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DANTAS LAVOU DINHEIRO COM GADO, DIZ NOVO RELATÓRIO DA PF (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

postado em 14 de novembro de 2008

Escrito por lucianasergeiro

Publicado em: Folha Online

O novo relatório da Polícia Federal sobre o banqueiro Daniel Dantas é seco como um artigo do Código O banqueiro deixou a sede da PF, em São Paulo, por volta das 20h25 desta sexta-feira (11). No fim da tarde, o presidente do Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF), ministro Gilmar Mendes, havia determinado, pela segunda vez nesta semana, que ele fosse libertado - 11/07/2008Penal. Em vez de teorias e especulações, o delegado Ricardo Saadi se concentra em descrever os crimes principais que a PF atribui ao banqueiro: gestão fraudulenta e lavagem de dinheiro, informa nesta sexta-feira reportagem de Mario Cesar Carvalho, publicada pela Folha (a íntegra está disponível apenas para assinantes do jornal e do UOL).

Segundo a reportagem, o relatório de 243 páginas e cinco anexos foi entregue gravado em CD na última sexta-feira ao juiz federal Fausto Martin De Sanctis, da 6ª Vara Federal Criminal de São Paulo, e está agora com o Ministério Público Federal.

A Folha informa que, no documento, uma atividade aparentemente paralela de Dantas ganha relevância central: a Agropecuária Santa Bárbara Xinguara, empresa que em três anos se tornou proprietária de um dos maiores rebanhos do mundo, com cerca 500 mil cabeças, segundo Dantas, ou 1 milhão, de acordo com estimativas do mercado.

A agropecuária, de acordo com a reportagem, é apontada como peça central na suposta lavagem de dinheiro que a PF atribui a Dantas. Segundo a investigação da PF, Dantas chegou a reunir cerca de US$ 800 milhões num fundo de investimento nas Ilhas Cayman. Parte do lucro obtido nessa operação retornou para o Brasil e foi aplicada em gado, ainda de acordo com a PF.

Os documentos apreendidos pela PF no dia em que a Operação Satiagraha foi deflagrada, no dia 8 de julho, são citados brevemente.

Outro lado

À reportagem, o advogado Nélio Machado, que defende Daniel Dantas, diz que as acusações da Polícia Federal contra seu cliente padecem de um mal de origem. A abertura de discos rígidos apreendidos no banco em outubro de 2004 é ilegal, segundo ele, porque havia um veto judicial. “Essa operação é uma coleção de ilegalidades.”

Os discos foram apreendidos no âmbito da Operação Chacal, que investigava a suspeita de que Dantas mandara grampear empresários com quem tinha disputa societária.

Ele afirma que a suspeita de gestão fraudulenta “dificilmente” pode ser aplicada a um banco de sucesso como o Opportunity. Esse tipo de crime ocorre, na sua interpretação, quando um banco vai à falência. “Acusar de gestão fraudulenta foi uma precipitação do delegado Protógenes ao ser pressionado pelo presidente Lula para concluir o inquérito”, afirma.

Machado diz que é “completamente infundada” a suspeita de que a Agropecuária Santa Bárbara Xinguara, que funciona no sul do Pará, foi usada para lavar o lucro do Opportunity Fund, que Dantas teria trazido ilegalmente para o Brasil.

“Não há nenhum indício de lavagem de dinheiro no material da Santa Bárbara a que eu tive acesso. A PF vê gado e logo imagina que é lavagem de dinheiro. Não conheço a suposta prova da polícia, mas essa acusação da polícia não tem a menor consistência.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DESEMPREGO.ORG’ (Brasil)

Posted in A CORRUPÇÃO NO APARELHO DO ESTADO, BRASIL, CIDADANIA, COMBATE À CORRUPÇÃO - BRASIL, CORRUPÇÃO - BRASIL, CRIMES EMPRESARIAIS, DANIEL DANTAS, GILMAR MENDES, O PODER JUDICIÁRIO, O SUPREMO TRIBUNAL FEDERAL, POLÍCIA FEDERAL | Leave a Comment »

RUSSIA’S ANTI-CRISIS BILL TOPS $222BN

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

13/11/2008

The world’s leading countries have spent (or allocated) a whopping $9.2 trillion on anti-crisis measures, with the UK in the lead, having already spent 37 percent of its GDP for the purpose. For Russia, the crisis has so far cost $222 billion, or 13.9 percent of its GDP. The estimates are provided by FBK Company, based on a number of public resources like press releases by governments, central banks and the International Monetary Fund, RBC Daily has reported.

In choosing an anti-crisis strategy, western governments pay particular attention to the mechanisms of guarantees and insurance, according to the FBK report. In Germany, for instance, state guarantees for corporate debts total EUR 400 billion. Russia, on the other hand, has adopted a completely different approach, focusing on direct cash allocations instead of guarantees.

The government’s anti-crisis plan, which was approved earlier this month, provides for some guarantees, but only in regard to companies carrying out state orders. Meanwhile, the mechanism of government guarantees is set out by law, including the budget law. “Thus, state guarantees could have been used as the main anti-crisis tool, but this has not happened,” noted Igor Nikolayev, chief strategic analyst at FBK, who co-authored the report.

What Russian and foreign anti-crisis efforts have in common is that financial regulators are not accepting responsibility for the crisis. It is very difficult to bring them to account, believes Elena Sharipova, at Renaissance Capital. “What claims can be made against Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin or Central Bank Chairman Sergei Ignatyev? They had reasons to save for a rainy day,” she added.

U.S. law, however, envisages responsibility for poor management, the report says. Under the RARP program, for example, top managers who brought their companies to such a poor condition will lose all their bonuses. In Germany, the shareholders in cash-strapped banks go without dividends, too.

In Russia, however, managers and owners are simply not held responsible. Yet, businesses should assume their fair share of responsibility for what is happening, FBK’s experts argue. “This is an obvious thing abroad, but not in Russia. We continue to rescue people in Brioni suits,” the report says.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘RosBusinessConsulting’ (Rumania)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GERMANY, IMF, INTERNATIONAL, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RUSSIA, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

MEDVEDEV: CRISIS COSTING GLOBAL ECONOMY $1.5 TRILLION (Russia)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

14/11/2008

The financial crisis has already cost the global economy a whopping $ 1.5 trillion, Russian President Russian President Dmitry MedvedevDmitry Medvedev said at the 10th EU-Russia Industrialists’ Round Table in Cannes on Thursday.

Such serious consequences, he said, highlighted the need to reform the global financial system, especially its main financial institutions – the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Russia will pass a set of bills to create an international financial center in Moscow before the end of the year, according to Medvedev.

Russia would also voice its proposals on enhancing national and international financial institutions at the G20 meeting in Washington on November 15, he said. Other ideas proposed by Russia will include removing the disproportion between the amount of financial instruments and real return on investment programs and enhancing the transparency of public companies.

Russia will also offer measures to tighten controls and increase responsibility of ratings agencies and auditing companies, expand responsibility for crisis management to all market operators, and ensure benefits from the removal of barriers in international trade and from the freedom of capital movement.

Inflation in Russia will stand at about 13.5 percent, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov told reporters yesterday, noting that it was slowing down. The Central Bank of Russia is more optimistic about inflation, expecting a 13 percent inflation this year.

At the end of October the Central Bank submitted draft guidelines for Russia’s monetary policy in 2009-2011, reporting an increase in inflation for all major product groups, which is a clear sign that fundamental inflation factors are at work.

In the short term, curbing inflation solely through the Central Bank’s measures will be restricted, the document says. High inflation risks are supported by uncertainty over the financial crisis, changes in investor behavior and producers’ pricing policy.

The ruble’s real effective exchange rate could rise by 3.5-5 percent in 2008, the Central Bank estimates. Similarly, the M2 money supply could grow 28 percent this year, while the narrow monetary aggregate is projected to stand at between RUB 5.35 trillion and RUB 5.4 trillion (approx. $196bn to $198bn) as of January 1, 2009.

Please send your questions and comments to webmaster@rbc.ru

All rights reserved. © 1995 – 2008 RosBusinessConsulting.

Photographs by AP © 2008 Associated Press.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘RosBusinessConsulting’ (Rumania)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INFLATION, INTERNATIONAL, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RUSSIA | Leave a Comment »

OIL PRICES WIDENED U.S. TRADE DEFICIT – When it comes to everything from oil to olives, the U.S. buys more from other countries than it sells to them.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Originally published Friday, November 14, 2008 at 12:00 AM

by Ellen Simon

The Associated Press

That’s why we have a trade deficit — the gap between the dollar value of U.S. exports to other OLIVE OIL ... LOTS OF IT ...countries and the value of everything imported to the U.S.

The U.S. has had a trade deficit for most of the last 30 years, as the country started buying more goods manufactured abroad. (There was a brief surplus in 1992.)

The sharp rise in oil prices since 2004 widened the deficit, since that meant we were sending more dollars overseas for each barrel of oil. The related decline in the dollar for much of that stretch exacerbated the deficit further by making imports more expensive for Americans — and U.S. exports cheaper for the rest of the world.

The recent decline in oil prices will help ease the trade deficit, but won’t erase it. As of Thursday, the trade deficit in September was $56.5 billion, down from $59.1 billion in August.

Here are some questions and answers about the trade deficit.

Q. What counts as trade?

A. Some of what’s traded is obvious: stuff. Barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia and containers of coal from West Virginia. Jet engines, TVs, steel beams, toy trains, DVDs, lumber, diamonds, canoes and pens. Tomatoes from Mexico and chocolate from Belgium. Tracksuits from China and cashmere scarves from Scotland. Nuclear-fuel materials.

Also included are royalties and licensing fees. These increased by $900 million between July and August, coinciding with the Beijing Olympics.

Some of the less obvious components are the cost of freight and port services and travel and passenger fares. If you fly to Spain on Iberian Airlines, you’re part of the trade deficit.

Q. With which countries does the U.S. have the largest deficit?

A. The U.S. bought $27.8 billion more goods from China in September than it sold, $13.4 billion more from nations in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, $8.3 billion more from the European Union and $7.8 billion more from Canada.

The U.S. also has trade deficits ranging from more than $5 billion to $700 million with the following countries, listed in order starting with the largest deficit: Japan, Mexico, Venezuela, Nigeria, Taiwan and South Korea.

Q. Are there any countries the U.S. doesn’t have a trade deficit with?

A. Yes, but those surpluses are nothing to brag about. In August, the U.S. had a $1.7 billion trade surplus with Hong Kong, $900 million with Singapore, $800 million with Australia and $200 million with Egypt.

Q. What’s caused our trade deficit?

A. There’s political debate about what’s behind the trade deficit, but there are factors everyone agrees on. Most notably: The price of oil, which quadrupled between 2002 and 2006, accounted for half the deterioration in the trade deficit during that period, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Beyond this, opinions are split. A report in 2000 from a congressional committee on trade deficits issued two statements — one Republican, the other Democratic — on what caused the deficit. Greatly simplified, Republicans said the deficit increased as U.S. wealth increased and Americans bought more, while Democrats blamed a low U.S. savings rate and a decline in manufacturing.

Q. Why does the trade deficit matter?

A. You can think of the trade deficit as a measure of how well U.S. companies are doing relative to their overseas rivals — especially rivals that sell a lot of goods to Americans. A big trade gap might mean, for example, that Japanese and European automakers are selling lots of cars in the U.S. — while American car companies are doing little business in foreign markets.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE SEATTLE TIMES’ (USA)

Posted in COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, FUELS, INDUSTRIES, PETROL, TRADE DEFICIT - USA, USA, VEGETABLE OILS | Leave a Comment »

PAN AMERICAN SILVER CUTS 500 JOBS (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

November 13, 2008 at 9:21 AM EST

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Pan American Silver Corp. is cutting 500 jobs, rolling back executive salaries by 10 per Silver and gold jewels and other itemscent and reducing exploration and capital spending to deal with weaker finances and a drop in prices of silver and zinc, its key metals.

The Vancouver company said Thursday the streamlining was required to cope with weaker metals prices, a 10 per cent drop in revenues and sharply lower profits in the latest quarter.

“These are challenging times for the global mining industry,” president and CEO Geoff Burns said in a release.

“We have responded by retooling our business plans to reduce costs and adjust to the new pricing environment. We have managed our business conservatively over the past couple of years and enter this difficult period in solid financial health, with no debt and with the skills and the experience to adapt and thrive without compromising our growth.

“There are many reasons to be optimistic about future silver and gold prices. Government bailouts and debts worldwide have reached epic proportions and will, in my opinion, eventually undermine the very value of the paper currencies and the economies those same governments were charged with protecting. This should benefit gold and silver prices and Pan American Silver.”

In its financial report, Pan American said its net earnings for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 fell to $6.4-million (U.S.) or eight cents a share, from $23.9-million, or 31 cents a share for the same 2007 period.

Sales fell 10 per cent to $79.5-million, said the company, which reports its finances in U.S. dollars.

