Russia’s Gazprom aims to double liquefied natural gas exports by 2025

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Russian energy giant Gazprom said it exported 7 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2020, and is planning to double annual sales by 2025, Pavel Sedov, the head of LNG exports at Gazprom Export, said. Sedov added that Gazprom is still a rather small LNG enterprise, but the company’s portfolio is growing. Also on rt.com
Russia expects to win big from rapidly expanding LNG market

“I hope that in the nearest future we will supply our first fully carbon-neutral cargo of LNG to Europe,” he said.Carbon-neutral LNG commonly involves companies supporting nature-based projects that reduce emissions to offset those generated from the exploration and production of LNG.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
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Gazprom is a majority shareholder in Sakhalin Energy, the operator of the Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project, which is engaged in developing the Piltun-Astokhskoye and Lunskoye fields in the northeast of the Sakhalin shelf. The project infrastructure includes an LNG plant.The enterprise is partly owned by Shell, which holds 27.5 percent, Mitsui, with 12.5 percent, and Mitsubishi Corporation, whose holdings total 10 percent. In 2020, Sakhalin Energy produced over 11.6 million tons of LNG, the most ever for the project.According to Sedov, Gazprom is also planning to supply carbon-neutral LNG to Europe. Gazprom Export focuses on growing markets for natural gas, including LNG in Asia.The company is reportedly planning to ensure the growth of LNG supplies by means of its export facility at Ust-Luga in northwest Russia, which is currently under construction.

Iran to join LNG race in Asia with huge North Pars development

In the absence even of these indigenous LNG facilities Iran was looking at utilising about 25 percent of Oman’s total 1.5 million tons per year LNG production capacity at the Qalhat plant as part of a broader plan to build a 192 kilometre section of 36-inch pipeline running along the bed of the Oman Sea at depths of up to 1,340 metres from Mobarak Mount in Iran’s southern Hormuzgan province to Sohar Port in Oman for gas exports. Propitiously for the speed of development of North Pars, not only are the spot prices of LNG set to remain at the historical high-end but also Iran has virtually completed all phases of its South Pars development.Located some 120 kilometres southeast of the southern Bushehr Province, the North Pars gas field has around 59 trillion cubic feet (about 1.67 trillion cubic metres) of gas in place, with a conservatively estimated recoverable volume of gas of approximately 47 trillion cubic feet. Although Qatar is set to increase this output to around 110 mtpa, Iran is set to not only bring on further phases of development of North Pars but also the development with a view to the LNG market of a number of other major gas fields, including most immediately Golshan, Ferdowsi, Farzad A and Farzad B, and Kish. With Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices having risen to unprecedented levels in January and the outlook remaining extremely robust Iran believes now is the time to move full ahead with its long-term strategy to become a leading global LNG supplier. This is the LNG figure from the first 12 month phase of development only of North Pars but even this compares favourably to the entire yearly output of global LNG powerhouse – and Iran’s neighbour – Qatar, at 77 mtpa for many years. It should not be forgotten that the major field from which Qatar takes the gas to sustain its status as number one LNG exporter in the world is exactly the same 9,700 square kilometre reservoir from which Iran draws much of its own gas: Qatar’s 6,000 square kilometre side of the field is the North Dome, whilst Iran’s 3,700 square kilometre side is South Pars (North Pars has been treated as an additional site).After the development hiatus, September 2006 saw China’s CNOOC sign a memorandum of understanding with the National Iranian Oil Corporation (NIOC) to develop the North Pars site. The first part concerned a gas cooperation roadmap between the two companies, and the second part detailed the construction Iranian LNG facilities in partnership with Iran’s Oil Industry Pension Fund. Late in 2018, South Korea’s Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Kim Hyun-mee, agreed the finer points on its LNG co-operation with Iran’s Petroleum Minister, Bijan Zangeneh, which included Exim Bank’s initial €8 billion credit line to Iran and another €2.3 billion from two other South Korean companies. In the interim, Iran had been working on a plan to make progress on its LNG plan by installing a network of ‘mini LNG’ complexes with the help of South Korea. Also on rt.com
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Iran had also been moving ahead with plans to construct floating LNG facilities, especially near Europe, with in-principle deals having been struck with Italy’s Eni and Spain’s Cepsa to take both oil and LNG when it became available from Iran. This is still the ballpark figure with which Iran is working and consideration is now being given by the Petroleum Ministry and NIOC to making the North Pars site the focus of a new bigger energy hub, concentrated on the production of LNG. The gas itself is lean and sour with a condensate gas ratio of 4 barrels (0.64 cubic metres) per 1000 cubic feet and it contains around 6,000 parts per million of hydrogen sulphide and five per cent of carbon dioxide, a senior oil and gas figure who works closely with Iran’s Petroleum Ministry exclusively told OilPrice.com last week. Gazprom would take payment for its work from the sale of gas both from this complex and from part of the output from fields feeding gas into it. Also on rt.com
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A recent internal study of the state of North Pars by Iran determined that the field is still in a highly workable state for a quick push to significant gas output – specifically, at least 100 million cubic metres per day (mcm/d) within less than 12 months of proper development – with all of the gas recovered to be channelled into LNG production of at least 20 million metric tonnes per annum (mtpa). Later, when China proved slow on progressing with the this development – and others in Iran – but before US and EU sanctions against Iran were ramped up in 2011/12 forcing its suspension of the project, German chemicals giant Linde Group had 60 percent completed a $3.3 billion flagship LNG export facility near Tombak Port. Initially, this would allow Gazprom to effectively take over from Linde on the existing 60 percent complete LNG complex, and later to be integral in the construction of the mini-LNG complexes. This was then extended in December 2006 to incorporate the development of a four-train LNG facility with a 20 mtpa capacity. The first design to operate in this field was approved in 1977 but, after the drilling of 17 wells and the installation of 26 offshore platforms, the active development of North Pars was suspended due to 1979 Islamic Revolution in the country and the subsequent war with Iraq from 1980-1988. Follow RT on

