News

U.S. blames Iran for tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman, Iran rejects assertion

DUBAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday that drove up oil prices LCOc1 and raised concerns about a new U.S.-Iranian confrontation, but Tehran bluntly denied the allegation.

It was not immediately clear what befell the Norwegian-owned Front Altair or the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, which both experienced explosions, forcing crews to abandon ship and leave the vessels adrift in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran.

One source said the blast on the Front Altair, which caught fire and sent a huge plume of smoke into the air, may have been caused by a magnetic mine. The firm that chartered the Kokuka Courageous tanker said it was hit by a suspected torpedo, but a person with knowledge of the matter said torpedoes were not used.

On Thursday night, U.S. Central Command spokesman Bill Urban released a video of what the U.S. military said was an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp Gashti Class patrol boat approaching the Kokuka Courageous “and was observed and recorded removing (an) unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous.”

The tanker attack will not affect Japanese energy supply, Japanese Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said, although the ministry issued a warning to Japanese energy companies.

Crude oil prices spiked more than 4% after the attacks near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial shipping artery for Saudi Arabia and other Gulf energy producers. Prices later settled about 2% higher. [O/R] Brent crude LCOc1 was down by 0.4% at $61.06 a barrel in early Asia trading.

30 business ideas in Africa that will work for sure

Here are 30 business ideas in Africa in which you can invest quietly and get results. In these sectors, you respond appropriately to several needs in the African market including that of francophone West Africa: Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Benin, Togo, Mali ...

(Afropreneuriat)

 

Idea 1: Create a social network of employee referrals. Companies could access CVs to recruit, read recommendations, or to make a recommendation about an employee.

Idea 2: Create a co-working space: shared offices with good internet connection. This type of space could be particularly valued by African entrepreneurs, often looking for real estate solutions to develop their business.

Idea 3: Create bed and breakfast with complete tourist offer, on a destination still little known and high potential.

Idea 4: Create a fair and organic coffee brand.

Idea 5: Create an economical and environmentally friendly prefabricated building solution.

Idea 6: Create an online sales site for smartphones and accessories.

Idea 7: Create a language or management training center.

Idea 8: Create a job offer site reserved for Africans with a graduate degree.

Idea 9: Create a firm of advice and assistance with the creation of a company, with support for the accomplishment of the formalities of declaration.

Idea 10: Create a business club on the model of the BNI.

Idea 11: Create a battery energy storage solution related to renewable energies and solar panels.

Idea 12: Create a crowdfunding platform to help launch small projects.

Idea 13: Create an affordable website creation agency.

Idea 14: Create a Funeral Organization Company.

Idea 15: Create a dating site by affinities, targeting the middle class.

Idea 16: Create a taxi or VTC booking platform, modeled on the Uber start-up. The offer could be medium / high end.

Idea 17: Create a cheaper money transfer solution than Western Union.

Idea 18: Start a real estate construction program. Real estate supply is indeed lower than demand in most African countries.

Idea 19: Create a waste recovery network: recycling, reuse, repair, resale of objects.

Idea 20: Create a brewery.

Idea 21: Create a luxury European food import business, to provide hotel restaurants. It is a potentially very promising activity in West Africa.

Idea 22: Create a private detective agency aimed at resolving a couple's business or family affairs.

Idea 23: Create a recipe site for African dishes.

Idea 24: Create an inexpensive childcare.

Idea 25: Create a children's recreation park. The leisure sector is booming in Africa.

Idea 26: Create a wedding-planner agency: organization of weddings and family events (baptisms ...).

Idea 27: Create an online real estate agency.

Idea 28: Create medical or para-medical consultations online.

Idea 29: Create a game room, for example Bingo.

Idea 30: Start producing African wine.

You may be eating a credit card's worth of plastic each week: study

Image  of two plastic bottles in the ocean

GENEVA (Reuters) - Plastic pollution is so widespread in the environment that you may be ingesting five grams a week, the equivalent of eating a credit card, a study commissioned by the environmental charity WWF International said on Wednesday.

