Goldman Sachs shows best-in-decade performance as underwriting profits more than DOUBLE in last quarter of 2020

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Apart from showing its best performance in a decade, the banking group also managed to untangle itself from the years-long scandal around the sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). While 2020 proved to be a rollercoaster year for global markets – and a death sentence to many small businesses – some fared extremely well amid the Covid-19 turmoil. The banking group was accused of misleading investors over bond sales totaling $6.5 billion that it helped to raise for 1MDB.Goldman Sachs also reached a separate settlement with the US Department of Justice in October, agreeing to pay $2.9 billion more to various regulators to resolve probes into its role in the 1MDB scandal. Follow RT on

Goldman Sachs Group made an exceptionally strong performance in the last quarter of 2020, raking in more than double the profits compared to the previous year despite global financial havoc inflicted by the ongoing pandemic. The record revenues primarily stemmed from equity underwriting, as the company took part in multiple juicy IPOs. Also on rt.com
Malaysia drops criminal charges against Goldman Sachs over looting of state fund after Wall Street bank coughs up BILLIONS

Think your friends would be interested? Last July, it reached a hefty settlement with the Malaysian government, agreeing to pay $2.5 billion and to guarantee at least $1.4 billion in assets in exchange for a dropping of all charges against the company and its leading executives, incumbent and former alike. Share this story! Investment banking itself has proven to be a gold mine for the company, surging 27 percent to $2.61 billion during the quarter, which constituted nearly 195 percent growth compared to the same period of the previous year. Reporting its earnings on Tuesday, Goldman Sachs showed impressive results.Rolling out the earnings sheet, Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO David Solomon said in a press release that “it was a challenging year on many fronts,” warning that 2021 might not be any better. 

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“We hope this year brings much needed stability and a respite from the pandemic, but we remain ready to handle a wide range of outcomes,” he said.Our Chairman and CEO David Solomon comments on $GS' full year and 4Q 2020 earnings results: https://t.co/CNvcV88Qempic.twitter.com/fFmPWKev8P— Goldman Sachs (@GoldmanSachs) January 19, 2021The investment banking company showed some 43 percent growth in revenues from trading in 2020, with its profits jumping 23 percent to $4.27 billion in the last quarter of the turbulent year.

Bitcoin & US tech stocks biggest market bubbles right now – Deutsche Bank survey

When asked specifically about the 12-month fate of bitcoin, which surged 300 percent last year, and about Tesla, which skyrocketed nearly 750 percent, a majority of respondents said they were now “more likely to halve than double in value,” Deutsche Bank said. At the same time, a quarter of investors said economic growth or markets could force their hand.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section The survey, which was based on responses from 627 market professionals, revealed bitcoin is viewed as the most extreme case, as half of respondents gave the digital currency a rating of 10 on a 1-10 bubble scale.US tech stocks were seen as the next largest bubble, Deutsche Bank said, with an average score of 7.9 out of 10 and 83 percent of respondents giving it a tech bubble rating of 7 or higher.The survey also found that investors think bitcoin and electric car manufacturer Tesla are more likely to fall than rise over the next year. Also on rt.com
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The respondents, however, said it’s not clear exactly what might “pop” those bubbles.According to the poll, “easy monetary situations” supportive of bubbles are likely to stay, with 71 percent of respondents telling Deutsche Bank they don’t believe the US Federal Reserve will tighten policy before the end of 2021. Follow RT on

Nearly 90 percent of respondents in Deutsche Bank’s monthly investor survey said some financial markets are in bubble territory now, with cryptocurrency bitcoin and US technology stocks topping the list.

Russia continues ditching US Treasuries as part of state de-dollarization policy

The UK is the third-biggest holder with $420.3 billion.Overall, foreign holders of US sovereign debt decreased their holdings by $15 billion in November to $7.53 trillion.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section However, the country’s central bank has been steadily cutting this investment since May 2017, in line with the state-supported de-dollarization policy, and in response to sanctions imposed by the White House. Also on rt.com
Share of gold in Russian national reserves beats US dollar holdings for first time ever

The regulator also turned to diversifying the national reserves, increasing bullion purchases in recent years to record levels, and earning the title of one of the world’s major gold purchasers.Japan remains the biggest holder of US Treasury bonds, though the country’s investments in November dropped by $9 billion to $1.26 trillion. China, ranked the second-biggest holder of US state debt, increased its share slightly to $1.063 trillion. The statistics, commonly published with a three-month lag, show the share of Russian holdings totaled a modest $4.968 billion. Follow RT on

The Russian central bank has continued getting rid of US Treasury bonds, with the share of investments in American debt shrinking 19.2 percent in November, according to the US Treasury Department. Investments in short-term Treasury securities amounted to $3.4 billion, while holding of long-term obligations totaled $1.568 billion.Russia used to be one of the major holders of US Treasuries.

India’s December oil imports jump to highest level in three years

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Crude oil imports in the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer, India, surged in December 2020 to their highest in almost three years. Also on rt.com
Russia looking to bolster oil supplies to India for decades ahead

India turned from the worst-performing demand market in July into one of the fastest-growing fuel demand markets in November, lending support to oil prices together with strong demand in China and progress with vaccine development and rollout.India’s fuel demand has been boosted by one of the effects of Covid-19 on customer preferences—people avoid public transportation and prefer the comfort and relative isolation from other people in their own vehicles. This additionally boosts demand for gasoline and diesel for private vehicles.Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) increased crude oil throughput of its refineries to 100 percent in November 2020, as consumption of all petroleum products has almost reached pre-Covid levels, the country’s biggest refiner and fuel retailer said in December.READ MORE: Why India is the most exciting renewable market in the worldDespite the fourth-quarter rebound in fuel consumption, India’s crude oil demand for the whole of 2020 fell for the first time in more than 20 years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.According to Reuters estimates, India’s annual crude oil imports averaged 4.04 million bpd in 2020, the lowest in five years. India’s crude oil imports jumped by 29 percent in December 2020 compared to November and by 11.6 percent compared to December 2019, to more than 5 million barrels per day (bpd), according to the data obtained by Reuters.At the same time, provisional data from India’s Petroleum Ministry showed earlier this month that fuel demand in India posted its fourth consecutive monthly rise in December, to the highest since February 2020.Fuel consumption was still two percent below the levels seen before the pandemic, but the rebound in economic activity and transportation resulted in four straight months of rising fuel demand in India.   This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

