Showing posts with label dolar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dolar. Show all posts

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A major Swiss gold refiner is being investigated on suspicion of money laundering linked to the processing of gold allegedly looted from DR Congo. Swiss federal prosecutors confirmed criminal proceedings against Argor-Heraeus SA, over claims it knew gold it handled in 2004 and 2005 had been taken from DR Congo during an armed conflict. The case has been brought by the Swiss non-governmental organisation TRIAL.  Argor-Heraeus has strongly refuted all allegations in a statement.  The Swiss gold refiner said the allegation had "arrived like a bolt out of the blue" and there had been "no request or contact whatsoever from TRIAL beforehand".
It said "Argor-Heraeus has been cleared of all above mentioned allegations", referring to an investigation at the time by the UN, SECO and FINMA.
The firm said it would "collaborate in complete transparency with the authorities" to prove its innocence.
'Growing pressure'
The Swiss federal prosecutor's office said on Monday that after reviewing the criminal complaint submitted by TRIAL, it had decided to initiate proceedings against Argor-Heraeus "for suspected money laundering in connection with a war crime and complicity in war crimes".
"Given the secrecy of the investigation and function, we are not able to provide more information for now," it said.
TRIAL alleges that gold looted from DR Congo in 2004 and 2005 was smuggled to Uganda and then refined in Switzerland by Argor-Heraeus.
According to TRIAL, the refinery knew or should have assumed that the gold resulted from pillage, a war crime.
DR Congo was in the midst of an armed conflict at the time, driven partly for control of natural resources.
An estimated six million people are believed to have been killed in DR Congo since 1997.
TRIAL says the sale of the gold "contributed to financing the operations of an unlawful armed group in a brutal conflict".
A report at the time by a UN Group of Experts recommended sanctions against Argor, saying the company must have known the gold was obtained illegally. Sanctions were imposed only on Ugandan businesses involved in the trade. TRIAL alleges that Argor escaped sanctions because of pressure applied at the UN by Swiss diplomats.
However, Argor says that "subsequent detailed in-depth verifications executed by SECO and UNO resulted in the removal of the name of Argor-Heraeus from the report and confirmed that the company was in no way directly or indirectly involved in the alleged claim".
Most of the world's gold is refined in Switzerland and the country is also a major trading hub for gold and other commodities.
The BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says there is growing pressure for traders and refiners to be more transparent.
Argor is owned partly by German company Heraeus, Commerzbank, and the Austrian Mint.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Reuters has got hold of a draft copy of the Troika's latest assessment of Greece, following their recent visit.
No major shocks... international lenders concluded that Greece is on track to hit its targets this year and in 2014, but warns it will struggle to fully return to the financial markets after that date.
The Troika also chides Athens for being too slow to privatize state assets....Here's Reuters' early take: Greece is set to meet its budget targets this year and next but must step up privatizations and public sector reform, the country's international lenders said in a draft report obtained by Reuters on Monday.  The report by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund assessing the country's progress in meeting its bailout goals, said the country's privatization revenue target had been lowered for 2013 to €2bn ($2.59 billion) from €2.6bn euros.  "While progress has been made in preparing assets for privatization, the overall speed of the privatization process remains unsatisfactory," said the report.  The document adds to evidence that the debt-laden country still faces big hurdles to standing on its own feet, despite the fiscal progress made by its coalition government and about 200 billion euros in rescue loans it has obtained from the EU/IMF since mid-2010.  Even though Athens' overall debt outlook remains unchanged as it overachieves on budget cuts, Greece would take several years to fully return to capital markets once funding from the bailout program ends in 2014, the report said....But where are the hundreds of thousands of Greeks, Spanish, Cypriots .. in the streets demanding immediate exit from the euro?   Even in strike-happy Greece, SYRIZA (and far left too -- apparently), the country's second party in popularity, says that Greece's place is in the euro!  And you're complaining, are you, about the Greek/Spanish/Cypriot...-bashing when in each and every of these countries there simply are no popular parties demanding immediate exit from the common currency. I'd say, either Greeks, Spanish, Cypriots...are into masochism or the press is terribly out of tune with what these countries' peoples really want. Each of those countries that you say are bashed would still need to auction their sov. bonds, even if tomorrow they were back to their original currencies. I am certain the bashing would not stop with their their old currencies reinstated.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Russia's largest oil producer, state-controlled OAO Rosneft, ROSN.RS -0.31%said Monday it has raised $16.8 billion in bank loans and plans to sign a trade-finance package with two international oil traders to finance the buyout of TNK-BP BP.LN -0.01%. Rosneft is acquiring TNK-BP, Russia's number three oil producer, from BP PLC and the AAR consortium of Soviet-born billionaires in deals worth $55 billion in cash and shares that will create the world's largest listed crude producer. Under the deal, agreed to in October, the AAR tycoons will get more than $28 billion when the deal closes in the first half of 2013. BP will hold a 19.8% stake in Rosneft as part of its deal to sell out of TNK-BP.
To finance the purchase of BP's 50% stake in TNK-BP, Rosneft said it obtained a five-year loan of $4.1 billion and a two-year $12.7 billion loan from a group of international banks. Under the agreement, Rosneft said it plans to sign contracts to supply up to 67 million metric tons of crude oil in total for a period of five years, subject to a prepayment. Rosneft would use future oil exports as collateral for the trade financing from the traders. The supplies are expected to commence in 2013, the company said, but didn't provide any financial details of the deal.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

