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Ryanair cabin staff strike cancels dozens of flights in Europe

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© Reuters. A Ryanair plane prepares to take off from Lisbon Humberto Delgado Airport on the first of three days cabin crew strike in Lisbon, Portugal, June 24, 2022. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

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By Catarina Demony and Miguel Pereira

LISBON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Some cabin crew at Ryanair went on strike in Belgium, Spain and Portugal on Friday in a dispute over pay and working conditions, causing limited disruption as the budget airline cancelled dozens of flights that left hundreds of passengers stranded.

Surging inflation across Europe has led to millions of workers struggling with a higher cost of living, prompting trade unions to demand higher wage increases often backed by strike calls.

Airlines and airport operators across Europe have also struggled with staff shortages to handle the flow of passengers as demand for travel bounces back with the end of most COVID-19 restrictions. Workers at several other airlines, including British Airways, are also planning strikes this summer.

Ryanair cabin crew unions in Belgium, Spain and Portugal called a three-day strike starting on Friday. Staff in France and Italy were expected to walk out over the weekend. Crews in Spain are set to strike again on June 30 and July 1-2.

Workers say the Irish airline does not respect local labour laws covering issues such as the minimum wage and urge Ryanair’s bosses to improve working conditions.

“Conditions are terrible,” said Ricardo Penarroias, president of SNPVAC, the union behind Portugal’s walkout. “A crew member is not even allowed to take a bottle of water on a flight.”

Ryanair did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday, but told Reuters last week it had negotiated labour agreements covering 90% of its staff across Europe and that it did not expect widespread disruption this summer.

WAGE-PRICE SPIRAL

While much of the labour unrest has focused on the transport sector as it deals with a return to travel after pandemic lockdowns, there are signs of that spreading to other sectors – French trade union CGT is organising a one-day strike on Friday to seek higher wages for oil refinery workers after talks with operator TotalEnergies broke down.

With inflation running at more than 8% in the euro area, a 40-year-high of 9.1% in Britain, and in double digits across some central and eastern European economies, authorities are worried of a wage-price spiral developing in which higher wage demands add to inflationary pressures.

European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde has warned that the longer inflation remains high, the more likely it will influence wage negotiations.

Pilot and cabin crew unions of Brussels Airlines, the Belgian subsidiary of Lufthansa, also started a strike on Thursday. Over the three days, Brussels Airlines expects to cancel about 60% of its 533 flights.

Belgium is likely to be the hardest hit by the Ryanair strike, with local media saying 127 flights at Brussels’ Charleroi airport would be cancelled, affecting 21,000 passengers.

In Lisbon, two flights were cancelled on Friday so far, both to Brussels. A total of 18 Ryanair flights between Brussels and Spanish cities were cancelled on Friday and Saturday, Spain’s cabin staff union, USO (NYSE:USO), said.

In Spain, the government forced the company to operate 73%-82% of flights over the strike period to maintain minimum services, obliging most to go to work.

The SNPVAC union said not many flights would be cancelled from the Portuguese airports because the airline placed strikers on stand-by and asked cabin crew in other countries to replace them. Ryanair has said SNPVAC only represented 3% of its staff in Portugal.

Outside Lisbon airport, American Michael Rossides, 59, said he booked an EasyJet flight because he thought Ryanair would cancel but that ended up not happening.

“We have wasted a fair amount of time, an extra couple of hours, and a few hundred dollars,” he said.

Stock Markets

Bankman-Fried’s FTX seeking path to buy Robinhood – Bloomberg News

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© Reuters. The logo of Robinhood Markets, Inc. is seen at a pop-up event on Wall Street after the company’s IPO in New York City, U.S., July 29, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) – Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange is exploring whether it might be able to acquire Robinhood Markets Inc (NASDAQ:HOOD), Bloomberg News reported on Monday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

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Refining Tightness to Persist, Even in a Recession – Piper Sandler

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© Reuters. Refining Tightness to Persist, Even in a Recession – Piper Sandler

By Sam Boughedda

Piper Sandler Senior analyst Ryan Todd said in a research note Monday that they believe refining tightness will persist, even through a recession.

