But Mr. Townsend and other chess ‌‌aficionados say that goal is a long shot. Still, Maksym is clearly skilled, Mr. Townsend said.

“Does that mean he’s going to become a grandmaster ever, let alone at the age of 12? Not necessarily,” he said.

Still, Maksym is nothing if not determined. He wakes at 5 a.m. each day to practice online before school and until recently had regular online training sessions with a Ukrainian chess grandmaster through the Ukrainian Chess Federation.

So far, his lucky outfit and his hours of training have served him well as he wins competition after competition in England. In late July, he and his mother traveled to Greece for the European Youth Chess Championship, where he won in two categories — rapid and blitz — in his age group.

Like many former Soviet nations, Ukraine has a long tradition of strong chess grandmasters, Mr. Townsend explained, but often the expectation is of total dedication to the game from a young age.

“You would see it as a place where chess is taken a lot more seriously than it is here,” Mr. Townsend said. Parents put young children into rigorous training programs, and school is often second to chess.

“It’s such a massive, culturally different approach to chess playing,” Ms. Townsend said. As a diversion from chess, she has enjoyed showing Maksym how to cook, taking him on nature walks, and building with Lego pieces.

But much of Maksym’s time is still dedicated to chess, and Mr. Townsend has been keen to help him get involved in local tournaments.

On a recent Saturday morning, he took Maksym and Ms. Kryshtafor to a Quaker school in York for a competition involving 120 youths ages 7 to 18. Boards were lined up on tables in a gym, filled with row after row of children tapping clocks and moving pieces.

Some of the children were so small that when seated, their feet swung above the floor. Maksym’s sneakers barely touched it.

He sat, fidgeting slightly, while the organizers rattled off the rules in English. He did not understand much of what was being said, but he knows how to play. His first match was over in under a minute.

He ran into the hall where Ms. Kryshtafor was waiting and embraced her. After the next match, Maksym again went running out to his mother.

“Too easy,” he said with a smile. “I made a checkmate.”

Before the fifth match, Maksym pressed his forehead against his mother’s and she whispered some words of encouragement. His opponent, an older boy, arrived just before play began.

Maksym rested his chin on his hand and smiled until, suddenly, he realized he had made a mistake. He pulled at tufts of his hair, twisting them around his fingers. He eventually lost to the boy, and after they shook hands, he wiped tears from his eyes.

Maksym eventually placed second in the competition. By the end, he seemed more interested in chatting with a group of children who had organized a game of tag outside.

His long hair flew behind him as one of the children chased him.

“He’s just a child,” his mother said as she watched him frolic. “He works so hard with chess that sometimes you forget he’s just a child.”

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

China’s Options for Punishing Taiwan Economically are Limited

In retaliation for Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week, China conducted large-scale military exercises around the self-governing island democracy and suspended some trade between the sides.

The exercises led to a few shipping disruptions, but they did not affect traffic at Taiwanese or Chinese ports, analysts say. And the trade bans were notable mainly for what they did not target: Taiwan’s increasingly powerful semiconductor industry, a crucial supplier to Chinese manufacturers.

The bans that Beijing did impose — on exports of its natural sand to Taiwan, and on imports of all Taiwanese citrus fruits and two types of fish — were hardly an existential threat to the island off its southern coast that it claims as Chinese territory.

Taiwanese pineapples, wax apples and grouper fish, among other products.

a self-governing island democracy of 23 million people, as its territory and has long vowed to take it back, by force if necessary. The island, to which Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese forces retreated after the Communist Revolution of 1949, has never been part of the People’s Republic of China.

“The political message is greater than the economic hit,” said Chiao Chun, a former trade negotiator for the Taiwanese government.

Even though about 90 percent of Taiwan’s imported gravel and sand comes from China, most of that is manufactured. China accounted for only about 11 percent of Taiwan’s natural sand imports in the first half of this year, according to the Bureau of Mines.

The two types of Taiwanese fish exports that China restricted last week — chilled white striped hairtail and frozen horse mackerel — are collectively worth about $22 million, less than half the value of the Taiwanese grouper trade that was banned earlier this year. They are also less dependent on the Chinese market.

