The last thing Europe needs: another Greek debt crisis

Eurozone vs. EU: What's the difference?

How’s this for déjà vu? Another debt crisis is brewing in Europe.

Greece needs European creditors to release cash from a bailout agreed in 2015 so it can make debt repayments, but officials are at loggerheads. Investors are starting to worry, demanding higher returns on Greek debt.

Adding to the confusion is a warning from the International Monetary Fund that Greece’s debt is unsustainable and on an “explosive” path, an assessment that prevents the fund from participating in a rescue.

The timing could hardly be worse. European leaders have a lot on their plate. Elections are looming in the Netherlands, France and Germany. Brexit negotiations will begin within weeks.

Yet the threat of Greece tumbling out of the euro demands attention. Here’s why the next few weeks will be key:

Hammer to fall

Greece is running out of cash, but it needs to make repayments to creditors including the European Central Bank. Major bills are coming due in July.

If Greece cannot make the payments, it will default on its debt and spiral out of the eurozone.

Meanwhile, its latest bailout — the third since 2010 — is effectively frozen. The negotiating positions of major players are further apart than at any point since the bailout was agreed in June, 2015.

There is even disagreement over the size of the problem facing Greece.

“The IMF’s latest review of Greece’s debt position was surprisingly pessimistic,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who chairs meetings of top eurozone finance officials. “It’s surprising because Greece is already doing better than that report describes.”

I want it all

The IMF, Greece and creditors led by Germany all have very different priorities. Here’s what each wants:

The IMF has called on Greece to make more ambitious changes to its economy, including labor market reforms. The IMF didn’t join the third bailout when first agreed in 2015 because it did not view Greece’s debt as being sustainable. It still maintains that Greece cannot be self sustaining without major debt relief.

Greece’s main creditors agree that Athens should implement the reforms proposed by the IMF. However, they have categorically ruled out any debt relief, a position reiterated by eurozone finance officials on Tuesday.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, meanwhile, shows no sign of yielding to demands for additional reforms. He insists that debt relief is needed before any new concessions are made.

It’s a classic standoff and investors are watching to see which party blinks first.

Put out the fire

The next major milestone is a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Feb. 20 — the last before elections start muddying Europe’s political waters. Agreeing yet more financial aid for Greece will become even harder once voters start casting their ballots.

After that, bills will start coming due. Greece faces a payment to the ECB of roughly €1.4 billion in late April and another €4.1 billion in July.

The stake are high.

The unemployment rate in Greece is expected to run above 21% in 2017. Investment is down by more than 60% and output has contracted by more than 25% since the financial crisis. The country’s social fabric is fraying.

If European creditors refuse further help, Greece’s debt will spiral out of control no matter how quickly its economy grows, according to the IMF.

That will leave only one option — abandoning the euro.

Ted Malloch, President Trump’s expected choice for U.S. ambassador to the EU, told Greek television on Tuesday that the eurozone’s future would be decided in the next 18 months.

“Certainly there will be a Europe, whether the eurozone survives, I think it’s very much a question that is on the agenda,” he said. “I think this time I would have to say that the odds are higher that Greece itself will break out of the euro.”

CNNMoney (London) First published February 8, 2017: 12:27 PM ET

Trump isn’t killing the bull market. Here’s why

Trump meets with airline execs

More and more business leaders and Wall Street strategists are expressing their worries about what President Donald Trump’s protectionist policies and unpredictable nature might do to the markets and economy.

But we all know that action speaks louder than words. What investors are actually doing is in stark contrast to what people are saying. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit all-time highs again on Friday.

And the Russell 2000, an index of small company stocks that tend to do most of their business in the U.S., is now just a few points away from the all-time high it hit last December in the wake of Trump market euphoria.

What’s more, the VIX (VIX), a measure of volatility known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, is down nearly 25% this year as well. If investors were really scared of Trump, the VIX should be much higher.

And CNNMoney’s own Fear & Greed Index, which looks at the VIX and six other measures of investor sentiment, is showing signs of Greed and is not far from Extreme Greed levels.