Iran is looking for a piece of Asia’s growing LNG market by turning its North Pars gas field into a major producing asset. After sanctions were lifted again in 2016, Iran awarded Linde – whose liquefaction process the facility’s first two trains were intended to use – a ‘sweetener’ contract when it signed the first petrochemical co-operation deal between Iran and Germany; a Front End Engineering Design (FEED) contract for the olefin unit of Kian Petrochemical. Both facilities would have been connected to two international pipeline systems: the Trans Adriatic Pipeline and the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria links. These mini-LNG complexes, with production capacities ranging from 2,000 to 500,000 tons of LNG per year – compared to typical large scale plant capacity of between 2.5 and 7.5 million tons per year – would benefit particularly from being both relatively quick to start up and locatable almost anywhere, even in very remote gas fields. A key focus for this will be the North Pars non-associated natural gas field that was the largest gas reservoir in Iran before the discovery of supergiant South Pars field in 1990. Indeed, the scale of Iran’s original LNG plans can be gauged from the fact that prior to 2011/12 it was in negotiations with a number of international oil companies about LNG-related projects, including Total, Petronas, Repsol, and Royal Dutch Shell, all of which had agreements with Iran as part of its fourth ‘Five Year National Develop Plan’ (2005-2009) that aimed to produce 70 mtpy of LNG from the North Pars, South Pars, Ferdowsi and Golshan gas fields. After the scaling up of sanctions in 2011/12, caution amongst European firms about engaging with Iran in such projects understandably increased and, although this reticence temporarily abated after the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in January 2016, little progress was made by them before sanctions were again introduced by the US following its unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018. Similar plans were being discussed between Iran and Greece’s state-run gas supplier, Depa, to form a new firm that would build and run a floating LNG storage and re-gasification facility at Alexandroupolis, in the north of Greece, and the expansion of the Revythousa re-gasification terminal near Athens was being looked at as a potential entry point for Iranian gas. This facility was set to produce at least 10.5 mtpy of LNG, with expectations that it would take less than a year to finish. Also on rt.com
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With US sanctions firmly back in place in 2018, though, Oman backed away from the plan, to be replaced by Russia’s Gazprom in Iran’s LNG plans, which signed two memoranda of understanding with the NIOC concerning the rollout of a two-fold joint strategy regarding gas. This would allow for international state-owned companies to engage in a series of projects joining up their South Pars operations with their North Pars ones, according to the Iran source.By Simon Watkins for Oilprice.com These plans, though, were again put on hold due to increased US sanctions against both Iran and Russia, a relatively poor global LNG price outlook, and to the fact that China was again interested in taking a part in the LNG project as part of its wider 25-year deal with Iran.At that time it was envisaged that the North Pars LNG development would need around $16 billion in investment – comprising $5 billion in the upstream sector and $11 billion in the downstream sector (mainly LNG plants) – to achieve at least the first phase LNG output of at minimum 100 mcm/d and the drilling of the 46 wells that this would entail.

Washington slaps tariffs on aluminum imports from 18 countries

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The US Commerce Department has introduced duties on common alloy aluminum sheet from 18 nations. Also on rt.com
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“If the ITC makes affirmative final injury determinations, Commerce will issue AD or CVD orders,” the department said in a statement, referring to anti-dumping or countervailing duties orders.The latest tariffs will come on top of the 10-percent duties the US imposed on most aluminum imports under the Trump administration as part of a national security law.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section The duties on common alloy aluminum sheet, which is used in building facades, truck trailer bodies, and street signs, were announced hours after the Senate voted to confirm Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo as the new commerce secretary.Germany reportedly had the highest anti-dumping rate, ranging from 49.4 percent to 242.8 percent. It is the biggest exporter of aluminum sheet to the US, with $286.6 million worth in 2019. Also on rt.com
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Bahrain, which exported $241.2 million worth of aluminum sheet, received a 4.83-percent anti-dumping duty rate and an anti-subsidy rate of up to 6.44 percent.The country reportedly benefited from pricing below the cost of production or the local market of 83 percent, while imports from India, worth $123 million in 2019, benefited from subsidies for 35 to 89 percent.The list of countries facing aluminum tariffs includes Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Oman, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, and Turkey.The final decision is expected to receive approval from the US International Trade Commission (ITC) by April 15. The tariffs come as a result of an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation launched under the Trump administration.

How to hold Big Tech accountable for violating facial recognition privacy law? Boom Bust finds out

It allows basically tech companies to be held accountable, and there’s some consequences there financially which impact smaller companies more than bigger companies like Facebook, but there are some consequences.”“So, these tech companies are still sort of hopping from state to state if you will, finding the best laws that suit what they do.”For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Mollye Barrows of America’s Lawyer joins RT’s Boom Bust to talk about growing concerns over AI technology.“It’s the first law that actually regulates biometric data and it’s the only law that allows individuals to bring a case to the court that says, ‘Hey, my privacy was violated even though no harm was done to me,’” she said.Barrows explains that “there was a violation under this Illinois law and it allows individuals to be able to pursue claims of either negligence or they were deliberate in invading their privacy. Follow RT on

US tech giant Facebook has been ordered to pay $650 million to settle a class action lawsuit in Illinois for violating a landmark state law aimed at protecting people from invasive privacy practice.

Russian investments in Iraqi energy projects exceed $10 BILLION

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Cooperation between Russia and Iraq in the oil sector is “very active” in spite of all the restrictions and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak. Novak, who previously served as Russia’s energy minister, met on Wednesday with Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar to discuss the prospects of the two countries’ oil and gas projects, as well as the situation on the global oil market. He noted the fruitful cooperation between Russia and Iraq in the oil sector, saying: “Our interaction is very active, despite the current restrictions and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.” While talking about the existing projects by Russian oil firms in Iraq, Novak said: “Our companies are actively implementing a number of successful projects on the territory of the republic. To date, the accumulated investments of Russian oil and gas companies in Iraqi projects have exceeded $10 billion.”

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According to Russian First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy, Yury Fedorov, the companies plan to spend up to $20 billion on oil projects in Iraq.In 2019, Russia and Iraq resumed cooperation in energy infrastructure, and in the electricity sector in particular. Some Russian firms could help Baghdad with the restoration and development of electric power facilities, while negotiations are underway over the construction of thermal power plants using the assistance of Russian companies.Iraq’s proven oil reserves stand at over 145 billion barrels, while gas reserves exceed 3.7 trillion cubic meters.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

India wants to lure Tesla by offering cheaper production costs than China

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“The government will make sure the production cost for Tesla will be the lowest when compared with the world, even China, when they start manufacturing their cars in India. According to Nitin Gadkari, Indian authorities would give higher concessions, if the electric vehicle (EV) pioneer started making the entire product in the country, hiring local vendors, instead of just assembling the cars. Bitcoin investments bring Tesla more returns than sales of electric vehicles

India’s EV market is in the early stages of development. Follow RT on

As part of an effort to boost Indian production capacity the country’s transport minister has made a bold offer to US electric car maker Tesla: the cheapest manufacturing cost in the world, even lower than China. We will assure that,” Gadkari said in an interview with Reuters.The offer comes several weeks after the government of the country’s south eastern state of Karnataka revealed that Tesla was planning to set up an electric-car manufacturing unit in the region. Also on rt.com
What a twist! Just 5,000 out of a total 2.4 million cars purchased in the country in 2020 were electric.Competition with China, where Tesla already produces cars, is expected to be tough. Last year, a reported 1.25 million new energy passenger vehicles, including EVs, were sold in China, out of the total sales of 20 million cars. The company reportedly incorporated Tesla Motors India and Energy Private Limited with its registered office in the state capital of Bengaluru.Gadkari added that India could become an export hub for Tesla’s products, highlighting that some 80 percent of components for lithium-ion batteries are currently being made locally. Moreover, China accounted for more than a third of Tesla’s global sales.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Deloitte to pay Malaysia $80mn for its role in pilfering of state fund 1MDB

