News (#11-12 November-December 2020)

Biznews

COVID-19

IMF estimated global damages incurred by corona crisis at USD 30 trillion

The IMF has claimed that estimated damages caused to the global economy by the coronavirus pandemic could reach USD 28 trillion in lost GDP over the next five years.

This was stated by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva at the IMFs annual meeting with the World Bank.

According to her, over the space of 9 months unemployment and poverty rates have risen sharply, and risks to the economies of low-income countries have increased significantly.

We expect economic growth indicators to fall to minus 4.4% this year. Even though there is a lot of uncertainty in our forecasts, we still anticipate a partial and uneven recovery in 2021, she added.

The IMF also expects global economic growth in 2021 to be at 5.2%.

Trade Policy

WTO allowed EU to introduce duties worth USD 4 billion on US goods following Boeing case

The European Union has been given the right to introduce duties worth USD 4 billion on US goods through subsidies provided to Boeing, an aircraft company, thereby extending a dispute that has already led Washington to impose duties on EU imports.

Both the USA and the EU have expressed interest in resolving the dispute over subsidies they granted to their respective aircraft manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus, though in the meantime they are accusing each other of refusing to speak seriously.

The current WTO decision, postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, follows last years decision, which has allowed Washington to impose tariffs on EU goods worth USD 7.5 billion in relation to Airbus state support, which has sites in Britain, France, Germany, and Spain.

These two cases combined represent the worlds largest corporate trade dispute.

The European Commission stated that it would like to find a solution through talks, but was ready to impose duties.

The EU has already drawn up a list of US goods that could be subject to duties, including aircraft, wine, spirits, suitcases, tractors, frozen fish, and food items ranging from dried onions to cherries.

Digitalization

Microsoft to invest USD 1 billion in building data centers in Greece

Microsoft has announced its plans to build three data centers in Athens, thus providing much-needed investments of up to USD 1 billion to the Greek economy, which has been hit by the pandemic.

The arrangements were preceded by nine months of confidential negotiations on the agreement, which also includes digital skills training programs for about 100,000 public and private employees, as well as for teachers and students.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the countrys strong dependence on tourism. The Greek government says it wishes to change the balance of the Greek economy during its recovery by developing the energy, technology, and defense sectors, hoping to lure back the tens of thousands of graduates who left the country during the crisis.

Microsoft currently has data centers in 26 countries, including seven in the EU.

Ministry of Digital Transformation will cooperate with Microsoft in field of digital transformation

The Ministry of Digital Transformation has signed a memorandum with Microsoft, so they can cooperate in the field of digital transformation.

The main idea of this memorandum consists of plans to use Microsoft Azure as a platform for the digital transformation of Ukraine with the introduction of modern digital technologies, Microsoft said.

In particular, it is about automating the workplaces of civil servants and increasing productivity in various fields, including E-government, E-health, Ed-tech, Ag-tech, Fin-tech, IT, production, energy, infrastructure, and gaming.

To implement initiatives on digital transformation in public and commercial segments, Microsoft is ready to provide technical support that will help to demonstrate the capabilities of Azure Cloud and help to develop a cloud operating model.

Microsoft has also declared its readiness to share its own technical expertise and best practices from successful cases relevant to the Ministry of Digital Transformation within the framework of current legislation.

This Memorandum of Understanding is not an agreement to be fulfilled but is intended by the parties as an expression of their current intentions.

Agriculture

EU approved agricultural policy reform

Ministers of Agriculture of European Union states have agreed to allocate part of the huge budget intended for agricultural policy to environmental programs.

Agricultural policy as a whole will absorb about a third of the EU budget of EUR 1.1 trillion during 2021-2027. These funds will be allocated for direct payments to farmers and other support for rural development.

Ministers agreed that 20% of the payments to farmers would go to green schemes, such as organic farming or agroforestry joint cultivation of trees and crops in one area.

Farmers will not be able to access funds for other purposes.

This approach will come into effect in 2023, and ministers have agreed on a two-year pilot phase for green schemes. This means they will become mandatory from 2025.

Some countries have expressed concerns that binding funds to environmental goals will mean that the former will remain unspent.

Agricultural land accounts for 40% of all EU land, and agriculture has a major impact on the natural environment in Europe.

Environmental experts claim that a 20% share for green schemes is too small.

Electronics

Apple lost USD 100 billion due to postponement of iPhone presentation

Because of the postponement of the presentation of the new iPhone line, shares in Apple fell by 5%, which cost the company USD 100 billion of the market price of Apple.

The company published its financial statements after the end of the budget year in September. The presentation of the new smartphones was held in October, so the first sales were not included in the quarterly statements. For example, iPhone sales fell by 20.7% to USD 26 billion. This drop in demand is offset by sales of other products made by the company, including Macbook and AirPods.

The company has positive expectations as to the new flagship product, as 5G technology is the opportunity of the decade, according to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. Disappointing figures are seen in China, where sales have fallen by almost 30%. New 5G standards are more available there than in the US, and the company expects that the iPhone12 will manage to restore sales in China to the level of Q1 of the budget year.

Experts currently expect an increase in iPhone sales to 60 billion units, i.e. by 6.5%.

Oil & Gas

Polish oil and gas company signed an agreement on gas production in Ukraine

The Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG) has signed an investment agreement with the Energy Resources of Ukraine Group (ERU Group) on a joint natural gas exploration and production project in Ukraine.

The agreement establishes a general framework for cooperation and sets a time schedule for further works on the site located by the Polish border in Ukraine. The significant production potential of the project has been confirmed by the results of geological studies conducted by PGNiG, which show the similarity of geological structures of the site with those of Przemyśl, the largest natural gas field in Poland.

An important element of any investment project to be implemented in Ukraine is insurance against political risks. Negotiations have been initiated with the US International Development Finance Corporation and Polands Export Credit Insurance Corporation (KUKE) to ensure the financial protection of the joint project of PGNiG and ERU Group.

Mobile Applications

Tinder and Spotify created coalition against AppStore

Epic Games, one of the biggest gaming developers, music streaming service Spotify, and Tinder owner Match Group, have formed an alliance to put pressure on Apple to cut commissions in app stores.

The companies initiated the creation of the coalition for equality of applications and immediately identified the issue it will deal with. According to the companies, most app stores charge developers too much for digital purchases of users and also restrain free competition by favoring their own products and services.

Epic Games, a Fortnite game developer, has been in conflict with Apple and Google since the summer over disagreements with the terms of hosting applications in the App Store and Google Play.

The spokeswoman for the coalition said it was created not as a response to Epics fight against IT giants, but as part of a global developers discussion with app stores and of a shared desire for change.

It is planned that the coalition will promote legislative and regulatory changes in the field of app stores by lobbying the interests of developers.

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