Of course, Trump still can’t seem to help himself from tweeting about things that, let’s be honest, won’t do anything to help the economy — although Nordstrom investors are richer despite Trump attacking them for dumping his daughter Ivanka’s brand.

But to give credit where it’s due, it looks like the main reason that stocks have taken off again lately is because Trump has promised to unveil a “phenomenal” tax plan soon.

Related: Rare streak for U.S. stocks: Long stretch without a 1% dive

Trump also pledged again to invest more on infrastructure when he met with airline CEOs on Thursday.

That’s what the market wants to hear.

“We still expect fiscal stimulus, lower taxes and less regulation,” said Matt Lockridge, manager of the Westwood Small Cap Value Fund. “The timing is the big question, but it’s coming.”

Lockridge thinks that many companies that generate a majority of their revenues from America should benefit if Trump stimulus winds up kicking the economy into a higher gear.

He likes stocks in a variety of industries, such as movie theater owner Masco (MAS), snack food firm J & J (JJSF) and aerospace equipment company Kaman (KAMN).

Another money manager said he’s also still bullish on small U.S. stocks that could get a lift from Trump policies.

Related: Wall Street has powerful seat at Trump’s table

Barry James, president and CEO of James Investment Research, said he bought the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) the day after the election because he’s confident Trump’s stimulus plan will boost growth for U.S small businesses.

“When Trump said America first, I really think that’s what he means,” James said, adding that he thinks Internet phone service Vonage (VG), rent-to-own retailer Aaron’s (AAN) and discount chain Big Lots (BIG) could all thrive if Trump’s proposals go through.

But there’s another reason why the U.S. markets are near all-time highs. Despite all of the uncertainty in Washington, the U.S. is still viewed as a paragon of relative stability compared to other parts of the world.

Europe’s economy is still a big wild card thanks to Brexit, the rise of populism in France leading to worries about a so-called Frexit and more worries about the problem that never seems to go away — Greece’s debt woes.

Japan’s economy remains stagnant as well. We’re talking about more than just a lost decade now. It’s plural. And China’s economy is slowing down too.

Bond fund manager Bill Gross has often joked that America is like what Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson sang about in “Sunday Morning Coming Down” — the “cleanest dirty shirt.”

To that end, analysts at bond rating firm Fitch wrote in a report Friday that “elements of President Trump’s economic agenda would be positive for growth,” but added that “the present balance of risks points toward a less benign global outcome.”

Of course, there are two sides to that coin. Trump’s bombast could come back to haunt him.

Related: Oreo make is worried about rise of populism

His continued penchant for reprimanding companies that he disagrees with on Twitter could dent investor confidence.

And while his proposed travel ban on immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries has been overturned by the U.S. court system for now, the president has vowed to fight for its reinstatement.

Even if he loses that battle, it’s still clear that Trump is serious on turning more inward, with plans for tariffs and border-adjusted taxes that could ignite trade wars with Mexico, China and Japan. That could hurt big U.S. multinational firms and lead to job cuts.

But investors still seem to believe/hope that the merits of Trump’s pro-growth stimulus plans and tax cuts will outweigh the impact of isolationism. Let’s hope they’re right.

Investors may be holding their noses, closing their eyes and stuffing cotton in their ears to drown out the president. But they are still buying stocks.

CNNMoney (New York) First published February 10, 2017: 11:55 AM ET

Visa crackdown puts these rural doctors at risk

How Trump's travel ban hits this South Dakota doctor

At his pediatrics practice in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Dr. Alaa Al Nofal sees up to 10 patients a day. He’s known some of them since they were born. Others, he still treats after they’ve graduated from high school.

“I treat these children for Type 1 diabetes, thyroid problems, thyroid cancer, puberty disorders and adrenal gland diseases,” he said.

Al Nofal’s expertise is critical. He is one of just five full-time pediatric endocrinologists in a 150,000 square-mile area that covers both South and North Dakota.

Like most of rural America, it’s a region plagued by a shortage of doctors.

“We’re very lucky to have Dr. Al Nofal here. We can’t afford to lose someone with his specialization,” said Cindy Morrison, chief marketing officer for Sanford Health, a non-profit health care system based in Sioux Falls that runs 300 hospitals and clinics in predominantly rural communities.

