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CRISE MANTERÁ PETRÓLEO EM BAIXA, DIZ PRESIDENTE DA OPEP – Previsão de Chakib Khelil leva em conta abalo nos mercados e baixa do dólar frente a outras moedas

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

02/11/2008 | 16h41min

O ministro da Energia argelino e presidente em exercício da Organização dos Países Exportadores de Chakib Khelil - Algerian Energy and Mines Minister, gestures during a press conference at the governmental newspaper El-Moudjahid's press center in the center of Algiers 20/10/2007. Khelil, who is the vice president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said, then, that petrol prices would stay high until the second trimester of 2008Petróleo (Opep), Chakib Khelil, disse neste domingo que os preços da commodity podem continuar sua tendência de baixa caso persista a crise financeira e o dólar não se recupere frente a outras divisas.

— Tudo depende da situação econômica mundial. Caso continue se deteriorando fica claro que a demanda de petróleo percebida pelo mercado diminuirá, o que manterá a tendência de baixa — disse Khelil a uma rádio argelina.

No entanto, o ministro não descartou que o preço do petróleo, estabelecido em dólares, possa voltar a subir “se a moeda americana se debilitar em relação a outras”.

— É o impacto de todos estes elementos o que vai decidir o preço do petróleo a curto prazo — assinalou.

Em todo caso, o presidente da Opep previu que os preços se recuperarão em dois ou três anos, “já que há um desinvestimento e muitos projetos (no setor petrolífero) foram suspensos”.

Segundo ele, a decisão da Opep adotada na última reunião de Viena de cortar a produção “vai precisar de muito tempo para ter seus efeitos” sobre o preço do petróleo, já que o mercado não integrou ainda a redução da oferta.

Khelil explicou que vários países, entre eles Argélia, Emirados Árabes, Irã e Nigéria, anunciaram já o corte de sua produção e que se espera que os demais membros da Opep informem a seus clientes “para avaliar o impacto no mercado da decisão adotada em Viena”.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘PORTAL CLIC RBS’ (Brasil)

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Posted in AFRICA, ALGERIA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CURRENCIES, DOLLAR (USA), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, NATURAL GAS, NIGERIA, OPEC, PETROL, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Leave a Comment »

ÍNDIOS: SOLUÇÃO DE CONFLITOS SEGUNDO SEUS COSTUMES (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

 

 

por Roberto Lemos Dos Santos Filho (*)

Rompendo o paradigma de incorporação dos índios à cultura da sociedade envolvente, a Constituição brasileira editada em 1988 inovou em princípios e conceitos. Reconheceu a existência de diferentes formas de sociedade, e assentou a identidade plurietnica do Brasil. A Constituição assegurou aos índios, em complemento às garantias postas a todos no art. 5º, sua organização social, costumes, línguas, crenças e tradições (art. 231).

Por força da Constituição, além dos direitos garantidos a todos pelo ordenamento em vigor, aos índios foi assegurado o direito à alteridade, o direito de serem diferentes e de assim serem tratados pelo Estado e pela sociedade. Aos grupos indígenas foi garantido de forma expressa o direito de serem tratados como grupo humano detentor de identidade e cultura próprias, que devem ser respeitadas e protegidas.

Antes da Constituição de 1988, todas as normas tratavam os índios como seres obrigados a adotarem a cultura padronizada pelo colonizador europeu. Exemplo de tratamento legal etnocentrista, hoje ultrapassado, é a disposição contida no Estatuto do Índio que distingue os índios como isolados, em vias de integração e integrados, os dois últimos não sujeitos ao regime tutelar nele estabelecido, regime esse cuja validade é atualmente questionada.

A Constituição suplantou a visão etnocêntrica do Estado, e as normas positivadas no Estatuto do Índio e outras que também foram fundadas no superado referencial não mais vigoram por confrontarem com a Constituição, que, vale ressaltar, reconheceu aos índios sua própria organização social, o direito de terem culturas próprias e os costumes e tradições respeitados, aí incluído o direito de solucionarem seus conflitos de acordo com seus próprios costumes.

Esse direito também é assegurado no plano do direito internacional dos direitos humanos. Com efeito, a Convenção 169-OIT preconiza que os povos indígenas e tribais têm direito a conservar seus costumes e instituições próprias, desde que compatíveis com os direitos fundamentais definidos no sistema jurídico nacional e com os direitos humanos internacionalmente reconhecidos, e determina o respeito aos métodos tradicionais por eles utilizados para a repressão dos delitos cometidos por seus membros (arts. 8º e 9º).

A Declaração das Nações Unidas Sobre os Povos Indígenas, aprovada em setembro de 2007, ao estabelecer normas mínimas para a sobrevivência, a dignidade e bem estar dos povos indígenas, afirma que os povos indígenas têm direito a conservar e reforçar suas próprias instituições políticas, jurídicas, econômicas, sociais e culturais (art. 5º), e dita que os povos indígenas têm direitos a promover, desenvolver e manter suas estruturas institucionais e seus próprios costumes ou sistemas jurídicos, em conformidade com as normas internacionais de direitos humanos (art. 34).

Cumpre observar que o Estatuto do Índio (Lei nº 6.00/1973), que vigora no que não confronta com a Constitucional e nos mencionados diplomas do direito internacional de direitos humanos, determina em seu art. 57 que “será tolerada a aplicação pelos grupos tribais, de acordo com as instituições próprias, de sanções penais ou disciplinares contra os seus membros, desde que não revistam caráter cruel ou infamante, proibida em qualquer caso a pena de morte”. Como observa Luiz Felipe Bruno Lobo :

“(…) com a promulgação da Magna Carta de 1988 o direito consuetudinário indígena viu-se reconhecido em sua plenitude, porque, como elemento integrante da cultura e da organização social das comunidades tribais, é parte indispensável, está protegido e garantida sua aplicação.

Implicitamente revogado, portanto, o art. 57 do Estatuto do Índio e ampliada a aplicação prevista no art. 6º desse mesmo diploma legal a todas as circunstâncias jurídico-sociais verificáveis no seio das comunidades índias, não mais encontrando obstáculos à sua aplicação por força de hierarquia das normas.”.

Sem dúvida o sistema positivado ampara e legitima as soluções de conflitos entre indígenas segundo seus próprios costumes e sistemas jurídicos. É fato que as formas adotadas pelos índios para soluções de conflitos não são escritas, na verdade são compostas por costumes próprios (direito consuetudinário), e mantidas via tradição oral de cultura entre as gerações, por intermédio de relações interpessoais. Apesar de não positivadas, as formas adotadas pelos índios para solução de seus conflitos podem ser comprovadas por intermédio de prova testemunhal e devem ser respeitadas, uma vez que conforme adverte Carlos Frederico Marés de Souza Filho :

“Algumas legislações nacionais imaginam que a mesma solução que serve para o capital pode servir aos povos indígenas, entretanto, é muito diferente a situação. Enquanto o capital necessita apenas de prestação de um serviço rápido que dê garantia e segurança, ainda que injusta, às relações comerciais, onde as perdas e os ganhos se compensam, os povos indígenas necessitam de um Poder que tenha aplicabilidade interna, enquanto povo, mas também eficácia externa para impedir a opressão.”

Merece reflexão a ponderação de Jean Cruet , que ao tratar da rotina costumaria pontifica:

“Por mudanças limitadas, por transições espaçadas, refletindo o movimento natural das coisas, por transformações veladas que não se reconhecem a si mesmas, e não vão de encontro à fórmulas consagradas senão depois de terem ganho em segredo os interesses e terem-se assegurado da aliança de um longo hábito, por modificações parciais em que domina o sentimento do oportuno e do possível, o costume parece conferir as regras que elabora um valor infinitamente superior ao das regras legais.”

A ordem constitucional e as normas internacionais protetoras dos direitos indígenas impõem seja assegurado aos índios a manutenção de suas culturas e costumes, e as próprias formas de solução de litígios, e isso deve ser considerado, como ocorreu no célebre julgamento do índio Basílio, levado a efeito pelo Tribunal do Júri da Justiça Federal de Roraima no ano de 2000, onde foi reconhecido que o fato de o indígena acusado ter sido julgado e condenado de acordo com os costumes da sua comunidade era motivo para isentá-lo da pena prevista no sistema penal brasileiro em vigor.

O respeito e o acatamento das soluções de litígios alcançadas por índios de acordo com seus costumes evita repetição de julgamento por um mesmo fato (non bis in eadem), da eficácia ao direito dos índios à alteridade, compatibiliza as formas de solução de conflitos existentes entre as diversas culturas formadoras do país, e imprime efetividade aos ditames constitucionais e às orientações contidas na Convenção 169-OIT e na Declaração das Nações Unidas sobre os Povos Indígenas.

Por conseguinte, é imperativo sejam observadas, respeitadas e validadas as soluções encontradas pelos índios segundo seus próprios costumes para o deslinde de seus conflitos, tornando efetiva a legislação indigenista vigente e, sobretudo, os ditames das normas internacionais específicas protetoras dos índios, vale registrar, a Convenção 169-OIT e a Declaração das Nações Unidas sobre os Povos Indígenas), dando vida e concretude, assim, ao sistema do direito internacional dos direitos humanos.

Bauru/SP, junho 2008.

(*) Juiz Federal 1ª Vara de Bauru/SP – Mestre em Direito Universidade Católica de Santos

LOBO. Luiz Felipe Bruno. Direito Indigenista Brasileiro. São Paulo: LTR, 1996, p. 66.

SOUZA FILHO, Carlos Frederico Marés de. O Renascer dos Povos Indígenas para o Direito. Curitiba: 1998, Juruá Editora, p. 191.

CRUET, Jean. A vida do Direito e a Inutilidade das Leis. Leme-SP: 2008, CL Edijur, p. 121.

Autos nº 92.0001334-1, 2ª Vara Justiça Federal de Roraima.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘INSTITUTO WARÃ’ (Brasil)

 

 

Posted in A QUESTÃO ÉTNICA, BRASIL, CIDADANIA, O MOVIMENTO DOS POVOS NATIVOS, O PODER JUDICIÁRIO | Leave a Comment »

NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF: REJOIN THE WORLD (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

 

 

Published: November 2, 2008

 

Nicholas D. Kristof by Nicholas D. Kristof

An unscientific poll of 109 professional historians this year found that 61 percent rated President Bush as the worst president in American history.

A couple of others judged him second-worst, after James Buchanan, whose incompetence set the stage for the Civil War. More than 98 percent of the historians in the poll, conducted through the History News Network, viewed Bush’s presidency as a failure.

Bush’s presidency imploded not because of any personal corruption or venality, but largely because he wrenched the United States out of the international community. His cowboy diplomacy “defriended” the United States. He turned a superpower into a rogue country. Instead of isolating North Korea and G. W. BUSH - CLICK ON THE IMAGE FOR A LARGER PICTURE Iran, he isolated America – and undermined his own ability to achieve his aims.

So here’s the top priority for President Barack Obama or President John McCain: We Americans must rejoin the world.

There are three general ways in which we can signal a new beginning and “refriend” our allies:

We should not only close the Guantánamo prison but also turn it into an international center for research on tropical diseases that afflict poor countries. It could thus become an example of multilateral humanitarianism.

The new president should also start a Truth Commission to investigate torture and other abuses during the “war on terror.” This should not be a bipartisan panel but a nonpartisan one, dominated by retired generals and intelligence figures like Brent Scowcroft or Colin Powell.

Such a panel would be respected as fair and authoritative in a way that one composed of bickering Democrats and Republicans would not, and it would underscore that we are eager to return to the norms of the civilized world.

The new president also should signal that we will no longer confront problems just by blowing them up. The military toolbox is essential, but it shouldn’t be the first option for 21st-century challenges. You can’t bomb climate change.

We also have to pay far more attention to public diplomacy and outreach. Our Afghanistan and Pakistan policy is a mess in part because Osama bin Laden’s approval rating in Pakistan (34 percent) is almost double America’s (19 percent). You know we need a new approach when we lose a public relations competition to a fugitive mass murderer.

A new approach means a vigorous effort for peace in the Middle East. We also need to commit to negotiating with odious countries. President Clinton’s engagement policy toward North Korea was a constant headache, for Kim Jong Il was brutally repressive and tried to start a secret uranium program. But North Korea didn’t produce nuclear materials for a single weapon during Clinton’s years in office; under Bush, it has produced enough for a half dozen.

