Business

Italian PM: We want to shake things up in Europe

Giuseppe Conte says government wants to change EU rules that are ‘old and outdated.’ By SILVIA SCIORILLI BORRELLI Politico ROME — The Italian government wants to give Europe “a shake,” according to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, but he dismissed fights with other EU members as mere “misunderstandings.” The prime minister, who never campaigned for office or ran in Italy’s election, heads a populist coalition that has  clashed with Brussels over its spending plans and with France over a range of issues from ... Read More »

Goldman Sachs’ role in the 1MDB scandal – in 300 words

The 1MDB corruption scandal has cast a shadow over Goldman Sachs, raising questions about how much the US investment bank knew about the misconduct. BBC What is Goldman accused of? The firm helped raise $6.5bn (£5bn) for the Malaysian development fund, advising on three bond offerings in 2012 and 2013. Prosecutors allege more than $2.7bn was later embezzled, used to bribe government officials and buy luxury items. In November, Goldman’s lead banker on the deals, Tim Leissner, pleaded guilty in US court ... Read More »

EU adopts French, German compromise on Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Russia

Overcoming differences between Paris and Berlin, EU diplomats reached a deal on the pipeline, placing stricter regulations on the project. France said it wanted to “ensure European control” of its own energy needs. DW France and Germany have reached a compromise that will allow Berlin to remain the lead negotiator with Russia on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, European leaders confirmed on Friday. “Regarding the gas directive, we have reached an agreement and this was possible because Germany and France worked closely together,” ... Read More »

A Mixed Economic Bag in 2019

Since the global synchronized growth of 2017, economic conditions have been gradually weakening and will produce an across-the-board deceleration in the months ahead. Nouriel Roubini Project Syndicate Beyond that, the prospect for markets and national economies will depend on a broad range of factors, some of which do not bode well. NEW YORK – After the synchronized global economic expansion of 2017 came the asynchronous growth of 2018, when most countries other than the United States started to experience slowdowns. ... Read More »

German CDU chief: Europe must adapt to survive

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer talks to POLITICO about EU’s future, China, Orbán and elections. By FLORIAN EDER, ANDREW GRAY AND STEPHEN BROWN Politico Europe must change to prosper in a “contest of systems” with China and the United States, according to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the new leader of Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats. In an interview with POLITICO, Kramp-Karrenbauer sketched out a vision that would mean changing EU competition policy to create “European champion” companies, giving greater weight to industrial policy, and striking a balance between French President Emmanuel ... Read More »

End the US Stranglehold on the World Bank

Since the World Bank was created after World War II, its president has always been selected by the United States and backed by European powers, which enjoy a similar monopoly over the directorship of the International Monetary Fund. Jesse Griffiths Project Syndicate But with US President Donald Trump having nominated an unsuitable candidate, that may be about to change. ONDON – Nominations opened this week for the World Bank presidency, one of the most powerful and important jobs in the ... Read More »

Trump envoy urges Europe to ‘link arms’ against China

But first Brussels must start correcting the ‘enormous’ trade imbalances that have stoked transatlantic tensions, says Gordon Sondland. By HANS VON DER BURCHARD Politico Donald Trump’s man in Brussels has a simple message for Europe: Let’s be friends — and fight China. Describing China’s influence as “malign,” Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told POLITICO that his country and the EU should overcome their current trade tensions and… “We should … combine our mutual energies — we ... Read More »

The Death of Clothing

The underlying problem of weak demand is expected to dog the apparel industry for years, meaning more store closures and more bankruptcies lie ahead — with or without Amazon. BoF By Bloomberg By: Lindsey Rupp, Chloe Whiteaker, Matt Townsend and Kim Bhasin NEW YORK, United States — The apparel industry has a big problem. At a time when the economy is growing, unemployment is low, wages are rebounding and consumers are eager to… The woes of retailers are often blamed ... Read More »