Pan American has seven operating mines in Mexico, Peru and Bolivia. An eighth mine in Argentina is scheduled to start up this month.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE AND MAIL’

Posted in ARGENTINA, BOLIVIA, CANADA, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, GOLD, INTERNATIONAL, METALS, MEXICO, NORTH AMERICA, PERU, PRECIOUS METALS, SILVER, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, ZINC | Leave a Comment »

SARKOZY SAYS U.S. MISSILE SHIELD WON’T HELP SECURITY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Published: November 14, 2008

The Associated Press

U.S. President George W. Bush, left, gestures during a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Elysee Palace on Saturday, June 14, 2008Nicolas Sarkozy at Elysee Palace on Saturday, June 14, 2008

NICE, France: France’s U.S.-friendly president sent a clear message Friday to the next American administration: Plans for a U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe are misguided, and won’t make the continent a safer place.

Nicolas Sarkozy also warned Russian President Dmitry Medvedev against upping tensions by deploying missiles on the borders of the European Union in response to the U.S. planned missile defense system.

Sarkozy’s comments, at a summit with Medvedev, were the strongest to date by an American ally against the missile-defense plans — and undercut the rationale behind U.S. President George W. Bush’s European security strategy.

The plans for using sites in Poland and the Czech Republic have infuriated Russia despite the Bush administration’s insistence that they are aimed at protecting Europe from Iran.

“Deployment of a missile defense system would bring nothing to security … it would complicate things, and would make them move backward,” Sarkozy said at a news conference with Medvedev. Medvedev smiled and pointed his finger at Sarkozy in approval.

The remarks came at the end of a week in which the United States and Russia rejected each other’s proposed solutions to the standoff over the missile plans, making it increasingly likely that it will not be resolved before U.S. President-elect Barack Obama takes office.

Obama has not been explicit about his intentions on European missile defense, saying it would be prudent to “explore the possibility” but expressing some skepticism about the technical capability of U.S. missile defenses.

Moscow sees the defense plans as a Cold War-style project that could eliminate Russia’s nuclear deterrent or spy on its military installations. Much of Western Europe is nervous about the idea of such major defensive weaponry stationed around the continent.

But Poland and the Czech Republic, where bad memories of Soviet domination run deep, hope Obama follows through on the plans.

Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra said in a statement he “was surprised” about Sarkozy’s remarks, made at an EU-Russia summit.

“France never consulted with us such a standpoint,” he said. “As far as I know a stance on the missile defense was not part of the French presidency mandate for the EU-Russia summit.” France currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

Sarkozy said he was worried about Russia’s threat to deploy short-range Iskander missiles near Poland in response to the U.S. move.

“We could continue between Europe and Russia to threaten each other with shields, with missiles, with navies,” he said. “It would do Russia no good, Georgia no good and Europe no good.”

Sarkozy said he would discuss the missile issue with NATO counterparts at a summit early next year and proposed a pan-European security conference after that, to include Russia. Medvedev welcomed the idea.

Sarkozy has generally been hawkish on Iran and allied himself more closely with Bush than his predecessor Jacques Chirac. But Sarkozy is also clearly looking ahead to his relations with Bush’s successor.

Medvedev stuck to Russia’s stance. He suggested that the Russian threat to install missiles in the Baltic Sea region of Kaliningrad — announced just hours after Obama’s election — was “a response to the behavior of certain European states that agreed to deploy new (missile defenses) on their own territories without consulting anyone.”

Friday’s summit made a key step toward rapprochement between Russia and the European Union: The EU announced the resumption of partnership talks with Russia that had been put on hold because of the war in Georgia.

Critics, including the United States and Georgian governments and human rights groups, say it is too soon to forgive Russia, in effect, when Russian troops remain implanted and unchecked in the two breakaway Georgian provinces at the core of the war.

Sarkozy, temporarily in charge of the 27-nation EU, insisted that the resumption wasn’t “a sign of weakness.”

He and Medvedev remained divided, though, over the continuing presence of Russian troops.

The European Union is Russia’s No. 1 customer and No. 1 investor, and heavily dependent on Russian energy. With the world financial crisis shaking markets in Europe and beyond, officials of the 27-nation EU say reaching out to Moscow is crucial to ensuring stability and to keeping Russia from shutting off its economy to outsiders.

Medvedev pointed on Friday to the lucrative trade between the EU and Russia, worth hundreds of billions of euros annually.

“We should think of this when we make decisions on all cooperation,” he said.

The EU-Russia talks, launched in 2007, aim for an agreement that would increase economic integration, tighten relations on justice and security and boost cooperation in education and science. U.S. diplomats warned European officials that the resumed talks could undermine Western attempts to rein in the Kremlin’s aggressive foreign policy.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (Brasil)

Posted in COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, EUROPE, FRANCE, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RUSSIA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, USA | Leave a Comment »

LULA, OBAMA E O FIM DO BLOQUEIO A CUBA (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

14/11/2008 09:53

JOSÉ DIRCEU por José Dirceu
A imprensa noticia que o presidente do Brasil, na conversa telefônica que teve com o presidente eleito dos Estados Unidos, senador Barack Obama (Partido Democrata-Illinois), insistiu no fim do bloqueio a Cuba, um tema caro ao PT e ao governo Lula, mesmo nos 8 anos de administração George W. Bush.

Eufemisticamente chamado de embargo pelos americanos e pela oposição cubana, mas de fato um bloqueio cruel e desumano, que já foi repudiado oficialmente 17 vezes pelas Nações Unidas (e da tribuna da ONU e, no mundo todo, milhares de vezes), a última no mês passado com somente três votos a favor de sua manutenção, o próprio, dos Estados Unidos, o de Israel e o de uma pequena ilha, Palau.

Como vemos, o bloqueio, além de uma agressão de uma superpotência a uma nação independente e a HAVANAum povo soberano, é ilegal e condenado pela comunidade internacional. A expectativa de todos é que mais do que suspender a proibição de viagens a Cuba ou de remessas de dinheiro pelos imigrantes cubanos, o presidente eleito, Barack Obama, uma vez empossado, ponha fim ao bloqueio.

A medida será bem vinda, especialmente depois que a ilha caribenha foi devastada por três furacões nos últimos meses, com perdas estimadas em US$ 10 bilhões de dólares para sua economia.

Trata-se de um ato de reparação e justiça histórica, da suspensão de uma agressão e bloqueio sem sentido, a não ser o de demonstrar a iniqüidade e a perversidade da política norte-americana com relação a Cuba.

PUBLISHED BY ‘BLOG DO ZÉ DIRCEU’ (Brasil)

Posted in A PRESIDÊNCIA, BRASIL, CUBA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LUIS INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA, O PODER EXECUTIVO FEDERAL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, USA | Leave a Comment »

ANGLOPLAT SET TO BUILD 20.000 HOUSES (South Africa)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

November 14, 2008

by Justin Brown

Johannesburg – Anglo Platinum (Angloplat) would build up to 20 000 houses for employees at its mines in the next five to 10 years, the company said yesterday.

The plan, estimated to cost R4 billion at current prices, is a response to the mining charter requirement that single-sex hostels be eradicated.

Papillon Motswenyane, Angloplat’s senior manager of housing, said the sum would be made up of R1.6 billion in state housing subsidies and Angloplat contributions, and R2.4 billion in employee contributions.

“Angloplat’s intention is to reduce its employees’ dependence on company accommodation and promote home ownership,” he said. “Angloplat wants to introduce employee assisted housing.”

Neville Nicolau, Angloplat’s chief executive, said the group wanted to provide its employees with a reasonable alternative to hostel accommodation. “A large number of employees do not have housing,” he added.

Nicolau said the housing plans would help reunite workers and their families and reduce squatter camps adjacent to Angloplat’s mines in North West and Limpopo.

The group would subsidise the cost of land and services provided to employees who took up the housing schemes.

Angloplat yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with the department of housing. Kaba Kabagambe, the deputy director-general of housing, said the department viewed the memorandum as “a major milestone”.

A key constraint for the department had been the availability of suitable land, he said.

The first phase of the scheme would create 15 000 jobs, Kabagambe added.

Until now six to 10 workers have shared a hostel room. In the hostels the number of people sharing a room will decline to two and eventually to a single person per room within five years.

Angloplat has already built just over 1 000 houses, including 721 in Rustenburg and 86 in Thabazimbi, near its Amandelbult and Union mines.

Angloplat might need to build a further 10 000 houses as it transfers work done by contractors to its own employees.

Angloplat rose 0.36 percent to R414.50 yesterday. The platinum sector lost 2.92 percent

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PUBLISHED BY ‘BUSINESS REPORT’ (South Africa)

Posted in CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MINING INDUSTRIES, PLATINUM, PRECIOUS METALS, SOUTH AFRICA, THE WORKERS | Leave a Comment »

EU UNVEILS PLAN TO WEAKEN RUSSIAN GRIP ON GAS SUPPLY – Southern corridor pipeline would bypass Gazprom – Strategy is part of £1.5tn energy security package

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Friday November 14 2008

by Ian Traynor in Brussels – The Guardian – guardian.co.uk

Europe yesterday stepped up attempts to reduce its exposure to potential Russian blackmail over energy supplies, unveiling an ambitious strategy aimed at weakening Russian giant Gazprom’s domination of Europe’s gas imports.

On the eve of the Russia-EU summit today in France, the energy package released by the European commission highlighted Europe’s dependence on Russian exports and sought to devise strategies to wean Europe off the addiction.

Of six energy projects pinpointed for development, commission officials said the two “absolute” priorities were to connect the three post-Soviet Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to European power grids and to forge ahead with the so-called “southern gas corridor”, which is supposed to transport gas from the Caspian basin to Europe while, for political reasons, bypassing the world’s two biggest gas producers, Russia and Iran. Both projects are aimed at loosening Russia’s grip.

By next year Brussels also aims to have set up a consortium of European companies to buy gas from the Caspian basin, to be shipped to Europe in a new pipeline from Azerbaijan, via Turkey and the Balkans, to Austria from 2013. Gazprom currently controls all the pipelines sending gas to Europe from the east.

“The EU wants different sources of supply,” said José Manuel Barroso, the commission president, who will negotiate on energy today with the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, at a summit in the south of France. “We must not sleepwalk into Europe’s energy dependence crisis.”

The Baltic states are isolated from the rest of the EU in their energy supplies and dependent on Russia, while another five EU countries in central Europe and Ireland also get all their gas from Russia. Germany is the EU’s biggest Gazprom client.

Europe currently gets 42% of its gas, a third of its oil and a quarter of its hard coal from Russia. The commission estimates that by 2030 Europe will be importing 84% of its gas needs, up from 61% at present.

In a direct reference to the perceived threat from Russia, a commission document warned: “Recent events in Georgia have shown that this is a critical time for energy security.”

The immediate focus on Russia was contained in a more grandiose long-term package calling for the integration of European power grids and energy markets; the incorporation of North Sea wind farms and Mediterranean solar energy hubs in a nascent European “supergrid”; the development of vast pan-European infrastructure projects; and an energy efficiency revolution. The entire scheme- aimed at making Europe’s energy consumption “secure, sustainable, and competitive” – would cost almost €2 trillion (£1.5tn) by 2030 and is also factored into the campaign on global warming, ostensibly making Europe the world leader in the low-carbon economy contest.

The commission proposals said current contingency planning on gas supplies “might not provide an effective and timely response in crisis situations” and called for common policy-making among the 27 member states to define “an effective EU emergency plan”, to cope with possible disruptions of supplies.

The EU has been struggling for two years to come up with coherent policies towards Russia, particularly on energy, while Russia and Gazprom have strengthened their grip by creating facts on the ground and cutting deals with individual countries.

Relations between Moscow and the west, already poor, plumbed new depths in August when Russia invaded Georgia. Despite the tensions, EU governments decided on Monday to resume negotiations with Moscow that were called off in protest at the Caucasus conflict. Britain performed a volte-face, going from being a fierce critic of Moscow to supporting the resumption of talks on a strategic pact between Russia and Europe.

“The British signalled well in advance that they were giving up [opposition to the negotiations],” said a senior European minister.

The dependence on Russian energy played a crucial role, he added. With gas prices currently low, Gazprom has in recent weeks been offering long-term supply contracts to individual EU countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, sowing divisions within the EU. The east European and British critics of Russia abandoned their opposition in the hope that a concerted policy would strengthen the EU in its dealings with Moscow.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Posted in COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, EUROPE, FRANCE, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RUSSIA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

QATAR PLANS $1BN JORDAN INVESTMENT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Vol XXXI – NO. 239 – Friday, 14th November 2008

AMMAN: Qatar is ready to set up a fund worth at least $1 billion to acquire diversified investments in Jordan's Prime Minister Nader DahabiJordan spanning real estate to industrial projects.

Jordan’s Prime Minister Nader Dahabi, who visited Doha earlier this week, said senior Qatari officials were ready to bolster investments in the kingdom and raise at least $1bn to take advantage of any attractive opportunities available from tourism, real estate, agriculture, industry to services.

“We learnt from the Qataris they would put in this proposed investment fund an amount that is not less than $1bn,” Dahabi said.

A top-level investment team would be sent soon to Qatar to discuss specific investment projects, including those that could be set up in the country’s free trade industrial zones, Dahabi added.

Qatar already has millions of dollars of investments in Jordan, including a 33.2 per cent stake in the country’s second largest lender, Jordan Housing Bank for Trade and Finance.

Jordan had been seeking to attract Gulf financial funds along with strategic investors seeking regional opportunities.

