1 billion in 2021. Chernyshov has ruled out extending the current arrangement with Russia, however.

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FILE PHOTO: The Odessa oil refinery in 2008.
Ukraine to nationalize plant belonging to ‘pro-Russian businessman’
]]> Azerbaijan’s own pipeline to the EU is already at full capacity, and Baku does not have direct access to Kiev’s network. A potential deal might look like a swap, with Russia providing “Azeri” gas to the EU, while Azerbaijan sends “Russian” gas elsewhere, allowing the bloc to maintain its trade embargo against Moscow.

Neither the government in Baku nor the state oil and gas company SOCAR commented to Bloomberg on the rumored deal. Austrian authorities likewise declined to comment. 

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico spoke about the possibility of an arrangement last month, following a trip to Azerbaijan, before he was shot by a pro-Ukrainian activist.

“Now, it depends on negotiations between companies such as Russian Gazprom, Azerbaijani, Ukrainian companies, and others to agree on economic and pricing conditions,” Fico told reporters at the time. “If they do, Slovakia could import gas from Azerbaijan, with part of it staying in Slovakia and part passing through to other countries.”

The European Commission reportedly believes the bloc can weather the end of Russian deliveries by relying on alternative suppliers and implementing the climate agenda, which involves saving energy and using renewables.

People familiar with the talks – who requested anonymity due to their sensitive nature – have told Bloomberg that any decisions will likely be made towards the end of the year, as the existing deal is set to expire as the European winter approaches.

“Developments on the battlefield may also be a factor,” the outlet added.

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Mon, 10 Jun 2024 21:54:09 +0000 RT
Germany becoming ‘a developing country’ – stock exchange boss /business/599096-germany-developing-country-scholz/ The nation is reverting to a developing country due to the chancellor’s “lack of leadership,” the CEO of Deutsche Boerse has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The nation is reverting to a developing country due to the chancellor’s “lack of leadership,” the chief executive of Deutsche Boerse has said

Germany is on the way to becoming a “developing country,” the head of the national stock exchange has claimed, blaming Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s “lack of leadership” for economic problems.

Theodor Weimer, chief executive of Deutsche Boerse, was cited by The Telegraph on Monday as saying that Scholz’s ruling coalition was driving international investors away from Germany.

In a speech to Wirtschaftsbeirat Bayern, a Bavarian business lobby group, Weimer said: “I don’t want to spoil your evening, but one thing is clear: our reputation in the world has never been so bad.” 

The speech was reportedly made in April but only became known to the public after being posted by Wirtschaftsbeirat Bayern on social media on Friday. It has since been widely shared by conservatives and right-wing economists, who have long been highly critical of the coalition’s policies.

Weimer criticized Scholz’s deputy, Economy Minister Robert Habeck, with whom he said he had held 18 meetings, calling him a “sheer catastrophe.”

“What kind of government are you actually running?” Weimer decried.

According to the chief executive, international investment was only flowing into German companies because they were so undervalued. “We’ve become a junk shop,” he argued.

Weimer also blasted the government for “destroying” the country’s vital auto industry, pointing to the planned phase-out of petrol and diesel cars.

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A damaged election poster shows German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Frankfurt, Germany, June 9, 2024
Germany’s Scholz suffers EU election blow
]]> When asked by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party’s Jurij Kofner, who was present at the event, whether the rise of the hard right was impacting business confidence, Weimer responded: “The fact that there are right-wing populists is not an issue for us professionals at the moment.”

Germany’s ruling coalition was soundly beaten by opposition parties in Sunday’s vote for the EU Parliament, coming in behind the conservatives and the right-wing AfD, according to exit polls.

Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats (SPD) received around 14% of the vote, down from 15.8% in 2019, marking their worst result in decades. The conservative center-right main opposition, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU), is predicted to take first place with around 30%. The AfD rose to second place with around 16%.

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Mon, 10 Jun 2024 20:20:42 +0000 RT
Gold harder to find – industry body /business/599091-gold-mining-exploration-harder/ Up to 20 years is needed on average before a gold mine is ready for production, a market strategist has told CNBC
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Many prospective areas have already been explored, according to the World Gold Council

The gold mining industry is struggling to maintain production growth as finding deposits of the yellow metal has become more difficult, according to the World Gold Council (WGC), cited by CNBC on Sunday.

Data from the trade association reportedly shows that mine production rose merely 0.5% in 2023 compared to a year ago.

In 2022, the growth was 1.35% in annual terms, whereas the year before it had risen 2.7%.

“We’ve seen record first quarter mine production in 2024, up 4% year-on-year,” WGC Chief Market Strategist John Reade told CNBC, adding: “But the bigger picture, I think about mine production is that, effectively, it plateaued around 2016, 2018 and we’ve seen no growth since then.”

According to Reade, it is becoming harder to find new gold deposits around the world since many prospective areas have already been explored.

He pointed out that large-scale gold mining is capital-intensive, and requires significant exploration and development. It takes an average of 10 to 20 years before a mine is ready for production, the market strategist said, adding that only about 10% of discoveries contain sufficient deposits to warrant mining.

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RT
Gold price hits record high after Raisi death
]]> Moreover, it can take several years to secure government licenses and permits needed for mining companies to start operations.

Many mining projects in remote areas require building infrastructure such as roads, power, and water, Reade noted.

“It’s getting harder to find gold, permit it, finance it, and operate it,” he said.

Around 187,000 metric tons of gold has been mined throughout history, according to the report, with an additional 57,000 tons still unexcavated.

The price of gold hit record highs last month, rallying to nearly $2,450 per ounce in the wake of rising global geopolitical tensions.

On Monday, the precious metal was trading at $2,330 an ounce.

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Mon, 10 Jun 2024 17:28:20 +0000 RT
Wage hike triggers mass fast-food job losses in US state – report /business/599092-california-minimum-wage-layoffs/ Fast-food restaurants have recently had to lay off nearly 10,000 workers, according to a major trade group
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Fast-food restaurants in California have recently had to lay off nearly 10,000 workers, according to a major trade group

Californian fast-food restaurants have had to slash some 10,000 jobs in recent months due to the state’s new minimum wage hike, according to a recent report by the California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA) trade group.

The report comes after California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill dubbed AB 1228 in September of last year, raising the state’s minimum wage from $16 to $20 an hour. The law came into effect in April and many companies have since been forced to close down, raise prices, or lay off employees.

CABIA president Tom Manzo has told Fox News that Californian businesses had already been “under total attack and total assault for years,” and claimed that the state’s lawmakers were living in a “fantasy land” if they thought that drastically raising wages would help workers and businesses.

“You can only raise prices so much,” Manzo said, insisting that “people are not going to pay $20 for a Big Mac. It’s not going to happen.”

He also stated that jobs in the fast-food industry were never meant to be long-term or high-paying, calling it a “starter industry” in which people start out working as kids to gain a good work ethic for the rest of their careers.

]]> Read more
RT
Most Americans report worsening finances – survey
]]> Last week, CABIA ran a full-page ad in the California edition of USA Today, featuring mock “obituaries” of restaurants that have been harmed by the new minimum wage law. These include popular chains such as Pizza Hut, Subway, Burger King, McDonald’s and Cinnabon.

According to the trade group, one taco chain, Rubio’s, has had to close as many as 48 outlets in the state due to the “rising cost of doing business,” including 24 stores in the Los Angeles area, 13 in San Diego, and 11 in Northern California. 

Meanwhile, the owner of 140 Burger King franchises in the state has announced he will slash workers’ hours and expedite the rollout of self-service kiosks to offset the impact of the new minimum wage law. Similar measures will be taken by a McDonald’s franchisee, who said he will hike menu prices and delay renovations at his 18 restaurants.

As restaurants across the US have also been forced to gradually raise their prices due to rampant inflation, a survey conducted by LendingTree last month has also found that nearly 80% of consumers now consider fast food to be a “luxury” purchase due to how expensive it has become.

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Mon, 10 Jun 2024 15:47:03 +0000 RT
European markets hit by election turmoil /business/599081-european-markets-election-turmoil/ Stocks slumped on Monday as traders reacted to initial results from the EU elections indicating far-right gains
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The French CAC 40 stock index dropped to its lowest level since February, dragging down indices across the continent

European stocks slid on Monday as traders reacted to initial results from the EU Parliament elections and the surprise decision by French President Emmanuel Macron to call a snap election.

The EU parliamentary elections concluded on Sunday after four days of voting. Exit polls have indicated a shift towards support for far-right and conservative parties – including Macron’s centrist Renaissance alliance being trounced by Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally group.

On Monday, France’s CAC 40 stock index dropped 2% to its lowest since February, after Macron announced on Sunday that he was dissolving the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, and calling a snap general election. The country’s banks and utilities have been hit particularly hard, with Societe Generale and BNP Paribas shares plummeting 7.8% and 4.7%, respectively.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.4%, with construction stocks leading the losses, falling 1.5%.

The euro slipped 0.6% to a one-month low of $1.0733 and 0.4% against the British pound in the wake of the news.

In France, the right-wing National Rally, previously led by Le Pen, received more than 30% of the vote, while Macron’s Renaissance party only managed around 15%, prompting his shock call for a general election.

“The snap election called in France has added to the uncertain tides swirling around financial markets,” Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown, told the AFP.

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Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella at the final rally before the European Parliament election. June 2, 2024, Paris, France.
Le Pen ‘ready to exercise power’ after Macron party trounced
]]> “Investors are assessing Macron’s gamble in attempting to reassert his authority after voters shifted en masse to the far-right during the EU elections, in both France and Germany,” she said.

Scope Markets analyst Joshua Mahony told the outlet that it was “no surprise” to see weakness across French stocks amid increased uncertainty.

France will go to the polls for a new National Assembly on June 30, with a second round on July 7.

In Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s centrist party had its worst ever result with 14% of the vote, according to projections. Meanwhile, the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) is expected to finish second with an estimated 15% of the vote, trailing the center-right CDU/CSU alliance, which is estimated to have won around 30%. Germany’s DAX dropped 1% on Monday in light of the news.

Right wing parties also won in Italy and Austria.

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Mon, 10 Jun 2024 14:57:14 +0000 RT
Ukraine to nationalize plant belonging to ‘pro-Russian businessman’ /business/599086-odessa-refinery-expropriation-kurchenko/ Ukraine’s asset recovery agency has announced plans to expropriate the Odessa oil refinery
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The Odessa oil refinery will become state property, Kiev’s asset management agency has announced

The Ukrainian government has given the green light for the expropriation of the Odessa oil refinery, a major energy facility that has not operated in over a decade.

Progress with Kiev’s plan to seize the refinery was reported last Friday by Pavel Velikorechenin, the deputy head of the Ukrainian Asset Recovery and Management Agency (ARMA). It will be taken from a “pro-Russian businessman” and handed over to the state, which intends to develop the property, he said.

The factory located in the port city of Odessa was launched in 1937 and was a major industrial operation in Soviet Ukraine. In the late 1990s, Kiev decided to privatize it. Russian oil giant Lukoil purchased the refinery in 2000 and heavily invested in its modernization.

A decade later, changes in the Ukrainian market and issues with an oil pipeline, which was built to supply crude from Russia to the factory, undercut its profitability. The refinery stopped operations, and was bought in 2013 by Ukrainian multimillionaire Sergey Kurchenko through his energy group VETEK. He used a loan from the Russian bank VTB for the purchase, in which the factory served as collateral.

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
West closer to tapping $300bn in frozen Russian assets – US?
]]> The following year, after a US-backed armed coup in Kiev put a new government in power, Kurchenko fled the country, ultimately picking Russia as his new place of residence.

The new Ukrainian authorities declared the purchase to have been fraudulent, and said they would seek its confiscation. Kurchenko was separately targeted by a criminal investigation for alleged tax evasion and money laundering.

The Ukrainian government announced the confiscation of Kurchenko’s property in 2017, but the businessman challenged the move in court. In 2019, officials in Odessa Region reported that the plant’s equipment had significantly degraded because the owner had failed to properly maintain the refinery.

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Mon, 10 Jun 2024 14:22:43 +0000 RT
SPIEF 2024: Rosneft chief reveals cost EU paid for rejecting Russian gas /business/599009-sechin-eu-russian-gas-cost/ EU members paid more than double by spending $630 billion on imports of non-Russian gas over three years, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Members of the bloc have shelled out $630 billion to replace Moscow’s resources, Igor Sechin has said

EU nations spent more than $630 billion on non-Russian gas imports in the three years through 2023, the head of Russian oil major Rosneft, Igor Sechin, told an energy panel at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday.

The figure is close to investments made in the bloc into so-called green energy over the same period of time, Sechin said, describing it as quadruple the aggregated gross domestic product of the Baltic states and equal to the total volume of the Swedish and Polish economies.

“The sum also equals the EU’s total gas spending over the previous eight years,” the Rosneft chief highlighted.

Higher energy costs are “eating up” the margins of energy-intensive sectors such as production of steel, fertilizers, chemicals, ceramics, and glass, Sechin claimed, adding that production activity in the euro area has been declining since the middle of 2022.

He stressed that 32% of German enterprises are already planning to transfer their production facilities abroad due to increased energy costs that inevitably deprive them of competitive advantage.

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German Economy and Climate Action Minister as well as Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck responds to the queries of parliamentarians during a question and answer session at the Bundestag on January 17, 2024 in Berlin, Germany.
Loss of Russian gas has hurt German economy – minister ?
]]> Russian gas exports to the EU have dwindled due to sanctions related to the Ukraine conflict, as well as to the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, which were previously Russia’s major gas route to the region. Last year, Russia’s share of pipeline gas imports to the bloc dropped to about 8% from 41% in 2021, according to European Council estimates. Meanwhile, Moscow still accounted for around 15% of total EU gas imports, including pipeline gas and liquified natural gas (LNG) combined.

Norway has overtaken Russia to become the region’s top pipeline gas supplier, while the EU is increasing imports of expensive LNG from the US and other countries.

Politico reported in May, citing draft documentation, that the EU was mulling the idea of sanctioning Russia’s LNG sector. The measure is not expected to directly bar the bloc’s imports of the super-chilled fuel, but would reportedly prevent member states from re-exporting it.

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A wax replica of Uncle Sam at Madame Tussauds in Washington DC
The EU wants to move out of Uncle Sam’s basement but is too picky about its economic roommates
]]> In October 2022, Rosneft CEO Sechin warned that the bloc’s ambitious plan to ditch Russian energy would cost its economy up to 11.5% in GDP. He also said that the potential slump in the chemical industry could reach 20-45%, while metallurgy output could plummet by 30-60%, as these are among the top energy-intensive sectors.

Earlier this year, German Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that his country had lost its competitive advantage after abandoning Russian gas supplies. He admitted that the EU’s economic locomotive had been in “a particularly difficult situation,” as gas imports from Russia had been “very profitable.”

Last year, the minister warned that Germany would have to wind down or even switch off its massive industrial capacity if Ukraine’s gas transit agreement with Russia is not extended after it expires at the end 2024.

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Sat, 08 Jun 2024 14:20:24 +0000 RT
Ruble dominating ‘toxic’ Western currencies in Russian exports – Putin /business/598943-russian-ruble-toxic-currencies-putin/ The share of the dollar and euro in Russia’s trade settlements continues to decline, according to President Vladimir Putin
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The share of settlements in the currencies of ‘unfriendly’ states has halved, according to the Russian president

The share of the ruble in Russia’s foreign trade operations continues to grow while payments in the currencies of ‘unfriendly’ states is declining, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, addressing a plenary session at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

The term ‘unfriendly’ refers to countries which have imposed severe financial sanctions on Russia in response to the conflict in Ukraine.

“Last year, the share of payments for Russian exports in the so-called ‘toxic’ currencies of unfriendly states decreased by half. At the same time, the share of the ruble in export and import transactions is growing, it is now approaching 40%,” Putin said. He also noted that the share of the Russian currency in international payments has tripled since 2021.

Russia actively began replacing the dollar and the euro in foreign trade amid Western sanctions imposed over the Ukraine conflict. It has since dramatically reduced the number of bank accounts and transactions between companies and financial institutions involving Western currencies. Prior to the conflict, the share of the US dollar and euro in Russia’s settlements was around 90%.

According to Putin, friendly countries currently account for three-quarters of Russia’s trade turnover.

]]> READ MORE: 90% of Russia-China transactions in national currencies – Putin

]]> Russia will continue to boost cross-border payments in national currencies with other states, the president said.

Putin also highlighted that the BRICS countries are developing their own payment infrastructure, independent of Western alternatives.

“The BRICS [nations] are working on setting up an independent payment system that is not subject to political pressure, fraud, and external sanction pressure,” the Russian president said.

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Fri, 07 Jun 2024 13:46:51 +0000 RT
SPIEF 2024: BRICS members discussing unified payment system – Russian finance minister /business/598933-siluanov-brics-members-payment-system/ A new settlement system based on digital technologies is being discussed by BRICS members, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The new settlement mechanism will allow countries to bypass Western financial messenger SWIFT, Anton Siluanov has said

BRICS finance ministers are currently examining the possibility of launching a common blockchain-based system of financial settlements that could be used in place of the Western-dominated financial messaging system SWIFT, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Friday.

Providing an alternative payment system is a key goal of the new mechanism, as US dollar settlements currently pose “great risks” for participants of global trade, Siluanov told Izvestia on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

The minister said that Russia proposes creating a common platform for exchanging digital financial assets that would be issued by central banks on the basis of national currencies.

“A new settlement system based on modern digital technologies is the thing of the future,” he said, highlighting “digital financial assets, tokens and the blockchain system” as the tools that make abandoning SWIFT possible.

The new payment system will not pose any risks for banks, as operations will not be processed through banking systems, according to Siluanov, who stressed that all the BRICS member states first have to reach an agreement on the proposal.

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RT
BRICS to create blockchain-based payment system – Putin aide
]]> The use of national currencies is now the main tool for making cross-border payments for Russia, Siluanov said, adding that Moscow and its trading partners are still seeking new ways to support import-export activity.

“Settlements in national currencies are also a way out, but we see that there are restrictions for financial institutions that today are not always ready, given the sanctions risks, to process payments with Russian banks,” the minister explained.

Russia has been promoting its own domestic payment system as a reliable alternative to SWIFT, since many of the country’s financial institutions were cut off from the Western financial network in 2022. The Russian SPFS interbank messaging system ensures the secure transfer of financial messages between banks both inside and outside the country. Moscow has also accelerated efforts to move away from SWIFT by trading with international partners using their respective national currencies.

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Fri, 07 Jun 2024 13:38:44 +0000 RT
Russian economic growth exceeding global average – Putin at SPIEF /business/598956-russian-economic-growth-exceeds-putin/ Russian economic growth is outpacing other global players, and is expanding without reliance on oil and gas, Vladimir Putin says
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The trend has largely been driven by non-resource sectors, the president has said

The Russian economy is growing more quickly than those of other major global powers and is doing so without a reliance on oil and gas, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

Speaking at the plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Putin noted that Russian GDP expanded by 3.6% last year, bouncing back from a 1.2% downturn amid Ukraine-related sanctions in 2022. This year the economy has continued to expand, the president stated. 

“For the first quarter of this year, growth reached 5.4%. That is, our growth rates exceed the world average,” Putin said. He also pledged significant structural changes to achieve “a new quality and content of economic growth in Russia.”

Putin said the trend stems largely from non-resource-based industries. According to the Russian leader, in 2023 over 40% of GDP growth came from basic industries such as manufacturing, construction, logistics, communications, and agriculture, while some 60% was from supporting industries such as trade, hospitality, and financial services. 

He noted that Russia had set a goal of joining the four largest global economies, and had apparently achieved this. According to World Bank estimates released last week, Russia now ranks as the world’s fourth biggest economy based on purchasing power parity, surpassing Japan and Germany. However, according to Putin, the country must not ease off with its efforts to develop further.

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RT
SPIEF 2024: Russia signals shift in cryptocurrency policy
]]> “I would like to note that it is not a matter of GDP estimation and calculation systems… We are somewhere nearby: Russia, Germany, Japan – the difference is small. We are ahead, but the difference is small,” Putin said. It is now vital to “ensure consistently high rates and quality of growth in the long term” to maintain Russia’s position, he added.

Russia has faced multiple rounds of Western sanctions since the start of its military operation against Ukraine in February 2022. The measures have ranged from blacklisting most Russian banks and cutting them from the international SWIFT interbank messaging system, to freezing some $300 billion in Russian foreign exchange reserves.

Many analysts have attributed Russia’s steady economic growth in the face of these challenges to its pivot towards markets in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, as well as fiscal changes adopted by the country’s financial authorities.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in April said it expects the Russian economy to grow faster than all advanced economies in 2024. According to its projections, the country’s GDP is forecast to expand by 3.2%, exceeding the expected growth rates for the US (2.7%), the UK (0.5%), Germany (0.2%) and France (0.7%). Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov earlier said he expects GDP growth in 2024 to equal that of last year, while the Bank of Russia has put it at 2.5-3.5%.

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Fri, 07 Jun 2024 13:25:41 +0000 RT
Nvidia becomes world’s second-most-valuable company /business/598930-nvidia-second-most-valuable-company/ US artificial intelligence chipmaker Nvidia has overtaken Apple to become the world’s second-most-valuable company
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The US artificial intelligence chipmaker overtook Apple by market capitalization on Wednesday

American chip giant Nvidia overtook Apple to become the second-most-valuable company in the world on Wednesday, after the semiconductor designer’s valuation surged past the $3 trillion mark.

Nvidia’s climb past Apple marked a shift in Silicon Valley, which the latter has dominated since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, Reuters noted.

Nvidia’s market value sat just behind that of software technology corporation Microsoft. The maker of the Windows operating system is also a key player in the artificial intelligence (AI) industry, being the largest investor in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI.

