TOP NEWS SUMMARY: Shell taps renewables chief as van Beurden to depart

The following is a summary of top news stories Thursday.

———-

COMPANIES

———-

Shell announced that Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden will step down in his role at the end of the year after nine years at the helm of the company. He will be replaced by Wael Sawan, currently director of the company’s Integrated Gas, Renewables & Energy Solutions unit. Sawan has worked at Shell for 25 years. Van Beurden will stay at Shell in an advisory role until June 30, 2023 and then leave the oil major altogether. Reuters first reported earlier this month that van Beurden, who became Shell CEO in 2014, was set to depart next year. As CEO, Sawan vowed to ‘grasp the opportunities presented by the energy transition.’

———-

Wizz Air said it plans to buy an additional 75 Airbus A321neo aircraft, as part of its expansion plan to have 500 jets across the company by 2030. Back in November 2021, the Budapest-based budget airline ordered 102 more A321 aircraft from Airbus. The ordered included 75 A321neo and 27 A321XLR aircraft, which will be delivered between 2025 and 2027. Airbus also gave Wizz Air purchase rights for a further 75 A321neo jets to be delivered between 2028 and 2029.

———-

The US state of California filed a suit accusing Amazon of using its market influence to prevent merchants from offering buyers better deals elsewhere online, in violation of state antitrust law. Amazon requires that merchants don’t list items at lower prices on other websites, which hurts sellers and consumers, California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in the lawsuit. ‘Amazon coerces merchants into agreements that keep prices artificially high, knowing full well that they can’t afford to say no,’ Bonta said in a release. The attorney general in Washington had filed a similar suit against Amazon, but a judge dismissed the case in March.

———-

A class action lawsuit has been filed against US carmaker Tesla in California, as the company faces fresh legal scrutiny of its advanced driver assistance systems. The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of customers dissatisfied with Tesla’s driver assistance software, accuses the company of making misleading claims in its advertising, and in its choice of ADAS names in particular, which include ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’. The plaintiffs claim that Tesla has consistently deceived the public when marketing the programmes, suggesting since 2016 that the company’s ADAS were already fully functional or about to be, when in fact the software remained in the development stage and was unsafe to use.

———-

PayPal said that Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen will take a leave of absence for medical reasons with immediate effect. The San Jose, California-based payments processor will appoint Senior Vice President for Capital Markets, Investor Relations & Treasurer Gabrielle Rabinovitch as acting chief financial officer. Rabinovitch was once appointed as interim CFO in April to replace John Rainey, until Jorgensen was appointed to the permanent role in August. Rabinovitch has been part of PayPal for six years since 2016.

———-

IG Group said revenue in the first quarter ended August 31 was 11% higher year-on-year at £241.8 million from £218.3 million. This was led by growth in OTC derivatives and exchange traded derivatives, the contracts-for-difference trading provider said. Japan continued to deliver strong revenue growth of 24% year over year, while the UK, EU, Australia and Emerging Markets also saw higher revenue over the same period, it said.

———-

THG said that, in the first six months of the year, pretax loss narrowed to £22.3 million from £66.7 million year-on-year. Revenue climbed 12% to £1.1 billion from £958.8 million. Looking ahead to the full year, the online beauty products retail platform now expects adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to come in at a range of £100 million to £130 million. Earlier this year, it had been expecting adjusted Ebitda of £161 million, in line with the previous year. THG also said two non-executive directors are departing, including Future PLC CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne, and two new ones have been appointed.

———-

MARKETS

———-

Stock markets were narrowly mixed on Thursday, ahead of the next key data point, US retail sales, due at 1230 GMT. Among companies in the news on Thursday, Shell shares were up 0.5% in London, Airbus was up 0.4% in Paris, and Amazon was down 0.3% and Tesla up 0.4% in the New York pre-market.

