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News round-up, March 8, 2023 8 by GERMÁN & CO

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German Toro Ghio's picture
CEO, Germán & Co

Germán José Manuel Toro Ghio, son of Germán Alfonso and Jenny Isabel Cristina, became a citizen of planet Earth in the cold dawn of Sunday, May 11, 1958, in Santiago, capital of southern Chile....

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  • Mar 8, 2023

Quote of the day… 

Without a doubt, Ukraine is absolutely not involved in the excesses on the pipelines," Mykhailo Podolyak, a political adviser to Zelenskiy, said in a statement.



Most read…

Pro-Ukraine group sabotaged pipelines, intelligence suggests - NYT

"It does not make the slightest bit of sense."


India's oil deals with Russia dent decades-old dollar dominance

The country is the world's number three importer of oil and Russia became its leading supplier after Europe shunned Moscow's supplies following its invasion of Ukraine begun in February last year.


Time Women of the Year 2023: Quinta Brunson, Cate Blanchett, more honored

“Our annual Women of the Year list examines the most uplifting form of influence by spotlighting leaders who are using their voices to fight for a more equal world,” Time Executive Editor Naina Bajekal and Senior Editor Lucy Feldman said in a statement. “Many of them have faced immense challenges that inspired them to push for change.”


CERAWeek - Russia wild card to keep oil markets on edge, execs warn

"There is very small spare capacity available so small changes in supply have impact," said Anders Opedal, Chief executive of Norwegian energy giant Equinor (EQNR.OL). "It is easy for the market to move in either direction."


”We’ll need natural gas for years…

— but can start blending it with green hydrogen today, AES CEO, Andrés Gluski says…


  Imagen: Germán & Co

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton was a French entrepreneur and designer whose name has become iconic in the fashion world.

Who Was Louis Vuitton?

Napoleon's wife engaged Louis Vuitton to be her personal packer and box maker after he became the Emperor of France in 1852. As the Louis Vuitton brand developed into the well-known luxury leather and lifestyle brand it is today, and this gave Vuitton access to elite and royal clients who would use his services throughout his life.

Early Life

Vuitton was born on August 4, 1821, in Anchay, a small hamlet in eastern France's mountainous, heavily wooded Jura region. Descended from a long-established working-class family, Vuitton's ancestors were joiners, carpenters, farmers, and milliners. His father, Xavier, was a farmer, and his mother, Coronne Gaillard, was a milliner.

Vuitton's mother passed away when he was only ten, and his father soon remarried. As legend has it, Vuitton's new stepmother was as severe and wicked as any fairy-tale Cinderella villain. A stubborn and headstrong child, antagonized by his stepmother and bored by the provincial life in Anchay, Vuitton resolved to run away for the bustling capital of Paris.

On the first day of tolerable weather in the spring of 1835, at 13, Vuitton left home alone and on foot, bound for Paris. He travelled for over two years, taking odd jobs to feed himself and staying wherever he could find shelter as he walked the 292-mile trek from his native Anchay to Paris. He arrived in 1837, at the age of 16, in a capital city in the thick of an industrial revolution that had produced a litany of contradictions: awe-inspiring grandeur and abject poverty, rapid growth, and devastating epidemics.

Become More Prominent

The successful box maker and packer Monsieur Marechal took in the young Vuitton as an apprentice in his store. Making and packing boxes was a highly regarded and fashionable craft in 19th-century Europe. All packages were built specifically to fit the items being stored and were personally loaded and emptied. It only took Vuitton a few years to establish himself as one of the city's leading practitioners of his new trade among Paris' stylish class.