Will staff ‘dog collars’ that buzz be the new workplace accessory in coronavirus era? Boom Bust finds out

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While the largest-ever vaccination campaign is now underway across the world, some companies are exploring new technologies that would help keep employees from getting too close to each other in the workplace. RT’s Boom Bust talks to Mollye Barrows of America’s Lawyer about the public vaccine rollout and the backlash over precautions being taken in the workplace. According to Barrows, a factory in France has been accused of treating its employees like dogs, after the company asked them to wear a social-distancing device, ‘dog collars’ as critics say, that emit a high-decibel sound if employees are too close to one another.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

China attracts flood of foreign direct investment amid Covid-19 pandemic

At the same time, investments by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations increased by 0.7 percent.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Financial inflows from the Netherlands and the UK advanced 47.6 percent and 30.7 percent respectively. Follow RT on

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in China hit a record $144.37 billion in 2020, as the world’s second-largest economy keeps on recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce. Meanwhile, foreign investment in the advanced-technology industry expanded by 11.4 percent year on year, and high-tech service sector investments rose by 28.5 percent. The latest data released by the ministry shows that FDI saw a 4.5-percent year-on-year growth in dollar terms, and a 6.2-percent increase when expressed in yuan.Foreign inflows into the country’s service industry advanced 13.9 percent year on year, totaling $112 billion and accounting for nearly 80 percent of the entire FDI portfolio. Also on rt.com
Like it or not, US no longer holding world in its palm, China is – Professor Richard Wolff to RT’s Boom Bust

The ministry stressed that the latest figures show China has managed to emerge from Covid-19 and meet its target of stabilizing foreign investment in 2020, bucking the downward trend in global foreign investment.Foreign investments from the top-15 FDI countries and regions grew by 6.4 percent, and took 98 percent of the total FDI to the Chinese mainland.

Pandemic profiteer: Morgan Stanley makes a killing during coronavirus crisis

Earnings jumped 51 percent in the final three months of the year. The Wall Street bank’s net income applicable to common shareholders surged to $3.39 billion, or $1.81 per share, in the fourth quarter against $2.09 billion, or $1.30 per share, a year earlier.Analysts had forecasted a profit of $1.27 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.Morgan Stanley confirmed plans to buy back $10 billion worth of its shares this year. Also on rt.com
Goldman Sachs shows best-in-decade performance as underwriting profits more than DOUBLE in last quarter of 2020

“We saw exceptional support from central banks and strong fiscal policy supports during the health crisis. We supported our clients and were extraordinarily active, and very disciplined around our risk, and that led to record results,” said chief financial officer Jon Pruzan.Revenue from the institutional securities business, its largest source of income, rose to $7 billion from $5.05 billion recorded a year ago.Morgan Stanley’s trading unit, which is housed within the institutional securities business, benefitted from the US elections and the release of coronavirus vaccines across the world, which boosted high trading volumes during the last quarter of 2020.Net revenue grew to $13.64 billion versus $10.86 billion last year. Follow RT on

Morgan Stanley managed to substantially capitalize in 2020. The US investment bank beat fourth-quarter earnings forecasts to round off the lender’s best year on record. Revenue from the company’s investment banking division advanced to $2.30 billion from $1.58 billion in 2019, while revenue from sales and trading rose to $4.22 billion from $3.19 billion.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section The bank’s shares rose 2.5 percent to $76.88 in premarket trading, the highest since late 2000.

Russian gasoline imports surge after lifted moratorium

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Russia’s imports of gasoline surged eight times in November compared to October, after the end of a four-month ban on refined oil product imports ended in October. Also on rt.com
Russia keeps global grain supplies high despite Covid crisis

Russia was considering the measure since early April after oil prices crashed and led to much cheaper refined oil products outside Russia. Last year, after the oil price collapse and the crash in demand in the pandemic, Russia’s government banned between June and October imports of refined oil products, including gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, to protect its refining industry from cheap imports. The ban on imports of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and gasoil was enacted to ensure the energy security of the Russian federation and stabilize the domestic fuel market, the government said in the decree at the time. In Russia, however, the price of fuels didn’t change much because of the nature of its regulations.Demand for oil products at Russia’s gas stations crashed by 40-50 percent because of the lockdowns in the spring, Alexander Novak, the then Energy Minister and currently Deputy Prime Minister, said at the end of April. Gasoline production at Russia’s oil refineries slumped to the lowest level in 15 years in May as the country curtailed crude oil production as part of the OPEC+ deal and as lockdowns slashed demand for fuels.Read more on Oilprice.com: US shale is gaining influence over oil marketsBack in June, Russia’s independent fuel retailers’ association—which does not include the vertically integrated oil firms in Russia—said that the market shouldn’t expect a return of demand to pre-coronavirus levels in the following six months.After the ban on fuel imports ended on October 1, Russia’s imports of gasoline jumped eight-fold in November from October in terms of volumes and surged seven-fold in terms of value, with November imports worth $4.9 billion, according to Federal Customs Service’s data cited by news agency TASS.This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

