Egypt Independent: Business-Main news en No price like home: Big spenders reappear in China <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>China&#39;s wealthiest shoppers are spending at home again, roused from a three-year slumber by a weaker yuan, lower prices and a crackdown on overseas sales agents - a welcome boost for the world&#39;s luxury brands.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>China&#39;s rich make up almost a third of the world&#39;s luxury shoppers, up from only 2 percent around the turn of the millennium. They are a driving force for global luxury, even after a slight dip this year when fewer traveled abroad, in part due to militant attacks in Europe.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For the past three years, a crackdown on corruption and ostentation by President Xi Jinping dampened sales: big names such as LVMH (LVMH.PA), owner of Louis Vuitton, shuttered stores, particularly in second- and third-tier cities.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In 2016, however, fashion houses, jewelers and buyers say that is changing, as China tries to shift away from an economy driven by heavy investment in infrastructure and encourages consumers to shop.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Burberry (BRBY.L), Gucci-owner Kering (PRTP.PA), and Tiffany (TIF.N) have all reported an uptick in their most recent China earnings, striking a note of optimism as the industry enters its critical weeks between the Christmas rush and Chinese New Year.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Everyone is benefiting from more traffic at the Chinese (luxury) shops,&quot; said Bruno Lannes, a Shanghai-based partner with consultancy Bain. It estimates a four-percent increase in mainland China sales after three years of decline.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Some brands in China are expecting 2016 to go back to their peak in 2012, though the mix is different. I expect some brands will beat that record,&quot; Lannes said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>SHOPPERS FOR HIRE</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>On the streets of Shanghai and Beijing, shoppers say they are, indeed, splashing out more often at home.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The depreciating yuan means the currency doesn&#39;t buy as much abroad, while luxury brands such as Chanel have moved since last year to narrow once huge differences between prices in China and overseas.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>At the same time, the government has cracked down on daigous, shoppers-for-hire who trade off that price imbalance and buy goods more cheaply overseas for mainland Chinese.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Some brands price their products in China closer to the overseas markets, such as Chanel,&quot; said Emma Yu, a 32-year-old housewife exiting a Cartier store while shopping for a handbag in Shanghai&#39;s financial district. &quot;If there&#39;s only a few thousand yuan difference, I would just buy it at home.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Another shopper outside a Louis Vuitton store in central Shanghai, an accountant at a multinational who gave her surname as Lu, said she was also buying more at home, especially if not traveling.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I definitely bought more luxury items at home than in the past since last year - a lot more - because it&#39;s convenient to buy things here,&quot; she said, standing with a friend as she compared a $5,700 purse she had bought with one in the shop window.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>BEARING FRUIT</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Mainland China has been seeing positive sales for a while, Johann Rupert, chairman of Compagnie Financiere Richemont (CFR.S), told investors last month.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It seems that the Chinese government&#39;s intent to promote growth through consumption rather than just investment is bearing fruit,&quot; Rupert said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Richemont, the owner of Cartier, Van Cleef &amp; Arpels and a dozen other luxury brands, reported &quot;marked&quot; October sales growth in mainland China in its presentation to investors.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kering, owner of Gucci and Saint Laurent, reported Asia Pacific sales were up 24 percent in the third quarter as many Chinese buyers stayed home. Burberry reported a double-digit increase in China in the second quarter, excluding the impact of changes to its offerings in Beijing.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Local brands have benefited less, analysts say. A spokesman for jeweler Chao Tai Fook (1929.HK) said sales in greater China stabilized in September and October compared to declines in the previous two quarters.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The picture is also less rosy in Hong Kong, once the prime destination for Chinese shoppers wanting to avoid the hefty taxes of mainland without requiring extensive travel. Even so, after drops of over 20 percent a year in the last two years, sales have stabilized, analysts and luxury companies said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Mainland shoppers willing to splash out abroad, and wanting a more original high-end experience, prefer to go to Japan, Europe or even Macau, said Mariana Kou, an analyst at investment bank CLSA. Tax incentives are no longer enough.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Hong Kong has become a bit boring,&quot; Kou said.