Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase make positive profit announcements, Kim Jong Un makes his first public appearance in more than a month (maybe) and Universal makes plans to entertain China. Here are the big news stories for Oct. 14, 2014
IEA Predicts Oil Demand Will Rise in 2015
The International Energy Agency predicts oil prices will make a modest recovery in 2015 as demand will rise again. Right now, oil prices have taken a deep decline over the past few months with the price for Brent crude hitting a two-year low this week, thanks to an abundant supply and a drop in demand from the United States, Europe and China. The IEA, however, thinks demand “may have touched bottom”. "Projections of oil demand growth for 2014-15 have been reduced, but growth is still expected to gain momentum. Recent data suggest that may already have started to happen," the IEA said in its monthly report on Tuesday. The agency forecast for global oil demand in 2014 is set at 92.4 million barrels a day, which is down by 200,000 from its September projection.
United Nations Medical Staffer Dies from Ebola
At a health clinic in Leipzig, Germany, a United Nations medical official who caught Ebola while working Liberia died Tuesday. The victim, who has not yet been named, arrived in Germany last week and was the third Ebola patient treated in Germany. The United Nations reported “The patient sick with Ebola fever died during the night in St. Georg Clinic in Leipzig. Despite intensive medical measures and maximum efforts by the medical team, the 56-year-old U.N. employee succumbed to the serious infectious disease."
After weeks of concern over the status of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the controversial leader was spotted this week visiting a residential district and a science academy, according to state media. Kim had been absent from public view for many weeks, leading to speculation that both his health and his leadership role were in jeopardy. The report of Kim’s visits could not be verified independently by Reuters, and no pictures were issued of his appearances. Kim, 31, was last seen in public Sept. 3 at a concert. He failed to attend a significant political anniversary event Friday and also missed the last parliamentary session.
Universal Plans Huge Amusement Park in China
NBCUniversal, a unit of Comcast, announced plans to build a $3.3 billion theme park in Beijing to cater to the country’s middle class. The 1,000 acre park will include attractions popular at other Universal parks but will also have rides that reflect China’s cultural heritage. There will also be a Universal-themed resort hotel. Universal already has two such parks in Asia, with venues in Singapore and Osaka, Japan. No opening date has been scheduled. China is currently home to 11 of the top 20 amusement parks in Asia.
Citigroup Will Shrink to Grow
Citigroup announced Tuesday it plans to exit 11 more markets which currently have consumer banking available, in an attempt to shrink its footprint to increase profits. The international bank announced a 13 percent rise in adjusted third-quarter net profit, reaching $3.67 billion, or $11.5 per share, from $3.26 billion one year ago. Analysts had expected earnings, excluding items, of $1.12 per share. In July, Citigroup said it planned to p ay $7 billion to settle a U.S. government investigation into mortgage-backed securities it sold. Citigroup currently operates in more than 160 countries and has more than 200 million customer accounts.
JPMorgan Chase Reports Profits
JPMorgan Chase Tuesday reported a third-quarter profit boosted by revenue from trading and investment banking. The report pushes the news away from the huge legal claims it has settled over the past 12 months. The bank recorded net income of $4.5 billion, or $1.36 per share, for the three months ending Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $380 million one year ago. Analysts had expected earnings of $1.38 per share, according to Reuters. "The Corporate & Investment Bank saw strong performance in fees, maintaining a #1 position in global (investment banking) fees year to date, with particular strength in equity capital markets," Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said in a statement. Last year the bank was hit by an after-tax expense of $7.2 billion to settle allegations of mortgage wrongdoing prior to the onset of the financial crisis six years ago.