Switzerland's gold exports to China surged to their highest on record in December at 158 tonnes, data from the Swiss customs bureau showed on Thursday, nearly triple the level of the same month a year earlier. According to Eddie van der Walt as reported on the Bloomberg terminal this morning, total Swiss gold exports surged to 287.6 tons in December (valued at CHF 10.8b), their highest since May 2013 in December, according to data on the website of the Swiss Federal Customs Administration. Gold exports to China in December “were the highest since at least January 2014” according to Bloomberg. Most of the exports to China are in the form of investment grade gold bars in the one kilogramme gold bar format which is used by Chinese investors, institutions, exchange traded funds (ETF) and indeed the Shanghai Gold Exchange.
President Donald Trump has proposed construction of a US-Mexican border wall and is expected to pause the flow of refugees to America as he launched broad but divisive plans to reshape US immigration and national security policy. A draft executive order seen by Reuters that Trump is expected to sign in the coming days would block the entry of refugees from war-torn Syria and suspend the entry of any immigrants from Muslim-majority Middle Eastern and African countries Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen while permanent rules are studied.
BTCC co-founder and CEO Bobby Lee believes that China's immensely popular cryptocurrency bitcoin will come under regulation in future. The announcement by Lee comes after PBoC launched an investigation on BTCC, China's largest bitcoin exchange, along with other leading bitcoin exchanges like Huboi and OkCoin, in the aftermath of the immense price hike in bitcoin at the end of December 2016 and beginning of January 2017. "The answer is, I don't know when it will happen but I know it will happen. I have confidence of that because fundamentally I think bitcoin exchanges need to be regulated," said Lee to Business Insider.
Switzerland's foreign trade grew again in 2016 after a decline in the previous year,, with the development of chemical-pharmaceutical products, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said Thursday. Exports rose by 3.8% (real: - 0.8%) to a record high of CHF 210.7 billion. However, the two other major divisions - machines and electronics as well as watches - were unable to participate in the growth. Imports increased by 4.1% (real: + 1.2%) to CHF 173.2 billion. The surplus in the trade balance reached a new record (37.5 billion francs). Exports expanded by 3.8% (real: - 0.8%) to CHF 210.7 billion in 2016, which means that, they reached a new peak.
President Trump argues that too many US workers have lost their jobs to foreign peers as companies have offshored manufacturing. US companies need to bring those jobs back and, in doing so, restore America’s industrial greatness. His diagnosis isn’t altogether wrong: fewer companies manufacture cars, for instance, in the US than was previously the case. But this thesis is too simplistic.
Swiss watch exports registered one of its shallowest falls of last year in December, yet marking a decline for the whole of 2016, figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry showed Thursday. Watch exports declined 4.6% year-on-year in December to CHF 1.7 billion. Exports for the whole year tumbled 9.9 percent to CHF 19.4 billion. The annual decline is the worst performance since exports fell 22 percent in 2009 in the wake of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the subprime mortgage crisis.
The European Environment Agency says the continent is facing rising sea levels and more extreme weather, such as more frequent and more intense heat waves, flooding, droughts and storms because of climate change. The document, called Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe, revealed the cost to the economy had soared by about 80% over the last 30 years. During the 1980s, the damages averaged about €7.6bn euro a year, but by the 2000s the figure had risen to €13.7bn, the report said. Overall between 1980 and 2013, the cost was nearly €393bn.
Russian Railways suggests reviewing the use of Swiss francs as a settlement currency for the transit traffic, president of the company Oleg Belozerov said, as Tass agency reported. "We calculate transit in Swiss francs. The Swiss franc has been historically used for international settlements. I asked colleagues to consider and give an assessment whether the franc is the proper currency now to make settlements," he said.
Transparency International (TI), the world’s leading anti-corruption movement, said in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index for 2016 that in countries with populist or autocratic leaders, "instead of tackling crony capitalism, those leaders usually install even worse forms of corrupt systems." Based on expert opinions of public sector corruption, the annual report rated Denmark and New Zealand as the least-corrupt countries, followed by Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Norway.
Novartis may spin off its struggling Alcon eye care business and is to launch a share buyback programme worth up to $5 billion, the Swiss drugmaker said on Wednesday in reporting fourth-quarter results that lagged market expectations. Its sales were flat in the fourth quarter while posting a $120 million operating loss, forcing a critical look at whether to sell eye care division. "We've not ruled anything out, all options are on the table," Chief Executive Joe Jimenez said on a results news conference call.
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