EasyJet summer bookings jump 250% on hopes of lockdown restrictions easing

“We know there is pent-up demand – we have seen that every time restrictions have been relaxed – and so we know that people want to go on holiday as soon as they can,” he told the BBC, adding that EasyJet offers confidence for the post-pandemic travel market.“We have been pleased to see that some customers are making plans for their summer holidays now, with EasyJet holidays bookings for summer ’21 up 250 percent compared to the same time last year, and with May currently proving to be the most popular month for holiday bookings at the moment.”According to Lundgren, the vaccination program underway in the UK and Europe was “undoubtedly the key to unlocking travel again.” EasyJet was ready to ramp up its flying schedule as soon as customer confidence returned, he said. The airline industry is hoping for increased demand when lockdown restrictions are eased. Also on rt.com
UK’s largest airline, EasyJet, offers passengers discounted Covid-19 tests in desperate effort to encourage travel

Under the new rules for travelers entering the UK, arrivals are required to produce proof of a negative coronavirus test up to 72 hours before departure and to self-isolate for up to 10 days after entering the country.EasyJet, like other global airlines, has been struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated travel restrictions. International carriers have lately announced thousands of job cuts, scrapping some of their routes. Tougher lockdown rules across Europe, the closure of air corridors, and uncertainty about travel post-Brexit have added to pressure on the travel industry at the start of the year.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Follow RT on

UK budget carrier EasyJet’s CEO Johan Lundgren said that bookings for this summer with its holidays arm were up 250 percent on last year.

US central bank is the SERIAL KILLER of small businesses – Max Keiser

He points out that if you give “the worst amongst us” the money printer, so they could literally just print untold sums without restraint, “then it’s like, imagine if Charles Manson was running the central bank” uninterrupted for 20 years.“Then serial killing would be America’s number one industry,” Max says, adding: “Today, we’ve got a central banker who is serial killing small businesses.” For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section “So, we’re back to medievalism,” says Max. Follow RT on

Keiser Report hosts Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert look at the lockdown carnage in the world of small businesses, which employ almost half of all American workers.

Canada scrambles to save Keystone XL pipeline expansion before Biden administration scraps it

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The US has a lot of natural gas that may have to stay in the ground due to never-ending legal battles to get pipelines built

The latest news sent the shares of TC Energy, the Canadian energy major that operates the project, lower on Monday. Follow RT on

Top officials in the key oil-producing province of Alberta, Canada are calling on the country’s government to take urgent action to save the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline to the United States. Then, the oil would travel via existing routes to refineries at the Gulf of Mexico.The $8 billion project has been strongly opposed by US landowners, Native American tribes and environmental groups, including Greenpeace. Earlier, Canadian and US media reported that President-elect Joe Biden would sign an executive order revoking the permit for expanding the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office. Works on extending the project had been halted under Barack Obama’s presidency, but restarted when President Donald Trump overturned his predecessor’s decision in 2019. Meanwhile, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has urged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reach out to the incoming US administration before Biden takes the oath of office.“This is the 11th hour and if this really is the top priority, as it should be, then we need the government of Canada to stand up for Canadian workers, for Canadian jobs, for the Canadian-US relationship, right now,” Kenney said, adding that Alberta’s financial exposure alone would exceed $783 million if the expansion doesn’t go ahead.The official noted that Canada reserves the right to retain legal counsel and seek damages under international free trade agreements if the controversial pipeline project is scrapped.“We hope President-elect Biden will show respect for Canada and will sit down and at the very least talk to us,” he said. US Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) has also spoken against the idea of expanding the pipe’s capacities. For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
Pipeline bottlenecks cost Canadian producers $20 billion

The Keystone XL pipeline is set to carry around 830,000 barrels of crude oil sands per day from the fields in Alberta to Nebraska in the US.

IEA cuts global energy demand outlook as renewed lockdowns weigh on fuel sales

“World oil supply is now expected to increase by 1.2 million bpd in 2021 following a record decline of 6.6 million bpd last year. “But it will take more time for oil demand to recover fully as renewed lockdowns in a number of countries weigh on fuel sales.”The energy watchdog also said that higher demand will allow supply to start rising this year. Much more oil is likely to be required, given our forecast for a substantial improvement in demand in the second half of the year.”

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The IEA has assumed that during the second half of 2021, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied producers, known as OPEC+, will still withhold 5.8 million bpd of oil from the market as per the group’s April 2020 agreement.”However, OPEC+ has taken a more flexible approach to market management and will meet monthly to decide on output levels,” it said.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
Oil demand won’t fully recover until 2022 – IHS Markit

The IEA said that oil demand growth was projected to fall slightly during the first three months of this year but tougher government plans on additional travel restrictions could curb worldwide mobility once again. Follow RT on

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has cut its 2021 forecast for oil demand by 0.3 million barrels. That has prompted the agency to trim its first-quarter forecast for oil demand growth to 94.1 million barrels per day. The downward revision would see oil demand return to near last year’s levels.“The global vaccine rollout is putting fundamentals on a stronger trajectory for the year, with both supply and demand shifting back into growth mode following 2020’s unprecedented collapse,” said the report. According to the energy agency, world oil demand is now expected to rise by 5.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to 96.6 million this year, following an unprecedented collapse of 8.8 million bpd in 2020.“This recovery mainly reflects the impact of fiscal and monetary support packages as well as the effectiveness of steps to resolve the pandemic,” the agency said in a report published on Tuesday. It will take more time for oil demand to recover fully as renewed lockdown measures will further limit mobility, the IEA said.

