Five fascinating business facts – Part 54
US oil production has returned to its record high point, 47 years after the previous peak as the shale revolution that was temporarily set back by low crude prices has reignited. The government estimated last week that US output was at just 10.04m barrels per day last November, fractionally below the previous record set in November 1970. The US remains a net oil importer, but imports of oil have fallen sharply to 2.5m b/d from a peak of 12.9m b/d in 2006.
Congo is heading for a stand-off with some of the world’s largest mining companies after legislators passed a revised mining law to increase taxes on cobalt, an important metal for electric vehicle batteries. Under the amended legislation, royalties for cobalt could rise from 2 per cent to 10 per cent just as global carmakers look to secure supplies of the metal to meet ambitious targets for production of electric vehicles. The law also sets higher tax rates for copper and gold in the resource-rich country. The chief executives of Glencore and Randgold, have both travelled to the DRC to oppose the new law, which still has to be signed by President Joseph Kabila.
From Alibaba in e-commerce to Didi Chuxing in ride-hailing, Chinese start-ups have changed the landscape of the global tech industry. And now they are coming for cars. A handful of China-based fledgling companies have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in venture funding and launched electric vehicle prototypes in the past few months, all aiming to copy Tesla’s success in the US. Experts say the arrival of electrification in the car industry may give new players a slice of the $620bn-a-year Chinese car industry. About 28m vehicles were sold in China last year, one-third of the world’s total.
Rising exports will help Rwanda’s economy to soon expand by its long term annual average of about 8 percent, its finance minister said last week. Claver Gatete said the economy had expanded by an average of 8 percent per year since 2000, but it had dipped to an estimated 5.2 percent last year due to sluggish growth in the construction sector and other challenges. “We want to go back to the high growth of 8 percent,” he told Reuters, citing last year’s third quarter growth, which was 8 percent. “We are coming out of the woods.” The International Monetary Fund said last November it expected Rwanda to grow by around 6-7 percent this year. Gatete said exports jumped 43.7 percent in the first 11 months of last year, while imports declined 1.4 percent, leading to a 21.3 percent reduction of the trade deficit.
French President Emmanuel Macron says he would push to double French investment in Tunisia over five years to buttress the country’s faltering economy and its democratic transition. “A number of companies have already confirmed their willingness to invest,” Macron said in an address to the Tunisian parliament, without naming any firms. The French president had pledged more than 270 million euros ($335 million) in new financing for Tunisia as he began a two-day state visit to the North African country.
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