Many Gulf states have already invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Jordanian property market, attracted by relatively lower prices with other regional markets.

But officials are worried the global financial crisis will reduce the large inflows of remittances and investments from the oil rich region which had contributed to booming economic growth in recent years.

Bankers already cite a drop in investments but officials hope they can still attract select bargain hunting by savvy Gulf investors hit by turbulence in Western markets and now turning to regional opportunities that are perceived safer.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘GULF DAILY NEWS’ (Bahrain)

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, JORDAN, QATAR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

POUND SINKS TO RECORD LOW AGAINST THE EURO – First property. Then shares. Now sterling is slumping. Sean O’Grady explains what the decline means for us

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Friday, 14 November 2008

In July, £1 would still buy $2; lower than its recent record of $2.11 set last November, but healthy THE POUND - Getty Imagesenough for shopping trips to New York to make sense. Yesterday, sterling was trading at about $1.48, a six-year low. Macy’s and Sachs of Fifth Avenue may soon notice a sharp decline in the number of British accents at the tills.

Our currency has also been bouncing along the bottom against the euro, which is now worth about 84p, its highest since the single currency was launched in 1999.

Suddenly the idea of parity – £1 = €1 – hoves into view. Broadly speaking, sterling has had a more violent battering in recent months than it endured after it famously fell out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism on “Black Wednesday”, 16 September 1992. The pound has fallen 25 per cent against the dollar and 15 per cent versus the euro this year. It has, you might say, had a bit of a pounding.

The reasons for sterling’s weakness are not difficult to see. To some extent, it is simply an adjustment to the way the pound has been overvalued for years: its fair value is about $1.50, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

What’s more, the UK is evidently headed for recession and the Bank of England is predicted to cut interest rates to historically low levels, maybe even below 1 per cent over the course of next year – the lowest level since the Bank was granted its charter in 1694. Such meagre prospective rewards for investors and the general belief that sterling assets have further to fall has prompted a sharp sell-off in the currency.

Both the Governor of the Bank, Mervyn King, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted on Wednesday that the country was facing a sharp, if short, recession. Few independent economists believe the UK will recover quite as quickly as the authorities forecast – or that this country is well placed to cope with the downturn. The IMF says that the UK’s will be the most marked contraction in output – down 1.3 per cent – among the major advanced economies. Unemployment stands at 1.8 million, and will almost certainly climb to two million by Christmas and three million by 2010.

Yesterday, Europe’s largest economy, Germany, the engine of the UK’s largest market, the eurozone, confirmed it had entered its worst recession in 12 years or more. Investors are also becoming alarmed by the size of the British Government’s budget deficit, predicted by the Chancellor to top £90m before long. The prospect of a large quantity of UK government securities being issued to pay for the shortfall and various bank rescues has raised concerns about the way the economy is being run and longer term worries about inflation and growth.

There is also a positive dollar story. One of the consequences of the recent financial turmoil was a flight to safety, with short-term (one week, say, or one month) US Treasury securities, the favoured haven of international capital, with the reassurance of the US government behind them; the Swiss franc was another notable beneficiary of this trend. Sterling has not enjoyed that same prestige. The Australian dollar has also languished unloved, a victim of the fall in commodity prices and the slowing Chinese economy.

Should the depreciation of sterling turn into a rout, we may even see the current policy of aggressive cuts in interest rates by the Bank of England suspended, if not reversed. For the moment, the Bank seems content to watch sterling fall. Although economic theory teaches that a weak pound could lead to inflation, the very poor state of the domestic demand limits the scope of manufacturers and others to pass on price increases in the shops.

Nor has the pound declined by enough to transform our balance of trade. Export orders remain weak, despite the low level of sterling, because demand in Britain’s main markets – the rest of Europe, North America, Japan and China – remains so feeble. It will, in other words, need an even more savage discounting of the dollar/euro/yen prices of Scotch whisky, Range Rovers and Richard Rogers’ buildings to stimulate demand for them and generate more foreign exchange earnings.

However, the Bank of England has pledged to act if sterling’s fall becomes uncontrollable. A pause in the Bank’s policy of slashing interest rates would have a depressing impact on the wider economy – with house prices falling further, consumer confidence staying low and the credit crunch again restricting the supply of credit for businesses and consumers.

Against a basket of currencies weighted according to the UK’ s trade, sterling is down about 20 per cent on this time last year, a “pretty hefty” depreciation, in the words of the Bank of England’s Deputy Governor for Monetary Policy, Charles Bean.

It is one of the more severe of the many bouts of weakness the pound has suffered since the Second World War.

It may be many years before a shopping trip to Manhattan or a Swiss skiing break seems quite the bargain it used to be.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INDEPENDENT’ (UK)

Posted in CENTRAL BANKS, CURRENCIES, DOLLAR (USA), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EURO, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INTERNATIONAL, POUND (Britain) | Leave a Comment »

COFFEE OFF TO GOOD START IN BRAZIL’S MINAS HILLS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Friday November 14 2008

Reuters

by Peter Murphy

POÇOS DE CALDAS, Brazil, Nov 14 (Reuters) – The preparatory stages of the next coffee harvest are Coffee - Robusta flowersoff to a near textbook start in Brazil’s mountainous Poços de Caldas region with timely rains and regular flowering, farmers and buyers said.

The area, which is 1,600 meters above sea level in Minas Gerais, Brazil’s biggest coffee state, turns out around 120,000 60-kg bags per year. Early signs indicate the next harvest will be typical of a lower-output year that follows a big crop like the one just harvested.

“Rains caused very good flowering on some farms. Next year the harvest should start in May instead of July like this year so it will supply the market a bit earlier,” said Luis Alfredo de Almeida, director of Café Poços, a cooperative of 565 growers.

The importance of timely rainfall was seldom clearer than a year ago when a drought reduced what would have been an even bigger crop than the large one harvested and delayed its development by four to six weeks depending on the region.

Rains which arrived around the right time this year caught some farmers harvesting later than usual because of the delay, making it difficult to dry the coffee and preserve quality. A local agronomist said 5 percent of the 2008/09 crop had still to be gathered here.

“It’s better than last year when the dry weather was very long,” said Sandro Dias, manager at a regional office of Cooxupe co-op. “Production will be down because of the biennality of seasons. Everything is quite normal and there is nothing atypical,” he said.

Private weather forecaster Somar has reported good levels of rainfall in the past fortnight and these have been fanning out to some important coffee areas which had stayed worryingly dry. Heavy showers poured down around here most of Thursday night.

PRUNING

After a strong harvest whose final output has yet to be calculated but is estimated at 45 million to 50 million or more 60-kg bags, many farmers have been heavily pruning some of their trees in order to reap higher yields later on.

Last year’s harvest, a lower output year in the biennial cycle of larger and smaller crops, produced about 38 million bags. The International Coffee Organization this week said it foresaw supplies falling below demand in 2009/10, making a good harvest in the world’s top grower all the more critical.

Trees whose branches have been pruned back to near the trunk will produce again during the larger harvest expected the year after next – the 2010/11 season – while some of the trees were reduced to mere stumps to rejuvenate them.

They would not produce fruit again for five or six years.

“We’re pruning to get the trees to produce more. We’re pruning all around here. They will produce well in two years time,” said farm manager Celso Dos Santos as he was followed around the edge of 60 hectare plantation where he showed a sample of now thin-looking trimmed plants.

In the yard, shells that encase the coffee bean and which are stripped off after harvesting lay in a heap decomposing and would be mixed with fertilizer, dos Santos said, to reduce expenditure on chemical inputs which have roughly doubled in price in the last year.

No flowers were visible on coffee trees on plantations visited by Reuters, only the tiny buds, known locally as “chumbinhos” which remain after the flower wilts and develop into coffee cherries. Trees looked healthy with dark green foliage.

The first official crop harvest is due in early December. Growers all over the agricultural power house producing coffee or other crops are lamenting the doubling in fertilizer prices in the last year – and many say the cost is forcing them to skimp on it.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Posted in AGRICULTURA, AGRICULTURE, BRASIL, COFFEE, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMY, EXPANSÃO AGRÍCOLA, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, INTERNATIONAL, SETOR EXPORTADOR | Leave a Comment »

DOCOMO TO BUY STAKE IN TATA TELESERVICES – Japanese operator to get foothold in India

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Posted to the web on: 13 November 2008

by Sachi Izumi and Devidutta Tripathy

Reuters

TOKYO — NTT DoCoMo will pay $2,7bn for a 26% stake in Indian telecom Tata Teleservices, giving TATA TELESERVICESJapan’s top cellphone operator a foothold in the world’s fastest-growing major cellphone market.

DoCoMo’s deal with Tata Teleservices follows a $350m investment in Bangladesh’s third-largest cellphone carrier as it speeds up its expansion beyond a mature home market and adds to the record $63bn of overseas acquisitions by Japanese firms this year.

But as DoCoMo expands, salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group — the parent of unlisted Tata Teleservices and the flagbearer for corporate India’s recent overseas expansion — has put its plans for acquisitions on hold due to the global credit crisis.

DoCoMo will also make an open joint-tender offer with Tata Sons, the holding firm of the group, to buy NTT DoCoMo up to 20% in a listed unit of India’s sixth-biggest cellphone operator, as required by Indian law.

DoCoMo was committed to the management of Tata Teleservices and saw it as a long-term investment, president Ryuji Yamada said in Tokyo.

Ahead of the announcement, shares in the unit, Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra), closed up 7,6% in a Mumbai market that fell 3,1%, while shares in DoCoMo ended up 1,3% in a Tokyo market down more than 1%.

DoCoMo did not rule out the possibility of taking a majority stake in Tata Tele in the future.

Shinji Moriyuki, a telecoms analyst at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities, said DoCoMo’s recent acquisitions in Asia would be positive, especially with the company’s extensive knowledge of third-generation (3G) network services to which many developing countries are now moving.

India is the world’s second-biggest mobile market, trailing only China. More than 10-million users signed up in September, taking the total customer base to 315,3-million, more than the population of the US, and almost three times the size of Japan’s market of 109-million subscribers.

Researcher Gartner forecasts India’s cellphone user base will more than double to 737-million by 2012, as just more than a quarter of India’s 1,1-billion population own cellphones compared with about 85% in Japan.

DoCoMo will face tough competition, though, as foreign firms such as Telenor, Etisalat and Sistema are gearing up to start services in India, where home-grown Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications dominate along with a Vodafone unit.

Carriers in India at the moment provide only 2G services. A global auction of radio waves for 3G and 4G wireless services, which provide more advanced mobile services including video, is due in January.

The DoCoMo deal comes a day after Japanese chemical maker Mitsubishi Rayon announced a $1,6bn acquisition of British rival Lucite International. Earlier this year, drug maker Daiichi Sankyo forged a $4,6bn deal for a controlling stake in India’s Ranbaxy.

DoCoMo spent nearly ¥1,9-trillion in the late 1990s and early 2000s on small stakes in operators around the world to promote use of its i-mode mobile internet technology and ensure the adoption of 3G networks on the same wideband code division multiple access standard it uses. But it saw its investments sour, and pulled out of AT&T Wireless Services , Dutch operator KPN Mobile and Hutchison 3G UK Holdings after incurring heavy losses.

The Tata Group, which splashed out an Indian record of $13bn for steel maker Corus last year and this year bought Jaguar and Land Rover for $2,3bn, has put further acquisitions on hold due to the credit crunch.

“Some of our companies with substantial foreign operations, or those which have made substantial acquisitions, are facing major problems in raising capital and establishing lines of credit for their operations,” chairman Ratan Tata said .

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PUBLISHED BY ‘BUSINESS DAY’ (South Africa)

Posted in ASIA, COMMUNICATION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDIA, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, JAPAN, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

OVERSEAS WORKERS DEPLOYED THIS YEAR TOTAL 1.115 M (Philippines)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

by Raymund F. Antonio

The number of Filipino workers deployed overseas this year has reached 1,115,199, its highest level OVERSEAS WORKERduring a ten-month period in two years, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said yesterday.

POEA Administrator Jennifer Jardin-Manalili said OFW deployment, composed of land-based and sea-based workers, from January to October this year surpassed the 888,339 recorded during the same period in 2007.

“The number of newly hired Filipino workers reached 373,777, higher than the 331,779 Filipino workers who were rehired by their foreign employers,” Manalili said in her report to the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE).

OFW deployment increased by 25.5 percent, mostly in the land-based sector, the POEA chief said.

The POEA official, however, reported that the contracts of Filipino workers processed declined from 1,065,419 in 2007 to 1,024,017 during the ten-month period this year.

Based on the agency’s report, 705,556 land-based Filipino workers and 318,461 seafarers made up the total number of OFWs whose contracts were processed. There was reportedly a decline in OFW deployment in both sectors.

Manalili said the annual deployment of one-million Filipino workers abroad will remain steady until next year, despite the possible recession that could lead to the massive displacement of several foreign workers abroad.

“As of now, there is no change in our target to deploy more Filipino workers abroad. We will have the same projections until next year,” she said.

The POEA official allayed fears of OFWs losing their jobs due to the global meltdown since they have other employment opportunities in New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and other markets such as those in Qatar, Bahrain, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) that are hiring highly skilled foreign workers.

