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Date: 11 November 2017

China: Consumerist fever for “Bachelor’s Day”

China: Consumerist fever for “Bachelor’s Day”

At least 15 billion euros worth of transactions in half a day: the Chinese rushed Saturday on the online trading platforms for “Single Day”, a monster sale transaction that once again frightened the counters.

At midnight China time (16:00 GMT on Friday), Internet users rushed to their phones or computers to take advantage of the discounts offered during this event launched in 2009 by Alibaba, the national giant of Internet sales, and imitated since then by all the rival platforms.

Like the American “Black Friday”, 11 November – celebrated as the “day of singles” because of the succession of “1” in the date– is for Alibaba and its competitors the opportunity to massively boost their sales with great reinforcement of promotions… while inflating the business of the booming parcel delivery sector.

By mid-day on Saturday, Alibaba said it had recorded nearly $18 billion in transactions on its platforms since midnight via its Alipay electronic payment system.

This is a staggering figure that already surpasses last year’s record of 17.8 billion for the entire day, which was already a 32% jump over a year. This is equivalent to Mozambique’s annual GDP.

While more than 600 million Chinese own a smartphone, some 91% of the transactions on Alibaba’s main platform, Taobao, were carried out via mobile phone.

The event is considered a key barometer for gauging the evolution of the sector. Electronics, breast milk, rice, clothing, furniture, cosmetics… no segment is forgotten by monster sales.

Alibaba — which does not sell the products offered on these platforms by third parties, individuals or companies — is taking full advantage of the explosion of online commerce in China: during the quarter July-September, its turnover has increased by 61%.

Its performance on the New York Stock Exchange, where it is listed, places it shoulder to shoulder with the American giant Amazon as the world’s largest e-commerce value provider.

China’s number two in the sector, JD. com, also enjoyed Saturday’s consumer frenzy: on the first hour after midnight, it saw its sales of fresh food products swell by 350% over a year, and those of breast milk multiplied by five, according to a spokesman.

For Cheng Huaibao, the 28-year-old owner of a bunk-bed factory in Jiangsu (east), the “Single Day” represents a sixth of annual orders in 24 hours. Its village is one of the more than 1,300 “Taobao villages” living from the rise of online orders.

For the occasion, we offer countless discounts, and almost no benefits,”he told AFP,”but it’s hard to escape. “We’re just glad to be part of it.”

Ghana dreams of oil boom after border conflict with Abidjan

Ghana dreams of oil boom after border conflict with Abidjan

Accra – Ghana hopes to earn billions of dollars from oil exploitation to boost its economy at half mast, thanks to a court ruling that ruled in its favour in a maritime dispute with its Ivorian neighbour.

Accra has been producing black gold on a large scale since 2010, after the discovery of offshore deposits, considered to be the most important in West Africa for 10 years. A turning point that has led to renewed growth, propelling the English-speaking country to the rank of an emerging economy, and has aroused the interest of foreign investors.

But oil exploration was halted three years ago when Côte d’ Ivoire accused Ghana of offshore drilling encroaching on its territorial waters.

After unsuccessful negotiations, the case ended before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (TIDM), which finally ruled in September:”Ghana did not violate” Ivorian sovereignty.

According to the operator Tullow Oil, production from its Twenboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) fields – located on the border between the two countries – is currently about 50,000 barrels a day and will continue until the end of the year.

The goal is to reach 80,000 barrels per day through the commissioning of new wells within two years. The TEN fields are part of the Tano Basin, which is home to reserves estimated at 3 to 4 billion barrels.

Economist Theo Acheampong says that at the current price of $55 a barrel, Tullow’s fields in the Tano Basin could be worth up to $165 billion.

“This is really what was at stake in this decision,” said Mr. Acheampong of London-based IHS Markit.

And in this area of the Gulf of Guinea, known for its rich oil and gas, there is probably more to discover, he says.

Need for cooperation –

Compared to other oil-producing countries in Africa, such as Nigeria and Angola, which produce more than 1.5 million barrels per day, Ghana’s production remains marginal.

According to Mr. Acheampong, the billions expected from the exploitation of new deposits will not necessarily lead to the country’s economic recovery, however.

From 2011 onwards, the Ghanaian economy did indeed have a bright future, with growth rates above 14%, but then slowed down as inflation and public debt soared.

The government obtained a loan of $918 million from the International Monetary Fund in 2015, conditional on greater fiscal discipline, lower inflation and fiscal consolidation.

The recovery is expected to continue this year and in 2018 with growth estimates at 7.1% and 8.0%, according to the African Development Bank.

This will depend on “the commissioning of new hydrocarbon wells and the rapid resolution of technical problems that led to disturbances on the Jubilee petro-gas field (very large deposit also operated by Tullow Oil, ndlr) in 2016,”the financial institution added.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said last month that the court’s ruling had opened up “opportunities for development, progress and prosperity.

Over the past seven years, some $3.5 billion has been used to finance development projects, new roads and hospitals, according to official figures, as required by Ghanaian law, which requires the reinvestment of a portion of black gold revenues in priority sectors.