Germany may tax American gas imports in response to US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 pipeline

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One more European firm caves to US pressure on Nord Stream 2 project – media

Ernst added that the US had no right to just promote the economic interests of the American gas sector, and at the same time to degrade their so-called allies, turning them into subordinates. The chairman also urged the federal government to summon the acting US ambassador and clearly explain the US position.“It is also necessary to introduce penal duties on gas imports from the US,” Ernst said, expressing deep concern that the incoming president Joe Biden wouldn’t change the US’ “aggressive economic policy.”The call comes shortly after the White House announced restrictions against Russian-flagged pipe laying vessel Fortuna over its involvement in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany and Central Europe. Also on rt.com
Gazprom warns investors that Nord Stream 2 could be canceled as Trump announces more US sanctions in ‘parting gift’

“Although we do not comment on future sanctions measures, we will continue to exchange ideas with allies and partners on potential sanctions issues,” a spokesperson for the US embassy said, urging the German authorities to reconsider their position on Nord Stream 2.The move came a day before Joe Biden’s inauguration. Klaus Ernst, the chairman of the German parliament’s Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy said that penalties against corporations engaged in the Russian-led gas-provision project are unacceptable.“The fresh US sanctions against companies that participate in the construction of Nord Stream 2 won’t lead to the expected effect, but despite this, they are unacceptable,” the politician said. Follow RT on

Berlin should introduce punitive tariffs on imports of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) since Washington is pursuing its own ends by imposing sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to a German MP. The President-elect has previously opposed the project, but it remains unclear whether he’ll follow President Donald Trump’s hard line on the issue.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

‘Lather, rinse, repeat’: US Fed will crash the stock market like in 1987, strategist tells Boom Bust

Lather, rinse, repeat.”For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section “There’s nothing more misunderstood on Wall Street than inflation,” he says. Pento explains that there will be a super spike in interest rates in the second quarter of 2021, “and then I believe it will all come crashing down by the third quarter.”“There will be a fiscal drag on the economy, the Federal Reserve’s going to make a lot of noise about tapering, it’s going to crash the stock market, it’s going to look a lot like 1987,” he says. Follow RT on

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has affirmed his commitment to keeping interest rates low for the foreseeable future even as he expressed hope for a strong economic recovery. “And then yields will come back down again. Boom Bust explores how the economy is reacting to all the developments during the Covid-19 pandemic.The United States has a massive increase in “unproductive debt,” and is facing inflation, says Michael Pento, CEO of Pento Portfolio Strategies.

China becomes only major economy to record growth during pandemic

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China’s economy expanded by 2.3 percent last year despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. As factories started to get back online, China’s GDP rose by 3.2 percent in the April-June period and by 4.9 percent in the next three months. 

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China’s fast recovery was powered by positive dynamics in the industrial sector and trade, but domestic consumption, one of its key economic drivers, is still considered a weak spot. According to Monday’s data, the growth of retail sales slowed to 4.6 percent in December, and fell 3.9 percent for the full year. It also makes China the only major economy to avoid contraction in 2020, when most nations are still struggling to overcome the economic impact of the outbreak.  The Chinese economy roared back to growth in the second quarter, after a historic 6.8-percent contraction at the beginning of the year. In a dramatic turnaround since the deadly virus rattled the world’s second-largest economy at the start of 2020, China’s gross domestic product (GDP) jumped 6.5 percent in the final quarter compared to a year earlier, according to official data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday. The lockdowns affected restaurant revenues the most, as they fell almost 17 percent, while online sales, as well as sales of telecommunications equipment, cosmetics, and jewelry posted double-digit growth.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
China declares victory over absolute poverty nationwide, lifting 99 MILLION people from penury since 2012

The strong finish brought its GDP to 101.6 trillion yuan ($15.7 trillion) last year, according to the statistics agency.Although the annual growth rate was the slowest since the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, it is still better than most analysts had predicted. The result is higher than in the last full quarter before the pandemic hit, when its economy rose by six percent. The country’s economic recovery accelerated in the last three months of 2020 and returned to pre-crisis levels.

Russia keeps global grain supplies high despite Covid crisis

Since the early 2000s, this share of the global wheat market has quadrupled.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section That’s in line with pre-pandemic projections from industry experts, who said deliveries could be in the range of 32-to-42 million tons. Moscow introduced export limits for certain grains, including wheat, rye, barley, and corn, saying that the supplies should not exceed seven million tons. Last week, they approved raising the wheat export duty to €50 ($60) per ton from March 1. The country will also introduce export duties for corn and barley, of €25 and €10 per ton respectively, from March 15.The step is expected to protect domestic supply and stabilize the prices of several commodities, such as flour and bread, amid the economic upheaval from the Covid-19 pandemic and a plunge in oil prices.Booming agricultural production in recent years has enabled Russia to capture more than half of the global wheat market, becoming the world’s biggest exporter of grain, thanks to bumper harvests and attractive pricing. In the previous 2018-2019 agricultural season, Russia exported 35.2 million tons of wheat to the global market, after delivering a record 40.449 million tons in the previous season.In April, Russia capped grain shipments until July, to avoid domestic price spikes amid the global coronavirus crisis. Also on rt.com
Russia considers grain export quota to stabilize domestic food prices

In December, Russian authorities introduced an export limit of 17.5 million tons for certain grains for the remainder of the marketing year during the current season. Follow RT on

Exports of Russian wheat and meslin increased by 15.2 percent from January to November 2020, compared with the same period in 2019, and amounted to 33.6 million tons, according to the Federal State Statistics Service.

