World Bulletin / News Desk
French car maker Renault is considering the complete closure of factories because of the dire state of the European automobile market, the company's chief operating officer was quoted as saying on Sunday.
"We will see. We are currently talking to the unions and explaining to them how big the gaps are in our competitiveness," Carlos Tavares told German trade newspaper Automobilwoche.
"We have a competitiveness problem in western Europe and France."
The European market's prolonged decline is even starting to make previously impervious car makers, such as Volkswagen , feel vulnerable. "We're bracing for more negative surprises in 2013, perhaps also in 2014," Christian Klingler, VW's sales chief, said at the Paris auto show last week.
Tavares pointed out that Renault's cooperation with Nissan had given the company hard data on productivity levels at Nissan factories in Sunderland in Britain and Barcelona in Spain.
"These factories are really top," the Renault CEO said, adding that discussions were under way on whether Nissan could make production capacity available to Renault.
"That is one possibility," Tavares said.
A Renault spokeswoman declined to comment on the report, but Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said on Friday that the French car maker could disappear "in its current form" if it is unable to be competitive in its home market.
However, Ghosn also said that Renault had no plans at this stage to cut jobs in France.
Ecuador, Egypt, Pakistan, Venezuela, Belize, Cuba, Cyprus, Greece, Jamaica and Ukraine are all on the verge of a default, according to Moody's ratings.
A World Trade Organisation pact to ease worldwide customs rules collapsed late on Thursday over India's demands for concessions on agricultural stockpiling.
India's new nationalist government has insisted that a permanent agreement on its subsidised food stockpiling must be in place at the same time as the trade facilitation deal
Chemicals firm LyondellBasell has emerged as the mystery American buyer of Kurdish crude oil this year, but said it will not be buying any more
Some EU member states remain nervous about the impact on their own fragile economies. The sanctions deal was agreed only after initial proposals were narrowed.
Bankers in Singapore say Russians looking for a new Cyprus have come to the wrong place.
The default could get much messier and take longer to clear up if creditors force an "acceleration" for early payment on their bonds.
The ban came a day after the European Union and United States imposed their first sanctions aimed at hitting broad sectors of the Russian economy
Russia called new U.S. sanctions "destructive and short-sighted"
While the default will obviously hurt the economy, it will not be as severe as in 2001, economists say
The Czechs, who supported the action, have been against sweeping sanctions, worried about trade relations with Russia
The trade program has been criticized for disproportionately benefiting certain industries and a handful of countries, including Nigeria, South Africa and Angola.
The United Kalavrvta tanker, carrying some 1 million barrels of crude worth about $100 million, arrived off the coast of Texas on Saturday but has yet to unload its disputed cargo.
The uncertainty comes at a bad time for the 18 countries in the euro zone, whose economy is already in the doldrums.
"Kalashnikov regrets that consumers are faced with such a problem," said spokeswoman Yekaterina Boni.
Cairo and Khartoum had earlier accepted a proposal by Addis Ababa to hold the talks in Sudan in the third week of August.