TEHRAN, Iran. The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has begun negotiating a long-term agreement to sell crude to the Philippines, according to a statement from the firm – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Jan.29: Iran in talks to restart selling crude to the Philippines …. #OPEC deal being put under pressure again…

“The National Iranian Oil Company is in talks with Philippines’ National Oil Company (PNOC) to export four million barrels per month,” the statement said.

PNOC, a member of a consortium of international companies, has already signed a non-disclosure agreement with the National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) for studies into two oilfields in Iran. The group, known as Pergas, comprises eleven European, Canadian and Asian corporations in addition to the Sharif University of Technology.

“Based on the deal, the consortium will have six months to hand over the result of the studies on the fields to the NISOC. Pergas may submit its proposal for the development of the fields sooner if it is ready,” Iran’s Press TV reported.

PNOC has bought Iranian crude before and is currently considering resuming purchases, according to the company’s CEO Pedro Aquino.

“The Philippines will play a constructive role in the future contract in view of Iran’s strategy to build up its #oil export figures,” he said.

Apart from importing the #oil, the Philippines aims to invest in Iran’s energy sector.

“We are also interested in investing in Iran’s liquefied gas sector to future supplement our country’s energy needs. By joining Pergas, we seek investment in Iran’s upstream sector and long-term crude purchase,” Aquino said.

The Islamic Republic managed to win an exemption from OPEC’s production cuts agreed on last November, and has risen output slightly.

According to data from the cartel, Iran exports over 500,000 barrels per day of refined products to Asian markets.

The 2015 deal between Iran and six major powers lifted the decades-long sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic. Since then, the country has been ramping up crude production to restore much of its lost market share.

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LONDON: Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco agreed a surprise 3.7 billion pound takeover of food supplier Booker on Friday, increasing its exposure to the fast growing catering sector – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Jan.29: Resurgence of ‘ Every Little Helps ‘ as Tesco surprises with deal to acquire Booker Wholesalers for a mere £3.7-billion in cash and shares …

Reuters reported http://reut.rs/2jzzazG the planned cash and shares takeover that shows the supermarket chain’s renewed confidence after two years of gradual recovery under Chief Executive Dave Lewis after an accounting scandal.

The group also said it would restart paying dividends for the 2017-18 financial year, having not paid one since the second half of its 2014-15 year when it was mired in the worst crisis in its history.

Lewis joined in September 2014 when Tesco was rapidly losing market share to German discount rivals and has also had to deal with the fallout from the accounting scandal.

The former Unilever executive has simplified operations, revitalising its core grocery business in Britain, while cutting costs and selling assets including its South Korean business for $6.1 billion.

Friday’s move marked a dramatic change of gear and signals even more focus on its British business where it has a 28 percent share of the grocery market.

It’s the next evolution of our strategy…We think it’s the right time,” Lewis told reporters, adding the deal was compelling in its own right and not a reaction to a tougher competitive environment. He said the two companies had been talking for more than a year.

However, analysts said the deal could face close regulatory scrutiny, particularly because of its impact on customers at smaller convenience stores and food industry suppliers.

Lewis said that Richard Cousins, CEO of Compass, the world’s biggest catering firm, and Tesco’s senior independent director before his Jan. 3 resignation, did not support the deal.

He, for his own reasons, didn’t feel it was something he supported,” said Lewis. Cousins could not be reached for comment.

INVESTORS PLEASED

Shares in Tesco traded up 9 percent at 206p and Booker had risen 16.7 percent to 213.8p by 1550 GMT.

The deal would give Tesco a greater slice of Britain’s 85 billion pounds “out of home” food market — including cafes, restaurants and takeaways — which is growing at a greater pace than the 110 billion pounds “eat at home” market.

Investors welcomed the transaction, that will also see Booker CEO Charles Wilson join the Tesco board.

We were surprised, pleasantly,” said Richard Marwood, senior fund manager at Royal London Asset Management which is a top ten Booker shareholder.