So here’s the score: Clinton diplomacy, 0 weapons; Bush fulmination, 6 weapons.George Walker Bush

We must cooperate with other countries on humanitarian efforts, including family planning. One of the Bush follies that has bewildered and antagonized U.S. allies has been the vacuous refusal to support  family planning through the UN Population Fund.

The upshot of the failure to support contraception has been millions of unwanted pregnancies and abortions. It’s difficult to think of any person alive today whose policies have led to more unnecessary abortions worldwide than Bush.

For all my criticisms, though, I would rank Bush more gently than those historians: I would peg him as second worst, after Buchanan. That’s because Bush has begun effective foreign-aid programs against AIDS and malaria that are saving millions of lives. His AIDS programs have transformed areas of southern Africa, but he so antagonized the world that America never gets adequate credit for this huge achievement.

Look, a friendlier, more multilateral policy will not solve the world’s problems. Iran isn’t going to give up its nuclear program because it likes us, and brawn is necessary to back up brains.

But without global political capital, we don’t have the leverage to organize more muscular persuasion. Without diplomatic heavy lifting, we can’t credibly threaten military heavy smashing.Dubya

In the aftermath of World War II, the United States led the international effort to construct global institutions to promote peace and prosperity. These included the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and they served our interests. Now, in the aftermath of the Cold War, we need to rethink and refurbish this architecture for the next half century or more.

The United States needs to be a part of the International Criminal Court and should lead the push for a new climate change treaty, for example. The new president should be an architect of this emerging order, rather than AWOL as the Bush administration has been.

For eight years, the United States has been in self-imposed exile, and that is one reason Bush’s presidency has failed on so many levels. After Tuesday, let’s rejoin the world.

 

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PUBLISHED BY ‘INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, USA | Leave a Comment »

BSP SEEN TO EASE MONETARY POLICY – BSP assumes ‘counter-cyclical’ stance

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

First Posted 18:17:00 11/02/2008

by Doris Dumlao – Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS (the Philippine central bank) is widely expected to ease monetary policy either by reducing the reserve requirement or overnight borrowing rates, or changing the terms of the high-yielding special deposit account (SDA).

The central bank already is in position to take this step following the fresh interest rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve and other major Asian central banks, bankers said.

“You need to be counter-cyclical,” BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo told reporters. “When the economy is on a downswing, monetary policy … and fiscal policy, must be expansionary. And you must have regulatory forbearance.”

Guinigundo went on to explain that during good times, high capital charges are the norm.

“During downswings of the economy, you can temporarily ease policy and regulatory framework,” he added. “In the same manner, when you are experiencing an upswing in the business cycle, you should tighten monetary policy, tighten regulation, so that no one will grow to be so exuberant that they will forget there’s a limit to everything.”

But Guinigundo said the central bank would likely adopt regulations only as needed by the domestic financial system.

“If you announce a big package, that means you have a big problem,” Guinigundo said.

The fresh half-a-percentage point interest rate cut by the US Federal Reserve last week is seen to benefit the domestic economy.

“The broadly expected Fed rate cut should be positive for the domestic economy,” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said. “It paves the way for a tempering of the expected deep recession in the United States.”

According to Tetangco, the move will help “shore up confidence both on Wall Street and Main Street … and help temper the negative feedback loop from the financial markets.”

The BSP chief earlier directed the central bank’s research department to study a possible cut in the reserve requirement.

Monetary easing can free up additional liquidity that can help perk up a sagging domestic economy by putting more money in consumers’ pockets, as well as making available more funds for business expansion.

The odds that the BSP would soon ease monetary policy gained ground after the outlook on inflation was seen to improve.

Seven out of nine treasury officials from different banks said the BSP would likely free up additional liquidity, while two said the central bank would keep a neutral stance.

“For this year, the BSP will likely limit SDA terms to 14 days or less, maybe lower the reserve requirement by 1 percentage and, if liquidity still seems shy, lower the overnight borrowing rate by 25 basis points,” said Reevie Vergara of Land Bank of the Philippines.

The BSP’s overnight borrowing rate currently stands at 6 percent. It has raised this key interest rate by a total of 100 basis points since June this year as it battled sharply rising consumer prices that drove the country’s inflation to 17-year highs.

The reserve requirement is the ratio of deposits that banks are required to keep in a low-yielding facility at the central bank. Currently set at 21 percent, the reserve requirement is another tool used by the BSP to manage liquidity in the financial system.

Ramon Lim of Philippine National Bank said the central bank, against all odds, could bring the overnight borrowing rate down to 5 percent this year and further to 4 percent by the first quarter of next year.

“There will likely be no change on reserve requirement unless the SDA is depleted and cost of money is still high,” Lim said.

Jose Emmanuel Hilado of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. said the BSP would likely slash its overnight borrowing rate by 25 basis points this year and also cut the reserves by at least 1 percentage point.

Roland Avante of Chinatrust Philippines Commercial Bank projected that the central bank would cut the reserve requirement by up to 2 percentage points and reduce the overnight rate this month. He expected the overnight borrowing rate to drop to 4.5-5 percent by next year.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘INQUIRER.NET’ (Philippines)

Posted in ASIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INTERNATIONAL, PHILIPPINES, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

STEEL PRODUCTION HALTED AT ARCELORMITTAL PLANT IN CLEVELAND (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

2 Nov 2008, 1113 hrs IST, AP

CLEVELAND: Steelmaking is on hold at the ArcelorMittal plant in Cleveland due to a drop in business.

Both blast furnaces were idled this week, and the company plans to offer voluntary layoffs with partial pay starting next week. About 1,450 union members work at the plant.

Mark Granakis, president of the United Steelworkers local in Cleveland, says there could be as many as 400 job reductions.

ArcelorMittal spokeswoman Katie Patterson says updated information could come on Wednesday when the company announces third quarter earnings.

Jobs for those who remain at the plant will include maintenance and completing work on existing inventory. The hot strip part of the mill, where slab is turned into coil, continues to operate.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES OF INDIA’

Posted in COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, METALS, METALS INDUSTRY, STEEL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

NO JOB CUTS IN IT INDUSTRY: NARAYANA MURTHY (India)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

1 Nov 2008, 1930 hrs IST, IANS

NEW DELHI: The global economic meltdown and the financial crisis looming large over the Indian NARAYANA MURTHYeconomy will not result in any downsizing or job cuts in the IT industry, says NR Narayana Murthy, founder of Infosys Technologies, one of India’s most reputed companies in the sector.

“There are no job cuts. The growth has certainly slowed down but it is not making any significant impact on us,” Murthy, who was in the national capital on Saturday to announce the finalists for Rhodes scholarships, said.

He also hinted that the net rate of growth of employment in his sector will stay in the green. “Despite reports of companies laying off some staff as a cost cutting measure, they have been advertising for new employees at the same time.”

According to him, the key challenges facing the Indian industry in these turbulent times were inflation and the psychological impact of the US crisis, leading some companies to hit the panic button.

He also said that the weakening of the rupee was just an offshoot of the global economic meltdown and was proving to be beneficial for the IT industry

“The foreign exchange rates are helping us and in some way, they mean higher revenue for my industry,” Murthy said, and added that a weaker rupee was making exports of Indian IT industry competitive vis-a-vis other countries.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES OF INDIA’

Posted in ASIA, DIGITAL INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDIA, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

SAUDI MARKET JUMPS 6% AT WEEK’S START

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

First Published 2008-11-01 – Updated 2008-11-01 13:38:31

Saudi stock market shows gains in all sectors, with 9.06 percent surge in petrochemicals.

RIYADH – The stock market in oil powerhouse Saudi Arabia, the largest in the Arab world, rose by six A crowd of mostly stock traders gathers at the Kuwait Stock Exchange on Monday, Aug. 21, 2000 in Kuwait City one day after the government announced the approval by Kuwait's cabinet of regulations necessary to implement a bill allowing foreigers to own stock and trade at the local stock market - AP Photos - Gustavo Ferraripercent on the first day of the trading week on Saturday, with all sectors, but chiefly the leading petrochemicals sector, showing gains.

The Tadawul All-Shares Index (TASI) closed on 5,871.24 points, up 6.02 percent on last week’s close on Wednesday.

All sectors were up, with petrochemicals surging 9.06 percent gain as petrochemicals giant SABIC finished the day 9.85 percent up.

The construction sector also climbed by more than nine percent while the banking sector registered a more modest gain of 3.72 percent.

The Saudi stock market trades from Saturday to Wednesday, while other bourses in oil-rich Arab countries in the Gulf operate from Sunday to Thursday.

The TASI finished last week down 10.1 percent and shed a massive 25.8 percent in October amid the global financial turmoil. The index is 46.81 percent lower than at the end of last year.

The Saudi bourse’s gains on Saturday came a day after US and European share markets ended their week with solid gains at the end of a month of wild volatility and losses amid fears that a deep recession lies ahead.

The total value of shares listed on stock markets in the Gulf region plummeted by 250 billion dollars in The Saudi stock market is the largest in the Arab worldOctober as indexes sank by an average 25 percent amid the global market meltdown.

A mild upturn at the end of the month did little to counteract the earlier rout and markets in the oil-rich states ended October worth 720 billion dollars, an enormous 400 billion less than at the start of the year.

Bourses in Gulf states other than Saudi Arabia closed slightly higher at best on Thursday, their final trading day of the month, as low investor confidence prevented them from responding to a huge rally by global stock markets in the previous few days.

Investors also failed to react to concerted support moves by Gulf state governments, such as injection of funds in the financial system and the guaranteeing of bank deposits.

Dubai topped the list of October losers, diving 28.7 percent, while Oman fell 26.9 percent. Doha plunged 25.6 percent, Kuwait shed 23.8 percent and Abu Dhabi was down 16 percent.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MIDDLE EAST ON LINE’

Posted in CHEMICALS (processed components), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PETROL, REFINERIES - PETROL/BIOFUELS, SAUDI ARABIA, STOCK MARKETS, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

IRAN URGES INDIA TO COMMIT TO GAS PIPE PLAN

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

1 Nov 2008, 2047 hrs IST, REUTERS

TEHRAN: Iran wants India to commit to a project to export Iranian gas via Pakistan to the south Asian giant and measures have already been discussed to ensure supply security, the Iranian oil minister said on Saturday.Analysts say India has been treading cautiously over the $7.6 billion pipeline project because it wants to reduce the risk of supplies being cut during times of tension with Pakistan, its long-time rival.

“Considering that we have lost many opportunities in the ‘peace pipeline’ project due to India’s procrastination, we have told that country to engage more actively,” Oil minister Gholamhossein Nozari said, Mehr News Agency reported.

Iran has previously said it would press ahead with the long-standing project even if India did not join in.

“The security of this project in each country will be with that country and negotiations so far have created conditions that have assured us this security will prevail,” Nozari said.

Nozari was speaking after talks in Tehran with visiting Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was quoted as saying: “India’s announcement to join the peace pipeline project means that India has no plan to leave it.”

“There has been much negotiation with Pakistan in connection with the cost of transit and establishment of security in the peace pipeline, of which the creation of a joint company might be able to bring about the means,” he added.

When asked if India was being influenced by US pressure to quit the project, Mukherjee replied: “We are an independent country with independent ties.”

The United States is trying to isolate Iran over its disputed nuclear plans and has been urging other countries and companies not to do business with the Islamic Republic.

Washington accuses Iran of seeking to build atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies. Iran, the world’s fourth biggest oil producer with the second biggest gas reserves, says it wants nuclear energy so it can save its oil and gas for export.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES OF INDIA’

Posted in ASIA, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, MACROECONOMY, NATURAL GAS, USA | Leave a Comment »

WHERE OIL AND WATER MIX – The state was built on oil and the Port Arthur refining hub on the gulf coast is happy to have Alberta’s ‘dirty ‘oil

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

Published: Saturday, November 01, 2008

Claudia Cattaneo, Financial Post

PORT ARTHUR, Tex. – By the middle of the next decade, this weathered city in America’s deep south Marine One, carrying President George W. Bush, flies past an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico near Cameron, La., during an aerial tour Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2005, of recent hurricane damage.abutting the Gulf of Mexico, will receive a flood of oil from Fort McMurray’s oil sands plants. About one million barrels a day of Alberta oil will flow into the world’s biggest refining market.

As far as long-time resident Floyd Batiste is concerned, it’s about time.

“I am not a politician, but I think this country and Canada have a very good relationship,” said Mr. Batiste, who runs the city’s economic development corporation.

TransCanada Corp. of Calgary and its partners have picked Port Arthur, about 150 kilometres east of Houston, to end the $12.2-billion Keystone pipeline that will feed local refineries and others perched along the U. S. Gulf Coast.

