Category Archives: Business

economy and business news

NZ Teachers Strike for First Time in 20 years, Challenge Government’s Fiscal Plan

New Zealand school teachers went on strike on Wednesday for the first time in more than 20 years, challenging the Labor government’s plans to balance promised fiscal responsibility against growing demands to increase public sector salaries.

The government’s first budget in May was stretched to fulfill its promise to juggle investing in much-needed infrastructure with a self-imposed rule to pay down debt and insulate the economy from potential shocks.

Almost 30,000 primary school teachers did not turn up to work on Wednesday and held protests across the country, leaving parents of children aged 5 to 13 at public schools scrambling to find childcare.

“Teachers and principals voted for a full day strike…to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching,” said Louise Green, lead negotiator at NZEI, the union that represents teachers, in a statement.

NZEI said it has asked for a 16 percent pay increase for teachers over two years, whereas the government has offered between 6.1 and 14.7 percent pay rises, depending on experience, over three years.

“Our view is that we need to have those discussions around the negotiating table but…there isn’t an endless amount that we have available to us in order to meet those expectations,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at her weekly news conference on Monday.

​The action comes in the wake of a one-day nationwide nurses’ strike in July and a series of smaller actions by government workers, challenging Ardern’s center-left government, which ended almost a decade of center-right National Party rule in October.

The stand-off with its traditional union support base comes nine months after Labor formed a coalition government, promising to pour money into social services and rein in inequality, which has increased despite years of strong growth.

Wage growth has remained sluggish in the island nation for years, despite soaring housing costs, which labour groups and economists say has left workers struggling despite robust growth.

The government is also struggling with gloomy business confidence, which has sunk to decade lows and contributed to a surprise signal from the central bank on Thursday that it planned to keep rates on hold into 2020 and saw downside risks to its growth forecasts.

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NZ Teachers Strike for First Time in 20 years, Challenge Government’s Fiscal Plan

New Zealand school teachers went on strike on Wednesday for the first time in more than 20 years, challenging the Labor government’s plans to balance promised fiscal responsibility against growing demands to increase public sector salaries.

The government’s first budget in May was stretched to fulfill its promise to juggle investing in much-needed infrastructure with a self-imposed rule to pay down debt and insulate the economy from potential shocks.

Almost 30,000 primary school teachers did not turn up to work on Wednesday and held protests across the country, leaving parents of children aged 5 to 13 at public schools scrambling to find childcare.

“Teachers and principals voted for a full day strike…to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching,” said Louise Green, lead negotiator at NZEI, the union that represents teachers, in a statement.

NZEI said it has asked for a 16 percent pay increase for teachers over two years, whereas the government has offered between 6.1 and 14.7 percent pay rises, depending on experience, over three years.

“Our view is that we need to have those discussions around the negotiating table but…there isn’t an endless amount that we have available to us in order to meet those expectations,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at her weekly news conference on Monday.

​The action comes in the wake of a one-day nationwide nurses’ strike in July and a series of smaller actions by government workers, challenging Ardern’s center-left government, which ended almost a decade of center-right National Party rule in October.

The stand-off with its traditional union support base comes nine months after Labor formed a coalition government, promising to pour money into social services and rein in inequality, which has increased despite years of strong growth.

Wage growth has remained sluggish in the island nation for years, despite soaring housing costs, which labour groups and economists say has left workers struggling despite robust growth.

The government is also struggling with gloomy business confidence, which has sunk to decade lows and contributed to a surprise signal from the central bank on Thursday that it planned to keep rates on hold into 2020 and saw downside risks to its growth forecasts.

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Indian Rupee Falls to All-time Low Against Dollar

The Indian rupee fell to an all-time low Tuesday against the U.S. dollar amid worries that Turkey’s growing financial crisis could spread to other developing-world economies.

Indian Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chander Garg told reporters that there was “nothing at this stage to worry” about after the rupee reached 70.1 to the dollar earlier in the day. He said the dip resulted from “external factors.”

The rupee ended the day at 69.93 per dollar, down 110 paise or 1.6 percent. It was the currency’s biggest one-day drop in five years. The rupee has lost about 8 percent of its value this year.

Garg said the country had sufficient foreign exchange reserves to weather the downturn.

Turkey’s central bank has been unable to stop a sharp plunge in the lira, pushing the value of the dollar higher and driving down emerging-market currencies from South Africa to Mexico.

Rajnish Kumar, chairman of the State Bank of India, said he believed the rupee would stabilize at around 69-70 to the dollar, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Turkey’s economy has been troubled for years, but the latest crisis was set off by worries over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s economic policies and a trade dispute with the United States. Turkey’s government has so far refused to raise interest rates to prop up the currency, fearing a political backlash if it causes the economy to slow.

The falling rupee, which will make Indian exports cheaper on overseas markets, was welcomed by one of India’s top industrialists.