Sixteen years after Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte landed in Paris, on December 2, 1851, he staged a coup d'état. He took on the regal name Napoleon III and became the Emperor of France precisely one year later. Putting back in place the showing the same stubborn, can-do spirit he displayed by walking almost 300 miles alone at the age of 13, Vuitton immediately devoted himself to restoring his business. Within months he had built a new shop at a new address, 1 Rue Scribe. Along with the new address also came a new focus on luxury. Located in the heart of the new Paris, Rue Scribe was home to the prestigious Jockey Club and had a decidedly more aristocratic feel than Vuitton's previous location in Asnieres. In 1872, Vuitton introduced a new trunk design featuring beige canvas and red stripes. The simple yet luxurious new design appealed to Paris' new elite and marked the beginning of the Louis Vuitton label's modern incarnation as a luxury brand.

Legacy and Death

Vuitton ran his business out of 1 Rue Scribe for the following 20 years, inventing high-end, opulent luggage until his death on February 27, 1892, at 70. However, the Louis Vuitton brand survived the end of its namesake creator. The Louis Vuitton brand expanded under his son Georges, who designed the company's distinctive LV monogram and subsequent generations of Vuittons, becoming the well-known luxury leather and lifestyle brand it is today. 

  Image: Germán & Co

Pro-Ukraine group sabotaged pipelines, intelligence suggests - NYT


KYIV, March 8 (Reuters) - Intelligence reviewed by U.S. officials indicates that a pro-Ukrainian group was behind last year's attacks on the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines, but there was no evidence of the Kyiv government's involvement, the New York Times reported.

The undersea explosions, seven months into the Russia-Ukraine conflict, on the pipelines between Russia and Germany occurred in the exclusive economic zones of Sweden and Denmark in the Baltic Sea. Both countries have concluded the blasts were deliberate, but have not said who might be responsible.

Tuesday's New York Times report cited U.S. officials as saying there was no evidence that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy or his top aides were involved or that the perpetrators were acting at the behest of any Ukrainian government officials.

"Without a doubt, Ukraine is absolutely not involved in the excesses on the pipelines," Mykhailo Podolyak, a political adviser to Zelenskiy, said in a statement.

"It does not make the slightest bit of sense."

The United States and NATO have called the Sept. 26 attacks "an act of sabotage", while Russia has blamed the West and called for an independent probe. Neither has provided evidence.

Reuters could not independently verify the report.

On the battlefront, Russian forces continued to pound Bakhmut and nearby regions in a push to secure their first major victory in more than half a year.

Zelenskiy, who has vowed to defend the besieged eastern Ukrainian city, repeated a familiar message on Tuesday that reclaiming occupied territory was his major goal.

"We are doing everything to liberate our land as quickly as possible, to put a historic end as quickly as possible to attempts to deny freedom to our country and our people," Zelenskiy said in a video address that he has delivered nightly since Russia invaded on Feb. 24 last year.


Ukrainian forces repelled attacks on Bakhmut and Ivanivske, on the town's western approaches, as well as on Klishchiivka, on its southern approaches, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a statement on Tuesday.

There were 37 attacks alone on the road leading to Sloviansk, a major town in Donetsk region to the west of Bakhmut, Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said on YouTube.

"The Russian command has taken a decision ... to bring in as much artillery as possible. But the number of artillery attacks has declined as there has been a gradual decline in the amount of ammunition available," Zhdanov added.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia's Wagner mercenary group which has been spearheading the battle for Bakhmut, has accused Russia's defence ministry of deliberately starving his men of ammunition, an accusation the ministry rejects.

In a post on Telegram, Prigozhin made pointed reference to the defence minister Sergei Shoigu, saying he "had not seen him in Bakhmut" and that Wagner forces were coming up against well-equipped Ukrainian forces.

While Russia has made gains in recent weeks around Bakhmut, its winter offensive has otherwise been a failure, yielding no significant gains in major assaults further north and south.

Shoigu said capturing Bakhmut would allow Moscow's forces to mount further offensive operations deeper inside Ukraine, while Kyiv has vowed to continue defending the city.

"The main task of our troops in Bakhmut is to grind the enemy's fighting capability, to bleed their combat potential," Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for Ukraine's eastern military command, told the Ukrainian public television.