On Wednesday, Nvidia’s share price rose by 5.2% to more than $1,224, valuing the company at $3.012 trillion. Apple’s market capitalization was at $3.003 trillion that day. On Thursday, both companies’ shares declined slightly, bringing their market capitalization to the same level of $2.98 trillion. Microsoft remains the world’s most-valuable company at $3.16 trillion as of Thursday.

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO.
EU mulls expanding digital surveillance over every citizen – media
]]> Nvidia’s surge has been attributed to the company’s plans for a ten-for-one stock split. Investors who own Nvidia’s stock at the end of trading on Thursday will be eligible to receive nine additional shares for each share they hold. The value of shares will be reduced by a factor of 10, making the stock more affordable to small-time individual investors.

“Nvidia is making money on AI right now, and companies like Apple and Meta are spending on AI,” said Jake Dollarhide of investment advisory firm Longbow Asset Management, as quoted by Reuters. It may be a “foregone conclusion” that Nvidia will overtake Microsoft as well, he added.

Nvidia’s stock has surged by 147% so far this year, with demand for its top-of-the-line processors far outstripping supply, Reuters reported, while Microsoft and Meta race to extend their own AI computing capabilities.

]]> READ MORE: African state targets Apple over ‘blood minerals’ claims

]]> Founded in 1993, Nvidia originally made computer chips that process graphics, particularly for computer games. It then started adding features to its chips intended to help machine learning, increasing its market share. The wave of investment in AI-powered tech has resulted in the company’s explosive growth.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Fri, 07 Jun 2024 11:39:57 +0000 RT
SPIEF 2024: Russia signals shift in cryptocurrency policy /business/598910-russia-crypto-policy-finance-ministry/ The Russian Finance Ministry has voiced support for cryptocurrency in foreign trade, arguing the US dollar and euro have lost credibility
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The dollar and euro have been discredited in international settlements, Moscow’s Finance Ministry has said

Russia is ready to support new ways of facilitating international payments, including cryptocurrencies, Deputy Finance Minister Ivan Chebeskov has said, signaling a potential shift in government policy. He also argued that global trust in the US dollar and the euro has eroded significantly.

Speaking on Thursday at a panel discussion devoted to industrial crypto mining on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Chebeskov highlighted that businesses have begun to seek alternative ways to carry out cross-border payments.

“We always support tools and channels providing alternative ways of settlements… digital currencies are seen as one of them,” the minister said, while calling for a comprehensive approach to government regulation on the mining and use of cryptocurrencies.

Chebeskov stressed that the Finance Ministry, the Bank of Russia, the State Duma and law enforcement authorities are working on creating legal frameworks for cryptocurrency payments. A draft bill for regulating cryptocurrency exports is also being developed, the deputy minister said, adding that its final version would depend on the legislation adopted by the government.

In December, the ministry suggested considering the idea of granting rights to crypto miners to export the currency as a commodity. At the time, Chebeskov compared the idea to exports of natural gas.

]]> Read more
? Pexels
Russia set for complete ban on cryptocurrencies
]]> The latest statement signals a U-turn from the ministry’s previous stance on virtual currencies. As cryptocurrencies gained global popularity, Russian lawmakers initially raised concerns that the use of alternatives to fiat money could involve citizens and entities in illegal activities, including the laundering of criminal proceeds. In 2016, the ministry proposed penalties of up to seven years’ imprisonment for trading and mining activities.

The global trend towards de-dollarization has intensified since Russia was cut off from the Western financial system after the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022. At the same time, financial analysts and several Western officials have raised concerns that the freezing of Russia’s foreign assets and widely debated plans to confiscate them outright could further spur the trend.

Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the US authorities of using the greenback as a “tool of combat,” which he argued is undermining global confidence in the dollar. Putin also said Moscow has never sought the “de-dollarization” of the national or international economy, but claimed that the process is “inevitable.”

The trend has been increasingly supported by members of the BRICS economic group, which have shifted towards the use of national currencies instead of using the dollar and euro in internal settlements. Earlier this year, Yury Ushakov, a senior foreign policy aide to the Russian president, said the group was planning to create a payment system based on blockchain technologies.

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Fri, 07 Jun 2024 11:17:42 +0000 RT
IMF comments on handing over Russian assets to Ukraine /business/598927-imf-comments-russian-assets/ Any move regarding frozen Russian assets must have a legal basis and avoid undermining the global monetary system, the IMF has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Any move must have a sufficient legal basis, the agency’s spokesperson has said

Western plans to use Russia’s frozen central bank reserves in Ukraine may undermine the global monetary system, the International Monetary Fund has stated. Responding to a question from RIA Novosti about the IMF’s view on the G7’s plans for the assets, IMF spokeswoman Julie Kozack said any move regarding the assets must have a sound legal basis.

The US and a number of EU nations have been looking for ways to use the funds to finance Ukraine’s military and future reconstruction.

“We have made our position clear and open. The IMF believes that any actions taken must have a sufficient legal basis and do not undermine the functioning of the international monetary system,” RIA Novosti quoted Kozack as saying at a press briefing on Thursday.

Kozak made similar statements in April and May, as did the director of the IMF European Department, Alfred Kammer, and IMF First Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath.

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
West closer to tapping $300bn in frozen Russian assets – US?
]]> The EU and G7 nations have blocked an estimated $300 billion in assets belonging to the Russian state since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022. The bulk of this amount, nearly €197 billion ($214 billion) is being held by Belgium-based clearinghouse Euroclear. The securities depository reported earlier this year that the sanctioned assets it holds accumulated roughly €4.4 billion in interest in 2023.

The US and its allies are nearing an agreement on plans to provide Ukraine with a multibillion-dollar loan which would be serviced from the profits accrued from frozen Russian sovereign assets, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said earlier this week.

G7 leaders will tackle the issue at the group’s summit in Italy next week.

Kiev’s Western backers generally agree that the frozen assets should be used to aid Ukraine, but the EU’s financial regulator has warned that the move could have serious legal risks.

]]> READ MORE: SPIEF 2024: West ‘shooting itself in the foot’ with Russian sanctions, says finance minister

]]> European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde warned in April that any plans to use Russian assets or profits from them would undermine the international rule of law, with unforeseeable consequences.

Russia has said that any actions taken against its assets would amount to “theft,” stressing that seizing the funds or similar moves would violate international law and lead to retaliation.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Fri, 07 Jun 2024 09:49:19 +0000 RT
Germany and France oppose EU restrictions on luxury cars to Russia – Politico /business/598922-france-germany-luxury-cars-russia-sancitons/ Germany and France are opposing EU efforts to close loopholes allowing luxury cars to reach Russia via Belarus, Politico reports
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Berlin and Paris say the focus of sanctions should be on military goods, the outlet reports

Germany and France are opposing efforts by the EU to close a loophole that allows luxury cars and other high-end goods to reach Russia via Belarus, Politico reported on Thursday, citing diplomats.

Imports of cars from the EU to Belarus surged more than fourfold from 2021 to $2.6 billion last year, the outlet said, citing German Economy Ministry data. Experts observed the highest growth in the luxury car sector, which accounted for two-thirds of the total increase in imports, amounting to $1.4 billion in 2023. Researchers linked the growth to further re-export to Russia.

Both Berlin and Paris advocate “decisive measures” against sanctions evasion, but believe the focus should be on goods that serve Russian military efforts, French and German diplomats told the outlet.

The development comes as the EU is preparing to roll out new restrictions against Belarus in order to prevent Russia from bypassing Western sanctions regarding the Ukraine conflict.

The EU placed sanctions on Minsk in 2020. However, they are not as far reaching as those imposed on Moscow, enabling Belarus to transit sanctioned goods to Russia as the two countries have a common customs union and are closely integrated.

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO: BMW models X4, left, and X6 at the Motorexpo Togliatti auto show.
EU to target luxury car influx into Russia – FT
]]> Western officials have complained that Russians have no problem buying Western-made cars in Belarus due to loopholes in the restrictions.

Opposition from Berlin and Paris has prompted EU members to consider whether to divide the 14th round of sanctions on Russia and similar measures against Belarus in order to reach an agreement before the G7 summit in Italy on June 13-15, the diplomats told Politico.

The new measures against Russia may also include a ban on re-loading and transshipment services for liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia destined for third counties, as well as on servicing Russian LNG projects in the Arctic. France, Spain, and Belgium have been major hubs for imports of Russian LNG, much of which is then re-exported to countries including Germany and Italy.

Since February 2022, when the Ukraine conflict began, Brussels has imposed 13 rounds of sanctions on Russia.

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Fri, 07 Jun 2024 09:36:56 +0000 RT
ECB cuts rates for first time since 2019 /business/598883-ecb-cuts-rates-inflation/ The European Central Bank has cut rates for first time in nearly five years, noting persistent price pressures across the 20-nation Eurozone
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Inflation across the Eurozone is likely “to stay above the target well into next year,” the regulator has said

The European Central Bank (ECB) has cut interest rates for the first time in nearly five years, acknowledging that the fight with inflation in the euro area is far from over.

The Thursday rate cut by a quarter percentage point takes the benchmark rate in the 20 countries that use the euro down to 3.75% from an all-time high of 4%, where it had stood since September. The regulator did not indicate whether a further easing would follow in July.

Eurozone inflation accelerated more than expected in May, to 2.6% from 2.4% the previous month, according to data released last week. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, also accelerated as wages grew rapidly.

The figures prompted the ECB to raise its inflation forecast for this year, to 2.5% from the 2.3% predicted in March. The regulator said on Thursday it would keep interest rates “sufficiently restrictive for as long as necessary” to return inflation to the 2% target.

“Despite the progress over recent quarters, domestic price pressures remain strong as wage growth is elevated, and inflation is likely to stay above target well into next year,” the central bank said in a statement.

ECB President Christine Lagarde told reporters the regulator would continue to follow “a data-dependent and meeting-by-meeting approach.”

“We are not pre-committing to a particular rate path,” Lagarde announced.

The ECB’s decision follows a similar rate cut by the Bank of Canada this week. Regulators in Sweden and Switzerland have previously announced their own rate reductions this year.

]]> READ MORE: Grim prognosis for German economy?issued

]]> By contrast, the US Federal Reserve is expected to keep rates on hold next week at a 23-year-high range of 5.25% to 5.5% amid inflation pressures.

The Bank of England is likewise not expected to lower its bank rate from a 16-year high of 5.25% at its meeting on June 20.

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Thu, 06 Jun 2024 20:03:53 +0000 RT
ChatGPT maker ignoring fatal threat posed by AI – insider /business/598858-openai-ignoring-ai-threat-insider/ A former OpenAI researcher says the firm knows its technology could fatally harm mankind, and is ignoring the risks
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Future advances in AI technology could destroy or catastrophically harm humanity, a researcher told the NYT

OpenAI is aware of major risks if it succeeds in building an artificial general intelligence (AGI) system, but is ignoring them, Daniel Kokotajlo, a former researcher at the US technology firm, has warned in an interview with the New York Times.

AGI is a hypothetical type of artificial intelligence, capable of understanding and reasoning across a broad range of tasks. The technology, if successfully created, would replicate or forecast human behaviour, while demonstrating an ability to learn and reason.

According to Kokotajlo, who left Open AI’s governance team in April, the chance that “the advanced AI” will wreck humanity is around 70%, but the San Francisco-based developer is pushing ahead with it regardless.

“OpenAI is really excited about building AGI, and they are recklessly racing to be the first there,” the former employee told the paper.

The 31-year-old researcher also said that after he joined OpenAI two years ago and was tasked with forecasting the technology’s progress, he came to the conclusion that the industry would not only develop AGI by 2027, but that there was a strong chance the technology would catastrophically harm or even destroy humanity, according to the NYT.

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FILE PHOTO: OpenAI CEO Sam Altmanspeaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2024
Musk sues ChatGPT maker over AI threat
]]> The former staffer said he told OpenAI CEO Sam Altman that the corporation should “pivot to safety” and spend more time and resources on countering the risks posed by AI rather than continuing to make it smarter. Kokotajlo claimed Altman agreed with him, but that nothing has changed since then.

Kokotajlo is part of a group of OpenAI insiders who recently released an open letter urging AI developers – including OpenAI – to establish greater transparency and more protections for whistleblowers.

OpenAI has defended its safety record amid employee criticism and public scrutiny, saying that the company is proud of its track record in providing the most capable and safest AI systems, and believes in its scientific approach to addressing risks.

“We agree that rigorous debate is crucial given the significance of this technology, and we’ll continue to engage with governments, civil society and other communities around the world,” the NYT cited the tech firm as saying.

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Thu, 06 Jun 2024 14:35:22 +0000 RT
Russian oil revenues rise 50% – Bloomberg? /business/598856-russia-oil-revenue-surge/ Russia’s proceeds from oil exports surged by almost 50% year-on-year in May due to soaring crude prices, Bloomberg has reported
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The surge has been attributed to increased prices for Urals crude, the outlet has said

Russia’s oil revenues surged by almost 50% last month compared to a year ago, as crude prices soared and the country continued to adapt to Western sanctions, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

Moscow’s income from crude sales rose despite international pressure and forecasts of a deficit. Oil-related taxes climbed to 632.5 billion rubles ($7.1 billion) in May, according to Bloomberg calculations based on Russian Finance Ministry data. 

Total oil and gas profits grew by 39% to 793.7 billion rubles ($8.9 billion), following progressively increasing prices on Russia’s flagship Urals crude, the country’s key export blend, data showed.

The ministry calculated May taxes based on the Urals price of $74.98 a barrel, up from $58.63 a year ago. Urals’ discount to the global Brent benchmark has declined, despite the $60 per-barrel price cap on Russian oil introduced by the G7 and EU. 

The mechanism, along with the EU embargo on Russian seaborne oil, was put in place to reduce Moscow’s export revenues. The sanctions were imposed in December 2022, and in February 2023 were followed by similar restrictions on exports of Russian petroleum products.

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RT
Major global refiner to pay for Russian oil in rubles – Reuters
]]> In response, Russia has rerouted most of its energy exports to Asia – particularly to India and China, where the country’s oil has been sold well above the West’s price cap.

In May, the Finance Ministry issued a preliminary report on oil and gas revenues to the federal budget which showed that proceeds from energy exports between January and April soared to 11.68 billion rubles ($131.2 million) – a 50.1% rise compared to the same period in 2023. 

However, even with an increase in energy profits, the Finance Ministry has proposed to lower the expectations for oil and gas earnings this year to 10.99 trillion rubles ($123.4 billion) from an earlier estimate of 11.5 trillion rubles ($129.2 billion), according to ministry data.

The downward revision comes as Russia expects oil to trade at about $65 per barrel this year compared to a previous projection of $71.30.

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Thu, 06 Jun 2024 13:55:40 +0000 RT
SPIEF 2024: West ‘shooting itself in the foot’ with Russian sanctions, says finance minister /business/598849-spief-2024-west-sanctions-russia-siluanov/ Economic sanctions on Russia have harmed the Western countries that imposed them, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has said
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Russia is now the fourth-largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity

Western countries are “shooting themselves in the foot” by imposing sanctions on Russia, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Thursday. He was commenting on Russia being ranked among the world’s top four economies in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP).

The World Bank stated last week that Russia became the fourth-largest economy in the world in 2021, surpassing both Japan and Germany, according to revised figures. 

“I think sanctions are to blame. [Western nations] are happy to impose sanctions, but they shoot themselves in the foot. Their economies are stagnating, ours is growing. Therefore, the process [of Russia’s economic growth] has accelerated,” Siluanov said during a discussion centered on the goals set for the Russian economy.

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FILE PHOTO.
SPIEF 2024: Kremlin explains Moscow’s message to the world
]]> The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.6% last year. In April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it expects the Russian economy to grow faster than all advanced economies in 2024. GDP is forecast to expand by 3.2%, exceeding the expected growth rates for the US (2.7%), the UK (0.5%), Germany (0.2%), and France (0.7%).

Russia has learned to overcome the most difficult, “turbulent” situations in the global economy, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and sanctions, thanks to the monetary and budget policy it adopted, Siluanov added.

Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina, who was present at the same discussion, said the regulator had set a target for inflation at 4%. In April, the consumer price index in Russia stood at 7.8%.

Following the imposition of Western sanctions on Moscow following the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, inflation in Russia spiked at nearly 18% in April of that year. The central bank responded by hiking its key interest rate to 20%, which helped to gradually lower inflation to 2.3% in April 2023. Following several adjustments, the key interest rate in Russia currently sits at 16%.

]]> READ MORE: Zelensky’s illegitimacy, NATO ‘bulls**t’ & Russia’s ‘asymmetric’ response: Key takeaways from Putin’s foreign press briefing

]]> Western nations have targeted Russia with an unprecedented barrage of economic sanctions over the past two years, cutting the country off the dollar-denominated financial system, blocking the nation’s banks from international bank transfers, restricting trade and freezing assets belonging to the central bank. As part of the sanctions pressure, imports of natural gas and oil, and other natural resources from Russia were banned or limited, leading to a spike in energy prices.

In response, Russia shifted trade to Asia and has worked to abandon the US dollar in trade and employ national currencies instead.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Thu, 06 Jun 2024 10:20:49 +0000 RT
South American country to impose energy sanctions on Israel – Bloomberg /business/598841-colombia-coal-exports-israel-restrictions/ Colombia’s trade ministry has called for restricting coal exports to Israel over its military campaign in Gaza, Bloomberg has said
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Colombia is reportedly calling for coal export restrictions after severing diplomatic ties over the Gaza conflict

Colombia’s trade ministry is poised to curb coal exports to Israel in a bid to sanction the country over its military campaign in Gaza, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

The South American country is Israel’s biggest coal supplier; its exports of the commodity to the Middle Eastern nation were worth about $450 million last year. Colombian coal accounted for over 60% of all coal supplied to Israel in 2023, 90% of which was exported by global giants Glencore and Drummond, data from energy analytics firm Kpler showed.

The Colombian trade ministry recommended that a committee responsible for tariffs and foreign trade “limit” shipments of the fuel, the outlet said, citing an internal document and a person familiar with the matter.

The intention of the coal sanctions is to “help end the armed conflict,” and should stay in place until the end of the hostilities, according to the ministry document. The decision on export restrictions could be made as soon as this week, the outlet noted.

Coal exports from Colombia to Israel account for just 1% of the Andean country’s total exports in terms of economic value, data showed. For Israel, however, it is a lifeline for its power grids, which depend on coal for 22% of its output.

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Palestinians mourn relatives killed in an Israeli bombardment of a UNRWA-run school at the Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza, June 6, 2024
Israel bombs ‘Hamas compound’ in Gaza school
]]> Historically, Colombia had been one of Israel’s closest partners in Latin America. However, relations between the two nations have deteriorated sharply since the beginning of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.

In May, Bogota broke diplomatic ties with Israel despite numerous bilateral agreements and military contracts, with Colombian President Gustavo Petro describing the operation in Gaza as “genocide.” In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Petro an “anti-Semitic supporter of Hamas.”

The Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a series of raids into Israel on October 7 last year, dubbed ‘Al-Aqsa Flood.’ An estimated 1,200 Israelis were killed in the attacks, while another 250 were taken captive. Israel responded with a military offensive that has claimed the lives of over 36,000 Gazans and devastated much of the enclave’s infrastructure, according to its health authorities.

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Thu, 06 Jun 2024 09:50:10 +0000 RT
SPIEF 2024: Kremlin explains Moscow’s message to the world /business/598802-kremlin-russia-spief-message/ Russia is advocating for global cooperation based on equality and the rule of law, according to presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov
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Russia is advocating for global cooperation based on equality and the rule of law, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov says

Russia is developing faster than most countries, and hopes to use the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) to promote global cooperation in all spheres, based on mutual respect and equality, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Wednesday.

This year’s SPIEF opened on June 5 and will run through June 8. The 27th annual event is expected to attract thousands of participants from 136 countries, with delegations arriving from Brazil, India, China, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, and others.

Asked to sum up the main message Moscow hopes to communicate through the forum, Peskov stated that Russia is “developing at a rate above the world average” and represents “significant changes in global political and economic conditions.” 

Russia is also promoting business cooperation based on “equality and the rule of law on a mutually beneficial basis, and is offering this to all interested countries and entrepreneurs,” Peskov said.

Previously, he noted that SPIEF has attracted substantial interest from both domestic and foreign businesses, as well as regional leaders, ministers, and the heads of various government bodies. 

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RT
Delegates from over 130 countries to attend St Petersburg Economic Forum – Kremlin aide
]]> The Kremlin spokesman suggested that before the event concludes on Saturday, an analysis should be carried out to determine how many of this year’s record number of participants came from abroad.

The executive secretary of the SPIEF Organizing Committee, Anton Kobyakov noted on Tuesday that despite the “turbulence in the global economy,” many countries are still prepared to build “bridges of understanding and cooperation” and disregard Western pressure on Russia, instead choosing to engage more closely with the country.

The main theme of this year’s SPIEF is ‘The Foundations of a Multipolar World – The Formation of New Areas of Growth.’ The three-day event will feature almost 400 business events, including panel discussions and international business dialogue meetings.

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Wed, 05 Jun 2024 16:04:55 +0000 RT
West closer to tapping $300bn in frozen Russian assets – US? /business/598781-us-ukraine-loan-russian-assets/ The US and its allies could give Ukraine a loan and repay it using profits from frozen Russian assets, US Treasury Secretary has said
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Washington and its allies could give Kiev a loan based on profits from blocked funds, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said

The US and its allies are nearing agreement on plans to provide Ukraine with a multibillion-dollar loan which would be linked to profits accrued from frozen Russian sovereign assets, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said.  

The proposal comes as Washington and its G7 allies – the UK, Canada, France, Italy, and Japan – are seeking ways to urgently unlock more funding for Kiev, Yellen told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.   

According to Yellen, the US has been discussing with other G7 members the possibility of giving Ukraine a loan “allowing the windfall profits [from Russian assets] to be used” to pay it off. This approach, she said, “seems to be commanding considerable support.”  