“Qatari officials assured us that the financial crisis will not make it harder for OFWs to find work in their home country,” Manalili said.

The POEA chief asked the recruitment industry to report any significant decrease in the contracts of Filipino workers or cancellation of job orders from host countries.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MANILA BULLETIN’ (Philippines)

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, INTERNATIONAL, MIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION, PHILIPPINES, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS | Leave a Comment »

WORLD LEADERS MEET TO CRAFT SOLUTIONS TO FINANCIAL CRISIS – G20

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (AFP) – More than 20 leaders from the world’s richest nations and emerging British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, left, meets with Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008, at a hotel in Washington.economic powers meet on Friday for a summit amid mounting divisions on how to tackle the global financial crisis.

While US President George W. Bush has made an impassioned defense of the free market system, critics in the rest of the world headed for Washington seeking strengthened regulation of the financial system.

The summit starts late Friday with a working dinner at the White House to set underway discussions on how to stop the crisis turning into a prolonged world recession. The formal talks will be held Saturday.

Bush said Thursday that the world leaders have a clear aim ‘’to address the current crisis, and to lay the foundation for reforms that will help prevent a similar crisis in the future.’’

The G20 summit will also likely discuss coordinated efforts to revive the global economy, after China unveiled a four trillion yuan (6 billion) economic stimulus plan.

Created in 1999, the Group of 20 countries account for 85 percent of the world economy and about two-thirds of its population.

Its members are the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Britain and Canada, the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey.

“We cannot expect a miracle from this summit, which was Europe’s idea, but will rather see the beginning of a process that will create a finished programme in 100 days,’’ European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said an interview with a German daily published Friday.

Bush but sternly warned against imposing widespread regulation.

“The crisis was not a failure of the free market system. And the answer is not to try to reinvent that system,’’ Bush said in a speech laying out his agenda for the expanded Group of 20 summit.

“Our aim should not be more government. It should be smarter government,’’ he said. It would be ‘’a terrible mistake to allow a few months of crisis to undermine 60 years of success.’’

“Many European countries had much more extensive regulations and still experienced problems almost identical to our own,’’ he said. ‘’We must recognize that government intervention is not a cure-all.’’

Bush faces mounting pressure from the European Union, Russia and other emerging nations for increased control of financial markets.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France said Thursday: ‘’I leave for Washington tomorrow to explain that the dollar, which at the end of World War II was the only world currency, can no longer claim to be the sole world currency.’’

“The world changes. We are in the 21st century and the French view is that we cannot continue into the 21st century with a system (established) in the 20th century,’’ he said.

The crisis broke out one year ago when the US real estate market went bust and swamped the financial sector with subprime mortgages turned sour.

Stock markets have crashed and companies around the world are now laying off hundreds of thousands of workers.

Bush outlined some issues he wants considered at the summit, such as improving bank risk management practices, improving accounting rules for securities so that their ‘’true value’’ is clear, and harmonizing accounting laws among nations.

US officials would also like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to be overhauled so that emerging economies have a greater voice.

Japan will announce at the summit an offer to lend up to 100 billion dollars to the IMF to provide financial lifelines to emerging countries, Prime Minister Taro Aso announced Friday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in an interview the Sueddeutsche Zeitung published Thursday, acknowledged the talks would be difficult.

She said it was crucial that the first steps towards improved financial regulation are taken soon, as Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has just gone into a recession that will likely spread to every other rich nation next year.

‘’We have to implement the first steps in the coming months. The target is that in the future all areas, all products and all businesses are properly regulated and supervised,’’ Merkel said.

Several products and financial institutions, including hedge funds, credit default swaps (CDS) and rating agencies, are largely if not completely unregulated at present.

France, which advocates increased oversight of international financial transactions, wants tax havens added to the list.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MANILA BULLETIN’ (Philippines)

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, G20, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY | Leave a Comment »

RECYCLING SHOWS CONCERN FOR OTHERS, AS WELL AS ENVIRONMENT (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Nov. 13, 2008

Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

First, an important announcement: This Saturday is America Recycles Day.

There will be an e-waste recycling fair, collecting all computers, monitors (no TVs), keyboards, mice, REDUCE REUSE RECYCLEprinters, fax machines and cell phones, whether they work or not. There is no charge for this service. They offer a secure hard drive erasure service for a small additional fee. The event is coordinated by the Blind Center of Nevada in conjunction with the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebel Recycling Program and will run from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

The drop-off location will be at the UNLV Rebel Recycling Program behind the solar dishes off of East Flamingo Road east of Swenson Street. For detailed directions, call 895-3760. If you have questions about acceptable materials, please call 642-6000 or visit http://www.blindcenter.org.

Please celebrate America Recycles Day by recycling your unwanted electronics and computers.

Now, some thoughts on recycling:

I believe that most Americans are good people. With all our diversity of color, beliefs and origin, the vast majority of people care about others. It’s part of what makes our country great. Given the opportunity, most people will come to the aid of someone in distress. It’s an admirable trait.

But if that’s the case, why are there so few red, white and blue bins on the sidewalk each recycling day? If we care about each other, why don’t more of us care about our waste? Perhaps it’s simply because we don’t realize the magnitude of our consumption and the harm it creates.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the three Rs: reduce, reuse, then recycle. Reducing our consumption is the most important principle. Finding ways to reuse more of what we do have is next. The final step is to recycle those things that have reached the end of their useful lives. No part of this equation contains the words “throw away.” In fact, you can throw those very words away. We need to eliminate the entire concept of waste, lest we ultimately suffocate ourselves with it. Besides, just where is “away?”

When we throw things away, it usually results in a trip to the landfill via the garbage truck, resulting in a toxic mix of stuff we’d like to just forget about. By consciously integrating the three Rs into our daily lives, we can greatly reduce the amount of stuff going to the landfill. But that is only the beginning of the benefits.

When we recycle, we reduce air pollution and the need for raw materials. We save lots of energy. Recycling helps keep our water clean. It should be an essential part of every household and business.

We could rebuild our entire commercial air fleet with just three months worth of the aluminum we currently send to landfills. Recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours. The average person has the opportunity to recycle more than 25,000 cans in a lifetime. Why would we not?

The amount of paper we throw away each year is staggering, yet producing recycled paper reduces contributions to air pollution by 95 percent. Recycling a stack of newspapers just 3 feet high saves one whole tree. Just think of all the hugs.

Glass is forever. It never wears out and can be recycled over and over again. Using recycled glass cuts water pollution by 50 percent. Recycling one glass jar saves enough energy to run an 11 watt compact fluorescent bulb for 20 hours.

In 2005, 3.3 billion pounds of post-consumer plastics were recycled in the U.S. Just five PET (plastic soda) bottles yield enough fiber for one extra large T-shirt, 1 square foot of carpet or enough fiber insulation to fill a ski jacket. The plastic recycling industry alone provides jobs for more than 52,000 American workers.

A strong recycling ethic is a key element to a successful and sustainable community. Jobs are created, pollution reduced and entire forests can remain standing, continuing to clean our air and provide crucial habitat for other species. Imagine, we can reduce asthma and other respiratory problems simply by recycling. If we truly care about others, we must embrace recycling as an integral part of our lives.

Republic Services offers curbside recycling at no extra charge. It will provide you with recycling bins. Just call the company at 735-5151. There is no reason that every home should not have those red, white and blue bins on the curb every pick up day. Remember, compact fluorescent lamps can be safely recycled at any Home Depot store.

For commercial or construction project waste, call Evergreen Recycling at 646-1446. It is doing some great work. In just the third quarter of 2008, Evergreen recovered enough material to offset the equivalent of 97,000 metric tons of CO2. Yes, recycling is part of the solution to the climate crisis.

As is often the case, simple acts can lead to great results. Recycling costs us nothing, but provides tremendous benefits. It is part of the cycle of life.

– Steve Rypka is a green living consultant and president of GreenDream Enterprises, specializing in renewable energy, green building, alternative transportation and lifestyle choices for both residential and commercial clients. The company is committed to helping people live lighter on the planet. Rypka can be reached via e-mail at steve@greendream.biz. More information relating to this column is posted at http://www.greendream.biz.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL’ (USA)

Posted in ALUMINUM, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, INDUSTRIES, METALS, RECYCLING INDUSTRIES, USA | Leave a Comment »

UK COAL TO BUILD WIND FARMS ON OLD COLLIERIES – SHARES IN BRITAIN’S LARGEST COALMINING COMPANY RISE 10% ON BACK OF PLANS TO BUILD WIND FARMS ON FORMER PIT LAND

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Thursday November 13 2008 15.53 GMT

by Terry Macalister – guardian.co.uk

Over a dozen of the UK’s former coalmining sites are to be redeveloped as wind farms under a UK Coal aims to construct 54 wind turbines on sites once used for coal mining. Photograph - Sandy Huffaker - APrevolutionary energy scheme to turn old energy into new.

UK Coal, once the main part of the National Coal Board, has unveiled a joint venture with Peel Energy that would see 14 old colliery locations used to erect 54 turbines generating around 133MW of electric power.

Shares in UK Coal raced forward 10% in early trading as the City welcomed the initiative.

“We believe there is significant opportunity to develop wind farms on parts of our land portfolio. By allying with Peel Energy, we are joining forces with one of the UK’s most active and knowledgeable wind power companies,” said John Lloyd, the chief executive of UK Coal.

The company, which has already moved into renewables through the harnessing of methane gas for power, was unwilling to say which of the 14 sites are currently earmarked for early submission for planning permission but says it hopes to have some approved within three months.

Peel Energy already boasts an onshore wind portfolio in excess of 450MW already and is involved in England’s largest scheme at Scout Moor in Lancashire which has 26 turbines.

The company, whose parent group owns a considerable financial stake in UK Coal and which independently operates a series of ports around Britain is developing Royal Seaforth Dock wind farm in Liverpool and has a planning application in for the port of Sheerness wind farm.

Peel and UK Coal intend to create special purpose vehicles with a 50/50 shared ownership between them to develop a particular former colliery site for wind schemes. The coal mining group could grant the joint venture an option for a 30 year lease on the land.

“This agreement [with UK Coal] is an important step forward for Peel Energy, significantly expanding its Greenwich Power Station from Royal Observatoryonshore pipeline and gaining access to some of the UK’s best wind farm locations,” said Steven Underwood, director of Peel Energy.

Chris Millington, analyst at stockbroker Numis Securities described the deal as positive, saying Peel would bring expertise and capital to UK Coal’s innovative wind farm activities. “I think this is pretty good,” he said.

UK Coal owns 46,500 acres of land and has identified over 3,500 of it for new development but also still operates six active surface mines with an annual output in excess of 1.5m tonnes.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Posted in AEOLIC, COAL, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

WHEAT PRICES MAY RALLY SHARPLY IN 2009

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

November 13, 2008

by Ray Brindal

Article from: Dow Jones Newswires

GLOBAL wheat prices have steadied in recent weeks after a savage two-month slide, but the WHEATpreconditions are in place to underpin a rally early in 2009, and if production doesn’t meet high expectations it could be a very sharp rally.

Against a backdrop of a general decline in the value of all asset classes, wheat prices slumped as the market focused on a sharp increase in global wheat production, with the US Department of Agriculture on Monday estimating a 12 per cent on year increase in output in 2008-09 to a record 682 million tonnes.

But the market may have overlooked “the missing salient fact” that demand is continuing to grow because the global population is expanding, says Mark Martin, a risk management adviser and director at Australian commodity manager MarketAg.

USDA estimates demand for wheat will grow 6.2 per cent on year in 2008-09 to 657 million tonnes.

“With that growing demand and tight stocks, it wouldn’t take too much for a production hiccup to cause an explosion in prices,” Mr Martin told Dow Jones Newswires.

Australia’s most active wheat futures contract – ASX January – settled yesterday at $268 a tonne. That’s up from a low of $258 late October but still well below a recent high of $392 on August 21 and a still higher peak of almost $450 in late February.

“If we have a serious weather problem, or a scare…you’d see a $200 lift in these prices,” Mr Martin said.

He isn’t alone in seeing a solid floor in place for wheat prices.

In analysing the USDA estimates, Merrill Lynch said that despite expectations of higher output of wheat, soy and corn in 2008-09, inventories are projected to remain at low levels.

Wheat stocks – at their third-lowest level in 35 years – should remain near record lows, it said.

“With grain demand expected to grow at 3-4 per cent in the coming year, inventories at historically low levels and limited arable land available for expansion, grain markets are expected to remain tight in the near to mid term,” Merrill Lynch’s analyst Mario Maia wrote.

“We expect tight market conditions to support grain prices above historical levels.”

In order to meet demand, increase productivity and improve land use efficiency, larger amounts of agricultural inputs will have to be applied, Mr Maia said.

The United Nation’s Food & Agriculture Organisation warned in its biannual Food Outlook report that a prolonged financial crisis could adversely affect plantings of various crops globally and potentially lead to an even more severe price hike in farm commodities next year than was seen earlier this year.

“The financial crisis of the last few months has amplified downward price movements, contributed to tightened credit markets, and introduced greater uncertainty about next year’s prospects, so that many producers are adopting very conservative planting decisions,” one of the report’s authors, Concepcion Calpe, said last week.