High-speed computerized trading, called high-frequency trading, is exacerbating the market's big swings. "The moves up and down are because of headlines. The volatility is so high I have no doubt it's due to role of high-frequency trading and algorithms that are exasperating price moves in the market, " says Sal Arnuk of Themis Trading. "Where see 3% and 5% moves — the moves would have been half that without high-frequency trading," Arnuk says. "You'd still have the moves up and down — that's the natural flow of the markets, but because of the outsized role of (exchange traded funds) and the increasing role of high frequency trading and how they prey on (investors), these moves become more outsized." Gold, considered a safe haven in troubled times, continued climbing to new highs, surging through $1,800 an ounce before closing at about $1,794. U.S. Treasuries also rallied, pushing yields down to 2.12%, near Tuesday's record 2.03% low.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In an embarrassing development for John Boehner, the Republican Congress speaker, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) ruled on Tuesday night that his bill would have only cut spending by $850bn (£517bn)over the next decade, not the $1.2tn he had aimed for. Republicans are now racing to rewrite the legislation, and have pushed back a congressional vote on the plan from Wednesday to Thursday at the earliest. Although Boehner was already struggling to find support for his package, the delay increases the risk that Washington will fail to agree a deal to raise the debt ceiling before 2 August, when the federal government is expected to run out of money. The dollar dropped against other currencies on Wednesday morning as investors faced the possibility that America could default. Several economists believe the country will lose its AAA credit rating within months, which would push up its borrowing costs, even if the $14.3tn debt ceiling is increased in time. The White House said on Tuesday it was working with Congress to devise a "Plan B" that might attract enough support. The two sides have been deeply divided for weeks, with Republicans demanding deep spending cuts and Democrats anxious to include tax rises as a major part of the deal.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ratings agency Moody's has cut Greece's debt rating by three notches to Ca on Monday, leaving it just one notch above what is considered default, and said the chance of a default is now "virtually 100%". The ratings agency warned that last week's bailout package agreed by eurozone leaders will make it easier for Greece to reduce its debt, but the country still faced medium-term solvency challenges and there were significant risks in implementing the required reforms. "The announced EU programme implies that the probability of a distressed exchange, and hence a default, on Greek government bonds is virtually 100%," the agency said. "[Greece's] stock of debt will still be well in excess of 100% of GDP for many years and it will still face very significant implementation risks to fiscal and economic reform," it added. The ratings agency is wary that the eurozone bailout package sets a negative precedent for investors. "The support package sets a precedent for future restructurings should the finances of another euro area sovereign become as problematic as those of Greece," Moody's said. According to the ratings agency, obligations rated Ca are highly speculative and are likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery of principal and interest.

The outlook is developing.

Standard & Poor's and Fitch have already downgraded Greece to CCC, one notch above Moody's.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Two of the leading Petrom top managers, who were in the company's management team ever since the privatisation of the oil and gas producer in 2004, have this year left to carry out the reorganisation of OMV's latest acquisition: Petrol Ofisi."I won't be talking about Petrom today because it is already going in the right direction, of integration. Let's talk about Turkey." This was one of the opening messages conveyed by Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, CEO of OMV in London, at the latest media summit organised by the Austrian oil group, Petrom's majority shareholder.
In mid-October, OMV finalised the acquisition of Turkey's biggest petrol station chain, Petrol Ofisi, for which it paid one billion euros, securing a significant share of a market credited with the biggest chances of growth in the next period.Reinhard Pichler, 49, former CFO of Petrom, left his position last week, being replaced by Daniel Turnheim, a member of the OMV group since back in 2002. Pichler is not leaving the group, however, but will go to Turkey, where he will fill the same position he has occupied in Petrom since 2004.At the beginning of this year Tamas Mayer, who used to be in charge of Petrom's marketing operations, i.e. of the nearly 550 distribution stations, left the position to become Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Petrol Ofisi. According to some sources, Mayer will be running marketing operations within Petrol Ofisi, as well.Agerpres, Mediafax, Romanian Vancouver Sun,Global News, Financial Times,Tribune, ,Wall Street Journal,The Washington Times,Athens News,The New York Times,USA Today,Le Monde