Related: Visa ban could make doctor shortage in rural America even worse

Yet, Sanford Health may lose Al Nofal and several other doctors who are crucial to its health care network.

dr nofal patient
Dr. Alaa Al Nofal [here with a patient] is one of just five pediatric endocrinoloists in South and North Dakota combined.

A Syrian citizen, Al Nofal is in Sioux Falls through a special workforce development program called the Conrad 30 visa waiver — which basically waives the requirement that doctors who complete their residency on a J-1 exchange visitor visa must return to their country of origin for two years before applying for another American visa. The Conrad 30 waiver allows him to stay in the U.S. for a maximum of three years as long as he commits to practicing in an area where there is a doctor shortage.

After President Donald Trump issued a temporary immigration ban restricting people from seven Muslim-majority countries — including Syria — from entering the U.S., Al Nofal is unsure about his future in America.

“We agree that something more has to be done to protect the country, but this executive order will have a negative effect on physicians from these countries who are badly needed across America,” said Al Nofal. “They may no longer want to practice in the United States.” The action is currently in legal limbo after a federal appeals court temporarily halted the ban.

Related: Trump furious after court upholds block on travel ban

Over the last 15 years, the Conrad 30 visa waiver has funneled 15,000 foreign physicians into underserved communities.

Sanford Health has 75 physicians in total on these visa waivers and seven are from the countries listed in the executive order. “If we lost Dr. Al Nofal and our other J-1 physicians, we would be unable to fill critical gaps in access to health care for rural families,” said Sanford Health’s Morrison.

And the ban could hurt the pipeline of new doctors, too. The Conrad 30 visa waiver program is fed by medical school graduates holding J-1 non-immigrant visas who have completed their residencies in the U.S.

south dakota rural
Cows in a field just outside of Sioux Falls.

More than 6,000 medical trainees from foreign countries enroll every year in U.S. residency programs through J-1 visas. About 1,000 of these trainees are from countries caught up in the ban, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges. J-1 visa holders who were out of the country when the ban went into effect were prohibited from entering the U.S. and unable to start or finish school as long as the ban is in place.

The State Department told CNNMoney that the government may issue J-1 visas to people who are from one of the blocked countries if it is of “national interest,” but would not confirm whether a doctor shortage would qualify for such consideration.

“The stress and concern generated by the short-term executive order could have long-term implications, with fewer physicians choosing training programs in the states and subsequently magnifying the deficit in providers willing to practice in underserved and rural areas,” said Dr. Larry Dial, vice dean for clinical affairs at Marshall University’s school of medicine in Huntington, West Virginia.

Related: Obamacare’s impact on this Alaska town with only one doctor’s office

Al Nofal went to medical school in Damascus, Syria’s capital, and completed his residency at the University of Texas on a J-1 visa. He proceeded to a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic and then applied for a J-1 waiver, which placed him in Sioux Falls.

Nineteen months into his three-year commitment, Al Nofal is either directly treating or serving as a consulting physician to more than 400 pediatric patients a month on average.

He sees most of his patients at the Sanford Children’s Specialty Clinic in Sioux Falls, where families often drive hours for an appointment. Once a month, he flies in a small plane to see patients in a clinic in Aberdeen, about 200 miles away.

sanford childrens
Many of Dr. Al Nofal’s patients drive hours to see him at the Sanford Children’s Clinic in Sioux Falls.
aberdeen hospital
Once a month Dr. Nofal flies to Aberdeen, S.D. to see patients at an outreach clinic.

“It’s not easy being a doctor in this setting,” said Al Nofal, citing the long hours and South Dakota’s famously frigid winters. “But as a physician, I’m trained to help people whatever the circumstances and I’m proud of it.”

It’s one of the reasons why Al Nofal and his American wife Alyssa have struggled to come to terms with the visa ban.

“I have a 10-month old baby and I can’t travel to Syria now. My family in Syria can’t come here,” he said. “Now my family can’t meet their first grandson.”

“I know if we leave I probably can never come back,” he said. Neither does he want to travel anywhere in the country right now. “I’m afraid of how I will be treated,” he said. He’s also afraid he will be stopped at the airport — even if he’s traveling to another state.

