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Oct 31, 2014

AB InBev profit capped by weak U.S., Brazil recession

BRUSSELS, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Anheuser-Busch InBev,
the world’s largest beer maker, increased earnings by less than
expected in the third quarter as U.S. consumers drank less,
Brazil fell into recession and Mexican cost savings dropped
sharply.

The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona has coped
with past sales falls by raising prices and selling more premium
beers, but the strategy had limited impact in the United States
and Brazil in the three months to Sept. 30, depressing earnings
in its two largest markets. Overall volumes dropped 2.7 percent.

Oct 30, 2014

Ukraine, Russia, EU agree to natural gas supply deal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Ukraine, Russia and the European Union signed a deal on Thursday that will see Moscow resume vital supplies of gas to its ex-Soviet neighbor over the winter in return for payments funded in part by Kiev’s Western creditors.

After several failed rounds of talks in recent weeks as conflict rumbles on despite a ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, the accord also eases concerns that a new “gas war” could disrupt winter supplies if energy to EU states, notably through pipelines shut down across Ukraine since June.

Oct 30, 2014

Trafigura could lift Nyrstar stake to tighten grip on zinc

LONDON/BRUSSELS, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Commodity trading giant
Trafigura could raise its stake in Belgium’s Nyrstar,
strengthening its grip on the world’s largest zinc producer as
tighter supplies and mine closures are forecast to boost prices
for the metal.

Industry sources say Trafigura, the world’s second-largest
metals trader, could as much as double its stake of just over 10
percent — a $120 million holding amassed this year which
already makes it the company’s top investor.

Oct 26, 2014

No new action needed at 2 Belgian banks failing ECB test

BRUSSELS, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Belgium’s central bank said on
Sunday that neither of the country’s two banks that failed the
Europe-wide health check would need to take extra measures
to boost their capital.

The European Central Bank found that Franco-Belgian lender
Dexia had a capital shortfall of 339.4 million euros
($430 million) at the end of 2013 and that AXA Bank Europe
was 200.2 million euros short.

Oct 24, 2014

World War One bombs a part of life in Belgium even 100 years on

YPRES Belgium (Reuters) – Pondfarm in western Belgium is used to digging up an unusual crop.

“It’s a fairly poor harvest,” said Stijn Butaye, 26, as he looked at a haul of 28 World War One shells unearthed with potatoes and beet in the last two weeks and awaiting collection by Belgium’s bomb disposal squad.

Oct 23, 2014

Merkel to Hollande: budget rigour, growth go together

BRUSSELS, Oct 23 (Reuters) – Germany and France both called
for economic growth to be at the heart of the euro zone’s budget
strategy on Thursday but German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned
against returning to the pre-crisis days of high spending to try
to revive the economy.

With the euro zone flirting with stagnation and deflation,
the leaders of the bloc’s two biggest economies put the emphasis
on growth as they arrived for an EU summit in Brussels. But
their comments betrayed starkly different visions on how to act.

Oct 23, 2014

Wet European summer dampens Heineken beer sales

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Heineken (HEIN.AS: Quote, Profile, Research), the world’s third-largest beer maker, reported lower than expected sales in the third quarter as Europeans drank less during a wet summer, but kept its forecast of improved profitability this year.

The Dutch brewer, which makes Europe’s best-selling Heineken lager as well as Sol, Tiger and Strongbow cider, said beer sales were barely changed in the July-Sept period with declines in both eastern and western Europe, but increases elsewhere.

Oct 22, 2014

Wet European summer leaves Heineken beer sales short

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Heineken (HEIN.AS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the world’s third largest brewer, reported lower than expected beer sales in the third quarter as Europeans drank less during a wet summer, but retained its full-year outlook.

The Dutch brewer, which makes Europe’s best-selling Heineken lager as well as Sol, Tiger and Strongbow cider, said beer sales were barely changed in the July-Sept period with declines in both eastern and western Europe, but increases elsewhere.

Oct 11, 2014

New Belgian government takes office with cost-cutting agenda

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgium’s new center-right government took office on Saturday, promising to raise the retirement age and slash costs by about 8 billion euros ($10 billion) to balance the national budget by 2018 and cut the country’s debt.

Charles Michel, 38, the youngest Belgian prime minister since 1841, and his team of 13 ministers and four state secretaries swore an oath in front of King Philippe before proceeding to parliament for their first cabinet meeting.

Oct 9, 2014

EU raids ethanol companies over price-fixing concerns

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission has raided ethanol companies in two EU countries as part of investigations into alleged price-fixing.

The Commission, which acts as the competition watchdog in the 28-member bloc, said on Thursday it had concerns that companies may have colluded in submitting price information used to set industry benchmarks for trading in Europe and globally.

    • About Phil

      "I am responsible for Reuters news out of Belgium and Luxembourg, which has led to many long nights outside parliament in Brussels awaiting news of fraught coalition talks and state bailouts of Belgian banks. I have previously worked in London, Amsterdam, where my work included consumer electronics group Philips and the Lockerbie trial, and Berlin, where I covered the Hamburg trials of suspected September 11 conspirators."
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