Some of the cash helped to finance the movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, which earned actor Leonardo DiCaprio a Golden Globe for his performance as a stock market scammer.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section After the US Justice Department filed civil lawsuits in 2016 over 1MDB, Deloitte said the 1MDB financial statements it had audited should no longer be relied upon.Malaysian and US authorities estimate that at least $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014 by senior officials of the fund and their associates.In October, Goldman Sachs (Asia), which was the main banker for the fund and helped it to raise $6.5 billion through bond sales, was fined $350 million by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission for its role in the corruption saga. Follow RT on

Deloitte will pay Malaysia’s government $80 million to resolve all claims related to its auditing of accounts of scandal-linked state fund 1MDB and its unit SRC International from 2011 to 2014. The fine is the highest ever imposed by the Hong Kong markets’ watchdog. The Finance Ministry said on Wednesday that “The successful out-of-court settlement with Deloitte will expedite the payment of monies to fulfill 1MDB and SRC’s outstanding obligations, which would otherwise be delayed by potentially protracted and costly court battles.”Deloitte has been under scrutiny for its role in auditing the financial statements of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state fund. The multibillion-dollar scandal involved top Malaysian officials, including former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was sentenced to 12 years in jail after being convicted on charges related to theft from the fund. Also on rt.com
Superyacht linked to Malaysia’s state fund looting scandal sold for $126 million

The money siphoned off from Malaysia’s state coffers was used to buy everything from artwork and jewelry to real estate and a superyacht. Also on rt.com
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In 2019, Malaysia’s securities regulator fined Deloitte 2.2 million ringgit (about $543,000) for failing to report irregularities in relation to an Islamic bond issued by a 1MDB-linked company.

Russia could ditch dollar by lifting tax on gold purchases – economist

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The Russian government could achieve its goal of de-dollarizing the economy by taking one simple step: dropping the tax it currently charges its citizens for the purchase of physical gold, an economist has said. He noted that the potential selloff would inevitably drag the greenback down. Also on rt.com
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According to Katasonov, Russians could stop hording US dollars if investment in gold was more profitable. This could trigger a domino effect in many other countries that would welcome an opportunity to challenge the exclusive status of the greenback, he added.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
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However, the economist said that the country’s Ministry of Finance is likely to reject moves to lift the VAT as it would probably cause revenue shortfalls in the federal budget.But the expert sees this reason as a weak excuse, since the number of investment transactions in gold is so small that the loss would be insignificant in the overall context of the Russian budget. Russian citizens would get rid of their dollar savings to buy up gold bullion if the 20-percent value added tax (VAT) were eliminated, according to economics professor Valentin Katasonov, as cited by Russia’s business news agency Prime.

Oil slides toward $60 ahead of OPEC+ meeting to boost global supply

The current reductions amount to just over seven million barrels a day, or seven percent of global supply. According to Goldman Sachs, OPEC+ still has plenty of scope to restore production. Also on rt.com
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Investors are “a little bit unsure whether OPEC will continue with the support they provided over the last few months with the supply cuts,” said Daniel Hynes, a senior commodity strategist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group. Also on rt.com
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Crude oil prices have weakened on Tuesday as OPEC and its allies are expected to decide how to proceed with the collective production cuts from April onwards. The bank estimates there’s a “massive” deficit of two million barrels per day at present. Both global crude benchmarks Brent and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) were down more than one percent on Tuesday, trading at $62.89 and $59.92 per barrel at 08:42 GMT, respectively.The oil-producing alliance led by Russia and Saudi Arabia will meet on Thursday to decide on easing supply curbs after prices posted their best-ever start to a year. Saudi Arabia has already called on the producers to remain “extremely cautious” even as signs of tightening emerge.Statistics show the kingdom’s unilateral additional cut in oil production sent the total OPEC output down by 870,000 barrels per day (bpd) in February, the first monthly drop in the alliance’s production since June last year. The pace of draws during the recovery will likely outstrip the group’s ability to ramp up, it has warned.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Given the recent rally in oil prices, analysts expect the group to lift production in some form and the Saudis to reverse their unilateral cut. Oil prices have been roaring back after a tumultuous 2020, when Covid-19 crippled demand for the commodity around the world.“The group will need to be careful; they will want to make sure they do not surprise the market by easing too much. Futures in New York sank below $60 a barrel, dropping for a third day. “That’s probably something that could sway the OPEC+ increase more back toward the 500,000 barrels per day as opposed to the 1.5 million,” Innes told Bloomberg. If there’s a higher-than-expected increase, that could make things difficult in the short term, given demand is still showing signs of fragility, he noted.The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies have to decide how much output is to be restored and at what pace. There is a large amount of speculative money in oil at the moment, so they will want to avoid any action that will see them running for the exit,” said ING strategists Warren Patterson and Wenyu Yao.According to Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi, this week’s decline in prices may help to strengthen the Saudi stance.

Bitcoin surges toward $50,000 amid China’s latest crypto crackdown

The rally comes as the Chinese government plans to ban crypto mining in the country. Follow RT on

The world’s top cryptocurrency, bitcoin, continued to rally on Tuesday, pushing above $49,000 during early trading. Regional authorities are expected to bar all new projects and to shut down existing activities.According to the draft plan, revealed by the Inner Mongolia Development and Reform Commission, the mining operations will be halted in April 2021. The ban involves reassessing such energy-intensive sectors as steel and coal.The draft plan comes weeks after the National Development and Reform Commission scolded the region for being the only one to fail to control power consumption in 2019. Also on rt.com
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Beijing has supported the development of blockchain technology, which initially bolsters bitcoin. That’s more than the consumption of an entire country, such as that of Argentina or Ukraine.China alone accounts for nearly 65 percent of global bitcoin mining activities, while Inner Mongolia consumes around eight percent. However, the government has been seeking to crack down on digital currencies themselves, amid deep concerns over speculative bubbles, fraud and energy waste.The country’s regulators barred initial coin offerings, and cracked down on businesses involved in cryptocurrency operations such as exchanges.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section That’s more than the 7.2 percent consumed by the entire US.The price of bitcoin surged around 6.8 percent on Tuesday on the news. The Chinese northern region of Inner Mongolia, the global crypto mining hotspot, is banning cryptocurrency mining. Also on rt.com
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Bitcoin mining consumes an estimated 128.84 terawatt-hours per year of energy, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index. The ban comes as part of broader measures to cut down consumption of energy by the world’s second biggest economy.Inner Mongolia, which has become a favorite among the crypto industry players due to its cheap power, aims to hold down energy consumption growth to some 1.9 percent in 2021. The world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency briefly pushed above $50,000 for the first time in six days. It was trading at above $49,000 at 09:55 GMT, according to crypto-tracking platform CoinDesk.

