China to provide $2bn in loans for Iranian petrochemical industry
China opened a credit line of US$2 billion for Iran to develop four major projects in the petrochemical industry, Tasnim news agency reports. The loans were allocated for the development and reconstruction of the Masjed Soleiman, Sabalan, Bushehr and Lordegan enterprises, said Mohammad Hassan Peyvand, vice-president of Iran’s National Petrochemical Company. Despite economic sanctions against Iran, China increased its investment in the country to above $50 billion in 2014, from $35 billion in 2010.
Russian energy giant Gazprom received an additional $70 million from Ukraine’s Naftogaz for January deliveries, RIA Novosti reported. Gazprom received $150 million from Naftogaz the previous month as a prepayment for expected gas deliveries for January. Ukraine said it plans to purchase some one billion cubic meters of gas from Gazprom for January.
The head of VTB Andrey Kostin has told RT, the bank has had to substantially increase its provision for bad debt in 2014.Even though the provision has been increased by 60 percent he does not see a fundamental threat to the Russian banks in general.“The Russian banking sector will have an adequate capital base with the help of the government and I think we’ll cope with the problems”, he said.
China bought a record volume of crude from Russia last year, Bloomberg reported. Imports from Russia increased by 36 percent in 2014, the fastest pace ever, to 33.1 million metric tons, about 665,000 barrels a day, the General Administration of Customs said. China’s shipments from Saudi Arabia shrank for a second year.
Russia’s Gazprom said on Thursday it had signed a €350 million ($407 million) credit agreement with Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo, Reuters reported. The deal was the first ever credit agreement between the two companies, according to the Russian gas giant. It signed a €390 million credit line with another Italian bank, UniCredit, in December.
Financial markets "greeted favorably" news that the European Central Bank will begin buying €60 billion worth of government bonds in an attempt to prevent the eurozone from becoming trapped in long-term economic stagnation, the New York Times said. The long-awaited quantitative easing is meant to spur growth in the eurozone economy and establish inflation at healthier levels.
American Express has said it plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs this year, about 6 percent of its workforce, AP reported. The cuts are part of an efficiency drive, the New York-based charge card company said. It also reported an 11 percent rise in fourth-quarter profits.