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Bulb fields cover 25,000 hectares of Dutch farmland

AMSTERDAM: Some 25,000 hectares of land in the Netherlands is now dedicated to bulb production, a rise of 75% over the past 30 years, the national statistics office CBS said on Tuesday. While production has gone down some 10% in traditional bulb growing areas north of The Hague, there has been an increase in the provinces of Drenthe, Flevoland and ... Read More »

KBC makes 2.6 billion euro in annual profits

BRUSSELS: KBC bank and insurance company with its main operations carried out in Belgium and Czech Republic announced its 2015 results here the other day. With a  net profit of 2,639 billion euros, the results mark a substantial increase from its 2014 profits of 1,762 billion euros. In a communication release, KBC indicated that “the volume of loans and insurances ... Read More »

Future snowless winters will cost Norway dearly

OSLO: Warmer winters with less snow will have major financial implications for a variety of industries, according an expert panel that examined the impact of climate change on Norwegian winter sports. Billions of kroner are at stake if Norway’s winters become significantly warmer, a report entitled ‘Grå Vinter’ (Grey Winter) that was presented by the Norwegian Climate Foundation in Oslo ... Read More »

Spain’s ‘unfair’ labour reform creates jobs but erodes rights

MADRID: Spain’s labour market reform is proving a dream for firms but a nightmare for short term workers. In 2009 the Nissan factory in Barcelona in northeastern Spain seemed condemned to close. But it was saved thanks to labour rights sacrifices, becoming a symbol of “flexisecurity” – a cooperative approach to labour relations in which employees accept a degree of ... Read More »

Saudi government plans $533m water projects

RIYADH: The Saudi government is set to spend around SR2 billion ($533 million) on projects aimed at enhancing water security in Makkah region, said a report. The project being implemented by National Water Company (NWC) covers the Makkah, Jeddah and Taif region and on completion it will boost the water capacity by 5.4 million cu m, reported the Arab News, citing ... Read More »

Hungary inks cooperation pact with St Petersburg

BUDAPEST: Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó and St Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko on Monday signed a cooperation agreement between the Hungarian ministry and the Russian region. Speaking at the signing ceremony in Budapest, Szijjártó said Hungary would start shifting its focus to regional-level economic cooperation with Russia to limit damage done to bilateral trade by the EU and Russia’s sanctions ... Read More »

Afghan traders sign $2.38m deals during Gulfood show

KABUL : Afghan traders signed a series of deals worth $2.38 million for agricultural products in the Gulfood show in Dubai, the USAID said on Tuesday. The traders are negotiating potential deals of about $10 million following their participation in the exhibition, the world’s largest annual food and hospitality event,held from February 21 to 25. The USAID supported Afghanistan’s participation ... Read More »

GCC can be world’s ‘sixth largest market by 2030’

DOHA: The GCC region could emerge as one of the largest markets in the world through removing its existing intra-regional trade and investment barriers. Lengthy border checks and lack of regulatory alignment are making the GCC a weak link in global supply chain, global advisory firm EY noted yesterday. Foreign investors are still unable to treat the GCC as one ... Read More »

Burgan Bank Group earnings up 23% in 2015

KUWAIT: Burgan Bank Group announced yesterday its financial year 2015 results. A solid operating & financial performance continues reflecting a faster than market growth almost in all indicators and mirroring the soundness of Burgan Bank’s resilient business model. Compared to the same period last year, Operating income grew by 12 percent from KD222 million to KD 248 million while Operating ... Read More »

Canada expresses interest to set up LNG power plant in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO: The Canadian government has proposed to initiate an electricity generation project in Sri Lanka using liquefied natural gas (LNG), a Finance Ministry statement said. This proposal was made by Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Shelley Whiting at a meeting with Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake in the parliament complex a few days ago, the statement added. High Commissioner Whiting ... Read More »

France perfume, cosmetics exports rise 4.4% in 2015

PARIS: Exports keep boosting the growth of the French cosmetics industry. With a 4.4% rise in 2015, they reached a new record of 11.8 billion euros, according to the statistics released by the FEBEA, the French Federation of Beauty Companies. Makeup sales are those that show the most significant growth, and the Middle East and Asia remain the most dynamic ... Read More »

Swiss exports buck franc strength with record monthly trade surplus

GENEVA: Switzerland posted a record monthly trade surplus in February, data showed on Tuesday, supported by strong sales abroad of its price-resilient pharmaceutical and chemical products. Switzerland, home to two of the world’s largest pharma firms, Novartis and Roche, ran a trade surplus of 4.07 billion Swiss francs ($4.2 billion) last month, the customs office said. Exports rose 1.4 percent ... Read More »

India likely to extend wheat import tax

NEW DELHI: India is likely to extend a wheat import tax beyond March to shield its domestic farmers from cheap imports particularly as wheat from the new-season harvest will become available by the end of this month, government sources said on Monday. After consulting the food, farm and trade ministries, the finance ministry now looks likely to extend the duty ... Read More »

Liberty Global has $560m accumulated loss in Irish businesses

DUBLIN: Colorado-based cable company Liberty Global had almost $560 million in accumulated losses at its Irish businesses at the end of 2015 that could potentially be offset against future profits here. This emerges in a recent 10-k filing by the listed company with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States. It showed that in Ireland, Liberty carried forward ... Read More »

Canada’s $15-billion Saudi arms deal violates export rules, lawsuit argues

OTTAWA: Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion is acting illegally by issuing permits to allow the export of combat vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a lawsuit filed in Federal Court on Monday alleges. Opponents of Canada’s $15-billion arms deal with the Saudis are taking the Trudeau government to court in an attempt to block shipments of the fighting vehicles to Riyadh. A group ... Read More »

Pak rupee depreciates by 10 paisas in open market

KARACHI: The Pakistan rupee Tuesday depreciated against the US dollar both in open market. According to the local money market, the dollar gained 10 paisas in cash-free market for selling at 105.85 and remained firm in interbank at 104.50. On Monday, the dollar remained unchanged both in cash-free market and interbank at 105.75 and 104.50 respectively. Read More »

Urea imports increase by 6% to 83.09 lakh tons in April-Feb

NEW DELHI: Urea imports increased by 6 percent to 83.09 lakh tonnes in April-February this fiscal due to lower prices of the fertiliser in international markets. The country had imported 78.43 lakh tonnes (LT) of urea in the same period a year ago, according to official data. The rise in imports was due to lower prices of the fertiliser in ... Read More »

Nigeria spent N1.24trn on petrol imports in 2015

ABUJA: Nigeria spent N1.239 trillion on importation of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol in 2015, National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, has revealed. The NBS, in its Foreign Trade Statistics for the Fourth Quarter of 2015, stated that the amount spent on fuel import in 2015 represented an increase of 3.08 per cent or N37 billion when compared ... Read More »

India’s oil imports raise 29.9% in Feb

NEW DELHI: India’s oil imports in February increased by 29.93 percent year on year to 4.27 million barrels per day (bpd), or 16.88 million tonnes, government data showed. Overseas purchases of oil products were 17.69 percent higher, while exports rose 21.25 percent, the data showed. India’s annual fuel demand rose 11.7 percent in February and the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning ... Read More »

Singapore-UAE Tax Treaty Improved

SINGAPORE: The second Protocol to the double tax agreement between Singapore and the United Arab Emirates entered into force March 16, 2016, and will become effective from January 1, 2017, lowering withholding tax rates and amending permanent establishment rules. The protocol, which was signed in October 2014, revises the terms to include longer threshold periods to ascertain the presence of ... Read More »