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2014-05-26 18:20:00



Edinburgh has vowed it will have the resources to invest in an oil fund from the point of independence, amid a growing UK Treasury attack on the fiscal case for scrappingthe union.

The Treasury will on Wednesday publish a much-trailed report on an independent Scotland's fiscal prospects: it will emphasise the problems posed by dwindling North Sea oil receipts, an ageing population and the costs of setting up a new state.

In an effort to blunt the assault, the Scottish government said the relatively large per-capita tax take in Scotland, when North Sea receipts are included, showed that it would "start life with strong public finances" and be in "prime position" to begin immediate investment in a national oil fund.

However, given that Scotland would face a large fiscal deficit, diverting income into such a fund would mean increased borrowing at the relatively high interest rates that international markets would probably demand of a new state.

Edinburgh said it would lay out where the money would come from on Wednesday, when it will publish updated forecasts for public finances in 2016-17, the proposed first year of independence.

These will have to take into account a steep fall in oil and gas revenues since the projections used in its white paper on independence last year.

London argues that falling oil revenues are easier to cope with in a larger union.

The Treasury's report this week will try to put a number on the fiscal benefit for Scotland of staying in the UK.

The report adopts the research of a Canadian academic to calculate the costs of setting up a state. This puts the price at 0.4-1 per cent of gross domestic product.

The Treasury has taken the higher 1 per cent figure – equivalent to £1.5bn, or £300 per person in Scotland – as what it calls a conservative basis for its calculation of the total cost of independence.

It said the actual cost would be "likely to be far greater", citing what it called a Scottish government estimate that it would need to create 180 new institutions.

Alex Salmond, Scotland's first minister, dismissed the Treasury claim as "ridiculous", saying the Edinburgh administration had never suggested that it would need 180 new government departments and throwing doubt on the rest of the analysis.

"It leaves the Treasury's claims about the finances of an independent Scotland without a shred of credibility," he said.

However, Edinburgh has offered few details of how much it thinks setting up a new state might cost and the first minister did not offer an alternative estimate.




2018, June, 22, 13:10:00


U.S. EIA - Venezuela holds the largest oil reserves in the world, in large part because of the heavy oil reserves in the Orinoco Oil Basin. In addition to oil reserves, Venezuela has sizeable natural gas reserves, although the development of natural gas lags significantly behind that of oil. However, in the wake of political and economic instability in the country, crude oil production has dramatically decreased, reaching a multi-decades low in mid-2018.

2018, June, 22, 13:05:00


U.S. BEA - The U.S. current-account deficit increased to $124.1 billion (preliminary) in the first quarter of 2018 from $116.1 billion (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The deficit was 2.5 percent of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter, up from 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

2018, June, 22, 13:00:00


WNN - There are 126 operational power reactors in 14 EU Member States, providing more than one-quarter of the bloc's total electricity production. In its Communication on the Nuclear Illustrative Program (PINC) published last year, the European Commission expects nuclear to maintain its significant role in Europe's energy mix up to 2050. This would require investment of some EUR40-50 billion (USD46-58 billion) in nuclear LTO by 2050.

2018, June, 20, 13:15:00


REUTERS - Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 was up 50 cents at $75.58 a barrel by 0835 GMT. U.S. light crude CLc1 was 50 cents higher at $65.57.

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