The surge of Alberta oil to the area could eventually swell to two million barrels a day, absorbing most of the volume growth expected from the deposits in the next decade.

With three long-established refineries, new liquefied natural gas plants under construction and so many pipeline connections its underground looks like a “spaghetti bowl,” any talk of Canada’s “dirty oil” hasn’t caught on in the disadvantaged community, where many of the 56,000 residents are older and unskilled.

The community, whose boarded-up downtown resembles a Caribbean outpost passed over by the tourism industry, desperately needs good-paying jobs and investment.

Mr. Batiste said oil industry spending could make a lot happen.

“I would say probably less than 30% of workers in these plants actually live in Port Arthur. [Local] people aren’t skilled enough,” he said. “There has been a tremendous effort by just about every political entity, industry to upgrade the skill-set of people. In my opinion, industry has taken the lead.”

After suffering deeply in the mid-1970s from a refinery downturn, then coasting for many years due to lack of investment, Port Arthur’s economy is picking up.

Investments worth US$15-billion are beginning to flow in, some related to refinery expansions to process oil from Canada.

San Antonio, Tex.-based Valero Energy Corp., French major Total SA, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Saudi Aramco are all expanding their plants. Exxon Mobil Corp. is building a liquefied natural gas terminal.

“There are not many communities that will accept them, but we have always been a refinery town,” said Mr. Batiste. Indeed, some plants are located a mile away from people’s homes.

Like Fort McMurray, Port Arthur is an old oil town. The stuff is in its blood: the city’s slogan is “Port Arthur, where oil and water do mix. Beautifully.”

The Spindletop oil discovery in nearby Beaumont in 1901 ushered in the modern oil era in the United States, giving birth to oil companies like Gulf, Amoco and Humble Oil Co., now a part of Exxon.

Refineries were built to process the gusher. But as fields matured, imports were brought in to keep the refineries full.

Now, Port Arthur’s refineries are among 30 spread out over the Texas/Louisiana coast, in Houston’s Ship Channel, Lake Charles, Texas City and other points nearby. The region is the largest refinery centre in the world.

It keeps the nation on the move, processing seven million barrels a day (out of 17.4 million refined in the United States). When its plants are offline, as was the case last month during Hurricane Ike, many parts of the country grind to a halt.

For Canadian oil producers, the Gulf Coast is the Holy Grail: More refineries to process heavy oil than any other place on Earth.

Already, refiners import about 1.9 million barrels a day, largely from two sources: Venezuela (600,000 barrels a day) and Mexico (nearly one million barrels.)

Refiners started getting worried about future supplies from these sources three to four years ago, said Neil Earnest, a global refining expert and vice-president at Dallas-based Muse Stancil & Co.

Mexican crude production is in steep decline because its main oil field, Cantarell, is maturing. Meanwhile, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez is a wild card. He continues to issue threats to cut off oil supply to the United States while forging alliances with countries like Russia.

Indeed, some supply contracts from Venezuela are coming to an end in 2011, said Russ Girling, president of pipelines at TransCanada, the unit that is building Keystone.

“As they look around the world for alternative sources of heavy supplies, what immediately hits the radar screen is Western Canada,” Mr. Earnest said. “Country risk is about zero … and there are very real prospects that supplies from Western Canada will increase in the near term. That is the attraction.”

Canadian heavy oils are also similar to those produced in Mexico and Venezuela and can fill the gap at little additional cost to existing plants, he said.

Not everyone sees the oil sands as an ideal replacement. Green organizations such as Natural Resources Defense Council are up in arms over Keystone. In September, the group sued top U. S. state government officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a bid to try to stop it. The Washington-based lobby group argues the pipeline will encourage oil sands development, resulting in big increases to greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr. Earnest said greenhouse gas emissions in Canada are not high on the agenda in the Gulf Coast industry.

Bill Day, a spokesman for Valero, argued its Port Arthur plant already processes oil similar to Canada’s. “We will let the politicians deal with the politics of it. We are in the refining business, and as long as there is demand for fuel, companies like ours will meet that demand,” he said.

Valero, the largest refiner in North America, with throughput capacity of 3.1 million barrels a day, has committed to being a shipper on Keystone, signing large supply contracts with Canadian producers. It has an option to take equity ownership.

Its refinery is able to process 100,000 b/d of Canadian heavy oil currently, Mr. Day said. The company is investing US$2.2-billion to handle even more Canadian supply.

“There was this whole debate about whether it’s better to refine the oil in Canada where it exists, or is it better to bring the oil to where the refineries already are set up to process this kind of oil. We believe it’s most cost-effective to ship it down by pipeline, to where refineries are already in place,” Mr. Day added.

He was referring to the Alberta government’s preference that more upgrading be done in province to capture greater economic benefits from the development of the oil sands. However, that strategy is losing traction as weaker oil prices and high construction costs in the province make upgrading in Alberta uneconomic.

Already, EnCana Corp. has linked up with ConocoPhillips, Husky Energy Inc. with BP PLC. Petro-Canada and Suncor Energy Inc. indicated last week they would look for refineries in the United States rather than upgrade in the province.

LyondellBasell’s Houston refinery, built nearly a century ago and upgraded in 2003 to process heavy oil from Venezuela, is studying whether to source Canadian supplies. Partly owned by Venezuela’s state-owned Citgo Petroleum from 1993 to 2006, the Rotterdam-based company has since re-acquired full ownership. It is now the world’s third-largest chemical company and a producer of biofuels.

Spokesman David Harpole said the refinery still has a supply agreement with Venezuela, but believes “it’s in our interest to maintain flexibility” and find new heavy oil sources.

“If we can overcome the logistical side of things and secure a long-term pipeline agreement to transport the material and a long-term crude supply agreement, we would look at opportunities to significantly increase our use of Canadian crude,” he said.

With the world running out of energy options, the company is open to the oil sands, even if they generate more greenhouse gases than other sources, Mr. Harpole said.

“Look at offshore drilling, the challenges that come to that, the added depths that they are having to go to in the Gulf,” he said. “The easy-to-find, lower-cost oil has been found around the world. We are going to have to look at alternatives and the most economical and environmentally responsible way of producing the oil sands.”

With pipelines the missing link between Alberta’s deposits and Gulf Coast refiners, several proposals to build them have emerged in recent years.

Keystone, which TransCanada is developing with partner ConocoPhillips, emerged as the frontrunner in July when it announced it had secured shipper support to expand and extend all the way to Port Arthur. The first phase, targeting the U. S. Midwest, is now under construction.

Rival Enbridge Inc. announced in August a $2.2-billion plan with partner BP to reconfigure existing pipelines to move oil sands production to Houston.

TransCanada’s Mr. Girling said Keystone will eventually move 900,000 barrels a day of Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast in the next five to six years, in addition to 500,000 moving to Midwest refineries by 2010. TransCanada stands ready to build a lateral to Houston if needed.

Once built, the pipeline highway will make landlocked Alberta producers worry for the first time about hurricanes. Port Arthur was hit hard by Hurricane Ike, which flooded homes and streets, and caused refineries to suspend operations. As for Gulf refiners, they will get to know the challenges of extracting oil in Canada’s north, such as when an Arctic cold snap turns off the tap for a while.

ccattaneo@nationalpost.com

© National Post 2008

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CANADA.COM’

Posted in CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMY, ENERGY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, NORTH AMERICA, PETROL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

U.N. SAYS COLOMBIAN MILITARY EXECUTING CIVILIANS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

Updated 9:29 p.m. EDT, Sat November 1, 2008

BOGOTA, Colombia (CNN) — Colombia’s U.S.-backed security forces are engaging in “systematic and widespread” extrajudicial executions of innocent civilians as part of their counterinsurgency campaign, a top United Nations diplomat said Saturday.

Speaking in Bogota after a weeklong fact-finding tour, Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Photo - U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in Bogota, says Colombia must rein in its security forces.Human Rights, said the scale of the killings could constitute a “crime against humanity” under international humanitarian law, adding that international courts could intervene if the Colombian government was “unwilling or unable” to handle the investigations itself.

“An offense becomes a crime against humanity if it is widespread and systematic against the civilian population,” Pillay said at a news conference.

“We are observing and keeping a record of the number of extrajudicial killings [in Colombia], and it does appear to be systematic and widespread in my view. Watch Pillay explain the investigation process »

“The goal is to have the national authorities these crimes and prosecute the perpetrators. It’s only when a country is unable and unwilling that the International Criminal Court, for instance, would have the power to intervene,” she added.

Her comments come three days after Colombian President Alvaro Uribe fired 25 army officers and non-commissioned officers, including three generals and 11 colonels, for alleged involvement or negligence in a case involving the forced disappearance and summary executions of at least 11 young men from a poor Bogota suburb this year.

It was the biggest purge in Colombian military ranks for alleged human rights abuses.

Although Pillay welcomed the move, she said Saturday that she hoped it would be the start — not the end — of a thorough process to improve the human rights record of the Colombian military.

U.N. officials say they don’t keep comprehensive statistics of forced disappearances and summary executions blamed on the security forces. But a U.N. source said the organization received between 200 and 300 such complaints every year.

A U.N. report published last year said the organization had seen “significant increases” in the number of cases.

Meanwhile, the government attorney general’s office says it opened close to 800 investigations into accusations of summary executions by the police and military between January 2003 and September 2007.

Typically, according to the U.N. and the attorney general’s office, security forces will “disappear” or kill civilians and later present them to the media as leftist rebels or right-wing paramilitary fighters killed in combat.

Since 2000, Colombia has received about $5 billion in mostly military aid from the United States to fight drugs and the guerrilla war.

Under the terms of the aid package, Washington is supposed to thoroughly vet the human rights record of Colombian military units. If abuses are uncovered, Washington can suspend aid to the offending units.

U.S. authorities have not publicly said whether aid will be affected by the latest investigations and subsequent purge of the military high command.

None of the commanders fired earlier this week has been arrested or charged with any crime. But Uribe has said criminal investigations are ongoing and promised that offenders would be jailed.

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Posted in COLOMBIA, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL, THE COLOMBIAN CIVIL WAR, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

FARMERS ASKED NOT TO SELL COTTON AT LOW PRICE (India)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

October 31, 2008 Friday

By Our Correspondent

MULTAN, Oct 30: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday urged farmers to avoid selling their crops at cut prices because the industrialists had no other option but to purchase cotton from the local market.

Speaking at a workshop on BT cotton, organised by the Bahauddin Zakariya University’s Biotechnology Department, the foreign minister claimed that the industrialists would not be able to import cotton due to dollar appreciation.

He said the government had announced the procurement prices of cotton, rice and other crops and the farmers should not worry about the current market situation.

“What we need to do is fight the multiple challenges, that is, economic crisis, electricity, water and gas shortage, instead of bickering about the issues for which the previous government was responsible.”

In order to make political gains, he said, the previous government had issued fabricated statistics about economy and did not generate even a single megawatt of electricity.

The foreign minister said some ‘vested interests’ were creating an impression that the country was on the verge of default but “it is my promise that neither the country will default nor will the government freeze accounts”.

He said two science and technology universities would be established, one in Multan and the other in Lahore.

Bahauddin Zakariya University Vice-Chancellor Dr Muhammad Zaffarullah said the agriculture sector was facing huge losses despite being the major contributor to economy.

“We can make up for the losses with the help of engineering and biotechnology,” he said, requesting the foreign minister to help in release of funds for the construction of the biotechnology department building.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (India)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, ASIA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COTTON, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, TEXTILE INDUSTRIES, VEGETABLE FIBERS | Leave a Comment »

BOLIVIAN MINES HALT AS METAL PRICES PLUMMET – Bolivian Zinc, Silver Mines Fall Silent As Global Crisis Sinks Metal Prices

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

POTOSI, Bolivia, Oct. 30, 2008

(AP) Falling mineral prices have Bolivian miners digging in the hard Andean earth for a humbler means of survival: potatoes.

The global financial crisis is driving a decline in metal prices that has idled thousands of miners here in recent weeks _ just in time for the Southern Hemisphere’s spring planting season in nearby rural villages once all but abandoned during a recent mineral boom.

“They can no longer earn anything in the mines, but at least they can plant their crops so they have something to eat,” Roman Rodriguez, spokesman for the Potosi state Federation of Mining Cooperatives, told The Associated Press recently.

The price of zinc, Bolivia’s largest export after oil and gas, has dropped nearly a third in the last month, and is 70 percent off its peak in late 2006. Falling prices for silver, tin and lead have also hit the key mining industry hard in this poor Andean nation.