“With this boost to India’s export competitiveness could we now convince global companies that it’s time to switch to India for world-scale, export-focused manufacturing?” Anand Mahindra, the executive chairman of the Mahindra Group, said on Twitter. Mahindra’s interests range from cars to construction equipment to insurance.

India’s manufacturing economy has long been overshadowed by China’s.

 

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Indian Rupee Falls to All-time Low Against Dollar

The Indian rupee fell to an all-time low Tuesday against the U.S. dollar amid worries that Turkey’s growing financial crisis could spread to other developing-world economies.

Indian Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chander Garg told reporters that there was “nothing at this stage to worry” about after the rupee reached 70.1 to the dollar earlier in the day. He said the dip resulted from “external factors.”

The rupee ended the day at 69.93 per dollar, down 110 paise or 1.6 percent. It was the currency’s biggest one-day drop in five years. The rupee has lost about 8 percent of its value this year.

Garg said the country had sufficient foreign exchange reserves to weather the downturn.

Turkey’s central bank has been unable to stop a sharp plunge in the lira, pushing the value of the dollar higher and driving down emerging-market currencies from South Africa to Mexico.

Rajnish Kumar, chairman of the State Bank of India, said he believed the rupee would stabilize at around 69-70 to the dollar, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Turkey’s economy has been troubled for years, but the latest crisis was set off by worries over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s economic policies and a trade dispute with the United States. Turkey’s government has so far refused to raise interest rates to prop up the currency, fearing a political backlash if it causes the economy to slow.

The falling rupee, which will make Indian exports cheaper on overseas markets, was welcomed by one of India’s top industrialists.

“With this boost to India’s export competitiveness could we now convince global companies that it’s time to switch to India for world-scale, export-focused manufacturing?” Anand Mahindra, the executive chairman of the Mahindra Group, said on Twitter. Mahindra’s interests range from cars to construction equipment to insurance.

India’s manufacturing economy has long been overshadowed by China’s.

 

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Erdogan Claims Lira Plunge a ‘Political Plot’ Against Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, embroiled in a bitter dispute with the U.S., a NATO ally, contended Sunday the plunging value of his country’s lira currency amounted to a “political plot” against Turkey.

Erdogan, speaking to political supporters in the Black Sea resort of Trabzon, said, “The aim of the operation is to make Turkey surrender in all areas, from finance to politics. We are once again facing a political, underhand plot. With God’s permission we will overcome this.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has feuded with Erdogan over several issues, including the detention of an American pastor in Turkey, whom Turkey has held since 2016 and accused of espionage. Turkey last month released the evangelical preacher from a prison, but is still detaining him under house arrest pending his trial, despite the demands of the U.S.

With the dispute intensifying, Trump on Friday doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, sending the beleaguered lira plunging 16 percent, part of a 40 percent plummet for the currency this year. In early Asian trading Monday, the lira fell to a record low of 7.06 against the dollar.

“What is the reason for all this storm in a tea cup?” Erdogan said. “There is no economic reason for this … This is called carrying out an operation against Turkey.”

Erdogan renewed his call for Turks to sell dollars and buy lira to boost the currency, while telling business owners to not stockpile the American currency.

“I am specifically addressing our manufacturers: Do not rush to the banks to buy dollars,” he said. “Do not take a stance saying, ‘We are bankrupt, we are done, we should guarantee ourselves.’ If you do that, that would be wrong. You should know that to keep this nation standing is … also the manufacturers’ duty.”

Erdogan signaled he was not looking to offer concessions to the United States, or financial markets.

“We will give our answer, by shifting to new markets, new partnerships and new alliances,” said Erdogan, who in recent years has built closer ties with countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. “Some close the doors and some others open new ones.”

He indicated Turkey’s relationship with Washington was imperiled.

“We can only say ‘good-bye’ to anyone who sacrifices its strategic partnership and a half century alliance with a country of 81 million for the sake of relations with terror groups,” he said. “You dare to sacrifice 81-million Turkey for a priest who is linked to terror groups?”

American pastor Andrew Brunson, if convicted, faces a jail term of 35 years. Trump has described his detention as a “total disgrace” and urged Erdogan to free him immediately.

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Erdogan Claims Lira Plunge a ‘Political Plot’ Against Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, embroiled in a bitter dispute with the U.S., a NATO ally, contended Sunday the plunging value of his country’s lira currency amounted to a “political plot” against Turkey.

Erdogan, speaking to political supporters in the Black Sea resort of Trabzon, said, “The aim of the operation is to make Turkey surrender in all areas, from finance to politics. We are once again facing a political, underhand plot. With God’s permission we will overcome this.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has feuded with Erdogan over several issues, including the detention of an American pastor in Turkey, whom Turkey has held since 2016 and accused of espionage. Turkey last month released the evangelical preacher from a prison, but is still detaining him under house arrest pending his trial, despite the demands of the U.S.

With the dispute intensifying, Trump on Friday doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, sending the beleaguered lira plunging 16 percent, part of a 40 percent plummet for the currency this year. In early Asian trading Monday, the lira fell to a record low of 7.06 against the dollar.

