Long term, a slowdown could worsen global living standards
The global economy is set to expand by 3.1% in 2018, slightly up from 3% last year and marking the first year since the 2008 Great Recession that it will near or achieve full growth potential, the World Bank said on 9 January. In an update of its twice-yearly economic report, the Bank however warned that the economic upswing this year was temporary, unless governments adopted policies that would focus on increasing workforce participation. The pace of world growth was expected to moderate to 3% in 2019 and 2.9% in 2020, it said.
President Macron urged the EU to take part in Silk Road initiative
French President Emmanuel Macron crowned his visit to Beijing last week with several business deals but also pleaded for European unity in the face of China's growing economic power, news wires reported. The French leader launched last Monday his charm offensive in the Asian giant amid growing international concerns over Chinese expansionism.
 
Thousands of cool new products were presented at the Las Vegas expo
A wide range of cool new products was presented last week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 in Las Vegas, which ran from 9 to 12 January, in attempt to provide a taste of the future, news wires reported.
 
Citigroup predicts Trump war rhetoric would push oil to $80
This year may be anything but staid for the oil market, as Citigroup Inc. predicts wildcards including war, Middle East tensions, Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un driving crude toward $80 a barrel, Bloomberg reported.
Uzbekistan to launch green corridors to EU
Uzbekistan intends to launch a green corridor for the export of agricultural products to the Baltic countries, news wires reported.
Global air freight demand tiptoes to seven-year high
Demand for global air freight, measured in freight tonne kilometres, rose 8.8% in November, compared with a year earlier, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said last Wednesday.
Samsung eyes record Q4 profits of $14bn
South Korean giant Samsung Electronics announced last Tuesday it expects record operating profits of 15.1tn won ($14.1bn) in the fourth quarter.
In Brief
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Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi to set up $1bn venture fund
 
Nissan Motor Co. and its alliance partners Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will establish an up to $1bn venture capital fund to invest in start-up companies that develop next-generation automobile systems over the next five years, the companies said on 10 January. The fund, named Alliance Ventures, will invest up to $200m in the first year focusing on new battery technology, autonomous driving systems, connectivity and artificial intelligence, they said in a joint statement. 

South Korea plans to ban cryptocurrencies trading
 
South Korea is planning a law to ban cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin being traded through its exchanges. The justice minister, Park Sang-ki, said virtual currencies were causing the government “great concern”, and added that his department is preparing legislation that would allow the exchanges to be shut down. The crackdown in South Korea included a raid on the country's second-largest virtual currency operator, Bithumb, and other cryptocurrency exchanges in a probe into alleged tax evasion.

Lufthansa intends to hire 8,000 employees in 2018
 
German airline group Lufthansa said last Monday it plans to hire more than 8,000 people in 2018. More than half of the new employees will be flight attendants. As well as its own fleet, Lufthansa owns a slew of smaller airlines, including no-frills Eurowings, Swiss Air, Austrian and Brussels Airlines. Some 2,500 of the new hires will go to Lufthansa proper, while 2,700 take up jobs at Eurowings. In December, Lufthansa received the approval of EC to buy up a large chunk of bankrupt competitor Air Berlin.

French company to run Belgrade airport concession
 
Serbia's government picked France's Vinci Airports for a 25-year concession to run the main Belgrade airport, the biggest in western Balkans. Serbia's PM Ana Brnabic says the French bid was chosen because of “financial, technical and legal criteria”. The French concession and construction company pledged to provide an upfront payment of €501m and invest an additional €732m into the Nikola Tesla Airport. Vinci Airports is one of the top five international players in the airport sector, with 132.3m passengers handled in 2016 and 35 airports operated worldwide. 

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