Stock markets have retreated again over worries of further US interest rate rises after the Federal Reserve defied Donald Trump to increase rates for the fourth time this year.

The EU has confirmed it is “actively investigating” a potential breach of its diplomatic communications network, following reports that secret cables had been stolen by hackers.

The Bank of England has welcomed a “crucial and positive” move by the EU to help keep a key part of the financial system functioning in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.

A handful of banks will be forced to write multimillion pound cheques to buy shares in the construction giant Kier Group after some of its biggest investors snubbed the chance to take part in a £250m fundraising.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to merge its consumer healthcare unit with that of rival Pfizer, to create a new market leader with almost £10bn in annual sales.

 

Santander has been fined more than £30m for “serious failings” in processing the accounts of dead customers, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says.

ENERGY TOP STORIES

Qatar to invest $20 billion into US energy in major expansion

Qatar-to-invest-20-billion-into-US-energy-in-major-expansion

The country has pledged hefty investment in the US energy sector, after recently announcing its intention to withdraw from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

Qatar Petroleum is seeking to invest some $20bn in various projects in the US over the next five years, stated Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi to journalists in Doha.

The top-official stated that Qatar is interested in projects that are connected to both liquefied natural gas (LNG) and natural gas supplies, along with crude production.

In particular, the company is planning to revive the multi-billion dollar Golden Pass LNG terminal in Texas. Qatar Petroleum owns 70% of the project with American energy multinationals ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips splitting the rest.

Earlier this month, Qatar, which is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, said it was quitting the Saudi-dominated OPEC oil cartel on January 1, putting an end to nearly 60-year membership in the organisation.

Back then, Al-Kaabi had stated that the decision wouldn’t have significant impact on OPEC oil production plans, as Qatar’s share is small compared to other members. The minister had also pledged that Qatar would stick to all its commitments like any other non-OPEC oil producer.

The country’s decision to leave the world’s biggest oil cartel was reportedly triggered by the ambitious plans to focus on developing its natural gas sector. The peninsula state is seeking to boost its annual LNG output from 77mn to 110mn tons.

Another reason for leaving OPEC is Qatar’s concern that its membership in the oil cartel would be a stumbling block for its ambitions in the US, according to industry sources, as quoted by Reuters.

In November, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed source in the US government, that the US Department of Justice was exploring the possibility of applying its antitrust legislation, dubbed No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC).

This particular law is set to allow the White House to reduce the power of the OPEC, and even sue the organization over its efforts to control oil output and crude prices.

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