This was amplified yesterday by Abdolreza Abbassian, the Secretary of FAO’s Intergovernmental Group on Grains, who said that while attention is distracted by the international financial crisis and the drop in grain prices has taken the urgency off of dealing with soaring food prices, a new, more severe, food crisis is looming.

“We don’t have stocks – no security against production disruptions,” he said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires.

MarketAg’s Mr Martin said that wheat is one of a number of agricultural commodities whose charts suggest prices are forming a base. After hitting its $258 low on October 23, ASX January wheat traded up to $285 on October 28 and this month traded in a range of $260-$275.

As for the future of prices, “you’d have to say there’s 10 per cent to 20 per cent risk to the downside and an 80 per cent to 90 per cent risk to the upside,” Mr Martin said.

Richard Koch, managing director of Perth-based marketing advisory service Profarmer Australia, is more circumspect, in part reflecting a rebuilding of global wheat stocks, saying “the upside potential outweighs the downside.”

“The best chance we have for a recovery in wheat prices is for Black Sea selling to reduce, that’s been the overwhelming influence on grain markets in the past couple of months,” he said today.

Until outside markets show signs of stabilising, it’s hard to make a case for grain prices to push too far away from where they are now, he said.

That said, probably early next year in the northern hemisphere spring, the battle for acres between competing grains should underpin a recovery in prices, but these likely won’t “blow off the charts” so much as just grind higher, Mr Koch said.

Dow Jones Newswires

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

Posted in AGRICULTURE, AUSTRALIA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, GRAINS, INTERNATIONAL, USA, WHEAT | Leave a Comment »

MANY AMERICAN MEAT EXPORTERS OBTAIN HALAL CERTIFICATE FRAUDULENTLY (Dubai)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Published: November 13, 2008, 23:54

by Nadia Saleem, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Ninety-five per cent of American food items found in supermarket shelves in the UAE and some HALAL MEATother Gulf countries are not halal even though they may be certified as such, an industry specialist said at the Halal World Expo in Abu Dhabi.

Jalel Aossey, director of Midamar, a US-based international supplier of halal food and foodservice equipment, said that there is a significant flow of non-halal food items in the region from meat-supplying countries, and the Gulf countries need tougher regulations to stop that flow.

“On one side you have producers who genuinely don’t know what they have to comply with because of a lack of education from the industry. But you also have companies and exporters that are deliberately defrauding governments and consumers by not complying with regulations because they don’t want to pay the fees and the transition costs to make halal products,” Aossey said.

Corrupt certifiers

Nearly 1.8 billion Muslims around the world as well as some non-Muslims are fuelling the halal food industry, generating sales of $2.1 trillion annually, according to recent reports. The attractive halal food industry is drawing many dubious players.

“Corrupt certifiers get a taste for the money generated producing “paper halal certificates” for companies without actually performing any work,” Aossey said.

On regulatory measures, Aossey said, “People have to realise that it is not impossible, and that it’s not too costly to put the correct halal standards in place here. There’s a big misconception about how difficult this process is.”

Noor Al Deen Abdullah, executive director of Kasehdia, a communications and consultancy company in Malaysia, and publishers of The Halal Food Journal earlier told Gulf News, “The global halal industry is still in its infancy because huge awareness is required, especially in the Middle East.”

The major producing nations are Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Canada, Abdullah said, from where halal and non-halal meat is supplied.

Aossey said that inspection teams can be sent to the various countries where food is being produced to allow it to be inspected, at that country’s cost. “This is nothing when you consider the huge dollar volume of food products exported to the UAE and other Gulf countries.”

In the UAE, 80 per cent of imported food is said to be halal, coming from countries such as Brazil and Australia.

Facts

What is halal meat?

Halal (or permissible) in Islam is the meat of animals that have been slaughtered reciting the name of Allah on them and all the blood has been drained from the carcass.

Additional criterion that make meat halal are that the animal should not be dead prior to slaughter, since carrion is forbidden and that the animal is from those that are allowed according to Islamic teachings.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘GULF NEWS’ (Dubai)

Posted in AUSTRALIA, BRASIL, CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, FRAUD, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INTERNATIONAL, MEAT, NEW ZEALAND, PECUÁRIA, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SETOR EXPORTADOR, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Leave a Comment »

MEDVEDEV PLANS TRIP TO CUBA ON LATIN AMERICAN TOUR LATER THIS MONTH

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Published: November 14, 2008, 15:30

Agencies

Nice: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will visit US foe Cuba on a tour of Latin American states later DIMITRI MEDEVEDEVthis month, his spokeswoman said on Friday.

“As part of his trip to Latin America … this month, the president will also visit Cuba,” spokeswoman Natalya Timakova told reporters on the sidelines of a European Union-Russia summit in the French resort of Nice.

Russia has been building ties with Latin American leaders who are cool towards the United States, a drive the Kremlin said is about trade but which some analysts say is designed to signal to Washington that Russia is once again a world power.

Medvedev had been scheduled only to visit Venezuela, Brazil and Peru on his tour of the region. His spokeswoman did not give an exact date for the Cuban leg of the trip.

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Posted in BRASIL, CENTRAL AMERICA, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, CUBA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LATIN AMERICA, PERU, RUSSIA, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

TALIBAN LEADER: WE HAVE NO FAITH IN OBAMA

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

November 14, 2008 – updated 1 hour, 53 minutes ago

From Reza Sayah and Janullah Hashimzada

“For us, the change of America’s president – we don’t have any good faith in him,” said Muslim Khan, a Barack Hussein Obamagrizzled Taliban spokesman who is one of the most wanted men in Pakistan, in a rare interview with CNN. “If he does anything good, it will be for himself.”

With an assault rifle on his lap, Khan answered 10 written questions, sharing his view on a range of topics from slavery to Obama’s middle name – Hussein.

He spoke in the remote Swat Valley of northwestern Pakistan, the site of frequent and fierce clashes between Pakistani troops and Taliban and al Qaeda militants.

There was no opportunity for follow-up questions.

Khan said Obama’s election may change conditions for black Americans.

“The black one knows how much the black people are discriminated against in America and Europe and other countries,” he said. “For America’s black people, it could be that there will be a change. That era is coming.”

He said he doubted Obama’s victory would lead to changes in relations between the United States and the Taliban.

U.S. forces dislodged the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

America and its allies have battled the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan ever since, with fighting spreading across the border into Pakistan.

“American should take its army out of the country,” Khan said. “They are considered terrorists.”

Obama has minced no words in describing how he would administer U.S. policy toward the Islamic extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

When he accepted the Democratic presidential nomination in August, Obama pledged to “finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban.”

And the president-elect included a blunt warning in remarks on the evening of his election victory: “To those who would tear the world down,” he said, “we will defeat you.”

Khan noted that Obama’s middle name was fairly common in the Muslim world, referring to him at times as “Hussein Barack Obama.”

“If he behaves in the way of a real Hussein, then he has become our brother,” he said. “If Barack Obama pursues the same policies as Bush and behaves like Bush … then he cannot be Hussein. He can only be Obama.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CNN’ (USA)

Posted in AFGHANISTAN, ELECTIONS 2008 - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PAKISTAN, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

CITIGROUP TO LAY OFF 10,000 WORKERS WORLDWIDE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Friday, 14 November 2008

The international banking company Citigroup is reportedly planning to shed up to 10,000 jobs as part of CITIGROUPa cost-cutting plan.

Reports in the US say the firm plans to lay off staff in its investment bank and across other divisions around the world.

Citigroup employs around 2,000 people in Ireland, where it set up an office 43 years ago.

It is unclear if the jobs announcement will have any effect on the Irish operation.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE BELFAST TELEGRAPH’ (Ireland – UK)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, IRELAND, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, UNITED KINGDOM, USA | Leave a Comment »

INDIA CAN WEATHER CRISIS AND RETURN TO DECENT GROWTH: FM

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

14 Nov 2008, 0846 hrs IST, PTI

On Board PM’s Special Aircraft: Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Friday said the current global economic downturn will impact India to some extent on growth, exports and currency inflows but expressed confidence that the country will still return a “decent growth”.

“We can’t measure the impact. We have said we will be indirectly impacted. There will be impact to some extent on our growth, our exports and it will also impact the currency flows, which it has already.

“But we are confident that given the underlying strengths of Indian economy we can weather the crisis and still return a decent growth in 2008-09. Even the IMF last week’s assessment places India’s growth rate in current fiscal at 7.8 per cent. We will still return a decent growth rate. We will suffer an indirect impact,” he told reporters accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his special flight to Washington where he will attend a summit of world leaders tomorrow on the current global economic and financial crisis.

Asked whether with the international trend of interest rates moving towards zero per cent, the Indian rates were still high, he said this was a question the RBI Governor has to answer. “I think he has given his answer on October 6, October 24 and October 31. He will respond as the situation develops. I can’t give an answer to it.”

To a question whether there were plans to reduce the Cash Reserve Ratio of banks, he said once again this was a question to RBI Governor could answer.

About India’s credit growth rate, Chidambaram said he was not not targeting any growth of credit. It was growing at 29 per cent today. If it was non-inflationary growth then there was no worry about the credit growth rate. “That is what Dr Bimal Jalan said in an interview two days ago. We have to juxtapose the rate of credit growth with inflation. If the growth is non-inflationary then we can accept the current credit growth. But it depends upon its impact on inflation. The Governor will have to take a call on that.”

To a question about the British press saying India’s GDP growth rate will be less than projected, he said estimates vary between 7 and 7.8 per cent. IMF is 7.8 per cent and RBI is 7.5 to 8 per cent. The Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council is 7 to 7.5 per cent.

“We will still have a very decent growth rate. What do I have to tell the British. I think it will still be higher than their growth rate,” he said.

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Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, IMF, INDIA, INTERNATIONAL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

FARMERS SEE MONEY IN COW MANURE, OTHER SOURCES (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008 – Added 24h ago

by Robert Rodriguez / McClatchy Newspapers

TULARE, Calif. – With energy costs high and crop prices sluggish, farmers are turning to solar power, Better take good care of my poohconverting animal waste to natural gas and planting exotic trees to help them survive a tough economy.

Farmer and entrepreneur David Albers is among those using technology to boost revenue at his 2,800-cow dairy and that of many others.

Albers is president of BioEnergy Solutions, a company that builds facilities to extract methane gas from cow manure.

Unlike other systems that use the gas to power farm buildings, Albers’ company collects it, processes it, then pumps it into a pipeline to be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

He and participating dairies benefit by getting paid for the gas while also managing their cow waste in a more environmentally friendly way.

Albers said he has contracts and or letters of intent with 100 dairies in California’s central San Joaquin Valley to join the project.

“It has been a tough road, and a lot of people said that this would not work, but I am happy to say we are pumping gas,” said Albers, who owns Vintage Dairy in western Fresno County.

Air quality officials attending the recent Farming Clean Energy Conference in Tulare spotlighted the Albers company and the use of fuel-cell technology as examples of using waste to create power without producing harmful emissions.

“This is the wave of the future,” said Dave Warner, director of the permit services division for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. “These two technologies will really be at the forefront.”

The conference was designed to demonstrate clean energy potential while also showing off examples of successful clean energy projects and the challenges to create them.

Ray Allen, CEO of Emerald Energy, is hoping a hybrid tree called the MegaFlora will be planted by farmers as a source for biofuel.

The tree, Allen said, can be grown in the worst soil and with about eight times less water than it takes to grow corn.

Allen, a botanist and worldwide consultant, said the tree can grow 60 feet in about three years and can produce about one barrel of oil per tree.

He is working with several farmers in various parts of the state, including Stratford farmer Ceil Howe who is growing the tree in a nursery on his ranch.

“People want to know if we can grow this on land that is polluted, and the answer is ’Yes, we can,’” Allen said.

Phil Erro has embraced another environmentally friendly practice on his Fresno County almond farm. He is using the sun to help grow his trees and fatten his budget. Erro installed a 28,000-watt solar photovoltaic system on his ranch to power a water pump.

He has 12 arrays with 16 panels each. Erro estimated that as much as two-thirds of the power he needs to run his pumps is solar generated.

“It has really paid off,” he said.

© 2008, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE BOSTON HERALD’ (USA)

Posted in BIOMASS, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, NATURAL GAS, USA | Leave a Comment »

RUSSIAN ENVOY CRITICIZES NATO REFUSAL TO LET HIM ADDRESS SESSION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

13:38 – 14/11/2008

by Ria Novosti

BRUSSELS, November 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s envoy to NATO has criticized the alliance for refusing Russian envoy Dmitry Rogozinhim the right to address the NATO parliamentary session starting on Friday in Spain, while allowing the Georgian leader to give a speech.

NATO’s 54th Parliamentary Assembly session in Valencia runs from November 14 to 18. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been actively seeking membership in the Western military alliance, is expected to focus on criticism of Russia’s role in the August conflict over South Ossetia.

“Parliamentarians should be free to choose their information sources on the conflict. Instead of hearing alternative information, they will be listening to the twittering of Saakashvili,” Russian envoy Dmitry Rogozin told RIA Novosti.

He said he had intended to give Russia’s account of Georgia’s August 8 attack on breakaway South Ossetia and the ensuing five-day war between Russia and Georgia, but that the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s president, Jose Lello, had refused, saying there was not sufficient time to fit him into the session schedule.

