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Household spending on alcohol close to EUR130 billion, or over EUR300 per EU inhabitant

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In 2017, households in the European Union (EU) spent 1.6% of their total consumption expenditure on alcoholic beverages, new Eurostat figures show.

This represents a total expenditure of over €130 billion, equivalent to 0.9% of EU GDP or over 300 euros per EU inhabitant. It should be noted that this does not include alcoholic beverages paid for in restaurants and hotels.

Eurostat figures show that Baltic EU Member States spend highest share of household expenditure on alcohol, Spain spends least.

In the EU in 2017, the share of total consumption expenditure spent on alcoholic beverages was the largest in three Baltic States: Estonia (5.2%), Latvia (4.9%) and Lithuania (4.0%). They were followed by Poland (3.5%), Czechia (3.3%), Hungary (3.0%) and Finland (2.8%).

At the opposite end of the scale, Spain (0.8%), Greece and Italy (both 0.9%) spent the lowest proportions of household spending on alcoholic beverages, ahead of Germany, Austria and Portugal (all 1.4%).

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Economy

Mercedes maintains global luxury sales crown

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Mercedes-Benz kept the global luxury sales crown for the third consecutive year in 2018, outpacing nearest rival BMW by nearly 200,000 vehicles.

Sales of Mercedes brand cars rose 0.9 percent to 2.31 million, lifted by the introduction of the new A-class model, which helped compact-car sales account for a quarter of the brand’s annual volume.

BMW brand’s volume increased 1.8 percent to 2.12 million, boosted by demand for its SUVs, which accounted for over a third of registrations. Third-placed Audi’s vehicle sales fell 3.5 percent to 1.87 million.

European volume declined for all three automakers last year.

Audi’s deliveries dropped most with a 14 percent fall, which parent Volkswagen Group unit blamed on model changeovers, political and economic uncertainties along with the introduction of the new WLTP testing regime. Mercedes sales were down 2.3 percent, while BMW’s sales declined by 0.3 percent.

In the United States, BMW’s volume rose by 0.5 percent. Mercedes sales dropped 6.3 percent and Audi fell 1.4 percent.

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Economy

Etihad Airways to lay off 50 pilots this month

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Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways plans to cut 50 pilot jobs by end of this month after a significant loss last year, two sources who have seen an internal memo by the airline told Reuters on Thursday.

The state-owned Gulf carrier has been reviewing its business since 2016 after a strategy of investing billions of dollars in other airlines failed.

Etihad has around 160 surplus pilots and will lay off 50 by the end of January, the airline told pilots in the memo, according to the sources, who declined to be named because the memo was intended to be private.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier employs 2,065 pilots, the sources added.

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Economy

Amazon is most valuable company in the world after passing Microsoft

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Amazon.com Inc. surpassed Microsoft Corp. to become the world’s largest public company on Monday, in the latest example of the list of Wall Street’s biggest names being reordered.

Amazon is now now the largest company by market value, overtaking Microsoft’s hold on the title.

Amazon’s ended trading Monday with a market value of about $797 billion, compared with Microsoft’s $783 billion. Apple, which had been part of a close three-way race for the seat, is now down to about $702 billion in market value after plunging last week on the news of its weak iPhone sales. Google parent company Alphabet has surpassed Apple with a market value of about $748 billion.

Shares of the e-commerce company rose 3.4 percent, a rally that gave it a market capitalization of $797 billion, according to Bloomberg data. While this is down from Amazon’s record market cap, which topped $1 trillion in September, it was enough to push it past Microsoft at $789 billion. Shares of Microsoft, which claimed the title of the world’s most valuable stock in November, rose 0.1 percent on Monday.

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