Business This Week | The Economist


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A global shortage of natural gas supplies continued to shake the markets. Prices have skyrocketed in recent weeks, particularly in Europe, following a convergence of unfavorable factors, such as surging demand in Asia coinciding with tight stocks of liquefied natural gas. In Europe, some governments are intervening to ease the pressure on household bills. The International Energy Agency stressed that Russia’s gas exports to Europe are below their 2019 level and urged it to “do more to increase the availability of gas.”

A hen situation

One of the many ripple effects of the turmoil in gas markets has been the shortage of carbon dioxide as industrial gas in Great Britain. A major producer of carbon dioxide has had to shut down factories due to soaring natural gas prices, leading to warnings from the chicken industry of a possible poultry shortage. Carbon dioxide is used to stun hens intended for slaughter.

Evergrande, one of China’s largest real estate developers, said it had “solved” the interest payment on a domestic bond amid a liquidity crunch. The heavily indebted company warned of default and reportedly defaulted on interest payments to bank creditors. Investors are watching nervously. The central bank injected liquidity into the financial system to boost confidence.

The official statement of of the Federal Reserve This week’s meeting prepared markets for the strong possibility that it will start cutting back on its purchases of pandemic program assets in November. The central bank also hinted at an interest rate hike next year.

The OECD raised its forecast for inflation in the g20 countries, partly because of higher shipping costs and energy prices. The group’s average annual inflation rate is now expected to be 3.7% this year and 3.9% in 2022. Fighting against inflation that is close to 10%, from Brazil central bank raised its main policy rate for the fifth consecutive month.

The United States House of Representatives passed a bill that would expand federal power debt ceiling until December of next year to avoid a government shutdown on October 1 of this year. Democrats supported the bill and Republicans opposed it. The Senate will now have its say, amid warnings that markets will lose patience the longer a resolution is delayed.

Douyin, a Chinese video sharing app that has an international version called TIC Tac, said children under 14 in China would be limited to using it for 40 minutes a day. It is the latest move in China to tighten controls on children’s online behavior.

Shell has reached an agreement to sell its energy assets in the US Permian Basin to ConocoPhillips for $ 9.5 billion. The Anglo-Dutch energy giant is under pressure to step up the pace of carbon emission reductions. In May, a Dutch court ordered the company to meet a specific target of reducing carbon emissions by 2030 (it is appealing the decision). Shell described the sale of its Permian business as “disciplined management of capital.” Some $ 7 billion in revenue has been earmarked for “shareholder distributions.”

Universal music successfully debuted on the Euronext stock exchange in Amsterdam. Its share price jumped by a third on the first trading day, in the largest European listing this year. The music company, which counts IEM and Motown among its record companies, was split by Vivendi, although the majority shareholder of the French media conglomerate, Vincent Bolloré, retains an 18% stake.

Entain, a British gambling company and owner of the Ladbrokes and Coral brands, said it had received a buyout approach, worth an estimated $ 25 billion, from DraftKings, an American operator of fantastic sports and betting.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan’s largest lender, to sell consumer banking operations in America at we Bancorp in an $ 8 billion deal. MUFG Expanded to US retail banking when it took full control of Union Bank during the financial crisis in 2008. It will retain its merchant and investment banking activities in America, major providers of income.

In a vote of confidence for the future of office work, Google has announced that it will buy the building that serves as its hub in New York City for $ 2.1 billion, although it expects some employees to continue working remotely.

Return of the salad days

In Great Britain, a different indicator, the financial health of ready to eat– also suggested a rosy future for the office. The cafes and snacks chain, a lunchtime crowd favorite, has seen sales rebound in London’s financial district. During the pandemic, it has closed stores across Britain, but now plans to open 200 new ones by the end of 2023. However, most of them will not be in city centers, the traditional habitat of Pret, but in the suburbs and regional towns.

This article appeared in the The World This Week section of the print edition under the headline “Business This Week”


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