Saakashvili will give his speech on November 18. Rogozin said he has refused NATO’s invitation to attend the session.

During the August conflict, most Western powers sided with Georgia, accepting Saakashvili’s claim that Georgia reacted to military aggression from Russia.

However, Saakashvili’s version of events has come under scrutiny since the conflict, and Western rights groups have criticized Georgia’s attacks on South Ossetian civilians.

A report released on November 4 by the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said the Georgian military used cluster munitions in civilian areas of South Ossetia.

Independent observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have said they are unable to verify Georgia’s claim that Russia bombarded Georgian villages in the run-up to the conflict. Georgia had based its justification for its attack on South Ossetia on the alleged Russian bombardment.

Saakashvili has also come under pressure in his own country. Around 10,000 protesters gathered on the streets of Tbilisi last Friday, rallying against the president for dragging the country into a costly war that it had little chance of winning.

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Posted in COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, EUROPE, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, NATO, RUSSIA | Leave a Comment »

RUSSIA TO SUPPLY 55 BLN CU M OF GAS TO UKRAINE IN 2009 – GAZPROM

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

18:59 – 11/ 11/ 2008

© RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will supply at least 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas THE BLUE STREAM GAS PIPELINE - GAZPROMto Ukraine in 2009, energy giant Gazprom said on Tuesday.

Oleh Dubina, head of the Ukrainian national oil and gas company Naftogaz, and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller held talks on Tuesday in Moscow on natural gas supplies to Ukraine and the conclusion of a long-term gas supply contract until 2019.

“Agreements were reached that at least 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas will be supplied to Ukraine in 2009,” Gazprom said in a statement. Ukraine has imported around 55 billion cubic meters of gas annually in the past few years.

Talks between Gazprom and Naftogaz on a long-term natural gas deal could be completed in the near future after “considerable progress” was made on Tuesday, the Russian energy giant’s press service said.

“The parties made considerable progress on a long-term contract for gas deliveries to Ukraine and a deal for gas transit through the country. There is mutual understanding on pricing for 2009 and talks on the issue are expected to be completed in the near future,” Gazprom said.

The price of natural gas for Ukraine in 2009 and subsequent years has not yet been agreed. Kiev hopes that the price will be around $250 per 1,000 cubic meters next year. This year, Ukraine has been paying $179.5 per 1,000 cu m.

Dubina said on Monday that he hoped a pricing formula based on the price of natural gas in Europe, earlier mentioned by Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, would not be used in the next three-year period of transition to market prices.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘RIA NOVOSTI’

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, EUROPE, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, NATURAL GAS, RUSSIA, UKRAINE | Leave a Comment »

‘GAS TROIKA’ PLANS LNG JOINT VENTURE, PAPER SAYS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

November 13, 2008

by Eric Watkins – Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 13 – Russia’s state-owned OAO Gazprom, Qatar Liquefied Gas Co. Ltd., and PETRON - GASOLINE STATION - FUEL - PETROLEUM - OIL - KEROSENE - DIESELNational Iranian Oil Co. plan to establish a joint venture to produce gas from Iran’s South Pars field and liquefy it at Qatar’s Ras Laffan.

Each founder will get 30% in the project and the remaining 10% will go to the trader, probably to China’s CNPC or Korean Kogas, according to a report in Moscow’s Kommersant newspaper.

Participation by Qatar—a key US ally in the region — will level political risks triggered by the sales of Iranian gas, experts told the paper.

The plans are to set up the gas production infrastructure in South Pars, lay a pipeline across the Persian Gulf to Qatar, and construct an LNG facility at Ras Laffan.

The Kommersant report came as a Russian delegation led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Doha, Qatar, for talks with Qatari and Iranian officials on cooperation in natural gas exports.

Ahead of the meeting, Putin sought to allay the fears of gas consumers who viewed a meeting in Tehran last month as the start of a process that would eventually lead to the formation of an OPEC-like group of natural gas exporters.

At the time, Alexey Miller, chairman of OAO Gazprom’s management committee, said their discussions “may contribute greatly to developing the agenda for the Gas Exporting Countries Forum…,” which could be rapidly transformed “into a permanent organization promoting steady and reliable fuel supplies around the globe (OGJ Online, Oct. 24, 2008).”

Following the announcement, the European Union — Russia’s biggest gas customer — warned it could reconsider its energy policy if Russia, Iran, and Qatar formed a “gas OPEC.”

Putin said Nov. 11 that there were “absolutely no grounds for such fears,” adding, “We are not establishing a cartel; we are not striking any cartel deals.”

Putin said, “Energy producers, as well as consumers, have the right to— and in my view must —coordinate their decisions, exchange information, and do their best to ensure uninterrupted hydrocarbon supplies on global markets.”

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘OIL & GAS JOURNAL’

Posted in CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, EUROPE, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, NATURAL GAS, QATAR, RUSSIA, SOUTH KOREA, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

PF PODE PEDIR AJUDA AMERICANA PARA ABRIR HDs DE DANTAS (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Sexta-feira, 14 de novembro de 2008, 08:56

AE – Agencia Estado

SÃO PAULO – A Polícia Federal está encontrando dificuldades para abrir os discos rígidos (HDs) dos DANIEL DANTAScomputadores apreendidos pela Operação Satiagraha no Grupo Opportunity, de Daniel Dantas. Os HDs estão blindados por combinações que os peritos não conseguem decifrar. A PF poderá recorrer a técnicos dos Estados Unidos. Na sexta-feira, ela entregou relatório de 240 páginas à Justiça Federal apontando procedimentos adotados depois que o inquérito saiu das mãos do delegado Protógenes Queiroz.

O documento reforça e aprofunda suspeitas sobre atividades do Opportunity. Uma parte do relatório transcreve trabalho de Protógenes. O inquérito foi retomado pelo delegado Ricardo Saadi. A conclusão da investigação depende da perícia nos HDs, a cargo do Instituto Nacional de Criminalística da PF. Por causa do transtorno da PF em acessar os HDs, a Procuradoria da República poderá oferecer denúncias criminais em separado. Os arquivos criptografados complicam a produção de provas sobre crimes financeiros, mas a análise de papéis recolhidos pela Satiagraha já permitiriam acusação formal contra Dantas por lavagem de capitais

“A questão não é se os HDs são criptografados ou não, a questão é que esses arquivos não podem ser abertos, em respeito ao sigilo que protege os clientes do banco”, protestou Nélio Machado, criminalista que defende Dantas. “Não é que tenhamos receio com relação ao conteúdo dos HDs. O problema é que estamos caminhando passo a passo com mentiras que querem transformar em verdade.” O advogado reclamou que nem a PF nem a Justiça deram acesso ao novo relatório. “Continuam agindo sob o manto do segredo, sem transparência. Daniel Dantas é inocente. O que há são interesses espúrios.” As informações são do jornal O Estado de S. Paulo.

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Posted in A CORRUPÇÃO NO APARELHO DO ESTADO, BRASIL, CIDADANIA, COMBATE À CORRUPÇÃO - BRASIL, CORRUPÇÃO - BRASIL, CORRUPTION, CRIMES EMPRESARIAIS, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, DANIEL DANTAS, FINANCIAL SCAMS, FRAUD, GILMAR MENDES, MONEY LAUDERING, O PODER JUDICIÁRIO, O SUPREMO TRIBUNAL FEDERAL, POLÍCIA FEDERAL | Leave a Comment »

SHARP DIP IN INFLATION MAKES ROOM FOR RATE CUTS (India)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

14 Nov 2008, 0000 hrs IST, REUTERS

NEW DELHI: Inflation dropped sharply to its lowest in nearly six months in early November as prices of metals and fuels fell, and analysts said the unexpectedly low figure gave the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) room to cut rates.

The substantial easing in inflation comes at a time when Indian policy makers are struggling to protect growth and shield the economy from the impact of the global economic slowdown.

India’s wholesale price index, the most widely watched inflation measure, rose 8.98 per cent in the 12 months to Nov. 1, well below forecasts for a rise of 10.37 per cent, data showed on Thursday.

It was the lowest reading since May 24, when the rate was 8.90 per cent and well below early August’s peak of 12.91 per cent.

Analysts said a decline in global commodity prices, robust domestic agricultural output and a fall in demand in a slowing economy helped bring the rate to single-digits well ahead of earlier expectations.

“Taking comfort from the decline in inflation and responding to the worsening demand outlook, we expect the Reserve Bank of India to cut the reverse repo rate by 100 basis points and the repo rate by 150 points by March 2009,” said A. Prasanna, an economist at ICICI Securities.

He said inflation was likely to ease to 4.5 per cent by March 2009. The repo is the central bank’s main lending rate while the reverse repo is the rate at which it absorbs excess cash from the banking system.

Strong evidence that India’s $1 trillion economy, Asia’s third largest, is slowing has emerged in recent weeks. Factory output has been sharply lower, manufacturers have trimmed output and put expansion plans on hold. Government excise receipts — factory gate taxes — contracted in October.

Economists and policy makers expect growth to slow to 7 per cent in the current fiscal year to March, from the close to 9 per cent seen in the previous three years.

SLEW OF MEASURES

Despite rebounding in September to a just respectable 4.8 per cent, analysts have warned annual growth in industrial output, a key indicator, was set for a severe slowdown after the credit crisis paralysed India’s money markets in October.

That pushed up firms’ interest costs as they battled tough business conditions and shrinking export markets.

Authorities have taken a slew of measures in recent weeks including cutting the repo by 150 basis points to 7.5 per cent and lowering banks’ reserve requirements to improve liquidity and boost growth.

India’s financial markets, which have borne the brunt of the financial crisis in recent months, were closed on Thursday for a national holiday.

The receding threat of inflation will cheer India’s Congress Party-led ruling coalition as it gears up for a string of state elections in coming weeks and federal polls by early 2009.

Suresh Tendulkar, a top economic adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, told Reuters the latest inflation data provided room for the RBI to act on rates.

“My hunch is the Reserve Bank of India will wait for one or two weeks and then take a call,” he said.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FUELS, INDIA, INFLATION, INTERNATIONAL, METALS, METALS INDUSTRY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

JAPAN PM UNVEILS ANTI-CRISIS STEPS AHEAD OF SUMMIT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

14 Nov 2008, 09:43 hrs IST

REUTERS

WASHINGTON: Japan proposed a raft of steps on Thursday to help overcome the global financial crisis and avoid a future meltdown, including offering to boost the IMF’s firepower and calling for tougher supervision of credit rating agencies.

In a position paper released ahead of a leaders’ summit of the Group of 20 industrialised and emerging nations in Washington, Prime Minister Taro Aso said Tokyo would continue to support the dollar-based currency system despite market concerns about its outlook as U.S. economic power declines.

Japan, which holds the world’s second-largest foreign reserves at $980 billion, would be ready to lend up to $100 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to assist emerging economies if the Washington-based lender finds itself with insufficient funds, he said.

Behind the prime minister’s comments is a view in Tokyo that Japan had to learn its lesson the hard way from its prolonged response to tackling its own financial crisis in the 1990s.

He said other nations should also consider clarifying management responsibility when injecting public funds into banks, and adopt fair valuation and early disclosure of non-performing loans.

“At present, capital flows have become so global that they can occur instantaneously to take advantage of any differences that may exist among the regulations of various countries,” he said. “Concerted action to help converge each country’s various policy efforts to prevent a recurrence of the financial crisis is now an unavoidable challenge.”

On the role of the IMF, he somewhat distanced himself from some European views that the Washington-based lender should be entrusted with primary responsibility over financial regulation.

Instead, he said the Financial Stability Forum (FSF) should be given a clear status above standard-setting international organisations such as the Basel Committee, adding that the forum’s work with the IMF should be reinforced.

He said more emerging nations should belong to the FSF, whose members include international bodies and the Group of Seven nations plus Australia, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Singapore and Switzerland.

In a proposal that may not sit well with the U.S. free-market focus, he said there should be discussions on providing legal authority to government officials over rules on credit rating agencies. He also called for fostering local credit rating agencies, such as in Asia, and to further develop a regional scheme to help provide dollar funding as in Asia’s web of currency swap agreements called the Chiang Mai Initiative. But he stressed that “open regionalism complements globalism in a positive sense.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in ASIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, CURRENCIES, DOLLAR (USA), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL STABILITY FORUM (FSF), IMF, INTERNATIONAL, JAPAN, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA | Leave a Comment »

BANKS SAY THEY WILL NOT USE BAILOUT MONEY FOR PAY (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

14 Nov 2008, 0010 hrs IST, AGENCIES

WASHINGTON: Members of Congress complained on Thursday that US banks have not used $163 billion infusion of capital, already received or promised by the government, to open credit lines for more lending.

“In these uncertain and difficult times, banks are inclined to hoard rather than to deploy capital,” charged Sen Charles Schumer, a Democrat.

Schumer said that when the Treasury Department comes back to Congress to release the final $350 billion installment of a $700 billion bailout rescue fund, he and colleagues want to require banks to do more lending. Congress can block the release of the funds or impose conditions on how they are used but would have to rewrite the law.

Congress is looking at making banks show they have increased their lending in order to share in the $350 billion phase two part of the bailout plan. Lawmakers already were looking at rewriting a portion of the legislation next week, in a lame duck session, to let the beleaguered auto industry have a $25 billion share of the money.