The study by Australia’s University of Newcastle said the largest source of plastic ingestion was drinking water, but another major source was shellfish, which tended to be eaten whole so the plastic in their digestive system was consumed too.

“Since 2000, the world has produced as much plastic as all the preceding years combined, a third of which is leaked into nature,” the report said.

The average person could be consuming 1,769 particles of plastic every week from water alone, it said.

The amount of plastic pollution varies by location, but nowhere is untouched, said the report, which was based on the conclusions of 52 other studies.

In the United States, 94.4% of tap water samples contained plastic fibers, with an average of 9.6 fibers per liter. European water was less polluted, with fibers showing up in only 72.2% of water samples, and only 3.8 fibers per liter.

Going Green

Image of the nature and the sunset

The growing popularity of investment strategies incorporating ESG (environmental, social and governance) criteria is one of investment’s biggest trends. More investors want their money to be invested in a sustainable way or in a way that makes a positive impact.

Investment companies in the Environmental and Infrastructure – Renewable Energy sectors achieve this by investing in environmental companies and green energy. However, it’s less well known that ESG plays an increasingly important role in the investment process for many investment companies outside these sectors.

The AIC has spoken to a number of managers from a diverse range of sectors about the role of ESG in their investment approach and how this benefits investors. Their thoughts are collated below.

ESG: its role in the investment process
Mark Mobius, Joint Manager of Mobius Investment Trust, said: “At Mobius Capital Partners we have developed a specialised active investment strategy built on working closely with portfolio companies to improve corporate governance and to provide a clear ESG pathway. We see ourselves as atypical, as we do not screen out investments or only focus on companies with high ESG ratings. We work with companies on a range of material factors, from helping to improve investor relations to suggesting enhancements to decrease water usage or lower employee turnover.”

Austin Forey, Manager of JPMorgan Emerging Markets Investment Trust, said: “ESG considerations are a natural part of our fundamental research and overall approach to investing which focuses on the longer term. It’s embedded in our process. Our fundamental analysis of any company examines what we call its economics, duration and governance. Environmental and social issues are part of the consideration of a company’s duration and its economics; a business simply isn’t thinking about its long-term future if it’s destroying the environment or abusing the community in which it operates. It will eventually pay a price for this. When considering governance, we focus on whether a company shows a proper regard for the interests of all shareholders and whether it can demonstrate proper stewardship of a a company’s assets and value over time.”

Andrew Graham, Portfolio Manager of Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust, said: “Integral to our fundamental research is a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, as we believe sustainable, well-managed companies make more successful long-term investments. We believe that to gain a full understanding of how sustainability factors can impact a company’s future returns they must be embedded throughout the entire investment process. Active ownership and engagement are a key part of how this analysis is carried out and will inform a continuous assessment of the investment case.”

Adam Heltzer, Head of ESG and Sustainability at Partners Group, the investment manager of Princess Private Equity, said: “We take a systematic approach to integrating ESG factors throughout the investment process, from sourcing, through to due diligence and continuing during ownership. For each investment opportunity, our investment teams are required to perform an ESG assessment, using a proprietary ESG due diligence tool we have developed. The tool distils the wide range of potential ESG topics into those most likely to be material for a given industry and geography.”

“…we believe sustainable, well-managed companies make more successful long-term investments.”
Andrew Graham, Portfolio Manager of Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust


Examples of ESG investing in practice
Mark Whitehead, Portfolio Manager of Securities Trust of Scotland, said: “We believe well-managed companies that exhibit strong corporate governance are more likely to be successful long-term investments. This sentiment isn’t driven by idealism, but simply by the reality that companies exhibiting strong governance tend to outperform over time. Take Dutch science company DSM for example. Having engaged with the company, we were able to better understand the most material benefits that the company experiences from its well-regarded sustainability programme. In particular, we noted the positive impact its sustainability credentials had on its ability to attract workers, as well as the importance of supply-chain transparency and sustainability for its customers. This increased our confidence in the long-term outlook for the company as well as reducing the overall risk profile of the business.”

