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Monday, April 22, 2019

Finance Ministry News

Photo courtesy of Sri Lanka Port Authority

Sri Lanka Port Strike Ends

Sri Lankan customs officers on Tuesday called off a strike that left 6,000 containers stranded at the country's main port and put pressure on food prices, after the government agreed to reinstate their boss for three months.The strike by thousands of officials began a week ago in protest at the sacking of Director General P.S.M. Charles, who authorities blamed for a drop in customs revenue last year.It was not immediately clear how long the backlog of containers would take to clear after unions said late on Tuesday that the strike had ended.About 1…

India's Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal. Photo: PIB

India Pitches for Blue Economy

The government of India has allocated a budgetary support of USD 266mln to shipping sector in the interim budget presented by Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.The government has pitched for development of India’s Blue Economy with the Finance Ministry proposing an impressive USD 77mln under Sagarmala. This allocation was up from USD 53 mln (revised estimates) allocated during 2018-19.Underlining importance of developing India’s 7,500 km long coastline and converting them into industrial hubs…

Intermodal operations at the port of Shanghai / Credit: AdobeStock / © zdu hang

China to Halt Additional Tariffs on U.S.-made Cars

China to suspend additional 25 pct tariffs on U.S.-made cars for three months; China's planned tariff halt follows purchase of U.S. soybeans.China will suspend additional tariffs on U.S.-made vehicles and auto parts for three months starting Jan. 1, 2019, the country's finance ministry said on Friday, following a truce in a trade war between the world's two largest economies.China will suspend 25 percent tariffs on 144 U.S. vehicle and auto part items and 5 percent tariffs on 67 auto items between Jan.

© chungking / Adobe Stock

US Tariffs Loom at China's Biggest Trade Fair

Amid gathering gloom over the state of the Chinese economy, exporters of motorcycles, tractors, photocopiers and Christmas tree lighting will join thousands of other companies peddling their wares at China's largest trade fair Monday.Many of those exporters will have something in common - uncertainty over future U.S. orders as a trade war with the United States rages. The turmoil has added to concerns over the health of the Chinese economy, already under pressure from a cooling property market…

File Photo: Hanjin

Government Okays USD 1.2 bln for Korea Ocean Business Corporation

The government of South Korea decided to invest 1.35 trillion won (USD 1.2 billion) in Korea Ocean Business Corporation (KOBC). The compnay was created in order to help its shipping industry stand on its feet, especially after the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping.Yonhap reported quoting the finance ministry that Cabinet approved a plan to contribute 12.7-percent stakes in each of the country's four port authorities to the KOBC.Earlier this month, the corporation was officially launched in Busan…

© donvictori0 / Adobe Stock

China Hammers US Goods with Tariffs

China has increased tariffs by up to 25 percent on 128 U.S. products, from frozen pork and wine to certain fruits and nuts, escalating a dispute between the world's biggest economies in response to U.S. duties on imports of aluminium and steel. The tariffs, to take effect on Monday, were announced late on Sunday by China's finance ministry and matched a list of possible tariffs on up to $3 billion in U.S. goods published by China on March 23. Soon after the announcement, an editorial…

Solar Modules Stuck at Indian Ports Due to Import Duty Dispute

Solar modules worth more than $150 million are stuck at various Indian ports due to a dispute over their classification and the import tax applicable to them, sources said, which could delay Prime Minister Narendra Modi's clean energy goals. Modi has set an ambitious target of nearly tripling the country's total renewable energy capacity to 175 gigawatt (GW) by 2022, spurring global firms including Japan's SoftBank and Goldman Sachs to invest in solar projects in the country.

India Cuts Excise Duty On Petrol and Diesel

India on Tuesday cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by two rupees a litre to protect retail consumers from higher global crude oil prices, the government said. The new excise duty will be effective from Oct. 4, the Finance Ministry said in a message on Twitter. The finance ministry had earlier ruled out lowering excise duties on petroleum products, citing pressure on government finances.   Reporting by Manoj Kumar

Shell Signs 3-year Contract to Lease Oil Tanks in Panama

Oil company Royal Dutch Shell has signed a three-year contract to lease storage tanks at a large terminal in Panama that had been used by U.S. refining company Tesoro Corp, sources involved in the deal told Reuters. The facility, designed for storage and transshipment of crude oil to tankers, is owned by Petroterminal de Panama (PTP) and includes up to 14 million barrels of storage capacity on the Atlantic and the Pacific shores. "We have signed a contract with Shell for a three-year period involving all the available space we have," said an official from the Panamanian government.

Pic: Shipping Corporation of India

Indian Budget Proposals for Maritime Sector

Finance Ministry Arun Jaitley in Union Budget for financial 2016-17 (Apr-Mar) has announced imposition of 14% service tax on services provided by domestic shipping companies transporting goods from outside India. “The service tax on services provided by shipping companies by way of transportation of goods by a vessel from outside India up to the customs station in India will be 14% with effect from 1 June, 2016,” said the Budget. Shipping Corporation of India, Mercator and Great Eastern Shipping among others are some of the top domestic shipping companies.

Mexico Sets Minimums for Offshore Oil Auction

Mexico's finance ministry announced the minimum fiscal terms companies will be required to meet in order to win development rights in an upcoming oil auction, as the country seeks to lure investment despite slumping crude prices. The ministry set the minimum value of pre-tax profits for the five offshore extraction contracts up for grabs at a range of between 30.2 and 35.9 percent. The National Hydrocarbons Commission, known by its Spanish-language acronym CNH, is the oil regulator that will run the September 30 auction…

Azerbaijan: 2016 Budget Draft Estimates Oil at $50

Azerbaijan's 2016 budget draft envisages an estimated oil price of $50 per barrel, down from $90 this year, and sees economic growth of 1.8 percent, the document published on the finance ministry's website showed on Monday. The former Soviet republic's economy is suffering from low oil prices and the repercussions of an economic crisis in the neighbouring Russia. Brent crude is now trading at around $50. (Reporting by Nailia Bagirova)

CNH President Juan Carlos Zepeda Photo Mexican Energy Forum

Mexico Lifts Bidding Limits for First Batch of Oil Tenders

Mexico's oil regulator voted on Friday to relax rules on bidding terms and contracts that form the first step in a historic sector opening that kicks off this summer with the public auction of 14 shallow water fields. The July auction will mark the first of five packages of oil fields up for grabs, part of a so-called Round One tender that follows a major energy reform approved by Congress last year. The constitutional reform ended the decades-long monopoly enjoyed by state-owned oil company Pemex and aims to reverse a decade-long slide in Mexican crude output.

Mexico says Energy Price Hikes over for 2015

Mexico's government said on Friday that its latest "gasolinazo," or gasoline price spike, will be the only increase this year. The fuel price hike in the world's 10th biggest crude producer comes as slumping international oil prices have led to dramatically shrinking gasoline and diesel costs in countries where market forces determine prices, such as the United States. The finance ministry's announcement that prices would remain stable in 2015 follows government-set fuel and power price hikes announced quietly on Thursday…

Britain Mulls North Sea Energy Tax Breaks

ritain is considering reducing the tax bill for oil explorers in the North Sea, including a proposal from the industry to halve rates, to help revive an area already in decline before the recent oil price falls, the Sunday Times said. Talks between the country's finance ministry and the industry, led by the trade body Oil & Gas UK, have focused on some key proposals, with one involving scrapping the 30 percent supplementary corporate tax levied on top of the 30 percent basic rate for the industry, the newspaper said.

Russian Assets Sink on Oil price Collapse

Russia's rouble and shares hit new lows on Friday as oil prices collapsed after OPEC decided to leave its output unchanged despite heavy oversupply. At 1000 GMT, the rouble was around 2.2 percent below the previous close at 49.72 roubles per dollar, and 1.7 percent weaker against the euro at 61.94 roubles . It earlier hit an all-time low of 49.90 to the dollar. Traders said market moves were exacerbated by thin volumes, which mean that even small purchases of foreign currency were able to move the market.

Workers End Strike at Haifa

Workers at Israel's state-owned Haifa Port ended their strike on Tuesday, a day after they walked off the job in protest at a government plan to build private, competing ports. A spokesman for the Chamber of Shipping said the port workers returned after Israel's labour court ruled that the parties must hold talks over their employment conditions. Nearly all of Israel's exports and imports are transported by ship, making the port workers' unions among the most powerful in the country.

Yamal megaproject

Russia's Yamal LNG Project May Tap Wealth Fund in 2014

Russia's Novatek may get funds from the National Wealth Fund for its Yamal LNG project before the year-end, a minister said, as part of government plans to support sanction-hit companies. Russia's No.2 gas producer, co-owned by an ally of President Vladimir Putin, Gennady Timchenko, was put on the Western sanctions list over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, limiting its ability to raise funds in Western markets. The government has pledged to support sanctions-hit companies irrespective of their shareholder structure, using National Wealth Fund as one of the options.

Somalia Goes Legal and Goods Pile Up

Somalia begins to build its national tax revenue from imported goods with new freight building up at the Port of Mogadishu. For the first time since the country slid into anarchy, container arrivals hit more than 1,200 in March 2013, reports Xinhua. The Port of Mogadishu was hit by war and piracy that kept off international shipping liners away from its coastline. State officials are presenly in talks with several international investors to modernize the port in readiness for the cargo buildup that is critical in helping to revitalize the stalled national economy.