Russian losses in Bakhmut are between five and eight times greater than Ukraine's, military expert Pavlo Narozhniy told Ukrainian NV Radio. "It is critical to inflict heavy losses."

He expects a Ukrainian counter-offensive to get underway in earnest over April-May when the weather is better and more military aid arrives, including heavy battle tanks.

Elsewhere, Russian forces attacked the Ukrainian-held town of Nikopol opposite the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, the General Staff statement said.

Reuters was unable to verify battlefield accounts.


U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and discussed Russia's invasion and challenges posed by China, the White House said.

Moscow accuse the United States and its allies of using Ukraine to wage war against it. Rejecting that claim, Kyiv and the West say that Ukraine is fighting against an attempted land grab by Russia.

China has proposed a peace plan that Russia is paying close attention to, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Responding to Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang's remark that the Ukraine crisis seemed to be driven by an "invisible hand", Peskov said "this is not an invisible hand, this is the hand of the United States of America."

Separately, President Vladimir Putin issued special thanks to female military personnel, saying their courage amazes even the "most hardened fighters", in a message to mark International Women's Day on March 8, a public holiday in the country.

  Image: A view shows a one Russian rouble coin inside a bulb with crude oil at a laboratory in the Yarakta Oil Field, owned by Irkutsk Oil Company (INK), in Irkutsk Region, Russia in this picture illustration taken March 12, 2019. Picture taken March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko/Illustration/File Photo

India's oil deals with Russia dent decades-old dollar dominance


NEW DELHI/LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) - U.S.-led international sanctions on Russia have begun to erode the dollar's decades-old dominance of international oil trade as most deals with India - Russia's top outlet for seaborne crude - have been settled in other currencies.

The dollar's pre-eminence has periodically been called into question and yet it has continued because of the overwhelming advantages of using the most widely-accepted currency for business.

India's oil trade, in response to the turmoil of sanctions and the Ukraine war, provides the strongest evidence so far of a shift into other currencies that could prove lasting.

The country is the world's number three importer of oil and Russia became its leading supplier after Europe shunned Moscow's supplies following its invasion of Ukraine begun in February last year.

Top 5 increases of Russian oil cargoes

India's top crude oil suppliers since 2011

After a coalition opposed to the war imposed an oil price cap on Russia on Dec. 5, Indian customers have paid for most Russian oil in non-dollar currencies, including the United Arab Emirates dirham and more recently the Russian rouble, multiple oil trading and banking sources said.

The transactions in the last three months total the equivalent of several hundred million dollars, the sources added, in a shift that has not previously been reported.

The Group of Seven economies, the European Union and Australia, agreed the price cap late last year to bar Western services and shipping from trading Russian oil unless sold at an enforced low price to deprive Moscow of funds for its war.

Some Dubai-based traders, and Russian energy companies Gazprom and Rosneft are seeking non-dollar payments for certain niche grades of Russian oil that have in recent weeks been sold above the $60 a barrel price cap, three sources with direct knowledge said.

The sources asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Those sales represent a small share of Russia's total sales to India and do not appear to violate the sanctions, which U.S. officials and analysts predicted could be skirted by non-Western services, such as Russian shipping and insurance.

Three Indian banks backed some of the transactions, as Moscow seeks to de-dollarise its economy and traders to avoid sanctions, the trade sources, as well as former Russian and U.S. economic officials, told Reuters.

But continued payment in dirhams for Russian oil could become harder after the United States and Britain last month added Moscow and Abu Dhabi-based Russian bank MTS to the Russian financial institutions on the sanctions list.

MTS had facilitated some Indian oil non-dollar payments, the trade sources said. Neither MTS nor the U.S. Treasury immediately responded to a Reuters request for comment.

An Indian refining source said most Russian banks have faced sanctions since the war but Indian customers and Russian suppliers are determined to keep trading Russian oil.

