The Daily Star (Lebanon)

BoE warns of economic shock if Brexit talks fail


LONDON: The Bank of England warned Thursday that Britain could suffer an economic shock if it crashes out of the European Union without a deal, saying it could cause gridlock at ports and an inflation-rearing fall in the pound that could require higher interest rates. After the bank decided to keep its main rate at 0.75 percent, Gov. Mark Carney said the British economy’s supply capacity – that is, what the country is able to produce – could “fall sharply” in case of a disorderly Brexit. “An abrupt and disorderly withdrawal could result in delays at borders, disruption­s to supply chains and more rapid and costly shifts in patterns of production, severely impairing the productive capacity of some U.K. businesses,” he said. Carney said policymake­rs would have to try to work out which of the changes were short-term – caused by logistical challenges related to the end of free movement of goods and services, for example – and which would affect the economy in the longer term. –

ING profit washout due to probe settlement

THE HAGUE, Netherland­s: Top Dutch bank ING posted Thursday a 43.6 percent year-on-year drop in net profit for the third quarter, blamed on a multimilli­on-euro settlement with Dutch authoritie­s in a money laundering probe. Net earnings fell to 776 million euros ($883 million), in large part to the 775 million euros the Amsterdamb­ased lender said in September it paid to settle a criminal investigat­ion into money laundering that found ING had failed to ensure its accounts were not misused. The amount included a 675 million euro fine and a reimbursem­ent of 100 million euros that ING underspent on staffing to prevent money laundering. –

Danske Bank admits ‘huge task’ to regain trust

COPENHAGEN: The acting head of Danske Bank acknowledg­ed Thursday that the Danish lender has its work cut out to regain trust after becoming embroiled in a massive money laundering scandal. “We know that we have a huge task ahead of us in restoring the trust of our customers and society,” acting Chief Executive Jesper Nielsen said as the company released its first quarterly earnings since revelation­s of the huge scale of potentiall­y suspect money that flowed through the bank’s Estonian branch. Investigat­ors in Denmark, the U.S., Brussels and London are looking into Danske’s Estonian unit between 2007 and 2015, with the focus on 15,000 nonresiden­t clients, including many Russians. Danske has acknowledg­ed that much of the around 200 billion euros ($230 billion) that went through the branch in that period may need to be treated as suspicious. The bank, which has seen its market capitaliza­tion tumble by nearly half since the start of the year, said Thursday it took a major hit to third-quarter earnings. –

Shell profits gush on higher oil prices

LONDON: Royal Dutch Shell said Thursday that net profit jumped 43 percent in the third quarter, energized like its competitor­s by rising oil and gas prices. Profit after tax leaped to $5.84 billion in the three months to September from $4.09 billion in the same period of 2017, the Anglo-Dutch energy giant said in a statement. “Earnings primarily benefited from increased realized oil, gas and liquefied natural gas prices,” it added. The news came two days after British rival BP revealed that its third-quarter net profit had doubled on sharply higher oil prices. Brent crude prices soared in September to a four-year peak above $82 a barrel partly on supply fears particular­ly in Iran, which faces new U.S. sanctions. That contrasted with about $50 a barrel in the summer of last year. Supply also remains under pressure after OPEC joined forces with 10 nonmembers including Russia to curb their collective output at the end of 2016. –

Petrobras sells African oil business for $1.4B

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazilian state oil company Petrobras Wednesday announced the sale of its holdings in two Nigerian oil blocks for $1.4 billion, part of the ailing firm’s bid to sell off assets and raise cash. Petrobras will sell its 50 percent stake in the joint venture Petrobras Oil & Gas B.V. to a consortium led by Dutch energy trader Vitol, the Brazilian firm said in a statement. “The sale … is part of Petrobras’ partnershi­ps and disinvestm­ent program, and is aligned with our 2018-2022 business and management plan and our ongoing portfolio management, focused on investing in presalt fields in Brazil,” the company said. –

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