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Business

Dateline
October 24, 2014 12:40
Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Vitaly Belousov)
Politically-motivated sanctions see shift from dollar - Putin
The sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and the West, among other financial blunders, are mistakes that have triggered the world to de-dollarize. Russian President Putin describes this as like “cutting down the branches, upon which they are sitting.”
The central office of Saint Petersburg Commodity and Stock Exchange (RIA Novosti / Vadim Zhernov) Russia starts first-ever gas trading in St. Petersburg
Russia, the world’s second-largest producer of natural gas, has launched its first auction of natural gas on Friday at the St. Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange (SPIMEX). It will be Europe’s largest natural gas trading post.
Reuters / Brian Snyder Syria asks for free trade zone with Russia
Syria has applied to be part of a free trade zone with Russia. The proposal will be discussed at a Eurasian Economic Commission’s (EEC) session, scheduled for December 23.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) shows the way to the guests of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 24, 2014 (AFP Photo / Takaki Yajima) China launches new World Bank rival
China and India are backing a 21 country $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to challenge to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
RIA Novosti / Ruslan Krivobok ‘EU in court!’ Biggest Russian lender Sberbank launches sanctions appeal
Sberbank is taking the European Commission to court in an effort to lift the Western sanctions imposed in August, the bank’s press service announced on Friday.

Business snaps

Germany’s Merkel: EU sanctions against Russia to stay in place 

EU sanctions against Russia must remain in place, the Wall Street Journal quoted German Chancellor Angela Merkel as saying on Friday. Speaking at a news conference after an EU summit in Brussels, she argued that a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine was not being fully observed.

UK GDP expands by 0.7% in Q3, sterling edges up 

UK gross domestic product expanded by 0.7 percent in the July-September period, compared with 0.9 percent in the second quarter. Growth slowed as services output growth eased and manufacturing expanded at its weakest pace in 18 months, Reuters said. As data showed the British economy expanded in line with expectations, sterling rose on Friday 0.15 percent to $1.6056 from around $1.6032 beforehand.

BASF CEO Bock urges West to lift Russia sanctions – report 

BASF’s Chief Executive Officer has said the sanctions against Russia do not work and urged the West to lift them, TASS reported, citing Kurt Bock’s interview to Bloomberg. A constructive dialogue is needed over the situation in Ukraine, Bock said. Business figures are hoping for it and are ready to take part in such a dialogue, the news agency quoted him as saying.

Euro passes 53 rubles for first time in history 

The euro for the first time in history passed the 53-ruble mark during morning trading on the Moscow exchange on Friday. By 07:27 GMT, the European currency gained 20 kopeks to 53.002 rubles. Later, however, the euro decreased to 52.99 rubles. The US dollar gained 18 kopeks to 41.90 rubles, also a historic new maximum. Analysts say the ruble has weakened by roughly 26 percent against the dollar, and by 16 percent against the euro since the beginning of the year.

Unemployment in Spain at 3yr low, still second highest in Europe 

Spain’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in almost three years in the third quarter, Reuters reported. The headline jobless rate fell to 23.7 percent, down from 24.5 percent in the previous quarter, the National Statistics Institute said on Thursday. The figure was the lowest registered since the last quarter of 2011 as services sector took on more staff and construction activity also picked up. The jobless rate still remains the second-highest in the eurozone behind Greece.

Credit Suisse profit doubles in Q3  

Credit Suisse’s profits more than doubled in the third quarter, the bank said Thursday. The net profit of Switzerland’s second-largest bank rose to 1.025 billion Swiss francs ($1.07 billion) in the July-September period from 454 million francs a year earlier, AP reported. The bank benefited from cost cutting, brisk business in emerging markets and the services it provides for wealthy clients.

China manufacturing edges up in October 

China’s factory sector edged up in October as firms drew more foreign and domestic orders, Reuters reported, citing a private survey. The flash HSBC/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) edged up to a three-month high of 50.4 from a final reading of 50.2 in September. Analysts believe the figure does not point to a fourth-quarter turnaround for the cooling economy. GDP results of the third quarter were published earlier this week.

Reuters / Brendan McDermid ​S&P keeps Russia’s rating steady
Standard& Poor’s rating agency has held Russia’s sovereign rating steady at BBB- dismissing concerns of a possible downgrade to junk status and admitting Russia’s debt is “moderate” compared to most of the other major world economies.
A picture shows section of the BP ETAP (Eastern Trough Area Project) oil platform in the North Sea (AFP Photo / Pool) BP and GDF discover new oil field in North Sea
Oil majors GDF Suez and BP have announced a new oil discovery in the North Sea. Experts believe the oil strike is a landmark find that could yield up to 50 million barrels.
Reuters / Markku Ruottinen Microsoft ditches Nokia in rebranding effort
The once ubiquitous Nokia brand of mobile phone is no more. New owners Microsoft are making a clean break from the brand made famous with its old-school “brick” phones. Cutting edge smartphones from the company will now have the Lumia brand.
Reuters / Brendan McDermid Eurozone crisis might not be over, S&P warns
The eurozone may be entering another stage of recession as governments, banks and companies struggle to cut their massive debts in a period of weak economic growth, rating agency Standard & Poor’s has warned.
Widows, who have been abandoned by their families, light sparklers after offering prayers on the banks of the river Yamuna as part of Diwali celebrations organised by non-governmental organisation Sulabh International in Vrindavan, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh October 21, 2014 (Reuters / Ahmad Masood) Hindu Diwali holiday triggers 450% gold surge in India
India will be glistening with gold in the next few days, as millions celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. The holiday has pushed up demand for gold. In September the country imported $3.75 billion worth of gold jewelry in preparation.
AFP Photo / David McNew Russia says oil at $90 to $110 is ‘fair price’
The 'fair' and most comfortable oil price for world economies would range between $90 and $110 per barrel, with any fluctuations from that involving certain risks for the industry, Russia's Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said.
RIA Novosti / Alexandr Kryazhev Pork from EU disguised as mushrooms, bubble gum busted by Russia
Contraband pork has been smuggled into Russia from the EU under the guise of chewing gum, frozen juice and mushrooms, Russia’s food safety regulator has reported. Pork imports from Europe have been banned since an outbreak of swine fever in January.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak (RIA Novosti / Grigory Sysoev) Russia against new gas ‘loans’ for Ukraine - Energy Minister
Russia is refusing to agree to payment options proposed by the EU, calling them a hidden form of credit. Kiev has less than a week to find the money for Russian gas, ahead of the next round of negotiations on October 29.
RIA Novosti/Vladimir Trefilov Good fundamentals make ruble ‘stable’ currency - Russian Central Bank
Russia’s currency has taken a significant 20 percent plunge this year against the dollar and euro, but analysts are confident that Russia’s sturdy stash of foreign reserves and miniscule external debt make the ruble one of the ‘most stable’ currencies.

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