Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Currency trading gets tougher for banks

Banks second quarter figures have shown an interesting trend, that it is becoming harder to make money by trading in currencies. Banking giant Goldman Sachs Inc. have reported a 53% revenue plunge in its foreign exchange division. Banking rival Citigroup reported an 18% fall in fixed-income revenues which is largely driven by currencies.

Jeff Feig, global head of foreign exchange at Citigroup has said "It's harder to make money, and thus we are seeing less of the frantic hiring, and some layoffs are occurring."

This performance is in stark contrast to 2008 and 2009 where trading volumes were far larger and margins between buy and sell rates were much larger.

The industry has also seen emerging traders who have focused on this area, particularly BNP Paribas who have focused on low quantity higher volume trading.

Sadly, I'm not sure that this is going to make holiday money go a little further just yet.

Doha Airport expands its duty free operations

Qatar Duty Free has begun efforts to increase its duty free performance by adding 20% of retail space to its operation at Doha Airport.

The company will add an extra entrance to the store to capture further passing trade from the newly opened Terminal B check-in areas.

Qatar Duty Free Senior Vice President Keith Hunter is buoyant regarding the changes: “The main categories to benefit will be liquor and confectionery & food, plus P&C. Apart from the increased space in liquor and confectionery, the changes will improve the customer flow, with a bank of tills that are currently by the walls moving further forward into the store."

Hunter is also targeting the lucrative duty free sectors and clientele from emerging markets: “We are placing a big emphasis on watches & jewellery in this project. It’s around 10% of sales, but it’s growing very quickly. We are seeing more and more Chinese and Russians coming through, amid the expansion of Qatar Airways. So to help us meet that demand we are doubling the size of the watches area in the middle of the store, and creating a new watch counter.”

UK bound flight forced to divert after engine trouble over Ibiza

A Jet2 operated plane from Ibiza bound for Manchester got into trouble at 3,000ft and was forced to land at Palma Majorca airport.

The plane had 186 people on board. A spokesman for Jet2.com said: "Jet2.com flight LS170 from Ibiza to Manchester diverted to Palma due to a technical fault which we are currently investigating. The aircraft landed safely, without incident, and we provided welfare and assistance to affected passengers.

"A replacement aircraft was sent to Palma with the return flight landing safely in Manchester."

The plane circled for an hour as it dumped fuel before touching down safely at Palma Airport. The passengers were helped off their flight but forced to wait more than seven hours for the next flight to Manchester. 

Turkish Airlines launch version of premium economy class

Turkish Airlines have launched a new cabin to its Boeing 777's. Entitled Comfort Class, it aims to capture the clientele which look for a little more room, better catering and superior entertainment options.

Comfort Class will be rolled out across 12 aircraft by September and the new cabins will feature 63 seats which provide 116cm pitch and 49cm width, these measurements make the seats the largest in the industry. Entertainment will be provided through a 10 inch touch screen which will offer a wide variety of entertainment together with USB and I pod connectivity devices. Comfort Class passengers will also receive amenity kits which are normally only offered to its business class customers.

Customers will be able to experience Comfort Class first hand if they are onboard a flight from Hong Kong to Istanbul or for routes to Beijing, Sau Paulo, Toronto, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Ryanair figures continue to impress despite fuel charge rise

Budget super brand Ryanair have reported steady performance in the months of April, May and June despite a 29% rise in revenue in these months.

The figures have shown an 11% year-on-year increase in average fare prices and an 18% rise in passenger numbers. The reason the increase in numbers has not resulted in huge profits is down to the cost of fuel which has increased by 49% during this period. However, there is no need to feel sorry for the airline as quarterly profits stand at €139 million and revenue of €1.155bn. Michael O'Leary also feels that passenger numbers are down by 1.5m due to the Icelandic volcanic erupts.

Ryanair are to trial reserved seating on the airline to test if the service is to be implemented across the airlines catchment over the winter months.

Saint Lucian Tourism Minister pays tribute to Amy Winehouse

The Saint Lucian Minister of Tourism, Allen Chastanet has issued a statement expressing sadness over the death of Amy Winehouse after she spent a significant amount of time on the Caribbean island.

Chastanet paid tribute towards her generosity to local residents: "We were fortunate to see another side of Amy, and will be forever grateful for the acts of kindness and compassion she extended to less fortunate Saint Lucians during her visits with us. Saint Lucians join me in extending our condolences to Amy's family, friends and fans during this difficult period."