Alibaba to stop sales of e-cigarette components in the US

Vaping products have been linked to a mysterious lung illness in the US. (File/AFP)
Updated 09 October 2019

Alibaba to stop sales of e-cigarette components in the US

  • Vaping products have been linked to a mysterious lung illness that is reported to have led to 18 deaths as of last week
  • Prior to the suspension, buyers could easily purchase devices, component parts and packaging

OCTOBER: Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba said on Wednesday it will stop selling e-cigarette components in the United States, amid growing regulatory scrutiny and reports of lung disease and some deaths linked to vaping.
The move follows announcements by Kroger Co. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. this week that they would stop selling e-cigarettes at their stores, in line with a similar decision by Walmart.
Alibaba said it already had a long-standing policy in place to not sell complete e-cigarette products in the United States.
Vaping products have been linked to a mysterious lung illness that is reported to have led to 18 deaths as of last week, with the number of confirmed and probable cases of the condition exceeding 1,000, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said that listings for products such as box mods, vape pens, herbal vapors, heat not burn devices, and empty pod cartridges would not be displayed for users located in the United States.
While Juul Labs Inc. dominates the North American market for pod e-cigarettes, many reports of death and injury in the United States have been tied to makeshift brands with no identifiable owner.
The most prominent, Dank Vapes, was linked to 24 patients with lung illness, according to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine. The products contained THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Prior to the suspension, buyers could easily purchase devices, component parts and packaging from sites like Alibaba or Amazon to make their own counterfeit vaping devices.
Amazon.com Inc. took down vape paraphernalia in September, although it did not specify the exact products it removed.


Oil retreats in face of renewed coronavirus uncertainty

Updated 22 February 2020

Oil retreats in face of renewed coronavirus uncertainty

  • G20 finance leaders to meet in Saudi Arabia at the weekend to discuss risks to the global economy
  • OPEC+ has been withholding supply to support prices and many analysts expect an extension or deepening of the curbs

LONDON: Oil prices fell on Friday as weak Asian data and a rise in new coronavirus cases fuelled uncertainty about the economic outlook while leading crude producers appeared to be in no rush to curb output.

Brent crude was down $1.56, or 2.6 percent, at $57.75 in afternoon trade, while U.S. crude dropped $1.25, or 2.3 percent, to $52.63.

"With Brent failing to breach the $60 level on Thursday despite better than expected U.S. oil inventory data, rising market uncertainty is dragging down oil prices on Friday," said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

"Market participants who benefited from the price rise in recent days might prefer not to go into the weekend with a long position."

 

China reports rise in coronavirus cases.

Japan factory activity shrinks at fastest pace since 2012.

Russia says early OPEC+ meeting no longer makes sense.

Finance leaders from the Group of 20 major economies meet in Saudi Arabia at the weekend to discuss risks to the global economy after new Asian economic and health data kept investors on guard.

Beijing reported an uptick in coronavirus cases on Friday and South Korea reported 100 new cases, doubling its infections. In Japan, meanwhile, more than 80 people have tested positive for the virus.

Factory activity in Japan registered its steepest contraction in seven years in February, hurt by fallout from the outbreak. 

"We still believe that the market is likely to trade lower from current levels, given the scale of the surplus over the first half of this year, and the need for the market to send a signal to OPEC+ that they must take further action at their meeting in early March," said ING analyst Warren Patterson.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that global oil producers understood it would no longer make sense for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to meet before the planned gathering.

The group, known as OPEC+, has been withholding supply to support prices and many analysts expect an extension or deepening of the curbs.