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)
Since Britain voted last June to exit the European Union, the country's finance, car and airline sectors have been lobbying the loudest for continued access to the European single market.
France remained Germany's second largest trading partner while the US slipped from first to third place, as bilateral trade contracted by five percent to 165 billion euros.
Upcoming joint meeting seeks to tackle obstacles to trade between Turkey, Egypt
Next step in proposed Turkey-Israel natural gas pipeline project is to put words into action: Israeli conglomerate Delek
The unit was at 19.69 to the dollar, strengthening from around 19.90 on Thursday and up more than 10 percent from its record lows around 22.00 in early January.
The country's federal, state and local governments together achieved an overall surplus in their public finances of 23.7 billion euros ($25 billion) last year, according to Germany's statistics office Destatis.
Exchange rate dipped to as low as 3.5756 points, lowest figure since Jan 4.
European bank finances Turkey's Bozankaya, public transportation vehicles producer, to produce metro trains for Thailand
Net profit surged more than four times to £2.0 billion ($2.5 billion, 2.4 billion euros) in 2016 compared with net profit of £466 million a year earlier, LBG said in an earnings release.
Turkish lira becomes best performing emerging-market currency against U.S. dollar over last 3 weeks
ITC Executive Director Arancha Gonzalez says such moves would create 'snowball effect' of instability
Aude Fleurant, head of the armaments program at Sipri, told AFP that "competition is fierce among European producers" with France, Germany and Britain in the lead.
PSA, the parent company of France's Peugeot, Citroen and DS, has confirmed it is interested in taking over Opel, the German arm of US giant General Motors.
Progress has been made in Southern Gas Corridor project , says Azerbaijani president
Another positive assessment of the US economy and reassurance over tax reform from President Donald Trump was not enough to spur further buying in Asia after the past week's rally.
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) could provisionally apply from as early as April