Tsunami of inflation is coming & silver will definitely catch investor attention – Keiser Report

But we are finding good supply at the refinery level…” According to Flood, “Silver is very much a marginal investment, most people haven’t a clue about it. Follow RT on

Max Keiser talks to Stephen Flood of GoldCore.com about the case for gold in a bitcoin world, as well as the recent Reddit-driven buying frenzy, which sent silver prices soaring to an eight-year high. You might have its price decouple from the silver price, and it could become disorderly. Until recently it wasn’t on anyone’s radar.”He says: “I do think, though, that as this inflation story begins to take off – I think there’s a tsunami of inflation coming – people will look to alternatives and silver is definitely going to catch a bid. And you’re going to see a lot of people looking to allocate that into their portfolio for the first time ever. This could actually develop into a real full-on silver short squeeze.”For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section “There’s a lot of silver, but it’s not in the right place, it’s not in the right format for certain vehicles,” Flood says, adding: “So, the ETF might come under pressure, it may not be able to fill its baskets.

As global carriers rush to order new aircraft RT’s Boom Bust questions quick recovery of travel demand

The deal comes as United continues to push for a third government bailout.As the fourth-largest US carrier plans to purchase dozens of airplanes while seeking government help, RT’s Boom Bust talks to Octavio Marenzi of Opimus LLC to find out whether air travel demand will recover quickly by 2022.“Airlines like United have to sell the story to the government that they’re going to be around and they are going to carry on transporting people and carry on employing people,” Marenzi said.READ MORE: Boeing backs decision to suspend 777s with P&W4000 engines by US and Japan, recommends airlines follow suitAccording to the analyst, placing the bet on buying all sorts of jets is very risky on the part of United.“The idea that travel is going to fully recover, and recover that quickly is a very-very bold bet,” Marenzi said.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section United has moved up the delivery of 40 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to 2022 and altogether has 188 orders for the single-aisle max jets. Follow RT on

Airlines are starting to position their businesses for a recovery with new aircraft orders as more Covid-19 vaccines are distributed globally.

‘World has never seen this much wealth created in just one year’: China tops US as home to most dollar billionaires

Specific winners were electric vehicles and e-commerce.“The speed of wealth creation is nothing short of staggering,” said the report. New York slipped to third place, after Shanghai added 30 billionaires to 113. Of the 610 new billionaire tycoons globally, 318 were in China, compared with 95 in the United States, based on January 15 valuations. Hong Kong was in fifth place with 82 billionaires, behind Shenzhen’s 105.“The world has never seen this much wealth created in just one year, much more than expected for a year so badly disrupted by Covid-19,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chief researcher and chairman of Hurun Report. According to the research, the collective wealth of the 0.01 percent surged by 32 percent to $14.7 trillion. The ranks of the ultra-rich in the world grew to 3,228 known billionaires across 2,402 companies in 68 countries.Coronavirus created billionaires from healthcare and retail fastest. At this rate, expect to see fifty or more break through the US$100 billion mark within the next five years.”For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Follow RT on

One in every two newly minted dollar-denominated billionaires last year stemmed from China, according to the latest Hurun Global Rich List. The city is “the world’s billionaire capital,” according to Hurun. “Three individuals added more than US$50 billion in a single year, led by Elon Musk with US$151 billion, on the back of the rise of e-cars, whilst e-commerce billionaires Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Colin Huang of Pinduoduo added US$50 billion each. “China has added more new faces than the rest of the world combined, and pulled away big time from the USA in the past year,” said the report.The country had six of the global top 10 cities with the highest concentration of billionaires, with Beijing at the top of the ranking for the sixth consecutive year as home to 145 of the ultra-rich. “A stock markets boom, driven partly by quantitative easing, and flurry of new listings have minted eight new dollar billionaires a week for the past year.”

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The richest individuals on the planet became collectively richer in 2020 while the world has suffered an unprecedented economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The country had 1,058 billionaires last year compared with 696 in the US.

Russia doubles wheat export tax to stabilize domestic food prices

The measure will oblige sellers to register their export contracts on the Moscow Exchange. The levy was introduced in February in a bid to protect domestic supply and stabilize the prices for flour and bread, and will be applied for certain grains under an export limit of 17.5 million tons for the remainder of the marketing year during the current season. For corn and barley, the base price indicator is set at $185 per ton.According to the government, the scheme will minimize the negative impact of the price fluctuations seen globally on Russia’s domestic market.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Follow RT on

Export duty on Russian wheat has been doubled to €50 ($60.44) per ton from March 1. It will remain in force until a permanent floating tax is imposed in June. Also on rt.com
Sales of Russian wheat keep surging amid gloomy export forecasts

The Russian authorities have also approved the raising of export tax on corn and barley to €25 ($30.23) and €10 ($12,09) respectively. Also on rt.com
Russia to win back crown of world’s top wheat exporter despite looming quotas & export tax

Under the floating tax system, the base price indicator for wheat has been fixed at $200 per ton, so it will kick in only if the calculated market benchmark price is above the $200-per-ton threshold. Exports of Russian rye are not subject to the tax.“The measure will reduce exports, and will help to refocus market players from selling agricultural commodities to exporting agricultural goods with high added value,” the government said in a press release.The current measure will expire on June 2, when the so-called floating tax will be imposed on wheat, corn, and barley. The wheat tax does not apply to member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union.

Chinese investment in Australia plunges to RECORD LOW amid escalating trade row

Other sectors, including transport, energy, construction, healthcare, and agriculture, which had seen Chinese investment in previous years, recorded none in 2020. “Foreign investment increases trade and can act as a ballast in relations between countries,” he said.READ MORE: Australia’s economy may NEVER return to previous growth due to trade row with China – reportEconomic tensions between China and Australia have escalated in recent years after Australia began cracking down on Chinese investment in the country. Follow RT on

New data from the Australian National University (ANU) showed Chinese investment in Australia dropped by more than 61 percent in 2020, to just over a billion Australian dollars (US$780 million) – the lowest in the past six years. It was also well short of the peak of US$12.7 billion recorded in 2016.“It reflects the effects of Covid, but also more scrutiny of foreign investment by the Australian government, particularly that from China,” said Shiro Armstrong, Director of the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research, where CHIIA is based.The number of Chinese investments recorded was only 20 – well down from a peak of 111 investment projects in 2016, the ANU said.According to the research, 45 percent of the Chinese investment last year was in rental, hiring, and real estate services, while 40 percent was in mining and 15 percent in manufacturing. Relations deteriorated further after Australia banned Chinese telecoms Huawei and ZTE from its 5G rollout. Tensions were raised again last year, when Australia called for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak, prompting accusations from Beijing that Australian lawmakers were acting on orders from Washington.In response, China has imposed trade tariffs on Australian goods, including barley, wine, beef, and lobster.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
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The ANU also found that, in 2020, about 86 percent of Chinese investment in Australia originated from Chinese companies already established in the country, which means purchases were made via Australian subsidiaries rather than directly by Chinese companies.Armstrong told the Xinhua news agency that the investment environment in Australia “has become more uncertain,” adding that the decline of Chinese investment could result in lower asset values in Australia from removal of a large source of capital and a large bidder, as well as the retreat of economic integration between the two nations. According to figures from the Chinese Investment in Australia Database (CHIIA), the drop followed a 47 percent fall in 2019, when Chinese investment totaled US$1.57 billion.

