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Mexico: Uber challenges ban on cash payments

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Uber said on Monday that it had appealed regulations that have barred it from accepting cash fares in the Mexican state of Puebla, in a new challenge to clampdowns on the ride-hailing service in Latin America.

Uber stopped accepting cash payments in the Mexico City-adjacent state on Friday, responding to demands from state authorities, and filed an appeal to a federal judge against the regulation the same day.

But the company said cash fares are crucial to reach Mexican consumers who do not have credit cards.

“To continue being a transportation option for people who pay in cash and to maintain the earnings of driver-partners, the company has decided to take, as a last resort, the corresponding legal actions and request an appeal,” Uber said in a statement on Monday.

Authorities from Mexico to Brazil have tried to rein in Uber’s use of cash payments, in Brazil because of concerns that cash makes drivers targets of crime, and in Mexico because of worries that allowing cash puts Uber in direct competition with traditional taxis.

In Puebla, specifically, lawmakers responded to the murders of two female college students who had used ride-hailing services with new rules in October aimed at improving companies’ vetting of drivers.

The rules specify that the companies should use “electronic payments,” but Uber continued offering users in the state the option to pay in cash after the law went into effect on Nov. 7.

Uber maintains that the language in the law does not expressly ban cash payments.

A spokesman for Puebla’s Secretary of Infrastructure, Mobility and Transport did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In addition, Uber is appealing a provision in the law that holds the company and other ride-hailing companies directly responsible for what happens during trips, saying it violates its right to “due process.”

Uber has said authorities should conduct investigations to determine responsibility on a case by case basis.

Uber is also appealing a provision in the law that requires the company to give authorities access to the platform, citing privacy concerns for riders and drivers. The company will continue to cooperate with criminal investigations, a spokesman said.

Uber faces curbs on its activity in other Mexican states. Last month, legislators in Quintana Roo, the southeastern state that includes Cancun, said they were also considering a proposal that would bar drivers from accepting cash and set minimum value and age criteria for the cars used for trips.

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Nigeria: CBN monetary policy rate remains at 14%.

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The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday left the Monetary Policy Rate unchanged at 14 per cent.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, announced the decision of the committee at the end of a two-day meeting held at the apex bank’s headquarters in Abuja.



He explained that all the eleven members of the committee that attended the meeting agreed to maintain the current monetary policy stance.

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He said apart from the MPR which was retained at 14 per cent, the committee also retained the Cash Reserves Ratio at 22.5 per cent.

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Also retained are the Liquidity Ratio which was left at 30 per cent; and the Asymmetric Window which was left at +200 and -500 basis points around the MPR.

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China’s Economic downslide threat results to Oil price fall.

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Oil prices fell on Tuesday over signs that an economic slowdown in China, the world’s second-largest economy and oil consumer, was spreading, stoking concerns over future fuel demand.

The gloomy economic news has pulled down financial markets across Asia, including crude oil futures.

International Brent oil futures were at 62.26 dollars per barrel at 0736 GMT, down 48 cents, or 0.8 per cent from their previous close.



US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at 53.43 dollars per barrel, down 0.7 per cent, or 37 cents.

China’s state planner on Tuesday warned that the downward pressure on the economy will affect China’s job market as falling factory orders point to a further drop in activity in coming months and more job shedding.

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On Monday, China reported its lowest annual economic growth since 1990.

China’s oil imports have so far defied the economic slowdown, hitting a record above 10 million barrels per day in late 2018, but many analysts believe the country to be at peak energy growth, with its thirst set to wane as the slowdown bites.

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In a sign of spreading economic weakness, South Korea’s export-oriented economy slowed to a six-year low growth rate of 2.7 per cent in 2018, official data showed on Tuesday.

This came after the International Monetary Fund on Monday trimmed its 2019 global growth forecast to 3.5 per cent, down from 3.7 per cent in last October’s outlook.

There is a high correlation between economic growth and oil demand growth.

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