“Wilson has been a very well respected manager at Booker…Many people would see it as being a bit of coup having him go and work in Tesco,” he said.

Tesco will gain exposure to the 120,000 independent retailers, 107,000 small businesses and 450,000 caterers Booker serves. Booker clients include chains such as Wagamama, Carluccio’s, Byron, as well as celebrity chef Rick Stein.

Booker owns about 200 cash and carry warehouses in the UK and supplies the Budgens, Londis and Family Shopper grocery chains, which are run as franchise operations.

“This merger with Booker will further enhance Tesco’s growth prospects by creating the UK’s leading food business with combined expertise in retail, wholesale, supply chain and digital,” said Lewis.

COMPETITION ISSUES?

Tesco and Booker said the deal would lead to synergies of at least 200 million pounds within three years, from procurement, distribution and central functions, and would boost earnings per share in the second full year of the deal.

Implementation costs would be about 145 million pounds. Lewis said no job losses had been identified.

However, analysts said the deal could face close regulatory scrutiny.

“Our instant reaction is that the Competition and Markets Authority will have a field day with this,” said independent retail analyst Nick Bubb, noting that Tesco owns the One Stop chain that competes with Booker’s interest in convenience store retailing.

However, Lewis and Wilson, who owns about 6 percent of Booker’s equity, disagreed, saying their legal advice had indicated a “compelling story” to gain approval.

“As a retailer and a wholesaler coming together, this is not an acquisition of stores … independent retailers get a better deal here than perhaps they do on a standalone basis,” Lewis said.

Under the terms of the deal each Booker shareholder will receive 0.861 new Tesco shares and 42.6 pence in cash.

Based on Tesco’s closing share price on Thursday of 189 pence the deal represents a value of 205.3 pence per Booker share — a premium of about 12 percent.

The deal will result in Booker shareholders owning approximately 16 percent of the combined group.

Lewis said he thought the deal would complete in late 2017 or early 2018.

Greenhill acted as lead financial adviser to Tesco while Barclays and Citi also worked on the deal as financial advisers and corporate brokers on behalf of Tesco. JPMorgan was sole adviser to Booker.

(Additional reporting by Kate Holton, Ritvik Carvalho and Pamela Barbaglia; Editing by Keith Weir)

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BRITAIN: U.K. Buy NOW Pay Later in last 8-Years is reaching levels not seen since 2008 financial crash and shows no sign of abating and this time there will be NO rescue plan for many – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Jan.28: UK ‘ Credit Spending ‘ is approaching levels not seen since 2008 crash

Debt charity issues warning to government after unsecured consumer credit grew at fastest rate in more than 11 years

A credit boom that is close to levels not seen since the 2008 financial crash should set alarm bells ringing in Theresa May’s government, a debt charity has warned.

The latest figures from the Bank of England show that unsecured consumer credit, which includes credit cards, car loans and second mortgages, grew by 10.8% in the year to November to £192.2bn, picking up pace on the previous month to grow at its fastest rate in more than 11 years.

In September 2008, the month that Lehman Brothers collapsed and the banking crash triggered a worldwide recession, the level of UK consumer credit debt hit a peak of £208bn.

Credit card debts, which accounted for £66.7bn of the total, hit a record high last month as Britons used the plastic to fund shopping as never before in the run-up to Christmas.

The debt charity StepChange said the rise in debt levels would leave thousands of families vulnerable to higher levels of inflation and changes in income from wage cuts, divorce or redundancy.

Its head of policy, Peter Tutton, said: “Levels of outstanding borrowing are approaching the 2008 peak, and the growth rate of net lending is at its highest since 2005. Alarm bells should be ringing.

“Previous experience shows how such increases in the levels of borrowing can leave households over-indebted and vulnerable to sudden changes in circumstances and drops in income that can pitch them into hardship.

He added: “Lenders, regulators and the government need to ensure that the mistakes made in the lead-up to the financial crisis are not repeated and that there are better policies in place to protect those who fall into financial difficulty.”