As for Taiwan’s half-a-billion-dollar citrus industry, its shipments to China account for only 1.1 percent of the island’s total agricultural exports, according to Taiwan’s Agriculture Council. A popular theory is that Beijing singled out citrus farmers because most orchards are in southern Taiwan, a stronghold for the governing political party, the Democratic Progressive Party, a longtime target of Beijing’s anger.

Future bans may become more targeted to punish industries in counties that are D.P.P. strongholds, said Thomas J. Shattuck, an expert on Taiwan at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House. There may also be less retaliation against counties run by the Kuomintang opposition party “in an attempt to put a finger on the scale for Taiwan’s local, and even national, elections,” he added.

increasingly indispensable node in the global supply chains for smartphones, cars and other keystones of modern life. One producer, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, makes roughly 90 percent of the world’s most advanced semiconductors, and sells them to both China and the West.

simulated a blockade of Taiwan.

Even though some of the exercises took place in the Taiwan Strait, a key artery for international shipping, they did not disrupt access to ports in Taiwan or southern China, said Tan Hua Joo, an analyst at Linerlytica, a company in Singapore that tracks data on the container shipping industry. He added that port congestion would build only if the strait was completely blocked, port access was restricted or port operations were hampered by a labor or equipment shortage.

“None of these are happening at the moment,” he said.

Vessels that chose to avoid the Taiwan Strait last week because of the Chinese military’s “chest beating” activities would have faced a 12- to 18-hour delay, an inconvenience that would generally be considered manageable, said Niels Rasmussen, the chief shipping analyst at Bimco, an international shipping association.

If Beijing were to escalate tensions in the future, it would indicate that it was willing to put at risk China’s own economy as well as its trade and relations with Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States, Mr. Rasmussen said by phone from his office near Copenhagen.

“That’s just difficult to accept that they would take that decision,” he added. “But then again, I didn’t expect Russia to invade Ukraine.”

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

In a Summer of Feints, Russia and Ukraine Try to Predict Enemy’s Next Move

SLOVIANSK, Ukraine — At one point on the front line, Ukrainian soldiers advanced by creeping on their bellies 50 yards at a time, digging new trenches at every stop. Elsewhere, soldiers with the 93rd Brigade captured about three miles of wheat fields — and a Russian tank. Another unit liberated a village last week.

Out on the rolling plains of eastern Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, soldiers and commanders are pointing to these modest gains as a measurable result of Ukraine’s strategy of publicly, and frequently, making its intentions known to attack Russian forces along another front: southern Ukraine.

The Russian Army, Ukrainian officials and Western analysts say, has been diverting soldiers to the south to meet a potential offensive — allowing Ukraine to regain slivers of land in the east.

strike with precision far behind Russian lines.

making a difference, but with everything in this war, much remains opaque: Rumors run rampant, propaganda is pervasive, and both Ukraine and Russia are quick to tout advanced weapons — like the HIMARS — while keeping operational details secret.

Some analysts say Russia’s slowdown in the east has less to do with splitting its attention or Ukraine’s weapons than with a need to rebuild and redeploy its battered forces.

The Pentagon highlighted that problem in a news briefing on Monday, where Colin Kahl, under secretary of defense for policy, estimated that 70,000 to 80,000 Russian troops had been killed or wounded since the invasion began, a staggering loss that exceeds the official U.S. military casualty counts in the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

the podcast “War on the Rocks,” on Monday. But he added that Russian forces were still testing lines in the east, putting pressure on Ukrainian forces in the northeast, and making at least a limited attack in the south. “So you see now a kind of much more active battlefield,” he said.

Regional leaders on Monday outlined the steady toll of that activity. Mayor Ihor Terekhov of Kharkiv, in the northeast, which Russians have bombarded steadily since failing to seize it early in the war, reported at least seven explosions early on Sunday and said shelling continued on Monday, killing one civilian and damaging several homes.

“There is definitely no military infrastructure in this peaceful and densely populated area,” he wrote on Telegram.

In the eastern province of Donetsk, part of the Donbas, the regional official Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote on Telegram that Russian forces had killed five civilians and injured 17 on Sunday.

In the Donbas, the Russian Army has narrowed its offensive at least for now to an assault on the city of Bakhmut and the towns of Pisky and Avdiivka, all of which are being hammered daily by artillery.

