World Bulletin / News Desk
France confirmed on Wednesday it would impose a one-off tax on the oil sector to raise some 550 million euros ($693 million), helping depleted government coffers.
"This should, in principle, be a one-off tax," Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac told reporters at a news conference presenting the amended bill for France's 2012 budget.
The tax, which the new Socialist government said would tap a sector whose margins have been boosted by the sharp rise in oil prices, will hit all owners of oil stocks in mainland France, from refiners to supermarket petrol stations and traders.
The tax will amount to 4 percent of the value of average crude and fuel stocks owned in the last three months of 2011, the bill document showed.
That includes refineries of oil majors such as Total , which had a total net profit of 12.3 billion euros in 2011, and petrol stations owned by supermarket chains such as Carrefour.
However, the targeted French oil distribution industry had a net margin of about 500 million euros last year, according to statistics from the Comite Professionel du Petrole industry think-tank, equivalent to the amount sought by the government.
The head of France's oil industry body UFIP Jean-Louis Schilansky told Reuters last month the tax would be a severe blow for the ailing refining sector.
European refiners have been struggling for years due to poor margins and weak demand for fuel products, prompting Total to shut its Dunkirk, northern France, refinery at the start of 2010 and Petroplus to end refining at its Reichstett plant in eastern France in May 2011. ($1 = 0.7933 euros)
The case has been closely watched due to the potentially high damages award and the opportunity to peek into the world of Silicon Valley's elite.
The currency move was part of wider actions by Russian banks to repatriate funds to Russia, lowering their exposure to the risks of possible wider Western sanctions
With memories of riots at the pumps when cheap fuel was rationed for the first time, in 2007, police are on the alert, but do not expect trouble, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said
Slovak Economy Minister Tomas Malatinsky said a deal allowing shipment of the gas via an unused pipeline between the two countries was almost ready.
Much lawmaking in Europe, including a sweeping overhaul of banking, is wrapped up in talks between diplomats and lawmakers with no public record of who attended or what was said
Thousands of workers at a factory in Dongguan in the Pearl River Delta run by Hong Kong-listed Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings , the world's largest shoe maker, have been on strike for more than 10 days
Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said last week that Russia could launch a dispute at the world trade body to challenge U.S. sanctions.
A Gazprom source said the $11.4 billion was in addition to the $2.2 billion that Naftogaz already owes for supplies in 2013 and 2014 so far.
Tech giant Apple reported Wednesday a 4.6 percent increase to $45.6 billion in quarterly revenue, beating market expectations after selling 43.7 million iPhones.
The six-day meeting is expected to discuss the CFTA's objectives, the principles that will guide negotiations for the free trade area, and the institutional arrangements needed to conduct negotiations.
Russia has proposed from European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger for a three-way meeting on gas between Russia
The southern African country, which ditched its hyper-inflated local currency in 2009, is facing a serious dollar crunch as a result of lack of foreign donor support and investment
The European Commission, in charge of policing member states' public finances, is expected to respond to French projections in early June after European parliamentary elections
The Australian purchase is a signal of confidence in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme, which is about 70 percent over budget and years behind schedule
Executives say a plan is needed to tackle surging inflation as economic recession looms.
An agreement between the United States and Japan is crucial for setting the tone for other countries engaged in the TPP