“What is the reason for all this storm in a tea cup?” Erdogan said. “There is no economic reason for this … This is called carrying out an operation against Turkey.”

Erdogan renewed his call for Turks to sell dollars and buy lira to boost the currency, while telling business owners to not stockpile the American currency.

“I am specifically addressing our manufacturers: Do not rush to the banks to buy dollars,” he said. “Do not take a stance saying, ‘We are bankrupt, we are done, we should guarantee ourselves.’ If you do that, that would be wrong. You should know that to keep this nation standing is … also the manufacturers’ duty.”

Erdogan signaled he was not looking to offer concessions to the United States, or financial markets.

“We will give our answer, by shifting to new markets, new partnerships and new alliances,” said Erdogan, who in recent years has built closer ties with countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. “Some close the doors and some others open new ones.”

He indicated Turkey’s relationship with Washington was imperiled.

“We can only say ‘good-bye’ to anyone who sacrifices its strategic partnership and a half century alliance with a country of 81 million for the sake of relations with terror groups,” he said. “You dare to sacrifice 81-million Turkey for a priest who is linked to terror groups?”

American pastor Andrew Brunson, if convicted, faces a jail term of 35 years. Trump has described his detention as a “total disgrace” and urged Erdogan to free him immediately.

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Iran: French Firm Out of South Pars Gas Project, China’s Is In

Iran’s official IRNA news agency is reporting that China’s state-owned petroleum corporation has taken a majority share of the country’s South Pars gas project after French oil and gas company Total announced it would pull out because renewed U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.

The Saturday report quotes Mohammad Mostafavi, an official in Iran’s state oil company, as saying CNPC now owns 80 percent of the shares in the $5 billion project, having bought shares from Total.

CNPC originally had about 30 percent of shares in the project.

The renewal of U.S. sanctions took effect on Tuesday.

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Iran: French Firm Out of South Pars Gas Project, China’s Is In

Iran’s official IRNA news agency is reporting that China’s state-owned petroleum corporation has taken a majority share of the country’s South Pars gas project after French oil and gas company Total announced it would pull out because renewed U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.

The Saturday report quotes Mohammad Mostafavi, an official in Iran’s state oil company, as saying CNPC now owns 80 percent of the shares in the $5 billion project, having bought shares from Total.

CNPC originally had about 30 percent of shares in the project.

The renewal of U.S. sanctions took effect on Tuesday.

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France Fumes at Proposed Post-Brexit EU Sea Trade Links

France deems unacceptable a European Commission proposal to exclude French ports from a rerouting of a strategic trade corridor between Ireland and mainland Europe after Brexit, the government said.

At the moment much of Ireland’s trade with the continent goes via Britain in trucks. However, with less than eight months to go until Britain leaves the European Union, there is still little clarity on its future trade relations with the bloc and on the nature of the Irish Republic’s border with the British

province of Northern Ireland.

The new route put forward by the commission would connect Ireland by sea with Dutch and Belgian ports, including Zeebrugge and Rotterdam. French ports such as Calais and Dunkirk would be bypassed.

“France and Ireland maintain important trade channels, both overland via Britain and via direct maritime routes. The geographical proximity between Ireland and France creates an obvious connection to the single market,” French Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne wrote to the EU’s transport

commissioner in a letter dated August 10.

“Surprisingly, the commission proposal in no way takes this into account. This proposal therefore is not acceptable to France.”

At stake are jobs, millions of dollars’ worth of port revenues and possibly EU infrastructure funding.

Borne said that French ports had the necessary resources to ensure they could handle the likely increase in trade flows, hinting at concerns about congestion in ports such as Calais, France’s busiest passenger port.

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France Fumes at Proposed Post-Brexit EU Sea Trade Links

France deems unacceptable a European Commission proposal to exclude French ports from a rerouting of a strategic trade corridor between Ireland and mainland Europe after Brexit, the government said.

At the moment much of Ireland’s trade with the continent goes via Britain in trucks. However, with less than eight months to go until Britain leaves the European Union, there is still little clarity on its future trade relations with the bloc and on the nature of the Irish Republic’s border with the British

province of Northern Ireland.

The new route put forward by the commission would connect Ireland by sea with Dutch and Belgian ports, including Zeebrugge and Rotterdam. French ports such as Calais and Dunkirk would be bypassed.

“France and Ireland maintain important trade channels, both overland via Britain and via direct maritime routes. The geographical proximity between Ireland and France creates an obvious connection to the single market,” French Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne wrote to the EU’s transport

commissioner in a letter dated August 10.

“Surprisingly, the commission proposal in no way takes this into account. This proposal therefore is not acceptable to France.”

At stake are jobs, millions of dollars’ worth of port revenues and possibly EU infrastructure funding.

Borne said that French ports had the necessary resources to ensure they could handle the likely increase in trade flows, hinting at concerns about congestion in ports such as Calais, France’s busiest passenger port.

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