On a recent visit, Bakhmut seemed to be teetering. Explosions and the metallic whistles of incoming shells rang out every few minutes. The only people on the streets appeared to be drunk, poor or elderly, with nowhere to run.

With the enemy close and tensions high, some vigilantism emerged. Residents beat an apparently intoxicated man who had started a fire with a cigarette.

The deputy mayor, Oleksandr Marchenko, said in an interview that Russians were closing in from three sides about six miles outside town, pointing to smoke from burning villages nearby. An outdoor market was reduced to a tangle of twisted sheet metal from obliterated stalls. In one backyard, a body lay under a sheet beside a fresh shell crater.

The fighting in the countryside between the Donbas towns, in contrast, has been a war of small steps that Ukrainian forces say are mostly in their favor. Soldiers are still dying every day, but Russia’s once-punishing artillery barrages targeting front lines have petered out, compared to their earlier furious pace.

On a recent, sweltering summer morning, Sgt. Serhiy Tyshchenko walked a warren of trenches dug into a tree line, tracing his troops’ slow advance on a southern rim of the eastern front line.

The focal point of the war has moved elsewhere, he said. “Our position is not a priority for us or for them,” he said.

He advanced by sending troops crawling on their stomachs at night among the roots and leaves of acacia trees, along three parallel tree lines beside wheat fields. Each time, they dug new trenches, gradually pushing back the Russians.

When he reached the former Russian line, a panorama of garbage emerged: Water bottles, empty cans of fish, plastic bags and discarded ammunition boxes lay everywhere. Flies buzzed about.

“They don’t care” said Sergeant Tyshchenko, “because it’s not their country.”

Yurii Shyvala contributed reporting from Sloviansk and Bakhmut, Ukraine, Maria Varenikova from Kyiv, Ukraine, Emma Bubola from London, Anastasia Kuznietsova from Mantua, Italy, and Alan Yuhas from New York.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

UK leadership candidate Truss: junk food taxes “are over”

LONDON, Aug 2 (Reuters) – The frontrunner to become British prime minister, Liz Truss, said she would scrap plans to restrict multi-buy deals on food and drink high in fat, salt, or sugar and would not impose any new levies on unhealthy food.

Britain already taxes sugar in soft drinks, and in May delayed until October next year rules banning deals such “buy one get one free” on food and drink high in fat, salt or sugar due to the cost-of-living crisis. read more

“Those taxes are over,” Truss said in an interview with the Daily Mail. “Talking about whether or not somebody should buy a two-for-one offer? No. There is definitely enough of that.”

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Truss said Britons wanted the government to focus on things like delivering good transport links, communications infrastructure and cutting National Health Service waiting lists.

“They don’t want the government telling them what to eat,” she said.

The ban was also due to include restrictions on free refills for soft drinks in restaurants. Limits on the location of unhealthy foods in shops are still due to go ahead in October.

Opinion polls of Conservative Party members, who will elect their new leader and the country’s next prime minister, show Truss is leading her rival former finance minister Rishi Sunak ahead of a result due on Sept. 5.

The chairman of Britain’s biggest supermarket group Tesco (TSCO.L), John Allan, in June criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government for not being consistent on policy, including over anti-obesity measures. read more

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan. Editing by Andrew MacAskill

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

How a New Corporate Minimum Tax Could Reshape Business Investments

WASHINGTON — At the center of the new climate and tax package that Democrats appear to be on the verge of passing is one of the most significant changes to America’s tax code in decades: a new corporate minimum tax that could reshape how the federal government collects revenue and alter how the nation’s most profitable companies invest in their businesses.

The proposal is one of the last remaining tax increases in the package that Democrats are aiming to pass along party lines in coming days. After months of intraparty disagreement over whether to raise taxes on the wealthy or roll back some of the 2017 Republican tax cuts to fund their agenda, they have settled on a longstanding political ambition to ensure that large and profitable companies pay more than $0 in federal taxes.

