European stock market close 14 March 2017
- FTSE -0.1%
- Cac -0.5%
- Dax flat
- Ibex -0.9%
- FTSE Mib -0.9%
- Italy 2.35% -1bp
- Spain 1.88% -3bp
- Portugal 3.98% -4bp
- Germany 0.447% -2bp
- Greece 7.29% +8bp
A ruling by the European Union’s top court on Tuesday, which allows companies to bar staff from wearing Islamic headscarves and other visible religious symbols, has set off a storm of complaint from rights groups and religious leaders. With its first ruling on a hot political issue across Europe, the Court of Justice (ECJ) has found that a Belgian firm which had a rule barring employees who dealt with customers from wearing visible religious and political symbols “may not have discriminated” against a receptionist dismissed for wearing a headscarf.
The judgment came on the eve of a Dutch election in which Muslim immigration is a key issue; in several weeks France also votes for a president in a similarly charged campaign. Piggybacking on the ruling, scandal-ridden French candidate, conservative Francois Fillon, hailed the ruling as “an immense relief” that would contribute to “social peace”.
However, the ruling also prompted angry responses: a campaign group backing the women said the ruling could shut many Muslim women out of the workforce. And European rabbis said the Court had added to rising incidences of hate crime to send a message that “faith communities are no longer welcome”. Reactions focused on the conclusion that services firm G4S in Belgium was entitled to dismiss receptionist Samira Achbita in 2006 if, in pursuit of legitimate business interests, it fairly applied a broad dress code for all customer-facing staff to project an image of political and religious neutrality, Reuters reported.
The most vocal protester, however, was the Open Society Justice Initiative, a group backed by the philanthropist George Soros, which said the ruling “weakens the guarantee of equality” offered by EU non-discrimination laws.
“In many member states, national laws will still recognize that banning religious headscarves at work is discrimination,” policy office Maryam Hmadoun said. “But in places where national law is weak, this ruling will exclude many Muslim women from the workplace.”
Russian daily oil production is down 179K barrels from October, according to two energy industry sources cited by Reuters.
Total production was 11.068mbpd last week compared to 11.083mbpd a week earlier and 11.247mbpd in October before the cuts went into effect.
The cut falls short of the 200K bpd that was promised in for the first quarter. That’s supposed to escalate to 300kbpd in the months ahead.
The problem is that the production declines look like the regular seasonal dip. The lack of total compliance will also grate on OPEC.
Opec has raised its 2017 estimates for oil production from outside of the cartel as US shale drillers ramp up activity in response to higher prices, underlining the threat to the group’s attempts to balance the market.
Non-Opec oil supply is now projected to grow by around 400,000 barrels a day this year to average 57.7m b/d, Opec said in said in its monthly market report.
That marks a 300,000 b/d increase on Opec’s forecast just one month ago and comes after a near 10 per cent drop in prices last week, as traders fret over shale’s potential to overwhelm the cartel’s own supply cuts.
Despite Opec’s broad compliance with a global agreement to curb supplies, oil stockpiles stand well above their five year average at more than 3bn barrels as production elsewhere ramps up and inventories remain bloated.
Mercer’s 19th Quality of Living Rankings are out and Vienna has topped again for the 8th time in a row for the quality of living. Rest of the top 10 spots are mostly filled by European cities. Zurich is in second place, with Munich (4), Dusseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8), Copenhagen (9), and Basel, a newcomer to the list, in 10th place. The only non-European cities in the top ten are Auckland (3) and Vancouver (5). The survey of 231 cities helps companies and
The survey of 231 cities helps companies and organizations determine compensation and hardship allowances for international staff. It uses dozens of criteria such as political stability, health care, education, crime, recreation and transport. However, none of the Indian city has managed to find a place among the top 231.
The highest ranking cities in Asia and Latin America are Singapore (25) and Montevideo (79), respectively. “Vienna’s 1.8 million inhabitants benefit from the city’s cafe culture and museums, theatres and operas. Rents and public transport costs in the city, whose architecture is marked by its past as the centre of the Habsburg empire, are cheap compared with other western capitals,” says the survey.
Australian meteorologists have increased the likelihood of an El Niño weather phenomenon forming later this year, raising concerns for extreme weather in Africa and south east Asia.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said that there was a 50 per cent chance of El Niño occurring this year, with six of the eight prediction models suggesting thresholds may be reached by July 2017.
The El Niño weather event in 2015-16 was one of the strongest on record. It was behind devastating drought conditions in south east Asia and Africa, where crops shrivelled and exacerbated the heating of sea temperatures off Australia, where the Great Barrier Reef is suffering the worst bleaching in history,
On March 1, the WSJ reported that the options contemplated by the White House in response to recent North Korean acts, include “the possibility of both military force and regime change to counter the country’s nuclear-weapons threat.” The review came es amid recent events have strained regional stability including last month’s launch by North Korea of a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, and the assassination of the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Malaysia.
And, according to a report in Yonhap, said “regime change” may come far sooner than expected: the South Korean website writes that U.S. special operations forces, including the unit that killed Osama Bin Laden, will take part in joint military drills in South Korea “to practice incapacitating North Korean leadership in the case of conflict”, a military official said Monday.
The U.S. Navy’s Special Warfare Development Group, better known as the SEAL Team 6, will arrive in South Korea for joint military drills and take part in an exercise simulating a precision North Korean incurion and “the removal of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un”, according to the Ministry of National Defense Monday.
The U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six will join the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises between the two allies for the first time, along with the Army’s Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets.
The counterterrorism unit is best known for its removal of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011, known as Operation Neptune Spear. It will be the team’s first time participating in the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises, which will run through late April.
Offers/res into 115.00 then 115.20. Demand/support 114.75 then 114.50