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Apr 4, 2014

Belgian Trappists overwhelmed by world’s best beer tag

WESTVLETEREN, Belgium, April 4 (Reuters) – Having a beer
rated as the world’s best and selling out in minutes should be a
brewer’s dream, but for the Trappists who brew Westvleteren ale
at a monastery in western Belgium it seems more of a burden.

Monks at the Sint Sixtus abbey have been selling to locals
since 1878, limiting production so that brewing never took over
monastic life or earned more than the community needed.

Mar 31, 2014

Snam, Fluxys to pool assets in European gas pipeline drive

MILAN/BRUSSELS, March 31 (Reuters) – Italy’s Snam
and Belgium’s Fluxys have agreed to extend a joint
venture to pool gas assets in Europe that could help create a
more unified gas market across the continent and make it easier
to trade gas.

The move comes at a time when Europe is increasing efforts
to reduce its dependence on Russian gas after Moscow’s
annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region raised the spectre of
possible pipeline interruptions.

Mar 31, 2014

Euro zone inflation drops to lowest since 2009

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone inflation hit its lowest level since November 2009 in March, a shock drop that raises expectations the European Central Bank will take radical action to stop the threat of deflation in currency bloc.

Annual consumer inflation in the 18 countries sharing the euro was 0.5 percent in March, with the pace of price rises cooling from February’s 0.7 percent reading, the EU’s statistics office Eurostat said on Monday.

Mar 30, 2014

ECB wrestles with ‘danger zone’ inflation

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Central Bank’s dilemma over barely rising prices seems likely to dominate a week starting with a euro zone inflation estimate and ending with U.S. jobs figures, the monetary policy driver on the other side of the Atlantic.

After more than a month of East-West tensions centered on Russia’s annexation of Crimea, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin finally spoke to each other on Friday, suggesting a possible diplomatic path out of crisis.

Mar 14, 2014

EU struggles to convince U.S. to export gas under trade pact

BRUSSELS, March 14 (Reuters) – The European Union has yet to
convince Washington to commit to exporting U.S. gas under a
transatlantic trade deal despite two days of talks on the issue,
highlighting the challenges Europe faces to reduce its reliance
on Russian energy.

Tension between Russia and the West over the future of
Ukraine is spurring the European Union to renew efforts to end
decades of dependence on Russian gas. One solution would be
greater access to abundant U.S. resources.

Feb 26, 2014

AB InBev sees return to growth in Brazil with World Cup boost

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the world’s largest brewer, forecast the Brazilian and Mexican beer markets would return to growth this year due to the soccer World Cup and stronger economies, but cautioned about higher input and marketing costs.

The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona said the World Cup would boost beer sales by 1 to 2 percentage points in Brazil, its second-largest market which shrank last year due to a wet summer and high inflation that sapped disposable income.

Feb 23, 2014

Euro zone inflation to offer clues on ECB action

BRUSSELS, Feb 23 (Reuters) – Euro zone inflation due on
Friday will be firmly in the sights of financial markets eager
to establish whether the European Central Bank (ECB) has enough
ammunition to ease monetary policy in the following week.

Inflation in the 18-member euro zone unexpectedly slowed to
0.7 percent year-on-year in January, matching a four-year low
set last October and confounding expectations for a rise to 0.9

Feb 19, 2014

Carlsberg sees higher 2014 profit after strong year end

COPENHAGEN, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Carlsberg forecast
profit growth in the year ahead after strength in western Europe
and Asia offset sluggish sales in Russia to drive earnings
higher than expected in the fourth quarter.

The Danish brewer, the world’s fourth largest, said on
Wednesday its operating profit would grow by a high single-digit
percentage on a like-for-like basis in 2014 after an 11 percent
expansion in 2013.

Feb 16, 2014

Fed to shed light on frozen U.S. economy

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve’s stimulus taper and China’s slowdown, twin factors behind this year’s emerging market sell-off, will come firmly into view in the week ahead with minutes from the former and a leading survey on the latter.

After reassuring European growth on Friday and weak U.S. retail sales on Thursday, major data will be in short supply.

Feb 12, 2014

Heineken sees return to revenue growth from emerging markets

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Heineken (HEIN.AS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the world’s third-largest brewer, forecast a return to revenue growth this year with higher beer sales in Africa, Asia and Latin America after a slowdown in a number of emerging markets in 2013.

The maker of Dutch maker of Heineken, Europe’s top-selling lager, Sol, tequilla-flavored Desperados and Strongbow cider said on Wednesday that 2013 had been a challenging year with difficulties in eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa.

    • 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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