The Potosi federation reported this week that 80 percent of region’s mining cooperatives have halted operations until zinc and silver prices recover. In the state’s colonial capital, whose treeless, rust-colored hills tower 13,300 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level, a work force of 25,000 miners has been cut in half. Those still working have seen daily paychecks drop from more than $20 to about $7.

Another telling economic indicator is the disappearance of more than a dozen Hummers that mine owners once drove through the city’s narrow streets. Miners here say many of the vehicles were sold for cash at a swap meet.

President Evo Morales has announced $5 million in zinc subsidies to help keep mines open, and his government is considering similar funds for other minerals.

The money aims to appease the estimated 80,000 members of independent miners’ cooperatives, a volatile political bloc known for showing up at street protests with hardhats and dynamite.

“The government will do everything possible to prevent more cooperatives from halting operations,” mining director Freddy Beltran said Tuesday.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CBS NEWS’ (USA)

Posted in BOLIVIA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, LEAD, METALS, METALS INDUSTRY, PRECIOUS METALS, SILVER, TIN, ZINC | Leave a Comment »

COMMERCIAL METALS COMPANY REPORTS $0.55 EPS FOR FOURTH QUARTER INCLUDING A RECORD $0.78 EPS LIFO EXPENSE; OPERATIONAL RESULTS EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

IRVING, Texas, Oct. 30 – PRNewswire-FirstCall

Commercial Metals Company (NYSE: CMC) today reported net earnings of $232.0 million or $1.97 per diluted share on net sales of $10.4 billion for the year ended August 31, 2008. This compares with net earnings of $355.4 million or $2.92 per diluted share on net sales of $8.3 billion last year. The annual results included after-tax LIFO expense of a record $209 million or $1.78 per diluted share. This compares with after-tax LIFO expense of $33.3 million or $0.27 per diluted share last year. At year end, our LIFO reserve totaled $562 million. LIFO is an inventory costing method that assumes the most recent inventory purchases or goods manufactured are sold first which in periods of rising prices results in an expense that eliminates inflationary profits from net income. Changes in LIFO are not write-downs, write-offs or market adjustments. They are changes in cost components based on an assumption of inventory flows.Fourth quarter net earnings were $63.5 million or $0.55 per diluted share on net sales of $3.1 billion. This compares with $104.7 million or $0.86 per diluted share on net sales of $2.3 billion for the fourth quarter last year. The current year quarter included a record after-tax LIFO expense of $90.9 million or $0.78 per diluted share compared with after-tax LIFO income of $5.7 million or $0.05 per diluted share in last year’s fourth quarter.

Management had projected an earnings range of $0.90 to $1.00 per diluted share assuming no LIFO effect for the quarter. Actual earnings per diluted share were $0.55 with a LIFO expense of $0.78 per diluted share. Operationally, the Company exceeded its projection by a range of $0.33 to $0.43 per diluted share. The LIFO expense arose from fourth quarter surges in scrap purchase costs. These costs were still in scrap inventories and as a component of finished goods at year end. There were also significant inventories in transit for our domestic steel marketing business.
Selling, general and administrative expenses in the fourth quarter included $10.6 million of costs associated with the investment in the global deployment of SAP software compared to $9.4 million in last year’s fourth quarter. For the year ended August 31, 2008, the amount expensed was $53.7 million as compared to $33.8 million last year; project to date we have expensed $88.7 million. Other SAP costs of $83.1 million have been capitalized since inception of the project, of which $49.9 million has been capitalized in the current year and $13.9 million in the current quarter.
The effective tax rate for the quarter was 22.8% compared with last year’s 26.6%, and for the whole year was 31.1% compared with fiscal 2007 at 31.9%. The lower rate was due to a geographic shift in earnings (higher profits in Poland which has a lower tax rate).

General Conditions

Murray R. McClean, Chairman, President and CEO, said, “The quarter continued the upward volatility in ferrous scrap pricing, and steel finished goods pricing outpaced ferrous scrap pricing resulting in metal margin expansion. Management had anticipated a softening of ferrous scrap prices which did occur, but not until the end of the quarter. The increased prices plus in-transit inventories led to yet another enormous LIFO charge. The record LIFO expense of $0.78 per diluted share was the third quarterly record in succession. Though the LIFO charge affords the Company a significant tax deferral, it does mask the underlying strong markets. The continued upward trend in metal pricing propelled our Americas Recycling segment to an all-time quarterly earnings record. For the second quarter in succession, the Americas Mills segment had increases in tons melted, rolled, and shipped. Continually escalating prices waylaid the Americas Fabrication and Distribution operations with a staggering LIFO charge and further margin compression. In the International Mills segment, our mill in Poland was the star performer while we continued the turnaround in Croatia. Our International Fabrication and Distribution segment set an all-time fourth quarter earnings record.”

Americas Recycling

According to McClean, “Adjusted operating profit of $52.9 million represented the second consecutive time the segment set an all-time quarterly earnings record. It was aided by a small pre-tax LIFO income of $5.1 million compared to LIFO income of $9.3 million in last year’s fourth quarter. Ferrous scrap prices advanced during the quarter, peaking in July and beginning to tail by quarter end. Pricing was supported by continued strong international demand, record iron ore prices, and reduced prime scrap availability due to a slowdown in U.S. manufacturing. Ferrous operations accounted for almost 90% of the segment’s profitability. The average ferrous scrap sales price for the fourth quarter compared to last year’s fourth quarter increased $233 per short ton to $450 per short ton, while shipments (including the units that formerly were reported under the old Domestic Mills segment) increased 11% to 782 thousand tons. Nonferrous pricing advanced a more modest 7% compared to the prior year fourth quarter, but was dropping as the quarter ended. Chinese demand weakened during the quarter and, combined with a rebounding U.S. dollar, drove nonferrous shipments down 14% to 79 thousand tons versus last year’s fourth quarter. We exported 33% of our nonferrous scrap material during the quarter.”

Americas Mills

McClean said, “With demand strong and scrap prices rising, our Americas Mills segment’s tons melted, rolled, and shipped all exceeded last year’s fourth quarter. Prices increased each month of the quarter (softening only in late August) leading to a pre-tax LIFO expense of $40.2 million compared to income of $135 thousand in the prior year fourth quarter.

“Our steel mills adjusted operating profit of $45.1 million was down 14.7% compared to the prior year fourth quarter on the heels of a $41.5 million pre- tax LIFO expense compared to a negligible amount last year. Metal margins were 11% higher at $390 per ton, necessary to keep pace with higher costs for utilities, freight, and alloys. The price of ferrous scrap consumed rose a stunning 87% compared to last year. Our average selling price was up $247 per ton to $838 per ton while the average selling price for finished goods was up $227 per ton to $866 per ton. Margins were affected by a 131% increase in alloys and an 86% increase in energy. Combined, these two additional costs accounted for another $29.8 million in costs this quarter compared to the fourth quarter of last year. Sales volumes increased 15.1% to 631 thousand tons. Rebar shipments rose 29%, and merchant tonnage rose 6%. Included in the sales volumes were 120 thousand tons of billets of which 22 thousand tons were exported. Total export tonnage was 33 thousand tons. The price premium of merchant bar over reinforcing bar averaged $158 per ton. On a quarter-to- quarter basis, tonnage melted for the fourth quarter was up 34% to 618 thousand tons while tonnage rolled was 546 thousand tons, an increase of 45%. During the quarter we received the last required environmental permits that allowed us to begin construction of our micro mill project in Arizona and to date have invested $63 million of the expected $165 million total cost. Hot commissioning is expected in September 2009.

“Our copper tube mill reported an adjusted operating profit of $4.1 million, substantially below last year’s $11.1 million as slowing demand and sliding prices took their toll. The mill recorded a pre-tax LIFO income of $1.3 million compared to a pre-tax expense of $636 thousand in last year’s fourth quarter. Pounds shipped fell 8% to 12.8 million pounds. The average copper selling price decreased 12 cents to $4.53 per pound and metal spreads fell 69 cents per pound. The cost of copper scrap decreased 57 cents to $3.67 per pound. Copper tube production decreased 35% to 9.7 million pounds compared to last year’s fourth quarter.”

Americas Fabrication & Distribution

McClean added, “The segment continued to suffer the negative consequences of rapid upward price escalation — titanic LIFO charges and margin compression. Adjusted operating loss was $68 million compared to $36.1 million income in last year’s fourth quarter. Pre-tax LIFO expense was $100.9 million, a quarterly charge for one segment larger than any consolidated year’s expense in CMC’s history, sinking the profitability for the quarter. The comparable LIFO number last year was income of $0.4 million. The composite average fab selling price (excluding stock and buyouts) increased 7% to $1,146 a ton, not enough to match the increase in steel finished goods prices compared to the backlog pricing as we entered the quarter. When considering operations absent the enormous LIFO charge, our construction services, structural fabrication, and post plants had improved earnings over last year’s fourth quarter; rebar fabrication profitability fell slightly, but joist and deck were off substantially. The bright spot for the segment was our domestic steel import and distribution operations that saw a significant increase in profitability compared to last year on the strength of strong contributions from pipe, SBQ, and flat rolled. During the quarter, we completed the acquisitions of ABC Coating and Reinforcing Post-Tensioning Services which added 300 thousand tons annually to our rebar fabrication capacity.”

International Mills

McClean said, “This segment was our star performer for the quarter. Adjusted operating profit of $57.1 million was an all-time quarterly record and dwarfed last year’s fourth quarter profit of $21.7 million. CMCZ (Poland) benefited from strong domestic and regional markets that allowed it to maximize profits with substantial billet export sales without significant finished goods import competition. CMCZ achieved a fourth quarter (and all- time quarterly record) adjusted operating profit of $63.0 million. For the fourth quarter, tons melted were 395 thousand, 20% above last year’s 330 thousand; rolled tons equaled 266 thousand against 240 thousand last year; and shipments totaled 424 thousand tons (an all-time quarterly record) including 177 thousand tons of billets versus 58 thousand tons last year. Average selling prices increased 29% to PLN 2,091 per ton (including 42% billets) from PLN 1,620 per ton (including 18% billets). The cost of purchased scrap entering production increased 51%. The average metal margin increased by PLN 13 from PLN 727.

“The turnaround at CMCS (Croatia) continues with improvements in quality and productivity. Average sales prices were higher in the fourth quarter versus the third quarter of this year, and tonnage was up slightly. Sales of seamless tube continue to improve and our backlog is building. We rolled 21 thousand tons and sold 20 thousand tons for the quarter. Our adjusted operating loss was $5.9 million.”

International Fabrication & Distribution

“Following its all-time quarterly record earnings in the third quarter, the International Fabrication and Distribution segment set a fourth quarter adjusted operating profit record of $35.7 million, a 47% increase compared to the prior year fourth quarter,” according to McClean. “With global supply of certain raw materials tight, our ores and minerals division set a fourth quarter record for sales and operating profit, finishing its best year ever. Both our Australian import business and our service center and warehouse operations had strong quarters. Other geographies started the quarter strong, but tailed by the end; Europe began the quarter with bullish business as prices climbed toward record levels. But during the quarter, sudden drops in scrap prices, an extended summer end holiday period, and the beginning of Ramadan adversely affected operations. Niche product offerings in Germany and the UK did perform well. Asian demand weakened on the combined effects of a strengthening U.S. dollar, declining oil prices, tight liquidity, and the Beijing Olympics. Our fab shops in Poland and Germany were profitable led by our newly acquired wire mesh operation, P.H.P. Nike, which added annual capacity of 100 thousand tons.”

Financial Condition

McClean said, “Our financial position remains strong. In August, we issued $500 million of ten year notes due in 2018. The notes have a coupon rate of 7.35%; the effective interest rate is 7.29% after netting interest rate hedges. We had a current ratio of 1.9, contractual borrowing capacity of $372 million under our revolver, and $200 million unused capacity under our domestic accounts receivable securitization program at August 31, 2008. Our coverage ratios remain strong, both on domestic borrowings as well as the separate borrowings of CMCZ. Long-term debt as a percentage of total capitalization was 41.5% without consideration of cash or cash equivalents.”

Outlook

McClean continued, “The turmoil in global financial markets, the uncertainty of the effects of government intervention, the imminent change in the U.S. administration and a loss of confidence by both consumers and investors clouds our outlook. In the short-term we will face headwinds until such time as confidence and credit/liquidity issues are stabilized. Long-term we continue to see strong demand for steel and related products as the emerging economies urbanize/industrialize. Global infrastructure projects should continue to be a key driver of demand.