Andrew Graham, Portfolio Manager of Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust, said: “Establishing a dialogue with companies enables us to engage on areas where we need further assurance or clarification, often with quite technical questions. Recently we have had a very successful engagement with one of the portfolio’s holdings, Hong Kong-based insurer AIA, around issues of disclosure, governance and remuneration. The clarifications we received from the company helped resolve some of the questions we had, but crucially the process reconfirmed our assessment that the company scores highly in terms of disclosure and indicated where improvement is still possible.”

Zehrid Osmani, Portfolio Manager of Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust, said: “With a global movement to reduce the human impact on the environment and preserve our precious resources, the development of electric vehicles is a key theme for us. This trend will be driven by both regulations – as governments legislate to enforce the switch away from the internal combustion engine – and consumer demand, as more environmentally-aware customers seek out cleaner forms of transportation. ESG analysis therefore provides the crucial lens for understanding the impact these changes have at a company level.”

“With a global movement to reduce the human impact on the environment and preserve our precious resources, the development of electric vehicles is a key theme for us.”
Zehrid Osmani, Portfolio Manager of Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust

Adam Heltzer, Head of ESG and Sustainability at Partners Group, the investment manager of Princess Private Equity, said: “In 2018, we invested in Techem, a German-based global market leader in the provision of heat and water sub-metering services. During our investment committee discussions, it became clear that energy efficiency was at the heart of the company’s offering. By enabling heating and energy supplies to be managed in a more precise and sustainable manner, Techem’s solutions today account for 6.9 million metric tons of CO2 emission savings per year, thus contributing to global climate protection objectives. We decided that growing Techem’s positive impact on the environment had to be a key component of our business plan. Through our investment, not only of capital but also of human resources, we hope to make a significant contribution to making Techem even more impactful.”

What does an ESG approach offer to investors?
Mark Mobius, Joint Manager of Mobius Investment Trust, said: “First and foremost, taking ESG seriously means risk management. Companies that have good corporate governance and pay attention to the environment and social issues run less risk of becoming involved in scandals, having to pay fines or facing social problems.

“A recent study shows that companies implementing changes to environmental, social or governance standards following engagement from investors generated more than 7% of excess returns after 18 months. This is also supported by our personal experience during many years of investing in emerging markets. By taking ESG factors into account, investors can significantly reduce the risk profile of their investments, which over the long term not only translates into positive risk-adjusted returns, but also positively impacts all stakeholders.”

Austin Forey, Manager of JPMorgan Emerging Markets Investment Trust, said: “We do not see ESG as something that restricts our ability to generate returns. It’s a necessary part of what we do. We take a long-term view because we believe it delivers better results, reduces costs and allows the power of compounding to translate into investment outcomes. Anything which affects the long-term prospects of companies is important to us, just as it should be to the companies themselves.”

“First and foremost, taking ESG seriously means risk management.”
Mark Mobius, Joint Manager of Mobius Investment Trust

Adam Heltzer, Head of ESG and Sustainability at Partners Group, the investment manager of Princess Private Equity, said: “We believe that the integration of material ESG factors into our investment processes is a core part of our duty to act in the best interest of our clients and their beneficiaries. Furthermore, when it comes to managing ESG factors effectively, we believe private market investors have inherent corporate governance advantages compared to their public market peers, both in terms of mitigating ESG risks and creating value from ESG factors through targeted value creation initiatives. Our active, hands-on ownership model provides opportunities to work closely with portfolio companies to implement superior, sustainable investment strategies and enhance investment returns.”

“Our active, hands-on ownership model provides opportunities to work closely with portfolio companies to implement superior, sustainable investment strategies and enhance investment returns.”
Adam Heltzer, Head of ESG and Sustainability at Partners Group, the investment manager of Princess Private Equity 

 

Two oil tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman: shipping firms

Image of two tankers in the ocean

DUBAI (Reuters) - Two oil tankers were hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman, shipping firms and industry sources said on Thursday, sending oil prices as much as 4% higher a month after four other tankers were damaged by limpet mines in the region.

One of the tankers, the Front Altair, carrying a cargo of petrochemical feedstock, was ablaze in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran.