"Russian suppliers will find some other banks for receiving payments," the source told Reuters.

"As it is, the government is not asking us to stop buying Russian oil, so we are hopeful that an alternative payment mechanism will be found in case the current system is blocked."


Paying for oil in dollars has been the nearly universal practice for decades. By comparison, the currency's share of overall international payments is much smaller at 40%, according to January figures from payment system SWIFT.

Daniel Ahn, a former chief economist at the U.S. State Department and now a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, says the dollar's strength is unmatched, but the sanctions could undermine the West's financial systems while failing to achieve their aim.

"Russia's short-term efforts to try and sell things in return for currencies other than the dollar is not the real threat to Western sanctions," he said.

"(The West) is weakening the competitiveness of their own financial services by adding yet another administrative layer."

The price cap coincided with an EU embargo on imports of Russian seaborne oil, rounding off a year of bans and sanctions, including largely expelling Russia from the SWIFT global payments system.

Around half of its gold and foreign exchange reserves, which stood near $640 billion, were frozen.

In response, Russia said it would seek payment for its energy in the currency of "friendly" countries and last year ordered "unfriendly" EU states to pay for gas in roubles.

For Russian firms - as payments were blocked or delayed even if they were not violating any sanctions, due to overly zealous compliance - dollars became potentially a "toxic asset", independent analyst and former adviser at the Bank of Russia Alexandra Prokopenko, said.

"Russia desperately needs to trade with the rest of the world because it's still dependent on its oil and gas revenues so they are trying all options they have," she told Reuters.

"They're working on building a direct infrastructure between the Russian and Indian banking systems."

India’s largest lender State Bank of India has a nostro, or foreign currency, account in Russia. Similarly, many banks from Russia have opened accounts with Indian banks to facilitate trade.

IMF Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath said in the month after Russia's invasion of Ukraine that sanctions on Russia could erode the dollar's dominance by encouraging smaller trading blocs using other currencies.

"The dollar would remain the major global currency even in that landscape but fragmentation at a smaller level is certainly quite possible," she told the Financial Times. The IMF did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Beyond Russia, tensions between China and the West are also eroding the long-established norms of dollar-dominated global trade.

Russia holds a chunk of its currency reserves in renminbi while China has reduced its holdings of dollars, and Russian President Vladimir Putin said in September Moscow had agreed to sell gas supplies to China for yuan and roubles instead of dollars.


India in the last year displaced Europe as Russia's top customer for seaborne oil, snapping up cheap barrels and increasing imports of Russian crude 16-fold compared to before the war, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Russian crude accounted for about a third of its total imports.

Fossil fuel shipment departures

India's oil imports from various regions

While India does not recognise the sanctions against Moscow, the majority of purchases of Russian oil in any currency have complied with them, trade sources said, and almost all sales have taken place at levels below the price cap.

Even so, most banks and financial institutions are cautious about clearing any payments to avoid unwittingly breaching any international law.

For Indian refiners that in recent weeks started settling some Russian oil purchases in roubles, according to the trade sources, payments have been processed in part by the State Bank of India via its nostro roubles account in Russia.

Those transactions are mostly for oil purchases from Russian state energy giants Gazprom and Rosneft, the sources added. Bank of Baroda and Axis Bank have handled most of the dirham payments, the sources added.

The banks, Gazprom and Rosneft did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

India has prepared a framework for settling trade with Russia in Indian rupees should rouble transactions be cut off by further sanctions, the sources said.

Asked for comment, the U.S. Treasury referred to the assertion by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen two weeks into the war: "I don’t think the dollar has any serious competition, and is not likely to for a long time."

Reporting By Noah Browning and Nidhi Verma, Additional reporting by Sidhhi Nayak; Editing by Veronica Brown and Barbara Lewis

Seaboard: pioneers in power generation in the country

…Armando Rodríguez, vice-president and executive director of the company, talks to us about their projects in the DR, where they have been operating for 32 years.