“Fiscal 2009 will be a challenge to many businesses, including CMC; it is a call to execution; execute our capital plan to lay the groundwork for future growth; execute our cash flow plan; execute our contracts and demand our counterparties do likewise. CMC is organized to withstand the downturns well and to emerge a stronger company able to take advantage of the inevitable opportunities such volatile times provide.”

McClean added, “Four major projects already underway will comprise most of our capital spending for fiscal 2009. Our micro mill in Arizona will be substantially completed this fiscal year; we will continue the development of our new flexible rolling mill in Poland scheduled for completion in January 2010; we will upgrade our melt shop and caster in Croatia; and we will continue the rollout of SAP. These projects, combined with normal maintenance capital expenditures, should total less than $450 million for the fiscal year.

“We anticipate first quarter LIFO diluted net earnings per share between $0.35 to $0.45. We foresee substantial LIFO income as prices dramatically decrease, a minimum of $50 million pre-tax income effect for the quarter. In periods of declining prices, customers typically withhold orders waiting to see signals that the market has bottomed. This will translate into lower volumes in most segments. We will adjust our production to meet demand, manage inventories, and maintain metal margins; downtime will be devoted to maintenance and upgrades. There are bright spots — fabrication operations will benefit from lower finished goods prices, easing their margin compression. Forward order books for certain Distribution operations should result in good profitability. Overall, our dedicated employees, vertical integration, and geographic dispersion will see us through this difficult time.”

Conference Call

CMC invites you to listen to a live broadcast of its fourth quarter/year- end 2008 conference call on Thursday, October 30, 2008, at 11:00 a.m. ET. The call will be hosted by Murray McClean, Chairman, President and CEO; and Bill Larson, Senior Vice President and CFO, and can be accessed via our website at http://www.cmc.com or at http://www.streetevents.com. In the event you are unable to listen to the live broadcast, the call will be archived and available for replay within two hours of the webcast. Financial and statistical information presented in the broadcast can be found on CMC’s website under “Investor Relations.”

Commercial Metals Company and subsidiaries manufacture, recycle and market steel and metal products, related materials and services through a network including steel minimills, steel fabrication and processing plants, construction-related product warehouses, a copper tube mill, metal recycling facilities and marketing and distribution offices in the United States and in strategic international markets.

The Outlook section of this news release contains forward-looking statements regarding the outlook for the Company’s financial results including net earnings, product pricing and demand, production rates, interest rates, inventory levels, impact of acquisitions and general market conditions. These forward-looking statements generally can be identified by phrases such as the company or its management “expect,” “anticipates,” “believe,” “ought,” “should,” “likely,” “appears,” “projected,” “forecast,” “outlook,” “will” or other words or phrases of similar impact. There is inherent risk and uncertainty in any forward-looking statements. Variances will occur and some could be materially different from management’s current opinion. Developments that could impact the Company’s expectations include solvency of financial institutions and their ability or willingness to lend, extent of government intervention and its effect on capital markets, construction activity, difficulties or delays in the execution of construction contracts resulting in cost overruns or contract disputes, metals pricing over which the Company exerts little influence, interest rate changes, increased capacity and product availability from competing steel minimills and other steel suppliers including import quantities and pricing, court decisions, industry consolidation or changes in production capacity or utilization, the ability to integrate acquisitions into operations; global factors including political and military uncertainties, credit availability, currency fluctuations, energy and supply prices and decisions by governments impacting the level of steel imports and pace of overall economic activity, particularly China.

(Short Tons in Three months ended Fiscal year ended
Thousands) 8/31/08 8/31/07 8/31/08 8/31/07

Domestic Steel Mill Rebar
Shipments 285 220 1,135 972
Domestic Steel Mill
Structural and Other
Shipments 346 328 1,393 1,278
CMCZ Shipments 424 309 1,434 1,366
Total Mill Tons Shipped 1,055 857 3,962 3,616

Average FOB Mill Domestic
Selling Price
(Total Sales) $838 $591 $691 $566
Average Cost Domestic
Mill Ferrous Scrap
Utilized $448 $239 $350 $233
Domestic Mill Metal
Margin $390 $352 $341 $333
Average Domestic Mill
Ferrous Scrap Purchase
Price $409 $209 $329 $211
Average FOB Mill CMCZ
Selling Price
(Total Sales) $982 $580 $744 $542
Average Cost CMCZ
Ferrous Scrap Utilized $630 $321 $441 $302
CMCZ Mill Metal Margin $352 $259 $303 $240
Average CMCZ Ferrous
Scrap Purchase Price $533 $286 $396 $268

Fab Plant Rebar Shipments 295 239 1,061 1,014
Fab Plant Structural,
Post, Joist and
Deck Shipments 175 190 665 581
Total Fabrication Tons
Shipped 470 429 1,726 1,595

Average Fab Selling
Price (Excluding Stock
& Buyout Sales) $1,146 $1,073 $1,064 $982

Domestic Scrap Metal
Tons Processed
and Shipped 871 802 3,391 3,220

BUSINESS SEGMENTS
(in thousands)
Three months ended Fiscal year ended
8/31/08 8/31/07 8/31/08 8/31/07
Net Sales:
Americas Recycling $657,707 $469,911 $2,189,719 $1,800,647
Americas Mills 576,118 407,859 1,966,270 1,539,663
Americas Fabrication
& Distribution 844,535 721,606 2,874,594 2,586,776
International Mills 400,133 190,675 1,155,671 777,208
International
Fabrication &
Distribution 1,180,594 774,837 3,780,916 2,762,542
Corporate,
Discontinued
Operations and
Eliminations (512,611) (280,946) (1,539,792) (1,137,820)
Total Net Sales $3,146,476 $2,283,942 $10,427,378 $8,329,016

Adjusted Operating
Profit (Loss):
Americas Recycling $52,869 $33,758 $145,751 $113,037
Americas Mills 49,236 64,002 207,756 259,368
Americas Fabrication
& Distribution (67,978) 36,139 (67,471) 100,032
International Mills 57,108 21,716 96,838 112,379
International
Fabrication &
Distribution 35,729 24,293 124,338 73,709
Corporate and
Eliminations (24,736) (24,938) (99,348) (79,598)

COMMERCIAL METALS COMPANY
Fourth Quarter and Year Operating Results (Unaudited)
(in thousands except share data)

Three months ended Fiscal year ended
8/31/08 8/31/07 8/31/08 8/31/07

Net Sales $3,146,476 $2,283,942 $10,427,378 $8,329,016

Costs and Expenses:
Cost of goods
sold 2,836,715 1,975,739 9,325,724 7,167,989
Selling, general
and administrative
expenses 209,494 156,386 707,786 583,810
Interest expense 15,978 10,331 58,263 36,334
3,062,187 2,142,456 10,091,773 7,788,133

Earnings from
Continuing
Operations Before
Income Taxes and
Minority Interests 84,289 141,486 335,605 540,883

Income Taxes 19,626 37,271 103,886 172,769

Earnings from Continuing
Operations Before
Minority Interests 64,663 104,215 231,719 368,114

Minority Interests
(Benefit) (2) (76) 538 9,587
Net Earnings from
Continuing Operations $64,665 $104,291 $231,181 $358,527

Earnings (Loss) from
Discontinued Operations
Before Taxes (2,016) 1,126 1,706 (4,827)
Income Tax (Benefit) (894) 698 921 (1,731)
Net Earnings (Loss)
from Discontinued
Operations (1,122) 428 785 (3,096)

Net Earnings $63,543 $104,719 $231,966 $355,431

Basic Earnings (Loss)
per Share:
Earnings from Continuing
Operations $0.57 $0.88 $2.01 $3.04
Earnings (Loss) from
Discontinued
Operations (0.01) – 0.01 (0.03)
Net Earnings $0.56 $0.88 $2.02 $3.01

Diluted Earnings
(Loss) per Share:
Earnings from Continuing
Operations $0.56 $0.86 $1.96 $2.95
Earnings (Loss) from
Discontinued
Operations (0.01) – 0.01 (0.03)
Net Earnings $0.55 $0.86 $1.97 $2.92

Cash Dividends per
Share $0.12 $0.09 $0.45 $0.33
Average Basic Shares
Outstanding 113,878,939 118,735,742 115,048,512 118,014,149
Average Diluted
Shares
Outstanding 116,251,800 121,925,891 117,685,753 121,681,730

COMMERCIAL METALS COMPANY
Consolidated Condensed Balance Sheets (Unaudited)
(in thousands)

Fiscal year ended
2008 2007
Assets:
Current Assets:
Cash and cash equivalents $219,026 $419,275
Accounts receivable, net 1,369,453 1,082,713
Inventories 1,400,332 874,104
Other 228,632 82,760
Total Current Assets 3,217,443 2,458,852

Net Property, Plant and Equipment 1,154,322 767,353

Goodwill 84,837 37,843

Other Assets 289,769 208,615
$4,746,371 $3,472,663
Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity:
Current Liabilities:
Accounts payable – trade $838,777 $484,650
Accounts payable – documentary letters
of credit 192,492 153,431
Accrued expenses and other payables 563,424 425,410
Income taxes payable and deferred income taxes 156 4,372
Notes payable 31,305 –
Current maturities of long-term debt 106,327 4,726
Total Current Liabilities 1,732,481 1,072,589

Deferred Income Taxes 50,160 31,977
Other Long-Term Liabilities 124,171 109,813
Long-Term Debt 1,197,533 706,817

Minority Interests 3,643 2,900

Stockholders’ Equity 1,638,383 1,548,567
$4,746,371 $3,472,663

COMMERCIAL METALS COMPANY
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited)
(in thousands)
Fiscal year ended
2008 2007
Cash Flows From (Used By) Operating Activities:
Net earnings $231,966 $355,431
Adjustments to reconcile net earnings to
cash from (used by) operating activities:
Depreciation and amortization 135,069 107,305
Minority interests 538 9,587
Asset impairment charges 1,004 3,400
Provision for losses (recoveries) on
receivables 4,478 (370)
Share-based compensation 18,996 12,499
Net loss on sale of assets 749 474

Changes in Operating Assets and Liabilities,
Net of Effect of Acquisitions:
Accounts receivable (287,052) (39,695)
Accounts receivable sold 45,348 115,672
Inventories (414,556) (10,381)
Other assets (177,510) (89,332)
Accounts payable, accrued expenses,
other payables and income taxes 395,987 (22,179)
Deferred income taxes (4,379) (10,603)
Other long-term liabilities 5,906 29,482
Net Cash Flows From (Used By) Operating
Activities (43,456) 461,290

Cash Flows Used By Investing Activities:
Capital expenditures (355,041) (206,262)
Purchase of interests in CMC Zawiercie
and subsidiaries (169) (62,104)
Proceeds from the sale of property, plant
and equipment & other 1,791 1,470
Acquisitions of other businesses, net of
cash acquired (228,422) (164,017)
Net Cash Flows Used By Investing Activities (581,841) (430,913)

Cash Flows From Financing Activities:
Increase in documentary letters of credit 39,061 11,718
Short-term borrowings, net change (1,427) (62,088)
Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt 596,669 400,504
Repayments on long-term debt (6,053) (72,282)
Stock issued under incentive and purchase plans 8,910 10,849
Tax benefits from stock plans 10,982 16,894
Treasury stock acquired (172,312) (59,169)
Cash dividends (52,061) (39,254)
Net Cash From Financing Activities 423,769 207,172

Effect of Exchange Rate Changes on Cash
and Cash Equivalents 1,279 1,007

Increase (Decrease) in Cash and Cash
Equivalents (200,249) 238,556
Cash and Cash Equivalents at Beginning of Year 419,275 180,719
Cash and Cash Equivalents at End of Year $219,026 $419,275

COMMERCIAL METALS COMPANY
Non-GAAP Financial Measures (Unaudited)
(in thousands)
This press release uses financial statement measures not derived in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Reconciliations to the most comparable GAAP measures are provided below.

EBITDA:

Earnings before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization.

EBITDA is a non-GAAP liquidity measure. It excludes Commercial Metals Company’s largest recurring non-cash charge, depreciation and amortization. As a measure of cash flow before interest expense, it is one guideline used to assess the Company’s ability to pay its current debt obligations as they mature and a tool to calculate possible future levels of leverage capacity. EBITDA to interest is a covenant test in certain of the Company’s note agreements.