Beijing urges US to stop ‘baseless’ crackdown on its firms after Trump reportedly tightens supplies to Huawei

According to the report, a total of eight licenses from four companies were annulled, including those in respect of key chip supplier, Intel, and Japanese flash memory chip maker Kioxia Corp. Also on rt.com
US blacklists tech giant Xiaomi & major oil producer CNOOC in Trump’s final push against Chinese firms

The Commerce Department also signaled that “a significant number” of license requests for exports to Huawei, some of which were pending approval for months, are likely to be denied, Reuters said. Earlier this month, the Pentagon claimed that nine more Chinese firms have links to the Chinese military, including major smartphone maker Xiaomi and the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), meaning that US investors will be prohibited from owning their stock.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Follow RT on

China has slammed the latest US move against tech giant Huawei after the outgoing Trump administration reportedly revoked the licenses of companies working with the Chinese firm. However, the firm has enough chip inventories to keep its business running for up to two months, industry analyst Ma Jihua told the state-linked newspaper.The Trump administration has been ramping up pressure on Chinese businesses in recent months, adding more and more companies to the trade and investment blacklists over alleged security threats. Some companies, which had earlier been cleared to continue doing business with Huawei, now face the revocation of their licenses for exports to the Chinese firm, Reuters reported, citing sources. It is believed that US government agencies were still debating whether more than 150 licenses for $120 billion worth of goods and technology should be granted, while another $280 billion of license applications for Huawei have yet to be processed. American suppliers to Huawei are meant to receive special approval from the US government to continue doing business with Huawei after the company was added to the US blacklist, officially known as the Entity List. 
Read more

China hits back at ‘unjustified’ foreign laws that hurt its businesses

“We urge US to repeal the decision and stop baselessly cracking down on foreign businesses,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in response to the possible ban, according to the Global Times. Beijing also vowed to continue “to safeguard legitimate rights of Chinese businesses.”Neither US officials nor any of the affected companies have officially confirmed the license revocation so far.Huawei’s laptop business could be hit hard if Intel is unable to continue chip supplies to the company, the Global Times reported, citing analysts.

Russia plans earliest-ever shipment of Arctic LNG to Asia

Nevertheless, the tankers will use an ice-breaker on their return to Russia across the passage in February. According to Sovcomflot, which owns the ‘Christophe de Margerie’, a cargo ship has never made a February voyage in the eastern Arctic. Industry officials said that the vessels don’t need ice-breaker support as the current conditions in the eastern Arctic are mild. The cargo would become the earliest-ever shipment of liquefied natural gas to Asia, beating last year’s record by almost two weeks and paving the way for a record navigation season this year.The exact timing of the LNG shipment will depend on weather conditions and the thickness of the ice, according to officials. Follow RT on

Russian gas producer Novatek plans to send cargo from its Yamal LNG facility to Asian markets via the Northern Sea Route (NSR) in early May with the help of an ice-breaker, sources told Bloomberg. Its eastern part is usually shut for navigation for several months at the start of the year due to thick ice, which limits shipment potential. 

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Russian Arctic sea route shipping tops 33 million tons in 2020

Novatek sent an eastbound LNG cargo via the NSR with ice-breaker support in late May in 2020, which was the earliest start to the navigation season in the area to date. Shipments continued to Asia through January, making it a record long navigation season in the eastern Arctic.Earlier this month, Novatek sent two LNG tankers (‘Christophe de Margerie’ and ‘Nikolay Yevgenov’) to China through the NSR. The planned February return voyage is part of “the systemic efforts to gradually extend transit navigation in the eastern sector of the Arctic,” said Sekretarev, adding: “In the future, the goal is to set up safe year-round navigation” across the Northern Route.Russia wants to turn the NSR into a major trade artery between Europe and Asia. Last year, 33 million tons of freight were transported using the Arctic route.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section “The possibility of such a voyage in May is under discussion,” said Nikita Sekretarev, spokesperson for Russia’s Sovcomflot shipping company. Stretching more than 5,000km between the Barents Sea and the Bering Strait, the NSR is the shortest passage between Europe and Asia.

Heathrow no longer Europe’s busiest airport as pandemic cripples travel demand

France’s main airport served some 21.1 million passengers in the January-November period, one million less than Heathrow had for the whole year.  Global air hubs saw annual passenger numbers plummet between 70 and 80 percent for the pandemic year, but some hubs logged smaller declines, allowing them to rise in the rankings. For example, the largest Russian airport in terms of passenger and cargo traffic, Sheremetyevo International Airport, climbed three spots in the list of busiest European air hubs and now sits in fifth place. The key airport received some 22.1 million passengers in 2020 – a steep decline compared to the nearly 81 million travelers it welcomed in the previous, pre-pandemic, year. Due to the 73 percent collapse in passenger traffic, Heathrow is set to fall to third place among other European airports. 

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Almost 200 European airports may go bust, putting nearly 280,000 jobs at risk

Istanbul Airport has already outpaced Heathrow by passenger numbers, welcoming around 23.4 million people last year, and is likely to become Europe’s number one airport for 2020. He said “aviation is vital to us as a small island trading nation,” adding that he hopes that vaccines could facilitate a travel recovery later this year.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Heathrow is also set to fall behind Paris Charles de Gaulle. Sheremetyevo served 19.8 million passengers last year. 

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Over half of Europe’s smaller firms may be bankrupt within a year – McKinsey poll

The new strain of Covid-19 threatens to deepen the crisis in the British aviation industry after dozens of countries halted travel to and from the country and the British government introduced new restrictions. Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye previously noted that the current government measures, such as testing rules for people arriving in England, cannot be maintained in the long-term. Follow RT on

London’s Heathrow Airport has lost its leadership position among European air hubs by the amount of passenger traffic last year, as most countries kept their borders shut to contain Covid-19.

China may topple US as world’s largest economy sooner than expected

Statistics showed that global output dropped 4.2 percent last year, pushing China’s share of it to 14.5 percent at 2010-dollar prices.Economists pointed out that Beijing is deepening economic ties within Asia and Europe and looking to domestic consumption to power its next phase of growth. That is two years faster than he had previously estimated.The country’s share of the world economy rose at the fastest pace this century. Globally, FDI flows are said to have fallen 30-40 percent year-on-year in 2020, according to UNCTAD.“Not only China’s growth, but also the pattern of its growth matters for the global economy. It is now on course to pass the US as the biggest economy in 2028, said Homi Kharas, deputy director for the global economy and development program at the Brookings Institution. China continues to strive to move towards greater reliance on consumption for growth. China is the only major economy to have avoided contraction in 2020. Also on rt.com
Chinese exports soar despite Covid-19 pandemic & US trade war

The pandemic could help China “solidify its position in the global economy,” Ka Zeng, director of Asian studies at the University of Arkansas, told Bloomberg. This week, President Xi Jinping said that “time and the situation” were on the country’s side in a new year while Washington was struggling with domestic turmoil. US and European companies are likely to focus more on China due to the “potential for the country to be the only large source of growth in the post-pandemic world.”Already the world’s top exporter, China’s shipments increased 3.6 percent in 2020, according to official data. For the rest of the world, China will increasingly become a consumer in addition to the producer role it has long played,” said Chang Shu, chief Asia economist.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Follow RT on

The world’s second-largest economy China’s GDP is projected to expand 8.2 percent this year, continuing to outpace global peers including the United States, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. Total world trade likely contracted 5.6 percent, according to estimates from the United Nations’ trade and development body UNCTAD. 