Related: Trump travel ban and what you need to know

Almatmed Abdelsalam, who’s from Benghazi, Libya, had planned to start practicing as a family physician in Macon, Georgia, through the visa waiver program after he completed his residency at the University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine in July.

Everything was going smoothly. Abdelsalam, who treats hospital patients and veterans, applied for the visa waiver and was accepted. He signed an employment contract with Magna Care, which provides physicians to three hospitals in the Macon area and he had started looking at houses to relocate himself, his wife and their two young kids over the summer.

almatmed abdelsalam
Dr. Almatmed Adbelsalam with his family.

But there was one last step. For his J-1 waiver application to be fully completed, it needs to get final approval from the State Department and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“The executive order came in the middle of that process, stalling my application at the State Department,” he said.

Because he’s a Libyan citizen (Libya is also subject to the visa ban), Abdelsalam is fearful of the outcome.

“The hospital in Macon urgently needs doctors. Even though they’ve hired me, I’m not sure how long they can wait for me,” he said.

“No one can argue it’s necessary to keep the country safe, but we should also keep the country healthy,” he said. “Doctors like me, trained in the U.S. at some of the best schools, are an asset not a liability.”

CNNMoney (New York) First published February 10, 2017: 7:47 PM ET

LeBron, Serena and other Nike stars champion ‘Equality’

The best Nike ads ever

Nike says it’s time to stand up for equality in a new ad campaign.

The company on Sunday launched a star-studded short film titled “Equality” to mark Black History Month.

The ad features Nike-sponsored athletes LeBron James, Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, Gabby Douglas, among others, “amplifying their voices in an effort to uplift, open eyes and bring the positive values that sport can represent into wider focus,” the company said.

Actor Michael B. Jordan voices the film, and singer Alicia Keys performs a rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.”

“Is this the land history promised?” Jordan says. “Here, within these lines, on this concrete court, this patch of turf, here, you’re defined by your actions — not your looks or beliefs.”

Nike will feature ads from the campaign on social media, billboards and posters throughout cities in the United States and Canada. It will also sell “Equality” branded T-shirts and shoes as part of its annual Black History Month collection.

Apparel from the campaign will be worn by Nike athletes during NBA All-Star weekend.

Nike said it is donating $5 million this year to organizations like MENTOR and PeacePlayers, which it says “advance equality in communities” across the country.

Related: Pro-Trump boycott calls follow Super Bowl ads

Nike’s new campaign comes one week after numerous companies launched ads about inclusion and acceptance during the Super Bowl.

Budweiser, 84 Lumber, Coca-Cola (COKE), Airbnb, Kia and Tiffany (TIF) were among the brands that features messages about immigration, equality and environmentalism.

— CNNMoney’s Ahiza Garcia contributed to this story.

CNNMoney (New York) First published February 12, 2017: 12:51 PM ET

Apple CEO Tim Cook calls for “massive campaign” against fake news

What to do about viral 'fake news'

Apple CEO Tim Cook wants the tech industry to take action against “fake news” stories that are polluting the web.

“There has to be a massive campaign. We have to think through every demographic,” Cook said in a rare interview.

Speaking with The Daily Telegraph newspaper, Cook also said “all of us technology companies need to create some tools that help diminish the volume of fake news.”

Other leading tech company CEOs, like Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, have spoken about the problem in recent months. But Cook’s comments were much more frank.

According to the Telegraph, he said made-up stories and hoaxes are “killing people’s minds.”

And he called the “fake news” plague “a big problem in a lot of the world.”

The term “fake news” was originally coined to describe online stories that are designed to deceive readers. Often times these stories are shared on Facebook and other social networking sites to generate profits for the creators. Other times the stories are essentially propaganda made up for political purposes.

These kinds of stories received widespread attention before and after the American election. Fictional stories with titles like “Pope Francis shocks world, endorses Donald Trump for president” won millions of clicks.

It can be very difficult for web surfers to tell the difference between legitimate news sources and fakes.

That’s where companies like Apple come in.

