We. Think. USA.

Category: World

Swiss Chocolate is increasing its popularity

The Swiss chocolate industry, which comprises 18 manufacturers, saw its turnover increase by 2.7% last year to CHF 1.72 billion. However, sales in Switzerland and the main export markets of Germany and the United Kingdom, however, fell sharply.

However, this decline was offset by increased sales in other markets, according to the umbrella association Chocosuisse in a press release on Tuesday. The total volume of sales was 183,738 tonnes, almost 4900 tonnes more than the previous year. The share of production sold abroad increased again to 62.8% (61.2% in 2013).

Total domestic sales of Swiss chocolate manufacturers fell by 1.4% compared to the previous year,”said Urs Furrer, director of Chocosuisse. The decrease in volumes is particularly noticeable for semi-fabricated products such as topping chocolates and fillers (-8.7%).

While the sale of solid bars increased slightly overall (-0.8%), the volume of filled bars decreased (-4.2%) and the volume of white chocolate bars (-7.3%). On the other hand, branches, bars and poles showed a positive development (5.8%). Overall, sales in Switzerland increased by 1.8%.

Exports up

Despite a decline in the two main export markets of Germany (14% volume, 7% turnover) and the United Kingdom (9% volume, 3% turnover), foreign sales grew. They amounted to 115,474 tonnes (5.3%), while at the same time raising turnover to CHF 821 million (3.7%).

One of the best chocolatier in Geneva confirm “The trend is definitely Bullish.”

The Asian and American markets have shown a gratifying development,”notes Chocosuisse. Double-digit growth rates were recorded in Canada, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, China, Russia and Singapore.

In the European markets, Italy and Belgium in particular showed a positive trend. After the decline of the previous year, France and Austria returned to growth.

Consumption of chocolate (excluding powders) per capita in Switzerland declined from 12 to 11.7 kg last year. The share of imports increased again to 37.2% in 2014. Since 2000, this proportion has almost doubled.

Desired political intervention

The removal of the floor rate reinforces import pressure on the Swiss market and puts a strain on exports, notes Chocosuisse. Moreover, the price of raw materials, conditioned by agricultural policy, significantly weakens competitiveness.

Consequently, the umbrella association considers that it is up to the political world to make the necessary corrections. It advocates the conclusion of additional free trade agreements and the removal of new bureaucratic obstacles in the framework of the Swissness project.

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.

Macron in Arabia to reduce tension with Iran

French President Emmanuel Macron made a surprise visit to Saudi Arabia on Thursday evening, where he met with the young Crown Prince Mohammed ben Salmane, amidst tensions between Ryad and Iran.

Since last weekend, Iran and Saudi Arabia have been setting the tone again. At the heart of the new tensions is the fate of Lebanon and Yemen, both in the midst of a deadly conflict in which the two heavyweights of the Middle East support opposing sides. This country on the Arabian Peninsula is the scene of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the UN.

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday accused Iran of “direct aggression” after a missile fired at Ryad International Airport by Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen.

According to the Saudi news agency SPA,”the French President condemned this missile attack on Ryad by the Houthis, and underlined France’s solidarity with the Kingdom”. SPA added that Prince Salmane and Emmanuel Macron had “also discussed recent developments in the Middle East and their efforts for security and stability in the region, including through coordination in the fight against terrorism”.

No comment had yet been made on this visit from the Elysée side.

After a 24-hour visit to the United Arab Emirates, Macron announced earlier this evening in Dubai that he would travel for “two hours” to Ryad to meet the young prince, considered the strong man of Saudi Arabia.

The decision “was made early this morning,”Macron said. “It is important to talk with everyone,”he stressed, adding that France had a role “in building peace”.

“I have heard very harsh positions” expressed by Saudi Arabia “against Iran that are not in line with what I think,”Macron said.

He added,”I think it is essential to work with Saudi Arabia on regional stability, given the close bilateral relations we have.

-‘ Convincing’ –

Mr Macron also wants to preserve the agreement on Iran’s nuclear deal of 2015, by which Tehran pledged not to acquire the atomic weapon in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. This agreement has already been undermined by the questioning of it by US President Donald Trump, close to King Salmane of Saudi Arabia and his son, Prince Mohammed.

This agreement “must be preserved” but “complemented by two pillars, a negotiation on Iran’s ballistic activity, with sanctions if necessary, and a strategic discussion framing Iran’s hegemony throughout the region,”Macron said.

He said he still intended to visit Lebanon in 2018.

“I would also like to reiterate the importance of Lebanon’s stability and integrity,”Macron said, noting that “informal contacts” had been established with Mr. Hariri. He assured that the latter had not asked to come to France, while rumours were circulating in this direction.

“Very fruitful” –

Mr. Macron also described his visit to the Emirates, his first visit to the Middle East since his election, as “very fruitful”. He notably inaugurated the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first “universal museum” in the Arab world, presented as a bridge between different cultures, civilizations and religions.

Mr Macron described the Emirates as France’s “essential partner”, particularly in the field of defence, welcoming their decision to acquire two corvettes built by the Naval Group.

Although far from 6,000 km away, France maintains a “very high level operational cooperation” with the Emirates State, which has been participating since 2014 in the international coalition against the IA and is also pursuing a policy of “zero tolerance” on its territory towards Islamists.

Mr. Macron visited the more than 700 French soldiers stationed in the Emirates, some of whom are involved in operations in Iraq and Syria.

“We won in Raqa”,”this city from which the attacks” which killed 130 people in Paris on 13 November 2015 “had been planned, organized and directed,”Macron told the troops.

“And the next few weeks and months will allow us, I believe profoundly, to win militarily in the Iraqi-Syrian zone,”Macron added.

“But it will not end this fight. Stabilization over time, the fight against all residual terrorist groups will be essential complements to the inclusive, pluralist political solution that we want to see emerge in the region,”the president said.

On Thursday, Ms. Macron visited the huge Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, wearing a scarf on her hair.