Iran’s state news agency said it had sunk, although the Norwegian owner had said it was afloat and its crew were safe. The other tanker was adrift without any crew.

The Bahrain-based U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet said it was assisting the tankers after receiving distress calls. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, part of Britain’s Royal Navy, said it was investigating with its partners.

Full details about Thursday’s incident were not immediately clear. The firm which chartered one of the vessels said it suspected a torpedo had hit the ship, while a source said the other might have been damaged by a magnetic mine.

An investigation blamed limpet mines for last month’s attacks on four tankers. Saudi Arabia and the United States blamed Iran for those attacks, a charge Tehran denies.
A shipping broker said there had been an explosion “suspected from an outside attack” that may have involved a magnetic mine on the Kokuka Courageous. “Kokuka Courageous is adrift without any crew on board,” the source said.

Japanese shipping firm Kokuka Sangyo, owner of the Kokuka Courageous, said its ship had been hit twice over a three-hour period.

Taiwan’s state oil refiner CPC said tanker Front Altair, owned by Norway’s Frontline, was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo” around 0400GMT, as it carried 75,000 tonnes of the petrochemical feedstock naphtha to Taiwan. It said the crew were safe.

Frontline said its vessel was on fire, but still afloat, although the Iranian news agency IRNA later said the vessel had sunk. However, there was no immediate independent confirmation.

The Front Altair loaded its cargo from Ruwais in the UAE, according to trade sources and shipping data on Refinitiv Eikon.

Another source said the Front Altair reported a fire caused by a “surface attack” and that the crew had been picked up by nearby vessel Hyundai Dubai.

Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported that Iranian search and rescue teams had picked up 44 sailors from two damaged tankers and had taken them to the Iranian port of Jask.

 Thursday’s suspected attacks came a day after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis fired a missile on an airport in Saudi Arabia, injuring 26 people. The Houthis also claimed an armed drone strike last month on Saudi oil pumping stations.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking during a visit to Iran on Wednesday, urged all sides not to let tensions escalate. He met Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Thursday.

Oil prices surged as much as 4% after Thursday’s news. The region was already on edge following attacks in May on Gulf oil assets that occurred amid a dispute between Iran and the United States over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Jakarta’s massive bus system pilots electric vehicles

Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, is piloting a program to transition from public buses to electric vehicles. Jakarta’s bus system is the largest in the world with over 200 million riders and new routes added every year. The addition of cleaner vehicles promises to have a significant impact on the city’s toxic levels of air pollution.

Starting in April, the city began testing electric buses produced by Chinese and Indonesian manufacturers. After the pilot trials, the city will test the buses with passengers. The city’s governor, Anies Baswedan is determined to make Jakarta one of the greenest cities in the world and cleaner transportation is a big step towards that goal.

“We see the move toward electric vehicles as a vital way to combat air pollution and transition to a greener future. The electric bus trial program will give us a good sense of the changes we need to make to the system to ultimately replace all of Jakarta’s fleet of public vehicles with electric models,” said Transjakarta Chief Executive Officer Agung Wicaksono.

The United Nation’s Environment Program is providing support for the initiative as part of their effort to reduce air pollution. In Asia and the Pacific alone, air pollution kills 4 million people every year.

Bert Fabian, Program Officer for the UN Environment Program’s Air Quality and Mobility Unit, said: “The transition to electric mobility can have a dramatic effect in reducing pollutants and making cities healthier and more enjoyable places to live.”

Indonesia have plans for a national production of electrical vehicles, both for land and sea, but to speed up the process in Jakarta the government have decided to give the order to foreign manufacturers.

For some Jakarta residents, though, the clean vehicle program cannot come soon enough. This month, 57 residents unified to sue the city for its inability to address unacceptable air pollution. The lawsuit, which will be filed on June 18, will pressure the government to do more to clean up the air in the city and argues that transportation is only partially responsible. Citizens also call on the government to crack down on coal-fired industries surrounding the city.

SecureKey Technologies Brings Digital Identity Network to Canadian Banks

As of June 6th, 2019, Fintech News has announced the implementation of new blockchain technology, Verified.Me, in five Canadian banks. 