Trump Asks for Unity, but Presses Hard Line on Immigration

WASHINGTON — President Trump delivered a message of bipartisan unity on Tuesday night in his first address to Congress in the new era of divided government, but signaled that he will continue to wage war for the… Peter Baker The New York Times In a nationally televised speech that toggled between conciliation and confrontation, Mr. Trump presented himself as a leader who can work across party lines even as he pressed lawmakers to build a… “We must reject the politics ... Read More »

Israel Boosts Protection Of Gas Fields, Shipping

TEL AVIV: With over 80 percent of Israeli’s commerce carried by sea and its offshore gas fields crucial to the economy, the country is boosting spending on protecting its shipping lanes, littorals and… Arie Egozi Braking Defense Hezbollah sees the large natural gas reservoirs and the rigs that probe them in the Mediterranean as potential targets and this puts heavy pressure on the Israeli navy to safeguard them. David Ben–Bassat, former commander of the Israeli navy, told Breaking Defense that ... Read More »

Crimes, radical changes to super, home lending from Hayne final report

Banks face the prospect of criminal charges while the superannuation and home loan sectors are likely to be radically overhauled, in the wake of sweeping recommendations for change from the… By Sarah Danckert, Clancy Yeates & Eryk Bagshaw The Sydney Morning Herald A slew of banks and insurance companies have also been referred to financial regulators overseeing the sector for civil and criminal breaches relating to their superannuation and… However, the report stopped short of making any radical changes to ... Read More »

Is authoritarianism bad for the economy? Ask Venezuela – or Hungary or Turkey

Democracy is at risk worldwide. And the economy may be, too. Seventy-one out of the world’s 195 countries saw their democratic institutions erode in recent years, according to the 2018 year-end report by democracy watchdog Freedom House, a phenomenon known as “democratic backsliding.” Authors: The Conversation Signs of backsliding include elected leaders who expand their executive powers while weakening the legislature and judiciary, elections that have become less competitive and shrinking press freedom. When government institutions erode like this, it ... Read More »

Hayne’s failure to tackle bank structure means that in a decade or so another treasurer will have to call another royal commission

Every 10 to 15 years it’s the same. Ever since financial deregulation in the 1980s we’ve had a finance industry scandal followed by an inquiry, a quick fix, and a declaration that it shouldn’t happen again. Authors: The Conversation In the early 1990s there were royal commissions into the A$1.7 billion Tri-continental/ State Bank Victoria collapse, the A$3.1 billion State Bank of South Australia collapse and the WA Inc collapse which explored the interrelated activities at Rothwells bank, the A$1.8 ... Read More »

Chinese fishing boat captain arrested in waters close to Japan

A Chinese fishing boat captain has been arrested in waters close to Japan, according to state media in the island nation. Liu Zhen South China Morning Post Chen Wenting, 40, was detained by the Japanese coastguard on Saturday morning on suspicion of violating Japan’s fishing rights and trying to avoid inspection, NHK reported. The incident happened on the same day China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told visiting Japanese senior deputy minister for foreign affairs Takeo Mori that 2019 was going ... Read More »

‘This is about saving capitalism’: the Dutch historian who savaged Davos elite

Rutger Bregman never intended to take billionaires to task over tax at World Economic Forum Larry Elliott The Guardian Rutger Bregman had not really intended to stick it to the global elite. He never meant to have a pop at the idea that inequality could be solved by philanthropy or inviting Bono to Davos. But when the Dutch historian decided to go off-piste at the World Economic Forum and tell the assembled billionaires they should stop avoiding paying tax, he became an ... Read More »

Australian politics a billion-dollar business, say latest donation records

Newly-released donation and financial records show Australian politics is now a billion-dollar business. SBS Australian politics is now a billion-dollar business, the latest donation records reveal. The major parties raked in more than $154 million in political donations, returns on investments and asset sales in 2017/18. As well, their associated entities have lodged $926 million, according to Australian Electoral Commission figures released on Friday. West Australian Greens convener Chilla Bulbeck was the largest individual political donor last year, gifting almost ... Read More »