Business And Finance

Air France-KLM is being brought to its knees by its unions

AIR FRANCE likes to present itself as a cut above other European airlines. Offering fancy French food and free champagne in economy class on long-haul flights, the company’s strategy is to justify its high ticket prices by offering a premium service. But facing intransigent unions at home and competition from abroad, the airline’s financial fizz is rapidly going flat. A ...

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Glencore, a hard-slugging mining giant, meets its match in Congo

IN THE mining world the bout has the drama of a heavyweight title fight. In one corner is Ivan Glasenberg, billionaire boss of Glencore, the world’s biggest commodities-trading firm. In the other is Dan Gertler, an Israeli billionaire accused by America of corruption related to his dealings with Joseph Kabila’s government in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The prize ...

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Trade wars threaten to disrupt American firms’ global supply chains

“DON’T panic yet,” advises the sandwich king of Ohio. Robert Grote is chief executive of JE Grote Company, a family-run firm in Columbus that is a global manufacturer of pizza-preparation machines, bacon-slicers and automated sandwich-makers. Since about half of its $60m or so of annual sales comes from outside America and his firm buys speciality steel from Europe, he is ...

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The euro area’s economy loses momentum

ECONOMISTS have spent the past decade wringing their hands over the health of the euro area’s economy. Last year, in a welcome respite, it expanded by a robust 2.3%, outstripping forecasts and matching America’s growth rate. But it has appeared less rosy-cheeked since. Get our daily newsletter Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks. Symptoms include ...

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Antitrust with Chinese characteristics

GLOBAL deals may be growing at a rapid clip, but they seldom offer instant gratification. Qualcomm, an American chipmaker, first bid for NXP Semiconductors, a Dutch company, in October 2016. The union has since been blessed by eight regulators worldwide, but one hurdle remains: China. With no decision yet from its regulator, the companies, which were expecting to have closed ...

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Indicators that signal financial-market trouble are flashing

WATCHING financial markets can be like watching a horror film. A character walks into the darkness alone. A floorboard creaks. The latest spooky sign is the spread between the three-month dollar London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) and the overnight index swap (OIS) rate. It usually hovers at around 0.1%, but has recently climbed to 0.6% (see chart). As it widens, ...

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Coco bonds have not lived up to their promise

DURING the financial crisis, Western governments poured hundreds of billions of dollars into their banks to avert collapse. The search for ways to avoid future bail-outs started before the turmoil ended. One of the niftiest proposals was the “contingent convertible” (coco) bond, which turns into equity when the ratio of a bank’s equity to risk-weighted assets falls below a predetermined ...

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