The flow of windfall profits earned on the immobilized Russian assets amounts to around $3-$5 billion per year, the treasury secretary said.  

“So we’re hopeful that this can be worked into something to be presented to the leaders at the upcoming G7 meeting [in Italy in mid-June],” Yellen added.   

The West has frozen roughly $300 billion in Russian sovereign funds since the start of the Ukraine conflict. Brussels-based clearinghouse Euroclear holds around €191 billion ($207 billion) of that amount, and has accrued nearly €4.4 billion ($4.7 billion) in interest over the past year.   

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FILE PHOTO: Estonian President Alar Karis.
EU state approves confiscation of frozen Russian assets
]]> The US has been pushing its allies to embrace a loan backed by income from the frozen assets that could provide Ukraine with as much as $50 billion in near-term funding, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing a senior Treasury official.   

Brent Neiman, deputy under-secretary for international finance at the Treasury, told the outlet that the proposed measure would give an immediate fiscal boost to Kiev, although there were still technical issues to be worked out. 

The loan has emerged as the top option given that G7 countries remain at odds over seizing Russian assets outright.  

]]> READ MORE: G7 can’t agree on seizing Russian money – Washington

]]> The US had initially pushed for full confiscation of underlying assets in order to fund Ukraine’s government. However, it has since shifted towards taking only the interest amid resistance from France, Germany, and the European Central Bank, which are concerned that the euro could be affected if countries such as China start repatriating their massive foreign reserves as a precaution against possible confiscation in the future.   

Russia has said any actions taken against its assets would amount to theft and would violate international law. Moscow has warned it would respond in kind if the West went through with threats to confiscate Russian assets.

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Wed, 05 Jun 2024 10:07:29 +0000 RT
Delegates from over 130 countries to attend St Petersburg Economic Forum – Kremlin aide /business/598766-spief-russia-economic-forum-participants/ Russia’s marquee annual event SPIEF is set to bring together thousands of participants from 136 countries
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The three-day international event will focus on key economic issues facing Russia, emerging markets, and the world

Russia will host the 27th annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) 2024 starting on Wednesday. Thousands of participants are expected for the annual three-day event.

Interest in the forum is growing as more countries disregard Western pressure and engage more closely with Russia, according to Russian presidential adviser and Executive Secretary of the SPIEF Organizing Committee Anton Kobyakov.

SPIEF 2023 “clearly demonstrated that, despite the turbulence in the global economy, many countries are ready to build bridges of understanding and cooperation,” Kobyakov remarked, following the success of last year's event. 

This year the forum will bring together delegates from 136 countries, including Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Venezuela, India, Kazakhstan and China. Oman will be the guest country, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov told reporters.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Bolivian President Luis Arce and President Milorad Dodik of Republika Srpska will be among the foreign leaders at the event.

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Scott Ritter.
US seizes Scott Ritter’s passport
]]> Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to address the forum’s plenary session. Putin will review the state of affairs in the national and global economy, as well as selected political issues, including the Ukraine conflict, according to Ushakov.

The SPIEF 2024 theme is ‘The Foundations of a Multipolar World - The Formation of New Areas of Growth.’

The forum’s program lists almost 400 business events, such as panel discussions and business dialogues, including EAEU-ASEAN, Russia-Africa, Russia-Latin America, Russia-China, Russia-South Africa, and other bilateral meetings.

SPIEF has been held in St Petersburg since 1997, and under the auspices of the Russian President since 2006. Over 17,000 participants from 130 countries took part in the SPIEF 2023 events, with more than 900 agreements signed, according to the forum’s official website.

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Tue, 04 Jun 2024 19:59:44 +0000 RT
German military giant to build ammunition plant in Baltic state /business/598757-germany-ammunition-plant-lithuania/ Rheinmetall has been seeking to expand production to meet a surge in shell demand in light of the Ukraine conflict
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The facility will boost Lithuania’s defense sector, according to Rheinmetall

German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall has struck an agreement with Lithuania’s government to build a new ammunition factory in the Baltic state, according to a statement the company released on Monday.

Lithuania has touted the deal as another step towards strengthening its defense sector, adding that the project is of importance to the state.

Lithuanian Economy Minister Ausrine Armonaite said Rheinmetall would invest more than €180 million ($195 million) in the new plant, which is expected to produce 155-millimeter artillery shells. She says the agreement “will help us to ensure uninterrupted access to essential weapons and ammunition.”

The location of the new factory, which is set to produce tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition every year, is expected to be announced in the upcoming weeks. No details were given regarding the possible start date for its construction.

In March, Rheinmetall confirmed that it planned to build a factory in Lithuania, a member of the EU and NATO. A letter of intent was signed with Vilnius in mid-April, before the Baltic country’s parliament passed several bills to encourage investment in its defense.

According to the German news agency DPA, Rheinmetall has already been operating a maintenance center with defense company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann in Lithuania since 2022. The facility maintains combat vehicles used by NATO units stationed in the region, as well as the Leopard 2 battle tanks given by Germany to Ukraine.

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FILE PHOTO.
Germany holds large-scale military drills near Russian border
]]> Rheinmetall has been seeking to expand production to meet a surge in demand prompted by the Ukraine conflict. Germany has donated more military equipment to Kiev than any other country except the US.

According to media reports, the German military also plans to permanently station an armored brigade of 5,000 in Lithuania less than 20km (12 miles) from the border with Belarus, a key ally of Moscow.

A roadmap for what will be Berlin’s largest deployment on foreign soil since World War Two was signed by the defense ministers of Germany and Lithuania in December.

Berlin plans to keep 4,800 troops and 200 civilian specialists in the country on a permanent basis, complete with heavy armaments and support structure. The relocation will start in the second quarter of 2024, with the brigade scheduled to reach full combat readiness by 2027, according to the German Defense Ministry.

Moscow perceives the movement of NATO capabilities closer to its borders as a provocation and a threat to its national security. Lithuania shares a border with the Russian exclave Kaliningrad.

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Tue, 04 Jun 2024 18:33:03 +0000 RT
Japanese car makers falsified safety test results /business/598740-japanese-car-makers-tests-trickery/ Japanese car makers Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and Suzuki have been found to have committed fraud during safety tests
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Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and Suzuki have committed fraud, an investigation has found

Some of Japan’s best-known automakers have admitted to committing fraud in safety tests to get new vehicles certified for sale. The disclosures come after an official and wide-reaching investigation was launched after instances came to light of test-rigging at Daihatsu, a Toyota subsidiary, and at other firms.

Out of 85 manufacturers investigated by the government, five, namely Toyota, Mazda, Honda and Suzuki, as well as engine maker Yamaha, were found to have committed fraud during approval applications, according to a statement by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Type approval is required and only granted to a product that meets legal, technical, safety, and environmental requirements.

“Fraudulent activities in type-approval applications undermine the trust of users and undermine the very foundations of the automobile certification system, and it is extremely regrettable that new fraudulent activities have come to light,” the ministry said in a statement.

Mazda was found to have falsified crash-test vehicle results for several models. Suzuki made false statements about braking-system test results for one model, and Honda tampered with noise-testing for 22 previously produced vehicles, it added.

The investigation into Toyota is ongoing, but the probe has already discovered that the car maker submitted false data in pedestrian-protection tests and ‘falsified’ crash-test vehicles for seven vehicle models.

Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda issued an apology on Monday. He suggested that some certification rules in Japan might be overly stringent, according to Associated Press (AP), and said that the company may have been too eager to get the tests done at a time when model varieties were burgeoning.

Toyota said that the wrongdoing does not affect the safety of vehicles already on roads. Production of three models, the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio and Yaris Cross, has been suspended.

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A 3D rendering of UFO flying above Mount Fuji in Japan.
Japan to study UFO threat – media
]]> Toyota’s Japanese rival Mazda Motor Corporation acknowledged violations on crash tests on three discontinued models. Production of two models, the Roadster and Mazda 2, has been halted due to incorrect engine-control software having been used in the tests, according to AP.

Tokyo-based Honda Motor Company also apologized on Monday for improper tests.

The ministry said it will further investigate the five companies and will take strict action based on its results.

Toyota is the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, selling more than ten million vehicles a year. Japan is the third-largest car-producing country in the world, after China and the US.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Tue, 04 Jun 2024 12:39:56 +0000 RT
Starbucks applies to register trademarks in Russia – media /business/598741-starbucks-russia-trademarks-application/ Starbucks has applied to register several trademarks in Russia, signalling plans to re-enter the market, Vedomosti has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The US multinational withdrew from the country in 2022 after the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict

US coffeehouse chain Starbucks has submitted applications to Russia’s intellectual property service, Rospatent, to register several trademarks in the country, Vedomosti newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Starbucks, which had operated in Russia since 2007, pulled out of the country in 2022 due to Western sanctions linked to the Ukraine conflict.

The Seattle-based company is now reportedly seeking to register eight brands in Russia – including Starbucks, Starbucks coffee, and frappuccino. The application, submitted within the past month, relates to making drinks and food, selling instant coffee, and administering a loyalty program.

The business newspaper suggested the move could be a “preemptive measure” to secure the rights to buy back its former Russian business.

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RT
Russian court to consider terminating Starbucks trademark rights
]]> Starbucks’ former operations in Russia were rebranded as “Stars Coffee” after Russian rapper and businessman Timati (Timur Yunusov), in partnership with entrepreneur Anton Pinsky, purchased all of the US chain’s Russian assets in the summer of 2022.

Pinsky and Yunusov acquired the rental agreements for all 130 Starbucks coffee shops in Russia, as well as the contracts of its 2,000 employees. As part of the rebranding, the mermaid image in the corporate logo was replaced with a girl in a traditional Russian ‘kokoshnik’ headdress.

In 2022 and 2023, Pinsky applied to register new brand names – Stars Pinskiy Coffee and Stars Kanokov Coffee. However, Rospatent rejected the application, pointing to both trademarks’ similarity “to the point of confusion” with the Starbucks brands.

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Tue, 04 Jun 2024 12:30:45 +0000 RT
Income gap growing between US CEOs and workers – AP/Equilar /business/598727-income-gap-growing-ceo-workers-usa/ The median compensation package for CEOs of the largest US firms jumped by 12.6% to $16.3 million in 2023, data shows
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Top bosses of the largest US firms earned on average 200 times more than their employees last year, according to research

Chief executives of the largest American companies saw their income grow at a significantly faster rate than that of their workers last year, the Associated Press (AP) news agency has reported, citing data analysis from a study conducted in partnership with business intelligence firm Equilar. It comes as numerous polls have suggested that many Americans are struggling with the rising cost of rent and groceries.

The median total compensation package for CEOs who run firms in the S&P 500 jumped by 12.6% to $16.3 million in 2023, according to the study. The median earnings of S&P 500 employees rose by 5.2% from 2022 to just under $81,500. Total compensation includes salary, bonuses, stock, and other forms of compensation that top managers receive.

According to the study, the highest-paid CEO is Hock E. Tan of semiconductor developer and manufacturer Broadcom, who made $161.8 million in 2023. He was followed by William J. Lansing of Fair Isaac Corporation, a data analytics company focused on credit scoring services, who received total compensation of $66,349,962. Apple’s Tim Cook was third with $63,209,845.

]]> Read more
RT
US births reach 45-year low – report
]]> The increase in compensation has been attributed to pressure on corporate boards to keep raising the pay for well-performing CEOs in order to keep them with the company.

In 2023, top managers earned roughly 200 times more than their workers, but the gap wasn’t always so wide, AP notes. Up until the 1980s, CEOs made about 40 to 50 times the average worker’s pay, the agency says.

“The [current] pay ratio signals a sort of a winner-takes-all culture, that companies are treating their CEOs as… superstars as opposed to team players,” said Brandon Rees, whose company runs CEO-pay-tracking website Executive Paywatch, as quoted by AP.

The jump in top manager compensation packages comes as the US government continues to grapple with stubborn inflation. The consumer price index has come down from the 40-year high of 7.1% reached in 2022 following the coronavirus pandemic and the energy crisis caused by Western sanctions on Russia. However, the current 3.4% is still higher than the 2% target set by the Federal Reserve.

The gap in earnings between top executives and workers in the US plays into the overall dissatisfaction among Americans about the economy, according to Sarah Anderson from the Institute for Policy Studies.

“Most of the focus here is on inflation, which people are really feeling, but they’re feeling the pain of inflation more because they’re not seeing their wages go up enough,” she told AP.

]]> READ MORE: US ‘abuse’ of markets fueling inflation – Putin

]]> A poll carried out in the US earlier this year showed that 51% of Americans described the country’s economic conditions as poor.

Other research suggested that elevated inequality, rising prices and a widespread lack of affordable housing were contributing to a downbeat sentiment among the American population.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Tue, 04 Jun 2024 10:12:04 +0000 RT
Oil prices nosedive on signs of oversupply /business/598712-oil-prices-fall-opec-decision/ Global benchmark Brent has dropped to below $80 on Monday for the first time since February
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Benchmark Brent has been trading below $80 for the first time since February

Crude prices plunged more than 3% on Monday to multi-month lows as investors are anticipating signs of imminent oil oversupply following OPEC’s latest complex output decision.

Global benchmark Brent crude was down 3.5% on Monday, at $78.29 a barrel as of 19:33 GMT. It marks the first time that Brent has been trading below $80 since February. The US crude benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), was also down over 3.7% at $74.14 per barrel.

“Most of it is due to the OPEC meeting and concerns about more oil coming to the market in general,” Direxion’s Ed Egilinsky told Barron’s, adding “Several countries are going to phase out and that will get more oil into markets after October.” 

On Sunday, OPEC+ agreed to extend both voluntary and group-wide production cuts until 2025, but left room for additional voluntary reductions of 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) by eight core members, including leading exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia, to be gradually unwound from October onwards. The group also agreed to a new output target for the United Arab Emirates, which has been pushing for a higher quota.

Some analysts called the group’s decision bearish for oil prices in light of high interest rates and rising output from non-OPEC producers like the US.

]]> READ MORE: Bank of America issues $130 oil warning

]]> “Ultimately, a combination of factors has come into play,” independent oil analyst Gaurav Sharma told Reuters, highlighting disappointing economic indicators in the US and China.

Investors reportedly have been concerned that the latest OPEC+ decisions could be reversed, depending on market conditions.

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Mon, 03 Jun 2024 20:00:50 +0000 RT
Russia and China ‘close’ to replacing SWIFT — business regulator /business/598707-russia-china-swift-replacement/ Western restrictions have forced Moscow and Beijing to actively promote their own domestic payment systems
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The two countries have been promoting their own domestic payment systems as a reliable alternative

Moscow and Beijing are developing a system of settlements which could allow cross-border transactions without the use of the Western financial messaging system SWIFT, Russian Presidential Business Rights Commissioner Boris Titov has revealed.

Addressing the results of the “Russia and China: Cooperation in a New Era” international conference held in Moscow last week, Titov told TASS the two countries have accelerated efforts to move away from SWIFT to trade using their respective national currencies.

“Many regional banks are already replacing it (SWIFT) with the Chinese analogue CIPS,” the official said on Monday, adding that the Chinese system’s use for payments in yuan will continue to expand.

Titov is also the Russian Chairman of the China-Russia Friendship Committee for Peace and Development.

Moscow has been promoting its own domestic payment system as a reliable alternative to SWIFT since many of the country’s banks were disconnected from the Western financial network in 2022.

Russia’s SPFS interbank messaging system was created in 2014, and functions like SWIFT. It ensures the secure transfer of financial messages between banks both inside and outside the country.

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President and Chairman of the Board of VTB Andrey Kostin
SWIFT must be ‘killed off’ – top Russian banker
]]> In January, the Bank of Russia said that 557 banks and foreign organizations from 20 countries had received access to SPFS.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly called for new, independent financial platforms for international settlements, stressing that the global economy should be more open and unbiased.

According to Titov, the decision to switch to mostly rubles and yuan in transactions has led to a strong boost in Russia-China trade. The volume of bilateral trade in 2023 reached $240 billion, with Russian imports from China jumping nearly 47% to $111 billion, and exports to the Asian country growing by 12.7%, to $129 billion.

Titov also talked about increased investment cooperation, claiming that several dozen investment projects have been implemented in Russia and China through the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

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Mon, 03 Jun 2024 19:11:07 +0000 RT
Turkish exports to Israel plunge 99% – data /business/598699-turkiye-israel-trade-gaza/ Türkiye has suspended all trade with Israel in response to its offensive in Gaza, with May exports plunging 99%, data shows
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Ankara has severed trade ties with West Jerusalem over the IDF’s offensive in Gaza

Türkiye’s exports to Israel came to a standstill in May, after the country’s government suspended all trade with the Jewish state in response to IDF operations in Gaza, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

According to the outlet, citing preliminary data from Türkiye’s main exporters association, shipments to Israel plummeted 99% on an annual basis in May, to $4.4 million.

Data showed that Turkish exports to Israel in the first five months of 2024 have decreased by 40% compared to the same period last year. Total 2023 trade volume was $6.8 billion, with Turkish exports accounting for 76% of this sum, according to the Israeli Ministry of Economy.

Türkiye has been one of Israel’s fiercest critics since the current conflict with Hamas broke out in October.

Last month, the Turkish Trade Ministry announced that trade ties would be paused until Israel allows “uninterrupted and sufficient flow” of humanitarian aid to Gaza. The total suspension followed restrictions imposed by Ankara on exports to Israel of 54 product categories, including construction materials, machinery, and various chemical products. Türkiye had previously stopped sending Israel any goods that could be used for military purposes.

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, Israel was Türkiye’s 13th biggest export partner in 2023. Ankara’s main exports to the Jewish state included steel, construction materials, mechanical devices, oil and agri-food products.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference in Ankara, Türkiye, April 24, 2024
Muslims must unite against Israel – Erdogan
]]> TurkStat will reportedly publish full trade data for last month, including imports, later in June.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler. In April, he accused Israel of outdoing the Nazi leader by killing 14,000 children in Gaza.

Last week, Erdogan called on the Islamic world to make a “common decision” to oppose Israel, calling the Jewish state a threat to “all of humanity.”

Israel, meanwhile, has claimed that the Turkish president ranks among the worst anti-Semites in history, due to his stance on the conflict and his support for Hamas.

Israel declared war on Hamas in October in response to a deadly raid staged by the militant group, in which at least 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 taken hostage. The retaliatory bombing and ground operation in Gaza has caused the deaths of more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to the territory’s health ministry.

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Mon, 03 Jun 2024 16:47:00 +0000 RT
Sanctioning Russian nuclear sector would ‘hurt’ EU – IAEA /business/598690-iaea-russia-nuclear-energy-eu-sanctions/ Imposing sanctions on Russia’s nuclear industry would “hurt” EU countries, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has said ?
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Some bloc members are up to 40% dependent on fuel from Russia, Rafael Grossi has warned

Imposing sanctions on the Russian nuclear industry would only “hurt” the European Union, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, has warned.   

In an interview with Austrian newspaper Der Standard published on Monday, Grossi highlighted the EU’s significant reliance on Russian uranium and nuclear fuel, noting that some countries in the bloc are up to 40% dependent on its supplies.   

He warned that unlike with coal and gas deliveries, there is no quick way to shift away from Russian nuclear fuel, and that severing ties too soon would harm global energy markets.  

“They [Western countries] are taking measures to end this dependence, but that cannot be done overnight,” Grossi noted. “The Europeans are reacting with a dose of realism, knowing that their economies cannot function without nuclear energy.”  

His remarks come as the EU aims to adopt a 14th package of sanctions against Moscow before July. The bloc is considering imposing tariffs on up to €42 billion ($46 billion) worth of imports from Russia, including nuclear fuel.  

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EU eyes stronger tariffs on Russia – FT
]]> Earlier this year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted global nuclear power generation would reach an all-time high in 2025, as more and more countries turn to the technology as part of plans to reduce emissions.   

The UK, Sweden, and Switzerland are among the countries on track to ramp up domestic nuclear power generation by extending the operating lives of existing plants and building new ones in a bid to boost energy security as electricity demand soars.   

The EU has not sanctioned the Russian nuclear sector, including energy giant Rosatom, despite repeated requests from Ukraine and bloc members Lithuania and Poland, which are among Moscow’s most vocal critics. The move has been blocked by some EU states, including Hungary, that rely on Russian nuclear energy.    

Russian nuclear fuel and technology sales soared in 2022 as imports by EU countries climbed to their highest level in three years. NATO members including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia all continued to buy reactor fuel from the sanctioned country, according to Rosatom.  

As of 2022, Russia was the largest enriched uranium exporter on the global market, accounting for roughly 35% of sales worldwide with an estimated export value of $2 billion.

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Mon, 03 Jun 2024 12:53:43 +0000 RT
West eyeing ‘Russian SWIFT’ as sanctions target – Bloomberg /business/598624-g7-eu-sanctions-russian-swift/ The G7 and EU are studying ways to sanction lenders using the Bank of Russia’s financial messaging system, Bloomberg reports
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New restrictions could be applied to financial institutions that use the Bank of Russia’s financial messaging system

The G7 and EU are working on ways to sanction banks that allegedly help Russia circumvent the current restrictions, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing sources close to the discussions. According to the report, the measures would target third-country financial institutions that use the Bank of Russia’s interbank messaging system, the SPFS.

The system functions similarly to the Belgium-based SWIFT, ensuring the secure transfer of financial messages between banks both inside and outside the country. It replaced SWIFT in Russia when the country’s key banks were disconnected from the system in light of Ukraine-related sanctions in 2022.

Many of Russia’s trading partners subsequently joined the SPFS in order to continue carrying out transactions with the country, and as part of the broader drive to reduce exposure to the Western financial system. As of January, over 550 banks and companies from 20 countries were connected to the SPFS, according to the Bank of Russia.