Economists polled by Reuters expect economic growth to more than halve this year to a rate of 1.1%, as inflation rises to close to 3% from zero at the beginning of 2016 due to the effect of sterling’s sharp fall since June’s #Brexit vote.

Recent surveys of consumer confidence surveys have shown a sharp dip after a recovery from the panic that dented sentiment after the #Brexit vote.

The charity’s warning follows more than a year of intense competition among credit card companies for new customers, who are commonly offered 0% interest rates for several years.

Households have £66.7bn of credit card debt outstanding, up £400m on the previous month, while the total level of outstanding consumer credit reached £192.2bn, up £1.9bn on October.

Last month the Bank said some households were highly indebted and might struggle as unemployment rose, and separate data showed British households saved the lowest portion of their incomes since 2008 during the three months after the EU referendum.

But the Bank’s figures showed homeowners remained upbeat, with the number of mortgages for house purchase approved by lenders rising to an eight-month high of 67,505, from a slightly downwardly revised 67,371 in October.

The Bank forecast in November that mortgage approvals would slow to a monthly average of 65,000 over the next six months, and major lenders expect weaker house price growth.

Net mortgage lending, which lags behind approvals, rose £3.157bn in November, the Bank said, less than a forecast of £3.5bn in a poll of City economists.

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ZURICH, Switzerland. End bank secrecy laws From the beginning of January, a new international law that introduced the automatic exchange of bank data means foreign citizens with accounts can expect previously secret information to be shared with their home tax authorities, and vice versa – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Jan.28: A law effectively putting an end to Swiss banking secrecy has come into force.
Location of Switzerland. Source: CIA World Factbook.

http://bitly.com/2keza9H It’s a deal that’s been agreed in principle with around 100 countries, although the United States is notably missing.

However, it was under pressure from the US that the first cracks in Swiss banking secrecy appeared. Since 2009, Swiss banks have paid billions in fines for enabling Americans to evade taxes.

The US Justice authorities started clamping down on American tax evaders hiding cash in Swiss accounts almost a decade ago.

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#AFNews – ECB: Interest Rates: Refi-Rate at Zero and Deposit Rate At A Negative 0.40% on Friday Fox Bus News reported – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Jan.27: The European Central Bank left its key refi rate at zero. The ECB also left its deposit rate at a negative 0.40%.

That means banks continue to pay to have their money parked at the bank.

Asset purchases remain at 80 billion euros per month until end of March, then 60 billion euros per month until end of 2017.

#AceNewsDesk reports

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MARKET REPORT: US stocks close mixed after notching new all-time intraday highs on Thursday with earnings in focus after a maximum high of reaching 20,000 on Wednesday – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceReport – Jan.26: US Stocks Closed On A Mixed Session After Notching New All-Time Intraday Highs Since Trumps Inauguration Reaching 20,000 Points On Wednesday ….

CNBC reported on Thursday that “The [S&P 500] confirmed a breakout from its consolidation phase yesterday, supporting short-term upside follow-through and minimizing the likelihood of a significant pullback in the near term,” said Katie Stockton, chief technical analyst at BTIG.

“We believe the breakout overrules the bearish takeaways we can derive from the low level of the VIX and weak seasonal influences in February, for now at least,” Stockton said. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, hit its lowest levels in more than two years on Wednesday. It held around 10.9 on Thursday.

The Nasdaq composite held 0.02 percent lower, having hit a new all-time high earlier in the session.

The three major U.S. indexes closed at all-time highs on Wednesday, with the Dow breaking above 20,000 for the first time, an important psychological barrier.

“If you look at it from a technical perspective, [stocks] finally broke from that six-week range,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. “The market is giving the Trump administration more than the benefit of the doubt.”

Dow since US election1485458275_Untitled.pngSource: FactSet http://cnb.cx/2jjWHBx

One of the principal catalysts in sending stocks to record levels were a series of executive orders signed by President Donald Trump, including two that facilitate the construction of the Keystone XL and North Dakota Access pipelines.