Treasury has so far has devoted $250 billion of the bailout money to buying equity in banks and another $40 billion to insurance giant American International Group Inc. The hope was that the infusion of news capital would enable them to increase lending, but so far that hasn’t happened, lawmakers said at a hearing by the Senate Finance Committee Thursday.

Instead, some of the recipients of the money have continued to pay dividends to stockholders, provide pay raises and bonuses to executives and other employees and level takeover bids at other companies. Lawmakers said they want to impose restrictions on all those activities for companies getting bailout money.

Executives from four financial institutions that have received a total of $75 billion in federal bailout funds promised at the hearing that none of the aid would be used for paying executives and employees.

“The committee has asked whether (bailout) funds would be spent on executive compensation,” said Jon Campbell, regional banking president for Wells Fargo & Co in his testimony. “The answer is no. Wells Fargo doesn’t need the government investment to pay for bonuses or compensation.”

Executives from Goldman Sachs Inc, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase & Co made similar pledges.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, USA | Leave a Comment »

WHY EATING GM FOOD COULD LOWER YOUR FERTILITY (UK)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Last updated at 11:22 AM on 12th November 2008

by Sean Poulter

Genetically modified corn has been linked to a threat to fertility in an official study that could deliver a Frankencorn by Monsantohammer blow to controversial ‘Frankenstein Food’.

A long-term feeding trial commissioned by the Austrian government found mice fed on GM corn or maize had fewer offspring and lower birth rates.

The trial has triggered a call from Greenpeace for a recall of all GM food crops currently on the market worldwide on the grounds of the threat to human health.

Fertility threat: mice fed on genetically modified corn had fewer offspring

Most of the research on GM crop safety has been conducted by biotech companies, such as Monsanto, rather than outside independent laboratories.

GM advocates have argued that the fact the US population has been eaten some types of GM food for more than a decade is proof of its safety.

However, these reassurances have been turned on their head by the study commissioned by the Austrian Ministries for Agriculture and Health, which was presented yesterday at a scientific seminar in Vienna.

Professor Dr Jurgen Zentek, Professor for Veterinary Medicine at the University of Vienna and lead author of the study, said a GM diet effected the fertility of mice.

GM expert at Greenpeace International, Dr Jan van Aken, said: ‘Genetically Engineered food appears to be acting as a birth control agent, potentially leading to infertility.

‘If this is not reason enough to close down the whole biotech industry once and for all, I am not sure what kind of disaster we are waiting for.

‘Playing genetic roulette with our food crops is like playing Russian roulette with consumers and public health.’

The Austrian scientists performed several long-term feeding trials with laboratory mice over a course of 20 weeks.

One of the studies was a so-called reproductive assessment by continuous breeding (RACB) trial, in which the same parent generation gave birth to several litters of baby mice.

The parents were fed either with a diet containing 33per cent of GM maize, a hybrid of Monsanto’s MON 810 and another variety, and a normal feed mix..

The team found changes that were ‘statistically significant’ in the third and fourth litters produced by the mice given a GM diet. There were fewer offspring, while the young mice were smaller.

Prof Zentek said there was a direct link between the changes seen and the GM diet.

A press release from the Austrian Agency for Health and Nutrition, said the group of mice given a diet of genetically engineered corn saw a significant change in fertility.

It said: ‘The number of litters and offspring decreased in the GE-fed group faster than in the control. In the GE-fed group more females remained without litters than in the control group.’

Monsanto press offices in the UK and USA were unable to provide a comment on the findings.

CropGen, which speaks for the biotech industry, claims GM crops have been accepted as safe by Government authorities on both sides of the Atlantic.

British scientists recently unveiled a GM purple tomato they claimed could help people avoid developing cancer. The tomato is high in antioxidants – naturally found in other fresh produce such as blueberrys, cranberries and carrots – which are seen as a protection against ill health.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DAILY MAIL’ (UK)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, GENETICALLY MODIFIED AGRO-PRODUCTS, GRAINS, INTERNATIONAL, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

DISSERVICE TO THE NATION – “Men are more often bribed by their loyalties and ambitions than money.” – Robert Jackson – (Philippines)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

by Postgen Hector R.R. Villanueva

WHILE the monetary authorities among the world’s major economies have categorically declared that the world is definitely in recession, and there is no telling how long it will take to bottom out, we here in the Philippines are still obsessed with Congressional investigations that invariably end inconclusively.

It is dismaying to note that mainstream broadsheet newspapers and major television networks are like ambulance chasers dedicated to magnifying juicy issues and controversial personalities, and oblivious to the global financial crisis that will not spare any country, regardless of how large or small the economy maybe, from economic contraction.

So here we are. Instead of preparing, and looking for alternative sources and resources, to counteract expected decline in overseas employment and pari-passu corresponding drop in inward remittances from abroad; expected contraction in major exports, such as, electronics, garments, and fruits, and reduction in direct private foreign investments and official development assistance (ODAs), our congressional leaders are more preoccupied in extracting confessions, though not yet formally charged or accused, and admissions of wrongdoing, from former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante which obsession is not only counter productive but also wasteful of people’s money and time.

Second, as the externally-induced financial crisis – originating from America – starts hitting landfall, a vicious spiral starts to spin.

That is, consumers become more cautious and parsimonious in their buying habits; banks start collecting from maturing loans while borrowers cannot pay, and when the banks’ liquidity gets threatened, the Government will either provide emergency assistance or buy in into the equity of banks which foreign governments have been doing to their own national banking system.

Needless to say, despite governments’ decisive moves and succor, the people have become wary, confused, and dazed.

Third, it is in this context of preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best, that the political leaders should address and pay attention to instead of grandstanding probes in aid of ambition.

In a word, many of our natural disasters, misconduct of public officials, and financial felonies are better investigated and resolved with the least fanfare and publicity when our officials have more important issues, such as, budget deficit, and diminishing exports, to address.

When all is said and done, it is disconcerting to be subjected to tedious and boorish congressional investigations that lead to nowhere unless the end objective is, say, to associate Jocjoc Bolante to the First Gentleman, and collaterally embarrass the President.

By the same token, with 2010 election just around the corner and the advent of a new administration, the filing of impeachment against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is a waste of everybody’s time, and an exercise in futility.

There are so many critical issues to attend to than Jocjoc Bolante, or De la Paz.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MANILA BULLETIN’ (Philippines)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ELECTRIC / ELECTRONIC INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, GARMENT INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PHILIPPINES, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET | Leave a Comment »

TRIUMPH OF CONSUMERS (Philippines)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

by Elinando B. Cinco

PROGRESSIONS occurring in the power sector and the gasoline industry during the past couple of weeks can be seen as marks of triumph for the overly burdened consumers.

Those advances certainly provided so much relief not only to blue-collar workers — the primary beneficiaries – but the gains also lightened the load of middle-income families.

Why am I saying this?

There are five circumstances happening within a span of 10 days lately that have eased significantly the unnecessary cash outflow of the family budget of many consumers.

First, there is the refund to Meralco subscribers of their deposits on meters installed at their residences and places of business. Applicable are those installed from 1987 to 2007.

It was a long battle. It took no less than the GSIS president joined by a consumer group known as Nasecore to do the fighting. And they won.

Second, another court-ordered refund again to Meralco consumers of the utility firm’s income tax reportedly billed to them from 1994 to 2002.

Third, the rejection of the electric company’s appeal to defer momentarily an ERC directive involving R3.9 billion worth of consumer refund.

The refund in question arose from the firm’s over-recovery from 2003 to 2006 under the currency exchange rate adjustment or CERA.

Fourth, the staggered reduction of the pump prices of gasoline and diesel products, averaging 20 percent so far, beginning last September to the present. And,

Fifth, a crucial R180.00 reduction of the price of the 11-kilogram of LPG cylinder, reckoned from last month’s price tag.

(On the first three sanctions above, fiery radio/TV newscaster and commentator Mike Enriquez, in his early morning show on DZBB yesterday had unkind words for Meralco.)

If the above gains were quantified, easily they would translate to millions of pesos a day to the harassed consumers, the most important assistance going to working-class families.

And if the same benefits were to be measured in terms of wellbeing or moral victory filtering to all the benefited sectors of society, then they are unquantifiable.

Now the question comes up – to whom do we attribute the gains achieved for and on behalf of the millions of consumers?

Outright, the government must be given the accolade. For it has relentlessly pursued its mandated tasks, cognizant of what the people are clamoring.

Of course, the public should also claim credit which has showed vigilance and addressed its concern to the government, which in turn made it fully aware of its responsibilities to the people.

But in terms of individual crusade, the overwhelming endorsement is to give it to Winston Garcia, specifically to the first three gains mentioned earlier in the foregoing paragraphs.

The GSIS president and general manager has been consistent in his role of giving due attention and fair indemnity that Meralco customers deserved.

It is important to note that before the Garcia advocacy, officials of the power company and those at ERC did not give much importance to the issues. Their omissions were overturned. Today he and his memorable campaign will remain etched in the public mind.

The top official of the government pension fund has been successful in giving Meralco subscribers what is their due, and who are rightly deserving of the utility firm’s government-mandated obligations to them.

In his lonely battle, Garcia has been looking around for support and encouragement chiefly from sympathetic government officials. A word or two from NGOs and politicians, especially.

But where were they?

Indeed, these personalities who are quick to ride on what already has been attained by others are nowhere to be found.

Where were they – champions of the marginalized poor – when exorbitant power rates were squeezing the neck of the 4.4 million consumers of electricity in Metro Manila?

In particular, Garcia has posed the question to young and idealistic political leaders, Senator Chiz Escudero, among others. They who have identified their advocacies with the poor, their media attention-getting histrionics, obviously, for the marginalized sector of society. But have now become suddenly taciturn on issues of high power rates and a blind eye to the charges censured by the Supreme Court, noted the GSIS chief.

The top GSIS official, however, conceded that the entry of food and beverage behemoth, San Miguel Corporation into Meralco may bring about the much-needed changes, primarily in the lowering of consumer monthly billings.

How can this be done?

Garcia explained that if the contracts with the Lopez-owned power generators First Gen and First Gas are rescinded, the system-loss charges are abolished, among others, there is a good chance such impossibilities can be attained.

Finally, we have to give it to this fast-talking and articulate lawyer. His efforts were media visible, thrusting him in front of public attention. Even now that he is out of the Meralco board, Garcia has vowed to continue his relentless campaign for the rights and welfare of each and every Meralco customer.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MANILA BULLETIN’ (Philippines)

Posted in COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, NATURAL GAS, PHILIPPINES, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE WORKERS | Leave a Comment »

GOV’T PLANS HIGHER FINANCING TO BRIDGE 2009 BUDGET GAP (Philippines)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

by Lee C. Chipongian

As support to the expected budget shortfall next year, Finance Secretary Margarito B. Teves said the country’s financing program is higher at P125.1 billion in 2009, about 35 percent higher than this year’s program of P92.7 billion.

“Given the higher deficit for 2009, we have to secure net financing of P125.1 billion,” said Teves. The 2009 budget deficit program is P102 billion from P75 billion this year. In 2007, the full-year budget gap was only P12.4 billion.

The external gross requirement for 2009 is P123.4 billion, more than 2008’s P105.9 billion. The net external funding will amount to P28.6 billion, lower than this year’s P24.6 billion.

In the meantime gross domestic financing has been programmed at P386.5 billion, up from this year’s P332.7 billion while net domestic requirement is also higher at P96.5 billion from P68.1 billion this year.

Teves said that the gross financing mix for 2009 is similar with this year’s 24:76 ratio in favor of domestic sourcing. “(With the) market volatilities, similar funding strategy of 24 percent foreign and 76 percent domestic will be pursued next year,” he added.

For this year, the Department of Finance (DoF) said the emerging debt servicing expenses is higher at P636.1 billion and for next year it is P700.6 billion. “Interest expense as a percentage of total expenditures will be reduced to 21.5 percent from 22.3 percent (in 2007),” said Teves.

The DoF expects interest expenses to amount to P290.1 billion this year and P315.8 billion for 2009 while principal payments is expected to reach P346 billion this year and P383.8 billion for 2009.

The total debt outstanding for the full year is projected at P3.853 trillion from last year’s P3.712 trillion. The program for 2009, on the other hand, is P3.974 trillion. The National Government debt, by the end of the year, will likely decrease to 50.7 percent of gross domestic product and further reduced to 47.3 percent of GDP by end of 2009.

In 2007, NG debt totaled P3.712 trillion or 55.8 percent of GDP. Debt servicing, in the meantime, amounted to P614.1 billion, of which interest expense was P267.8 billion and principal payments totaled P346.3 billion.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MANILA BULLETIN’ (Philippines)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, PHILIPPINES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

NO-PC INTERNET FOR THE POOR (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

13/11/2008 20:33 – (SA)

San Francisco – US wireless technology titan Qualcomm said on Wednesday it is unleashing technology Qualcomm is making Kayak technology available to electronic device makers such as Taiwan-based Inventec Corporation and hopes to be testing potential product offerings in southeast Asia early next year.that will let people in poor countries connect to the internet without personal computers.

Qualcomm said it has a “Kayak PC alternative” that enables devices such as televisions or monitors to link online using 3G high-speed broadband wireless networks that are becoming increasingly available in developing countries.

