December 5, 2021

Erdogan ousts ‘Made in Turkey’ to boost trade as lira plummets

All Turkish goods intended for export are now to be labeled “Made in Türkiye” instead of the previously used “Made in Turkey.” “Türkiye” will also be used in correspondence with the country’s foreign partners, including states and organizations.

Collapsing currency leads to mass protests (VIDEOS) Collapsing currency leads to mass protests (VIDEOS)

The move comes as part of “the complex step reflecting the rich culture and heritage of the country,” Turkey’s official legislative journal Resmi Gazete reported on Saturday.

The relabeling drive is in line with the efforts of the Erdogan-led government to boost Turkish exports and thus increase the inflow of US dollars into the country’s flattening economy.

Turkey’s annual inflation surged above 21% in November, marking a three-year high and further exposing the nation to the risk of the harsh rate cuts that triggered a record slide in the lira. So far this year, the currency has dropped about 46% of its value against the US dollar, including a 30% loss in November alone.

The central bank has decreased the key interest rate from 19% to 15% since September, leaving Turkey’s real yields deep in negative territory. It was the latest slash that triggered the lira’s recent slump.

The economic crisis has led to rallies in large cities and calls for the government to step down.

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US retail giant given hell for banning BLM masks

According to Jill Coffman, the regional director of the San Francisco National Labor Relations Board, the grocery store chain laid down appearance rules at its US outlets to forbid employees from displaying Black Lives Matter messages by means of their clothes.

BLM’s Christmas message? ‘Boycott white businesses’ BLM’s Christmas message? ‘Boycott white businesses’

“Issues of racial harassment and discrimination are central to employees’ working conditions, and the National Labor Relations Act protects employees’ right to advocate for change,” she said in a statement seen by Bloomberg.

“Through this complaint, we seek to enforce the act and protect workers’ rights to speak up about these important issues.”

The filing also alleged Whole Foods Market sent home, fired, or implemented other punitive measures against the workers in California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Washington, and Indiana during 2020 for wearing masks, pins or other apparel featuring the initials BLM.

“Our dress code policy is designed to ensure we are giving Team Members a workplace and customers a shopping experience focused entirely on excellent service and high-quality food,” Whole Foods said in a statement, commenting on the allegations.

“We do not believe we should compromise that experience by introducing any messages on uniforms, regardless of the content, that shift the focus away from our mission,” the company added.

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Value of US-Canada energy trade dips

Canada is the single largest source of US crude oil imports, accounting for over 60% of all US crude imports last year, per US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates.

According to data from the US Census Bureau, the value of US energy imports from Canada totaled $58 billion, down by 31% on the year. The value of energy imports accounted for more than one-fifth of the value of all US imports from Canada, the EIA said.

The value of American energy exports to Canada, for its part, dropped by 34% year over year in 2020. 

Oil industry to lose nearly half its workers Oil industry to lose nearly half its workers

Crude oil and petroleum products combined accounted for 89% of the value of all US energy imports from Canada last year.

Imports from Canada in 2020 stood at the lowest level since 2016, as overall US energy imports declined, the EIA said.

US crude oil imports from Canada averaged 3.6 million barrels per day (bpd) last year. This compares to crude oil imports of 3.8 million bpd in 2019.

Despite the drop in volumes, Canada’s share of total US crude imports rose to 61% in 2020, primarily due to lower US imports from OPEC producers as Canada replaced imports from Venezuela. 

In 2020, US crude oil imports from OPEC hit the lowest on record in annual EIA data going back to 1973, but American purchases of Canada’s heavy crude have grown and continue to remain high. Between 2005 and 2020, US crude oil imports from Canada more than doubled to an average of 3.6 million bpd. As a result, Canada’s share of total US crude oil imports increased and reached a record-high share of 61% last year, the EIA said in April.

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Bitcoin’s value drops by nearly $10,000 in an hour

The price of bitcoin has dropped around $15,000 over the past 24 hours. It was trading at nearly $47,580 as of 08:16 GMT, down 16.14% day over day, having dropped by 31.6% from the year’s high of $69,000, which it reached on November 10.

Omicron crypto skyrockets thanks to Covid Omicron crypto skyrockets thanks to Covid

Meanwhile, ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, has declined by about 14% to some $3,942. Both cryptocurrencies have experienced turbulence since the Omicron strain emerged. In late November, bitcoin dropped to a seven-week-low at around $54,000, entering bear-market territory.

The latest drop has also been attributed to the harsh words of US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. On Tuesday, Powell told a Senate panel it was appropriate for the Fed to consider speeding up the taper of asset purchases, and that it was time to retire the word “transitory” when describing inflation.