“Until we get to the Fed meeting in March, I don’t see anything that could push us lower,” Schwab’s Frederick said. The Federal Reserve is scheduled to hold its first meeting of the year Jan. 30 through Feb. 1, though Frederick does not expect the central bank to move monetary policy then.

In economic news, initial jobless claims jumped 22,000 to 259,000, but have remained below 300,000 for 99 weeks straight, their longest stretch since 1970.

The U.S. IHS Markit services PMI showed the sector expanded at its fastest pace since 2015, hitting 55.1 from 53.9. “Anecdotal evidence suggested that stronger domestic demand and improving business confidence had led to a robust rise in service sector activity at the start of 2017,” IHS Markit said. New home sales fell 10.4 percent in December.

U.S. Treasury yields fell slightly, with the benchmark 10-year note yield hovering around 2.50 percent, while the short-term two-year note yield traded at 1.22 percent. The dollar regained some ground against a basket of currencies, having broken below 100 earlier this week. It traded 0.5 percent higher in afternoon ET, with the euro around $1.069 percent and the yen near 114.4.

Overseas, European and Asian equities rose broadly, following Wednesday’s bullish run on Wall Street. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index advanced 0.25 percent, while the Japanese Nikkei 225 gained 1.81 percent.

The iShares MSCI Mexico Capped ETF (EWW) fell more than 2 percent after Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said he would not attend a previously scheduled meeting with Trump. The Mexican peso hit a session low following the announcement.

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#AceBrexitNews – Barclays to make Dublin its #EU headquarters after #Brexit source close to the situation reported on Thursday – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Jan.26: Barclays to make Dublin it’s NEW EU HQ after #Brexit source …

Yahoo https://yhoo.it/2jiTt1d reports that they are preparing to make Dublin its EU headquarters for when Britain leaves the European Union, according to a source familiar with the matter on Thursday.

Global banks and insurers have begun signaling how they will put plans into action to cope with a “hard” exit from the European Union, after Prime Minister Theresa May said that Britain would leave the single market. Barclays already has a small unit in Dublin with around 100 people …

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#AFNews – Ecclestone removed after an $8 billion deal that saw US company Liberty Media take over the sport – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Jan.25: Ecclestone era ended as $8 billion deal sees Liberty Media acquire Formula 1 – RT Daily News
Preview Long-serving boss of Formula 1, Bernie Ecclestone, has been removed from his position as head of Formula 1 after an $8 billion deal that saw US company Liberty Media take over the sport.

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ATHENS, Ohio.University is hiking tuition, housing and meals for new students entering this fall but out of state students are not affected it was announced on Friday – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Jan.24: Ohio University hikes tuition fees for students entering in fall WTDN reports …..

The Columbus Dispatch reports the Board of Trustees at the Athens university approved the increases on Friday.

Undergraduate tuition will increase by 3.3 percent. Housing will rise 3.5 percent and culinary services will go up by 2 percent.

The hikes only apply to students for the 2017-18 school year. Those students won’t see further increases for four years under the school’s tuition guarantee.

The newspaper says in-state students enrolling this fall will pay about $11,069 each year. Students who enrolled before the tuition guarantee went into effect in the fall of 2015 will see a 2-percent hike.

Tuition for out-of-state students will remain unchanged.

http://bitly.com/2jo94xk

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WASHINGTON: New York Sen. Schumer is concerned about airlines charging passengers for the ability to use space in the overhead bin as one day airlines will be able to charge to stow a suitcase – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Jan.22: New York Senator Schumer said on Sunday airlines should not charge for overhead bin storage…

The New York Democrat says passengers who purchase new “basic” fares offered by United Airlines and American Airlines won’t be able to store carry-on baggage in the overhead bins.

He says he worries other airlines will follow suit and that one day all passengers might have to pay extra if they want to stow a suitcase overhead.

Schumer said Sunday that all passengers should be allowed to use the overhead bins without extra charges.

The airlines argue that the new “basic” fares are simply a way to give passengers a cheaper alternative to standard fares, which come with overhead bin privileges CBS local reported

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