Connect with us

Business

India, China join hands on oil

Published

on

India and China are working closely on common trade concerns, including cooperation in buying oil and gas, against the backdrop of a US squeeze through tariffs and sanctions on Iranian oil imports, officials with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Efforts have been made by the world’s second- and third-largest oil importers to find common ground and energy cooperation is one of the key areas where the two sides can collectively bargain for better prices from producers, the officials added, asking not to be identified.

Following a visit to New Delhi in March by Li Fanrong, deputy chief of China’s National Energy Administration, the two sides created a joint working group on oil and gas. This is the first institutionalised arrangement between the two sides to cooperate in energy though they have several groups on issues such as counter-terrorism and the boundary dispute.

“A meeting between petroleum and natural gas secretary MM Kutty and the vice minister of China’s National Energy Administration, Li Fanrong, was held on March 26 in New Delhi to discuss cooperation in the oil and gas sector,” one of the government officials cited above said.

A person familiar with thinking in official quarters in Beijing said “both sides are closely discussing” cooperation in key areas such as oil purchases. He confirmed these issues had figured in the meeting between Kutty and Li in March.

Cooperation in energy has been on the agenda for some time – Kutty visited China last October – but the issue gained steam with the US announcing the end of exemptions to sanctions on Iranian oil imports last month.

Iran is important for the energy security of India and China as it is one of the largest suppliers of crude to the two major economies and the supply disruption due to US sanctions has huge strategic and economic costs for the two countries, Indian officials said on condition of anonymity.

The economic interests of India and China have also been threatened by the Trump administration’s announcement on ending preferential arrangements with India under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme and raising import duties from 10% to 25% on Chinese goods worth $200 billion. New Delhi and Beijing are coming closer to counter trade barriers created by the US that threaten the two major Asian economies, the officials said.

Among issues that India and China can jointly work on is the “Asian premium” charged by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the officials said. India is also concerned about the impact of US sanctions that kicked in on May 2 and cut off supplies from Iran, which accounted for more than 10% of the country’s oil requirements, and the need to rein in prices, they added.

The new arrangement marks a significant shift from the times when India and China often competed with each other to acquire stakes in oil and gas fields in Asia and Africa. Their cooperation in the field of energy was limited and India is now also looking at the possibility of also getting South Korea and Japan to join the buyers collective so as to create some sort of a grouping of buyers, officials said.

People familiar with developments on both sides said the cooperation is in line with the “Wuhan spirit”, a reference to the informal summit last year between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping that reset bilateral relations after the 2017 military stand-off at Doklam. They also pointed to Beijing’s changed stand on the UN listing of Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar.

Though India has raised the issue of flexibility on the sanctions on Iranian oil, the US has been non-committal. On Monday, visiting US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said his country will not ensure sale of cheaper oil to India as the commodity is controlled by private firms.

“Oil is owned by private people, so the government cannot force people to make concessionary prices,” Ross, here to participate in a trade forum, told reporters.

However, US ambassador Kenneth Juster said his country is working with other producers such as Saudi Arabia to ensure “adequate supply of oil”.

Though India has turned to alternative suppliers such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait to make up for the lost volumes from Iran, supplies from these sources is unlikely to be as cheap as Iranian oil as Tehran provided 60 days of credit and covered shipping and insurance costs.

Source

Business

Bill Gates no longer world’s second richest person. Guess who is?

Published

on

Bill Gates has never ranked lower than No. 2 in the seven-year history of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That run ended Tuesday when the Microsoft Corp. co-founder dropped to No. 3 behind France’s Bernard Arnault.

LVMH, Arnault’s luxury-goods maker, advanced to a record Tuesday and pushed his net worth to $107.6 billion and ahead of Gates by more than $200 million. The shares extended their gains Wednesday, rising 0.7% at 1:54 pm in Paris. Arnault has added about $39 billion to his fortune in 2019 alone, the biggest individual gain by far among the 500 people in Bloomberg’s ranking.

Arnault, 70, joined Gates and Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, in the most exclusive wealth club last month, when his fortune surpassed $100 billion for the first time. The trio’s collective wealth exceeds the individual market values of almost every company in the S&P 500 Index, including Walmart Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Walt Disney Co.

This year has been particularly good to French tycoons, with Arnault, Kering SA’s Francois Pinault and cosmetics heir Francoise Bettencourt Meyers tacking on a combined $57 billion.

Arnault and his family are among luxury titans who pledged more than $650 million in April for the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral after fire ravaged the landmark church. He controls about half of Paris-based LVMH through a family holding company and also owns a 97% stake in Christian Dior, the fashion house founded three years before his birth in 1949.

Arnault entered the luxury-goods market in 1984 by acquiring a textile group that owned Christian Dior. Four years later, he sold the company’s other businesses and used the proceeds to buy a controlling stake in LVMH. His art collection of modern and contemporary paintings includes pieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.