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Freight traffic between China & Europe hit all-time high in 2020

Meanwhile, China has likely regained the title of the world’s top destination for foreign investment as more than $129.5 billion have settled in the country through November 2020.

One more European firm caves to US pressure on Nord Stream 2 project – media

The insurance provider could become the third firm to ditch the gas pipeline in the final stages of construction in less than three weeks, following similar steps by Norwegian certifier Det Norske Veritas Holding AS and Danish engineering firm Ramboll.Zurich Insurance declined to comment on the potential pull-out from Nord Stream 2, citing the confidentiality of its relations with specific customers. The company’s plans to turn its back on the $11 billion project were revealed by Bloomberg and Reuters. Follow RT on

One of the largest insurers in Switzerland, Zurich Insurance Group, has decided to sever ties with the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project amid US sanctions pressure, according to media reports. Also on rt.com
Russia’s Nord Stream 2 is ‘part of a reliable gas supply system’ for Europe for years to come – German MP

The Swiss-based firm is one of a number of insurers linked to the pipeline. According to Reuters, it conducts a substantial amount of business in the US, and could risk losing access to the US market in light of the new sanctions. Earlier this month, the US stepped up efforts to derail the energy project that would deliver Russian gas to Germany and other European customers – a market that the US has its own plans for with its liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies. In January, it warned European firms involved in the construction of the pipeline that they risk sanctions and should pull out before it’s “too late.”For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Earlier, it told media that the company is in compliance with any applicable sanctions regulations.

Is bitcoin moving to another rally cycle after latest price swings? RT’s Boom Bust has the answer

The most popular digital currency plunged again on Sunday, losing around nine percent in value over the last 24 hours and trading below the $35,000 level. RT’s Boom Bust explores the moves of the world’s top cryptocurrency. “This is a very healthy move for the market after that parabolic move up past 40,000 [dollars].”She noted that the recent drop in the price of bitcoin coincided with a rise in the dollar caused by another massive coronavirus stimulus package in the US. While some analysts say the price of bitcoin is correcting, it could actually be consolidating, which is a healthy market reaction after enormous growth, Christy Ai of RT’s Boom Bust explains. Follow RT on

Bitcoin has seen wild price movements this week, rising from just above $30,000 to nearly $40,000 and then sliding again.  “We see bitcoin forming a nice consolidation pattern,” she said on the latest episode of the show, adding that $35,000 could become another medium-term support level for the cryptocurrency. However, the greenback’s bounce could be short-lived due to the inflationary consequences of stimulus measures.“When they start firing up the printing presses, we can expect further depreciation, which will lead to another bitcoin rally cycle,” Ai said.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Coronavirus to push Hong Kong’s jobless rate beyond 16-year peak

Last year, arrivals to Hong Kong plunged by over 90 percent after the virus started spreading across the country. Hong Kong’s jobless rate was already at the highest level in nearly 16 years in the third quarter, when it rose to 6.4 percent from 6.1 percent seen in the previous three months. Also on rt.com
China soon to rival NY & London as world’s financial center – Ray Dalio

If the epidemic situation does not improve, the city will see more business closures soon, Chan added.After becoming the first country to suffer from the rapidly spreading virus, China has largely contained the outbreak. Also on rt.com
Hong Kong slaps Goldman Sachs with record fine over looting of Malaysia’s state fund

The drop in employment levels comes despite relief efforts, including a series of measures to support the labor market, Chan said. Follow RT on

The economy of the leading Chinese and global financial center, Hong Kong, is still reeling from the pandemic, and its unemployment rate could reach a new multi-year high, the city’s financial secretary said. He said that retail companies and restaurants usually see booming demand during the holiday, but they are still “severely affected” by the pandemic. The city is also closed for the bulk of foreign tourists, depriving it of a vital source of revenue. Hong Kong also saw a sudden rise in cases at the end of last year, forcing it to scrap plans to open the long-anticipated travel bubble with Singapore.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section However, some local coronavirus spikes have been detected. He noted that last year’s riots in the city still have an impact on the jobs sector, in addition to the consequences of the pandemic, especially for graduates.The financial secretary also warned that more layoffs could come after what is usually a busy business period, the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated in China next month. Although its economy started to rebound from the Covid-19 crisis and is set to grow this year, Hong Kong’s labor market is still under tremendous pressure, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po wrote on his website on Sunday. He said the number of unemployed people in the city could have been a 16-year high in the last quarter of 2020.The official data for the October-December period is set to be released on Tuesday.

Libya’s worn-out pipelines may give more relief to battered oil market

As the country’s oil production went back online last year, it created hurdles for the oil alliance as it attempted to cut global oil supply to boost oil prices that fell dramatically in 2020. The sudden drop in Libya’s crude production comes on top of the recent voluntary cuts by the world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, and could give another boost to the oil market that is still suffering from the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. They are also under the threat of having to reduce their production and to even halt it completely,” it said in a statement. 