According to Bloomberg sources, by targeting lenders that use the SPFS and, consequently, facilitate transactions with Russia, Western states want to stop Moscow from being able to obtain technologies used in weapons production. For instance, Washington and its NATO allies have repeatedly accused China of fueling Russia’s military effort by supporting its weapons manufacturing through the sale of dual-use goods.

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Washington to pressure allies on China – FT
]]> In an interview with Bloomberg earlier this week, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo reaffirmed this stance, warning that Washington and allies are “open to sanctioning” any entity helping Russia obtain components that can be used for weapons production. Both China and Russia have repeatedly denied Western allegations.

The discussions regarding SPFS come ahead of the G7 summit in Italy scheduled for mid-June, where the group reportedly plans to come up with a new package of measures aimed at better enforcing existing sanctions on Russia. The EU could reportedly agree on its own package of restrictions earlier. However, sources said some member states have been reluctant to support a ban on SPFS due to concerns that “legitimate” transactions could be affected, as well as the bloc’s own financial relations with the countries whose banks would be targeted.

]]> READ MORE: G7 fails to finalize plans for tapping Russian assets

]]> Washington and its allies are currently mulling ways to use the roughly $300 billion in Russian central bank assets that were frozen as part of sanctions. While Washington has been eager to seize the funds outright, other G7 members have been focused on ways to tap the profits generated by them. However, no consensus on the matter has been reached, with Italian Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti stating last week that it still presents “significant technical and legal problems.”

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Sat, 01 Jun 2024 10:16:20 +0000 RT
EU eyes stronger tariffs on Russia – FT /business/598593-eu-new-russia-tariffs/ An EU plan to target $46 billion worth of Russian imports could cover food, medicines, and nuclear fuel, according to a report
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The bloc could target imports of food, nuclear energy, and medicines that have thus far not been in the crosshairs

The EU is considering imposing tariffs on up to €42 billion ($46 billion) worth of imports from Russia that until now have been spared from the bloc’s sanctions regime, Financial Times reported on Friday.

While most EU trade with Russia has been halted over the Ukraine conflict, some imports are still allowed, either because there are no alternative supplies or due to concerns about global market disruptions.

On Thursday, EU trade ministers asked the European Commission to develop a plan to place duties on imports of food, nuclear fuel, and medicines.

The initiative on a broader use of tariffs was put forward by Sweden, EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters. “From the European Commission’s side, we will be assessing this and providing member states with options to move forward,” he stated.

Swedish Trade Minister Johan Forssell told FT it was important to cut Russia’s revenues, so that “the income from these tariffs could be spent to help Ukraine to win this war.” 

He called for “broad tariffs on all that trade,” but accepted that “it’s sensitive in some areas.”

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Sanctions on Russia ineffective, says Dubai trade-hub chief
]]> On Thursday, EU ministers adopted a regulation hiking import tariffs on Russian and Belarusian grain. The “prohibitive” levies, which will take effect on July 1, will apply to cereals, oilseeds and derived products, as well as beet-pulp pellets and dried peas from both nations.

According to FT, the EU set the tariffs so high – at €95 ($100) per ton – that they amount to an effective ban.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said previously that imposing tariffs on Russian grain is an example of “unfair competition.” The measure will hit EU consumers, while Moscow will use alternative supply routes, he argued.

Some EU member states have also proposed extending the bloc’s sanctions to include nuclear fuel sold by Moscow.

However, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi has warned there is no quick way to shift away from Russian nuclear fuel, and that severing ties too soon would harm global energy markets.

The EU is aiming to adopt the new round of sanctions before July. Brussels adopted its 13th package of restrictions against Moscow ahead of the second anniversary of the beginning of the Ukraine conflict in February. The measures were mostly aimed at closing loopholes to prevent Russia from circumventing existing restrictions via third countries.

Some high-ranking EU politicians and diplomats have acknowledged that the scope for further sanctions is narrowing.

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Fri, 31 May 2024 19:18:18 +0000 RT
Macron pressed Canada to ease Russia sanctions – Reuters /business/598475-france-canada-russian-titanium-sanctions/ The French leader reportedly asked the Canadian PM to allow Airbus to use Russian-produced titanium in manufacturing
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The French leader has reportedly lobbied for a waiver for titanium, which is vital for aerospace giant Airbus

French President Emmanuel Macron has asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to give Airbus and other aerospace firms relief from sanctions on Russian titanium, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing sources.

Canada broke ranks with allies and banned supplies from Russian manufacturing giant VSMPO-AVISMA – the world’s largest producer of processed titanium – in a sanctions package against Moscow unveiled in February.

Titanium is important to the aerospace industry and is prized for its strength relative to its weight. It is used mainly in aircraft engines and the landing gear of large planes.

People familiar with the matter told Reuters that Macron’s request was made during a phone call in March. A “source close to the French leader” reportedly said a “significant effort” had been made to convince Trudeau to grant an exemption for European companies.

“Many messages were passed at all levels,” the source added, referring to broad diplomatic and industrial pressure.

At least one other European government also weighed in to support the lobbying effort, according to a separate source.

Ottawa initially stood its ground, but later granted France-based Airbus and several other aerospace firms waivers from its sanctions.

“I think if the French government had not raised it continuously at that level, we would have held pretty firm,” a Canadian source told Reuters, describing Ottawa’s decision.

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US ban on Russian metals ‘cuts both ways’ – Kremlin
]]> Canada has not said when the waivers will expire, but according to Reuters sources, the industry was given three years.

The EU has extensively sanctioned Moscow following the escalation of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, but it had held off on blacklisting VSMPO-AVISMA.

In December 2022, Airbus announced it was “decoupling” from Russian titanium. Rival aviation giant Boeing also claimed to have stopped purchasing supplies of the strategic metal from Russia in 2022.

Weaning industries off of Russian titanium and other critical minerals is proving difficult, Reuters wrote.

“The problem is a new titanium mill ... takes years to build and it could take a year or two to get certified,” Kevin Michaels, managing director of AeroDynamic Advisory, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

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Thu, 30 May 2024 16:11:04 +0000 RT
EU hikes tariffs on Russian and Belarusian grain? /business/598479-eu-hikes-tariffs-russian-grains/ EU ministers have agreed to introduce “prohibitive” tariffs on grain imports from Russia and Belarus from July 1
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Increasing duties on cereals, oilseeds and derived products is aimed at halting imports, according to the European Council?

The EU has adopted a regulation to hike import tariffs on Russian and Belarusian grain, according to a statement by the European Council, as the bloc continues to pile sanctions on Moscow and its allies over the Ukraine conflict.

The “prohibitive” levies, which will take effect on July 1, will apply to cereals, oilseeds and derived products, as well as beet-pulp pellets and dried peas from both nations, the EU said in a statement on Thursday, stressing that the new regulation hikes the tariffs to such a level that will “halt imports of these products.”

“In addition, those goods will be barred from access to the Union’s tariff rate quotas,” the press release reads, adding that the regulation will not affect transit through the EU from Russia and Belarus to third nations.

The measure will prevent the “destabilization” of the bloc’s grain market and curb the revenues Moscow receives through agricultural exports, EU ministers claimed.

The proposal for tariffs was announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in March. At the time, she said that the move would help to mitigate the “growing risk” to EU markets and farmers.

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Russia comments on proposed EU grain tariffs
]]> The latest statement does not disclose how large the tariffs will be. In March, the Financial Times reported that the levy would amount to an increase of $95 euros ($100) per ton for cereals, and to 50% of the value for oilseeds and derived products.

Commenting on the proposal at the time, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that imposing tariffs on Russia grain is an example of “unfair competition,” arguing that if adopted, the measure will hit EU consumers, while Moscow will use alternative supply routes.

Russia, the world’s largest grain exporter, sold 60 million tons of grains in the agricultural year of 2022-2023, marking a record high, according to the Agriculture Ministry, which added that most of those volumes were supplied to friendly countries. Last year, Russia exported 4.2 million tons of cereals, oilseeds, and derived products to the EU, worth €1.3 billion, while Belarus supplied some 610,000 tons, with a value of €246 million.

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Thu, 30 May 2024 12:53:12 +0000 RT
Sanctions on Russia ineffective, says Dubai trade-hub chief /business/598433-western-russia-sanctions-ineffective/ Western restrictions have made trade more complex but are largely ineffective, according to Hamad Buamim, chair of Dubai’s main trade hub
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Western restrictions do not halt business but merely redirect it, the chairman of UAE’s main free-trade zone says

Sanctions on Russia are having no impact outside the West and such efforts to hamper business simply redirect it elsewhere, the chair of Dubai’s main trading hub has said, in an interview with the Financial Times.

The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) is a leading free-trade zone in the United Arab Emirates that hosts more than 24,000 businesses.

DMCC chief Hamad Buamim told the FT on Wednesday that sanctions slow the economy, but never stop it.

“Trade continues flowing, it just flows in a different way,” Buamim stated.

According to the report, Dubai is seen as a beneficiary of US and EU attempts to isolate Russia’s economy. Global oil traders moved from Geneva to the UAE after Switzerland joined the campaign of sanctions introduced against Moscow.

Buamim, who is also president of Dubai’s chamber of commerce, said that energy is the most important sector for the DMCC, with some 3,000 energy companies registered in the zone.

In recent months, the West has ratcheted up pressure on the UAE and some other countries, to force them act against companies trading with Russia.

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EU states ‘surprised’ by Russia’s economic resilience – Reuters
]]> “The fact that the economy is not purely controlled by one side of the world makes these sanctions less effective,” Buamim argued. “If we just take the Ukraine conflict, [sanctions] are effective when you look west, but they are not really effective beyond that.”

He added: “We don’t see them as a great tool to make any impact. They are just making trade more complex and impacting the whole world.”

The report indicated that the US has in particular targeted international banks that finance trade deals. The UK has also imposed sanctions on the Dubai-based oil trader Paramount Energy & Commodities DMCC, an entity established shortly before G7 members imposed a price cap on Russian oil.

The European parliament, meanwhile, has voted against removing the UAE from the EU’s “grey list” of high-risk countries, over allegedly helping Russia evade sanctions.

The EU is reportedly aiming to agree its new round of Russia sanctions before July. Brussels adopted its 13th package of such restrictions against Moscow ahead of the second anniversary of the beginning of the Ukraine conflict in February. The measures were mostly aimed at closing loopholes to prevent Moscow from circumventing existing restrictions via third countries.

High-ranking EU politicians and diplomats have acknowledged that the scope for further sanctions is narrowing.

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Wed, 29 May 2024 20:36:16 +0000 RT
Here’s why America’s usual approach isn’t working in Ukraine /business/597935-us-ukraine-bailout/ In a nation dominated by Wall Street, the strategy employed for combatting financial crises is seeping into other policymaking realms
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In a nation dominated by Wall Street, the strategy employed for combatting financial crises has seeped into other policymaking realms

The recent startling advance of Russian forces in northeastern Ukraine has dampened quite a bit of the enthusiasm in the pro-Kiev camp following passage in the US Congress of the supplemental aid bill in April. The febrile intensity with which supporters pleaded for the Ukraine aid, and the exaggerated importance they assigned to it, now seem a distant memory.

What is now clearer than ever is that Ukraine’s unravelling war effort cannot be fixed by simply switching the spigot of Western aid back on. So why did the Washington establishment treat the $60 billion figure as some kind of incantation that could ward off the looming crisis?

After all, much of the money won’t even end up going to Ukraine, but will rather be spent to restock the depleted domestic armory. This was in fact one of the key selling points of the bill – an economic boost at home. But greasing the wheels of the US’ lumbering defense industry won’t do anything for Ukraine’s beleaguered army anytime soon. Even after a herculean effort to ramp up production, the US now produces 28,000 155mm artillery rounds per month, not all of which can even be sent to Ukraine. Russia produces about 250,000 per month and fires, on average, 10,000 rounds per day.

And that doesn’t even address Kiev’s catastrophic manpower shortage and endemic corruption, both of which have been laid bare by Russia's recent advances. Kiev is having to play an ever more desperate game of whack-a-mole in deploying its tattered and stretched-thin forces to hold the front together, while the lack of fortifications around Kharkov are being blamed, even in the Ukrainian media, on the long-festering problem of corruption.

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Drowning in debt: The paralysis at the heart of the US fiscal crisis
]]> So we come back to the question of why anybody believed $60 billion could move the needle for Kiev’s cause in the first place. But this question is, alas, difficult to answer because policymaking in Washington is enshrouded under a thick fog that consists of two dominant components: magical thinking and political imperatives. For those who earnestly believed that $60 billion would turn the tide of the war, it is more of the former; for those aligning themselves with the political winds and pretending to support Ukraine much as a mime pretends to be trapped in a phone booth, it is the latter. In many cases it is both, and it is difficult to tell where one begins and the other ends.

Magical thinking is a recognizable symptom of that particular moment in time when an erstwhile great power is in decline but events have not quite yet forced it to come to grips with that decline. It is also a time of diminished scope for action. In times past, perhaps Washington would have solved a crisis such as Ukraine through crafty diplomacy or orchestrated a formidable proxy war with its industrial might and military expertise. But the US now seems incapable of sophisticated diplomacy and its industrial base has badly atrophied through decades of offshoring and financialization. After mostly fighting insurgencies in recent times, it now has no idea how to fight a peer war. About all that it can muster is aid bills with large dollar figures. If all you have is a hammer, the old saying goes, every problem looks like a nail. If all you have left is a printing press for dollars, then every problem must be solvable by an infusion of money – even if it’s not entirely clear what that money can buy.

But here we have stumbled onto something interesting: a belief in the omnipotence of money. Perhaps not a sincere belief; are there any sincere beliefs in Washington? Let’s think of it more as an ingrained pattern of thought for confronting a wide range of problems. In that sense, it is a framework suspiciously reminiscent of the approach used to combat financial crises. It doesn’t seem like so much of a stretch to imagine the entire Ukraine aid discussion framed as something that has become very familiar in recent years: a financial bailout.

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Death of empires: History tells us what will follow the collapse of US hegemony
]]> A too-big-to-fail financial institution called Ukraine is teetering on the edge of failure and a bailout is needed. Although the bank is far away from the heart of Wall Street, there are fears of contagion – if this one fails, others will follow and soon no bank anywhere will be safe. The bank’s owners may be crooks, but that is not what is preoccupying policymakers. They are nervous about a spread that has suddenly moved against the bank: it is supposed to trade at 1:1 but has blown out to 1:10 (the ratio of artillery fire by Ukrainian and Russian forces). Shoving a $60-billion bailout into the bank should at least put out the fires and calm markets.

Zoltan Poszar, the legendary former Credit Suisse chief strategist who needs no introduction in finance circles, made a fascinating observation on the topic of the reflexive response of throwing money at a problem. Poszar was speaking narrowly about how a certain group of people approach a certain problem and was not talking about policymaking, much less Ukraine, but his conclusion traces the contours of something deeper. 

When the specter of inflation reemerged in 2021, Poszar made the rounds of portfolio managers and, after talking with them, reached an interesting conclusion: nobody knew how to think about inflation. Nearly everyone on Wall Street is too young to remember the last serious bout of inflation, which occurred way back in the 1980s. So, according to Poszar, they all thought of the spike in the inflation charts as just another spread that blew out on their Bloomberg screens that could be solved by throwing balance sheet at it – a “crisis of basis” as he calls it. The formative experiences for today’s denizens of Wall Street, Poszar explains, are the Asian financial crisis of 1998, the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, some spread blowouts since 2015, and the pandemic. In all of these cases, money was pumped in and eventually the dislocations disappeared.

To put this in plain English, Poszar’s clients hadn’t encountered a problem that couldn’t be solved – or at least swept under the rug – by simply adding money, in whatever form, whether via an emergency loan or quantitative easing. This is of course a bit of an oversimplification, but it captures something of the essence of the prevailing pattern of thought.

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Why Fed rate hikes used to cause the classic emerging-market crisis but now seem to boomerang on the US
]]> However, as Poszar notes, the inflation of 2021 was a beast that could not be tamed by simply throwing money at it – or for that matter, even by merely hiking interest rates (merely a step removed from adding money). This made it an entirely unfamiliar type of problem for the current generation of fund managers and traders, he concluded. Indeed, perhaps what makes the problem of entrenched inflation so ominous is exactly that it is impervious to just about the only tool in the playbook: liquidity injections. That in itself is significant, but it is a topic for another day. For the sake of this discussion, let’s stick with the idea that the approach of solving problems by throwing money at them has become deeply ingrained.

Developing the same idea of throwing money at the problem of financial instability, but taking it in a different direction, was Timothy Geithner, the head of the New York Fed and then US Treasury secretary starting in 2009, who talked about dealing with financial crises by “putting a lot of money in the window” and, using a military analogy, bringing “overwhelming force” to bear so that markets believe the commitment is credible. This was the lesson learned from 2008, and it has since become a point of orthodoxy in dealing with subsequent crises. The stress experienced by the Treasury market in March of 2020 and the failures of First Republic Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, and Signature Bank in 2023 elicited an overwhelming response from regulators to shore things up.

Underlying this approach is an acknowledgement that markets can be driven by sentiment and that narrative can be just as important as substance. If markets believe the commitment – whether to propping up a bank, the Treasury market, or the repo market – is credible, things are less likely to spiral out of control. In other words, the art of addressing a financial crisis involves not only ponying up the money to close the basis but also shaping sentiment. There’s nothing particularly controversial about this. John Maynard Keynes talked about ‘animal spirits’ – the intuitive, emotional, and irrational components that economic decision makers bring to their actions. It thus follows that if investors start questioning the solvency of a market or institution, the path out of the woods is part finance and part PR. Geithner simply understood the true implications of this for confronting the increasingly frequent phenomenon of financial crises.

In watching how the US has managed its proxy war in Ukraine by sending an endless series of “strong messages” and making symbolic gestures, while prodding the Ukrainians toward actions imbued with more PR value than military benefit, it’s hard not to think that something of the Geithner approach has wormed its way into US policymaking, however subconsciously. At the very least, the $60 billion aid package was presented very much as a way to “reassure the market.”

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A great wealth transfer is underway: How the West lost control of the gold market
]]> Of course, the incessant drum beat of “strong messages” emanating from Washington can be seen in another light: as a flailing attempt to maintain American deterrence. Once established, deterrence is cheap to maintain, but it is very difficult and expensive to re-establish when lost. In a sense, these two ideas – deterrence and keeping animal spirits at bay – can be seen as two sides of the same coin. In both instances, it is an attempt to close the spread between reality and perception.

What is perhaps Washington’s most influential defense think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, issued an article authored by analyst Max Bergmann in the days leading up to the congressional vote on the aid package that captures with exceptional clarity the emphasis placed on sentiment – called “morale” in this case.

“Passing the supplemental would likely sap Russia’s morale, in addition to boosting Ukraine’s,” Bergmann writes. And while he stops just short of predicting mass protests and the overthrow of President Vladimir Putin, he believes it will shake the foundation of the Russian political system and sow seeds of doubt into Russian society. The view that “this war makes little sense and was a mistake could spread like a virus and prove corrosive to the Russian system,” he concludes.

Where Bergmann falls on the ‘magical thinking’ versus ‘political imperatives’ continuum is unknown, but he seems to have internalized Geithner’s PR-tinged “credible commitment” principle, and he believes that will make all the difference.

Such is the thinking that has permeated Washington’s decision-making process in Ukraine. If finance is to the America of today what shipbuilding was to Holland in the 17th century – a dominant industry whose habits and patterns of thought seeped deep into the pores of the national consciousness – it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the framework for solving problems on Wall Street has implanted itself in other areas of policymaking. The foreign policy establishment, Congress, and Wall Street aren’t exactly the same thing, but they all seem guided by the same mental map.

Shelley wrote that poets are “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Perhaps the unacknowledged legislators of our time are the bankers and their friends in Washington who bail them out. Ukraine is learning the hard way that winning a war requires more than putting a lot of money in the window and running a PR campaign to keep the short sellers away. 

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Wed, 29 May 2024 18:11:36 +0000 RT
IMF warns Europe over energy security /business/598394-eu-energy-security-ukraine-conflict/ The Ukraine conflict and sanctions on Russia are threatening Europe’s energy security by keeping costs high, IMF analysts have warned
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The conflict between Moscow and Kiev is keeping energy prices high, a study released by the International Monetary Fund suggests

The Ukraine conflict and sanctions on Russia could harm energy security and economic development throughout Western and central Europe, analysts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have warned. The findings come as the EU considers restrictions on liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Russia.

Despite the “impressive array” of actions taken by policymakers to strengthen energy security since the outbreak of the hostilities and the trade restrictions on Moscow, energy costs remain high, according to the study conducted for the IMF and published on Tuesday.

By Europe, the document refers to the European Union, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

Simulations carried out by the report’s authors suggest that the Ukraine crisis and resulting measures against Russia will have “mixed effects” on energy in the medium term.

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EU states ‘surprised’ by Russia’s economic resilience – Reuters
]]> Reducing energy dependence on Moscow by diversifying supplies may have left the continent better-prepared for a future energy supply shock, the paper suggests. The EU has increased fuel purchases from the US and Africa, and is also working to boost its own energy production.

However, despite an increase in energy supply sources and some reduction in consumption, prices remain higher than they would have been in a no-conflict scenario, the paper states.

The hostilities “could persistently increase energy prices in Europe, which would weaken energy security by raising the energy spending share in GDP and thereby making economic activity more sensitive to any energy disruptions,” the document reads.

In 2022, Europe suffered its worst energy crisis since the 1970s, triggered by sanctions on Russia. Electricity prices jumped from €45 to €598 per megawatt hour in August of that year. The EU phased out use of Russian coal and imposed an embargo on seaborne oil from the country, reducing imports by 90%. Meanwhile, Russia’s share in EU gas imports fell from 41% in 2021 to 15% in 2023. The EU has set itself a goal of phasing out all remaining Russian fossil fuel imports by 2030.

