In Brief – N.37 – June 5, 2016

FPO’s Norbert Hofer, yet the great favorite of presidential election, lost by just 0.03% of the votes in Austria against ecologist candiate Alexander Van der Bellen. The difference of only several thousand votes and the 24-hour delay for the final results fueled doubt among a number of voters about the integrity of the election.

Two new satellites of European constellation Galileo were launched from French Guyana. The European Union (EU) aims official start this year and full deployment by 2021.

After talks with the IMF, the Eurogroup ministers gave approval to releasing EUR 10.3 billion in new funds for Greece in recognition of painful fiscal reforms pushed through by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Dumping their previous business model of flooding the planet with cheap, unbranded cellphones, China’s Huawei has risen to become a globally recognizable brand and a serious contender for Apple and Samsung.

Crude futures neared USD 50 per barrel for the first time since November 2015 after US EIA oil data showed a larger-than-expected draw in crude oil inventories that fell by 4.2 million barrels in the week before.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba went public in the US in September 2014, and made large profits. However, its unorthodox business structure has raised eyebrows from US regulators now investigating its accounting practices.

Foxconn, the main producing partner of Apple in China, has replaced 60,000 human jobs with robots, one more indication of a paradigmatic change for humans and their role in the production process.

Snapchat secured USD 1.8 billion as its valuation climbed to USD 18 billion – near twice Twitter’s – just a few months after releasing its first revenues, and announcing it has more than 100 million users.

Consumer prices across the eurozone fell again in May 2016 – currently at -0.1% annually – but look set to rise in the months ahead due to the recent pick-up in oil prices. The unemployment rate held steady at 10.2% in April 2016.

The Femern Link Contractors joint venture, including French group Vinci, has signed with the Danish government 3 contracts worth EUR 3.4 billion for the design and build of the world’s longest immersed road and rail tunnel, the Fehmarnbelt link between Denmark and Germany.

India’s economic growth accelerated to 7.9% in Q1 2016, widening its lead over China and confirming the country’s status as the world’s fastest expanding large economy and the most dynamic emerging market.

Microsoft has agreed to transfer some patents to Xiaomi, ahead of plans by the Chinese smartphone maker to enter the US and other advanced markets.

Uber landed USD 3.5 billion from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. It’s the most funding Uber, which is valued at USD 62.5 billion, has ever received from a single investor.

Pressure kept growing on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro against whom Luis Almagro, the head of the Organization of American States (OAS), has called for a suspension of Venezuela’s membership to the OAS.