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Oil and gas supply disruptions ripple around the world

The Baumgarten blast CALL it the hydrocarbon equivalent of the butterfly effect. As oil and gas supplies tighten during the northern winter, disruptions as remote as a hairline fra.....»»

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The WTO remains stuck in its rut

“THERE is life after Buenos Aires,” soothed Susana Malcorra, chair of the 11th ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Multilateralism may not be dead, but it has taken a kicking. Expec.....»»

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The revised Basel bank-capital standards are complete at last

HOWEVER long a storm lasts, clearing up takes longer. On December 7th Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank and head of the committee that approves global bank-capital standards, declared that revisions to B.....»»

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China’s leading economists are in high demand and short supply

EVERGRANDE, a Chinese property firm, is a big spender. It was until recently the country’s most indebted developer. It also owns a football club with one of the highest payrolls in China. It has extended its largesse to a ne.....»»

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Cars, jewels, wine and watches have been good investments

DIAMONDS, they say, are for ever. They can be pricey, too. On December 5th 173 lots of jewels auctioned by Sotheby’s raised $54m. They included several pieces belonging to Sean Connery, known for playing James Bond. The followi.....»»

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Bitcoin-futures contracts create as many risks as they mitigate

OFTEN promoted as a way of mitigating risk, futures contracts are frequently more like new ways of gambling. That was true of a close precursor to the instrument, introduced in the Netherlands in 1636, linked to the hot in.....»»

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Will America’s economy overheat in 2018?

USUALLY politicians pretend that good economic news on their watch is no surprise. But America’s recent growth figures have been so positive that even the administration of President Donald Trump has allowed itself to marvel. “It’s actual.....»»

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The markets’ apparent calm over Brexit is deceptive

FOR all the sound and fury of the Brexit negotiations, it has seemed at times as if the finan.....»»

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A decade after it hit, what was learnt from the Great Recession?

TEN years ago this month, America entered the “Great Recession”. A decade on, the recession occupie.....»»

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As WTO members meet in Argentina, the organisation is in trouble

“EVERYBODY meets in Buenos Aires,” said Cecilia Malmstrom, the European Union’s trade commissioner, days before heading there for the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) biennial gathering of ministers, which opens on Dec.....»»

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Are digital distractions harming labour productivity?

FOR many .....»»

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Contraception does even more good in poor countries than thought

Happier families FEW tasks in developing countries are as tricky—or as important—as convincing parents to keep their daughters in school longer. One way of doing so is to make contraceptive.....»»

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China takes on the EU at the WTO

NOT all trade tension is made in America. China is suing the European Union at the World Trade O.....»»

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African countries are building a giant free-trade area

“AFRICA must unite,” wrote Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, in 1963, lamenting that African countries sold raw materials to their former colonisers rather than trading among themselves. His pan-African dream never became reality. Even.....»»

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The markets believe in Goldilocks

ANOTHER week, another record. The repeated surge of share prices on Wall Street is getting monotonous. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has passed another milestone—24,000—and the more statistically robust S&P 500 index is up by 17.....»»

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Europe is seeing more collective lawsuits from shareholders

LIKE the ghosts that haunted Ebenezer Scrooge, the scandals of years past—summoned up by angry shareholders—will not let companies rest. In Britain this year, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) paid £900m ($1.2.....»»

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A full-scale Venezuelan default could push up oil prices

Who believes in Nicolás? ON NOVEMBER 30th, as oil tsars from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia met in Vienna, Venezuela’s former oil minister, Eu.....»»

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Hedge funds embrace machine learning—up to a point

ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) has already changed some activities, including parts of finance like fraud prevention, but not yet fund management and stock-picking. That seems odd: machine learning, a subset of AI that excels at finding patte.....»»

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Marijuana businesses, excluded from finance, are forced to use cash

MANY marijuana growers in northern California, America’s biggest source of the stuff, had expected this autumn’s harvest to be the largest ever. After all, recreational marijuana becomes legal in the state in January. Instead, wildfires i.....»»

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What cheese can tell you about international barriers to trade

Slicely does it BEN SKAILES, a British cheesemaker, is busy as Christmas ripens demand for his Stilton. Foreigners make up a third of demand for his dairy, Cropwell Bishop Creamery. This exporting.....»»

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