Friday, 13 May 2011

UAE + Poland = boosting commercial cooperation?

Sheikha Lubna bint Khaled Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, has discussed prospects of further developing commercial and investment ties with Poland, Namibia, Scotland, China and Indonesia.

During her talks with the Former Prime Minister of Poland and Vice President of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency, Bozena Czaja, she discussed boosting commercial cooperation and mechanisms to stimulate bilateral investments in dynamic economic sectors.

Trade between the countries was valued at $307 million in 2010.

Shares in HMV increase - Russian billionaire to buy Waterstones

Shares in HMV have risen sharply on an unconfirmed report it has received a bid for its bookshop chain Waterstone's from a Russian billionaire.

HMV has estimated debts of £130m and is under pressure from its bankers to raise cash and so the sale of Waterstone's may be of use.

Its business prospects have been declining quickly. In March HMV said it expected to make £38m this year, but one month later it said it would only make £30m.

The shares rose at much as 12.5% after the Financial Times reported Alexander Mamut had made a £43m cash offer for the 300-outlet book chain.

Eurozone's economy growing at a surprising rate - no thanks to the UK

Growth in the German and French economies has surged thanks to strong business investment and consumer spending.

The German economy grew at an impressive 1.5% in the first three months of 2011, while France grew by 1%, the most since early 2006. In contrast, the UK grew 0.5% in the same period. 

"As our economy has flatlined with zero growth over the last six months countries like France, Belgium, the Netherlands and even Spain have overtaken us while Germany is powering ahead." said Ed Balls, Labour's shadow chancellor.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) given peace prize

I am SO happy that I just had to write about this!!!

Julian Assange, the founder of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, has been awarded an award “for exceptional courage in pursuit of human rights”. 

The Sydney Peace Foundation said that it was making the award to recognise Mr Assange in recognition of the need “for greater transparency and accountability of governments”.

WikiLeaks has caused controversy over the past year by releasing secret US Government documents including reports about detainees held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables.

Assange says “With WikiLeaks we are all engaged in a struggle, a generational struggle for a proposition that citizens have a right and a duty to scrutinise the state."

I couldn't have said it better myself!

Maybe now is a good time to invest in commodities?

Click here to watch Colin O Shea, head of commodities at Hermes, explain why it is still a good time to invest in commodities. 

I must warn you the video is only 3.28 min but his voice is... monotone (yawn) it may feel like 1 hour! So if you don't want to watch it I have summed up what Colin O Shea says:

He says the recent price falls were a healthy correction and commodities remain a good way to diversify a portfolio. Going forward, Hermes favours crude oil, copper and corn.

But watch the video for more details, he does explain it very well!

Microsoft confirms aquisition of Skype for £5.2bn, despite Skype’s losses last year

This morning, all over the internet was this 'hush hush' acquisition of Skype by Microsoft. Skype and Microsoft refused to comment on the deal and so called sources wanted to remain anonymous whilst they leaked information of this deal to the press. 

I don't know about you, but all this secrecy got me excited and I was constantly checking the news on my phone whilst I was in class today to see if any more information was out about this acquisition. Especially because many analysts reactions to the £5.2bn amount was quite shocking!

Anyway, enough about me. It has been confirmed that Microsoft has bought Skype for £5.2bn.

This is Microsoft’s biggest acquisition yet the deal has shocked analysts who think it would be a substantial overpayment for the company.

 The acquisition of Skype would expand Microsoft’s presence on the Internet, which Chief Executive Steve Ballmer views as an essential field. Additionally, analysts say Microsoft wants to buy Skype to improve its video conferencing services. The service could be integrated into existing Microsoft products such as its Xbox 360 games console and Kinect gaming systems, or even into its flagship Office product to let users collaborate more effectively.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Top 20 most valuable brands!

The Telegraph released an article today stating the top 20 most valuable brands and how much they are worth.

Apple is number 1, worth $153bn!! (WOW)

click here to read the article.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Osama the reason for the drop in commodity prices - I think NOT!

Many commentators have said that the reason for the 'flash crash' in oil prices is due to Osama Bin Laden's death.

"The killing of Osama Bin Laden may have been the catalyst for this week's rout in oil prices that's deflating commodity prices around the world," an article on Bloomberg read.

 It seems unlikely that Osama's death had much to do with the slide in commodity prices. It is thought that "the death of bin Laden… changed the focus to the demand picture, which is worrisome".- Bloomberg

The real reason is suggest that the sudden drop in commodities is due to 1) concerns about the eurozone (Portugal, Greece and Republic of Ireland), 2) gains in the dollar and 3) rising US inventories of oil.

India financially assists Sri Lanka in biggest Harbour

The Indian government has agreed to provide financial assistance to develop Kankasanthurai (KKS) Harbour in two phases. The KKS harbour is one of the 10 sea and air entry points to the country.

The harbour's development will enable economic and social development of the war-torn North.

 It is thought that development of KKS harbour will facilitate the transportation of goods from nearby Indian ports.

Sri Lanka High Commission's Minister-Counsellor Sugeeswara Senadhira said the cabinet of ministers gave the green signal to the KKS Harbour Development Project last week.

"A memorandum of understanding with the Indian government to carry out the development of the port is to be signed shortly," Senadhira said.

China's production of green technologies has grown by 77%

"The Chinese have made, on the political level, a conscious decision to capture this market and to develop this market aggressively," said Donald Pols, an economist with the WWF.

Denmark earns the biggest share of its national revenue from producing windmills and other clean technologies. As a longtime leader in wind energy, Dwnmark derives 3.1% of its gross domestic product (GDP) from renewable energy technology and energy efficiency.

The United States is rapidly expanding its clean-tech sector but China is 'on another level'.

China is the largest producer in money terms, earning more than €44 billion - 1.4% of its GDP.

Etihad slash fares

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier stated the they reduced air fares by 40% for the month of May.

They said that this was not linked to a slump in global oil prices nor was it a response to Emirates' decision earlier on Sunday to remove a fuel surcharge on all its airfares. 

APPARENTLY it is because they were the leading airline in the Middle East at the region's World Travel Awards. 'We are very excited to offer these sale fares to complement the win, designed to help all our UAE based customers choose their perfect holiday or short break during May," said Hareb Al Muhairi, Etihad Airways' vice president of UAE sales.

I think its just a strategic business move in light of the volatile state of oil prices. Your views?