Iran’s central bank claims billions from German stock exchange

The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, on January 10, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 January 2018
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Iran’s central bank claims billions from German stock exchange

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: German stock market operator Deutsche Boerse said Thursday that Iran’s central bank had levelled claims for billions of dollars against its Luxembourg subsidiary Clearstream, which blocked the funds after the US accused Tehran of funding terrorism.
The central bank (Bank Markazi) demands some $4.9 billion (4.0 billion euros) of assets it says are held in Clearstream accounts belonging to it and to Italian bank UBAE, plus interest, Deutsche Boerse said in a statement.
If the assets themselves cannot be recovered, the Iranian institution wants damages in the same amount.
The long-running, complex case involves some $2.0 billion frozen in Clearstream accounts while court cases against Iran are heard in the US and Luxembourg, as well as some $1.9 billion Clearstream has already transferred to the US based on a 2013 court ruling.
That judgment saw Iran ordered to compensate around 1,000 American plaintiffs, including families of some 214 soldiers killed in a double suicide bombing in Lebanese capital Beirut in 1983 that claimed 299 lives.
Victims of a 1996 attack in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans were also compensated.
“Clearstream believes that the claims against it are unfounded,” Deutsche Boerse said in its statement.


Philippines set to import 1.2 million tons of rice as caps removed

Updated 50 min 16 sec ago
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Philippines set to import 1.2 million tons of rice as caps removed

  • President Rodrigo Duterte in October ordered the ‘unimpeded’ importation of rice after the country’s inflation shot u
  • Lawmakers have approved the bill removing the import cap on rice imports and replacing it with tariffs

MANILA: Rice traders in the Philippines are set to import about 1.2 million tons of the staple food, a state grains agency spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday, as the Southeast Asian country lifts a two-decade-old cap on purchases.
Bigger rice purchases by the Philippines, already one of the world’s top importers and consumers of the grain, could underpin export prices in Vietnam and Thailand, traditionally its key suppliers.
Prices in Vietnam fell last week ahead of the country’s largest harvest this month, while the Thai market is likely to see additional supply toward the end of January from the seasonal harvest.
President Rodrigo Duterte in October ordered the “unimpeded” importation of rice after the country’s inflation shot up to 6.7 percent in September and October, the highest in nearly a decade, partly due to food prices.
The National Food Authority (NFA) has approved initial applications from 180 rice traders for permits to import a total of 1.186 million tons of either 5-percent or 25-percent broken white, the NFA spokeswoman said.
“We have not set any deadline for accepting applications to import rice. There’s no more limit,” she said.
Importers are allowed to bring in rice from any country, but grains from Southeast Asian suppliers will be charged a tariff of 35 percent while those from elsewhere will face a 50-percent charge.
Lawmakers have approved the bill removing the import cap on rice imports and replacing it with tariffs. Duterte will “most likely” sign it into law “soon,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said on Tuesday.
Philippine inflation eased in November and December, and the rice tariffication law could help curb it this year by as much as 0.7 percentage point, the central bank has said. Rice is the biggest food item in the country’s consumer price index.