Were it not for Gates’s philanthropic giving, he’d still be the world’s richest person. Gates has donated more than $35 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bezos’s net worth is up slightly this year to $125 billion, even after reaching a divorce settlement with MacKenzie Bezos that made her the world’s fourth-richest woman.

source

Continue Reading

Business

Libra crypto won’t launch until regulatory concerns are addressed, says Facebook

Published

on

Facebook Inc said on Monday it would not proceed with the launch of its Libra cryptocurrency until regulatory concerns are addressed, as the US Treasury secretary took the unusual step of saying he had serious concerns it could be used for illicit activity.

David Marcus, who oversees Facebook’s blockchain efforts, planned to tell Congress that Libra is not being built to compete with traditional currencies or interfere with monetary policy.

“The Libra Association, which will manage the (Libra) Reserve, has no intention of competing with any sovereign currencies or entering the monetary policy arena,” Marcus was due to say on Tuesday, according to prepared testimony released by the Senate Banking Committee. “Monetary policy is properly the province of central banks.”

“Facebook will not offer the Libra digital currency until we have fully addressed regulatory concerns and received appropriate approvals,” he said.

Speaking with reporters, Mnuchin said he was not comfortable with Libra currently, particularly in guarding against money laundering and other illicit use. “They’re going to have to convince us of very high standards before they have access to the US financial system,” he said.

Mnuchin is the latest senior US regulator to air concerns with the product, days after Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell expressed similar worries about the digital currency could be misused.

“These cryptocurrencies have been dominated by illicit activity and speculation,” said Mnuchin.

In his prepared testimony, Marcus said the Libra Association, the companies behind the Facebook-led cryptocurrency, planned to register as a money services business with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and fully expected to comply with anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act rules.

Since announcing the Libra project last month, Facebook has faced a torrent of criticism and skepticism from policymakers across the world who cite concerns over data security, money laundering and consumer protections.

Marcus was scheduled to testify on Tuesday and Wednesday before congressional committees overseeing financial issues and several members have suggested the product be barred.

Addressing some of those concerns, Marcus said in his prepared testimony that partners providing financial services with Libra will be required to comply with anti-money laundering rules. The Libra Association will not hold personal data of users beyond basic transaction information, and personal information provided to Calibra, the digital wallet Facebook is developing to hold Libra, will not be shared with the social media company and cannot be used for targeting ads.

Marcus added that he expected the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information commissioner to be Libra’s privacy regulator because the Libra Association is headquartered in Geneva. The association is also in preliminary talks with the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority on “an appropriate regulatory framework.”

While promising Libra will adhere to relevant laws and regulations, Marcus aimed to sell lawmakers on the product’s merits as well, arguing the United States should not stifle such innovation.

“I am proud that Facebook has initiated this effort here in the United States,” his testimony said. “I believe that if America does not lead innovation in the digital currency and payments area, others will. If we fail to act, we could soon see a digital currency controlled by others whose values are dramatically different.”

source

Continue Reading

Business

RBI to come out with mobile app for currency notes identification

Published

on

The Reserve Bank of India will come out with a mobile application to help visually challenged people in identifying currency notes as cash still remains a dominant mode of transaction.

At present, banknotes in the denominations of Rs 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 2,000 are in circulation, besides Re 1 notes issued by the Centre.

The RBI said that identification of banknote denomination is key to successful completion of cash-based transactions by visually impaired persons.

Intaglio printing based identification marks for helping the visually challenged in identification of banknotes denomination are present in the notes of Rs 100 and above.

After demonetisation of old Rs 500/1,000 notes in November 2016, new banknotes in design and sizes have been put in circulation.

“The Reserve Bank of India has been sensitive to the challenges faced by the visually challenged in conducting their day to day business with Indian banknotes,” said the central bank while scouting for a vendor to develop the mobile application.

The proposed mobile app would be able to identify the denomination of notes of Mahatma Gandhi Series and Mahatma Gandhi (New) series by capturing the image of the notes placed in front of mobile camera, the RBI said while inviting bids from tech firms to develop the app.

The RBI had come out with a similar ‘request for proposal’ from vendors but later cancelled it.

The app will also generate “audio notification” intimating the currency note denomination to the user if image is captured correctly, else intimating the user to try again in case of image is not readable.

There are about 80 lakh blind or visually impaired people in the country, who are likely to benefit from the initiative of the central bank.

In June, 2018 the central bank had declared that it would explore the feasibility of developing a suitable device or mechanism for aiding the visually impaired in the identification of Indian banknotes.

source

Continue Reading

Newsletters

Enter your email address to get latest updates

Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2018 - 2019 Delhi Wire.