Moscow, however, has emerged as a leading supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the bloc, accounting for 16% of its imports last year. The EU is currently considering an import ban on Russian LNG as part of a 14th set of restrictions.

]]> READ MORE: EU state could veto new Russia sanctions – Politico

]]> The proposed measures would prevent EU countries from re-exporting Russian LNG, but would fall short of an outright ban.

Moscow has said any restrictions against Russian LNG – along with efforts to “squeeze” the country out of energy markets – will only lead to higher gas prices for EU consumers.

Since the launch of the massive Western sanctions campaign in 2022, Moscow has redirected most of its energy exports to Asia, primarily to China and India.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Wed, 29 May 2024 12:14:06 +0000 RT
Russia poised to overhaul tax policy /business/598379-russia-overhaul-tax-system-progressive-scale/ Russia’s Finance Ministry has submitted proposals to update the tax system, including the introduction of a new progressive tax scale
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The new progressive five-bracket system is expected to come into effect next year

Russia’s Finance Ministry has submitted to the government a package of amendments to the country’s tax system, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported on Tuesday. The changes aim to introduce a new progressive tax scale and amendments to the 2024-2026 budget legislation.

Last month, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced plans for public discussion regarding an update to the tax system. According to Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the official paper of the government, the draft amendments submitted on Tuesday were the result of public discussion and consultations in parliament.

The changes will see the introduction of five income brackets instead of the current two. Workers who earn the equivalent of up to $26,900 a year will pay 13% tax. Those with incomes ranging from $26,900 to $56,000 a year will pay 15%; while those earning between $56,000 and $224,200 a year will pay tax at 18%. A rate of 20% will apply to taxpayers with an annual wage of between $224,200 and $560,600, and the highest earners with annual income above $560,600 will pay 22% tax.

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FILE PHOTO:  Founder and CEO of Wildberries, Tatyana Bakalchuk.
Russia’s richest woman backs tax increases
]]> “Adoption of the proposed changes will ensure a stable and predictable environment for citizens, businesses and regions… It will also boost the country’s economic well-being,” Siluanov said.

The amendments are expected to be passed by the parliament over the next two months, allowing the changes to take effect on January 1, 2025. According to Finance Ministry calculations, the measures are expected to bring in over $29 billion to state coffers next year.

Russia had a progressive tax scale up until 2001, when the government decided to introduce a flat rate of 13% for all incomes in a bid to attract investment into the country. In 2021, an extra 15% bracket was introduced for incomes exceeding the equivalent of roughly $68,500 a year.

Russia’s tax system will remain competitive – even with the new five-bracket scale, the Finance Ministry said. It will align with those of neighboring countries such as Belarus, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. 

]]> READ MORE: Russian economic growth hits 5.4%

]]> Across Western countries, the personal income tax burden is much higher, the ministry noted. In the UK, the maximum personal income tax rate is 46%, while Germany has a rate of 47.5%. Austrian taxpayers face a rate of up to 55%, and France’s top rate is 55.4%.

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Wed, 29 May 2024 11:47:22 +0000 RT
Major global refiner to pay for Russian oil in rubles – Reuters /business/598368-india-russia-oil-deal-ruble/ India’s biggest refinery signed a deal with Russia for the supply of 3 million barrels of oil monthly in rubles within a year
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Rosneft and Reliance Industries have reportedly clinched a one-year deal

India’s largest private corporation Reliance Industries and the Russian company Rosneft have signed a one-year contract for monthly supplies of up to three million barrels of oil that will be paid for in rubles, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the issue.

Reliance Industries will reportedly buy two shipments of Urals crude, with the option to purchase four more each month at a discount of $3 per barrel to the Middle East Dubai benchmark. The operator of the world’s biggest refining complex, located in Jamnagar, is also expected to buy up to two shipments per month of low-sulfur crude oil at a premium of $1 per barrel to Dubai quotes, the source specified.

The Mumbai-based multinational has agreed to pay for the supplies using Russian rubles; India’s HDFC Bank and Russia’s Gazprombank will facilitate transactions, the sources told the agency.

India, the world’s third-largest oil consumer, has become a major importer of Russian crude oil since Western buyers opted to reduce purchases in response to Ukraine-related sanctions. Russian exporters began offering substantial discounts on crude to attract new markets following the loss of the country’s prior trade partners.

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RT
Indian imports of Russian oil rebound despite US pressure – media
]]> Since the beginning of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, the EU, G7, and their allies have imposed numerous sanctions on Russia in an attempt to curb the country’s oil revenues, including an embargo and a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian crude. Similar restrictions have been introduced for exports of petroleum products.

Earlier this month, India’s state-controlled Bank of Baroda reported that the country’s imports of Russian oil soared tenfold in 2023, adding that the South Asian nation saved nearly $5 billion by boosting purchases of crude from Russia.  The sanction-hit country became India’s largest supplier during the fiscal year 2023/24 for the second year in a row, outranking Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Moscow’s shift away from the US dollar towards local currencies, including the ruble, Indian rupee, Chinese yuan and UAE dirham, in cross-border settlements with its partners follows Russia’s push to find alternative ways to facilitate trade amid the West’s attempts to cut off the nation’s access to its financial system.

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Wed, 29 May 2024 09:46:06 +0000 RT
EU facing cod shortage due to Russia sanctions – industry leaders /business/598341-eu-cod-shortage-russia-sanctions/ The EU is facing a shortage of cod due to declining stocks and to trade restrictions, according to the Russian fishing industry
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Trade restrictions as well as declining stocks, are driving up prices

The European Union is facing a shortage of cod, a key ingredient used in many traditional dishes across the continent, Russia’s fishing industry association has told TASS news agency, citing UN data.

Declining harvests and restrictions on trade with Russia, the world’s leading cod producer, have pushed product prices up, forcing some EU countries to look for cheaper options, German Zverev, the director of the All-Russian Association of Fish Producers has said.

“Despite the significant increase in prices, consumers are not abandoning [cod] en masse, although they partially switch to cheaper white fish, primarily pollock,” Zverev told TASS.

Fish-processing businesses are also struggling to ensure adequate amounts of supply, he suggested, citing a recent report issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The steady demand amid a declining supply has created an imbalance in the market, Zverev added.

FAO’s latest GLOBEFISH report has warned of a “dramatic reduction” in Atlantic cod stocks this year. The fish-processing industry has also been impacted by the Russia sanctions, the document suggested.

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RT
Russian crab ‘conquering’ Chinese market – data
]]> “The ban on trade with the Russian Federation following the conflict in Ukraine, is taking its toll for European processors. They are just not getting enough raw material,” the report reads.

Food items, except for high-end produce such as caviar, are exempt from EU sanctions against Russia. However, last October Norway, another leading cod producer, suspended all Russian seafood imports through a key border crossing, citing inadequate infrastructure there.

The sanctions have also hampered Russia’s ability to conduct foreign trade and to carry out transactions, by cutting the country out of the western financial system.

The two most common species of cod are the Atlantic cod, which is harvested throughout the North Atlantic by Norway and Russia, and the Pacific cod, that comes from the Bering and Barents Seas and the Gulf of Alaska. In December, Russia banned harvesting the fish in two important zones in the Pacific, citing a decline in landings of the species.

The measure will negatively affect the industry itself and the market, where cod prices are already “sky high,” the FAO lamented.

]]> READ MORE: EU in serious danger – Macron

]]> In 2023, the EU imported over 284,000 tons of cod (excluding salted fillets), the Russian association said, citing data from the UN global trade database Comtrade. Frozen cod accounted for almost half the shipments. Russia’s share of frozen cod imports to the EU stood at 54.7%, and Norway accounted for 21%.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Tue, 28 May 2024 14:04:50 +0000 RT
Western firms ‘backtracking’ on Russia exit plans – FT /business/598332-western-firms-backtrack-russia-exit/ More than half of the foreign firms that pledged to leave Russia have remained in the country, the Financial Times has reported
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Russia’s strong economic performance is making the country more appealing for multinationals, the outlet reports

More than half of the foreign businesses that announced plans to leave Russia after the start of the Ukraine conflict have remained in the country, the Financial Times reported on Monday. A rebound in consumer activity and “bureaucratic obstacles” are making the companies stay, the outlet suggested.

British businesses such as cosmetics brand Avon and consumer goods company Reckitt, as well as French industrial gas producer Air Liquide, are among 2,173 overseas firms that continue to operate in Russia as of May 5, according to data compiled by the Kiev School of Economics. Around 1,600 firms either exited or curtailed their operations in the country, it added.

Scores of Western companies pledged to leave the Russian market shortly after Moscow launched its military operation against Ukraine in February 2022. Carmakers Volkswagen and Renault, oil and gas multinationals Shell and British Petroleum, fast-food chain McDonald’s, and Swedish furniture giant IKEA are among those that completed their exits.

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RT
Russia exits have cost Western firms over $100 billion – Reuters
]]> Firms that left in the first weeks of the conflict saw “a moral imperative” to do so, an executive working with Western companies in Russia told FT. However, there has since been “a noticeable change in sentiment,” he added.

“The current wave is more about, ‘Do you really have to leave? Do you want to leave?’ Some of these companies have built four, five factories over 30 years. They’re not going to sell that for a 90% discount,” the outlet quoted the executive as saying.

The sale of assets to Russian buyers by Western companies requires approval by a government commission headed by Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. The Finance Ministry imposed a mandatory 50% discount on the sale of assets belonging to firms from “unfriendly” countries, and a minimum 15% “exit tax,” Russian media previously reported.

Russia’s strong economic performance is reportedly also a factor in the decision by foreign firms to remain, with the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growing by 5.4% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2024, according to preliminary data released by the national statistics service, Rosstat. In April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it expected the Russian economy to grow faster than all advanced economies this year. GDP is forecast to expand by 3.2%, exceeding the expected growth rates for the US (2.7%), the UK (0.5%), Germany (0.2%), and France (0.7%).

]]> READ MORE: Migrant outflow triggers salary boom for Russians – experts

]]> Real wages in Russia also grew by nearly 8% last year – the biggest jump in five years, according to Rosstat.

Mondelez, Unilever, and Nestle are also among those that opted to stay. The chief executive of confectionery giant Mondelez recently told the FT that the firm’s shareholders did not “morally care” whether the group exited the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin set a goal earlier this month for the country to have the fourth-highest GDP – measured by purchasing power parity – in the world, by 2030. The government has announced a raft of measures aimed at transforming the country’s economy and promoting consumer spending. They include labor reforms, entrepreneurial incentives, and increased efficiency and productivity.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Tue, 28 May 2024 11:34:21 +0000 RT
Russia’s grain union sharply reduces 2024 harvest forecast /business/598316-russia-grain-harvest-outlook-reduced/ Russia’s grain harvest will amount to 129 million tons due to damage wrought by May frosts
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Analysts cite an unseasonal sub-zero snap that hit key agricultural areas as the reason for the update

Russia’s grain harvest is not expected to exceed 130 million metric tons in 2024 due to the freezing temperatures recorded in the country earlier this month, the head of the Russian Grain Union (RGU), Arkady Zlochevsky, has said.

The official has highlighted that the areas impacted by the unseasonal cold snap are “sufficiently large,” specifying that farmers would resow 900,000 hectares (over 2.2 million acres) out of 1.5 million damaged hectares.

“Gross output is projected to amount to 129 million tons, quite a serious decrease, as previous outlooks put it between 142 and 149 million tons,” Zlochevsky told journalists on Monday.

The head of the grain union also said that the country’s agricultural sector hadn’t dealt with frost that late in the year for more than a century, stressing that the optimal time for resowing has already been missed. He added that “all analysts” have downgraded their forecasts for the current year’s harvest.

“Even if it is possible to replant all the areas required for replanting with spring sown cereal, the harvest will still be significantly lower than autumn sown cereal could provide,” Zlochevsky said.

On Monday, Russian Agriculture Minister Oksana Lut told journalists that the ministry is not planning to revise its grain harvest forecast and exports for the current farming year despite the latest cold snap and droughts currently hitting the southern part of the country.

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RT
Russia set for record grain exports – minister
]]> In separate interview with TASS, Lut said that the ministry is planning to declare a federal state of emergency due to the abnormal frosts recorded in May, adding that financial support would be provided to farmers cultivating fruit trees.

Earlier this month, several Russian regions, including Lipetsk, Voronezh, Tambov, Rostov and Volgograd declared a state of emergency at the local level, citing the May frosts, which caused severe damage to crops.

Last week, the minister of agriculture said exports of Russian grain were expected to bring in a record-breaking $45 billion in 2024.

Russia, the world’s top wheat exporter, has substantially boosted food exports in recent years with bumper harvests and attractive pricing, despite Western sanctions that have attempted to thwart the country’s cross-border trade. The nation has also been supplying free grain to a number of African countries that are facing food insecurity.

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Tue, 28 May 2024 10:05:40 +0000 RT
Russian crab ‘conquering’ Chinese market – data /business/598289-russian-crab-conquering-chinese-market/ A leading Russian fishery increased exports of crab to China by 33% last year, export data suggests
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Exports jumped last year following Beijing’s ban on seafood from Japan

A major Russian crab seller's exports to China soared by more than a third last year, statistics show. The Asian nation has become the main buyer of fish products from Russia’s Far East following Beijing’s ban on all seafood imports from Japan.

Vladivostok-based company Russian Crab is ”conquering” the Chinese market, having exported 33% more of the seafood to the Asian nation in 2023 than in the previous year, the Russian Export Center (REC), a government agency tasked with facilitating the sale of Russian goods abroad, said in a statement on Monday. 

Russian Crab is the largest crab fishing company in Russia’s Far East, with an annual quota of 182,000 tons in the Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan (known to Koreans as the East Sea.)

Russia has significantly boosted deliveries of marine produce to China after Beijing imposed a ban on imports of all seafood from Japan and Russian exports to the west were curtailed by sanctions. Beijing's decision was a response to Tokyo’s discharge of radioactive wastewater from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean last August.

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Oleg Kan.
Russian ‘crab king’ staged his own death – prosecutor
]]> In regional terms, seafood exports from Russia’s fish-rich Far Eastern Primorsky and Sakhalin federal districts surged 72% last year, according to Rosselkhoznadzor, the regulator responsible for food safety. During that year China became the main buyer of fish products from Russia’s Far East, followed by South Korea, Nigeria and Japan.

China became Russia’s largest trade partner in 2023 after Moscow redirected many of its exports to the East due to Western sanctions. Last December, the US targeted imports of Russian-caught seafood processed in third-party countries, in a toughening of initial restrictions on Russian fish and seafood imports imposed in March 2022.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on Monday that the government will allocate more than three billion rubles ($33.8 million) to speed up the construction of 13 fishing vessels currently at shipyards in the country’s Far East.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Mon, 27 May 2024 13:24:27 +0000 RT
Ruble strengthens to five-month high /business/598281-ruble-strengthens-five-month-dollar-euro/ The Russian ruble has rallied against the dollar and euro amid increased sales of foreign earnings by exporters
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The currency has been rallying due to increased sales of foreign earnings by exporters

The Russian ruble continued to strengthen against major currencies on Monday, jumping to its highest level against the dollar since late January, trading data from the Moscow Exchange (MOEX) shows.

The ruble reached 88.4 to the US dollar as of 8:30am GMT, its highest point rate since January 30. It also gained against the European single currency, trading at around 96 to the euro, also a five-month high.

Analysts note that the Russian currency has been strengthening over the past week amid higher sales of foreign currency earnings by exporters ahead of ruble-denominated dividend payments this week, and tax payments.

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO: The girl at the Italian supercar Ferrari F8 Tributo on the street of Moscow.
Russian millionaire bank deposits increase by 50% in a year – data
]]> The ruble has also been supported by expectations that the Central Bank will maintain its tight monetary policy, and could introduce another interest rate hike this year. The regulator has held the key interest rate at 16% since December to restrain inflation, which is nearly double the target level. The deputy head of the central bank, Aleksey Zabotkin, said last week that the regulator may decide to raise the rate at a meeting in June.

Analysts have also partially attributed the strong ruble to the delayed effect of an $18.8 billion trade surplus that Russia saw in March, the highest figure since January 2022.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Mon, 27 May 2024 09:42:01 +0000 RT
ECB tells banks to ‘get out of Russia’ /business/598273-ecb-tells-banks-get-out-of-russia/ Italian banks must halt operations in Russia as doing business there is causing a “reputational problem,” the European Central Bank has said
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Italian lenders must quit the country to avoid a “reputational problem,” a European Central Bank policymaker has warned

A senior official at the European Central Bank (ECB) has urged Italian banks with operations in Russia to pull out, amid the threat of harsher US sanctions on Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine.

Italy’s UniCredit currently has the second largest exposure to the Russian market among EU-based banks, after Austria's Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI). Another lender, Intesa Sanpaolo, is working to dispose of its business in the country.

From [Russia] you have to get out,” ECB policymaker Fabio Panetta said at a press conference following a G7 finance meeting in Italy, as quoted by Reuters.

”There are objective difficulties because getting out of Russia is complicated… however, you have to get out because there is a reputational problem,” said Panetta, who is also the governor of the Bank of Italy.

The G7 Finance Ministers' and Central Bank Governors' meeting in the Italian lakeside town of Stresa was also attended by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. In an interview with Reuters, Yellen warned that European banks operating in Russia face growing risks, as the US is looking at “potentially a tougher stepping-up” of secondary sanctions on lenders that do business in the country.

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RT
ECB rushing banks to quit Russia – FT?
]]> Sanctions related to banks’ dealings in Russia would only be imposed “if there was a reason to do so, but operating in Russia creates an awful lot of risk,” Yellen stressed.

The risk of a US crackdown has reportedly spurred the ECB to up the pressure on European financial institutions still working in Russia.

Apart from RBI, UniCredit, and Intesa Sanpaolo, a number of other EU banks – notably the Dutch lender ING, Germany’s Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank, Hungary’s OTP Bank, and Sweden’s SEB –maintain a presence in the Russian market despite Western sanctions.

According to the Financial Times, the regulator has sent letters to lenders with a request for an “action plan” to fold their business in Russia as early as June.

Earlier this month Reuters reported that the US Treasury had threatened to cut off Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI)’s access to the American financial system due to its activities in Russia. RBI said it would start withdrawing in the third quarter of this year following pressure from the ECB.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Mon, 27 May 2024 09:41:01 +0000 RT
G7 fails to finalize plans for tapping Russian assets /business/598236-g7-russian-assets-decision/ The G7 has not reached a consensus on how to get the revenue from frozen Russian central bank assets to Ukraine, Italy has said
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Redirecting the money to Kiev still poses a slew of technical and legal problems, Italy says

The G7 has not reached a consensus on how to use the revenue generated by Russian central bank assets frozen abroad to help Ukraine, Italian Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti announced on Saturday.

Italy holds the group’s presidency this year, and hosted this week’s two-day meeting of the G7 finance ministers in the town of Stresa.

At a press conference at the end of the summit, Giorgetti said the group made progress on the Russian assets issue, but “has yet to finalize” the process because it still “presents significant technical and legal problems.”

Speaking to reporters on Friday, he added that the parties were trying to reach a “politically desirable solution” that would be “incontestable from a legal point of view,” and finding it takes time. Giorgetti noted that the final decisions for the move will likely be made at the June G7 leaders’ summit in Puglia.

Following the start of the Ukraine conflict in early 2022, Western countries blocked around $300 billion in assets belonging to Russia’s central bank as part of the sanctions on Moscow. Roughly two-thirds of these funds are held in the EU clearing house Euroclear, and the rest is mostly sitting untapped in other EU nations, with around $5 billion in the US.

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RT
Moscow condemns EU ruling on frozen assets
]]> While Washington has been eager to seize the assets outright, the G7 is reportedly not considering this option due to concerns of its European members that it would damage their financial credibility and discourage other countries from keeping their assets in the bloc. Instead, the group is focused on ways to tap the profits generated by the assets, and how to use them.

According to reports citing the summit’s attendees, one of the most widely discussed options is using future profits from the frozen funds as collateral for a multibillion-dollar loan to Kiev. However, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner told reporters on Friday that “it is still to be seen whether it will be possible to introduce such an instrument” due to the legal repercussions it may bring.

Another option that has reportedly been discussed is allocating the proceeds from the frozen assets directly to Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky, with 90% of the sum to be used on weapons purchases, while the remaining 10% would go to the reconstruction of the country.

]]> READ MORE: Putin lays groundwork for confiscation of US assets

]]> Russia has warned against any actions targeting its assets, saying they would amount to theft, while vowing retaliation. Earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree outlining a mechanism that would allow Moscow to seize property owned by US-linked entities and citizens through court if Washington attempts to confiscate Russian assets held abroad.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Sat, 25 May 2024 15:23:29 +0000 RT
UK warned of toughest fiscal choices in decades /business/598231-uk-new-government-fiscal-challenges/ The next UK government will have to choose between tax hikes, spending cuts or boosting borrowing, a think tank has said
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The next British government will inherit a slew of economic problems, and will have to quickly decide how to tackle them, according to a think tank

The UK economy is in a tight spot and the new government which will come to power after the general elections scheduled for July will face the hardest fiscal challenge the country has seen in decades, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think tank indicated in a report on Saturday.

According to the analysts, the new administration will inherit three key problems: a debt burden close to 100% of gross domestic product (GDP), high interest rates and low growth. The government, they claim, has “limited headroom” for dealing with these challenges, and will have to decide quickly between several unappealing options.

One option researchers singled out is to implement spending cuts. However, they say this option “will inevitably be painful,” as public services, the Home Office, justice, and local government are already struggling due to scarce funding. Another option is to further raise taxes, but this would also be difficult, given that at their current pace they are already due to hit an 80-year high by 2028-29.

