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World Street | Freeze on Arctic gas, Japan’s fight with inflation, crypto breather, China gamers and Red Devils

From impact of Russian sanction on Arctic LNG to Iran’s denial of missile attack on oil tanker, and Nvidia’s help to Israel aid groups to X staffers’ battle for bonus, here’s a look at some of the developments from the world of business and economy.

Foreign investors leave Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 because of sanctions. Iran denies US drone strike accusation, Bank of Japan tackles inflation, Nvidia aids Israel-Hamas conflict victims, Toyota’s Daihatsu compensates suppliers amid production halt, while Nigeria lifts crypto ban. As China’s gaming rules disrupt markets, new game approval follows. X faces lawsuit over unpaid staff bonus, Maersk resumes Red Sea shipping, Jim Ratcliffe invests in Manchester United, showcasing diverse global impacts. All these and more in this edition of World Street.

Arctic Freeze

Foreign shareholders have suspended participation in the Arctic LNG 2 project due to sanctions, renouncing their responsibilities for financing and for offtake contracts for the new Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, says a report. The project, seen as a key element in Russia’s drive to boost its LNG global market share to 20 percent by 2030 from 8 percent, was facing difficulties due to US sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.

‘It’s Not Us’

Tehran denied on Monday the US allegation that a drone launched from Iran had struck a chemical tanker in the Indian ocean. The Pentagon said during the weekend that the Liberia-flagged, Japanese-owned and Netherlands-operated Chem Pluto ship was hit 200 nautical miles off the coast of India. “These repetitive accusations are rejected as baseless,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson said.

Managing Inflation

Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda said on Monday the likelihood of achieving the central bank’s inflation target was “gradually rising” and it would consider changing the policy if prospects of sustainably achieving the 2 percent target increase “sufficiently”. While companies are becoming more open to raising wages and prices, the key is whether wages will continue rising next year and lead to further increases in service prices, Ueda added.

Chipping for Peace

US chipmaker Nvidia and its employees have donated $15 million to Israeli and foreign non-profit organisations that are supporting civilians affected by Israel’s war with Palestinian militant group Hamas. Thousands of employees from more than 30 countries donated a total of $5 million, which the company matched and doubled to $10 million under a special programme introduced to help those affected by the war.

Paying Partners

Toyota Motor’s small car unit Daihatsu Motor will compensate 423 domestic suppliers with which it has direct business relations as its plants in Japan remain idled due to a safety scandal. The small car specialist has halted production in Japan until the end of next month.

Bitcoin Bulls

Nigeria’s central bank has lifted a ban on transacting in cryptocurrencies, while saying global trends had shown a need to regulate such activities. The Central Bank of Nigeria had in February 2021 barred banks and financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in crypto assets, citing money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

Gaming Rule Tweaks

China’s surprise draft rules to curb gaming expenses and limit incentives encouraging prolonged online activity spooked investors, and sent markets into a tailspin causing massive losses last week. Following the carnage, the officials said they would seriously study the industry’s reaction and improve the draft rules. Later, China approved 105 new online games, saying it fully supports the industry.

Bonus Battle 

A federal judge has ruled that X (formerly Twitter), must face a lawsuit after staff accused the company of failing to pay bonuses promised to them. The judge on Friday denied X’s motion to dismiss the case. Elon Musk’s X stands accused of failing to pay out annual bonuses to staff after its October 2022 acquisition by the billionaire despite repeated assurances from executives in the lead-up to and following the deal that the company would do so, according to a lawsuit filed in June 2023 on behalf of employees.

Maersk Resumes Sail

Denmark’s Maersk is preparing to resume shipping operations in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, the company said, citing the deployment of a US.-led military operation designed to ensure the safety of commerce in the area. The shipping giant paused sending vessels through the Bab el-Mandeb strait earlier in December due to attacks against its ships. That rendered the Suez Canal, which is key to global commerce, unusable for most routes.

Red Devils and Billionair

British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe had agreed to buy a minority stake in the storied Premier League club Manchester United. Ratcliffe, who owns petrochemicals giant INEOS and is one of Britain’s richest people, has secured a stake of “up to 25 percent” in the 20-time league champions and will invest $300 million in its Old Trafford stadium. As part of the deal, United said Ratcliffe would take responsibility for the club’s soccer operations.


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