Three Months Year
Ended Ended
8/31/08 8/31/08

Net earnings $63,543 $231,966
Interest expense 17,210 59,488
Income taxes 18,732 104,807
Depreciation and amortization 38,475 135,069
EBITDA $137,960 $531,330

EBITDA to interest coverage
for the quarter ended for the year ended
August 31, 2008: August 31, 2008:

$137,960 / 17,210 = 8.0 $531,330 / 59,488 = 8.9

Total Capitalization:

Total capitalization is the sum of long-term debt, deferred income taxes, and stockholders’ equity. The ratio of debt to total capitalization is a measure of current debt leverage. The following reconciles total capitalization at August 31, 2008 to the nearest GAAP measure, stockholders’ equity:

Stockholders’ equity $1,638,383
Long-term debt 1,197,533
Deferred income taxes 50,160
Total capitalization $2,886,076

Other Financial Information

Long-term debt to cap ratio as of August 31, 2008:
Debt divided by capitalization

$1,197,533 / 2,886,076 = 41.5%

Total debt to cap plus short-term debt ratio as of August 31, 2008:

($1,197,533 + 106,327) / (2,886,076 + 106,327) = 43.6%

Current ratio as of August 31, 2008:
Current assets divided by current liabilities

$3,217,443 / 1,732,481 = 1.9

SOURCE Commercial Metals Company

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Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, METALS, METALS INDUSTRY, USA | Leave a Comment »

UC RUSAL SUGGESTS SETTING UP METAL RESERVE (Russia)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

RBC, 31.10.2008, Moscow 09:54:09

UC RUSAL approached Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin with a proposal to create a strategic state metal reserve to give an impetus to the Russian processing industry and stabilize metal prices, RBC Daily wrote today. To shore up the aluminum market and prevent a fall in aluminum prices, the company suggested that intergovernmental agreements be signed with a number of countries to cut metals production by 10 percent for the next two years.

The same idea is propounded in the letter of UC RUSAL’s General Director Alexander Bulygin addressed to Alexei Kudrin offering steps to stem the crisis in the Russian metal processing industry. In his letter, Bulygin notes that due to the crisis, the Russian metals industry could be forced to lay off 1.2m people, lose RUB 1 trillion (approx. USD 37.68bn) in export proceeds from high value-added products, and fail to contribute RUB 200bn (approx. USD 7.54bn) in taxes to the federal budget. UC RUSAL sees a state metals reserve as a way to stanch the crisis, as it will not only work to diversify government investment, but will also help stabilize metal prices.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘ROS BUSINESS CONSULTING’

Posted in ALUMINUM, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, METALS, METALS INDUSTRY, RUSSIA | 1 Comment »

CHINA CONSTRUCTION MACHINERY INDUSTRY REPORT 2007 TO 2008

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

30/10/2008

Copyright: M2 Communications Ltd.

Source: M2 PressWIRE

According to the latest statistics of China Construction Machinery Association of CCMA, sales revenue of China construction machinery industry in 2007 reached above CNY210 billion, ranking the fourth place in the entire China machinery industry, ranking the second place in the world just after the United States of America. Its existing market share accounts for one sixth of the global total. In 2007, China’s import and export of construction machinery industry continued a roaring growth. According to statistics of General Administration of Customs, China’s total trade volume of import and export of construction machinery reached US$13.64 billion, up 52.6% year on year. In which, import volume was S$4.94 billion, up 25.7% on year, and export volume was US$8.7 billion, up 73.5% on year, resulting in a trade surplus of US$3.76 billion.

China’s construction machinery industry will maintain a rapid growth in 2008, in which product mix determines investment value. It is estimated that the revenue growth rate of China’s construction machinery industry will be about 45% in 2008 and 38% in 2009. In the future development of China’s construction machinery industry, the companies, which have advantages in product technology and product mix, will have outstanding investment value. From the perspective of regional sales of construction machinery, provinces in central and west parts of China were on the top and the growth rates of sales in these regions were also the fastest.

Based on industry development track in the past two years, we can draw the conclusion that the industry boom was non-linear and growth in booming period was beyond company’s expectation. Sales growth of construction machinery is close related with its downstream industries, including real estate, railway construction and urban mass transit construction. In the process of rapid development of China’s urbanization, demand of real estate industry and infrastructure construction for construction machinery is inevitably on the upward trend.

http://www.companiesandmarkets.com/link.asp?id=N6EDPGK0D47970

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(M2 Communications Ltd disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at http://www.presswire.net on the world wide web. Inquiries to info@m2.com).

This is a news service of Thomson Business Intelligence Service ©2006. This content is for your personal use only, subject to Terms and Conditions. No redistribution allowed.

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Posted in ASIA, CHINA, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES | Leave a Comment »

GRANITE CONSTRUCTION SIGNS $161M SUBWAY CONTRACT (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008 – 2:05 PM PDT

Silicon Valley – San Jose Business Journal

Granite Construction Inc. said Friday that its wholly-owned subsidiary has been awarded a $161 million contract by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City.

Watsonville-based Granite (NYSE:GVA) said the contract calls for Granite Construction Northeast Inc. to rehabilitate the five stations at Avenues H, J, M, Kings Highway and Newkirk along the Brighton “B” Line in Brooklyn.

The project includes reconstruction of platform areas, including foundations, floors, windscreens and canopies. Granite will also rehabilitate and reconstruct stairs, control areas, lighting and drainage systems.

The project is scheduled to begin in November and take approximately 38 months to complete.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘BUSINESS JOURNAL’ (San Jose – USA)

Posted in CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, INDUSTRIES, USA | Leave a Comment »

MESMO COM CRISE, GALP MANTÉM INVESTIMENTOS (Brasil – Portugal)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

01/11 – 00:20

Lisboa, 1 de novembro de 2008 – A Galp Energia, petrolífera portuguesa e parceria da Petrobras em alguns dos poços exploratórios mais importantes da camada pré-sal brasileira — Tupi, Iara e Júpiter —, não pretende alterar seus planos de investimentos para o Brasil por conta da atual crise financeira mundial, que fez o preço internacional do barril do petróleo cair em torno de 50% em menos de três meses. ‘Nossos projetos em águas ultraprofundas, que incluem regiões petrolíferas no Brasil, Angola e México, são viáveis e vamos manter os mesmos investimentos que foram programados antes da crise’, disse Manuel Ferreira de Oliveira, presidente da Galp, que participou na sexta-feira do Lisbon Energy Forum 2008, um evento internacional dedicado às questões energéticas.

Segundo Oliveira, uma empresa de petróleo e gás não pode tomar decisões baseadas em acontecimentos de curto prazo, seja com o barril a US$ 60, seja com o preço do petróleo na casa dos US$ 200. ‘Nesse negócio, é preciso ter uma visão de longo prazo, pois sabe-se que, desde a exploração até o desenvolvimento pleno da produção, demora-se cerca de 30 anos’, enfatiza o executivo, que garante não estar sozinho em sua decisão. ‘Até agora não ouvir falar de nenhuma companhia petrolífera que reduziu investimentos por causa da queda do preço do petróleo’, afirmou. (Denis Cardoso)

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Posted in A QUESTÃO ENERGÉTICA, BRASIL, COMMERCE, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, EUROPE, EXPANSÃO INDUSTRIAL, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, INDÚSTRIAS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INTERNATIONAL, PETRÓLEO, PETROL, PORTUGAL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

AÇÃO DE CALÇADISTA REFLETE PERDA DE MARGEM (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

1 de novembro de 2008 – 00:12

São Paulo – Analistas e investidores aguardam ansiosos os resultados do terceiro trimestre da indústria calçadista. Apesar do aumento de vendas e até do incremento no lucro do primeiro semestre do ano, as empresas com ações negociadas em bolsa de valores mostraram compressão das margens Ebitda, medida de rentabilidade, explicada pelo real ainda valorizado e o avanço da inflação. A primeira estimulava a compra de produtos importados, em detrimento dos nacionais, e a segunda desestimulava a aquisição de bens semi-duráveis. Agora, o câmbio está mais favorável — mas a retração de crédito e o desaquecimento econômico tomam lugar como possíveis empecilhos à lucratividade do setor.

Entre as quatro companhias do setor listadas na Bovespa, São Paulo Alpargatas e Grendene apresentam melhores volumes de negociação, mas é a Vulcabras a única que conseguiu elevar seu valor de mercado no ano — passando de R$ 1,25 bilhão para R$ 1,4 bilhão, tomando a liderança em capitalização bursátil da Alpargatas. Já a Cambuci, dona da marca Penalty, é o papel menos visado por ter liquidez muito baixa, não estabelecer uma política firme de comunicação de mercado e aumentar, a cada semestre, seu prejuízo — que no primeiro semestre de 2007 foi de R$ 3,19 milhões e passou para R$ 8,23 milhões no primeiro semestre deste ano. (Maria Luíza Filgueiras)

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Posted in A INDÚSTRIA DE CALÇADOS, BRASIL, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, EXPANSÃO INDUSTRIAL, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, INDÚSTRIAS, SETOR EXPORTADOR | Leave a Comment »

UMA RECEITA PARA ENFRENTAR A CRISE (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

28 de outubro de 2008 – 01:00

Costábile Nicoletta por Costábile Nicoletta

Secretário de Redação da Gazeta Mercantil

O empresário Raul Anselmo Randon tem uma receita pouco comum para os períodos em que o País passa por uma crise. Em vez de ficar lamuriando o cenário econômico, ele pára de ler jornais e de assistir à televisão e vai visitar clientes para ouvir a opinião deles sobre como melhorar os produtos e serviços que lhes vende.

Essa paciência para auscultar os anseios do mercado é uma característica que o acompanha desde 1949, quando, junto com o irmão Hercílio, montou uma oficina para reformar motores industriais na cidade gaúcha de Caxias do Sul e, alguns anos depois, aceitou a sugestão de um amigo italiano para desenvolver componentes para caminhões. A região vivia o auge do ciclo da madeira e os meios de transporte tinham de adaptar-se às difíceis condições das estradas locais.

Raul e o irmão desenvolveram um sistema de freio a ar capaz de permitir aos veículos enfrentar os acentuados declives da serra, razão dos freqüentes acidentes rodoviários da época. Também passaram a fabricar o segundo e o terceiro eixo, o que possibilitou aumentar a capacidade de carga dos caminhões. E foram diversificando a produção — com a fabricação de semi-reboques e outras peças —, a fim de acompanhar a evolução do transporte, cuja história no País se confunde com a trajetória do grupo Randon, um conglomerado que, no ano passado, obteve receita líquida de R$ 2,5 bilhões e lucro líquido de R$ 173,4 milhões.

Ouvir Raul Randon descrever suas preocupações com a formação educacional e profissional de seus empregados, dos dependentes destes e da comunidade próxima de suas fábricas e escritórios ajuda a entender por que suas empresas são bem-sucedidas. Esse seu procedimento não aproveitou a atual onda socioambiental a que grande parte das companhias se viu impelida de aderir muito mais por marketing que por convicção ideológica. Suas ações nesse sentido remontam a períodos em que pouco se falava disso, quase na mesma proporção da importância que o empresariado brasileiro dava ao problema.

Os programas de formação da Randon aliam filantropia com metas de fácil cumprimento: comparecer às aulas e passar de ano, basicamente. Pessoas bem preparadas entendem melhor seus direitos e deveres e esse senso de responsabilidade migra para os locais onde trabalham e para os bairros nos quais moram. Além disso, com perspectivas de progresso pessoal e profissional, dedicam-se para atingir o objetivo comum a todos os mortais: melhorar de vida.

Simples assim, como o próprio Raul Randon, um homem que impõe respeito não pela sua avantajada altura de quase dois metros, mas pela singeleza no trato com quem quer que seja seu interlocutor. Ninguém se sente diminuído perto dele. À medida que conta como construiu seu império, fica-se com a impressão de que as pessoas que o ouvem entram na história como fanáticos torcedores à espera da vitória de seu time. É o que a psicologia chama de liderança nata. É parte integrante de Raul Randon, sem que precise esforçar-se para demonstrar isso.

A mesma preocupação que demonstra com a formação dos empregados e da comunidade aparece nas relações comerciais. Raul Randon não se contenta apenas em produzir com qualidade — embora esse quesito ainda seja bastante louvável nestes dias de produtos e serviços cada vez mais nivelados. Mesmo quando o Brasil não vive momentos de crise, ele faz questão de conversar com seus clientes para aquilatar a aceitação dos produtos que lhes vendeu e fazer as correções de rumo que não se medem nos controles de qualidade internos, e sim no mercado. Além disso, Randon gosta do que faz e se orgulha de dizer que os veículos produzidos em suas fábricas ajudam a transportar as riquezas do País. Isso faz muita diferença.