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Rishi Sunak delivers a speech to announce the date of the UK's next general election at 10 Downing Street in London, England, May 22, 2024
UK PM Sunak calls snap general election
]]> “The fact that this is only just enough to stabilize debt in five years’ time speaks to the difficulty of the economic and fiscal inheritance awaiting the next government,” the IFS stated.

A third option to deal with fiscal challenges would be to borrow more, but this step would further increase the UK’s debt burden, which both the ruling Conservative party and the Labour opposition have pledged to stabilize.

According to analysts, things could be easier if the UK’s nominal GDP started to grow quickly, due to either high inflation or rapid ‘real’ economic growth. However, according to the latest forecasts, the next British government will face lower than average nominal GDP growth of 3.6% per year coupled with higher than average debt interest spending, which, the IFS said, is not a promising combination.

]]> READ MORE: UK slips into recession

]]> According to IFS Director Paul Johnson, who commented on his agency’s findings in an interview with Bloomberg, the UK could hope for GDP growth to pick up and thus avoid making the tough choices outlined in the report. However, the prospect is unlikely.

“Money is tight. Public services are creaking, taxes are at historically high levels, and both parties are hemmed in by their very clear pledges to get debt falling… We could get miraculously lucky with growth and escape having to make these tough choices. But we might not. Just because thousands of English and Scottish football fans are crossing their fingers and hoping for the best this summer doesn’t mean that the next Cabinet should do the same,” Johnson stated.

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Sat, 25 May 2024 12:52:26 +0000 RT
Musk blasts US tariffs on China /business/598205-musk-china-tariffs-electric-vehicles/ The Tesla chief executive had previously supported trade barriers on the Asian country’s EVs
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The levies on Chinese electric vehicles distort the car market, according to the Tesla boss

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has denounced the US government’s newly announced tariffs on electric vehicles imported from China as “not good.” 

Washington rolled out steep tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this month, quadrupling duties on EVs to over 100%. The new measures affect $18 billion in imported Chinese goods, according to officials. 

“Things that inhibit freedom of exchange or distort the market are not good,” Musk stated at the Viva Technology conference in Paris on Thursday, Reuters reported. 

“Neither Tesla nor I asked for these tariffs, in fact, I was surprised when they were announced,” he said, adding that “Tesla competes quite well in the market in China with no tariffs and no deferential support.” 

Musk’s remarks come as a U-turn from his previous stance on the US trade barriers with China.

The Tesla boss said in January that trade tariffs were needed or China would “demolish most other car companies in the world.” 

Although Tesla’s performance has been impacted by competition from Chinese producers, last month Tesla reclaimed its spot as the largest EV manufacturer in the world from its rival BYD based on first quarter sales.

]]> READ MORE: US slaps steep tariffs on China

]]> US officials have repeatedly labeled China as America’s top competitor, while tightening economic restrictions against the country. Tariffs on Chinese goods were hiked significantly under former President Donald Trump, who launched the first volley in a tit-for-tat trade war that began in 2018. A similarly hostile approach has continued under his successor, Joe Biden, who has pursued several policies aimed at the Chinese economy.

Beijing has warned that such measures violate the principles of fair competition and harm the stability of world trade.

This week, a Chinese trade group said Beijing was considering raising tariffs on some car imports to counter US and EU trade actions against Chinese-made EVs.

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Fri, 24 May 2024 20:05:03 +0000 RT
China can’t be ignored – JPMorgan /business/598138-china-global-economy-influence/ China’s influence on the global economy should not be underestimated, JPMorgan’s regional head has said
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The country is too big to sideline, according to the investment bank’s Asia CEO

China is an important player on the global economic stage that cannot be left aside, JPMorgan Asia Pacific CEO Sjoerd Leenart said on Thursday at the 20th annual Global China Summit in Shanghai.

According to the chief executive, a lot of international companies are investing in the economic powerhouse despite the prevailing political rhetoric.

“You can’t ignore it, you have to do business there, even if you decide not to do business there, you need to understand what’s going on,” Leenart argued, adding that what happens in China “influences every industry around the world.”

According to a CNBC report, China currently accounts for 19% of GDP and 48% of Asia’s GDP in terms of purchasing power parity.

Leenart underscored China’s importance in the region’s investment banking business, claiming that “banking in Asia also can never be full speed if China isn’t running.” 

He noted that despite foreign direct investment into the country falling last year, it should be viewed in the broader context of FDI growing for the last 50 years. “Every market will take its pause,” Leenart said.

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RT
Decoupling from China may be ‘impossible’ – survey
]]> The executive said he sees a lot of opportunity in China. “I think that [the Chinese] have a lot to sell to the world, and that product will be needed all over the world.” 

The world’s second largest economy will grow 5.2% in 2024, according to Zhu Haibin, chief China economist at JPMorgan. That estimate is an upward revision from his previous projection of 4.9% growth.

The economist announced his updated figure during the Shanghai summit, noting that the country’s robust 5.3% year-on-year economic growth in the first quarter of 2024 had surpassed market expectations and marked a strong beginning for the year.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told Sky News this month that he favors full engagement with China, adding that while it is a fierce competitor, it is “not an enemy” of the Western world.

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Thu, 23 May 2024 18:52:46 +0000 RT
EU to target luxury car influx into Russia – FT /news/598112-eu-sanctions-belarus-luxury-car-russia/ The EU is preparing sanctions against Belarus to target the import of luxury cars that are later sold to Russia, the Financial Times reports
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The bloc wants to introduce new sanctions against Belarus, which serves as an import route, the newspaper says

The EU is preparing to roll out new restrictions against Belarus, including on luxury cars, in a bid to prevent Russia from bypassing Western sanctions imposed over the Ukraine conflict, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

According to a draft measure currently under discussion, the EU is seeking “to minimize the risk of circumvention,” particularly when it comes to Belarusian imports of luxury vehicles which are then sold on to Russian nationals.

The new measures against Russia’s key ally would also reportedly cover other high-end items, ban exports to and via Belarus of technology and goods that could be used by the military, and would target liquefied natural gas. The EU would also bar diamond imports from Belarus, following a similar restriction introduced against Russia in December, the newspaper said.

According to statistics collected by Trade Data Monitor and shared by the FT, EU car export to Belarus spiked after the West ramped sanctions on Russia in 2022, reaching $268 million in early 2024.

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RT
Moscow condemns EU ruling on frozen assets
]]> Numerous Western officials have complained that Russians have no problem buying a Western-made car in Belarus due to loopholes in the restrictions. As a result, Brussels has been urged to align the sanctions regime against Minsk with the measures imposed against Moscow.

According to the FT, in late 2022 one Rolls-Royce valued at $630,000 came to Russia via a Belarusian source, and in 2023 at least 28 Maybachs were imported by Russian nationals from Belarusian suppliers.

After the start of the Ukraine conflict, the EU ramped up sanctions against Minsk, citing its involvement in Moscow’s campaign against Ukraine. While the measures are much more lenient than the ones targeting Russia, the EU still banned the export of dual-use goods and technology to Belarus, as well as a wide range of industrial products, while targeting the country’s financial sector. Both Belarus and Russia have denounced the sanctions as illegal.

Belarusian officials have said they try to mitigate the impact of the sanctions by changing customs legislation and organizing complex logistical chains. In April, lawmakers in Minsk passed a bill allowing the legal sale of sanctioned goods that are marked as being in transit.

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Thu, 23 May 2024 12:18:13 +0000 RT
Putin orders American Express bank to liquidate /business/598071-putin-american-express-bank/ The US credit institution suspended all operations in Russia in 2022 due to Western sanctions
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The US credit institution has been given the right to “voluntary” close its Russia business

Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted American Express bank the right to “voluntary liquidate” its business in Russia, according to a document published on the portal of legal acts on Wednesday.

The order did not specify how and when exactly the liquidation process will take place.

According to the document, the decision comes in accordance with a decree signed by Putin in August 2022 concerning special economic measures in the financial and energy sectors in connection with the “unfriendly actions of some foreign states and international organizations.”

In October 2022, Putin approved a list of 45 foreign-owned credit institutions, including American Express, transactions in the shares or share capital of which were banned without the president’s special permission.

American Express announced in March 2022 that it was suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus in light of Western sanctions over the Ukraine conflict. The decision followed a similar move by fellow US payments firms Visa and Mastercard.

Since then, globally issued AmEx cards no longer work in Russia, while cards issued locally in Russia don’t work outside the country on the American Express global network.

American Express had been operating in Russia since 2008, as part of the American Express Global Corporate Payments business division.

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Wed, 22 May 2024 20:06:17 +0000 RT
Cutting off Palestine from global banking system would be ‘catastrophic’ – FT /business/598050-israel-waiver-palestinian-banks/ The decision would paralyze the Palestinian Authority’s economy, according to a report
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Israel has threatened to revoke a waiver for maintaining ties with financial institutions in the West Bank

Western officials have warned of an “economic catastrophe” in the occupied West Bank if Israel does not renew a banking waiver vital to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

The waiver, which Israeli banks rely on to maintain relations with their Palestinian counterparts, is set to expire on July 1. It allows payments for vital services and salaries tied to the PA and facilitates the import of food, water, and electricity into the occupied Palestinian territories.

Three Western officials told FT that without the waiver, Israeli banks would cease dealings with Palestinian financial institutions, severely hampering the PA’s ability to operate and crippling economic activity in the occupied West Bank, they argued.

Not renewing the waiver “will be to the detriment not only of Palestinian interests but also to Israel’s and the region’s security and stability,” an unnamed US official said.

“The point that we’re making… is that you shouldn’t be threatening people’s access to food, electricity and water at a moment like this, especially in the West Bank,” the person added.

Most transactions in Palestine use the Israeli shekel, while the enclave’s financial institutions are supposed to use the Bank of Israel and the Jewish state's banks to access the currency.

According to US government data, cited by FT, nearly $8 billion in trade between Israel and the West Bank passes through these channels each year. This includes $2.3 billion of payments for food, $540 million for electricity, and $145 million for water and sewage services.

]]> Read more
French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne chairs a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on the Middle East on January 23, 2024 in New York City.
Not the right time to recognize Palestine – France
]]> The waiver was renewed annually due to an arrangement in 2016, when US Treasury officials started providing an annual letter to Israel with assurances that Israeli banks would not be targeted with allegations of terrorist financing over their dealings with Palestinian entities.

This year, however, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich issued a three-month extension of the previous year’s waiver, which expired on April 1.

Smotrich said last month he would order the cancelation of the waiver to Israeli banks if the PA were to win recognition as a state by the UN Security Council, or if the International Criminal Court (ICC) were to issue arrest warrants against Israeli leaders or soldiers.

This week, the ICC’s prosecutor requested warrants against Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

]]> READ MORE: ICC prosecutor’s move to arrest Israeli officials ‘outrageous’ – Biden

]]> The waiver’s renewal is “a purely political game, but they’re trying to dress it up in the veneer of concerns about terrorist financial flows and promoting money flows to Hamas,” one of the Western officials said.

Palestinian banks have safeguards to ensure money is not flowing to terrorist groups, the official added, noting that revoking the waiver would push more Palestinian economic activity to informal channels.

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Wed, 22 May 2024 15:26:35 +0000 RT
Most Americans report worsening finances – survey /business/598053-us-finances-worse-inflation-fed/ Inflation made the financial situation worse for 65% of households across the US last year, the Federal Reserve has reported
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Roughly one in six households could not pay all their monthly bills in 2023, a report released by the Federal Reserve shows

Nearly two-thirds of US households say their financial situation worsened last year, while one in five assessed their ability to meet payments as becoming “much worse,” according to an annual survey published by the Federal Reserve on Tuesday.

The Fed’s Economic Well-Being of US Households report for 2023, focused on the finances of US adults and their families, showed that overall financial well-being was nearly unchanged from the previous year, but was below the high recorded in 2021.

“Despite the moderating pace of inflation, many adults continued to indicate that higher prices were a challenge in managing their finances,” the report stated.

In 2023, US inflation cooled to 3.4% after hitting 9.1% in the previous year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. As of last month, annual inflation was 3.4%, according to the Consumer Price Index. That figure was a decline from 3.5% in March, but remained above the Fed’s 2% target.

“The [Fed] Committee seeks to achieve percentages over the longer run,” the report added.

According to the Fed’s survey, 72% of adults said they were “doing at least OK financially.” That figure marked a slight change compared to 73% in 2022. It was also down from the record high of 78% in 2021, but was above the low of 62% registered in 2013. 

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A "for rent" sign is posted last July in Miami, Florida.
Americans skipping meals to cope with rising costs – poll
]]> The survey also revealed a major divergence among households. Around half of those polled could cover a $2,000 emergency expense, while 18% of adults said the largest emergency cost they could afford using only savings was under $100, and 14% said they could handle an expense of up to $499. Overall, 17% of US adults reported they couldn’t pay all their monthly bills in full in the month before the survey, which was carried out in October 2023.

Financial well-being was generally unchanged from 2022 for most population segments, the Fed’s report stated, admitting that parents living with children under age 18 were a notable exception. The share of respondents from that group who said they were “doing okay” dropped to 64% from 69% in 2022 and from 75% recorded in the previous year.

Nearly three out of ten parents living with children under age 13 used paid childcare, according to the survey, which revealed that they spend a median monthly amount of up to $1,100 for help each week. Parents shell out up to 70% as much on childcare as on housing, which is typically the largest expense for households.

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Wed, 22 May 2024 14:36:00 +0000 RT
Russian millionaire bank deposits increase by 50% in a year – data /business/598042-number-russian-millionaires-jumps/ The number of high-net-worth individuals in Russia jumped by 50% last year compared to 2022, research shows
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
A drop in capital outflow has led to unprecedented growth in private banking, research shows

More of Russia’s super-rich are keeping their money at home, driving “unprecedented” growth in the private banking sector, new research shows. The number of high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) holding assets worth over 100 million rubles (roughly $1 million) in Russian banks jumped by 50% last year compared to 2022, leading banking consultancy Frank RG reported on Tuesday.

The data was compiled as part of an annual private banking survey that aims to assess the quality of financial services offered to HNWIs in Russia. The consultancy recorded “unprecedented growth” in the private banking sector in 2023, Frank RG said in a statement.

“The inflow of ‘new money’ became the most significant driver of NHWI clients’ financial capital growth in Russia,” Lyubov Prokopova, project director at Premium & Private Banking, Frank RG, said in a statement.

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO:  Founder and CEO of Wildberries, Tatyana Bakalchuk.
Russia’s richest woman backs tax increases
]]> The consultancy attributed the rise “mainly to the drop in the capital outflow” from Russia. The volume of cross-border transfers had dropped by 35% year-on-year, it noted, citing data from the country’s central bank. Higher interest rates on deposits have also attracted investment.

At the end of 2023, 29.4% of wealthy clients’ savings was held in foreign currency, while the remaining 70.6% was in rubles.

For the first time, analysts at Frank RG identified the very-high-net-worth individual (VHNWI) segment in Russia, referring to those whose assets exceed 500 million rubles ($5 million). At the end of 2023, the number stood at around 4,000 people, an increase of 60% year-on-year, the consultancy noted.

The total capital held by the super-rich in Russia amounted to the equivalent of over $145 billion in 2023, Frank RG said. The figure represents 62% growth from the previous year. However, wealthy Russians still hold around 60-65% of their assets outside of the country, the consultancy added.

]]> READ MORE: Russian economic growth hits 5.4%

]]> In 2022, Russia was subjected to an unprecedented barrage of international sanctions over the Ukraine conflict. The measures have ranged from blacklisting most of the country’s banks and cutting them off from the SWIFT interbank messaging system, to freezing $300 billion in Russian foreign exchange reserves. The restrictions led to a 26% drop in the HNWI segment for that year.

Currently, the HNWI segment accounts for around 23% of Russia’s total financial capital – including money held in accounts and deposits, as well as assets held in the form of securities.

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Wed, 22 May 2024 11:14:09 +0000 RT
EU states ‘surprised’ by Russia’s economic resilience – Reuters /business/598019-russia-lng-sanctions-eu-assessments/ EU members have reportedly requested an assessments of a ban on Russian LNG re-shipments before imposing new sanctions?
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Several nations have asked the European Commission to assess the impact of a potential ban on LNG shipments, the agency reports

A number of EU states, including Germany and France, have asked the European Commission to assess if a potential ban on transshipments of Russian liquified natural gas (LNG) could backfire on the bloc, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing diplomats.

EU members have broadly backed measures that could be added to a 14th package of sanctions against Moscow, including restrictions on Russian LNG exports, sources told the agency. Policymakers are seeking to agree the new restrictions before Hungary takes over the EU presidency in July, they added. 

One diplomat told the agency that Brussels has been “truly surprised at the resilience of the Russian economy” in the face of existing sanctions.

In April, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said the EU is planning to add restrictions against Russian LNG to its next sanctions package. Citing people familiar with the discussions, Bloomberg later reported that the 14th round of sanctions may include a ban on re-loading and transshipment services for LNG from Russia destined for third counties, as well as on servicing Russian LNG projects in the Arctic.

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (l) at an EU summit in Brussels, Belgium.
EU state could veto new Russia sanctions – Politico
]]> Brussels adopted its 13th package of sanctions against Moscow ahead of the second anniversary of the beginning of the Ukraine conflict in February. The measures were mostly aimed at closing loopholes to prevent Moscow from circumventing existing restrictions via third countries.

High-ranking EU politicians and diplomats have admitted that the scope for further sanctions is narrowing. Earlier this year, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda acknowledged that measures taken by the bloc have failed to destabilize the Russian economy.

Earlier this month, Politico reported that Hungary could veto the latest EU sanctions proposal against Moscow. The nation’s top envoy reportedly warned that Budapest will block any measures that result in higher energy costs in the bloc.

Last month, Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov said restrictions on Russian LNG along with efforts to “squeeze” the country out of energy markets will only lead to higher gas prices for EU consumers. The official argued that sanctions against Russian LNG exports would be illegal, but would nonetheless be overcome.

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Wed, 22 May 2024 08:48:56 +0000 RT
Davos boss quits – media /business/597997-davos-forum-chief-klaus-schwab-quits/ Klaus Schwab, the founder of ‘Davos’ World Economic Forum, has reportedly quit and is to transition to role of non-executive chairman
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Klaus Schwab, the founder of World Economic Forum, will reportedly transition to role of non-executive chairman

World Economic Forum (WEF) founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab has announced he will step back from his role, after more than 50 years at the head of the event, according to the Semafor news platform.

The article cites a letter from Schwab to staff on Tuesday in which he outlines his intention to transition to a non-executive-chairman role before the next meeting of the annual gathering at the Alpine resort town of Davos, Switzerland, in 2025. The change is pending approval by the Swiss government.

Semafor also cited a statement by a forum’s spokesperson, who said that the organization is “transforming from a convening platform to the leading global institution for public-private cooperation.”

Schwab, 86, did not reportedly name his successor, but said that over the last year the group’s executive board “under the leadership of President Borge Brende, has taken full executive responsibility.” A former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Brende, 58, has been WEF president since 2017.

Established by Schwab in 1971, the WEF is a nonprofit foundation and its annual gathering in Davos is the world’s biggest annual business and economics event. 

The forum traditionally attracts dozens of high-ranking world leaders and CEOs, with more than 50 heads of state attending in 2024, according to the organization.

]]> READ MORE: A million-dollar stay: How Davos locals gouge the global elite

]]> It operates much like a “family business,” Semafor wrote, pointing out that Schwab’s children have been appointed to high-ranking positions and his wife Hilde heads the organization’s foundation and awards ceremonies in Davos.

The report also described the WEF as a “remarkable business,” which brought in nearly $500 million in revenue in the year ending March 2023, and “had a neat 200 million Swiss francs ($220 million) sitting in cash.”

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Tue, 21 May 2024 17:30:23 +0000 RT
China offloads record amount of dollar assets – data /business/597933-china-us-securities-sell-off/ Beijing sold $53.3 billion worth of US Treasuries in the first quarter, data has shown
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Beijing has sold $53.3 billion in US securities, according to Treasury Department data

China sold a record number of US bonds in the first quarter of this year, highlighting the country’s shift away from dollar assets, the latest data from the US Treasury Department reveals.

Beijing has divested a total of $53.3 billion in Treasuries and agency bonds combined in the first three months of the year, while at the same time increasing its purchases of gold and other commodities, data showed.

Some analysts have suggested that this reduction in foreign exchange reserves could be part of China’s broader strategy to diversify away from US dollar-denominated assets amid rising geopolitical tensions with the US.

Some experts have pointed to the economic impact of Western sanctions on Russia following the Ukraine conflict, saying that China seeks to mitigate similar risks.

“The handling of Russian reserves by the US and other G7 countries, including threats of expropriations and sanctions, likely prompted China to reduce its exposure to US Treasury assets to avoid being similarly targeted,” Craig Shapiro, a macroeconomic adviser at LaDuc Trading, told Newsweek on Saturday, referring to the seizure of Russian assets.

]]> Read more
RT
Decoupling from China may be ‘impossible’ – survey
]]> The West has frozen roughly $300 billion in Russian sovereign funds since the start of the Ukraine conflict.

The Brussels-based clearinghouse Euroclear, often seen as a custodian of China’s holdings, disposed of $22 billion in US Treasuries during the reporting period, according to Bloomberg.

As the second largest foreign holder of US Treasury securities after Japan, China’s sell-off could potentially unsettle the Treasury market and raise US borrowing costs, some economists argued.

“As China is selling both despite the fact that we are closer to a Fed rate-cut cycle, there should be a clear intention of diversifying away from US dollar holdings,” said Stephen Chiu, chief Asia foreign-exchange and rates strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence. “China’s selling of US securities could speed up as the US-China trade war resumes” especially if Trump returns as president, he said.

While China is selling dollar assets, its holdings of gold have surged in the country’s official reserves. The share of the precious metal in reserves climbed to 4.9% in April, the highest since records began in 2015, according to the People’s Bank of China.

