The US and 11 other nations negotiating a free trade zone stretching from Chile to Japan failed to reach a final agreement at talks in Singapore. The US-led agreement has been snagged by disagreements between countries on market access, especially for agricultural products, environmental protections and intellectual property, AP reported. After four days of meetings in Singapore, ministers said on Tuesday they had identified "potential landing zones" for most of the outstanding issues.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday that the inter-governmental agreements for the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline prevail over EU legislation. However, he said that “the consultations were held in order to avoid a deadlock,” Itar-Tass said. “Different rules exist to take into account the interest of the EU and to implement the South Stream gas project,” Medvedev said. He also pledged that gas supplies would be made in Europe in line with previously-established deadlines.
Former chief of Uralkali, Vladislav Baumgertner, has reportedly left Lefotovo holding center and is under house arrest in Moscow, RIA Novosti reports. He was extradited back to Moscow after several months in Belarus in prison and under house arrest. Baumgertner was arrested on for 'abuse of power' in his role of the break up of Uralkali and it's Belarusian partner, Belaruskali, which shook up the $20 billion world potash market. Uralkali left the trade cartel in favor of supply pricing.
Europe is on the brink of a banking union deal that will usher in a “real revolution” to its financial system, France’s finance minister has said. However, Pierre Moscovici said it was essential any deal included a single, central rescue fund for dealing with failed banks, the Financial Times reported. Berlin has resisted the proposal, favoring a network of national funds instead. A compromise that would combine both German and broader EU demands is in the works. Germany has dropped objections to the European Commission becoming the main authority for winding up failed banks - "as long as no public money or significant resolution funding is required," the paper said.
The US Treasury Department has sold its final shares in General Motors, recovering $39 billion of the $49.5 billion it spent to save the automaker during the financial crisis five years ago, AP reported. The American auto industry is back, President Barack Obama said in a statement, as Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew noted that without the bailout, the country would have lost more than a million jobs. The government received 912 million GM shares, or a 60.8 percent stake, in 2008 and 2009. It began selling shares once GM went public again in November of 2010.
Slovakia has agreed with Ukraine on the contents of a memorandum that will serve as a basis for natural gas supplies to Ukraine through the Slovak gas pipeline system in the future, CTK news agency said. Eustream company, which operates the transit gas pipeline in Slovakia will now wait for the Ukrainian stance “on organization issues and the date for signing of the documents,” spokesman Vahram Chuguryan said. As technical problems with pipeline are still needed to be resolved, Slovak daily Hospodárske noviny quoted Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Eduard Stavytsky as saying that Ukraine would sign the document this week.
Central banks have been caught out by the slide in prices this year, with the value of the precious metal held in their vaults falling by $400 billion, the Daily Telegraph reported, citing the latest broker research. The US Federal Reserve has been the biggest loser and has seen the value of its 8,134 tons of gold fall to $327 billion, down from $433 billion a year earlier, according to Banc De Binary, a binary options trading firm. The holdings of Bank of England fell by $4 billion in value since the beginning of the year to $12.5 billion.