Connect with us

Business

Petrobras shares fall after Bolsonaro fires its boss

Published

on

President Jair Bolsonaro has fired three presidents of state oil giant Petrobras as fuel prices soar in Brazil
Share this:

The price of shares in Brazil’s state oil giant Petrobras fell Tuesday in reaction to President Jair Bolsonaro firing its boss after only 40 days on the job.

Bolsonaro dismissed Petrobras CEO Jose Mauro Coelho on Monday in a tug-of-war over rising fuel prices, which are set by Petrobras but tied to international market movement.

Petrobras shares lost more than four percent in afternoon trade on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange, before recovering somewhat to 2.85 percent lower than Monday’s worth.

The movement reflects investor concerns of a possible intervention by the State, the main shareholder in Petrobras, in its autonomous pricing decisions.

Coelho took over last month for what should have been a one-year term. He became the company’s third CEO in just over a year after Bolsonaro also fired his predecessors. 

Fuel prices in Brazil have risen more than 33 percent in the past year, according to official figures, driving annual inflation of more than 12 percent and hurting Brazilians’ wallets in an election year.

The far-right Bolsonaro trails leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in opinion polls ahead of elections in October.

Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy announced Coelho’s dismissal, saying the country was “experiencing a challenging moment, due to the effects of the extreme volatility of hydrocarbons in international markets.”

The government has proposed for Coelho to be replaced by Caio Mario Paes de Andrade, an official in the Economy Ministry.

He must be confirmed by the company’s board of directors.

Earlier this month, Bolsonaro also replaced his longtime energy minister, Bento Albuquerque, days after Petrobras reported record quarterly profits.

Bolsonaro said those profits amounted to “rape,” and called on Albuquerque and Coelho to stop Petrobras from raising prices.

Petrobras went on to hike diesel prices by an additional 8.9 percent.

Share this:

Business

Global trade unions urge UK to resolve rail strike row

Published

on

By

Members of the RMT rail union have scheduled three strikes this week in a dispute over pay, pensions and conditions
Share this:

International transport trade unions on Friday urged London to negotiate a swift end to Britain’s biggest rail strike in over 30 years, on the eve of the latest walkout.

More than 100 unions have written an open letter to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps calling on him to help settle the bitter row over pay, as surging inflation sparks growing industrial unrest.

The letter, coordinated by the International Transport Workers’ Federation, comes one day before the third of this week’s three rail strikes.

“We are writing to call on you to meet with the transport unions to discuss rail workers’ concerns and enable the unions to reach a negotiated settlement to the disputes with rail employers,” the letter read.

And it called upon the government to “defend rail workers’ jobs, pay, conditions and pensions”.

Shapps has so far refused to get involved in negotiations, arguing that they should be held between workers’ trade unions, Network Rail and private-sector railway operating firms.

The letter was signed by unions from across the world, including Asia, Europe, South America and the Middle East.

“We are shocked that … the UK government is set to impose cuts to railway services and scrap infrastructure projects at exactly the time when it should be investing, expanding and promoting public transport, especially the railways to help reduce global emissions from transport,” the letter continued.

“We call on you to do what’s right by these workers and their communities, and call on you to meet urgently with the transport unions.”

The RMT rail union insists strikes are necessary as wages have failed to keep pace with UK inflation, which has hit a 40-year high and is on course to keep rising.

The RMT also accuses Shapps of having “wrecked” negotiations by not allowing Network Rail to withdraw a letter threatening redundancies of 2,900 RMT members.

However, Shapps has called that “a total lie”.

Rail staff went on strike on Tuesday and Thursday — and are also set to do so on Saturday in the absence of a deal.

A Department for Transport spokesperson denied that the government had sought to obstruct any agreement.

“It is entirely false to claim the government is blocking negotiations,” the spokesperson stated.

“We have said from the outset we urge the unions and industry to agree a deal that is fair for railway staff, passengers and taxpayers.”

Separately, British Airways workers at London’s Heathrow airport voted on Thursday to strike over pay.

Members of the GMB and Unite trade unions overwhelmingly backed action and warned of a “summer of strikes” as the nation’s cost-of-living crisis worsens.

Share this:
Continue Reading

Business

Ryanair, Brussels Airlines strikes disrupt Europe air travel

Published

on

By

Ryanair cabin crew unions in Spain, Portugal and Belgium called a three-day strike starting on Friday, and in Italy and France on Saturday
Share this:

Strikes by staff at Ryanair and Brussels Airlines over pay and working conditions on Friday forced the cancelation of dozens of flights in Europe as the busy summer travel season gets underway.

The strikes are adding more headaches to passengers and the aviation sector, which has struggled with staff shortages as it struggle to recruit people after massive layoffs during the Covid pandemic.

Ryanair cabin crew unions in Spain, Portugal and Belgium called a three-day strike starting on Friday, and in Italy and France on Saturday.

The biggest impact was felt in Belgium, where the work stoppage led Europe’s biggest budget airline to cancel 127 flights to and from Charleroi airport near Brussels between Friday and Sunday.

