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The Economist

  • What really happened to EgyptAir Flight 804?
    by The Economist online on July 14, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    GULLIVER is not the type of person to kick up a fuss on his travels, least of all when lucky enough to be at the front of the plane. But his patience was pushed to the limit a couple of years ago, when his EgyptAir flight from Cairo to London was blighted by the near-constant stench of cigarette smoke wafting in from the cockpit. Shackled by British meekness and an unwillingness to challenge a flight crew, your asthmatic correspondent suffered the coughs and tried instead to focus on work. Conversations with Egyptian friends later revealed that on-board cigarette smoke is hardly a rarity when flying with the North African flag-carrier. Naturally, anecdotes such as this provide only a snapshot of an airline’s safety standards. But it is a deeply disturbing snapshot given the stalled investigation into EgyptAir Flight 804, which crashed into the Mediterranean Sea during a routine flight from Paris to Cairo in 2016, killing all 66 people aboard. This month, France’s air-crash investigation agency, BEA, took the unusual step of criticising...Continue reading […]

  • MoviePass’s useful financial horror show
    by The Economist online on July 12, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    There goes $242mEVEN by the standards of Hollywood, it sounds an unlikely pitch—an app that offers almost unlimited access to cinemas for $10 a month. The service, called MoviePass, pays cinemas full price for nearly every ticket that filmgoers use. By design, it loses more money the more people use it. The ending seems to be predictable. But might it have a twist?MoviePass has burned far more cash even than its executives anticipated since introducing the unlimited plan in August last year. It has attracted more than 3m subscribers and will lose “at least” $45m this month, according to a filing to the Securities & Exchange Commission on July 10th by Helios & Matheson, a data firm which bought a majority stake in MoviePass last year and now owns 92% of it. Helios & Matheson reported it had lost $242m in the nine months to June 30th and that its monthly losses would increase as the service becomes more popular. The firm wants to issue more shares and...Continue reading […]

  • Is North Korea the next Vietnam? Don’t count on it
    by The Economist online on July 12, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    AS AMERICA presses North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons, it has pointed to Vietnam as an example of the prosperity that awaits the isolated state. “It can be your miracle in North Korea as well,” Mike Pompeo (pictured), the secretary of state, said on July 8th, on a visit to Hanoi. It is not the first time Vietnam has been held up as a model for North Korea. Over the years, officials from the two countries have discussed lessons from Vietnam’s reforms. North Korea sees Vietnam as less threatening than China and more of a peer, making it a more welcome mentor. But North Korea’s economic path is likely to be more fraught.Yes, there are similarities. Like North Korea’s economy today, Vietnam’s used to be largely collectivised. The Vietnamese Communist party’s ability to retain power at the same time as freeing markets must appeal to Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, who has vowed to improve his country’s economy. In 1985, on the eve of Vietnam’s Continue reading […]

  • Why the euro zone hasn’t seen more cross-border bank mergers
    by The Economist online on July 12, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    MERGERS of euro-area banks from different countries, a banker jokes, are “very much like teenage sex. There’s a lot of talk, but little action. And when it does happen, there’s a lot of disappointment.” In recent months gossip has linked each of France’s three biggest banks (BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Société Générale), as well as UniCredit, Italy’s largest, with Commerzbank, Germany’s second-biggest listed bank. Lately chatter has connected UniCredit and Société Générale. But no big, cross-border takeover is imminent.A stream of deals in the 2000s—notably UniCredit’s purchase of HypoVereinsbank, another leading German lender, in 2005—has slowed to a trickle (see chart, top panel). Policymakers at both the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) would like the flow to revive. The euro area’s banking markets are still essentially national ones. “European banking remains as fragmented today as it was in 2012,” notes Magdalena Stoklosa...Continue reading […]

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