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Etihad Credit Insurance inks agreement with Greece’s Export Credit Insurance Organisation

DUBAI, 29th November, 2021 (WAM) — Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), the UAE Federal export credit company, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Greece’s Export Credit Insurance Organisation (ECIO), to enhance the bilateral trade and economic cooperation between the UAE and Greece.

The two state export credit agencies will support local businesses of both countries operating in agriculture, construction, steel and aluminium, ceramics, renewable energy, mechanical, and waste management with trade finance tools to help them grow internationally. The partnership will also boost the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps and enhance halal trade through the promotion and utilisation of Sharia-compliant finance solutions.

This agreement follows the recent UAE-Greece high-level diplomatic meetings between H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, with Nikos Dendias, Foreign Minister of Greece in Washington DC; and Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, with Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek Prime Minister in Athens. These discussions reviewed the prospects of strengthening the strategic partnership ties between the two nations and deliberated many regional and international issues of interest, including the latest developments in the eastern Mediterranean and the importance of strengthening peace and stability in the region.

Under this new alliance, ECI and ECIO will explore mutual opportunities in insurance, reinsurance, and co-insurance. They will also exchange expertise and best practices in commercial underwriting, risk management, country assessment, claims and recovery.

Massimo Falcioni, CEO of ECI, emphasised the steady growth in the UAE-Greece relations across various fields, including bilateral trade and investments, thanks to the strategic partnership and friendly ties between the two nations.

"We are pleased to forge this new alliance with the export credit agency of Greece, which will be instrumental for the growth and increased competitiveness of UAE exporters. This agreement will help businesses from both countries to expand on a global scale, backed by a wide range of credit insurance solutions, market intelligence, and ease of access to international trade. It will also protect SMEs and large enterprises from both commercial and non-commercial risks they come across in their business journey," Falcioni said.

Meanwhile, Gregory Stamatopoulos, Director-General of ECIO, said, "Building on the long-term bilateral relationship between Greece and the UAE, this partnership will play a pivotal role in enhancing the economic stability and trade strength of both countries. We are very pleased to sign this collaboration with ECI because we believe this will create far-reaching benefits for Greek businesses as they look to grow beyond our borders. At ECIO, it is our objective to cover the needs of all export businesses by providing credit insurance services with simultaneous financing, while using simple procedures."

The Secretary-General for International Economic Affairs of the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Smyrlis, welcomed the signing of the memorandum as the beginning of a new era for ECIO. The strengthening of the role of the Organisation as a key tool for the support and promotion of exporting companies comes as a tangible result of the Greek Government's decision to incorporate under the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs all relevant actors for economic diplomacy.

In 2020, the UAE and Greece established a strategic partnership based on a solid basis of friendship and mutual respect, which dates back to 1976 when the respective countries set up a joint committee for economic, cultural and technical cooperation.

Today, the partnership between the two nations encompasses a broad spectrum of cooperation in diverse fields, comprising economics, politics, defence, culture, governance, and food security. Over the years, the UAE and Greece joined forces to promote and enhance economic relations, resulting in an increased trade relation between the countries.

In 2020, the non-oil foreign trade between the United Arab Emirates and Greece stood at AED1.2 billion, up 41 percent from AED850 million in 2019, data from the UAE Ministry of Economy shows.

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Russia allows gas flows to Gazprom Marketing & Trading for 90 days

Russia gave permission for natural gas supplies to Gazprom Marketing & Trading Singapore Ltd, part of Gazprom Germania, from Yamal LNG project for 90 days, a government decree showed on Wednesday.
The move comes less than two weeks after the Kremlin said that Russian sanctions imposed on state gas company Gazprom’s former German unit and other entities meant they could not receive gas supplies from Russia.
Germany, Russia’s top client in Europe, in early April transferred Gazprom Germania, an energy trading, storage and transmission business ditched by Russia’s Gazprom, to its energy regulator to ensure energy security.
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Energy ties between Russia and Europe plunged into crisis after Moscow started what it calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24 and the West responded with sweeping sanctions that put Russia on the brink of recession and a default on external public debt.
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Dieselgate: Volkswagen settles UK emissions class action for £193 million

Volkswagen settled its UK class action lawsuit for £193 million ($242 million) with more than 90,000 drivers impacted by the emissions scandal.

No admissions of liability have been made by Volkswagen and the terms and conditions are confidential, according to a statement from the auto giant.

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A separate contribution toward the claimants’ legal costs and other fees will be made by the company.

Volkswagen alongside law firms Slater & Gordon, Leigh Day and PGMBM, who were representing the claimants in the case, said Wednesday that both sides had come to the out of court settlement and as many as 91,000 claims had been resolved.

The automaker has faced numerous lawsuits in what’s been dubbed the ‘dieselgate litigation’ after the use of the software designed to lower emissions when being tested was exposed as fraudulent by a US investigation in 2015.

That led to a recall throughout Europe that cost the company billions of euros and massive fines from European regulators.

“The settlement is another important milestone as the Volkswagen Group continues to move beyond the deeply regrettable events leading up to September 2015,” Philip Haarmann, chief legal officer of Volkswagen, said.

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Turkey’s lira falls beyond 16.3 vs dollar as FX need grows

Turkey’s lira slid beyond 16.35 against the dollar on Wednesday to its weakest level since the depths of a December crisis, as analysts questioned authorities’ ability to continue steadying it without new sources of foreign currency.

The lira has weakened 9 percent this month and 19 percent this year, despite months of costly interventions in which the central bank has sold dollars to soften the blow and the state has backed an FX-protected deposit scheme.

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The currency dipped as far as 16.3515 and stood at 16.3300 at 1257 GMT, after a 1 percent fall against the greenback.

On Dec. 20, the emerging market currency hit a record low of 18.4 after a series of unorthodox interest rate cuts which pushed it down 44 percent on the year as a whole. In response, inflation has since leapt to 70 percent in April.

The lira held mostly steady early this year due to the government’s scheme, known as KKM, that protects some depositors against lira depreciation. The central bank has also sought to meet the market’s foreign-currency needs since the December crisis.

But those efforts to keep the currency steady have taken their toll on the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey’s (CBRT) already depleted reserves, according to bankers.

“We estimate that the CBRT’s FX sales exceeded $30 billion in the January-April period,” said economist Haluk Burumcekci, adding that balance sheet data showed sales were more intense in May.

Adjusted for swaps, the bank’s net international reserves fell by another $7.7 billion after the first 20 days of May, he said.

Data last Friday showed the central bank’s net international reserves dropped some $3.5 billion to $11.53 billion in the week to May 13. Bankers calculate that they fell to $10 billion or less in the following week.

Economists say rate hikes could help relieve both the lira and reserves. But President Tayyip Erdogan’s opposition to policy tightening has left few expecting a turnaround any time soon, including when the bank meets on Thursday.

Robin Brooks, chief international economist at the Institute of International Finance, said “intense depreciation pressures” are rising. “We think risk of a severe overshoot – much like in 2021 – is high, given rising global recession risk and the big credit expansion in Turkey,” he said on Twitter.

The war in Ukraine began harming the lira in March as Western sanctions on Russia sent energy prices soaring, pushing up Turkey’s already hefty import bill and fueling inflation.

On Tuesday, the cost of insuring Turkey’s debt against default shot to its highest since the 2008 global financial crisis. IHS Markit data showed 5-year credit default swaps (CDS) had risen to 730 basis points from 704 points.

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