In the Telegraph interview — part of a multi-day European trip — Cook said “too many of us are just in the complain category right now and haven’t figured out what to do.”

He urged both technological and intellectual solutions.

“We need the modern version of a public-service announcement campaign. It can be done quickly if there is a will,” Cook told the newspaper.

What he described is music to the ears of media literacy advocates.

“It’s almost as if a new course is required for the modern kid, for the digital kid,” Cook said.

There are scattered efforts in some schools to teach media literacy, with a focus on digital skills, but it is by no means universal.

When asked if Apple would commit to funding a PSA campaign, an Apple spokesman said the company had no further comment on Cook’s interview.

The Apple CEO also suggested that tech companies can help weed out fake stories, though he added, “We must try to squeeze this without stepping on freedom of speech and of the press.”

Apple’s own Apple News app has been credited with being a relatively reliable place to find information.

The company “reviews publishers who join Apple News,” BuzzFeed noted last December.

And the app has a “report-a-concern function where users can flag fake news or hate speech.”

Facebook recently started working with fact-checkers to test “warning labels” that show up when users share made-up stories.

Cook, in the newspaper interview, expressed optimism that the “fake news” plague is a “short-term thing — I don’t believe that people want that at the end of the day.”

CNNMoney (New York) First published February 11, 2017: 8:00 PM ET

‘Lego Batman’ producer today. Treasury secretary tomorrow?

CNN Review: 'The LEGO Batman Movie' falls short of awesome

Steven Mnuchin had a pretty good weekend.

First the treasury secretary pick advanced a step closer toward confirmation on Friday.

Then his latest movie claimed the top spot at the box office.

Mnuchin is an executive producer on Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Batman Movie,” which pulled in an estimated $55.6 million from U.S. audiences during its opening weekend.

CNN, like Warner Bros., is owned by Time Warner.

The kid-friendly spinoff of 2014’s “The Lego Movie” handily beat its raunchy competitor, Universal’s “Fifty Shades Darker.”

The sequel to 2015’s “Fifty Shades of Grey,” based on a best-selling series of romance novels, debuted at $46.8 million in the United States.

Related: Possible pick for Treasury secretary makes his film debut

Mnuchin is listed as a producer or executive producer on 34 films in recent years, including last summer’s “Suicide Squad,” which brought in $786 million worldwide.

He also produced “The Lego Ninjago Movie,” another Lego franchise spinoff that will hit screens this fall.

Mnuchin is widely expected to be serving as Treasury secretary by then.

Following a 53-46 vote last Friday to break a Democratic filibuster, Mnuchin is scheduled for a final vote before the full Senate at 7 p.m. Monday.

–CNNMoney’s Frank Pallotta and CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this story.

CNNMoney (New York) First published February 12, 2017: 5:39 PM ET

This Thai company makes food packaging out of bamboo to cut down on trash

This zero-waste packaging is made from bamboo

To tackle Thailand’s mounting trash problem, one company is turning to the country’s plant life.

Universal Biopack makes packaging that it sells to restaurants and manufacturers. But rather than plastic, it uses a mixture of bamboo and cassava, crops that are widely found across the country.

After growing rapidly in recent decades, Thailand has become one of Asia’s biggest economies. But like many other countries in the region, it’s been slow to try to combat the millions of tons of trash produced each year.

“Waste management is a big problem everywhere,” said Universal Biopack’s managing director, Vara-Anong Vichakyothin.

Related: The company turning 4 billion plastic bottles into clothes

The company is using a technology devised at a Bangkok university to make its zero-waste packaging. It hopes it will eventually replace many of the Styrofoam boxes and plastic bags that end up in huge garbage dumps across Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries.

Its eco-friendly formula took five years to develop and is so adaptable it could end up being used to package things like furniture and even phones. The bamboo it uses comes from leftover scraps from the chopstick manufacturing process.

UB Pack 3

In the cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai, where takeout drink containers and noodle packets line the sidewalks, the company supplies restaurants, organic farmers and other businesses in the food and drink industry.

But finding new clients can be tricky.

Takeout food vendors in Thailand want to keep costs down in a competitive business with thin margins. Asking them to spend more on packaging for environmental reasons is a tough sell.