———-

CAC 40: down 0.2% at 6,213.18

DAX 40: up 0.2% at 13,055.93

FTSE 100: up 0.6% at 7,317.34

———-

Hang Seng: closed up 0.4% at 18,930.38

Nikkei 225: closed up 0.2% at 27,875.91

S&P/ASX 200: closed up 0.2% at 6,842.90

———-

DJIA: called up 0.1%

S&P 500: called up 0.1%

Nasdaq Composite: called down 0.1%

———-

EUR: lower at $0.9985 ($0.9997)

GBP: lower at $1.1515 ($1.1588)

USD: higher at JP¥143.48 (JP¥142.70)

GOLD: lower at $1,686.40 per ounce ($1,705.20)

OIL (Brent): lower at $93.81 a barrel ($95.38)

(currency and commodities changes since previous London equities close)

———-

ECONOMICS AND GENERAL

———-

The rising costs of energy imports combined with a weak yen have brought Japan’s trade balance deep into the red, with the country’s trade deficit in August reaching a record JP¥2.8 trillion, about $19 billion, the Finance Ministry said. The August figures mean that the resource-poor country, despite being the world’s third largest economy, has now been in the red for 13 months in a row. The value of imports rose by 50% to JP¥10.9 trillion, the highest increase since records began in 1979, due largely to rising energy prices. The country’s exports rose 22% in August to around JP¥8 trillion.

———-

The eurozone swung to a trade deficit in July, data from Eurostat showed. The euro area recorded a €34 billion deficit in trade in goods with the rest of the world in July, compared with a surplus of €20.7 billion a year prior. Intra-euro area trade rose to €224.8 billion in July, up by 24% from a year before. Exports to the rest of the world totalled €235.5 billion, up 13% from €207.8 billion a year before. Imports jumped 44% to €269.5 billion from €187.1 billion.

———-

Wholesale prices in Germany remained stubbornly high in August, but have seen the pace of growth slow, data from Destatis showed. The selling prices in wholesale trade were 18.9% higher in August year-on-year, slowing from July’s 19.5% rise and June’s 21.2% growth. Market consensus, according to FXStreet, had seen prices rising by 21%.

———-

Consumer prices in France picked up pace in August, data from Insee showed. In August, the consumer price index rose by 0.5% versus the previous month, gaining pace from July’s 0.3% rise. Market consensus, according to FXStreet, had forecast a 0.4% rise. Annually, inflation hit 5.9% in August, slowing from 6.1% in July. The harmonised index of consumer prices rose by 0.5% over one month, after a 0.3% rise in July; year-on-year, it increased by 6.6% after rising 6.8% in July.

———-

Confidence among UK consumers has fallen into negative territory for the first time since June 2020, according to a survey. The Consumer Confidence Index from YouGov and the Centre for Economics & Business Research fell by 4.2 points in August from 103.0 to 98.8, the largest decline since the early stages of the pandemic. It comes as inflation, largely driven by energy price rises, piles pressure on consumers ahead of winter. Both household finance measures – for the last 30 days and the outlook for the next 12 months – dropped by 3.1 points and 10 points respectively. Every other measure also saw worsening scores, including the outlook for house prices plummeting by 7.2 points to 124.9. Perceptions of job security looking ahead fell from 120.9 to 118.5.

———-

Irish premier Micheal Martin has said that EU plans to target energy firms’ profits will provide ‘an important stream of revenue’ ahead of a ‘difficult winter’, but added that the crisis could be prolonged further. It came as the European Commission announced proposals to redistribute to customers profits made in Europe’s energy sector, made amid the energy crisis fuelled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament that a temporary cap should be placed on the revenues of electricity companies, which could raise €140 billion to help people hit by spiralling prices. She said profits ‘must be shared and channelled’ to those who need help the most, adding that the EU’s electricity market must be reformed to tackle high energy costs. The European Commission is also proposing that EU member states collect any 2022 profits from the oil, gas, coal and refinery sectors that are above a 20% increase on the average profits of the previous three years, and redistribute them to customers.

———-

The Biden administration ramped up its efforts to avoid a major strike by US freight railroad workers this weekend, which threatens to disrupt travel and supply chains two months before crucial midterm elections. Pressure was growing on both sides to reach a deal ahead of a Friday deadline, with Amtrak canceling passenger routes in anticipation of disruption as farmers and retailers warned of supply chain chaos and called on Congress to intervene if necessary. Negotiations are concentrated on provisions for vacation and sick days, with employees complaining they sometimes have to work long hours because of staff shortages. Freight railroad companies and two unions representing mainly train conductors were called to a meeting at the Labor Department in Washington on Wednesday, two days after President Joe Biden sought to mediate the dispute.