Côte d’ Ivoire, for its part, has pledged to “respect the decision” of the Tribunal de la mer and to “cooperate fully in its implementation”, in a communiqué signed jointly with Ghana in September.

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara has meanwhile visited Accra in October in what has been interpreted as a sign of reconciliation intended to reassure investors.

According to Benjamin Boakye, executive director of the African Centre for Energy Policy, rather than worsening relations, the court’s ruling paradoxically seems to have strengthened the ties between the two neighbours.

“Given the number of discoveries on both sides of the border, it is possible that at some point in time countries may have to come together (to manage a discovery together,”Boakye told AFP. “So this kind of cooperation is necessary.”

Trump and Putin:”No military solution” in Syria (Kremlin)

Trump and Putin:”No military solution” in Syria (Kremlin)

Moscow – U. S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agree that there is no “military solution” possible to the war in Syria, the Kremlin said citing a joint statement.

“The Presidents agree that the conflict in Syria has no military solution” and have confirmed their “determination to defeat the EI” (Islamic State Group), according to the Kremlin website. According to Moscow the joint statement was approved in the margins of the Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam.

The two heads of state, during the summit in Danang, exchanged twice a handshake and a few words, but without any real face-to-face contact.

“The Presidents confirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and secular nature” and called on all parties to participate in the UN talks in Geneva, says the Kremlin.

The Russian military command recently accused the United States of “pretending only” to fight the EI in Iraq and hindering Russia’s counter-offensive in eastern Syria.

“The President also discussed the need to reduce human suffering in Syria, and called on all UN member states to increase their contribution to meeting humanitarian needs in the coming months,”the Kremlin said.

Russia has been conducting a bombing campaign in Syria since 2015 in support of President Bashar al-Assad in support of Syria, and has turned the conflict in its favour

French medias are happy since they’re growing fastly

Supported on the one hand by the digital kiosks of the telephone operators, and on the other hand by intense news coverage and efforts on exclusive content, several national titles are improving their sales, an improvement in a period that remains difficult for the press.

Sales of the national dailies have risen almost continuously during the first three quarters of the year, according to figures published by the ACPM-OJD, which has just released September’s data.

In September, the national daily press (now in France, La Croix, les Echos, L’ Equipe, Le Figaro, Libération, Le Monde) saw its circulation increase by an average of 1.50% compared to September 2016.

In detail, five newspapers recorded increases in circulation: Le Monde (+6.55% to 284,431 copies), Le Figaro (+3.18% to 304,591 copies), L’ Equipe (+3.15% to 247,877 copies), Libération (+0.89% to 73,354 copies) and Les Echos (+0.06% to 129,431 copies).

On the other hand, La Croix (-3.33% to 89,118 copies) and Today in France (-10.16% to 120,373 copies) saw their circulation decline, as did Le Parisien (-3.13%, 200,379 copies).

We’ve been on a positive trend for several months now,”points out Philippe Rincé, general manager of the ACPM-OJD,”an increase that can be explained by two factors:”a year of strong news” and “the shift from print to digital, with a standard bearer that is Le Monde”.

In September, the evening paper sold an average of 120,916 digital copies every day (subscription or sale of exclusively digital copies). The group is expected to end the year with 160,000 purely digital subscribers, said CEO Louis Dreyfus at Stratégies magazine, without specifying the current number.

– Takeoff –

“Today we have titles, notably Monde, Le Figaro, Les Echos and L’ Equipe which took off on the digital scene. With very attractive rates, they are able to recruit new, purely digital subscribers,”emphasizes Philippe Rincé.

This phenomenon was accentuated by the kiosks of telephone operators,”particularly SFR Presse, which gave new readers the opportunity to access the national daily press,”he continued.

The optional SFR Presse application, offered as an option and included in several SFR packages, gives access to 80 titles, including Le Figaro and Libération. More recently, Bouygues Télécom and Orange launched similar offers.

Sales of “digital versions by third parties”, where the number of newspapers downloaded via these applications are recorded, posted impressive growth for September: +145% for Libération, +100% for L’ Equipe, +50% for Le Figaro.

However, the model is far from unanimous: at the end of October, the founder of Free and shareholder of Le Monde Xavier Niel compared the service to “a VAT scam”, deploring that “making the press free is destroying it”, in the Clique program on Canal+.

Both the print and digital press benefit from a reduced VAT rate, which is passed on to the operators offering this service. An opportunity that the law could take away.

Alain Weill, who has just been appointed CEO of SFR, defended a model that will explode “and could” change the distribution model of the press “in front of the Paris Audiovisual Club. He also assured Stratégies that SFR will have made it possible to pay 50 million euros to press publishers in early 2018.

“It is an important element but it is also a very young one, we will have to look at whether the use is taking place. If it takes hold, we can have a major growth driver ahead of us,”emphasizes Philippe Rincé.

However, digital technology is more difficult to monetize than paper.

Le Monde, which has decided not to participate in digital kiosks, ensures that Lemonde. fr is the group’s most profitable activity, according to Louis Dreyfus, which highlights the “investments made in editorial writing” and “exclusive content”.

The survey by the Paradise Papers has thus enabled Le Monde website to almost triple its digital subscribers this week compared to a normal week.