“The local economy still does not support [this technology]” said Universal Biopack’s founder, Suthep Vichakyothin.

UB Pack 2

But that hasn’t stopping other companies from entering the sustainable packaging market in Thailand. Like Universal Biopack, they’re betting on growing environmental awareness eventually leading to an increase in demand.

To become more competitive, Suthep’s company is investing. It’s aiming to ramp up production by building a partially automated assembly line at its factory near Bangkok and doubling its staffing from 50 people to 100.

The goal is to increase monthly capacity from 300,000 units to one million.

Related: A startup that makes pencils that grow into vegetables

A lot of the demand comes from overseas. One of its customers uses the natural packaging for coconut water it exports.

Universal Biopack says it’s also getting interest in its products from other countries, particularly in Scandinavia.

CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First published February 12, 2017: 9:08 PM ET

Verizon is bringing back unlimited data

Inside Verizon's device testing lab

Verizon (VZ) is bringing back an unlimited data plan.

Starting Monday, Verizon customers can get unlimited data, talk and text for $80.

The company says the new introductory plan also includes up to 10 GB of mobile hotspot usage, as well as calling and texting to Mexico and Canada. It will also allow customers to stream unlimited HD video, thumbing its nose at T-Mobile’s controversial practice of lowering video quality for some of its unlimited data customers.

Although the new Verizon plan promises “fast LTE speeds,” those using a lot of data may suffer. The company said that after a customer uses 22 gb of data on a line during any billing cycle, it “may prioritize usage behind other customers in the event of network congestion.” That has become standard practice on all networks that offer unlimited data plans.

Related: T-Mobile and Sprint offer new ‘unlimited’ data plans — sort of

Verizon first eliminated its version of an unlimited usage plan in 2011, following similar decisions by other major wireless carriers.

But companies have been steadily reviving such plans.

Verizon first overhauled its data-usage plans last summer when it introduced a new “Safety Mode” plan. That technically gave customers access to unlimited data, but they were subjected to slow-as-molasses speeds after they went over their allotted data.

AT&T similarly eliminated overage fees for customers in September. Like Verizon, AT&T throttles customers speeds once they reach the data limit on their plans. The company brought back unlimited plans earlier last year, but it is only available for homes with both AT&T’s wireless phone service and either DirecTV or U-Verse TV.

Meanwhile, competitors T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S) made their own bids to attract customers looking for “unlimited data” plans.

Nearly all NYC subways get cell service

Last August, Sprint began offering a plan to give customers unlimited talk, text and high-speed data for $60 for the first line, $40 for the next, and $30 for each additional up to 10.

The T-Mobile plan, announced the same day as Sprint’s, charged $70 a month for the first line, the second at $50 and additional lines are only $20, up to eight lines.

CNNMoney (New York) First published February 12, 2017: 7:03 PM ET

Indian rival slams Uber’s business model

Ola puts Uber in the shade

Uber’s top rival in India has some unsolicited advice for the U.S. startup: Go local.

“They have a very cookie-cutter approach in terms of what the model is and how [to] force feed it into any geography,” Pranay Jivrajka, a top executive at Ola Cabs, said on the sidelines of CNN’s Asia Business Forum in Bangalore.

Jivrajka, who until recently served as Ola’s COO, said that Uber should ditch its one-size-fits-all approach and instead try to understand “local nuances” that would help it to identify services that “users and drivers actually want.”

Uber declined to comment on Jivrajka’s remarks.

Uber and Ola have for years waged a bitter battle for supremacy in India, a market with 1.3 billion potential customers. The country has taken on increased significance for Uber after a series of recent setbacks elsewhere in Asia.

The San Francisco-based company suspended its operations in Taiwan last week, six months after it sold its operations in China to local rival Didi Chuxing. Didi, which is taking the fight to Uber in key foreign markets, is one of Ola’s investors.

In India, Uber has often found itself playing catch-up with its Bangalore-based rival. Its most recent local product offering — allowing Indian users to book a car for an entire day — is already offered by Ola in 85 cities.

Ola also lets users book one of India’s ubiquitous three-wheeled auto rickshaws, a service Uber started but then discontinued in 2015.

