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Trade with Iran surges – but tensions in Gulf threaten to spoil Tehran’s party

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shakes and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier Tehran 02-16Trade with Iran: Germany became the latest country to report a jump in exports to Iran yesterday when it released official data showing that exports to the Islamic Republic, mainly of industrial plant and equipment, grew by 15% in the first half of the year following the removal of international sanctions.  (more…)

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US authorities close to approving $43bn Syngenta acquisition

SyngentaSyngenta acquisition: The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is close to giving ChemChina the all-clear for its planned $43bn acquisition of Syngenta, it emerged over the weekend, with (more…)
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Rural Chinese online sales growing faster than in its cities for first time

Rural Chines online retailRural Chinese online sales:  China’s rural residents spent almost $47bn on online retail sales in the first half of 2016 and posted a faster quarter-on-quarter growth rate than their urban counterparts for the first time in Q2, Ministry of Commerce (MOC) spokesperson Shen Danyang told a press conference this week. While rural purchases still (more…)

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Moody’s upgrades outlook for Russia and China but downgrades Turkey

Chinese bottling plantMoody’s Investors Service yesterday revised upwards its macro outlook for Russia and China, but forecast that Turkey would grow less than previously expected. The credit rating agency’s analysts are now predicting that overall growth across the G20 emerging markets will reach 4.4% this year and 5% in 2017. More specifically, (more…)

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Bashneft privatisation postponed as Rosneft sale moves up agenda

Bashneft refineryBashneft privatisation: The Russian government is considering putting its 19.5% stake in the Rosneft oil giant up for sale, it emerged yesterday, after Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that the Kremlin was indefinitely postponing the privatisation of Bashneft, its smaller competitor.
The sale of Bashneft had been planned for this autumn and had been meant to help plug gaps in Russia’s budget caused by an oil price slump and Western sanctions imposed over the country’s actions in Ukraine; but the privatisation has become mired with controversy after Rosneft defied the authorities by asking to be included in the bidding process, despite a ruling from the government that, as a state-run enterprise, it was ineligible to take part.
Rosneft’s management has been claiming that a legal loophole gave it the right to participate and two sources familiar with the situation are quoted in the Financial Times as suggesting that there was now “too much noise” around the deal, prompting Medvedev’s spokeswoman Natalia Timakov to announce that the sale – which was expected to raise well over $4bn – was to be postponed for an unspecified period of time. Medvedev may also have been disappointed by the likely return on the sale. “The stake valuation was too high at current oil prices,” said Andrey Polischuk, an analyst at Raiffeisen Bank in Moscow. “Perhaps only Rosneft was ready to pay that much, but it doesn’t suit everyone as a bidder and probably this issue has yet to be discussed by the government.”
Head of Republic of Bashkortostan Rustem KhamitovThe sale had also been opposed by Rustim Khamitov, Head of the Republic of Bashkortostan, where many of Bashneft’s oil fields are located. 
While it is unclear if Moscow’s decision to look at selling Rosneft instead has been prompted by its disagreement with the company’s defiance over the Bashneft privatisation process, it has not come out of the blue; earlier this year, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told CNBC that it was hoping to divest its 19.5% stake in the second half of the year and would be expecting to raise just under $10bn.

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Gazprom goes it alone after $11bn Nordstream 2 consortium falls apart

Nordstream 2Nordstream 2 consortium: Gazprom will go ahead and build the new $11bn Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany on its own, it announced on Friday, after opposition from Poland’s anti-monopoly watchdog forced (more…)

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China threatens to withdraw £100bn UK FDI over Hinkley Point delay

UK PM Theresa MayHinkley Point delay: The authorities in Beijing have used a strongly-worded article in the state-run Xinhua news agency to indicate that it might pull as much as £100bn worth of investment out of the UK if Prime Minister Theresa May decides to cancel the Hinkley Point nuclear project.
The British Government was (more…)

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Hinkley Point delay sends mixed messages to Chinese investors

Hinkley Point CYesterday’s decision by UK Prime Minister Theresa May to delay the final go-ahead for the Hinkley Point nuclear plant has set alarm bells ringing in Beijing, just days after Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that he was opening talks with China about the creation of a new free trade deal with the Asian superpower.
EDF CEO Vincent de RivazThe contracts (more…)

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Ankara and Moscow ready to resume Turkish Stream talks, say both sides

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady DvorkovichTurkish Stream talks: Turkey has confirmed that it is ready to continue negotiations about the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich claimed this week, after a meeting between representatives from the two countries’ energy ministries on Tuesday.
His claim was corroborated by Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci , who confirmed that “political decisions” were “in place to settle the issue of further implementation of the project.
“We are open for construction of the first line of the Turkish Stream from standpoint of Turkey’s need for natural gas,” he added. 
Turkish Stream RouteConstruction of the 1,100km, 63bcm capacity Turkish Stream pipeline intended to deliver Russian gas to Turkey via the Black Sea was initially scheduled to begin in 2014 but was delayed after Moscow and Ankara failed to reach an intergovernmental agreement, and negotiations on the project were suspended after Turkey shot down a Russian jet in Syria in November 2015. 
Relations between the two countries began to improve last month after Turkey’s President Erdogan apologised for the incident, and Russia’s support during the recent abortive coup attempt seems to have eased tensions further.

Akkuyu Nuclear Power PlantThe future of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant was also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting, Dvorkovich said, apparently putting paid to rumours that Rosatom, the Russian state-run nuclear power enterprise that was contracted to build the $20bn, 35bn kwh facility in 2010, was planning to sell its 49% stake in the project.The Akkuyu plant is located in the southern province of Mersin, and is the first of three nuclear power plants that Turkey plans to build to reduce its dependence on energy imports. “There is some progress here already,” Dvorkovich told reporters. “The necessary regulatory framework is being finished by the Turkish side. We expect to be able to move forward quite quickly.’
 
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Chancellor Hammond opens UK-China free trade deal talks

UK Chancellor Philip HammondUK-China free trade deal: The UK’s new Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has begun discussions with China about the possibility of forging an ambitious free trade deal which could see major Chinese banks and businesses being granted greater access to the UK economy. In an interview (more…)

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