Business And Finance

Puerto Rico declares bankruptcy at last

THE government of Puerto Rico said in 2015 that the island could not pay its debts. Yet it was only on May 3rd that it kicked off the biggest bankruptcy case in America’s history. Public-sector debts total almost $74bn (around 100% of GNP). The drawn-out fiscal crisis has both imperilled Puerto Rico’s economy and upended the island’s politics. Something akin ...

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Congress is right to be upset with America’s airlines

WHEN politicians feel they must summon industry bosses and implore them to treat customers better, it is a sure sign that the market is not working as it should. On May 2nd, a Congressional committee pleaded with airline bosses to improve service or, by implication, face legislation to force them to be nicer. Flyers, said Bill Shuster, the Republican chairmen ...

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Home-sharing sites are targeting business travellers

BUSINESS travel accounts for about a third of total travel spending in America, according to the United States Travel Association, an industry group. But Airbnb, a private firm which is probably the world’s second most valuable hospitality provider after Marriott, gets less than 10% of its business from people travelling for work. As the San Francisco-based company continues to expand, it’s pretty ...

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French businesses relish the prospect of President Macron

THE likely election of Emmanuel Macron as France’s president, in a run-off vote on May 7th, has corporate leaders in a state of high anticipation. French politicians with business experience rarely prosper. It is nearly half a century since Georges Pompidou won office in 1969 on the back of a private-sector career partly at Rothschild, an investment bank. The sitting ...

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A giant cement firm may have unwittingly funded Islamic State

KEEPING cool in the heat of war is not easy. That might help explain why LafargeHolcim, a French-Swiss cement-maker, blundered so badly while running operations in Syria as fighting raged. On April 24th the firm said that its chief executive, Eric Olsen, will go, a casualty of a growing scandal over its activities in the country. The board of the ...

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Technology firms and the office of the future

FROM the 62nd floor of Salesforce Tower, 920 feet above the ground, San Francisco’s monuments look piddling. The Bay Bridge, Coit Tower and Palace of Fine Arts are dwarfed by the steel-and-glass headquarters that will house the software company when it is completed later this year. Subtle it is not. Salesforce plans to put on a light show every night; ...

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America’s economic growth slows to 0.7%

THE news that America’s GDP growth slowed to 0.7% on an annualised basis in the first quarter of 2017 is no real surprise, for two reasons. First, although consumer and small business confidence have soared since Donald Trump won the presidential election, most measures of actual economic activity have failed to display the same vim (see article). Second, it is ...

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