To accomplish this, Democrats have recreated a policy that was last employed in the 1980s: trying to capture tax revenue from companies that report a profit to shareholders on their financial statements while bulking up on deductions to whittle down their tax bills.

reduce their effective tax rates well below the statutory 21 percent. It was originally projected to raise $313 billion in tax revenue over a decade, though the final tally is likely to be $258 billion once the revised bill is finalized.

would eliminate this cap and extend the tax credit until 2032; used cars would also qualify for a credit of up to $4,000.

Because of that complexity, the corporate minimum tax has faced substantial skepticism. It is less efficient than simply eliminating deductions or raising the corporate tax rate and could open the door for companies to find new ways to make their income appear lower to reduce their tax bills.

Similar versions of the idea have been floated by Mr. Biden during his presidential campaign and by Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts. They have been promoted as a way to restore fairness to a tax system that has allowed major corporations to dramatically lower their tax bills through deductions and other accounting measures.

According to an early estimate from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, the tax would most likely apply to about 150 companies annually, and the bulk of them would be manufacturers. That spurred an outcry from manufacturing companies and Republicans, who have been opposed to any policies that scale back the tax cuts that they enacted five years ago.

Although many Democrats acknowledge that the corporate minimum tax was not their first choice of tax hikes, they have embraced it as a political winner. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, shared Joint Committee on Taxation data on Thursday indicating that in 2019, about 100 to 125 corporations reported financial statement income greater than $1 billion, yet their effective tax rates were lower than 5 percent. The average income reported on financial statements to shareholders was nearly $9 billion, but they paid an average effective tax rate of just 1.1 percent.

“Companies are paying rock-bottom rates while reporting record profits to their shareholders,” Mr. Wyden said.

told the Senate Finance Committee last year. “This behavioral response poses serious risks for financial accounting and the capital markets.”

Other opponents of the new tax have expressed concerns that it would give more control over the U.S. tax base to the Financial Accounting Standards Board, an independent organization that sets accounting rules.

“The potential politicization of the F.A.S.B. will likely lead to lower-quality financial accounting standards and lower-quality financial accounting earnings,” Ms. Hanlon and Jeffrey L. Hoopes, a University of North Carolina professor, wrote in a letter to members of Congress last year that was signed by more than 260 accounting academics.

the chief economist of the manufacturing association. “Arizona’s manufacturing voters are clearly saying that this tax will hurt our economy.”

Ms. Sinema has expressed opposition to increasing tax rates and had reservations about a proposal to scale back the special tax treatment that hedge fund managers and private equity executives receive for “carried interest.” Democrats scrapped the proposal at her urging.

When an earlier version of a corporate minimum tax was proposed last October, Ms. Sinema issued an approving statement.

“This proposal represents a common sense step toward ensuring that highly profitable corporations — which sometimes can avoid the current corporate tax rate — pay a reasonable minimum corporate tax on their profits, just as everyday Arizonans and Arizona small businesses do,” she said. In announcing that she would back an amended version of the climate and tax bill on Thursday, Ms. Sinema noted that it would “protect advanced manufacturing.”

That won plaudits from business groups on Friday.

“Taxing capital expenditures — investments in new buildings, factories, equipment, etc. — is one of the most economically destructive ways you can raise taxes,” Neil Bradley, chief policy officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. He added, “While we look forward to reviewing the new proposed bill, Senator Sinema deserves credit for recognizing this and fighting for changes.”

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

The Children of War

No victim of war emerges without suffering some kind of loss: A home eviscerated. A loved one vanished. A life snatched away.

Yet no one loses as much to war as children — scarred by its ravages for a lifetime.

In Ukraine, time is dwindling to prevent another “lost generation” — the oft-used expression not only for young lives taken, but also for the children who sacrifice their education, passions and friendships to shifting front lines, or suffer psychological scars too deep to be healed.

The online ticker at the top of a Ukrainian government page, “Children of War” flickers with a grim and steadily rising tally: Dead: 361. Wounded: 702. Disappeared: 206. Found: 4,214. Deported: 6,159. Returned: 50.

“Every one of Ukraine’s 5.7 million children have trauma,’’ said Murat Sahin, who represents the United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF, in Ukraine. “I wouldn’t say that 10 percent or 50 percent of them are OK — everyone is experiencing it, and it takes years to heal.”