Verified.Me is an IOS-and-Android-compatible mobile app created by SecureKey Technologies. Built upon IBM Blockchain, Verified.Me allows users to help verify their identity digitally to access financial services in a secure manner. 

Currently, the Verified.Me app has been adopted by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CBIC), Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), ScotiaBank, Toronto-Dominion (TD) Bank, and Desjardins Group. Furthermore, SecureKey Technologies promises to have two more banks and an insurance group added to their impressive roster soon. 

“This announcement marks the first time that consumers are officially able to access the Verified.Me application and gain greater control over their digital identities,” said Greg Wolfond, Founder and CEO, SecureKey Technologies. “Digital identity is one of the most enduring challenges of our time, and having the opportunity to showcase how a network of cross-industry organizations can come together to build a solution by and for consumers is an honor. We are excited to bring this first-of-its-kind network to market and look forward to its expansion as new participants join our service.” 

 

Is bitcoin growing up? Regulated futures boom as investors seek a safer ride

LONDON (Reuters) - When bitcoin was born it was a symbol of counterculture, a rebel currency with near-anonymity and a lack of regulation. A decade later, there are growing signs it’s entering the establishment its creators sought to subvert.

As the cryptocurrency has surged in value bigger investors, from trading firms to hedge funds, have increasingly turned to exchanges regulated in traditional financial centers. They are buying bitcoin futures to gain exposure to the asset while avoiding the hacks and heists that plague the industry.

The crypto market, associated by many with the dark web, money laundering and the Wild West, is beginning to be discussed by financiers in the same breath as derivatives, hedging instruments and compliance.

Investors plowed record levels of money into bitcoin futures at regulated exchanges in the United States and Britain last month, hungry for a piece of the action but seeking the kind of protection that will satisfy their compliance officers.

Between March and May, bitcoin more than doubled in price, an ascent peppered by double-digit price swings reminiscent of its 2017 bubble, which was driven by smaller retail investors.

During that period, Chicago-based CME Group Inc’s average daily volumes of futures contracts climbed over seven-fold to a record $508 million in May. The number of open interest contracts - those that haven’t been settled - also hit a record.

CME said bitcoin’s price gains, and the subsequent increase in volatility, attracted new investors seeking to hedge risk.

Crypto Facilities, a London-registered platform bought this year for over $100 million by major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, said bitcoin futures daily trading volumes jumped over three-fold from March to a record $84 million in May.

In a sign of the growing mainstream market, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE), plans to offer bitcoin futures in the coming months through a new crypto-trading platform, Bakkt.

“It’s logical they (institutional investors) would want to be moving in this direction, especially considering their size and how much more there is at stake,” said Joel Kruger, currency strategist at LMAX Exchange Group.

Futures - financial contracts that lock buyers and sellers into trading an asset at a set date and price - are seen as key components of any mature market, as they boost market liquidity and allow investors to bet on the direction of prices.

“It’s a useful hedging instrument,” said Daniel Matuszewski, head of trading at Goldman Sachs-backed crypto firm Circle. “Futures are much easier to trade, much easier to use for hedging, much easier to get leverage on.”

Playing out in the spiking demand is the emergence of a twin-track global bitcoin futures market - on “onshore” exchanges like CME and “offshore” exchanges, which are more lightly regulated and still command the bulk of the multi-billion-dollar daily market.

Onshore exchanges - those regulated in established financial centers - are usually subject to strict checks on governance, technology and client vetting. They demand a high degree of transparency.

Offshore platforms, in contrast, are typically registered in jurisdictions with less onerous rules. They tend to accept business from investors who can sign up with few checks on their identity or the provenance of their funds. 

Larger investors, bound by strict compliance rules, are heading to regulated platforms in financial hubs like CME, according to industry players. Traders with more tolerance for risk - including retail investors from north Asia and companies earning money in cryptocurrency, from miners to gaming firms - use of offshore exchanges.

“Offshore exchanges aren’t really exchanges - they are more like private markets,” said Vladimir Jelisavcic of trading firm Cherokee Acquisition in New York.