———-

A US Senate committee took the first step toward the US directly providing billions of dollars in military aid to Taiwan and making ties more official, ramping up support following soaring tensions with Beijing. The US for decades has sold weapons to Taiwan but the new legislation will go further by providing US security assistance of $4.5 billion over four years, a step sure to infuriate Beijing. It also lays out sanctions on China if it uses force to try to seize the island. With support from both parties, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Taiwan Policy Act, billed as the most sweeping upgrade of the relationship since the US switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

———-

High winds and heavy rain lashed China’s densely populated east coast on Thursday, after Typhoon Muifa forced around 1.6 million people to leave their homes and grounded most flights at Shanghai’s main airports. Muifa is the strongest tropical cyclone to hit Shanghai – home to more than 25 million people – since record-keeping began in 1949, state broadcaster CCTV said. However, there were no immediate reports of any deaths or casualties. At least 426,000 people were evacuated in Shanghai and another 1.2 million people were taken to temporary shelters in neighbouring Zhejiang province, CCTV added. Heavy rainfall led to traffic tailbacks and floods in several areas of the Yangtze river delta region, a major global manufacturing hub. It had earlier led to the cancellation of all flights to China’s biggest financial hub.

———-

The amount of vacant top-tier office space has more than doubled in Hong Kong over the last three years as companies downsize operations, researchers have found, warning that demand could remain soft even if pandemic controls are lifted. The data adds to warnings that Hong Kong’s lustre as a business hub has been dulled by political unrest and a subsequent crackdown. Pandemic curbs have also kept the city internationally isolated while rivals reopen. Empty Grade A office space spiked from 4.2 million square feet to 9.6 million square feet in the three years leading up to March, according to a report by real estate investment firm CBRE. The jump came as a result of downsizing by nearly 950 companies, it said – a record high vacancy rate. Occupancy fell by 2.3 million square feet in that same three-year period – sinking to 73 million square feet – making up Hong Kong’s ‘biggest and longest office market downcycle in history,’ the report added.

———-

Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping gather with other Asian leaders in the ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand from Thursday for a regional summit touted as a challenge to Western global influence. Xi and Putin will be joined by the leaders of India, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and several other countries for the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in the Uzbek city on Thursday and Friday. The main summit day will be Friday, but it is a meeting of the Russian and Chinese leaders on Thursday that will be the most closely watched. For Putin, the summit is a chance to show that Russia cannot be isolated internationally, at a time when Moscow’s forces are facing major battlefield setbacks in Ukraine. For Xi – on his first trip abroad since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic – it is an opportunity to shore up his credentials as a global statesman ahead of a pivotal congress of the ruling Communist Party in October.

———-

Vladimir Putin still believes he was right to launch an invasion of Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said after a 90-minute-long telephone call with the Russian president. ‘Sadly, I cannot tell you that the impression has grown that it was a mistake to begin this war,’ Scholz told journalists a day after his exchange with Putin. ‘And there was no indication that new attitudes are emerging,’ the German leader added at a joint press conference with his Georgian counterpart, Irakli Garibashvili. In the call Tuesday with Putin, Scholz urged the Russian leader to seek a diplomatic solution ‘based on a ceasefire, a complete withdrawal of Russian forces and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Ukraine’. The exit of Russian troops from Ukraine was the only way for ‘peace to have a chance in the region’, Scholz said.

———-

Copyright 2022 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Source link

Related post

Healthium Medtech amongst the first in Asia and first…

– Meets highest safety and quality standards as a medical devices manufacturer Amongst the first medtech companies in Asia to receive…
Montgomery County funds upgrades for Canajoharie park

Montgomery County funds upgrades for Canajoharie park

VILLAGE OF CANAJOHARIE — Upgrades including a new pavilion and playground are slated for Wintergreen Park in the village of Canajoharie…
Made in emerging Europe: Klaus, Depowise, Bobnet, Single.Earth

Made in emerging Europe: Klaus, Depowise, Bobnet, Single.Earth

Emerging Europe’s start-up scene is thriving: new money and new ideas are coming onto the market all the time. To keep…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.