More than 32 years ago, back in January 1990, Seaboard began operations as the first independent power producer (IPP) in the Dominican Republic. They became pioneers in the electricity market by way of the commercial operations of Estrella del Norte, a 40MW floating power generation plant and the first of three built for Seaboard by Wärtsilä.

  Image: Time

Time Women of the Year 2023: Quinta Brunson, Cate Blanchett, more honored

“Our annual Women of the Year list examines the most uplifting form of influence by spotlighting leaders who are using their voices to fight for a more equal world,” Time Executive Editor Naina Bajekal and Senior Editor Lucy Feldman said in a statement. “Many of them have faced immense challenges that inspired them to push for change.”


Time magazine released its annual Women of the Year list, which highlights influential women across society, from “activism and government, to sports and the arts.” A handful of female entertainers, including actress-producer Quinta Brunson and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, have been selected as honorees for their unique impact.

“Our annual Women of the Year list examines the most uplifting form of influence by spotlighting leaders who are using their voices to fight for a more equal world,” Time Executive Editor Naina Bajekal and Senior Editor Lucy Feldman said in a statement. “Many of them have faced immense challenges that inspired them to push for change.”

Check out the women being spotlighted for their game-changing star power.

Quinta Brunson, from left, Cate Blanchett, Angela Bassett and Phoebe Bridgers are honorees featured on Time magazine's 2023 Women of the Year list.  

Quinta Brunson’s ‘Abbott Elementary’ diversity is women-led

The “Abbott Elementary” creator and star, who made her TV debut in the 2015 mini-series “You Do You,” has become a comedic force thanks to her work on the ABC sitcom about a ragtag group of public schoolteachers, which she executive produces and writes.

“The mockumentary’s satirical yet loving portrayal of teachers, janitors, principals and parents trying to make ends meet at an underfunded public school is a homage to their real counterparts everywhere,” Brunson’s Women of the Year profile reads.

Brunson credits the diversity of the series to her primarily female writers’ room.

“We hear each other out on what we think makes these characters layered,” Brunson told Time. “Everyone’s open to taking the lead and taking charge on these stories.”

Cate Blanchett shows women are ‘imperfect creatures’ through film

The Oscar-winning actress is up for Academy Awards gold again this year, receiving a best lead actress nomination for her performance in the music drama “Tár,” in which Blanchett plays embattled orchestra director Lydia Tár.

Blanchett is “drawn to multi-shaded characters who don’t court our approval…but Lydia Tár, in all her self-destructive glory and compelling unlikability, is like no one else we’ve ever seen onscreen,” the actress’ Women of the Year profile reads.

Depicting the multifaceted nature of womanhood authentically is important, Blanchett explained.

“We’re all imperfect creatures. And sometimes we don’t want to look at the unthinking, unintentional, inexplicable, ambiguous sides of being female,” Blanchett told Time. “We are brave, we are noble, we are generous, we are collaborative. But we are also the dark side of that because women are complex beings.”

Cate Blanchett says 'Tár' is her 'hardest film' to talk about. It could also win her a third Oscar.

Phoebe Bridgers hopes abortion advocacy ‘makes a difference’

The indie rock princess who burst onto the scene with 2017’s “Stranger in the Alps” has used her platform to advocate for women’s rights, including access to abortion.

In June, the “Kyoto” singer led an explicit chant against the “irrelevant” Supreme Court at Glastonbury Festival for “telling us what to do with our (expletive) bodies.”

“I hope it makes a difference,” Bridgers told Time, noting that she’s witnessed parents take their children out of her concerts when she’s spoken about abortion. “I hope those parents are going to lose the battle with that kid’s opinions and belief systems.”

Angela Bassett has learned ‘it’s important to give to yourself first’

Actress Angela Bassett, who starred as Ramonda in Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” earned a best supporting actress nomination at this year’s Oscars for her performance in the adventure drama.