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

China - the new frontier for EU Investors

China's rapid growth is easing to a manageable pace and Beijing can do more to reconfigure its economy to promote domestic consumption and reduce reliance on trade, the World Bank said Wednesday. Inflation that has risen steadily this year should level off and is unlikely to be a serious problem, the bank said in a quarterly China outlook. The Washington-based bank raised its 2010 growth forecast from 9.5 percent to 10 percent and said the expansion should slow to 8.7 percent next year. Growth eased to 9.6 percent in the three months ending in September, down from 10.3 percent the previous quarter, as the government imposed lending and investment curbs.
"We think that coming from this very strong growth, China should be able to ease into a more sustainable growth rate in the long term," said the report's main author, Louis Kuijs, at a news conference.
The outlook reflects China's status as the first major economy to rebound from the global crisis on the strength of a flood of stimulus spending and bank lending. While Washington and others are trying to shore up growth, Beijing faces the challenge of cooling inflation and restoring normal conditions.
Beijing needs to boost wages and consumer spending and promote growth of private and service businesses to reduce reliance on exports and energy-intensive heavy industry, the World Bank said.
"The need to rebalance to more domestic demand-led, service sector-oriented growth seems stronger now than five years ago," said Kuijs. "Internationally the environment is less favorable than it was."
Communist leaders made raising domestic consumption a priority in their latest five-year economic plan crafted at a meeting last month. But it also was a goal in their previous plan and private sector analysts say Beijing has yet to take major steps to shift emphasis away from manufacturing and construction. The World Bank recommended opening up more industries to private business, changing the way energy prices are set to encourage efficiency and nurturing private-sector research and development. The bank cautioned against abrupt steps such as mandating sharp wage hikes, saying Beijing instead should look at gradual changes such as allowing more rural workers to move to cities and changing energy prices that favor heavy industry."We are looking for a market-oriented, market-friendly way of getting this consumption growth, consistent with continued strong growth," Kuijs said. Inflation that hit 3.6 percent in September, well above the 3 percent government target, should level off but might stay as high as 3.3 percent next year, the bank said. Kuijs said that in developing economies such as China, inflation of 3 to 5 percent might be acceptable as industries grow rapidly and demand for resources shifts."We still do not think China's inflation is at a very serious risk of escalating but we also do not think China will go back to the very low rate of inflation it saw in 2005," he said.
The bank also cautioned that China's politically contentious trade surplus is likely to rebound in 2011 after narrowing temporarily this year.
The multibillion-dollar trade gap has strained relations with Washington and other trading partners and prompted some U.S. lawmakers to demand sanctions over Chinese currency controls blamed for widening the surplus.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Recent Investments - Eastern Europe - Romania

Bancroft has acquired a significant stake in Dumagas Transport, a leading Romanian road transportation company. Dumagas Transport engages in general and specialised transportation of liquid, powder goods, and vehicles and holds a prominent position in controlled temperature warehousing and logistics.
It is the second investment in the third fund launched by Bancroft Private Equity, LLP, a Central and Eastern European, mid-market, private equity fund manager. This transaction was completed in July 2010. Bancroft will support the founding shareholders and managers as they continue developing the company’s activities across all its business lines, consolidate the group’s positions in key export markets, and speed up the development of the controlled temperature warehousing and logistics markets.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fate of the Romanian Economy in 2011 depends on talks with IMF

Yesterday saw the start of two weeks of negotiations with the Fund, which are set to provide some answers to essential questions as far as next year is concerned.
Romania could find out in about two weeks' time if and how much economic growth it will see next year, what the main taxes will look like - flat rate, social contributions, VAT, what the new arrangement to be signed with the IMF in spring will look like and implicitly how big the RON/euro exchange rate volatility will be.
The first official talks between the IMF's review mission and the authorities began yesterday.Jeffrey Franks, the mission chief, says the Fund's forecasts regarding the Romanian economy could be adjusted, but not significantly.Forecast modifications have become a current practice over the course of the arrangement sealed in the spring of 2009, with the IMF so far only revising its calculations for the worse, after failing to anticipate the economic trends. Now the Fund expects a 1.5% GDP growth for 2011.The final forecasts will be an essential tool towards building next year's budget. The draft that recently featured in the press but has yet to be officially assumed is already suspected of overestimating the revenue potential. Things are made even more complicated by the chaos on the political scene, which was reflected yesterday in the Parliament in the decisions on introducing a 5% VAT rate on basic food items and on exempting from taxation pensions of less than 2,000 RON, after there had been talk of taxing all incomes of this type.If these decisions are politically assumed, by the head of state inclusively, attempts by the main ruling party PD-L to talk to the IMF about cutting the flat rate to 12%, cutting overall social contributions to 41% and increasing the minimum wage to 700 RON will fail.