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Oil prices hit 10-month high as US dollar weakens & Saudi cuts loom on horizon

Libya boasts Africa’s largest proven crude oil reserves and is one of the few members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that are exempt from the group’s output cuts. Also on rt.com
Libya throws ONE MILLION barrels of oil into already oversupplied market

The recent drop in production wiped out around 16 percent of the nation’s daily oil output, bringing it to around one million barrels per day (bpd). The troubled pipeline, linking the Samah and Dahra fields to the Es Sider oil terminal, was closed for maintenance on Sunday, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said. Oil prices rose to multi-month highs after Riyadh revealed its intention to reduce its output by one million bpd for February and March on top of the OPEC caps. However, the NOC warned that it lacks funds to carry out the repairs at some other sites that were left unattended or damaged during years of war and some companies are facing the same problems as Waha Oil.“What happened with Waha today happens daily with other companies that suffer from a budget shortage. Follow RT on

Crude output of OPEC member Libya has fallen by up to 200,000 barrels a day due to a leaking pipeline, the country’s oil major has announced, noting that production levels can further decrease. However, prices for both Brent and WTI were subdued at the end of the week, falling around two percent.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section The company explained that multiple leaks were found in the “worn out” pipeline, and it could take up to two weeks to fix it. However, it hopes that the operator of the link, Waha Oil company, can finish the work earlier, in seven to ten days.

Trump wants US government to restrict more goods & services from China

Those firms are presented in the list provided by the Pentagon. On Thursday, the Department of Commerce added energy major Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to the blacklist.Another ban prohibits US investors from putting their money into Chinese enterprises the US alleges have military ties. The designation resulted in barring US government agencies from using federal funds to purchase equipment from Huawei and ZTE among other restrictions.Dozens of other Chinese companies found themselves in the infamous Entity List, that essentially prohibits American firms from doing business with listed enterprises without getting a green-light from the US government. China’s imports have previously been targeted amid the trade war between the world’s two largest economies and in two separate blacklists of Chinese enterprises that Washington considers a security threat. The action, announced by National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien on Friday, implies reviewing laws and regulations and potential “executive actions.” This comes in response to what the US sees as China’s attempts to target information systems of the American government for personnel records, military plans, and other data through cyber and other means. 

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US blacklists tech giant Xiaomi & major oil producer CNOOC in Trump’s final push against Chinese firms

“For this reason, the United States must take corresponding actions to protect American interests,” O’Brien said in a statement, adding that China poses “the single greatest national security threat.” He further stated that the US must “adjust regulations and policies and take other necessary actions” to reduce the risk of technical and human espionage activities from the Asian power. 
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Beijing warns of retaliation over US delisting of Chinese firms, which runs ‘against market rules & logic’

The statement stops short of naming the products that can fall under the measures, while it is also unclear how they can be implemented. Follow RT on

With just days left in office, US President Donald Trump, has taken another swipe at Beijing, ordering government agencies to look for ways to minimize procurement of Chinese goods and services. The Department of Defense added nine companies to it, including major smartphone maker Xiaomi and the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), that is developing a narrow body jet that could potentially compete with the Boeing 737 family.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section The latest expansion to that list came earlier this week.

Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline gets closer to finish line, first link expected to be completed by June

Germany’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) said on Friday that work on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the nation’s exclusive economic zone can continue. According to the company’s representative, it will further decide when it can restart work at the end of January or in early February.The $11 billion gas project in the Baltic Sea, developed by Russia and supported by its European partners, has been largely criticized by the US, which has its own interests in the lucrative European energy market. The Russian-flagged pipe laying vessel Fortuna is reportedly expected to complete work in Danish seas by the end of May, where some 120 kilometers are unfinished, and then lay around 30 kilometers of pipes in German waters. 
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Germany may set up special fund to fend off Russia’s Nord Stream 2 from sweeping US sanctions

However, the operator later clarified that the green-light from the European regulators does not necessarily mean that work will start immediately. “We have permission from the Danish energy agency to start work from Friday. The agency expanded the previous timeframe as requested by the operator, ruling that the construction of the remaining kilometers of the gas route can be extended until the end of May. Germany’s go-ahead came after similar permission from Danish authorities. Norwegian certifier Det Norske Veritas–Germanischer Lloyd (DNV GL) announced the decision to sever ties at the beginning of the year, while Dutch consulting group Ramboll was reported to have quit the project earlier this week.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section The document reportedly shows that one section of the two-string pipeline could be largely finished as soon as June. However, this does not mean that we will also resume laying pipes on Friday,” Handelsblatt quoted the Nord Stream 2 spokesman as saying. Follow RT on

The operator of Russia’s natural gas pipeline to Europe, Nord Stream 2 AG, has secured permission to continue work in the Baltic Sea and may finish one of the two branches of the route in the first half of the year. In the last three weeks, two more firms turned their back on the project due to the US restrictions. This week, the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) said that it had received a new schedule from the Nord Stream 2 operator that showed that work could have started on Friday, 15 January. 

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US threatens sanctions against European firms working on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline

The same timeframe for the resumption of pipe laying was earlier mentioned in a Bloomberg report, which cited the company’s schedule and people familiar with the matter. The firm withdrew its vessels from the pipe laying site in the Baltic Sea at the end of 2019, forcing Russia to dispatch its own ships to complete the remaining section of the offshore pipeline. As Washington kept increasing pressure on the contractors, more companies pulled out of the project. While claiming that Nord Stream 2 would deepen Germany and Europe’s dependence on Russia, Washington has been trying to derail the project, threatening the companies involved in it with sanctions. The first company to ditch Nord Stream 2 due to looming US restrictions was offshore contractor Allseas.

