Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

Russia and Saudi Arabia discuss 1m barrels per day production rise

Friday, May 25th, 2018

SSE profits drop ahead of ‘year of major transition’

Friday, May 25th, 2018

Big six supplier plans to merge household supply business with Npower

Maersk raises shipping rates as oil price spike bites

Friday, May 25th, 2018

Marine fuel costs are up more than 20% this year

Energy biggest laggard on S&P 500 amid oil price drop

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Total to buy 10% stake in Russian LNG project

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Russia and Saudi Arabia to discuss relaxing oil production caps

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Meeting lined up amid unease over rally in crude price

Who will be the main loser from Europe’s new data-privacy law?

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

“PLEASE don’t leave us.” From the dozens of e-mails in people’s inboxes, begging them to give their consent to be sent further messages, you could deduce that the senders of newsletters and the like are hardest hit by the European Union’s tough new privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect on May 25th. But the main loser may well be an industry that few have ever heard of but most have dealings with every day: advertising technology, or ad tech. In fact, the GDPR would probably not exist at all were it not for this collection of companies, which have an insatiable hunger for personal data.

Ad tech emerged because advertising is the internet’s default business model. Since targeted ads tend to be more efficient and targeting requires personal data (sites previously visited, searches in online stores and the like), these data became the fuel of a new industry to automate online advertising. It is so complex that even experts often resort to what is…Continue reading

Tailor shops are a thriving pocket of enterprise in Pyongyang

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

No ordinary fashion statement

WALK down the streets of Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, and at first sight the passers-by look rather uniform. The women are in tidy skirt suits and medium-high heels. The men sport variations on the theme of the jacket and wide trousers preferred by Kim Jong Un, the country’s leader. Government-mandated lapel pins with portraits of one or both of Mr Kim’s predecessors continue to be ubiquitous. But look closer and a wealth of individual variations can be seen, particularly among the women: some bright-coloured lace stitched onto a jacket here, a daringly cut skirt in a sparkling satin material there.

Although fashion from China and even from—Kim forbid—South Korea is increasingly making its way to the markets of Pyongyang, many of these flourishes are the work of the city’s own tailors. They may be only a small subset of North Korea’s textile industry—which accounted for around 30% of exports before being hit by sanctions…Continue reading

How kidnapping insurance keeps a lid on ransom inflation

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

IN THE early 1970s, leftist guerrillas in Argentina discovered a lucrative new way to make money: kidnap millionaires. Panicking firms would agree to huge ransoms, more concerned with freeing their executives than driving down the fee. That was not just bad for businesses. It also became a textbook case of how poor negotiating can send future ransoms rocketing and attract new entrants to the kidnapping trade. In Argentina, this culminated in the payment of an undisclosed ransom in 1975 for the release of Juan Born, followed by a $60m ransom for his brother, Jorge. The latter figure, $275m in today’s money, is the highest ransom known in modern times.

One reason it marked a high point is the spread of kidnapping-and-ransom (K&R) insurance. This is involved in a minority of the $0.5bn-1.5bn thought to be paid out in ransoms each year, but the share is growing. Around three-quarters of Fortune 500 companies pay to cover some employees. Insurers reimburse the ransom and, at least as…Continue reading

Labour laws in 104 countries reserve some jobs for men only

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

EVEN as rich countries seek to rid workplaces of subtle gender bias, in many developing ones discrimination remains overt. According to the World Bank, women are barred from certain jobs in 104 countries (see map).

“Gender equality in labour law is associated with more women working and earning more relative to men,” says Sarah Iqbal of the Bank. Yet some countries publish lists of jobs deemed too dangerous for women (Russia’s 456 include driving a train or steering a ship). Others stop women from working in entire sectors, at night or in “morally inappropriate” jobs (in Kazakhstan women cannot bleed or stun cattle, pigs or small ruminants). In four countries women cannot register a business. In 18 a husband can stop his wife working.

The aim is often to protect the “weaker sex”. Some laws put women in the same category as children; they concern jobs seen as physically tough, such as mining, construction and manufacturing. Others relate to broader safety fears. In Mumbai, for…Continue reading