Russia triples gas supplies to China via Power of Siberia pipeline

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Russia’s energy major Gazprom said on Monday that it had pumped more gas to China in February via the Power of Siberia pipeline than it had initially planned, more than tripling supplies compared to the same month last year. Also on rt.com
Russia plans earliest-ever shipment of Arctic LNG to Asia

The agreement on gas supplies via the Power of Siberia pipeline was reached in 2014, with Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) inking a 30-year contract. “The export of gas to China through the Power of Siberia gas pipeline continues to grow. It plans to boost exports by an additional six billion cubic meters. It is Gazprom’s biggest-ever agreement and the first natural gas pipeline between Russia and China.Russia is set to further increase supplies of piped gas to China, including via the Power of Siberia 2 project. The actual monthly volume of supplies in February is 3.2 times more than in February 2020,” Gazprom said in a statement.The 3,000km (1,864 mile) cross-border pipeline started official deliveries of Russian natural gas to China in 2019. The so-called eastern route’s capacity is 61 billion cubic meters of gas per year, including 38 billion cubic meters for export. Last year, Gazprom supplied 4.1 billion cubic meters of gas to China via the Power of Siberia. This second pipeline entered the design stage last year, and will be capable of delivering as much as 50 billion cubic meters of gas once it’s finished. Gazprom intends to become China’s biggest natural gas supplier, accounting for more than 25 percent of Chinese imports by 2035.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Supplies regularly exceed our daily contractual obligations.

Russian factory activity grows at fastest pace in two years

The pace of decline in export business reportedly slowed, but orders remained robust, while employment grew the most in over two years. Also on rt.com
Russia to team up with UAE to develop supersonic passenger jet – trade minister

“Our current forecast expects industrial production to rise 4.1 percent in 2021, as the sector seeks to recover from the downturn seen in 2020,” IHS Markit economist Sian Jones said.PMI, an indicator of the economic health of a sector, is based on data compiled after monthly surveys are sent to purchasing executives at nearly 300 companies. Follow RT on

Russia’s manufacturing sector in February saw its fastest growth since April 2019. The index draws on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries, and the employment environment. The expansion was underpinned by robust output and new order growth, according to survey data published by IHS Markit on Monday. Firms were able to respond, however, with the fastest uptick in charges for six years,” it explained.However, vendor performance declined at its fastest pace since May 2020 as lead time for inputs were longer, mainly due to shipping delays along with supplier shortages. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the sector grew to 51.5 in February against January’s 50.9, the research group reports. Output and new order growth accelerated despite difficult external demand conditions,” the report said.Business confidence returned to levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic, the highest in over a year.“Supplier shortages and hikes in transportation costs pushed up input prices markedly. A reading above 50 means expansion in the sector on a monthly basis, while anything below 50 indicates contraction.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
Russian e-commerce market posts explosive growth during Covid pandemic

“Russian manufacturing firms continued to signal a promising start to 2021, as operating conditions improved for the second month running.

Bitcoin soars after Citi says it could become ‘currency of choice’ for global trade

Still, shifts in the macro-economic environment may also make the demand for bitcoin less pressing, it added.The recent surge in interest in bitcoin has driven the cryptocurrency to a record high of $58,354 and a $1 trillion market capitalization. With the recent embrace of the likes of Tesla and Mastercard, bitcoin could be at the start of a “massive transformation” into the mainstream, Citi said.“The entrance of institutional investors has sparked confidence in cryptocurrency but there are still persistent issues that could limit widespread adoption,” the US investment bank’s analysts wrote. “For institutional investors, these include concerns over capital efficiency, insurance and custody, security, and ESG considerations from bitcoin mining. The crypto, however, has since pulled back, losing around 20 percent of its value last week.“Bitcoin’s future is thus still uncertain, but developments in the near term are likely to prove decisive as the currency balances at the tipping point of mainstream acceptance or a speculative implosion,” Citi’s analysts said.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Such a dramatic transformation for bitcoin to the de facto currency of world trade would depend on changes in its market to allow wider institutional participation and closer oversight by financial regulators, Citi said. Security issues with cryptocurrency do occur, but when compared to traditional payments, it performs better,” they added.The bank has pointed out that if businesses and individuals gain access via digital wallets to planned central bank digital cash and so-called stablecoins, then bitcoin’s global reach, traceability and potential for quick payments would see it “optimally positioned” to become the “currency of choice for international trade.”

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Max Keiser: What if bitcoin is not the bubble, but the pin? Bitcoin was up almost nine percent as of 2:22pm GMT, at $48,193.According to Citi, bitcoin’s recent performance has been inspired by involvement of institutional investors in recent years, in contrast to its heavy retail investor focus for most of the past decade. Follow RT on

The world’s largest cryptocurrency, bitcoin, bounced back above $48,000 on Monday, following a report by Citi which suggested that the digital asset could one day become the preferred currency for international trade.

China’s economy could double in size by 2035, eclipsing US along the way – Bank of America

The IMF expects the US economy to grow by 5.1 percent this year.In a report published earlier this month, Qiao addressed the common concerns – such as aging population, high debt-to-GDP ratio, and the country’s investment-led growth model – that could prevent China from reaching its 2035 economic goals. Meanwhile, the United States contracted by 3.5 percent in 2020, according to the latest government estimates. Those concerns will slow, but not derail, China’s overall growth trajectory, Qiao said.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
China partners with SWIFT to boost global use of yuan & cut reliance on US dollar

The Chinese economy expanded by 2.3 percent last year, official data showed. Follow RT on

In terms of post-Covid recovery, China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and has a good chance to double its GDP by 2035, according to Helen Qiao, head of Asia economics at Bank of America Global Research. The doubling of China’s GDP would require an average annual growth of 4.7 percent for the next 15 years. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said China will grow 8.1 percent this year. “We think China would be able to achieve it,” Qiao said.The economist predicted that, in addition to doubling its gross domestic product, the Asian nation will surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy in around 2027 to 2028. She told CNBC that some reform measures would help China get there.