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Mon, 20 May 2024 15:17:05 +0000 RT
Gold price hits record high after Raisi death /business/597921-gold-price-raisi-death/ Gold has rallied in value as investors considered the potential implications of Ebrahim Raisi’s sudden death
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The Iranian president’s helicopter crash has spurred a ‘safe-haven’ rush among investors

The price of gold hit record highs during trading on Monday amid concerns over increased geopolitical uncertainty in the Middle East following the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Gold is generally considered a ‘safe haven’ investment in times of uncertainty.

Raisi, the leader of the Islamic Republic, died in a helicopter crash on May 19 in the country’s northwestern East Azerbaijan province. The head of state had traveled to the border region after joining Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Saturday to inaugurate a dam.

Spot gold prices rallied to $2,449.89 per ounce in the session on Monday before pairing some gains. The surge followed a broader rally across metal markets. Wall Street is predicting that the price of the precious metal could push $2,500 per ounce in the near future.

Gold prices had previously rallied to record highs in April amid fears of a war between Israel and Iran, and it’s expected that the prospect of more instability in the region following Raisi’s death could push the precious metal even higher.

Adding to geopolitical volatility, a China-bound oil tanker was hit by a Houthi missile in the Red Sea over the weekend.

“Geographic tension environments are getting complicated,” Dick Poon, general manager at Heraeus Metals Hong Kong, told Reuters.

]]> Read more
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
Iranian president confirmed dead in helicopter crash
]]> Some experts indicated that continued strong buying from China had also underpinned prices. Analyst expectations of interest rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve were also cited among the factors that could be boosting the price of gold.

Investors traditionally see gold as a ‘safe haven’ in times of market uncertainty to hedge risks and as a store of value. For thousands of years, bullion has been turned to amid economic instability, stock market crises, military conflicts, and pandemics.

Other precious metals also advanced on Monday, with silver surging to an 11-year high of $32.75 an ounce.

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Mon, 20 May 2024 14:49:49 +0000 RT
ECB rushing banks to quit Russia – FT? /business/597899-ecb-rushing-banks-quit-russia/ The EU regulator has demanded that Eurozone banks still in Russia should speed up their exits due to looming US sanctions, the FT reports?
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Lenders reportedly need to provide the regulator with an exit strategy as early as June over fears of US sanctions

The European Central Bank is pressuring Eurozone banks still working in Russia to speed up their exits due to the risk of US sanctions, the Financial Times has reported, citing several people familiar with the matter.

The Frankfurt-based regulator has reportedly sent letters to lenders with a request for an “action plan” for their business in Russia as early as next month. 

A number of EU banks – including Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), Italy’s UniCredit, Dutch lender ING, Germany’s Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank, Hungary’s OTP Bank, Italy’s Intesa SanPaolo, and Sweden’s SEB – maintain a presence on the Russian market despite Western sanctions imposed over the Ukraine conflict. 

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that UniCredit and RBI, which have been operating in Russia for more than 30 years, have recently come under scrutiny from financial authorities in the US. The latter has reportedly faced threats of being cut off from the American financial system.   

Last week, the Vienna-based RBI abandoned a deal to swap assets in Russia for ones in the EU. The agreement was expected to involve the holdings of sanctions-hit Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, but failed due to pressure from US authorities.  

]]> Read more
A branch of The Raiffeisen Bank in Moscow, Russia.
Major bank says EU trying to force it out of Russia
]]> Washington’s interference has led to mounting concern at the EU regulator that Raiffeisen and other banks could become targets for potential crackdowns, putting the bloc’s entire banking system at risk of serious damage, a person familiar with the ECB’s position told the FT. 

“The ECB’s response to the US interventions shows the big dependency of Europe on the US,” an adviser to the banks with Russian units told the newspaper. “We are more followers than leaders on judgments involving European companies.” 

The regulator’s notes have been prepared with different levels of strictness depending on how advanced each bank is in pulling out of Russia and the size of the lender’s exposure in the country, FT sources claimed. 

The combined profit generated by EU banks in Russia amounted to more than €3 billion ($3.2 billion) last year, marking a threefold surge compared to 2021, the FT reported in April. The increased income resulted in the banks paying about €800 million ($857 million) in Russian taxes, up from €200 million in 2021, the newspaper calculated.

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Mon, 20 May 2024 11:31:20 +0000 RT
Russian economic growth hits 5.4% /business/597842-russia-economy-growth-quarter/ The Russian economy grew above expectations in the first quarter, preliminary statistics show
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The economy expanded in the first quarter despite Western sanctions, according to the national statistics service

Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 5.4% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2024, the state statistics agency Rosstat said in a preliminary report published on Friday.

According to the estimates, Russia saw robust growth in retail turnover (up 10.5%), manufacturing (up 8.8%) and construction (3.5%) in January-March.

The Rosstat data aligns with an earlier estimate from the Economics Ministry, but exceeds that of the Bank of Russia (4.6% growth) and analysts’ expectations (5.3%). The agency is due to publish more detailed data on GDP in mid-June.

According to an earlier forecast from the Bank of Russia, GDP growth is expected to slow in the second quarter due to tightening fiscal conditions. The regulator, however, expects consumer and investment demand to remain high and continue to drive economic growth.

]]> Read more
RT
Study finds which countries are most vulnerable to sanctions
]]> The positive data comes despite multiple rounds of Western sanctions introduced since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February 2022.

The measures have ranged from blacklisting most Russian banks and cutting them from the SWIFT interbank messaging system, to freezing some $300 billion in Russian foreign exchange reserves.

As a result, GDP suffered a downturn in 2022, contracting 1.2%. However, data for 2023 showed that the economy has recovered, posting growth of 3.6%. Many analysts have attributed this performance to Russia’s trade pivot to the East, and economic policies implemented to offset the effect of restrictions.

In April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it expects the Russian economy to grow faster than all advanced economies in 2024. GDP is forecast to expand by 3.2%, exceeding the expected growth rates for the US (2.7%), the UK (0.5%), Germany (0.2%) and France (0.7%).

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov earlier said he expects GDP growth in 2024 to equal that of last year, while the Bank of Russia has been more cautious in its predictions, expecting growth of 2.5-3.5%.

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Sun, 19 May 2024 10:41:54 +0000 RT
Study finds which countries are most vulnerable to sanctions /business/597828-economies-sanctions-vulnerability-study/ The US, Russian and Chinese economies could weather a full trade blockade, while Germany, France and the UK would be badly hurt, study finds
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The British, German and French economies are among those which would be hurt the most if they saw their trade ties cut with no chance of parallel imports, analysts claim

The US, Russian and Chinese economies could weather a full trade blockade with relatively little damage, while Germany, France and the UK would be badly hurt, the Russian news outlet Vedomosti reported this week, citing a study by the Sino-Russian Laboratory for Assessing the Consequences of Intercountry Trade Wars.

The research, conducted in early 2024 at China’s National Supercomputing Center, tested the resilience of 19 global economies to large-scale economic sanctions using mathematical modeling. Analysts assessed the direct gross domestic product (GDP) losses each country would suffer if faced with a complete trade blockade without the possibility of parallel imports.

The study revealed that while all countries would see their economies contract under the proposed scenario, some would be hit worse than others. Russia would be among the three most resilient, with its economy shrinking by no more than 3.5%. China would see its GDP ebb by 3.1%, while the US would witness a 2.3% drop.

Meanwhile, the German economy would be the worst hit if its trade ties were cut, contracting by 8.1%. Significant damage would also be suffered by South Korea (down by 7.9%), Mexico (7.2%), France (7%), Türkiye (6.6%), Italy (6%) and the UK (5.7%).

]]> Read more
RT
Russia riding sanctions all the way to the bank – economy ministry
]]> The study also found that the economies of Australia, Indonesia and Japan would see a contraction of 3.7-3.8%, making them less vulnerable to trade sanctions than India, Brazil and Canada, which would see GDP declines of 4%, 4.2% and 5.5%, respectively.

Analysts linked the comparatively good stress-test performance of the American, Chinese and Russian economies with the conditional Composite Index of National Capability, explaining that these countries have more significant natural resources, as well as human, scientific and military potential than others.

Commenting on the findings, Stanislav Murashov, Chief Economist at Raiffeisenbank, noted that when dealing with economic restrictions, the least affected countries would be the best prepared.

“The winner is the one who, in general terms, geared up for [restrictions] by localizing their production, or someone who will be able, for example, to abandon some imported components, parts, raw materials, equipment. Judging by the study, a possible thesis is confirmed that Europe is more reliant on the global market than China, the US and Russia,” he told Kommersant news daily.

]]> READ MORE: Russian economic growth ‘strong’ – IMF

]]> The Russian economy, which is already subjected to a wide array of international economic sanctions due to the Ukraine conflict, initially contracted by 1.2% in 2022, but last year posted growth of 3.6%, according to official statistics. The first quarter of 2024 saw the country’s GDP further increase by 5.4% year-on-year, according to preliminary estimates issued on Friday. The International Monetary Fund said last month it expects the Russian economy to expand 3.2% this year, a projection which puts the country ahead of a number of major Western economies, including the US (2.7%), UK (0.5%), France (0.7%), and Germany (0.2%).

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Sun, 19 May 2024 09:05:40 +0000 RT
Decoupling from China may be ‘impossible’ – survey /business/597806-china-decoupling-impossible-survey/ Global companies could encounter difficulties in their attempts to diversify away from the Asian nation, an Allianz Trade report says
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The Asian nation remains a “critical supplier” globally, according to an Allianz Trade report

Total economic decoupling from China would be “difficult, if not impossible,” a new report by international insurance company Allianz Trade has suggested, saying that the Asian power remains a “critical supplier” for much of the world.

The survey by Allianz Trade polled over 3,000 companies in China, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, the UK, and US on their outlook for global trade in 2024. 

The intensity of import dependency on China varies, with the US, UK, and France being among the most exposed. Nearly 50% of US imports from China are critical dependencies, it said.

“There is no evidence of a full decoupling from China yet,” the report said, noting that more than one-third of respondents plan to increase their footprint in China.

Despite talk of decoupling and diversifying away from China, “there is probably a limit to what extent this can happen,” Allianz said, adding that European countries remain bullish about their prospects there.

]]> Read more
Russian President Vladimir Putin tours an exhibition of the 8th Russia-China Expo and the 4th Russia-China Forum on Interregional Cooperation in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China.
Chinese electric cars better than American – Putin
]]> Some 39% of companies in Germany and Spain, and more than 30% in France, expect to increase their footprint in China, according to the survey. That’s compared with 27% in the US who plan to do the same.

“European companies are clearly less worried than US firms,” the report said.

The trend of diversification rather than decoupling seems more apparent, Allianz said, with a quarter of German, French and US firms expecting their footprint in China to represent “a smaller share of their global supply investments going forward.”

US and EU officials have been struggling to come up with a unified strategy on China as they try to reduce trade dependence on Beijing, which they have repeatedly accused of economic coercion. 

The Chinese government, meanwhile, has claimed that Washington and its allies have weaponized trade regulations in order to advance anti-China policies and accused them of “economic bullying.”

]]> READ MORE: EU trade chief rules out China decoupling

]]> Western officials, however, have recently shifted from the ‘decoupling’ rhetoric to that of ‘de-risking and diversifying.’ That approach was reflected in a joint communique adopted by the G7 during its summit in Japan in May, which accused Beijing of trying to “distort the global economy.”

Beijing rejected the allegations, saying the West is stuck in a “Cold-War mentality.”

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Fri, 17 May 2024 20:49:01 +0000 RT
Share of ruble in Russia’s European trade hits new record /business/597791-ruble-share-growth-european-trade/ The currency has become a major player in the country’s foreign trade with the region in light of Western sanctions
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The currency now makes up more than half of Moscow’s export settlements, according to statistics

The share of ruble transactions in Russia’s foreign trade, particularly with the rest of Europe, has been steadily growing, hitting record highs in March, according to data from the country’s central bank.

Statistics show the use of the Russian currency in settlements for goods and services exported by Russia to other European countries reached 58.5% in March. This marks a significant increase from the previous year, with the ruble’s share rising by 10.8 percentage points annually and 9.6 percentage points month-on-month.

According to data from the Federal Customs Service, exports to Europe in the first quarter of this year accounted for 15.2% of the total volume of Russian goods exports, equivalent to $15.4 billion.

“The general trend towards increase of the ruble share in settlements with Europe continues,” Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) senior researcher Aleksandr Firanchuk told RBK, noting that the region also includes Belarus, an important trade partner.

According to HSE Banking Institute director Vasily Solodkov, the growth in the share of ruble transactions came as a result of the Western sanctions regime, due to difficulties in settlements with EU countries in euros and other currencies.

Experts also said the introduction of the ruble-based gas payment mechanism could be another reason that payments for Europe-bound gas supplies switched to rubles.

]]> Read more
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a welcome ceremony with Chinese President Xi Jinping outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.
90% of Russia-China transactions in national currencies – Putin
]]> The Bank of Russia provided detailed statistics on trade with other regions, including Asia, America, Africa, the Caribbean, and Oceania. The strongest increase in the ruble’s share in March was recorded in payments by African countries for Russian goods.

This rise in the use of the ruble reflects a broader global trend of de-dollarization and a shift towards using national currencies in international trade. It started to gain momentum after Ukraine-related sanctions saw Russia cut off from the Western financial system and its foreign reserves frozen.

Central bank data shows that the share of the US dollar and euro in Russia’s foreign trade has dropped substantially. As of March 2024, just 28.5% of export settlements were carried out in these currencies, compared with nearly 90% before the beginning of 2022.

The share of currencies of ‘friendly countries’ – those that have not placed sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict – was 13%.

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Fri, 17 May 2024 14:56:57 +0000 RT
Chinese electric cars better than American – Putin /business/597799-china-electric-vehicles-putin/ US authorities have imposed tariffs on Chinese electric cars to stifle competition, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said
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The US has imposed tariffs on China’s EVs to stifle competition, the Russian president has said

US authorities have imposed tariffs on Chinese-made electric vehicles (EVs) because they have become better, Russian President Vladimir Putin has told a press conference in the city of Harbin during his two-day trip to China.

Putin suggested that Washington wanted to prevent strong competitors from entering the American market, and described the US approach as “unfair competition.”

“Unfortunately, the way the world works today, sometimes situations arise related to unfair competition. This is how the Americans recently imposed tariffs on Chinese electric transport, on electric cars,” he said.

“Why? Because Chinese cars have gotten better.”

As soon as another country emerges as a manufacturing power and becomes more competitive, it is suppressed in the US and in the EU alike, Putin claimed.

US officials have repeatedly described China as America’s top “competitor,” while tightening economic restrictions against the country.

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RT
US slaps steep tariffs on China
]]> Earlier this week Washington hiked tariffs on $18 billion worth of Chinese goods including EVs, batteries, semiconductors, steel, aluminum, critical minerals, solar cells, ship-to-shore cranes, and medical products, while retaining tariffs on over $300 billion worth of goods imposed by previous US President Donald Trump.

Tariffs on Chinese goods were hiked significantly under Trump, who launched the first volley in a tit-for-tat trade war that began in 2018.

A similarly hostile approach has continued under his successor, Joe Biden, who has adopted several policies aimed at the Chinese economy.

Chinese officials have repeatedly denounced US trade and tech policy, describing it as “economic bullying.” The Chinese government has taken several countermeasures to retaliate against US sanctions. Among them are restrictions on exports of strategic raw materials used in defense technologies, electronics, and clean energy.

The International Monetary Fund warned last week that the escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing was threatening global economic growth.

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Fri, 17 May 2024 14:39:07 +0000 RT
Russia may lay new oil pipeline to China – Putin /business/597793-putin-oil-pipeline-china/ The planned Russia-China mega gas pipeline project could see an extra conduit laid for crude oil, President Vladimir Putin has said
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A conduit for crude could be added to the planned mega gas pipeline, the president has said

The planned mega pipeline project that will carry natural gas from Russia to China could see an extra conduit laid for crude oil, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

Moscow and Beijing are nearing a deal on the construction of a mega gas pipeline known as the Power of Siberia 2. It will transport up to 50 billion cubic meters of gas annually from Yamal Region in northern Russia to China via Mongolia.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday during a two-day trip to China, Putin said it may be possible to lay an oil pipeline next to the new gas route.

Various routes [for Russia’s oil to reach China] are available, one of them is the route through Mongolia. It is possible to lay both gas and oil pipes in the same corridor. Experts should decide how best to proceed,” Putin said in the Chinese city of Harbin.

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RT
Russia and China could sign major energy deal – deputy PM
]]> Russia has traditionally supplied oil to China via the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline, via transit through Kazakhstan, and by tankers. Moscow also plans to develop railways as another means of transporting crude to the Chinese market.

Energy negotiations between Moscow and Beijing are not limited to the mega gas pipeline, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak said on Thursday. “There are other new projects,” he added without elaborating further.

Russia became China’s largest oil supplier last year. Beijing imported a record amount of discounted Russian oil in 2023, taking advantage of Moscow’s push to find new buyers following the implementation of Ukraine-related Western sanctions.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Fri, 17 May 2024 13:23:35 +0000 RT
US ‘abuse’ of markets fueling inflation – Putin /business/597788-us-markets-abuse-putin-inflation/ The West’s import bans and restrictions on numerous Russian and Chinese products will push up inflation, President Vladimir Putin has said
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Restrictions on Chinese and Russian goods are “dishonest competition,” the president has said

The West’s import bans and restrictions on numerous Russian and Chinese products will drive up inflation in the US, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned.

The comments came during a press conference the Russian leader gave in the city of Harbin during his two-day trip to China.

Putin was referring to the escalating trade war between Washington and China, and to the sanctions imposed by the US, the EU, and their allies on a wide range of Russian products following the start of the Ukraine conflict.

“They have imposed sanctions against [a variety of] goods. What will this lead to? To inflation in the United States, that’s what it will lead to. Because they will try to produce [the goods] themselves, on their own sites, pay wages to their own workers, using their own expensive metal, using their own expensive energy,” Putin said, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

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RT
US slaps steep tariffs on China
]]> The US has previously placed bans and restrictions on imports of Russian energy resources and metals such as nickel, copper, and aluminum.

Washington also hiked tariffs on Chinese products earlier this week. Duties on electric vehicles (EVs) were quadrupled to over 100%, and new levies were imposed on computer chips, solar cells, and lithium-ion batteries. The White House claimed the new measures are intended to “protect American workers and businesses.” 

Putin suggested that the US imposed restrictions against Chinese car imports because the quality of vehicles from the Asian nation is improving, and that Washington wants to prevent strong competitors from entering the American market.

He described the US approach as “dishonest competition.” As soon as a new country emerges as a manufacturing power and becomes more competitive, it is suppressed in the US and in the EU alike, Putin argued.

]]> READ MORE: US bans import of Chinese ‘genocide’ cotton

]]> Such “abuse” of the market will create inflation, Putin stated, describing the decisions made by the West as “foolish.” 

Inflation in the US and across the EU has hit its highest levels in decades over the past few years, fueled by restrictions against Russia, a leading energy exporter, and the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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Fri, 17 May 2024 12:03:38 +0000 RT
Russia and China could sign major energy deal – deputy PM /business/597749-russia-china-new-gas-pipeline/ A contract for the Power of Siberia 2 pipeline could be signed soon, according to Aleksandr Novak
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
President Vladimir Putin is on an official visit to the Asian country to discuss strategic cooperation

Moscow and Beijing could soon sign a contract for the construction of the mega pipeline Power of Siberia 2, which is slated to deliver Russian natural gas to China, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak has said.

Power of Siberia 2 is expected to allow for up to 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to be delivered annually from Yamal Region in northern Russia to China via Mongolia.

According to Novak, however, energy negotiations between Moscow and Beijing are not limited to Power of Siberia 2. “There are other new projects,” Novak revealed on Thursday in an interview with the TV channel Russia 1, without disclosing any details.

The statements come as Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Beijing on Thursday for a two-day official visit, later meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Putin and Xi are set to discuss bilateral ties and strategic cooperation between the two nations. About a dozen bilateral documents are expected to be signed during the visit, along with numerous commercial deals and regional agreements.

Russia currently supplies gas to China via Power of Siberia, a section of the so-called Eastern Route, under a bilateral 30-year agreement. Deliveries started in 2019, and the pipeline is expected to reach its full operational capacity of 38 bcm of natural gas annually by 2025.

]]> READ MORE: Russian gas giant reveals surge in exports to China

]]> The pipeline’s operator, Gazprom, has exceeded its contractual obligations on a regular basis throughout the past year, with daily records reported frequently. The company is projecting that gas supplies to Russia’s leading trading partner will grow further thanks to soaring demand.

Once all pipelines are fully operational, the volume of Russian gas supplies to China could reach nearly 100 bcm annually.

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Thu, 16 May 2024 20:15:46 +0000 RT
IMF warns West against seizing Russia’s money /business/597744-imf-russian-assets-confiscation/ Confiscation should be backed with a sufficient legal basis, according to the International Monetary Fund
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The move could undermine the global monetary system, according to the fund’s spokesperson

Western plans to either confiscate Russia’s frozen central bank reserves directly or use the profit they generate could undermine the global monetary system, the IMF has warned.

Western nations, particularly the US, UK and EU states, have blocked an estimated $300 billion in assets belonging to the Russian central bank since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022.

The US and a number of EU nations have advocated confiscating these assets to finance Ukraine’s defense and future reconstruction. However, France, Germany, and several other EU members have resisted those calls, warning that such a move could set a dangerous precedent and adversely affect the euro. Some Western countries proposed to appropriate only the interest accrued on the assets, but that approach is also fraught with legal difficulties.

“It is important for the fund that any actions taken have a sufficient legal basis and do not undermine the functioning of the international monetary system,” IMF spokeswoman Julie Kozack said at a press briefing on Thursday when asked by RIA Novosti about the Western plans for the frozen assets.

Assessing the prospects for reaching an agreement about the Russian funds at the G7 level in light of the group’s upcoming ministerial meeting in Italy, Kozack emphasized that any decisions must be made in the appropriate courts and jurisdictions.

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RT
G20 members lobby EU against seizing Russian assets – FT
]]> The IMF has repeatedly cautioned that Western plans to seize frozen Russian assets could entail unforeseen risks.

The push to seize the money, which has been led by the US, has caused a rift among the G7 and EU political elite. The US, which holds only $6 billion out of the $300 billion in frozen Russian assets, had long been pushing its allies for the outright seizure.

Some Western officials have backed the idea, suggesting transferring the funds to Ukraine, or at least using the interest generated by the assets. However, this approach has faced opposition from the European Central Bank and criticism from the IMF.

While Kiev’s Western backers generally agree that the frozen assets should be used to aid Ukraine, they are at odds about whether an outright seizure would be legal.

Moscow has repeatedly said that seizing its funds would amount to theft and would further undermine global trust in the Western financial system. Russia also warned that it would retaliate if such a step were taken.

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Thu, 16 May 2024 18:01:03 +0000 RT
90% of Russia-China transactions in national currencies – Putin /news/597694-russia-china-transactions-national-currencies/ Most payments between Russia and China are made in national currencies, which has boosted trade, Vladimir Putin has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The decision to switch mostly to rubles and yuan was “timely” and has led to a strong boost in trade, the president says

The vast majority of transactions between Russia and China are now carried out in national currencies, bypassing the US dollar, President Vladimir Putin has said.

Speaking at a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Beijing on Thursday, Putin heaped praise on the deep level of cooperation between the two powers, especially in trade.

Relations between Moscow and Beijing are based on “the principles of mutual respect, good neighborliness, and mutual benefit,” Putin said. He added that despite the coronavirus pandemic and “some actions aimed at constraining our development” by third countries, the volume of trade is steadily increasing, as both countries have built a solid investment portfolio in various fields.

“A powerful impetus to expand our trade flows was given by our timely joint decision to ensure that transactions are conducted in national currencies. As of today, 90% of all payments are made in rubles and yuan,” the Russian president said.

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FILE PHOTO: Beijing Central Business District.
Kremlin reveals details of Putin’s China trip
]]> According to Putin, trade turnover between Russia and China soared by almost 25% in 2023, reaching $227 billion.

Putin is on a two-day state visit to China, his first foreign trip since his inauguration for a fifth term as president earlier this month. The Russian and Chinese leaders, as well as senior officials from both countries, are expected to hold talks on a wide range of issues such as bilateral relations, economic cooperation and the international situation, including the Ukraine conflict.

The Russian president has said that while Moscow has never sought the “dedollarization” of the national or international economy, this process is “inevitable.” Putin has particularly rebuked Washington for using its currency as a “tool of combat,” which he said is undermining global confidence.

After the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, the US cut off Russia’s central bank from dollar transactions and later banned the export of dollar banknotes to the country. Putin has called Washington’s restrictions “complete foolishness” that only serve to undercut US power and its economy.

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Thu, 16 May 2024 06:45:07 +0000 RT
Chinese tourism to Russia surging /business/597668-china-tourism-growth-russia/ Tourists from China topped the list of foreigners visiting Russia in the first quarter of 2024, an association of tour operators reported
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Nearly 100,000 trips were recorded over January-March 2024, according to an industry report

Russia saw a surge in foreign tourism in the first quarter of 2024, with almost 219,000 arrivals recorded, according to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR). Chinese tourists accounted for almost half of this figure.

The report shows that overall foreign tourist arrivals to the country more than tripled compared to the same period of last year.

Chinese citizens accounted for nearly 100,000 tourism-related trips in January-March 2024, according to ATOR. In 2023 as a whole, a total of almost 200,000 such visits were recorded.

“In the first half of last year, mainly business tourists traveled from China to Russia. But from the end of last year and in the first quarter of 2024, there were more sightseeing tourists from China in Russia,” the association noted.

The top five countries in terms of tourist trips to Russia also included Turkmenistan, Türkiye, Germany, and the UAE.

China was Russia’s largest source of tourists from the early 2000s until the beginning of the pandemic, thanks to a visa-free regime for tourist groups. However, this was suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions. Visitors from China have also topped the ranking of spending on tourism-related activities among foreigners traveling to Russia.

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RT
Foreign tourism in Russia recovering – data
]]> The resumption of the visa-free program for groups, as well as the launch of an e-visa service between the two countries, was cited as contributing to the growth of Chinese tourism to Russia last year.

ATOR’s vice president for inbound tourism, Aleksandr Musikhin, said recently that the number of tourists coming to Russia may rise significantly in 2024 thanks to the introduction last year of electronic visas and growing demand from Asia.

The Russian Ministry of Economic Development is seeking to boost the number of inbound tourists to 16 million by 2030. They are expected to come from 17 priority countries in the Middle East and Asia.

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Wed, 15 May 2024 21:10:11 +0000 RT
EU nations pushing for sanctions on global financial institutions over Russia – Reuters /business/597659-eu-sanctions-financial-institutions-russia/ France and the Netherlands have reportedly proposed severing business ties with anyone helping Russia’s military
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
France and the Netherlands have reportedly proposed a transactions ban on any entity that supplies dual-use goods to Moscow’s military

France and the Netherlands have been advocating for the EU to impose sanctions on any financial institution globally that helps Russia’s military pay for goods or technology that can be used for making weapons, Reuters has reported.

The EU already has a ban in place on selling to Russia certain dual-use goods and technologies that have both a civilian and military application.

According to Reuters, citing the French and Dutch proposal, it is suggested that EU individuals and entities could be banned from doing business with any financial institution in the world that is identified by the bloc as directly or indirectly helping Russia’s military obtain forbidden dual-use goods and technologies.

Ambassadors of EU governments will reportedly discuss the proposal on Wednesday as part of a 14th package of sanctions against Russia now being prepared by the bloc.

“The Netherlands and France propose to introduce a legal basis ... providing for a transaction ban with financial institutions in Russia or other third countries when the Council has determined these entities to be involved in transactions that significantly support Russia’s military by facilitating exports towards Russia of essential goods for the war effort …” the proposal reportedly reads.

According to Reuters, the ban could be a “powerful incentive” for financial institutions in the Middle East, Türkiye, or even China not to engage in deals to supply EU-sanctioned dual-use goods to Russia as they could be stripped of the ability to do business in the EU and lose access to the bloc’s financial markets.

EU officials reportedly said the European Commission would be likely to coordinate any such sanctions on financial institutions with the US.

The report indicated that Hungary, which has maintained friendly ties with Russia, may oppose the proposal, as may Germany in light of its close business ties with China.

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RT
EU criminalizes sanctions busting by member states
]]> In February, Brussels adopted its 13th package of sanctions against Moscow ahead of the second anniversary of the beginning of the Ukraine conflict. The measures restrict trade in dual-use goods, as well as technologies and electronic components that could be used by Russia’s defense industry.

Previous rounds of sanctions targeted a broad range of sectors and included trade embargoes, travel bans, and individual sanctions against Russian businessmen and public officials.

Many reports have indicated that EU sanctions on Russia are being “massively circumvented” via nations that are friendly to Moscow, which are reportedly re-exporting high-priority items to Russia.

The EU expects to have the new sanctions package, which has to be approved by all 27 member states, ready in June.

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Wed, 15 May 2024 19:44:53 +0000 RT
US tycoon launches bid to buy TikTok /business/597635-frank-mccourt-tiktok-purchase-bid/ Frank McCourt has launched a bid to buy TikTok after Chinese-owned ByteDance was forced to divest from its US business
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Frank McCourt has announced plans to acquire the Chinese-owned social media app’s American business

American real estate mogul Frank McCourt revealed on Wednesday that he plans to build a consortium to buy social media app TikTok’s US business from its Chinese owner.

The bid comes after US President Joe Biden signed a law in April seeking to force the platform’s owner ByteDance to sell the app or face a complete ban in the country.

The law gives ByteDance 270 days to divest from its US business. If it fails to comply, TikTok will be banned from app stores serving American customers. ByteDance, which is challenging the US law in court, has said it has no intention of selling the asset.

Over the past few years, a number of US lawmakers have made claims regarding supposed security breaches and violations by TikTok, which has staunchly denied the allegations.

McCourt, the executive chairman of a family real estate giant, McCourt Global, and the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, said he plans to buy and rebuild TikTok as “a new and better version of the internet.” 

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RT
TikTok sues US government
]]> “We see this potential acquisition as an incredible opportunity to catalyze an alternative to the current tech model that has colonized the internet,” McCourt said in a statement.

According to the businessman, TikTok presents “the best and worst of the internet” by connecting millions of people and allowing them to be creative.

“On the other hand, they don’t get to really share in the value that’s created, and their data is scraped and stolen and shipped to China,” he told the Semafor news outlet.

McCourt said he is working with investment bank Guggenheim Securities, legal firm Kirkland & Ellis, and a number of academics and technologists in an effort to prepare what he described as “the people’s bid” to buy TikTok. He claims the goal would be to migrate the video-sharing app to a digital open-source protocol.

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Wed, 15 May 2024 15:27:02 +0000 RT
US threatens EU bank for working in Russia – Reuters /business/597621-raiffeisen-us-treasury-sanctions-threat/ The US Treasury has threatened to curb Raiffeisen bank’s access to the US financial system over its activity in Russia, Reuters has reported
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Austria’s Raiffeisen bank could be cut off from the American financial system, Washington has reportedly warned

The US Treasury has threatened to curb the access of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) to the American financial system because of its continued activity in Russia, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The Austrian lender is one of the few foreign banks to have stayed in Russia amid sanctions imposed by Western countries since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022. The lender enables euro and dollar payments to and from the country. It is listed by Russia’s central bank as one of 13 systemically important credit institutions.

In a letter dated May 6, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo expressed concern about RBI’s alleged expansion in Russia, contrary to the bank’s assurances that it would reduce its activities in the country, Reuters said citing a source who has seen the correspondence.

Adeyemo, the Treasury’s second-highest ranking official, reportedly warned that RBI’s actions increase the risk of losing access to the US financial system given concerns that the lender’s behavior puts US national security at risk. Curbing access to the US dollar could plunge any bank into crisis, the outlet noted.

The official reportedly emphasized the executive order issued by US President Joe Biden in December that imposes secondary sanctions on foreign financial institutions that conduct transactions with the Russian military industry.

Adeyemo also is said to have raised concerns about a deal with sanctioned Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska.

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RT
Top EU bank sets timescale for promised Russia exit
]]> In December, RBI announced that it had agreed to buy a stake in Austrian construction company Strabag SE from its Russian shareholders. The banking group had reportedly hoped to exchange €1.5 billion ($1.62 billion) of the bank’s trapped profits in Russia for a stake in Strabag, formerly controlled by Deripaska.

Following mounting pressure from US authorities, RBI announced on May 8 it would no longer pursue the planned acquisition of Strabag shares, as it was unable to obtain the “required comfort” from authorities to proceed.

An RBI spokesperson said the group had “significantly reduced” activities in Russia and taken broad measures to mitigate the risks from sanctions.

“RBI will continue to work towards the de-consolidation of its Russian subsidiary,” the spokesperson told Reuters.

The bank’s spokesperson told RIA Novosti on Wednesday that it sees no threat of being cut off from the US financial system, adding that it continues “dialogue” with the US Treasury regarding its Russian operations.

RBI has been gradually reducing its operations in Russia over the past two years under pressure from EU and US regulators. Earlier this month, RBI announced it would start its withdrawal from the country in the third quarter of this year.

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Wed, 15 May 2024 12:27:49 +0000 RT
Russian nuclear giant slams US uranium ban /business/597584-rosatom-russian-uranium-ban-us/ An American embargo on Russian nuclear fuel is discriminatory and non-market-oriented, according to Rosatom
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The move could undermine the global uranium market, Rosatom has warned

Washington’s ban on imports of enriched uranium from Russia is discriminatory and could undermine the global nuclear fuel market, state-owned energy giant Rosatom has warned.

US President Joe Biden signed a bill into law on Monday banning the importation of Russian nuclear reactor fuel, with the legislation set to come into effect in 90 days.

“We consider the enacted US law banning the import of Russian enriched uranium as discriminatory and non-market-oriented,” Rosatom said in a written statement to RIA Novosti.

“It is obvious that such decisions, which have political context, are destructive for the sustainable functioning of the global… nuclear industry,” the company stated.

Rosatom said separately that it maintains its strong position as a global leader in nuclear technologies and will continue to develop relations with foreign partners interested in long-term cooperation.

Russia provided almost a quarter of the enriched uranium that fueled US commercial nuclear reactors in 2022, making it America’s top foreign supplier of the fuel that year, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

While the US has its own deposits of uranium, they are not sufficient to satisfy demand. Meanwhile, Russia hosts the world’s largest uranium enrichment complex, accounting for almost half of global capacity.

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White Mesa Uranium Mill, on April 4, 2022, White Mesa, Utah.
Biden approves ban on Russian uranium
]]> As of 2022, Russia was the largest enriched uranium exporter on the global market, accounting for roughly 35% of sales worldwide with an estimated export value of $2 billion.

In October 2023, the White House called for a long-term ban on enriched uranium imports from Russia, describing it as a “national security priority.” In a fact sheet at the time, the Biden administration argued that “dependence on Russian sources of uranium creates risk to the US economy.”

The Kremlin assured the media on Tuesday that the ban would have no “critical” effect on Russia’s nuclear industry, “one of the most advanced in the world.” Washington has resorted to sanctioning Russian uranium imports due to its inability to compete with the country’s nuclear industry, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov warned the move could backfire on the US economy.

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Tue, 14 May 2024 16:51:27 +0000 RT
US slaps steep tariffs on China /business/597570-us-china-import-tariffs/ New tariffs on Beijing are aimed at countering risks to US economic security posed by “unfair Chinese practices,” the White House says
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The measures will affect $18 billion of imports including steel and aluminum, semiconductors, critical minerals, and solar cells

The US rolled out steep tariffs on Chinese products on Tuesday, quadrupling duties on electric vehicles (EVs) to over 100% and imposing new levies on computer chips, solar cells and lithium-ion batteries. The White House says the new measures are intended to “protect American workers and businesses.”

The tariffs will affect $18 billion of Chinese imported goods, including steel and aluminum, semiconductors, batteries, critical minerals, solar cells and cranes.

Biden administration officials claim the measures have come in response to years of “unfair trade practices” by China, including forced technology transfers, intellectual property violations, and cyberhacking of American businesses.

“China’s using the same playbook it has before to power its own growth at the expense of others by continuing to invest, despite excess Chinese capacity and flooding global markets with exports that are underpriced due to unfair practices,” White House National Economic Adviser Lael Brainard told reporters.

The revised tariffs are justified, according to US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, who has accused China of stealing US intellectual property and claimed that in some cases Beijing had become “more aggressive” with cyber intrusions targeting American technology.

]]> Read more
IMF Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath
Economic fragmentation to hurt global growth – IMF
]]> She said prior ‘Section 301’ tariffs had been effective in reducing US imports of Chinese goods, while increasing imports from other countries. According to the US Census Bureau, the country imported $427 billion in goods from China in 2023 and exported $148 billion.

US officials have repeatedly labeled China as America’s top “competitor,” while tightening economic restrictions against the country. Tariffs on Chinese goods were hiked significantly under former President Donald Trump, who launched the first volley in a tit-for-tat trade war that began in 2018. A similarly hostile approach has continued under his successor, Joe Biden, who has adopted several policies aimed at the Chinese economy.

Beijing has warned that such measures violate the principles of fair competition, and harm the stability of world trade.

Growing US-China trade tensions are threatening the overall global economic growth, the International Monetary Fund warned last week.

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Tue, 14 May 2024 14:08:29 +0000 RT
Amazon’s robot taxi firm probed after unexplained crashes /business/597538-amazon-self-driving-investigation/ The US government is investigating Zoox after two motorcyclists were injured when the self-driving cars braked in front of them
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Two motorcyclists were injured when self-driving Zoox vehicles unexpectedly braked in front of them

The US government is investigating Amazon’s Zoox autonomous taxi technology after two of its vehicles braked suddenly and were rear-ended by motorcyclists. The company is already under investigation for potentially skirting federal safety rules.

According to documents posted on its website on Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a preliminary investigation into Zoox’s autonomous driving system.

The decision to open the probe was made after Zoox notified the NHTSA of two incidents in which its cars “unexpectedly braked suddenly, leading to rear-end collisions,” the agency said. Each incident involved a Toyota Highlander fitted with Zoox’s self-driving hardware and software, and in each case, a motorcyclist collided with the vehicle and sustained injuries.

The documents did not state where the crashes took place. However, Zoox operates self-driving Toyota Highlanders in Seattle, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Foster City, California. The company has also tested its own all-electric passenger vehicles in Foster City and Las Vegas.

]]> Read more
RT
Tesla Autopilot linked to hundreds of crashes and 14 deaths – report
]]> While the modified Highlanders feature regular controls and carry a human driver for safety reasons, Zoox’s own vehicles have no steering wheel or pedals and drive entirely autonomously. Passengers enter through sliding doors and sit facing each other on two bench seats while an array of sensors guide the carriage through busy city streets.

Amazon acquired Zoox in 2020 for more than $1 billion. The firm competes with Alphabet’s Waymo and General Motors’ Cruise, both of which have also been involved in accidents during testing. A Waymo vehicle injured a cyclist in a collision in San Francisco in February, four months after a Cruise car ran over a pedestrian and dragged her 20 feet along a street, causing serious injuries. 

The latter incident led Cruise to recall nearly 1,000 autonomous vehicles and temporarily suspend operations. The company is facing multiple government investigations and potentially ruinous fines.

Zoox has also faced investigation before. Last year, the NHTSA opened a probe into the company’s determination in 2022 that federal safety standards were not applicable to its driverless cars, “due to the unique configuration of the vehicle.”



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Mon, 13 May 2024 20:01:59 +0000 RT
Moscow court bans racist job adverts /business/597507-russia-racist-job-advertisement/ A Russian court has banned prospective employers from qualifying a job in advertisements by adding phrases such as “only for Slavs”
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Ads that include “only for Slavs” requirement are illegal, the ruling states

Solntsevo District Court in Moscow has banned the dissemination online of job advertisements containing phrases such as “only for Slavs” as a precondition for applicants, the press service of the capital’s courts of general jurisdiction announced Monday. 

The court ruled that the racial qualification listed in job ads which require applicants to have a Slavic appearance or ethnicity, “contradict the fundamentals of law and order [and] violate the interests of society and the state.” 

Any such hiring policy adopted by employers posting job ads containing racial requirements on public websites can be considered “illegal and criminally punishable,” according to the court.

Article 136 of the Russian Criminal Code provides for penalizing any discrimination against citizens because of their “gender, race, nationality, language, origin, property and official status, place of residence, attitude to religion, beliefs, membership in public associations or social groups,” by individuals “using their official position.”

]]> READ MORE: ‘Racist’ Google AI suspended after historic failure

]]> On conviction, the maximum penalty for a crime under the article is five years in prison.

In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized the importance of persevering with the multinational Russian state, saying that nationalist ideas are of concern for the country.

Russia is a multinational and a multi-confessional state, and the violation of rights of any citizens will only lead to a collapse of the country, the president warned. He noted that 190 ethnic groups currently live in Russia, with some nationalities comprising millions of people.

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Mon, 13 May 2024 14:43:28 +0000 RT
Microsoft makes Russia U-turn – Izvestia /business/597518-microsoft-reopens-updates-russia/ Microsoft has restored access to updates for customers in Russia, having previously blocked them as part of its sanctions strategy
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The tech giant had previously blocked users from making updates as part of its sanctions-related exit strategy

Microsoft appears to have unblocked access to major updates for users residing in Russia, according to IT specialists who spoke with Izvestia news outlet in an article published on Monday.  

Following the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, the US-based tech giant announced its exit from Russia, suspending sales and services. Users in the country were also blocked from downloading any updates, forcing them to use Virtual Private Networks (VPN) to mask their location.

However, the latest major update for Windows 11 has now become downloadable on Russian PCs without having to use a VPN. Programs within the Office suite, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, can now also be obtained without resorting to additional software.

According to Valentin Makarov, the president of the Russoft association of Russian software companies, “Microsoft is looking for loopholes to stay in the Russian market, which is very important to them. Even if the company claims otherwise in its statements, in private conversations they guaranteed full support for their software.”

Previously, Microsoft had also announced that Russian IT companies would lose access to its software after March 20. However, according to multiple sources who spoke with Izvestia, as of April 13, this has yet to happen.

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RT
Apple laptop sales surge in Russia – Izvestia
]]> The tech giant does not appear to be trying to prevent the purchase or activation of new licenses in Russia that have been purchased through parallel imports, one source at a large IT distributor told the outlet.

Mobile Research Group analyst Eldar Murtazin has suggested that, despite publicly vowing to adhere to sanctions, the main concern for any US corporation is money and supporting sales by any means.

“Of course, formally they should follow the sanctions, but in reality this is not the case. For example, when the company was still publicly present in the Russian Federation, they created a special legal entity in Krasnodar, which sold licenses to Crimea, although they officially stated that they did not do this,” Murtazin told Izvestia.

Microsoft’s decision to restore access for Russian users could also be based on its desire to preserve its dominance in the market, another source told the outlet.

While the Windows operating system remains the most popular choice for ordinary users in Russia, new domestic solutions are currently being developed, and state corporations and companies with state participation have been ordered to fully transition to Russian-developed software by January 1, 2025. This includes operating systems, office suites, anti-virus programs, and virtualization systems. Database management systems will have to be switched by 2026, according to Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development.

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Mon, 13 May 2024 14:40:02 +0000 RT
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