</div> Sun, 04 Dec 2016 08:23:00 +0000 Reuters 2474640 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/12/04/505446/a_woman_walks_past_a_boutique_of_the_burberry_luxury_goods_company_in_beijing_china_december_1_2016._reuters.jpg Deutsche Bank to pay $60 million to settle U.S. gold price-fixing case <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Deutsche Bank AG has agreed to pay $60 million to settle private U.S. antitrust litigation by traders and other investors who accused the German bank of conspiring to manipulate gold prices at their expense.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The preliminary settlement was filed on Friday with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, and requires a judge&#39;s approval.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Deutsche Bank denied wrongdoing. The bank in October agreed to pay $38 million to settle similar litigation over alleged silver price manipulation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Amanda Williams, a spokeswoman for the bank, declined to comment. Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The case is one of many in the Manhattan court in which investors accused banks of conspiring to rig rates and prices in financial and commodities markets.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Investors sued Deutsche Bank, Barclays Plc, Bank of Nova Scotia, HSBC Holdings Plc and Societe Generale in 2014, claiming that they conspired to fix gold prices from 2004 to 2013.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While the investors did not estimate the size of the banks&#39; gold portfolios, they said the gold derivatives market alone reached $650 billion during the class period.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Deutsche Bank had agreed to settle its part of the case in April, but the terms were not disclosed until now.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In an Oct. 3 decision, U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan said investors could pursue much of their lawsuit against the other four banks.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Deutsche Bank has separately been in talks with U.S. authorities on a potential multibillion-dollar penalty related to mortgage securities.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The case is In re: Commodity Exchange Inc Gold Futures and Options Trading Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-mc-02548.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 08:15:00 +0000 Reuters 2474620 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/10/07/505446/a_deutsche_bank_logo_adorns_a_wall_at_the_companys_headquarters_in_frankfurt_germany_june_9_2015..jpg OPEC to meet non-OPEC producers on December 10 in Vienna: sources <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>OPEC will meet non-OPEC countries to finalize a global oil limiting pact on December 10 in Vienna, two sources told Reuters on Saturday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Two OPEC sources earlier said the meeting was due to take place in the Russian capital Moscow, but later said that plan had changed.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>OPEC agreed this week to reduce output by around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) beginning in January in a bid to reduce global oversupply and prop up prices.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It hopes non-OPEC countries will contribute another 600,000 bpd to the cut. Russia has said it will reduce output by around 300,000 bpd.</div> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 08:11:00 +0000 Reuters 2474619 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/03/01/504802/opec.jpg Egypt's CIB sells 72 pct of investment arm to local, Gulf investors <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Egypt&#39;s largest listed lender CIB sold a near-72 percent stake in its investment banking arm CI Capital to Egyptian and Gulf investors on Thursday, as part of a move to shed subsidiaries and focus on core actives.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Commercial International Bank&#39;s announcement of the deal came a day after it confirmed it was in talks to sell a majority stake in CI Capital, which banking sources say is worth near 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($56.50 million).</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>CIB did not say how much the sale, structured as a book-building process, was worth.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It is noteworthy that CIB plans on maintaining a minority stake in CI Capital Holding and will continue to provide its support to the company during the foreseeable future,&quot; CIB said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The transaction is expected to be finalised once all necessary regulatory approvals were obtained, the bank said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>CIB had been seeking buyers for its investment unit since a planned sale to Beltone Financial, agreed in February, failed to win regulatory approval.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Beltone Financial is owned by billionaire Naguib Sawiris&#39; Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding, which is embroiled in a standoff with the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority over its shareholding structure.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Beltone has also clashed with the regulator and stock exchange over the repeated suspension of its shares.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Sawiris had planned to merge CI Capital with Beltone Financial to create one of Egypt&#39;s largest investment firms.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Analysts say the new deal was likely to go through as it did not face such regulatory hurdles. The announcement was made after stock market trading had ended.&nbsp;</div> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 07:20:00 +0000 Reuters 2474608 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/02/12/94/cib.jpg