According to humanitarian agencies, more than a third of Ukrainian children — 2.2 million — have been forced to flee their homes, with many of them displaced two or three times, as territory is lost. Over half of Ukraine’s children — 3.6 million — may not have a school to go back to come September.

Yet even with war moving into its sixth month, children’s advocates say there is time to make meaningful changes to how young people emerge from the conflict.

In Lviv’s maternity wards, mothers pray that the fighting ends before their infants are old enough to remember it. In eastern Ukraine, activists search for children who disappeared across the front lines. Across the country, aid workers and Ukrainian officials are scrambling to repair bombed-out schools and start psychological support.

“We believe in the resilience of children,” said Ramon Shahzamani, the chairman of War Child Holland, a group that focuses on psychological and educational support for children in conflict zones.

“If you’re able to reach children as soon as possible, and help them deal with what they have experienced and what they have seen,” he said, “then they are able to deal with their emotions.”

Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

That resilience is evident in the way that children have adapted their daily lives — scribbling drawings in crayon and paint on the wall of a dank basement where they are held captive, or inventing a game based on the frequent checkpoint stops they are subjected to. They mimic the grim reality they witness in the war, but also find ways to escape it.

In the Donbas, a 13-year-old girl named Dariia no longer flinches, or runs, when a shell hits nearby, so accustomed is she to the terror that erupts daily.

Even so, there is the cost of unhealed psychological trauma. And the effects are not only mental, but also physical.

Children exposed to war are at risk of “toxic stress,” a condition triggered by extreme periods of adversity, said Sonia Khush, the director of Save the Children in Ukraine. The effects are so powerful that they can alter brain structures and organ systems, lasting long into children’s adult lives.

Offering a hopeful path through war is not just for Ukraine’s children today, Mr. Shahzamani said. It is for the sake of the country’s future, too.

The War Child group recently surveyed children and grandchildren of those who lived through World War II, and found that families even two generations later were affected by wartime traumas.

“War is intergenerational,” he said. “That is why it is extremely important to work on the well-being and mental health of children.”

Education is critical to psychological support, Ms. Khush said. Schools provide children with social networks among peers, guidance from teachers and a routine that can provide a sense of normalcy amid pervasive uncertainty.

More than 2,000 of Ukraine’s approximately 17,000 schools have been damaged by war, while 221 have been destroyed, according to United Nations statistics. Another 3,500 have been used to shelter or assist the seven million Ukrainians who have fled to safer parts of the country. No one knows how many will open when the academic year starts a month from now.

Credit…Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

The social destruction is even harder to repair. Thousands of families have been ripped apart as brothers and fathers have been conscripted or killed, and children forced to flee, leaving grandparents and friends behind. Aid workers have noticed a growing problem of nightmares and aggressive behavior in young children.

Before the invasion, Ukraine had about 91,000 children in institutional orphanages, more than half with disabilities, Mr. Sahin said. No tally has been released for how much that number has climbed since the war began.

One of the major unknowns of the war is the number of children orphaned or separated from their parents. But apart from those orphaned, Moscow has also forcibly deported tens of thousands of Ukrainians into Russia, according to Ukrainian officials. Many are believed to be children separated from their parents.

Now, Ukrainian activists are using clandestine networks inside Russian-held territories to try to get information on those children — and, if possible, bring them back.

There is hope for orphans, too. A new effort led by the Ukrainian government and UNICEF has encouraged about 21,000 families to register as foster families. Already, 1,000 of them are trained and taking children in.

“It’s just the beginning,” Maryna Lazebna, Ukraine’s minister of social policy, said recently. “Sometimes destruction encourages building something new, not rebuilding the past.”

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

U.S. July payrolls rise more than expected

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals!<<<<

An employment application form is displayed during a restaurant job career fair organized by the industry group High Road Restaurants in New York City, U.S., May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

NEW YORK, Aug 5 (Reuters) – U.S. job growth surged much more than expected in July and the unemployment rate ticked lower, giving the Federal Reserve enough cushion to stay on its aggressive rate hike path as it tries to tame inflation.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 528,000, the Labor Department’s employment report showed on Friday. June was revised upward to show payrolls rising by 398,000 instead of the previously reported 372,000. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 250,000 jobs added last month.