The decrease in the value of the two leading digital assets reflected a broader plunge in the crypto markets, with some cryptocurrencies dropping by 20% over the past 24 hours.

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China wants its casino paradise to become tech Mecca

This comes as the Venetian Macao Convention and Exhibition Centre this week hosted a big technology-themed trade fair, which is expected to give rise to new industries and revitalize the regional economy.

The event’s website portrayed Macau as “the new centre of international technologies” to connect the Asia Pacific tech ecosystem with the rest of the world.

“The Guangdong-Macau in-depth cooperation zone in Hengqin has created a new opportunity for technology innovation and industry transformation of Macau,” said Zhang Yuzhuo, vice chairman of the China Association for Science and Technology.

Chinese banks urged to switch from SWIFT to domestic financial network amid looming US sanctions over Hong Kong Chinese banks urged to switch from SWIFT to domestic financial network amid looming US sanctions over Hong Kong

“It will supercharge the diversification of Macau’s economy and continuous prosperity,” he added.

Gambling in the former Portuguese colony has been legal since the 1850s, with Macau being dubbed the ‘Gambling capital of the world’ and the ‘Monte Carlo of the East’.

Data shows that the gambling industry contributed over half of the city’s US$54 billion GDP before the pandemic and generated 80% of the local government’s tax revenue. Last year’s 80% plunge in gambling revenue led to a 50% decline in GDP.

“Macau may have always been known for gambling and tourism, but the pandemic has hit the city hard. Macau has to diversify,” said the main host of the tech conference, Lu Gang, who is the director of the Macao Technology General Association. “Although it’s small in size, Macau is an international platform connecting the mainland to the world and can help Chinese companies venture abroad,” he added.

Beijing has always taken a hard stance on gambling at Macau’s casinos, viewing them as illicit capital drainage channels that undermine the nation’s financial stability and capital account controls. According to its plan, Macau should be encouraged to develop integrated circuits, new energy projects, and artificial intelligence (AI), among other tech sectors, and to establish a supply chain for microchips, from design to testing.

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US on the brink of default, think tank projects

“The debt limit ‘X Date’ – when the United States will no longer be able to meet its obligations in full and on time – will most likely occur between December 21, 2021, and January 28, 2022,” the Washington, DC-based think tank warned on its website.

According to Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at BPC, “Those who believe the debt limit can safely be pushed to the back of the December legislative pileup are misinformed.” He added: “Congress would be flirting with financial disaster if it leaves for the holiday recess without addressing the debt limit.”

With economy imploding, US losing its superpower status to make room for Russia and China, says Max Keiser With economy imploding, US losing its superpower status to make room for Russia and China, says Max Keiser

The BPC noted that December 15 will be of particular importance. Its updated X Date range factors in the $118 billion transfer to the Highway Trust Fund that the Treasury Department has confirmed will be completed by that date. If the quarterly corporate tax receipts that are due that day come in particularly weak, according to the BPC, that could leave the Treasury Department with a dangerously low cash balance, hastening the X Date and increasing risks to taxpayers, financial markets, and the economy. It further added that with several large federal payments due in the following days, and particularly towards the end of the month, such a scenario would likely result in an X Date before New Year’s Day.

“Failing to extend the nation’s debt limit would be an unprecedented event in modern American history that carries grave risks to American taxpayers,” the think tank said.
“Failure to pay the nation’s bills on time could send immediate ripple effects throughout the global economy, particularly during a time of economic recovery and heightened uncertainty over a new Covid-19 variant.”

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Chinese govt summons Evergrande boss as firm’s debts mount

The real estate developer received a demand under a $260 million guarantee obligation, which it may be unable to repay due to insufficient funds, the company announced in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

China Evergrande step closer to default READ MORE: China Evergrande step closer to default

It added that repayment dates under other agreements may also have to be postponed.

Evergrande has already missed one deadline to pay up on liabilities totalling $82.5 million due on November 6, as it struggles to make ends meet under more than $300 billion in debt.

Following Friday’s statement, the government of southern China’s Guangdong province, where Evergrande is headquartered, summoned Evergrande chairman Hui Ka Yan. The details of their meeting have not yet been revealed.

Prior to that, Evergrande requested that authorities send a working group to the company to help with risk management and to supervise its operations. The developer also pledged it would continue working with creditors to decide how to pay off its debts.

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Brits look to kitchen waste to power jets

According to BA’s announcement late on Thursday, it had reached an agreement with Phillips 66 Humber refinery in north Lincolnshire to become the first airline in the world to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) produced in the UK.

World’s biggest aviation market may soon welcome back exiled Boeing 737 MAX READ MORE: World’s biggest aviation market may soon welcome back exiled Boeing 737 MAX

Under the deal, BA will purchase enough SAF, made from recycled cooking oils and other household waste, to power 700 transatlantic flights on a Boeing 787 with nearly zero carbon dioxide emissions.