Bassett said the characters she’s played over the years have taught her about the complexity and deeper humanity of being a woman.

“Women are called upon to be wives, sisters, friends, mothers, community leaders, activists, and we have it in our core to be these things,” Bassett told Time. “But it’s important to give to yourself first, and then you have more to share with the world.”

  Image: Germán & Co

CERAWeek - Russia wild card to keep oil markets on edge, execs warn


HOUSTON, March 7 (Reuters) - Executives and officials from some of the world's top oil and gas companies said on Tuesday energy markets are balanced now, but could easily be disrupted due to tight spare production capacity and supply uncertainties related to Russia's war in Ukraine.

The comments at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston show the industry remains on edge after weathering the initial aftermath of one of the biggest shocks to global energy flows in recent memory. A temperate winter helped by giving major consumers in Europe a reprieve from typically high demand for heating fuels.

"There is very small spare capacity available so small changes in supply have impact," said Anders Opedal, Chief executive of Norwegian energy giant Equinor (EQNR.OL). "It is easy for the market to move in either direction."

Opedal predicted natural gas supply uncertainty faced by Europe since Russia invaded Ukraine and cut off regional supplies will continue in 2024 and likely 2025. Tighter global crude supplies are also possible after the Kremlin's threat last month to cut 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of supply from March.

On Monday, U.S. energy executives and top OPEC officials discussed concerns about a lack of spare oil production capacity at a private dinner on the sidelines of the conference, an executive who attended said.

"We may have gotten through this winter surprisingly well, but I don't think we're out of the woods yet," said Michael LaMotte, senior managing director of investment firm Guggenheim Partners. "And things actually could get worse before they get better."

Algeria, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is in the process of investing $40 million in upstream business to satisfy demand, especially demand in Europe, said Mohamed Arkab, the country's minister of energy and mines.


Tight spare capacity makes it critical for governments sanctioning Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine to put a price cap on Russian oil instead of capping the country's ability to export crude, said Frederic Lasserre, Gunvor's global head of research and analysis.

U.S. energy envoy Amos Hochstein said the price cap - designed to reduce Russian revenues without slowing its exports - was working well, as Russian oil was still finding its way to market.

The Group of Seven countries, the European Union and Australia implemented the price cap on seaborne cargoes of Russian oil on Dec. 5, setting it at $60 a barrel.

On Feb.5, the G7 and allies also implemented a price cap on Russian fuel sales.

On Tuesday, the Kremlin said it did not recognize the price cap.

Though Russian oil is still getting to market, it is at different costs, as ships must travel longer distances to get the crude to countries that have not imposed sanctions, said Chevron CEO Mike Wirth.

OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais said on Tuesday that he was not concerned about the rerouting of Russian crude exports to countries such as China and India.


Officials including chief executives from Gunvor and Kuwait Petroleum Corp have reassured attendees at CERAWeek that the oil market has stabilized and reached balance, leaving behind fears of shortages this winter of crude, gas and fuel.

However, the oil market outlook later this year becomes murkier as companies, consumers and governments wrestle with factors ranging from fears of a potential global recession and higher interest rates to growing energy demand from China as it exits coronavirus restrictions.

China's oil demand will grow 500,000 to 600,000 barrels per day in 2023, OPEC's Al Ghais said, while global oil demand growth is expected to grow 2.3 million barrels per day in 2023.

Crude prices may rise in the second-half of the year as Chinese demand returns to the market, Gunvor Chief Executive Torbjorn Tornqvist said on Monday.

On Tuesday, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers the central bank will likely need to raise interest rates more than expected to control inflation.

"This year is going to be a harder environment... driven by wider macro economics, also combined with what is going on with flows from Russia," said Savvas Manousos, CEPSA's executive vice president of global trading.


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Germán & Co



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