(Costábile Nicoletta – Secretário de Redação. E-mail: costabile@gazetamercantil.com.br)

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Posted in BRASIL, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, EXPANSÃO INDUSTRIAL, INDÚSTRIAS, O SETOR DOS TRANSPORTES | Leave a Comment »

ÁFRICA, O DESTINO DAS FLORESTAS PLANTADAS – (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

31 de Outubro de 2008 – 00:00

Norberto Staviski por Norberto Staviski

Correspondente da Gazeta Mercantil em Curitiba

O Brasil, quem diria, pode não ser mais, em futuro próximo, o destino de grandes empreendimentos na área de papel e celulose ou de produção de chapas de madeira. Em curso, há investimentos de cerca de US$ 20 bilhões no setor industrial e de florestas plantadas, mas eles estarão consolidados em 2015. Depois disso, investidores nacionais e estrangeiros já estão de olho no potencial do continente africano. Em dez anos ou pouco mais, calculam os especialistas, os investimentos deverão desembarcar preferencialmente em Moçambique, Angola ou no Congo.

Tudo isso tem uma explicação bastante simples: um projeto de produção de papel ou celulose na faixa de 1,5 milhão de toneladas anuais, como os da Suzano e da Aracruz, necessita de uma área de florestas plantadas de 200 mil hectares e como quase sempre as empresas já pensam o projeto com duas linhas de produção, na verdade o planejamento pede 400 mil hectares de reflorestamentos. Em algumas regiões do País como a amazônica, uma área destas deve ser acrescida de mais 100 mil hectares a título de reserva legal, um tipo de área de conservação que nasceu com o intuito de se permitir a exploração de espécimes nativas, mas que, com a proibição efetiva do manejo, acabou virando área de preservação permanente e intocável. No Sul a situação é ainda mais complicada porque as exigências de áreas de reserva legal são ainda maiores.

A este custo adicional da reserva legal foi acrescida a valorização das terras nos últimos anos pelo boom da agricultura e da pecuária. Há cinco anos, o preço de 1 hectare de terra no Mato Grosso do Sul estava em R$ 1 mil e agora está em R$ 5 mil. No Sul, 1 hectare custa R$ 10 mil. Construir uma nova fábrica pode custar, portanto, um investimento superior a R$ 2,5 bilhões só em terras, o que torna qualquer novo projeto inviável.

Estados onde a terra está mais barata – R$ 500 a R$ 600 o hectare, como no extremo sul do Rio Grande do Sul, no Piauí e no Maranhão – já estão tomados por novos projetos e esta possibilidade também estará esgotada em dez anos, sem falar na valorização que também ocorre por lá. Na região do cerrado, exigências ambientais e de certificação para a madeira deverão impedir a abertura de novas áreas. Na América do Sul, possibilidades de expansão existem no Paraguai e Colômbia, mas somente se houver algum tipo de estabilidade política e política de atração de investimentos que até aqui nunca houve. Na África, países como Moçambique têm a característica de somente possuir terras públicas, com o que é possível obter uma concessão por 50 anos ou 100 anos sem grandes investimentos. Encerrando-se, portanto, o atual ciclo de investimentos no País, o rumo dos novos projetos certamente será o de se atravessar o Atlântico em busca de regiões inexploradas.

Para abastecer o setor industrial que já possui, no entanto, o Brasil conta com um fator de inegável competência: aumento de produtividade. Não há um levantamento seguro sobre o que existe no País, mas calcula-se que o setor de florestas plantadas ocupe hoje uma área entre 5,5milhões e 6 milhões de hectares que produzem atualmente 150 milhões de toneladas de madeira. Na época do plantio por incentivos, nos anos 70, a produtividade dessas florestas era muito baixa e, em 1980, não superava 15 metros cúbicos por hectare. Hoje já se aproxima de 40 metros cúbicos por hectare e continua subindo graças à incorporação de tecnologia como a pesquisa de novos clones, melhor preparo do terreno, adubação, uso de transgênicos e outras técnicas que trazem um comportamento econômico de maneira semelhante ao que ocorreu na agricultura brasileira. Isso quer dizer que estamos produzindo o dobro praticamente na mesma área plantada e a expectativa é dobrar mais uma vez esta produção até 2020, atingindo 300 milhões de toneladas de madeira quase que apenas com ganhos de produtividade. O Brasil desenvolveu e possui a melhor tecnologia do mundo no setor e logo ela estará em outros continentes.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘GAZETA MERCANTIL’ (Brasil)

Posted in AFRICA, AGRICULTURA, AGRICULTURE, AGRONEGÓCIOS, ANGOLA, BRASIL, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONGO, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EXPANSÃO AGRÍCOLA, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, FLORESTAS PLANTADAS, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, INTERNATIONAL, SETOR EXPORTADOR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

DEPUTADO RECEBE GRUPO DE EMPRESÁRIOS ITALIANOS (Nova Friburgo – RJ – Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

02/11/2008

O deputado estadual e presidente da comissão de Agricultura da Assembléia Legislativa do Estado do O deputado estadual e presidente da comissão de Agricultura da Assembléia Legislativa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Alerj), Rogério Cabral (PSB)Rio de Janeiro (Alerj), Rogério Cabral (PSB), recebeu no último dia 22, em seu gabinete, a visita de empresários italianos interessados em fazer investimentos em agricultura familiar, inclusive no Centro-Norte fluminense, através do plantio de oleaginosas.

O grupo de empresários italianos foi formado por Paolo Franchett, Domenico Scalchi e Cesare Fea, que apresentaram suas propostas ao deputado. Segundo eles, a intenção é desenvolver a produção de óleo bruto vegetal (matéria-prima para o biodiesel), em parceria com pequenos proprietários e agricultores fluminenses. Depois da reunião no gabinete, o grupo conheceu o plenário da Alerj, onde foram oficialmente recepcionados por vários deputados.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘VOZ DA SERRA’ (Nova Friburgo – RJ – Brasil)

Posted in AGRICULTURA, AGRICULTURA FAMILIAR, AGRICULTURE, BIOCOMBUSTÍVEIS, BRASIL, CIDADES, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, EUROPE, EXPANSÃO AGRÍCOLA, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, ITALY, O BIODIESEL, O PODER LEGISLATIVO ESTADUAL, PARTIDO SOCIALISTA BRASILEIRO (PSB), PARTIDOS POLÍTICOS - BRASIL, POLÍTICA - BRASIL, POLÍTICA REGIONAL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, RJ, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, VEGETABLE OILS, VEREADORES | Leave a Comment »

NOVEMBRE: LE MOIS DE L’ÉCONOMIE SOCIALE ET SOLIDAIRE – Je vous ferai découvrir au cours du mois de novembre les rencontres qui seront organisées autour du guide de l’économie sociale et solidaire et animées par Sylvie Mayer et Jean-Pierre Caldier. (France)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

Samedi 1 novembre 2008

– 05 novembre Saint Etienne 9h30 Chambre de Commerce

Rencontre échange entre l’association Made in Respect et Sylvie Mayer – Jean Pierre Caldier co-auteurs et coordinateurs du Guide de l’économie équitable.

Les valeurs de Made in respect

L´accélération de la mondialisation se fait au détriment des Hommes, de la Qualité, de l´Environnement et de la Transparence.

Le consommateur, noyé par les stratégies marketing des multinationales, a désormais perdu tout repère. Il ne sait plus choisir en toute connaissance de cause.

Constatant la dépréciation de ces valeurs, l´association MADE IN RESPECT propose d´agir pour un monde plus juste et une nouvelle façon d´acheter.

Grâce au label MADE IN RESPECT nous redonnons au client citoyen les moyens d´accéder à un mode de consommation plus solidaire, plus respectueux de l´environnement.

L´association MADE IN RESPECT milite pour un développement économique durable dans le respect des fournisseurs, des clients et des donneurs d´ordre.

Nous nous engageons sur la transparence de nos produits, services et activités pour un avenir viable, solidaire et vivable.

Au-delà des normes internationales en vigueur, le label MADE IN RESPECT garantit le respect :

– DU SAVOIR-FAIRE conformément aux règles de l´art

– DE LA DIGNITÉ DE L´HOMME dans le monde du travail

– DES RÈGLES DE L´ÉCO-CONCEPTION ET DE L´ENVIRONNEMENT

– DE L´ÉTHIQUE ÉCONOMIQUE

MADE IN RESPECT Chambre de commerce de St Etienne 57, cour Fauriel 42000 St Etienne

Tél. 04.77.430.400 courriel: contact@madeinrespect.org

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PUBLISHED BY ‘COCOMAGNANVILLE’ (France)

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INTERNATIONAL, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE WORKERS | Leave a Comment »

WHY RACE WON’T HURT OBAMA ON NOVEMBER 4TH (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Earl Ofari Hutchinson *

Republican presidential contender John McCain got one thing right about Democratic rival Barack THEM DARNED PYROMANIACS WILL VOTE ON McCAINObama. He told Larry King that he didn’t think race would be much of an issue in the final vote. As McCain put it only “a tiny, tiny, minority” will vote against Obama because he’s black. McCain was not just campaign bloviating to puff up his oft touted credential as a play it straight on race guy. The notion that because millions of whites passionately back Obama race is permanently off America’s table is more hope and prayer than reality.

Still despite endless and obsessive speculation that race could derail Obama in his slog to the White House it won’t and it probably never would have. Start with McCain and Obama; McCain made the personal and pragmatic choice not to make race an issue either directly or indirectly through code words, snide hints, and racial guilt by association attacks. When the Jeremiah Wright flap cropped up, he could have hammered Obama as a stealth race baiter. He turned thumbs down on that. Later when VP mate Sarah Palin and some others in his campaign were etching to unload on Obama-Wright again, he still said no.

That decision was not totally due to honor and noble intent. A too frontal racial attack would have brought instant screams of foul from Democrats, and millions of voters who demanded that the campaign be a clean, issues focused campaign. McCain read the political leaves correctly and saw the political peril in flipping the race card. The occasions that he slipped and rapped Obama as a socialist and a terrorist fellow traveler brought universal condemnation that he was going negative or worse running a dirty campaign.

Obama helped things even more. The firm message in his signature slogan of hope and change, campaign literature, TV ads, rallies, in pitches to contributors, his core of advisors, and major endorsers was that the Obama presidential campaign and an Obama presidency would be broad, non-racial and issues driven. Anything else would have instantly stirred horrifying visions to many of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. His candidacy would have been DOA.

But McCain and Obama’s best efforts to make race a non issue in the campaign would have fallen short without the sea change shift in public attitudes. The decade since the Rodney King beating, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the urban riots, has been a period of relative racial peace in America. During that time polls consistently showed that more whites than ever are genuinely convinced that America is a color-blind society, equal opportunity is a reality, and blacks and whites if not exactly attaining complete social and economic equality, are closer than ever to that goal. Though the figures on income, education and health care still show a colossal gap between poor blacks and whites, the perception nonetheless is that racism is an ugly and nasty byproduct of a long by-gone past.

The passage by huge margins of anti-affirmative action measures in California, Michigan, and Washington, was not simply a case of whites engaging in racial denial or a cover for hidden bias. Many white voters backed the initiatives because they honestly believed that color should never be in the equation in hiring and education, and that race is divisive.

It’s is easy to see why they believe that. “Whites only” signs and redneck Southern cops unleashing police dogs, turning fire hoses on and beating hapless black demonstrators have long been forgotten. Americans turn on their TVs and see legions of black newscasters and talk show hosts, topped by TV’s richest and most popular celebrity, Oprah Winfrey.

They see mega-rich black entertainers and athletes pampered and fawned over by a doting media and an adoring public. They see TV commercials that picture blacks living in trendy integrated suburban homes, sending their kids to integrated schools and driving expensive cars. They see blacks such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell and his successor Condoleezza Rice in high-profile policy-making positions in the Bush administration. They see dozens of blacks in Congress, many more in state legislatures and city halls. They see blacks heading corporations and universities. And those blacks who incessantly scream racism about their plight are roundly reviled for feeding racial paranoia.

There is even some talk that the so-called Bradley Effect, the penchant for whites to lie to pollsters about their true racial feelings and vote against a black candidate, may actually turn into a reverse Bradley Effect this election. That’s that many whites will vote for Obama because he’s black. That notion is just as dubious as the Bradley Effect. But to even raise the possibility tells much about changing times and attitudes.