The $7 TRILLION cost of upgrading the US power grid

But first as a society we have to decarbonize our electricity supply, and then sell decarbonized electricity to the transportation sector (which plan, if successfully executed could reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent or more). But how will the electricity grid handle this incremental demand from the transportation sector well as the needs of existing customers under the increasingly stressful conditions imposed by climate change? In order to pay for new equipment, without government subsidy, we calculate that electricity suppliers would have to raise prices by 3 – 4 percent per year in real terms. One obvious answer: upgrade and expand. Major disturbances and unusual occurrences on USA electric grids
© Energy Information Administration Now let’s add another ingredient to the mix. And what is being provided at present in ERCOT is anything but.Figure 1. Paying for modernization and decarbonization together, spread over decades, would add about $45 each year to the average household electric bill. Markets, technology, institutions and solutions change over time. Or one could skimp repeatedly on maintenance, save a lot of money over the years and take one’s chances on vehicle reliability. But from an operating perspective we also see inadequate reserve capacity, plants in the wrong place or unable to stand up to severe weather. and reliable performance is reasonably assured. In order to approach zero in 20 years, greenhouse gas emissions per kwh must fall more than ten percent a year. Overall, greenhouse gas emissions per kwh generated fell about two percent per year during the Obama presidency and three percent per year during Trump’s term, largely for economic reasons. Combine those inadequacies with the need to decarbonize, and it all adds up to a lot of capital spending. The electric system in Texas was built it appears around the latter proposition. (Academic studies optimistically calculate no price increase under the right operating conditions.) The electric bill equals about two percent of the US’s gross domestic product and the household bill about two percent of household income. There is a pattern here. The industry pushed back then and might do so again, considering that the courts have become friendlier to business. Not an enormous burden, and one that could be spread to mitigate financial hardship.Admittedly, we should view long term projections with caution. Electricity suppliers might need 20 years to complete the job, meaning $350-400 billion per year to get into shape. But we see no easy end of power outages that have plagued electricity supply in recent years while adverse weather events seem to get more frequent and impactful. Generators shifted from burning coal (high carbon content) to natural gas (lower carbon content) because gas was cheaper. Even if the energy market decentralizes—we would think the ERCOT disaster drives people away—some public or private corporation has to spend money for a modernized electricity grid. Currently, they spend about $150 billion per year which means a lot of catching up to do. Their reserve margins are the lowest in the country (about eight percent). What the numbers show, at best, is that the electric industry can finance modernization and decarbonization without placing undue burdens on consumers. (See Figure 1)But this is the bottom line. And this includes lack of financial accountability. These are variants of stories told after California’s forest fires and resulting power outages. Follow RT on

The Texas freeze that led to numerous blackouts has made the state painfully aware of the shortcomings of its power grid, but the real problem is much larger, and goes way beyond Texas. Automobile makers are in a very clear transition from internal combustion to electric vehicles. In a way an electric system is like maintaining a car. At the same time a weaponized right wing media swings into action blaming wind turbines and the green new deal for Texas’s energy woes. And financings of this magnitude will make little dent in US capital markets, where the electricity industry accounts for only 3-4 percent of total capital expenditures and financing. Also on rt.com
Natural gas production plunged 45% during the Texas freeze

Those numbers look huge, but the actual payments will stretch out over decades like a mortgage. We have just witnessed the damage caused by poorly designed energy grids—rolling blackouts, skyrocketing electricity prices, people sleeping in their cars and in one insulated room to keep warm. However the good news is if we start this massive grid redesign and rebuilding process now at least the cost of money is very low.By Leonard Hyman and William Tilles for Oilprice.com A key step we believe to decarbonize the economy. Our point here is that any system that consistently fails in this manner regardless of the governance regime is designed that way— despite claims and protests to the contrary. If the grid does not, outsiders — including industrial consumers acting to protect their individual electric supply — will.We have previously written that decarbonizing and modernizing the US’s existing electricity plant (whose average age is 35 years) could cost $7-8 trillion. And needless to say energy consumers will eventually pay. This is a big problem for any region because an increasingly digital economy requires highly reliable electricity service. Spend adequately on repairs maintenance etc. And this is the third time the electric system failed to perform adequately in winter (1989, 2011 and 2021). Also on rt.com
Four board members of Texas grid operator RESIGN over blackouts during deadly winter storm

We believe that policy makers would accelerate decarbonization and modernization of the electricity sector by making it a business opportunity for electric companies to embrace rather than as an environmental compliance problem, using tried and true components such as securitization to pay for the most polluting regulated power stations if retired promptly, granting higher returns on assets that support decarbonization, and a bonus to electric companies for the fossil-free electricity that they produce or deliver. That should be enough to encourage faster action.What will encourage the industry to raise the ante? Legislation in Congress reprises Obama administration policies: a mix of emissions restrictions, generous tax handouts and regulatory incentives. Add a Federal guarantee for the securitization bonds or any other deferrals designed to smooth the price impact of the capital program, and that will lower costs to consumers at practically no cost to the government.(For details of proposed policies, see blog page, lenhyman.com.) Businesspeople do not oppose or stall policies that might raise their profits.We can’t argue that with the notion that recent polar vortex events or summer wildfires reveal serious shortfalls in electricity regulation, governance and market structure.

Vaccine passports to bolster British economy and combat impacts of Covid-19 crisis – finance minister

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Covid cases fall across UK to last October’s levels, statistics office reports

Last week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government would discuss the scientific, moral, philosophical and ethical issues of introducing vaccine passports for immunized people, stressing that the move may help entertainment and hospitality venues to reopen. The UK’s mass vaccination program was launched on December 8. Sunak said the documents would potentially allow people to visit venues or events, thus, helping the economy to get back on track after a series of lockdowns imposed to contain the pandemic dragged it into its steepest crash in 300 years.“Obviously, it is a complicated but potentially very relevant question for helping us reopen those parts of our country like mass events,” Sunak said in an interview with the BBC on Sunday. Also on rt.com
British pound extends relentless rally to multiyear highs amid hopes of economic recovery

Earlier this week, the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that Covid-19 levels have fallen across the UK to rates similar to mid-October 2020, with slightly more than 421,000 cases in the community for the week ending February 19.The economy shrank 9.9 percent in 2020, the latest report by the ONS revealed earlier this month. Follow RT on

The idea of giving people certificates confirming their vaccination may help the British economy recover from an unprecedented crash due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the country’s finance minister, Rishi Sunak. Moreover, the UK was the first nation to face one of the new and more contagious variants of the coronavirus.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section British authorities expect the immunization campaign to help in easing the third national lockdown and protect the most vulnerable groups by spring. Over 19 million people have reportedly received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine as of February 27.

Bitcoin’s record rally minting thousands of crypto millionaires…at least in virtual reality

Despite this week’s slide, bitcoin is up over 60 percent so far in 2021. 

