Mon, Jul 17, 2017 - Page 14 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

UNITED STATES

Budget deficit up US$99bn

The White House Budget Office says the budget deficit is going to be larger than expected this year by US$99 billion. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) points to worsening tax revenues to explain why its forecast two months ago is off the mark. The budget deficit is now expected to be US$702 billion this year. Last year’s deficit registered US$585 billion. The White House kept its budget report to a bare-bones minimum and cast blame on “the failed policies of the previous administration.” The OMB report comes after a Congressional Budget Office analysis scuttled White House claims that its May budget, if implemented to the letter, would balance the federal ledger within 10 years.

SANCTIONS

Siemens partner interrogated

Russian news agencies said the head of a company that operates a joint venture to produce gas turbines with Germany’s Siemens AG was questioned by the Federal Security Service (FSB) on suspicion of disclosing state secrets. The reports come days after Siemens filed suit against another Russian company for allegedly sending two turbines to Crimea, in violation of EU sanctions imposed after Russia’s 2014 annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine. There was no confirmation from the FSB, of the reports that AO Power Machines CEO Roman Filippov was detained and questioned on Thursday.

AGRICULTURE

Investors buy up Texas land

Texas over the past 10 years has led the US in foreign purchases of its agricultural land, raising concerns about food security. Data obtained by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found that foreign companies and individuals had bought 687,965 hectares of farm, timber and pastureland in Texas over the past decade, far more than in any other state, the Austin American-Statesman reported on Saturday. The foreign-owned land is worth about US$3.3 billion. Most of the Texas land was bought by North American and European entities, according to the data compiled through the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act.

BANKING

HSBC limits workers’ trading

HSBC Holdings PLC has instructed about 6,000 employees of its global markets division to cease buying single-name securities on their personal accounts, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Purchases of single-name stocks, bonds and concentrated exchange-traded funds will be prohibited, Global Head of Markets Thibaut de Roux told staff in an email on Friday, the people said. The changes also apply to employees managing the lender’s own balance sheet, the people said. Employees are to be allowed to maintain existing holdings of securities prohibited by the new rules, while any sales must be pre-approved by compliance personnel, staff were told.

ENTERTAINMENT

Akon buys download service

Senegalese-American rapper Akon announced Saturday he would purchase 50 percent of African music download service Musik Bi, as the platform struggles to gain a foothold after its launch 18 months ago. Africa’s first home-grown platform for legal music downloads launched in Senegal in February last year with a mission to promote African artists, pay them properly and fight internet piracy. Akon, whose real name is Aliaune Badara Thiam, announced in Dakar he would become the majority shareholder in the service, describing Musik Bi as “the platform of the future.”

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