If Obama wins and that seems likely, race will be, as McCain says, only a tiny, tiny factor. That’s a tribute to him, Obama and the millions of America voters that were determined to make sure that race did not hurt Obama on November 4th

* Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His latest book is The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House (Middle Passage Press, February 2008).

Posted by The Hutchinson Political Report at 5:49 PM

Labels: Barack Obama, john mccain, Racism, sarah palin

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PUBLISHED BY ‘AFRICAN AMERICAN POLITICAL OPINION’ (USA)

Posted in ELECTIONS 2008 - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

BPO PLAYERS MINIMIZE ‘CRISIS’ IMPACT – A significant majority of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry players believe the global financial crisis will have a positive or neutral effect on their operations in the Philippines.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

by James A. Loyola

A survey of executives of companies in the BPO industry and suppliers to the industry showed though that almost a third of respondents said the crisis will have a negative impact on their operations and 44 percent said the crisis will result in a decrease in demand for their services.

Results indicated that the impact of the global financial crisis on the Philippine operations of BPO services provides will be mixed, but mostly positive.

A majority of respondents, 79 percent, representing a broad spectrum of BPO sectors said the global financial crisis will have a positive or neutral effect on their Philippine operations.

Forty-one percent of respondents said the global financial crisis will cause demand for their services to increase, and 38 percent said the global financial crisis will have a positive impact on their operations in the Philippines. Thirty percent said impact on their Philippine operations will be neutral.

“While the global financial crisis provides both opportunities and challenges for the Philippine BPO industry, industry players are indicating that overall, the outlook remains positive, and at least in some sectors, will become more so,” said Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPA/P) CEO Oscar Sañez.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MANILA BULLETIN ON LINE’ (Philippines)

Posted in ASIA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, OUTSOURCED WORK FORCES, OUTSOURCING INDUSTRIES, PHILIPPINES, THE WORKERS | Leave a Comment »

JAPANESE GOV’T READIES MONEY FOR NEW IMF BAILOUT FACILITY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

TOKYO (AP) – Japan is ready to provide some of its ample cash for any International Monetary Fund bailouts for struggling nations to help stabilize the growing global financial crisis, the finance minister said.

Japan will make that offer along with proposals about accounting standards and other regulatory adjustments needed to fix the growing economic woes at a world summit in Washington Nov. 15, Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa told reporters.

Nakagawa did not say the acceptance of its proposals would be needed to get any of the money but he said Japan expects to play a greater international leadership role on the international stage.

He said the IMF has about $ 210-billion funds but that may not be enough.

“Japan is ready if that prove insufficient,” he said, adding that Japan has $ 1 trillion in possible funding from its foreign currency reserves. “We see lending to the IMF basically as risk-free.”

He did not give specifics of what Japan’s proposals may be, stressing that Prime Minister Taro Aso was still hammering out details.

Britain and Germany support the creation of an International Monetary Fund facility to help smaller economies withstand the global financial crisis, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Thursday.

“We discussed how we must prevent contagion over the next few days to middle-income countries including in eastern Europe,” Brown told reporters after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“It’s vital that the International Monetary Fund plays a central role in supporting these economies. We both agreed to support a new facility for the IMF which would draw on additional resources of countries with substantial reserves.”

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn told French daily Le Monde he would propose a new regulatory strategy at a meeting next month of the Group of 20 nations.

He said he would suggest a new type of loan to relieve short-term liquidity problems in some economies, and an increase in IMF resources which he said were insufficient to meet requirements over the medium

Nakagawa reiterated his earlier remarks and the views of other Japanese politicians that Japan wishes to exercise political leadership in offering its money and experience in wresting itself out of its bad debt woes of the 1990s.

He said Europe and the U.S. have historical experience with the Great Depression, but Japan has more recent experience and is in a better position to share its expertise.

“We were able to get ourselves out of our problems without help from any other nation,” he said at the Japan Press Center.

Earlier this week British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the International Monetary Fund needs more money to bail out struggling countries.

Brown has called on countries such as China and the oil-rich Persian Gulf states to fund the bulk of an increase in the International Monetary Fund’s bailout pot. The IMF is giving Hungary, Iceland and Ukraine loans and is in discussions with Belarus.

The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday it is creating a new program to get money quickly to developing countries with strong economies that are facing cash crunches in the global financial crisis.

Nakagawa said countries need to respond quickly and work together to get out of the financial problems that started with the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis and is now spreading around the world.

“Japan is taking leadership,” he said.

He said Japan was also doing its part domestically with stimulus spending packages and regulatory changes to prevent a further plunge on the Tokyo stock market.

Merkel said joint action was needed to tackle the crisis.

“I believe the cooperation of the recent weeks has shown we are on the right path,” she said. “We must make risks (in financial markets) manageable.”

Brown said this week that the IMF needed more money to deal with the fallout from the global financial crisis and called on China and the Gulf states to play their part.

Asked about Brown’s call, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman responded vaguely on Thursday but kept the door open to a bigger Chinese role in international rescue efforts.

Brown’s spokesman said he welcomed the positive responses from Germany and China to the proposal “and the indication that they (China) have given that they would be prepared to consider contributing to any such fund”.

Brown has said the issue of giving the IMF more resources will be on the agenda when he visits the Gulf this weekend.

Brown said he and Merkel were “in total agreement” about what needed to be done at a Nov. 15 global summit in Washington to discuss how to reform the global financial system.

“We need to have a transparency that has not existed in every area of the banking system,” he said.

Brown voiced confidence that the leaders would agree in Washington on the need for reforms to global supervision and cross-border cooperation as well as on the need to reopen talks on a new global trade agreement.

Merkel made no mention of a German economic stimulus programme widely trailed in national media, which a senior legislator in her ruling coalition said would be worth 20-25 billion euros ($ 26 billion-$ 32 billion).

Brown defended the decision he made back in 1997 to make the Bank of England independent.

“It’s absolutely the right idea. It’s stability and an anchor for our financial and economic system,” he said.

“The Bank of England has brought down interest rates twice recently. They continue to look at what they can do for the future, but I think we’ve got to understand that the way to deal with this global problem … is by a comprehensive set of measures,” he said, referring to interest rate cuts, tax cuts and British efforts to help homeowners and small businesses.

“I think you’ll see us, in the next few days, in a position to do more to help people face what is a global problem,” he said.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MANILA BULLETIN ON LINE’ (Philippines)

Posted in ASIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, CHINA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GERMANY, IMF, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, JAPAN, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WORLD BANK | Leave a Comment »

CHINA MARKET FOR COCO FIBER UNLIMITED – The Philippines is faced with unlimited market of up to 300 metric tons (MT) of coconut fiber in China yearly, but government has to boost coconut production in order to capture a larger chunk of the market.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

by Melody M. Aguiba

Exporting coconut fiber to China opens up big opportunities for Filipino farmers specially from far-flung islands as Alabat in Quezon where Filcoco Ventures Inc. (FVI) is operating.

In partnership with Hainan Econ, a trading firm from China, FVI has put up a processing plant using Hainan’s technology and now exports coconut fiber weekly to China.

Coconut fiber commands a price beginning at $ 170 per MT in China, but processing it into geotextile, which is what China is already doing, will even raise the benefits for Filipino coconut growers.

China extensively needs coconut fiber that it turns into erosion-controlling nets used in combating desertification. China also gets the same raw material from Sri Lanka, India, or Vietnam.

“The Philippines should be the model here since we are the biggest producer of coconut,” said FVI President Noel. T. Florido in an interview.

Filcoco is now producing 6.25 MT of coconut fiber per day at Alabat as it has a capacity to employ 50 people. But the apparently bigger benefit is the company’s buying activity as it buys P20,000 worth of coconut husks daily or P600,000 per month. The husks otherwise simply go to waste without the FVI plant.

“We want to generate employment and help farmers because I’m from this island, a fourth class municipality. People here (48,000 population) are marginalized. But now they can already buy what they need,” he said.

FVI has started operating early this year a roll on, roll off shipping venture that transports goods (marine products, kalamansi, coconut products) from Alabat to the Quezon mainland. Located in the eastern coast off Pacific Ocean, the island can eventually produce processed coconut fiber or geotextile given the company’s plan for expansion.

FVI has a plan to expand to a total capacity of more than 100,000 MT per year by 2013. It has yet to fully utilize its total capacity of 12.5 MT per day by January or a total of 3,750 MT per year at 300 days.

Alabat has 14,400 hectares of land presently planted to coconut out of its 16,000-hectare area.

However, Florido insists government should encourage more coconut rehabilitation, fertilization, and planting, or else supply may run out in five to six years.

“The government should put someone with a mandate to rehabilitate coconut. The programs now are not enough to solve the problem. Government is supporting the construction of more malls (than planting of coconut). Our crushing plants (for coconut oil) are just operating at half their capacity because of the lack of supply,” he said.

Because of typhoon Milenyo and other calamities, even supply at Alabat has obviously declined.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MANILA BULLETIN ON LINE’ (Philippines)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, ASIA, CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PHILIPPINES, VEGETABLE FIBERS, VEGETABLE OILS | Leave a Comment »

NOW, DEFLATION FEAR GRIPS US ECONOMY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

2 Nov 2008, 0049 hrs IST

by Peter S Goodman,NYT News Service

As dozens of countries slip deeper into financial distress, a new threat may be gathering force within Ecofin finance ministers and Ecofin governors of central banks pose for the family picture of the informal meeting of the ministers in charge of economy and finance ECOFIN, in Nice, southeastern France, Friday, Sept. 12, 2008 the American economy – the prospect that goods will pile up waiting for buyers and prices will fall, suffocating fresh investment and worsening joblessness for months or even years.

The word for this is deflation, or declining prices, a term that gives economists chills.

Deflation accompanied the Depression of the 1930s. Persistently falling prices also were at the heart of Japan’s so-called lost decade after the catastrophic collapse of its real estate bubble at the end of the 1980s – a period in which some experts now find parallels to the American predicament. “That certainly is the snapshot of the risk I see,” said Robert J Barbera, chief economist at the research and trading firm ITG. “It is the crisis we face.”

With economies around the globe weakening, demand for oil, copper, grains and other commodities has diminished, bringing down prices of these raw materials. But prices have yet to decline noticeably for most goods and services, with one conspicuous exception – houses. Still, reduced demand is beginning to soften prices for a few products, like furniture and bedding, which are down slightly since the beginning of 2007, according to data. Prices are also falling for some appliances, tools and hardware.

Only a few months ago, American policy makers were worried about the reverse problem – rising prices, or inflation – as then-soaring costs for oil and food filtered through the economy. In July, average prices were 5.6% higher than a year earlier – the fastest pace of inflation since 1991. But by the end of September, annual inflation had dipped to 4.9% and was widely expected to go lower.

The new worry is that in the worst case, the end of inflation may be the beginning of something malevolent: a long, slow retrenchment in which consumers and businesses worldwide lose the wherewithal to buy, sending prices down for many goods. Though still considered unlikely, that would prompt businesses to slow production and accelerate layoffs, taking more paychecks out of the economy and further weakening demand.

The danger of this is the difficulty of a cure. Policy makers can generally choke off inflation by raising interest rates, dampening economic activity and reducing demand for goods. But as Japan discovered, an economy may remain ensnared by deflation for many years, even when interest rates are dropped to zero: falling prices make companies reluctant to invest even when credit is free.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘TIMES OF INDIA’

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DEFLATION, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, JAPAN, USA | Leave a Comment »

BANCO CENTRAL DA ÍNDIA VOLTA A REDUZIR TAXA DE JUROS A CURTO PRAZO – Taxa, usada por bancos comerciais, caiu de 8% para 7,5% – Sistema financeiro recebeu US$ 37 bilhões para evitar crise de liquidez.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

01/11/08 – 08h00 – Atualizado em 01/11/08 – 09h56

Da France Presse

O banco central indiano, o Banco da Reserva da Índia, reduziu neste sábado (1º) em 0,5%, de 8% para 7,5%, sua taxa de juros a curto prazo – usada pelos bancos comerciais – para incentivar o crescimento da terceira economia da Ásia.

O banco da Reserva da Índia também reduziu a taxa de reservas obrigatórias dos bancos comerciais devido a um contexto “instável”.

Para reativar o crescimento e facilitar o acesso ao crédito, o banco central indiano já havia baixado no final de outubro sua taxa de juros a curto prazo, a usada pelos bancos comerciais, de 9% para 8%.

O sistema financeiro da Índia, a décima potência mundial, recebeu US$ 37 bilhões para evitar uma grave crise de liquidez em seu mercado bancário.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘G1’ (Brasil)

Posted in ASIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDIA, INTERNATIONAL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »