EU backs U.S. tech trade declaration after French concerns

EU backs U.S. tech trade declaration after French concerns
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Updated 29 September 2021

EU backs U.S. tech trade declaration after French concerns

EU backs U.S. tech trade declaration after French concerns
  • The revised text was cleared on Wednesday at a meeting of EU ministers on competitiveness of the EU market
  • The TTC meeting had been in doubt last week because of French anger over Australia's scrapping of a $40 billion submarine contract

European Union governments committed to a joint EU-U.S. declaration on technology cooperation on Wednesday, just in time for a key transatlantic meeting, after France threatened to block it unless it was watered down, EU diplomats said.


Senior U.S. and European Union officials aim to discuss semiconductor shortages, artificial intelligence and tech competition issues at the inaugural meeting of the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) on Wednesday.


The TTC meeting had been in doubt last week because of French anger over Australia's scrapping of a $40 billion submarine contract and decision to opt instead for a deal with the United States and Britain to buy nuclear-powered vessels.


EU diplomats said France wanted to strike out a reference to a second meeting in spring 2022, when the French presidential election will take place.


It also sought to soften language on a proposed semiconductor supply chain partnership that said the EU and the United States were mutually dependent, the diplomats said.


After talks until late on Tuesday, reference to the second meeting was struck and the semiconductor passage was adjusted to highlight short-term, rather than long-term, supply dependency.


The revised text was cleared on Wednesday at a meeting of EU ministers on competitiveness of the EU market.


Diplomats said French reservations were less related to the submarine dispute and more to France's stronger belief in EU autonomy.


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai will host European Commission vice presidents Valdis Dombrovskis and Margrethe Vestager in a forum in Pittsburgh also designed to set tech standards.


Egypt to issue $604m of treasury bonds

Egypt to issue $604m of treasury bonds
Updated 29 November 2021

Egypt to issue $604m of treasury bonds

Egypt to issue $604m of treasury bonds

CAIRO: The Central Bank of Egypt will issue 9.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($604.3 million) in treasury bonds on Monday to finance the country’s budget deficit.

The T-bonds will be issued in coordination with the Finance Ministry.

In a statement posted on its website, the central bank said the value of the first offering is 8 billion pounds for two years. The value of the second offering is 1 billion pounds for 5 years and the value of the third offering is 500 million pounds for a period of 10 years.

The government borrows through bonds and treasury bills and government banks are the largest purchasers of these financial instruments.

The Ministry of Finance estimated the financing gap for the state’s general budget during 2021/2022 at about 1.06 trillion pounds, compared to 997.733 billion pounds during the last fiscal year, an increase of 6.31 percent, which will be financed through borrowing and issuance of securities.

Egypt had received $2.7 billion from the International Monetary Fund.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Egypt decided to keep the overnight deposit and lending rate and the central bank’s main operation rate unchanged at 8.25 percent, 9.25 percent, and 8.75 percent, respectively.

Last month, the committee announced that the interest rate would be fixed for the seventh time in a row this year.


Saudi Fund for Development signs two agreements with Pakistan worth $4.2 billion

Saudi Fund for Development signs two agreements with Pakistan worth $4.2 billion
Updated 29 November 2021

Saudi Fund for Development signs two agreements with Pakistan worth $4.2 billion

Saudi Fund for Development signs two agreements with Pakistan worth $4.2 billion

RIYADH: The Saudi Fund for Development on Monday signed two agreements worth $4.2 billion with Pakistan. The deals aim to support the Pakistani economy.

The first agreement includes a $ 3 billion deposit to the State Bank of Pakistan to support the country’s foreign currency reserve levels and mitigate the impact of the coronavirus disease pandemic. The second deal seeks to support Pakistan in financing oil derivatives trade with $1.2 billion.

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Thailand plans to boost tourism through bitcoin holders: Crypto wrap

Thailand plans to boost tourism through bitcoin holders: Crypto wrap
Updated 29 November 2021

Thailand plans to boost tourism through bitcoin holders: Crypto wrap

Thailand plans to boost tourism through bitcoin holders: Crypto wrap

RIYADH: The Tourism Authority of Thailand is working with the country’s regulators to make it easier and more convenient for visitors to spend cryptocurrency in the country, Bloomberg reported.

Thailand is laying the groundwork for becoming a positive crypto community with the aim of attracting cryptocurrency holders and promoting tourism in it.

The country is also hoping to recover some of the $80 billion in tourism revenue lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

The plan is already being discussed with the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission, the Bank of Thailand, and Bitkub Online Co., the largest crypto exchange in the country.

The authority will create a new unit next year to handle the issuance of its crypto tokens, produce a wallet, and build a new tourism ecosystem, according to Bitcoin.com.

However, Thailand does not currently recognize cryptocurrencies as legal tender.

Adoption

Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, has revealed that he is buying more Bitcoin and ether in response to the alarming rise he sees in inflation.

Meanwhile, Blockchain protocol Moonlift has unveiled a new name and a new product release as part of a large-scale rebranding initiative.

The blockchain project will be known as MoonLift Capital and will launch a decentralized exchange that will enable token exchange and liquidity mining features, Bitcoin.com reported.

MoonLift is a community-driven project that aims to provide users with passive income using blockchain technology.

The blockchain protocol also provides a one-stop solution for upcoming crypto projects across marketing, fundraising, and community building services.

MoonLift Capital is also backed by numerous partners and advisors. One of the biggest names is the DeFi startup guide LaunchZone.

MoonLift Capital will offer new projects to Launchzone, providing them with a favorable position to launch their tokens via IDO.  

Daily trading

Bitcoin traded higher on Monday rising by 4.75 percent to $56,926 at 6:38 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether traded at $4,313, up 5.80 percent, according to data from CoinDesk.


Oil demand expected to reach pre-pandemic levels despite omicron fears: Aramco CEO

Oil demand expected to reach pre-pandemic levels despite omicron fears: Aramco CEO
Updated 29 November 2021

Oil demand expected to reach pre-pandemic levels despite omicron fears: Aramco CEO

Oil demand expected to reach pre-pandemic levels despite omicron fears: Aramco CEO

Dhahran: Aramco’s CEO is optimistic about oil demand growth next year despite fears over the new COVID-19 variant omicron. 

Oil demand will be over 100 million barrels per day in 2022, reaching pre-COVID19 levels, Amin Nasser told Arab News during a media briefing at the company's headquarter today.

On COVID-19’s new strain, he said that “the markets overreacted,” adding that the impact of omicron on demand cannot be measured without a full medical assessment.  

Nasser’s remarks came during a ceremony in Dhahran to kickoff development of the unconventional gas field Jafurah. 


Economic sentiment in the EU drops slightly; inflation on the rise in Germany and Spain: Economic wrap

Economic sentiment in the EU drops slightly; inflation on the rise in Germany and Spain: Economic wrap
Updated 29 November 2021

Economic sentiment in the EU drops slightly; inflation on the rise in Germany and Spain: Economic wrap

Economic sentiment in the EU drops slightly; inflation on the rise in Germany and Spain: Economic wrap

The EU’s Economic Sentiment Indicator slipped marginally by 1.1 points to reach 116.5 in November, the European Commission said.

The drop was attributed to a noticeable fall in consumer confidence, although among other sectors such as industry and services it remained the same. At the same time, confidence in the retail trade and construction sectors improved.

Germany, the Netherlands and Spain were among the countries that experienced a downward trend in their economic sentiment, with the latter undergoing the largest decline.

On the other hand, France had the biggest improvement in economic sentiment during the month. Italy and Poland were another two countries that had more favorable sentiment.

Inflation in Western Europe

Annual inflation rate in Spain reached 5.6 percent in November, according to preliminary estimates in a press release issued by Spain's National Statistics Institute. 

The inflation rate predicted for November will be the highest since September 1992. The increase was mainly driven by higher food prices.

In addition, the monthly inflation rate is expected to reach 0.4 percent in November.  

Meanwhile, Germany’s consumer prices are expected to rise in November by 5.2 percent from a year ago, data from Germany’s Federal Statistics Office showed. This is higher than October's 4.5 percent.

Energy costs surged by 22.1 percent while food prices went up by 4.5 percent, according to preliminary estimates.

The monthly inflation rate is expected to be a negative 0.2 percent in November.

Mexico’s unemployment

The Mexican jobless rate decelerated to 3.9 percent in October from 4.2 percent in the prior month, according to the country’s official statistics agency, INEGI.

The number of unemployed persons eased to 2.3 million, declining by 288,000 from a year earlier, the INEGI report showed.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the jobless rate remained at 3.9 percent.