“What has helped us is having an ear to the ground in terms of understanding what the users want,” said Jivrajka.

Related: Uber’s rivals are teaming up in Asia

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick insists that his company is not prepared to leave India.

“We are losing, but we see a path towards profitability,” Kalanick said during a December visit to Delhi. “We see ourselves being here in the long run.”

Related: Uber suspends its service in Taiwan as fines mount

India isn’t always a straightforward market for either company — tens of thousands of drivers representing both Uber and Ola went on strike in Delhi this week, demanding better pay and benefits. The Delhi government has offered to mediate the dispute.

Jivrajka did not comment on the protests, but said that Ola’s main focus remains bringing more drivers onto its platform.

“We need more drivers because the pace at which demand is increasing is way higher than the way supply is getting aggregated,” he said.

Related: Uber CEO drops out of Trump’s business advisory council

Jivrajka also had some advice for another Silicon Valley giant hoping to enter India: electric automaker Tesla.

“There are no rules on the Indian roads,” Jivrajka said. “One thing a lot of people say is that if you can drive in India, you can drive anywhere.”

— Manveena Suri contributed reporting

CNNMoney (Bangalore, India) First published February 13, 2017: 8:48 AM ET

Oil prices have doubled in a year. Here’s why

Trump signs oil pipeline executive actions

It’s a good day for OPEC.

Data published Monday by the oil cartel show its members have largely complied with an agreement to slash production.

The confirmation caps a remarkable year for OPEC, which was forced to devise a plan to boost prices after they fell to $26 per barrel in February 2016.

The price collapse — to levels not seen since 2003 — was caused by months of growing oversupply, slowing demand from China and a decision by Western powers to lift Iran’s nuclear sanctions.

Since then, the market has mounted a stunning turnaround, with crude prices doubling to trade at $53.50 per barrel.

Here’s how major oil producers worked together to push prices higher:

OPEC deal

OPEC agreed major production cuts in November, hoping to tame the global oil oversupply and support prices.

The news of the deal immediately boosted prices by 9%.

Investors cheered even more after several non-OPEC producers, including Russia, Mexico and Kazakhstan, joined the effort to restrain supply.

Crucially, the deal has stuck. The OPEC report published Monday showed that its members have — for the most part — fulfilled their pledges to slash production. The International Energy Agency agrees: It estimated OPEC compliance for January at 90%.

UAE energy minister Suhail Al Mazrouei told CNNMoney on Monday that the results were even better than he had expected.

The production cuts total 1.8 million barrels per day and are scheduled to run for six months.

Related: OPEC has pulled off one of its ‘deepest’ production cuts

election2016 markets oil up

Investors upbeat

The OPEC deal took months to negotiate, and investors really, really like it. The number of hedge funds and other institutional investors that are betting on higher prices hit a record in January, according to OPEC.

The widespread optimism is helping to fuel price increases.

Higher demand

The latest data from OPEC and the IEA show that global demand for oil was higher than expected in 2016, thanks to stronger economic growth, higher vehicle sales and colder than expected weather in the final quarter of the year.

Demand is set to grow further in 2017 to an average of 95.8 million barrels a day, compared 94.6 million barrels per day in 2016.

The IEA said that if OPEC sticks to its agreement, the global oil glut that has plagued markets for three years will finally disappear in 2017.

Saudi oil minister: I don’t lose sleep over shale

What’s next?

Despite the stunning growth, analysts caution that prices may not go much higher.

That’s because higher oil prices are likely to lure American shale producers back into the market. The total number of active oil rigs in the U.S. stood at 591 last week, according to data from Baker Hughes. That’s 152 more than a year ago.

U.S. crude stockpiles swelled in January to nearly 200 million barrels above their five-year average, according to the OPEC report.

“This vast increase in inventories is a result of a strong supply response from the U.S. shale producers, who were not involved in the OPEC agreement and who have instead been using the resultant price rally to increase output,” said Fiona Cincotta, an analyst at City Index.

More supply could once again put OPEC under pressure.

CNNMoney (London) First published February 13, 2017: 9:13 AM ET