With rising investor concerns of a recession and, to a lesser extent, fear of potential adverse policy impacts, U.S. refining stocks have pulled back by 25% since June 8th, said the analyst.

“PSC’s macro view suggests a high chance of recession in early 2023, and the historical ‘playbook’ would tell you to stay away from refiners in a recession, we see the dynamics as unique today, with margin strength driven by supply constraints, rather than demand strength,” wrote Todd. “Given system tightness, even in a severe recession (2.0 Mb/d+ of demand destruction), global utilization rates would merely approach pre-Covid ‘mid-cycle’ levels.”

As a result, the analyst reiterated HF Sinclair Corp (NYSE:DINO) as a top pick while lowering Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO) to a peer discount.

“As we have highlighted repeatedly over the last 6-9 months, global refining capacity is VERY tight, with 2022 utilization likely ~84%, well above the 5yr/10yr averages of 82%/81%,” added Todd. “Only in the case of 2.0 Mb/d of demand destruction would global refining utilization levels fall to ‘mid-cycle’ levels (81.9% vs. 82.3% 5-yr pre-Covid average). The reality is that we need some amount of demand destruction to prevent 2023 margins from surpassing 2022.”

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Mining firms poised to lead capital raisings in Canada, TSX CEO says

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Visitors to the BHP (formerly known as BHP Billiton) booth speak with representatives during the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Ph

By Divya Rajagopal

TORONTO (Reuters) – Mining companies seeking to accelerate exploration of scarce critical minerals are set to lead capital raisings in Canada this year, the chief executive officer of the Toronto Stock Exchange said on Monday, as sectors such as technology take a back seat amid market volatility.

A big source of capital for the critical minerals sector this year is coming from large corporations like BHP Ltd and Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), which are throwing their weight behind junior miners to help expedite exploration projects.

Junior miners are encouraged by the Canadian government’s plan, announced in this year’s budget, to allocate C$4 billion ($3.1 billion) to critical minerals.

“I do think we are going to see a bit of a renaissance in mining that we haven’t seen in years, just given what’s happening with global demand, supply,” Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) CEO Loui Anastasopoulos told Reuters, pointing to the focus on investments in critical minerals.

The raising of capital on the TSX by mining companies will bolster Canada’s prospects of developing its vast deposits of critical minerals, including cobalt, lithium, nickel and copper, which are key to achieving the transition away from carbon-based energy. It could also help reduce the reliance on China for critical minerals. The Asian economic superpower is home to about 50% of the global critical minerals deposits.

So far this year, mining companies listed in Canada have raised C$3.1 billion, accounting for 25% of the total capital raised on the TSX and the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV), compared to 18% in the same period last year, TSX data shows, while overall raising of funds has dropped by about 54%. Last year, technology companies led the way among equity sectors with C$13.8 billion in funds raised, followed by mining at C$10 billion and financial services at C$6.9 billion.

The TSX is betting that mining companies looking to add critical minerals to their portfolio will help make up for some of the shortfall in capital raisings this year.

Calgary-based Lithium Chile and Toronto-based Northern Graphite Corporation lead capital raising in 2022 with a total of C$51 million through private placements. Anastasopoulos said at least six more mining companies are expected to list on the TSX this year.

‘CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC’

Investment bankers also expect the trend of large mining companies injecting capital into junior miners to continue after BHP and Rio Tinto announced their plans to invest in explorers.

In June, Rio Tinto agreed to pay C$10 million for a 10% stake in British Columbia-based Nano One Materials Corp , which is engaged in the production of cathode materials used in lithium batteries. In February, BHP bought a 5% stake in Vancouver-based copper-gold explorer Filo Mining for C$100 million.

Lauren Bermack, a partner and national deals mining leader at consulting firm PwC Canada, said when sentiment is down it becomes difficult to raise capital in mining as compared to blue-chip companies.

But since the outlook for critical minerals is strong, investors with risk appetite are looking to invest in assets that are trading at reasonable prices, she added.

Anastasopoulos of the TSX also sees upbeat sentiment for the mining sector.

“We are cautiously optimistic … but something quite interesting will happen in the mining space over the next 12 to 24 months,” he said.

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