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Feb 27, 2013

EU Commission proposes import duties on Chinese ceramics

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission is proposing long-term import duties on ceramic plates and other tableware and kitchenware from China even though a majority of EU member states opposed their imposition late last year.

The EU’s executive body is recommending definitive duties of between 13.1 and 36.1 percent, a lower rate than the provisional duties set in November.

Feb 27, 2013

AB InBev sees higher Brazil sales, U.S. margin recovery

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the world’s biggest brewer, forecast a pick up in sales in Brazil and easing cost pressures in the United States would help it bounce back from a slow start to the year in its two largest markets.

The maker of Budweiser and Stella Artois makes about 80 percent of revenue in the Americas, shielding it from recession-hit Europe but still giving it a mix of trading conditions with fast-growing emerging markets and a more mature U.S. business.

Feb 21, 2013

Dexia suffers second year of loss after fire sales

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Nationalised Franco-Belgian lender Dexia (DEXI.BR: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) posted a second year of heavy losses in 2012 after fire sales, higher funding costs and asset writedowns, and forecast another loss this year.

The company, once the world’s largest municipal lender, is almost an irrelevance as an investment, with shares that are hardly traded valued at just 0.04 euros, compared with a May 2007 peak of 22.56 euros.

Feb 14, 2013

Euro zone economy falls deeper than expected into recession

BRUSSELS/BERLIN, Feb 14 (Reuters) – The euro zone slipped
deeper than expected into recession in the last three months of
2012 after its largest economies, Germany and France, shrank at
the end of a wretched year for the region.

It marked the currency bloc’s first full year in which no
quarter produced growth, extending back to 1995. For the year as
a whole, gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.5 percent

Feb 14, 2013

AB InBev revises Modelo deal to meet US objections

BRUSSELS, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Anheuser-Busch InBev,
the world’s largest brewer, has revised the terms of its $20.1
billion takeover of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo to
overcome U.S. government objections that it would have
restricted competition.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit to
block the deal on the grounds that it removed an independent
competitor and could have led to higher U.S. beer prices.

Feb 14, 2013

EU, U.S. to start free trade talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The United States and European Union aim to start negotiating a vast Transatlantic free trade pact by June, though the plan confirmed on Wednesday faces many hurdles before it might help revive the world’s top two economies.

A deal would be the most ambitious since the founding of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, embracing half of world output and a third of all trade. It reflects impatience with the lack of a new global agreement to cut tariffs and ease commerce.

Feb 13, 2013

EU, U.S. fire starting gun for free trade talks

BRUSSELS, Feb 13 (Reuters) – The United States and the
European Union agreed on Wednesday to push for the launch by the
end of June of talks to create the world’s biggest free trade
alliance, which could be a benchmark for global competitors to
follow.

Such a deal would be most ambitious attempted since the
founding of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995,
encompassing half the world’s economic output and a third of
global trade flows.

Feb 13, 2013

Heineken sees growth regions offsetting weak Europe

BRUSSELS, Feb 13 (Reuters) – Heineken, the world’s
third-largest brewer, beat expectations for 2012 profit and said
Africa, Asia and the Americas should drive continued volume and
revenue growth, offsetting weak European markets.

Europe’s largest beer maker also said on Wednesday that
savings that should outweigh rising costs.

Feb 12, 2013

EU prepares plan to revive European steel

BRUSSELS, Feb 12 (Reuters) – EU ministers and the European
Commission urged ArcelorMittal on Tuesday to postpone
planned capacity cuts until they firm up proposals to
reinvigorate Europe’s steel sector.

Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani said the world’s
largest steelmaker should delay restructuring in Europe until
the Commission produced an action plan by June.

Feb 7, 2013

Umicore sends shares lower with warning of profit drop

BRUSSELS, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Belgian speciality materials
group Umicore forecast a further decline in operating
profit this year, warning of a squeeze in its recycling business
and no marked improvement in other activities.

Its shares dropped to their lowest level in six months.

The recycling business, including recovery of precious
metals from old computers and mobile phones, delivered 28
percent of Umicore’s sales and 61 percent of operating earnings
in the past year and was the only business not to suffer a
decline in profit in the second half.

    • 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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