Banker Benjamin de Rothschild, owner of the Edmond de Rothschild Group, dies aged 57 – family to media

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Banker and chairman of the Edmond de Rothschild Holding S.A. company, Benjamin de Rothschild, has passed away at the age of 57, his family revealed to French media. “Ariane de Rothschild and her daughters are deeply saddened to announce the death of husband and father, Benjamin de Rothschild, following a heart attack in the family home in Pregny (Switzerland) in the afternoon of January 15, 2021” the family said in a press release on Saturday.⚫️🇫🇷DISPARITION – 22ème fortune de France, le Baron Benjamin de Rothschild a succombé hier à une crise cardiaque à l’âge de 57 ans (famille à l’AFP). Benjamin de Rothschild was chairman of the board of directors at Edmond de Rothschild Holding SA, the umbrella entity of the Edmond de Rothschild Group, specializing in private banking and asset management.The financial group also confirmed his death on Saturday, offering condolences to his wife and children. In a statement on its website it said that the entrepreneur developed the entity “in an exceptional way during all these years.” It also noted that the late businessman was also “an active philanthropist,” as he developed “innovation within the Adolphe de Rothschild Foundation Hospital.”For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section pic.twitter.com/4xzP3xwyXS— 🌐Le Globe (@LeGlobe_info) January 16, 2021The Chateau de Pregny, sometimes called the Rothschild Castle, where the banker spent his last hours, is located near Lake Geneva. The estate has belonged to the family since the middle of the 19 century.Born on July 30 1963, Benjamin de Rothschild was the son of Edmond and Nadine de Rothschild. He headed the group created by his father since 1997.

Global smartphone market shrinks almost 9% in 2020 – report

The market also saw a double digit drop in the second quarter of the year. Also on rt.com
Say what? For the whole 2020, companies shipped 1.24 billion units – which is 8.8 percent less than in the previous year, according to the report. The steepest decline was registered in the first three months of 2020, when global smartphone shipments declined around 20 percent year-on-year. The latter previously predicted a 9.5 percent decline in the global smartphone market, with shipments totaling 1.2 billion units in 2020.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section The two brands, which battle for the title of the world’s third largest smartphone maker, ramped up year-on-year supplies by over 10 percent in 2020, while shipments of the top two producers, Samsung and Huawei, saw a double-digit drop. 

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China’s Xiaomi overtakes Apple as world’s third-largest smartphone maker

Other analyst firms such as Counterpoint and the International Data Corporation (IDC) have not published data for the whole pandemic year so far. However, data from Digitimes, which is backed by tech industry heavyweights, corresponds with the IDC’s predictions. Apple unveils headphones priced at $549! Follow RT on

Worldwide shipments of smartphones tumbled nearly nine percent last year as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll on the global economy, according to analysis by Digitimes Research. The decline narrowed to single digits in the July-September period, before the market finally started to rebound in the last three months of the year, Digitimes Research’s figures, released earlier this week, show. Despite the overall market decline, 5G-enabled phones were in high demand last year as the super-fast networks are rapidly developing across the globe. The shipments of such phones rose more than tenfold to 280-300 million units.The only companies that managed to perform against the market trend were Apple and Xiaomi.

EU wants to shield itself from US sanctions & cut dependence on dollar – reports

The broader use of the single European currency in financial markets may “shield the economy from foreign exchange shocks,” secure the resilience of the international monetary system and make the global economy less vulnerable, according to the draft. In a policy paper set to be adopted as soon as next week, the European officials highlighted that “global financial markets are too reliant on the US dollar,” the Financial Times reported on Saturday citing the document. Given the lessons of the pandemic, Brussels is looking for ways to strengthen global positions of the euro instead. The measures to promote the euro could include a review of EU regulation of financial benchmarks, encouraging them to be denominated in euros instead of the dollar basis, among other measures. In an attempt to save the accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the EU had to come up with a special financial mechanism to facilitate trade with Tehran. 

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Euro beats US dollar as world’s most used currency, SWIFT says

“The EU should develop measures to shield EU operators in the event a third country compels EU-based financial-market infrastructures to comply with its unilaterally adopted sanctions,” the policy paper says. Other proposed measures include boosting the bloc’s self-reliance in a number of sectors, including in finance, and tightening policy on foreign takeovers.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Follow RT on

Frustrated by US unilateral sanctions under the Trump administration, the European Commission is reportedly working on a plan to assert its financial and economic autonomy and limit the bloc’s reliance on the greenback. While European officials earlier said they hope for cooperation with the new US administration, the plan signals that they were at least getting ready for the worst.The paper highlights that Brussels is concerned about its “vulnerability” to the US extraterritorial economic restrictions, as was seen in the situation with Iran after Washington abandoned the multilateral nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions against the Islamic republic. Also on rt.com
US sanctions may lead to dollar’s demise, Russian central bank warns

The rule can be still amended before its official release scheduled for Tuesday, just one day before US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Russia’s foreign exchange reserves reach almost $600 BILLION

The international funds grew by $5 billion, or nearly 0.8 percent, from December 25 to January 1, the regulator said, adding that the volume practically did not change by January 8. Also on rt.com
‘The world is going back to a GOLD STANDARD as the US dollar is about to collapse’ – Peter Schiff

The country has also been reshaping its international holdings, cutting the share of the US dollar in favor of other currencies and gold. The growth was driven by “positive exchange rate revaluation and higher gold prices,” it noted.Russia’s international reserves are highly liquid foreign assets comprising stocks of monetary gold, foreign currencies and Special Drawing Rights (SDR) assets, which are at the disposal of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) and the government.The holdings have been steadily growing in recent years and have exceeded the half-trillion-dollar target set by the regulator. Follow RT on

Russian gold and foreign currency holdings have increased to a total of $597.4 billion as of January 8, according to the latest data released by the country’s central bank. The recent record rally in gold prices drove Russia’s international holdings to all-time highs in August, when they surpassed the $600-billion level. Last year, growth totaled $43 billion, while in 2019 and 2018 it was nearly $86 billion and around $33 billion respectively. The previous record of $598.1 billion was reached in August 2008, right before the global financial crisis.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section