Also on rt.com
Bitcoin to top $100,000 this year as more companies adopt cryptocurrency, says investor Mike Novogratz

With a market cap of around $850 billion, bitcoin’s value is bigger than that of either Tesla or Facebook, and almost twice as large as Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Over 93,000 accounts currently hold bitcoins worth at least $1 million, according to data from BitInfoCharts. Visa also said it is considering allowing payments in crypto in countries where it is legal.However, skeptics still say bitcoin’s rally is unsustainable and warn that the crypto market is another bubble ready to pop. Statistics also showed there are 8,214 accounts that own bitcoins valued at more than $10 million. Credit card major Mastercard announced it will begin allowing clients to make payments in certain cryptocurrencies on its network this year. JP Morgan recently called the token an “economic sideshow,” noting that mainstream adoption actually reduces the benefits of diversifying into bitcoin.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section In 2021 alone, bitcoin added over $400 billion to its market cap, outperforming most traditional assets.The digital asset’s surge was driven by signs it is winning broader institutional acceptance as it attracted a number of high-profile Wall Street investors, including Stanley Druckenmiller and Paul Tudor Jones. Also on rt.com
Bitcoin at $50k is the BIGGEST BUBBLE of them all, says gold bug Peter Schiff

In another major step, America’s oldest bank, BNY Mellon, said it would transfer and issue bitcoin for its institutional clients. Earlier this week, Jack Dorsey’s financial services company Square extended its bitcoin holdings by $170 million as part of an ongoing commitment to the cryptocurrency. Follow RT on

The number of bitcoin-holding accounts has spiked lately as a result of the cryptocurrency’s price surge. Also, 422,104 accounts can boast bitcoin accounts valued at more than $100,000.The world’s largest cryptocurrency, bitcoin, broke above a $50,000 price milestone for the first time this month after Tesla announced a $1.5 billion bitcoin investment. That is 102,076 bitcoin accounts that can call themselves diamond hands, in the parlance of Redditors who refer to investment outperformance in that way.

Russia’s national payment system Mir to launch Apple Pay support

Users of Apple devices will be able to add Mir cards to their Apple Wallet, according to a letter sent by Russia’s national payment system (NSPK) to banks and lending agencies.“We are working on bringing Apple Pay to our customers. The step came as a part of anti-Russian penalties introduced after the country’s reunification with Crimea. Yandex is reportedly also preparing to launch a contactless payment service.Russia had to quickly develop its own card payment system Mir, which means “world” or “peace” in Russian, in 2014 after Washington and Brussels added several Russian banks and businesspeople to their sanction list. Last summer, the biggest state-run lender Sberbank introduced the SberPay wallet for Android smartphones. Mir Pay is available on Android smartphones destined for sale in Russia.Payment systems provide users with an opportunity to tie their bank cards to smartphones and pay for goods and services via contactless payment by tapping or hovering the device on or over the POS terminal’s sensor for a couple of seconds.In 2020, Russia was ranked second in a global rating based on the number of Apple Pay users across the nation, outpaced only by the US. Follow RT on

Mir cards, developed by Russia in response to Western sanctions, will finally become available in Apple Pay. The country’s biggest private bank Tinkoff Bank also announced plans to launch its own wallet. More details will be announced later,” a representative of the National Payment Card System, which operates the Mir cards, told Russian business daily RBK. Also on rt.com
Russia’s national payment system MIR looks to expand to Europe

Apple Pay was launched in Russia in 2016, but the service hasn’t been available for Russian Mir cards that could be added to Samsung Pay, as well as to Mir Pay, developed by the Mir national payment system. Also on rt.com
New Russian invasion? Coronavirus fallout fuels domestic e-commerce boom, with companies poised to expand across Europe

In 2020, NSPK, created and operated by the central bank of Russia, reported that the share of Mir cards in the country amounted to 30 percent. Coronavirus fallout fuels domestic e-commerce boom, with companies poised to expand across Europe

Russian banks, along with local technology giants, have started to launch their own payment services. Also on rt.com
New Russian invasion? Back then, the Western nations reportedly threatened to block transactions via US-based Mastercard and Visa. The mobile payment platform promoted by the US tech giant Apple will start accepting the cards as early as April. At the same time, the volume of transactions using the cards totaled 24 percent.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Gold price could drop to $1,200 per ounce by 2023, warns Fitch

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International ratings agency Fitch predicts the price of gold will fall to $1,600 per ounce this year and slide further down to $1,400 in 2022 “on increased demand due to investment flows and central bank purchases.”

According to Fitch, prices for many commodities “will benefit in the short term from returning demand while the supply response remains slow and inventories are running low.”The ratings agency said it expects gold prices to drop to $1,200 per troy ounce by 2023. Also on rt.com
Central banks do not have the physical gold they pretend to have, fund manager tells Keiser Report

The price of the precious metal has been under some significant pressure lately. Gold prices fell below the $1,800 level this week, extending losses due to weak safe-haven demand and rising yields for US bonds, which push gold prices down. Prices slid more than one percent on Friday to $1,734 an ounce.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

NYSE to delist oil giant CNOOC as Biden reviews Trump’s policies on China

After the initial delisting announcement, the NYSE actually changed its mind at one point, but finally moved to enforce the plan to suspend trading in their shares.Beijing has repeatedly warned Washington against hurting its businesses, saying that the delistings violate both market competition principles and international economic and trade rules. The decision will take effect on March 9, the US stock exchange said in a statement released after the closing bell on Friday. The NYSE said CNOOC, formally known as China National Offshore Oil Corporation, is “no longer suitable for listing” as it was one of the targets of Trump’s November order that banned investments into Chinese companies the US claims have ties with the Chinese military. 

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China may exercise ‘nuclear option’ against US defense industry with rare-earths export ban – reports

The delisting decision, which can be appealed by CNOOC, was enacted several months before the investment ban was set to officially come into force. In December, CNOOC ended up on the Pentagon’s blacklist, which prohibits investment into what it deems “communist Chinese military companies.” Just days before Biden’s inauguration in January, the oil group was also added to the infamous Entity List, which makes it harder for it to be supplied with exported US technology. 

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Full decoupling from China could wipe out hundreds of billions from economy – US Chamber of Commerce

The delisting of the oil major follows a similar Wall Street move to ditch three major telecommunications corporations – China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom (Hong Kong) – that had been present on the US market for nearly two decades. Follow RT on

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has decided to suspend trading in American depositary shares of China’s largest offshore oil producer CNOOC to comply with an executive order signed by former US President Donald Trump. Last month, the Biden administration pushed the deadline back from January to May 27.The extension came as the new administration was reviewing actions that Trump had taken against China, such as trade policies and the inclusion of dozens of Chinese firms in two blacklists that were repeatedly expanded. However, Chinese officials have stressed, while such removals from US stock markets may hurt American investors, they won’t cut off Chinese businesses from foreign capital inflows.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Indian economy finally returns to growth, beating Covid-driven recession

According to analysts’ projections, India’s economy may shrink 7.7 percent for the full fiscal 2021 year before growing by as much as 10 percent in the following year.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section In the following three months, India’s GDP fell by seven percent, in what the government says was the beginning of a V-shaped recovery. Also on rt.com
India to become world’s fastest-growing economy in 2022, says IMF

As the fiscal year finishes in March in India, the final results showing the scale of economic consequences from the coronavirus outbreak will be available in May, when the official GDP estimates for the January-March quarter are set to be published. India suffered a record contraction of 24 percent in the April-June quarter, when the government imposed strict lengthy lockdowns to contain the spread of the deadly virus. The eurozone economy shrank by 0.7 percent in that period, with even its strongest economies like France failing to post growth.The growth in India came after two consecutive quarters of decline, which is defined as a technical recession. Also on rt.com
Bitcoin out, digital rupee in: India cracks down on private cryptocurrencies while seeking to launch its own digital coin

The Asian economic powerhouse still performed better than most of its European peers in the final three months of the pandemic year. Follow RT on

Asia’s third-largest economy, India, managed to exit recession in the last three months of 2020, consolidating its recovery from the historic economic slump triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. India’s real gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.4 percent in the third quarter of its fiscal year, returning the economy to “the pre-pandemic times of positive growth rates,” the Ministry of Finance said as the new data emerged.However, the growth rate was slightly smaller than analysts had expected, with those polled by Bloomberg having predicted a 0.6-percent expansion.

