Global fintech company Conferma provides virtual payment option to travel technology providers DerbySoft
Conferma, a global FinTech company specialising in virtual card technology today announces its partnership with DerbySoft. The partnership will expand payment options available to the world’s global hotel companies, offering a fully integrated virtual payment solution into their accepted payment methods.
Multi-channel travel commerce has enabled hotels to reach more customers. Although this has contributed to an estimated annual growth of online travel sales at 12%, it also means that payments come to hotels from multiple sources, which can be difficult to match against bookings. DerbySoft has provided solutions to global hotel companies to address these complexities, but standard payment options continued to pose a number of issues for hotels and their customers. With high credit limits and multiple bookings to reconcile against one card number, these methods expose clients to risks of fraud and revenue loss through unmatched transactions and lost productivity.
DerbySoft will integrate Conferma-powered virtual payment services with its existing technology. The integration will enhance the agile nature of DerbySoft’s global service offering with virtual card payments in 40 currencies across multiple banks in 193 countries. DerbySoft’s customers can now benefit from virtual payment that offers the distributor a host of controls that help them pay more efficiently while reducing the risk of fraud. Providing virtual cards across multiple distribution channels, this complete solution allows for the generation of prefunded credit and debit-based virtual cards within the demand-side workspace without any changes to the normal booking workflow.
Simon Barker, CEO of Conferma said, “Complex, multiple-merchant accommodation bookings have led to a confusing landscape of payments to hotels from a variety of sources, but virtual card payments offer a streamlined method of payment that is automatically reconciled against individual bookings. We are pleased to work in collaboration with DerbySoft to eliminate these complexities and make it easier for hotels and travel agents to increase their payment security and maximise potential revenue.”
Rachel Neal, VP of Connectivity for DerbySoft, remarked that, “We want to offer more flexibility and better payment security within a seamless payment process for booking accommodations channels. Flexible connectivity is fundamental to our vision, and the flexibility provided by Conferma-powered virtual cards will ensure continuity of payment and reconciliation services for our customers, regardless of the booking method used.”
These travel technology partners plan to continue collaborating to further reduce both inefficiencies and risk within the procurement process.
 OTA Industry Report 2016
Oil slips after U.S. crude stocks rise amid deep freeze hit to refiners
By Sonali Paul
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Oil prices fell in early trade on Wednesday after industry data showed U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly rose last week as a deep freeze in the southern states curbed demand from refineries that were forced to shut.
Crude stockpiles rose by 1 million barrels in the week to Feb. 19, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Tuesday, against estimates for a draw of 5.2 million barrels in a Reuters poll.
API data showed refinery crude runs fell by 2.2 million bpd.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 55 cents or 0.9% at $61.12 a barrel at 0136 GMT, after slipping 3 cents on Tuesday.
Brent crude futures fell 38 cents, or 0.6%, to $64.99 a barrel, erasing Tuesday’s 13 cents gain.
Investors will be awaiting confirmation from the U.S. Energy Information Administration later on Wednesday that crude inventories rose last week, despite the hit to shale oil production amid the unprecedented icy spell in the U.S. south.
“The key question is how quickly does U.S. oil supply recover. It looks like supply will recover faster than refineries, and supply is going to outpace demand in the next few weeks. That will give negative weight to the market,” Commonwealth Bank analyst Vivek Dhar said.
The price retreat is being seen as a pause following a rally of more than 26% to 13-month highs in both Brent and WTI since the start of the year.
Prices have jumped due to the U.S. supply disruption and supply discipline by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, together called OPEC+, led by an extra 1 million bpd cut by Saudi Arabia.
At the same time stimulus spending to boost growth, investors rotating into commodities, and hopes that the rollout of vaccinations could lead to an easing of pandemic restrictions are all buoying oil prices.
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
Oil settles mixed amid post-storm uncertainty
By Laura Sanicola
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices settled near year-long highs on Tuesday on signs that global coronavirus restrictions were being eased, although concerns about the pace of a U.S. economic recovery and the return of Texas oil production kept gains in check.
U.S. crude settled down 3 cents to $61.67 a barrel, still close to its highest levels since January 2020. Brent crude <LCOc1> settled up 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $65.37 a barrel.
Both contracts rose more than $1 earlier before retreating.
Shale oil producers and refiners in the southern United States are slowly resuming production after 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output and nearly 20% of U.S. refining capacity shut down because of last week’s winter storm.
Traffic at the Houston ship channel was slowly returning to normal. Production, however, was not expected to fully restart soon and some shale producers forecast lower oil output in the first quarter.
Some oil production may never come back, commodities merchant Trafigura said on Tuesday.
After the cold snap, U.S. crude oil stockpiles were also seen falling for a fifth straight week, while the inventories of refined products also declined last week, an extended Reuters poll showed.