Offshore exchanges have offered bitcoin futures since as early as 2011. One of the biggest, Seychelles-registered BitMEX, said it now accounts for over 65% of global cryptocurrency derivatives trading. Trading volumes were $4.3 billion in May, it said.

BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes said, however, that larger investors were being increasingly drawn to onshore exchanges like CME.

“It’s the perfect product (for bigger investors) - it’s U.S.-dollar based, they never have to touch actual bitcoin, it’s financially settled,” he said.

The launch by CME and rival Cboe Global Markets in December 2017 marked the first time mainstream exchanges offered cryptocurrency derivatives.

They initially faced tepid demand. Cboe said in March, when bitcoin languished below $4,000, that it planned to discontinue its futures, with the final contracts expiring this month.

For their part, CME’s futures have typically seen thin liquidity and high barriers to entry for smaller investors, said Ricky Li of crypto trader Altonomy in New York.

The growing gap in the market for futures from onshore exchanges is stimulating growing competition and attracting new entrants, such as ICE.

Sui Chung, head of cryptocurrency pricing products at Crypto Facilities, said compliance-wary institutional investors had been assessing the various futures products offered by regulated exchanges for some time, as they awaited a spike in prices to allow them to enter the market.

“This is the first time those stars have aligned,” he said.

Obama set to speak at Brilliant Minds in Stockholm

Former US President Barack Obama has been revealed as one of the speakers at the invite-only Brilliant Minds conference in Stockholm and arrived early this morning on June 13th.

Brilliant Minds was founded by Spotify's Daniel Ek and Avicii's former manager Ash Pournouri in 2015 and has strived to be a meeting ground for tech entrepreneurs, creatives and innovators ever since.

"We are thrilled to welcome President Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States of America, to Brilliant Minds 2019," the organization wrote in a statement.

Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, actor Forest Whitaker and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg are also on the list of speakers at Brilliant Minds, to be held in Stockholm from June 13th-15th.

Zara owner Inditex shakes off chill with strong second quarter start

MADRID (Reuters) - Zara owner Inditex bounced back from a weak start to 2019, when unseasonably cold weather in southern Europe stifled sales for the Spanish fashion group, with a strong performance in the first weeks of the second quarter. 

This contrasts with how others in the struggling apparel sector are faring, with mid-market clothing retailer Ted Baker posting a profit warning on Tuesday after Britain had its biggest fall in retail sales on record in May. 

“This is particularly impressive in our view, notably in context of industry data we have so far for May,” JP Morgan said in a research note following Inditex’s results on Wednesday. 

Shares in the Spanish group rose 1.1% to trade at 25.57 euros ($28.96), whereas Boohoo’s fell, despite the online British fashion retailer reporting robust sales, as lower margins disappointed investors. 

Inditex, the world’s biggest clothing retailer and owner of Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Oysho reported net profit of 734 million euros for the three months from Feb. 1 to April. 30, on sales up 5% at 5.93 billion euros. 

The apparel sector has been hit by out-of-season sales as savvy shoppers expect discounts and hunt for online bargains. 

Sales at constant exchange rates for the first six weeks of the second quarter were up 9.5% as shoppers snapped up items like jewel-toned blazers and long printed dresses from Zara’s spring collections. 

Inditex maintained its full-year guidance of 4-6% growth for like-for-like sales. RBC Capital Markets estimated it had booked like-for-like sales of around 6.5% during the first weeks of the second quarter, against around 2% in the first quarter. 

Gross margin grew 6% year-on-year to 59.5% in the quarter, as foreign currency effects moved back into favor after two years of nibbling away at profitability. 

Inditex generates more than half of its sales in other currencies that have to be converted back into euros when it reports. Those currencies have strengthened slightly against the euro compared to a year ago, on average, helping reported sales. 

Societe Generale and Credit Suisse estimated sales at Inditex were reduced 3.5% last year by this effect, moving to a positive effect this quarter. 

With the adverse foreign exchange effects removed, Inditex is under pressure to show it can deliver strong like-for-like sales without the margin dilution that has affected others. 

“With less impact from foreign exchange, this will be an important year to prove the concept,” UBS said in a note.

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