Employers continued to raise wages at a steady pace last month. Average hourly earnings increased 0.5% in July after gaining 0.4% in June. That increased the year-on-year increase to 5.2% from 5.1% in June. read more

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

MARKET REACTION:

STOCKS: S&P e-mini futures dropped sharply, last down 1.1%

BONDS: The yield on 10-year Treasury notes shot higher and was up 10.1 basis points to 2.777%; The two-year U.S. Treasury yield, was up 15.4 basis points at 3.191%.

FOREX: The dollar index jumped and was last up 0.956% at 106.700

COMMENTS:

BRIAN JACOBSEN, SENIOR INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, ALLSPRING GLOBAL INVESTMENTS, MENOMONEE FALLS, WISCONSIN

“The headline number is really impressive, but maybe that’s more style over substance. The number of multiple jobholders shot up more 559,000. Is some of the employment strength superficial and just because people are trying to work more in order to make ends meet?”

PETER CARDILLO, CHIEF MARKET ECONOMIST, SPARTAN CAPITAL SECURITIES, NEW YORK

“Payrolls were nearly double the amount we were looking for. There’s nothing to suggest this report this weak at all. Unemployment actually went down to 3.5%.”

“This is very hot employment data. It means the Fed is going to continue to raise interest rates. Bonds are getting crushed. Stocks are coming down.”

“The bottom line is this gives the upper hand to the Fed, which says we’re not in a recession yet and the Fed will probably tighten. If we get one more number like this in August, the Fed could hike by 75 basis points in September rather than 50 basis points.”

“I’m surprised in the strength in wage growth, I was looking for a cooling off. That’s the key to the report. That’s why we’re seeing a sell off in the bond market and it proves that inflation is still a big problem.”

PAUL NOLTE, PORTFOLIO MANAGER AT KINGSVIEW ASSET MANAGEMENT, CHICAGO

“What we’ve heard from the various Fed governors this week about it being too early to pivot away from a tightening policy is definitely in place with the jobs report that is THIS hot.”

“When you look back at the period from 2015 to 2019, the average jobless jobs gain was 190,000, and the unemployment rate was north of 4. We’re well below that as far as the unemployment rate, and certainly we’ve been averaging 200,000 to 300,000 new jobs going forward, so the job market continues to be much hotter than historically normal times. So it gives the Fed reason to continue to raise rates. And that is what’s got the market on edge.”

“The number’s not a surprise. There were some hints at it from some of the Fed governors. The inflation numbers next week will complete that picture. The inflation rate will come down, my guess is we get down to maybe 5% or 6% by the end of the year. But the hard part is going to be getting from that 5%, 6% to 2%. That’s going to require a more aggressive Fed. So the Fed is still on target to raise rates, 75 basis points makes sense in light of the data, and they will continue at each of their meetings through the end of the year.”

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Compliled by the global Finance & Markets Breaking News team

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Biden Administration’s Bid to Cap Russia Oil Prices Faces Resistance

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration’s push to form an international buyers’ cartel to cap the price of Russian oil is facing resistance amid private sector concerns that it cannot be reliably enforced, posing a challenge for the U.S.-led effort to drain President Vladimir V. Putin’s war chest and stabilize global energy prices.

The price cap has been a top priority of Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, who has been trying to head off another spike in global oil costs at the end of the year. The Biden administration fears that the combination of a European Union embargo on Russian oil imports and a ban on the insurance and financing of Russian oil shipments will send prices soaring by taking millions of barrels of that oil off the market.

But the untested concept has drawn skepticism from energy experts and, in particular, the maritime insurance sector, which facilitates global oil shipments and is key to making the proposal work. Under the plan, it would be legal for them to grant insurance for oil cargo only if it was being sold at or below a certain price.

Mike Salthouse, global claims director at The North of England P&I Association Limited, a leading global marine insurer. “If you have sophisticated state actors wanting to deceive people, it’s very easy to do.”

He added: “We’ve said it won’t work. We’ve explained to everybody why.”

That has not deterred Ms. Yellen and her top aides, who have been crisscrossing the globe to make their case with international counterparts, banks and insurers that an oil price cap can — and must — work at a moment of rapid inflation and the risk of recession.