Ryanair could only guarantee 30-40 percent of its scheduled flights at the airport, said a spokeswoman for Brussels South Charleroi Airport.

The situation in Belgium was further complicated by a three-day strike by staff at Brussels Airlines, a unit of German airline Lufthansa, which began on Thursday.

The company has cancelled 315 flights to and from Brussels’ international airport during the three-day strike.

The impact of the Ryanair strike was more limited in Portugal, where only two flights we cancelled on Friday morning, according to the SNPVAC union behind the walkout in the country.

It expects the strike to gain force later in the day.

In Spain, where Ryanair employs 1,900 people, no flights we cancelled except those heading to Belgium.

“We didn’t even know there was a strike…we didn’t have any problem at all,” said Manuel Carrion, a Spanish passenger with a Ryanair flight at Madrid airport.

Spain’s transport ministry on Thursday ordered Ryanair to operate 73 percent to 82 percent of flights over the strike period to maintain minimum services.

It argued there needs to be a balance between the “right to strike” and the “interest of travellers”.

– Threats –

But unions said Ryanair had gone beyond what was required and forced staff to maintain 100 percent of flights. Unions said they would take Ryanair to court as a result.

“The company informed staff that all flights were subject to the minimum service, and threated them with disciplinary action,” Ernesto Iglesias of local USO told reporters at Madrid airport.

The airline was not “respecting the law,” he added.

Ryanair cabin crew unions in Spain have called another strike from June 30 to July 2.

A strike on the weekend of June 12 and 13 already prompted the cancellation of about 40 Ryanair flights in France, or about a quarter of the total.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has been dismissive of the strikes, saying earlier this month that most of the company’s flights “will continue to operate even if there is a strike in Spain by some Mickey Mouse union or if the Belgian cabin crew unions want to go on strike.”

– ‘Pushed to the brink’ –

Ryanair’s low-cost rival easyJet also faces nine days of strikes on different days in July at the Barcelona, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca airports.

British Airways workers at London’s Heathrow airport have voted to strike over pay as the cost-of-living crisis worsens in the UK, though no dates were set yet.

The strikes come as air travel has rebounded since Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.

But the staff shortages have forced airlines to cancel flights, with German carrier Lufthansa cancelling more than 3,000 of them during the summer holidays.

On Monday, the European Transport Workers’ Federation called “on passengers not to blame the workers for the disasters in the airports, the cancelled flights, the long queues and longer time for check-ins, and lost luggage or delays caused by decades of corporate greed and a removal of decent jobs in the sector.”

The Federation said it expects “the chaos the aviation sector is currently facing will only grow over the summer as workers are pushed to the brink.”

Share this:
Continue Reading

Business

European stocks, oil prices rebound

Published

on

By

Growing talk of a recession has led investors to temper their expectations for central bank rate hikes
Share this:

European stock markets and oil prices recovered Friday following heavy losses this week on fears that interest rate hikes aimed at cooling decades-high inflation will spark a global recession.

London stocks rallied 1.3 percent around midday with investors brushing aside news of bruising defeats for Britain’s ruling Conservatives in by-elections on Thursday. 

The pound firmed against the dollar and euro, despite data showing a drop in UK retail sales volumes as inflation soars.

Paris stocks jumped 1.8 percent in eurozone trade, while Frankfurt rose 0.8 percent with gains tempered by news of the worsening German business climate.

“Stock markets are taking a breather after being beat up… as recession fears took their toll,” OANDA analyst Craig Erlam told AFP.

But he warned that stock markets remain “vulnerable to another onslaught if the news does not improve”.

Asian stock markets closed higher after Thursday’s gains on Wall Street.

The slight recoveries come after global markets have been thrown into turmoil for months owing to soaring inflation, interest-rate hikes, the Ukraine war and China lockdowns.

Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell this week told lawmakers a recession was “certainly a possibility”.

He suggested officials were ready to press on with big rate hikes, following last week’s three-quarter point increase for US borrowing costs that sent markets tanking.

By contrast, the Bank of Japan is sitting tight over interest rate rises, even as the country’s inflation stands at a seven-year high.

Sentiment in Asia has meanwhile been boosted by comments from Chinese President Xi Jinping suggesting an end to China’s tech crackdown as well as possible new measures aimed at lifting the economy.

Hong Kong shares were among the biggest winners Friday thanks to a rally in tech giants including Alibaba, Tencent and NetEase.

– Key figures at around 1100 GMT –

London – FTSE 100: UP 1.3 percent at 7,110.72 points

Frankfurt – DAX: UP 0.8 percent at 13,010.79

Paris – CAC 40: UP 1.8 percent at 5,991.39

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.4 percent at 3,485.73

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.2 percent at 26,491.97 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: UP 2.1 percent at 21,719.06 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.9 percent at 3,349.75 (close)

New York – Dow: UP 0.6 percent at 30,677.36 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0543 from $1.0523 late Thursday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2304 from $1.2260

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.68 pence from 85.83 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 135.02 yen from 134.95 yen 

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.6 percent at $111.79 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.6 percent at $105.91 per barrel

Share this:
Continue Reading

Featured