Unmasking mysterious bitcoin inventor may send cryptomarket into tailspin, Coinbase warns

Cryptocurrency slumps by 20 percent in worst week in almost a year

The creator, or a group of creators, are believed to hold around 1.1 million bitcoin, which account for around five percent of all bitcoins that can be ever mined. In its IPO filing sent to the Securities Exchange Commission earlier this week, Coinbase listed Nakamoto, an individual creator or a group of people thought to be behind the creation of the world’s largest cryptocurrency, as one of the recipients of the document. However, the same anonymous inventor could pose a risk to the entire “cryptoeconomy.” According to the filing, if the identity is revealed or if Nakamoto’s bitcoins are transferred, the prices of the most valued digital coins, bitcoin and ethereum, may deteriorate. Also on rt.com
Investing in bitcoin ‘less dumb’ than holding cash, but only slightly better – Elon Musk

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
Bye-bye bitcoin rally? However, little is still known about him. At bitcoin’s current value, Nakamoto’s fortune could exceed $50 billion, making him almost as rich as Chinese entrepreneur and the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma.Since Nakamoto published the white paper titled ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’ in 2008, various theories have emerged about his identity. Follow RT on

The largest US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which is getting ready to go public, has named bitcoin’s developer, known to the world as Satoshi Nakamoto, as one of the major risks to its business.

China’s Xiaomi wants to create global manufacturing hub in India

“Once we meet 100% of the local demand is when we will start thinking of further increasing out-export.”For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section One of the facilities, located in the northern state of Haryana and owned by DBG, is already operational. Follow RT on

Chinese tech giant Xiaomi is planning to boost its presence in India by building three new facilities there. Xiaomi did not elaborate on when the third of the new plants is set to open. Also on rt.com
China’s Xiaomi overtakes Apple as world’s third-largest smartphone maker

The company has been the top smartphone and TV brand in India and already runs several plants in the country, including those in partnership with Foxconn and Flex. When it meets growing local demand, the firm may use India’s production capacities for exports. “We hope to play a small role in building India as a global manufacturing hub,” Xiaomi India Head and Global Vice President Manu Jain said in a statement. He said that last year the company exported India-made products to nearby countries like Bangladesh and Nepal.“We would love to see India as an export hub,” Jain said. Xiaomi teamed up with two local companies, BYD and DBG, to set up mobile phone manufacturing plants, the Chinese firm announced on Thursday. Also on rt.com
China to build over 600,000 new 5G stations in 2021

In a separate interview with Indian daily Mint, Jain noted that India could become an export hub for Xiaomi in the future. Boosting local production will allow the tech giant to manufacture over 99 percent of its smartphones as well as all of the televisions it sells in India. The other plant in Tamil Nadu is set to go online within the first half of this year.A television manufacturing plant has been set up in partnership with Radiant Technology in Telangana.

World’s wealthiest clash over bitcoin: Gates advises to stay away, while Musk causes cryptocraze

The Microsoft co-founder, who boasts the third-largest fortune in the world and calls himself a “bitcoin skeptic,” took on the world’s most popular cryptocurrency several times this week. Also on rt.com
Bill Gates wants ‘rich nations’ to switch to 100% SYNTHETIC beef to save the planet

As the token started to tumble this week, Gates said in an interview with Bloomberg that, while price fluctuations might not be a concern for the likes of the “sophisticated” and wealthy Tesla CEO, the risks would be worrisome for other people. “I do think people get bought into these manias who may not have as much money to spare. His company, Tesla, recently piled $1.5 billion into the cryptocurrency and explored the option of accepting the token as payment. Follow RT on

While Elon Musk has been driving a buying frenzy in the cryptomarket, anyone who has less money than the richest person on the planet should avoid investing in bitcoin, multi-billionaire Bill Gates says. One of his recent tweets included an image of the coin’s mascot, the meme-famous Shiba Inu, standing on the Moon. However, those dogecoin-related tweets have reportedly triggered an investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Despite defining the move as “adventurous,” he still believes investing in bitcoin is less “dumb” than investing in fiat money, he has said.Musk has also been busy tweeting about another token, the joke cryptocurrency dogecoin, triggering another trading frenzy. My general thought would be that if you have less money than Elon, you should probably watch out,” he said.This week saw a halt to bitcoin’s record rally, as it plunged from a near-record $58,000 to its current level of around $47,300, according to data from CoinDesk. Musk is no stranger to drawing the ire of the regulators – in 2018, the SEC filed a lawsuit against him after he announced he had secured funding to take Tesla private.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
‘Who let the Doge out?’ Musk’s favorite canine-crypto smashes another record high as celebrities jump on board

Meanwhile, Musk has been actively promoting the use of bitcoin, predicting it could soon win wider recognition. In one of his recent chats on the popular Clubhouse app, he pointed out that the production of bitcoin is harmful to the environment. “Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind,” Gates said.The statement came around two weeks after researchers at the University of Cambridge found that bitcoin mining consumes more electricity than some countries do – for example, Argentina.

Bye-bye bitcoin rally? Cryptocurrency slumps by 20 percent in worst week in almost a year

By dropping to this level, the digital coin shaved over 20 percent off its price this week, which it started close to its record of $58,000, marking the worst slump since March 2020. This contradicts bitcoin bulls’ argument that the flagship cryptocurrency is the best store of value and a great hedge against inflation.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
Bitcoin’s HUGE daily drop sends cryptocurrency market crashing

Despite the plunge, bitcoin is still up over 60 percent this year, thanks to more interest from prominent investors, banks and large companies. Others explain the recent plunge with negative sentiment in the stock market and fears of inflation, among other factors. Follow RT on

The world’s most prominent cryptocurrency is heading for its biggest one-week fall in nearly a year after an explosive rally that saw its price hitting new historic highs. Bitcoin fell nearly 12 percent in 24 hours to trade below $45,000 on Friday, according to data from CoinDesk. The digital currency reached $1 trillion in market value for the first time last week, but the recent losses have dropped it to its current $850 billion. However, even one of its most vocal supporters, Elon Musk, recently said that the price of top cryptocurrencies bitcoin and ethereum “do seem high.” The comment came shortly after Tesla revealed its $1.5 billion investment in bitcoin and said that it could even accept it as payment. 

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Bitcoin at $50k is the BIGGEST BUBBLE of them all, says gold bug Peter Schiff

Some analysts still insist that the crypto bubble is ready to pop like it did in 2017.