“At a time of global anxiety over high prices, a price cap on Russian oil is one of the most powerful tools we have to address inflation by preventing future spikes in energy costs,” Ms. Yellen said in July.

The Biden administration is trying to mitigate fallout from sanctions adopted by the European Union in June, which would ban imports of Russian oil and the financing and insuring of Russian oil exports by year’s end. Britain was expected to enact a similar ban but has not yet done so.

not solve the world’s oil supply problems. European officials, who have been skeptical, continue to say they are analyzing its viability.

restricted natural gas flows to parts of Europe in retaliation for sanctions, would curb oil exports because of their importance to its economy.

senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who works in the financial services industry, said of Russia’s cooperation with a price cap. “If that were the case, he wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine in the first place.”

But proponents believe that if the European Union bans insurance transactions, an oil price cap may be the best chance to mitigate the economic fallout.

John E. Smith, former director of the foreign assets control unit, said the key was ensuring that financial services firms and maritime insurers were not responsible for vetting every oil transaction, as well as providing guidance on complying with the sanctions.

“The question is will enough jurisdictions agree on the details to move this forward,” said Mr. Smith, who is now co-head of Morrison & Foerster’s national security practice. “If they do, it could be a win for everyone but Russia.”

Matina Stevis-Gridneff contributed reporting from Brussels.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Saudi Arabia Construction Market Size, Trends and Forecasts Report 2022-2026: Commercial, Industrial, Infrastructure, Energy and Utilities, Institutional and Residential Market Analysis – ResearchAndMarkets.com

DUBLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The “Saudi Arabia Construction Market Size, Trends and Forecasts by Sector – Commercial, Industrial, Infrastructure, Energy and Utilities, Institutional and Residential Market Analysis, 2022-2026” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

The construction industry in Saudi Arabia expanded by 1.3% in real terms last year, following growth of 1.9% in 2020, a relatively positive outcome given the disruption caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The industry’s output in 2021 was supported by an improvement in global economic conditions, coupled with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and recovery in oil prices. The industry is expected to register an annual average growth of 4.1% from 2023 to 2026, supported by the government’s efforts to develop transport and energy infrastructure, coupled with its focus on diversifying the economy away from oil.

The government has set out a SAR955 billion ($254.4 billion) budget for 2022, which includes an allocation of SAR42 billion ($11.2 billion) for transport infrastructure, SAR32 billion ($8.5 billion) for the general administration sector and SAR54 billion ($4.4 billion) for the economic resources sector.

During the Saudi budget forum that took place in mid-December 2021, the Ministry of Energy reported that it expects spending on power and renewable energy projects to reach SAR1.1 trillion ($293.3 billion) by 2030. Of the total, investment worth SAR430 billion ($114.7 billion) will be made on power transmission projects. The country also plans to spend SAR380 billion ($101.3 billion) on renewable energy and SAR142 billion ($37.9 billion) on energy distribution projects by 2030.

Forecast-period growth in the Saudi Arabian construction industry will also be supported by the SAR200 billion ($53.3 billion) ‘National Infrastructure Fund’, which launched in late October 2021. The fund will invest in water, transport, energy, education, health, and digital infrastructure projects until 2030.

It will contribute to the country’s plan of transforming its economy and making it less dependent on oil revenues; it will also provide innovative financing solutions, thereby enhancing the attractiveness of investment opportunities. In another recent development, in March 2022, the government announced that it will invest SAR35billion ($9.3 billion) on more than 60 water and sewerage projects, to make Saudi Arabia the largest water desalination market in the world. Upon completion of these projects, the country’s desalination capacity will nearly triple over the next six years to 7.5m2 of water per day by 2027.

Scope

Key Topics Covered:

1 Executive Summary

2 Construction Industry: At-a-Glance

3 Context

3.1 Economic Performance

3.2 Political Environment and Policy

3.3 Demographics

3.4 COVID-19 Status

3.5 Risk Profile

4 Construction Outlook

4.1 All Construction

4.2 Commercial Construction

4.3 Industrial Construction

4.4 Infrastructure Construction

4.5 Energy and Utilities Construction

4.6 Institutional Construction

4.7 Residential Construction

5 Key Industry Participants

5.1 Contractors

5.2 Consultants

6 Construction Market Data

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/708a3t

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<