Egypt Independent: Business-Main news en Egypt's non-oil business activity falls to 40-month low as costs rise: PMI <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Business activity in Egypt shrank in November, with the deterioration picking up pace for the fourth consecutive month, as weakness in the pound currency raised costs and hit output, a survey showed on Monday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Emirates NBD Egypt Purchasing Managers&#39; Index (PMI) for Egypt&#39;s non-oil private sector dropped to a 40-month low of 41.8 in November, edging down from 42 in October and far below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction. Egypt&#39;s central bank abandoned its peg of 8.8 pounds to the U.S. dollar on Nov. 3, in a move aimed at attracting capital inflows and ending a black market for dollars that had all but crippled the banking system.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The move was largely welcomed by businesses, which had struggled to obtain dollars amid strict capital controls, and helped Egypt clinch a $12 billion loan from the IMF. But the currency has since depreciated to 17.8 against the dollar.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The ongoing downtrend evident in November&rsquo;s survey highlights that there will be no quick fixes to Egypt&rsquo;s economic difficulties, even following the EGP devaluation earlier in the month,&quot; said Jean-Paul Pigat, senior economist at Emirates NBD.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;In this environment, it is crucial that authorities remain committed to their IMF-supported reform program in order to anchor investor confidence.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Following the float, Egypt received the first $2.75 billion tranche of its three-year loan from the International Monetary Fund, to help plug its financing gap and stabilise the currency.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The PMI showed purchasing prices continued to rise in November to their highest levels since data collection started, as the currency depreciated against the dollar and the government raised fuel prices.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Output fell substantially in November to 36.8. The pace was marginally slower than October&#39;s decline but remained one of the most marked since data collection began in April 2011, with companies citing poor economic conditions, high prices and shortages of some raw materials.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The index showed new orders dropping to 36.3 - the fastest fall in 39 months - largely due to soaring inflation linked to the weakness of the Egyptian pound against the dollar. As companies sought to curb rising costs, rate of employment fell for the 18th consecutive month in November to 45.1 compared with 46.2 in October, data from the survey showed.</div> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 09:14:00 +0000 Reuters 2474670 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/01/22/501010/egypt.jpg 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