BA plans to power 10% of all its flights with SAF by 2030, and, in order to achieve this, recently inked deals with US SAF suppliers and invested in a Velocys flagship waste-to-fuel plant, which is to be constructed in the northeast of England.

Commenting on the new deal, BA’s chief executive Sean Doyle said it was “another important step on our journey to net zero carbon emissions,” noting that “the UK has the resources and capabilities to be a global leader in the development of SAF.” Humber’s general manager Darren Cunningham said the Lincolnshire refinery would be the first in the UK to produce SAFs on a commercial scale.

The Humber Refinery was the first in the UK to co-process waste oils to produce renewable fuels and now we will be the first to produce SAF at scale. We’re currently refining almost half a million litres of sustainable waste feedstocks a day… Markets for lower-carbon products are growing, and this agreement [with BA] demonstrates our ability to supply them,” Cunningham stated.

Major Asian airline cancels flights after quarantine snub READ MORE: Major Asian airline cancels flights after quarantine snub

SAF is not fully emissions-free fuel, but recycling lowers “lifecycle CO2 emissions” by some 80% compared with traditional jet fuel, according to the International Air Transport Association. Airlines see SAF as the only current solution to cut jet emissions, at least until electric passenger planes come into play, which is expected no sooner than around 2035.

Meanwhile, US-based United Airlines made aviation history on Wednesday, operating the first-ever passenger flight using 100% SAF on one of the plane’s two engines. The plane flew nearly 1,000 kilometers, and the engine that used SAF gave off roughly 75% less carbon dioxide than the one that used traditional jet fuel, United said in a statement.

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US to pay Bezos to colonize space

Bezos’ company will receive $130 million, Nanoracks – a provider of commercial access to space – will get $160 million, and multinational aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman will be given $125.6 million.

Amazon’s Bezos predicts only limited number of people will get to remain on Earth Amazon’s Bezos predicts only limited number of people will get to remain on Earth

In a statement on its website, NASA says it seeks to maintain a US presence in orbit by transitioning to other platforms, as the International Space Station is set to cease operations by the end of the decade.

The statement goes on to explain that the awards will stimulate the development of commercial space stations by the private sector that will be available to both government and private sector customers.

“We are partnering with US companies to develop the space destinations where people can visit, live, and work, enabling NASA to continue forging a path in space for the benefit of humanity while fostering commercial activity in space,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

NASA has already partnered with the private industry. Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX puts satellites into orbit, delivers cargo and, more recently, launched a crew to the ISS. In April, NASA awarded a contract to SpaceX for $2.9 billion to use a rocket named Starship to take astronauts to the moon.

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Americans say life’s too short to waste on work

The US Chamber of Commerce recently polled 529 Americans who became unemployed during the pandemic and have yet to return to work.

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Over half of the respondents (53%) said they are somewhat active or “not very active at all” in their current job search, while 65% said they don’t expect to return to work before 2022. Many cited lingering Covid-19 concerns as a barrier keeping them from returning to work, especially women. Almost half said they have been using pandemic incentives or stimulus payments, as well as draining savings or investments, to support themselves since becoming unemployed.

Only 8% said they “never plan to return to work.” Still, the findings show that workers may not be coming back anytime soon, unless they see it as worth their efforts.

According to the survey, nearly half (46%) see a hiring bonus of $1,000 as the main reason to return to work. The poll also showed that flexible work hours, the ability to work from home, and a positive work environment are very attractive to respondents. This means businesses will have to upgrade their employment policies if they want to attract staff.

Moreover, a separate survey from US job searching website Indeed, published on Thursday, showed that people are reluctant to go back to work, having realized during the pandemic that “life is too short to stay in a job they weren’t passionate about.

Oil industry to lose nearly half its workers READ MORE: Oil industry to lose nearly half its workers

Around 92% of the 1,000 people polled shared the sentiment. According to the survey, Americans actually see their current unemployment and the entire labor shortage crisis as a positive thing, which “offered new career opportunities that they would not have had otherwise.” 85% of job seekers are now said to be looking for work outside their former industry, and 97% of those say the pandemic gave them a push to change careers.

There are currently 10.4 million unfilled jobs in the US, with 7.6 million Americans unemployed. A recent note from SP global economists seen by Business Insider predicts that it will “likely remain tough” to find workers next year, and employees will cost businesses more money and effort. Goldman Sachs recently estimated that 3.4 million people left jobs over the past year and a half, and the majority of them were retirees, which means that many are not coming back to work at all. According to SP, half of these exits are temporary, yet it is still unclear when they will start working again due to renewed pandemic-related fears driven by the new coronavirus variant, Omicron.

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