By Francesco Canepa and Balazs Koranyi

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – There is reluctance among European Central Bank policymakers to follow the U.S. Federal Reserve’s move to target an average inflation rate, fearing this could tie their hands, sources involved in a revamp of ECB policy told Reuters.

The four central bank sources, including members of both the hawkish and dovish wings of the ECB’s policymaking governing council, also expressed doubts about whether orthodox inflation theory still applied in economies where prices have long stagnated despite interest rates close to or below zero.

After missing its goal of keeping inflation “below but close to 2%” for a decade, the ECB is reviewing its strategy in the wake of a similar review by the Fed and just as a pandemic-induced recession is pushing euro zone inflation into negative territory.

The euro zone’s central bank has been expected to follow the Fed, which said in August it would aim for 2% average inflation over an unspecified period, so that periods when prices grow too slowly need to be compensated by times of faster increases – and vice versa.

But the policymakers who spoke to Reuters feared that going down this route risked encouraging financial markets to jump to the wrong conclusions about future policy decisions based simply on where the average happened to be at a given point in time.

Instead, they wanted to retain the flexibility to judge each situation on its own merits, for instance by playing down the significance of temporary changes in inflation due to swings in the price of oil.

“We want flexibility so an average target would not really give us a benefit,” one of the sources said.

An ECB spokesman declined to comment.

With euro zone inflation averaging 1.3% over the past decade and currently negative, they

SEATTLE/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Boeing Co BA.N is in discussions to sell 737 MAX jets to Alaska Airlines once the plane returns to service following a lengthy grounding, three people familiar with the matter said.

The talks are part of a series of negotiations between Boeing and several airlines over jet orders or compensation after the 737 MAX was banned worldwide following two fatal crashes.

Boeing and Alaska Airlines, which is part of Alaska Air Group Inc ALK.N, declined to comment.

Any deal would be subject to U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approval of proposed 737 MAX safety upgrades.

Boeing shares were up 1.6% at $167.22 on Thursday afternoon, while Alaska Air stock was up 4.1% at $38.54.

Alaska Airlines already had ordered 37 of the jets before the grounding. If confirmed, a new order from such a major carrier would give Boeing’s 737 MAX a sorely needed commercial boost as the U.S. planemaker tries to move beyond a crisis that has hammered its finances.

It would also mark a post-crisis test of the balance of power between Boeing and Airbus AIR.PA. The European planemaker is battling to keep a foothold in Alaska Airlines, which had operated an all-Boeing fleet until it acquired Virgin America in 2016.

However, any new deal between Alaska Airlines and Boeing is expected to include significant discounts given the MAX’s woes and plunging demand for airplanes during the coronavirus crisis, industry sources said.

It was not immediately clear how many jets it may buy.

The talks are among several discussions Boeing is having with airlines, hoping to stimulate demand for the jet when it returns to the air. Analysts caution cutting prices too far could rattle some existing customers.

After months of delays, and pending approval of design and

By Gram Slattery and Carolina Mandl

RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A consortium of Brazil’s 3R Petroleum and Norway-linked DBO Energy is in bilateral talks with Brazil’s Petrobras to purchase a cluster of offshore natural gas fields, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The Peroa cluster, located off the coast of Espirito Santo state, would be among the first all-gas offshore fields sold by Petrobras amid a larger push to break the company’s near-monopoly in Brazil’s natural gas value chain.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA , as the state-controlled firm is formally known, has long dominated most segments of the Brazilian natural gas sector. But in recent years, it has begun selling off pipelines and assets in transport and distribution, in a move the company and the government hope will spur competition.

Several international firms already produce significant amounts of natural gas in Brazil, as they operate oilfields where so-called associated gas is removed during the production process. Much of that gas is simply reinjected into the ground, however, and few are producing at standalone gas fields.

Petrobras and 3R did not respond to a request for comment. DBO declined to comment.

In 2019, the Peroa cluster produced just short of 1 million cubic meters of gas per day, though it produced several times that amount in recent years. The cluster also includes the Malombe prospect, discovered in 2011, which studies indicate could produce up to 2.5 million cubic meters daily if developed.

Due in part to Peroa’s mature profile, it is expected to be sold for a relatively low price compared with other production assets being offered by Petrobras in the area, said the sources, who requested anonymity due to the confidentiality of the matter.

Rio de Janeiro-based DBO is composed of Brazilian and Norwegian executives,

The logo of Chevron is seen at the company’s office in Caracas, Venezuela April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello/Files

HOUSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Chevron Corp employees worldwide are being asked to reapply for positions as part of a cost-cutting program expected to eliminate up to 15% of its workforce, people familiar with the matter said.

The No. 2 U.S. oil producer has begun taking steps to streamline its organization this year to reduce costs and revive declining profits. Oil companies have posted huge losses on asset writedowns and slashed spending as economic downturns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic undercut fuel demand.

Employees who are not chosen for jobs should know within weeks, Chief Executive Michael Wirth said in an interview on Monday. He did not discuss how cuts would be decided nor how many employees were asked to reapply for positions.

The company took a $1 billion charge to earnings earlier this year to cover severance pay for employees affected by the restructuring. Workers not chosen for new assignments would lose their jobs.

Chevron recently expanded its 45,000-person workforce by acquiring smaller oil and gas producer Noble Energy, which has about 2,200 workers. That $4.1 billion all-stock deal closed this week.

In Houston, about 700 employees will lose jobs starting Oct. 23, according to a notice Chevron sent to the state of Texas. Employees will receive enhanced severance benefits and two-months to leave the company, the letter said. Most of the people not chosen for new posts will depart by the end of the year, a spokeswoman said.

Decisions about Noble employees are likely in several weeks, Wirth said. Reductions are more likely where the two companies overlap, such as west Texas shale and administrative areas, Wirth said.

“Some areas like the Middle East or

Chevron Corp employees worldwide are being asked to reapply for positions as part of a cost-cutting program expected to eliminate up to 15% of its workforce, people familiar with the matter said.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
CVX CHEVRON CORP. 73.78 +1.48 +2.05%

The No. 2 U.S. oil producer has begun taking steps to streamline its organization this year to reduce costs and revive declining profits. Oil companies have posted huge losses on asset writedowns and slashed spending as economic downturns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic undercut fuel demand.

LAYOFFS ON THE RISE AMID SLOW COVID-19 RECOVERY

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
USO UNITED STATES OIL FUND L.P. 28.39 0.00 0.00%

Employees who are not chosen for jobs should know within weeks, Chief Executive Michael Wirth said in an interview on Monday. He did not discuss how cuts would be decided nor how many employees were asked to reapply for positions.

PELOSI, MNUCHIN SIGNAL OPENNESS TO $25B BAILOUT FOR US AIRLINES AFTER TRUMP REVERSES COURSE ON STIMULUS

The company took a $1 billion charge to earnings earlier this year to cover severance pay for employees affected by the restructuring. Workers not chosen for new assignments would lose their jobs.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
XOM EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION 33.50 +0.11 +0.33%

Chevron recently expanded its 45,000-person workforce by acquiring smaller oil and gas producer Noble Energy, which has about 2,200 workers. That $4.1 billion all-stock deal closed this week.

In Houston, about 700 employees will lose jobs starting Oct. 23, according to a notice Chevron sent to the state of Texas. Employees will receive enhanced severance benefits and two-months to leave the company, the letter said. Most of the people not