“It appears that last week’s severe cold spell and related Texas power outage could be affecting the weekly EIA data into the middle of next month,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Illinois.
There were also concerns over the U.S. economic recovery, which the chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, said remained “uneven and far from complete.”
He said it would be “some time” before the central bank considered changing policies it had adopted to help the country back to full employment.
Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said the recent oil price rise was buoyed by upbeat price forecasts from U.S. brokers.
Goldman Sachs expects Brent prices to reach $70 per barrel in the second quarter from the $60 it predicted previously, and $75 in the third quarter from $65 forecast earlier.
Morgan Stanley, which expects Brent to reach $70 in the third quarter, said new COVID-19 cases were falling while “mobility statistics are bottoming out and are starting to improve”.
Bank of America said Brent prices could temporarily spike to $70 in the second quarter.
(Reporting by Laura Sanicola in New York; Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London and Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Mark Heinrich)
Exclusive: AstraZeneca to miss second-quarter EU vaccine supply target by half – EU official
By Francesco Guarascio
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – AstraZeneca expects to deliver less than half the COVID-19 vaccines it was contracted to supply the European Union in the second quarter, an EU official told Reuters on Tuesday.
The expected shortfall, which has not previously been reported, comes after a big reduction in supplies in the first quarter and could hit the EU’s ability to meet its target of vaccinating 70% of adults by the summer.
The EU official, who is directly involved in talks with the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker, said the company had told the bloc during internal meetings that it “would deliver less than 90 million doses in the second quarter”.
AstraZeneca’s contract with the EU, which was leaked last week, showed the company had committed to delivering 180 million doses to the 27-nation bloc in the second quarter.
“Because we are working incredibly hard to increase the productivity of our EU supply chain, and doing everything possible to make use of our global supply chain, we are hopeful that we will be able to bring our deliveries closer in line with the advance purchase agreement,” a spokesman for AstraZeneca said, declining to comment on specific figures.
A spokesman for the European Commission, which coordinates talks with vaccine manufacturers, said it could not comment on the discussions as they were confidential.
He said the EU should have more than enough shots to hit its vaccination targets if the expected and agreed deliveries from other suppliers are met, regardless of the situation with AstraZeneca.
The EU official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, confirmed that AstraZeneca planned to deliver about 40 million doses in the first quarter, again less than half the 90 million shots it was supposed to supply.
AstraZeneca warned the EU in January that it would fall short of its first-quarter commitments due to production issues. It was also due to deliver 30 million doses in the last quarter of 2020 but did not supply any shots last year as its vaccine had yet to be approved by the EU.
All told, AstraZeneca’s total supply to the EU could be about 130 million doses by the end of June, well below the 300 million it committed to deliver to the bloc by then.
The EU has also faced delays in deliveries of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech as well as Moderna’s shot. So far they are the only vaccines approved for use by the EU’s drug regulator.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine was authorised in late January and some EU member states such as Hungary are also using COVID-19 shots developed in China and Russia.
OUTPUT BOOST DOWN THE LINE?
While drugmakers developed COVID-19 vaccines at breakneck speed, many have struggled with manufacturing delays due to complex production processes, limited facilities and bottlenecks in the supply of vaccine ingredients.
According to a German health ministry document dated Feb. 22, AstraZeneca is forecast to make up all of the shortfalls in deliveries by the end of September.
The document seen by Reuters shows Germany expects to receive 34 million doses in the third quarter, taking its total to 56 million shots, which is in line with its full share of the 300 million doses AstraZeneca is due to supply to the EU.
The German health ministry was not immediately available for a comment.
If AstraZeneca does ramp up its output in the third quarter, that could help the EU meet its vaccination target, though the EU official said the bloc’s negotiators were wary because the company had not clarified where the extra doses would come from.”Closing the gap in supplies in the third quarter might be unrealistic,” the official said, adding that figures on deliveries had been changed by the company many times.
The EU contracts stipulates that AstraZeneca will commit to its “best reasonable efforts” to deliver by a set timetable.
“We are continuously revising our delivery schedule and informing the European Commission on a weekly basis of our plans to bring more vaccines to Europe,” the AstraZeneca spokesman said.
Under the EU contract leaked last week, AstraZeneca committed to producing vaccines for the bloc at two plants in the United Kingdom, one in Belgium and one in the Netherlands.
However, the company is not currently exporting vaccines made in the United Kingdom, in line with its separate contract with the British government, EU officials said.
AstraZeneca also has vaccine plants in other sites around the world and it has told the EU it could provide more doses from its global supply chain, including from India and the United States, an EU official told Reuters last week.
Earlier this month, AstraZeneca said it expected to make more than 200 million doses per month globally by April, double February’s level, as it works to expand global capacity and productivity.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Additional reporting by Andreas Rinke and Sabine Siebold; Editing by David Clarke)
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