The Kayak design combines Qualcomm modems and mobile telephone computer chips into a portable gadget that eliminates a need for telephone or cable wire connections to the internet.

‘Cloud computing’

“The broad footprint of 3G networks means that wireless is the answer to internet access for worldwide markets – especially in emerging regions,” said Qualcomm CDMA Technologies vice-president of product management Luis Pineda.

Pineda added that Kayak “is leveraging cloud computing over wireless broadband networks to help bring new areas of the world into the global online community for the first time”.

Kayak devices operate with an Opera software browser and can be connected to a computer mouse and keyboard. The devices can also feature built-in screens.

Once online, people unable to afford sophisticated home computers or packaged software will be able to tap into a “cloud computing” trend in which applications are offered as free services.

Testing in emerging markets

Qualcomm is making Kayak technology available to electronic device makers such as Taiwan-based Inventec Corporation and hopes to be testing potential product offerings in southeast Asia early next year.

“Emerging markets will be a huge growth driver for the telecommunications industry in the coming years,” said Inventec vice president of marketing Mark Hirsch.

“We are very excited about Qualcomm’s innovative Kayak reference design that leverages wireless networks to bring internet connectivity to developing markets.”

Kayak is Qualcomm’s first foray into a blossoming market of mobile telephones, laptops and other devices that link wirelessly to the internet on new-generation high speed networks using cellular signal towers.

Such technology is expected to let people in developing countries “leapfrog” into the internet Age by skipping a need to build telephone or cable landline infrastructures.

– AFP

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PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWS24’

Posted in DIGITAL INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA | Leave a Comment »

PAKISTAN, INDIA ASKED TO SIGN BILATERAL INVESTMENT TREATY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

November 14, 2008 Friday – Ziqa’ad 15, 1429

ISLAMABAD, Nov 13: The Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has stressed upon the governments of Pakistan and India to sign bilateral investment treaty to foster economic cooperation between the two countries.

“The investment treaty will also motivate other countries of the region to promote intra-regional trade and investment,” SCCI president Tariq Sayeed said while addressing the inaugural session of the “Conference on Pakistan-India Economic Relations” being held in India.

According to a SCCI press release received here on Thursday, the conference has been organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The SCCI president stressed the need for promoting mobility of people, particularly business community of the region and urged upon the governments of the two countries to issue five years multiple visa for 500 businessmen.

He said the number of Saarc Visa Exemption Stickers should be increased from 100 to 300.

Speaking on the occasion, Indian State Minister for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh said that the Indian government was trying its best to remove Non-Tariff Trade Barriers (NTBs), which had been identified by various countries.

He said that India had no country-specific restrictions, adding that the only noteworthy NTB was the requirement of certification of standardisation of products imported into India.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India Shahid Malik said that Pakistan was willing to established lasting economic cooperation with India based on sincerity and reciprocity.

He said that Pakistan had adopted positive approach to promote trade relations with India, which could be quantified by the increasing volume of trade between two countries.

FPCCI president Tanvir Ahmed Sheikh who led Pakistan’s delegation in his detailed presentation identified areas of cooperation such as iron and steel, tea, leather and textiles and energy.

The newly elected President of India-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, S. M. Muneer, in his speech emphasised the need for greater economic cooperation to unleash the untapped potential.

FICCI senior vice-president Singhania in his welcome address presented 10-point agenda to enhance economic cooperation. He said trade volume of $2 billion through legal channel and that of $5 billion through third country was reflective of potential of trade between Pakistan and India.

Dr Amit Mitra, the secretary-general of the FICCI and eminent economist inaugurated the inaugural session. A delegation of 75 leading businessmen from Pakistan is participating in the conference.

NON-TARIFF BARRIERS: Talking to APP in New Delhi Tanvir Ahmed Sheikh urged Indian government to remove non-tariff barriers on Pakistani goods to provide a level-playing in trade. He said negotiations for the purpose were in progress.

He said that major trading items between the two countries were cement and cotton.

He hoped that talks on liberalising visa policy for businessmen would succeed and the trading community would be able to get five-year multiple visa to visit each other’s country.

Mr Sheikh said Pakistan would participate in Indian International Trade Fair in a big way, beginning here on Friday. The fair would help Pakistan to introduce its products to Indian businessmen.—APP

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’

Posted in ASIA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COTTON, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDIA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PAKISTAN, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, VEGETABLE FIBERS | Leave a Comment »

CRISIS HITS CHINESE MAKER OF SOLAR CELLS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Bloomberg News, ReutersPublished: November 13, 2008

NEW YORK: A Chinese solar cell maker, JA Solar Holdings, said the global economic slump had Solar powered homes in Ota, northwest of Tokyo. JA Solar, a Chinese solar cell producer, said 'panic' in the market had prompted the company to cut sales forecasts. (Yuriko Nakao - Reuters)brought “panic” in the solar market, prompting it to cut its sales forecasts and sending its shares down nearly 30 percent, to a record low.

JA Solar’s American depositary receipts dropped 96 cents, or 29 percent, to $2.38 in trading Wednesday on the Nasdaq composite index. They have fallen 90 percent this year to the lowest level since a share sale at $5 in 2007.

Sales of solar cells and panels have risen sharply in recent quarters as companies like JA Solar have increased production. But the global economic slowdown has since caused that growth to slow, leading to a supply glut.

“At this moment the market reaction has been panic,” Samuel Yang, chief executive of JA Solar, said in a conference call Wednesday.

The company, which posted a quarterly loss from its ties to the defunct investment bank Lehman Brothers, said it had cut back on the output of solar cells and would seek to renegotiate its polysilicon supply contracts.

That effort to cut costs for polysilicon, the key material in its cells, was an attempt to offset an expected 20 percent price decline in the average selling prices of its products.

“Just recently the euro depreciated dramatically, more than 23 percent. So we have to adjust our ASP to support our customers,” Yang said, referring to average selling price. Europe is the largest market for photovoltaic solar equipment because of the subsidy programs set up by the German and Spanish governments.

“We do not believe in the ‘disaster scenario’ implied by the stock’s sharp drop during today’s session,” Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James, said in a client note, noting that the stock was trading nearly 40 percent below its book value. “JA Solar’s low cost structure and healthy balance sheet place it in a strong competitive position.”

JA Solar said that it would seek a 20 percent discount in the price it pays its suppliers for polysilicon in 2009, and that it had already won price concessions for 2008. The company will seek to push its contracted costs for silicon below the spot market price of $200 to $220 per kilogram, or $90 to $100 per pound.

The company cut its 2008 revenue forecast to between $849.5 million and $878.9 million from the $1.05 billion to $1.17 billion it had forecast in October, and said its earnings per share would be near break-even.

It also cut its 2009 revenue forecast to $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion from the previously issued $2.0 billion to $2.2 billion.

Fourth-quarter growth margins will drop to 5 to 7 percent, the company said, from 21.6 percent in the third quarter and 23.3 percent in the second quarter.

JA Solar said it lost a net $21.0 million in the third quarter. In the same quarter a year ago it earned $24.4 million.

It posted a one-time loss of $100 million in investments it made with Lehman, a $7.3 million loss from the derivatives deals with the bank and a 1.1 million share dilution based on shares lent to the collapsed investment bank.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’

Posted in CHINA, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, SOLAR CELLS INDUSTRIES, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

CHINA EASES RESTRICTIONS OF FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Published: November 13, 2008

by David Barboza

SHANGHAI: China agreed Thursday to loosen restrictions on foreign news and information providers inside the country, settling a trade dispute with the United States, the European Union and Canada.

The agreement, which was signed in Geneva, allows such international news and information agencies as Bloomberg, Dow Jones and Thomson Reuters to more freely compete and sell their services inside China, where government controls were tightened in 2006.

The United States and the EU had filed a case against China at the World Trade Organization in March arguing that China unfairly required foreign news and financial information providers to be licensed by the Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese state-controlled entity that is the official news agency of the Communist Party and also a direct competitor of the foreign news companies. Canada later filed its own complaint against China.

According to the settlement, China agreed to remove the requirement that financial news providers be licensed by Xinhua and instead will set up an independent regulatory agency to oversee all financial news and information providers.

Foreign news and financial services companies are eager to sell their services into China’s booming financial services market, where a growing number of Chinese companies and government agencies are seeking valuable and timely news and financial information.

The U.S. trade representative, Susan Schwab, said in a statement released Thursday that the settlement was a major step toward making financial information more widely available.

“I am very pleased we have been able to sign an agreement with China today to allow financial information suppliers like Bloomberg, Dow Jones, Thomson Reuters to operate in China free of unfair restrictions that threatened to place them at a serious advantage,” she said.

The pledge by China to establish an independent regulator is “especially important,” she added, according to Bloomberg News. “The independence of the regulator is critical to ensuring a legal environment that is free of damaging potential conflicts of interest.”

The European trade representative, Catherine Ashton, also praised the deal, according to Bloomberg.

“Today’s agreement ensures that investors and market operators will be able to receive comprehensive and objective financial information,” she said in a statement issued in Brussels.

Judith Czelusniak, a spokeswoman for Bloomberg, said the accord would encourage growth of China’s financial-services industry, economy and capital markets because it “serves the vital interests of Chinese consumers of financial information.”

“More broadly, it recognizes the benefits of open markets and competition among providers and strengthens the global trading system,” she said.

In a statement, Dow Jones, a unit of News Corp., said the agreement would “benefit our customers in China by allowing them to receive timely information so they can make sound financial decisions,” Bloomberg reported.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’

Posted in CHINA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION | Leave a Comment »

MOZAMBIQUE: FRENCH INVESTMENTS SET TO GROW

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

13 November 2008

Agência de Informação de Moçambique (Maputo)

The volume of French investment in Mozambique is set to grow significantly in the next few years, with the approval of new projects to be implemented in the country.

The outgoing French Ambassador to Mozambique, Thierry Viteau, who made the statement, was speaking to reporters shortly after meeting with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Wednesday to say farewell after completing his term of duty.

According to Viteau, French investments in Mozambique have reached 40 million Euros (48 million US dollars), but are set to grow, with the implementation of new projects, the nature of which he did not reveal.

“There are projects under discussion and we hope they will be carried out soon”, said Viteau, adding that the growth in the flow of French investments is in response to the request of Guebuza when he visited France in July 2006.

At that time, Guebuza asked French businesses to invest in Mozambique. This led to the visit by a French business delegation to the country in September 2007, to investigate for the business environment in Mozambique.

Viteau claimed that this visit had resulted in French investmen in mining and in sugar.

“Investment is rising, and with the new projects under discussion, the level will rise still further”, he said. “I cannot give you the sums involved, since this is a matter for the businesses, but obviously it’s going to grow

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PUBLISHED BY ‘ALL AFRICA.COM’

Posted in AFRICA, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FRANCE, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MINING INDUSTRIES, MOZAMBIQUE, SUGAR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

EU PRODS GOVERNMENTS TO DO MORE FOR SECURE ENERGY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Posted on Thu, Nov. 13, 2008

by Robert Wielaard

The Associated Press

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Commission told EU governments Thursday that Western Europe the European Commission sets out its vision for an Energy strategy for Europe -- The European Commission will set out the broad lines for a coherent European energy policy in a major new Green Paper.needs more power grids and pipelines to ensure reliable supplies of electricity and natural gas between now and 2050.

In a sobering assessment, it said “Europe’s energy networks are no longer up to the task of providing secure energy supplies in the foreseeable future.”

It urged governments to ease their reliance on Russia for gas by building an EU-wide distribution network so that import cuts , like those of 2006, when Russia stopped deliveries to Ukraine , can be offset by getting gas from somewhere else.

“A major benefit of a European network is that everyone can help each other … in a crisis,” the European Commission said in a “Strategic Energy Review.”

It said by 2030, 1 trillion euros ($1.25 trillion) must be spent improving the EU’s power grids and production capacity and about 150 billion euros ($188 billion) on gas networks.

It listed six costly distribution networks , including one for the Baltic region and a “southern gas corridor” to the Caspian Sea region , as priority projects.

The commission asked EU governments to endorse an energy strategy ranging from making Europe more energy efficient to diversifying its energy sources.

Energy prices rose on average 15 percent in the EU in 2007 and 54 percent of the bloc’s energy is imported , at a cost of euro700 for every EU citizen, according to EU data.

Unless this trend is reversed, imports will total 70 percent of EU energy use by 2030, said European Commission President Manuel Barroso.

Russian gas , through the Gazprom monopoly , today represents 42 percent of EU gas imports. Half of that goes to Germany and Italy. East European EU members are highly dependent on Russian gas.

The report acknowledged that gas exports give Russia political influence in the European Union.

“Political incidents in supplier or transit countries, accidents or natural disasters, remind the EU of the vulnerability of its immediate energy supply,” the report said.

To diversify imports, it listed five large-scale projects: connecting EU nations around the Baltic and North Seas; a North Sea offshore grid for wind energy; a Mediterranean “ring” to develop and share renewable energy resources as well as gas reserves in North Africa; a “Southern Corridor” to bring gas from the Caspian area into the EU; and integrating gas and electricity networks in the Balkans.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘PHILLY.COM’ (EUA)

Posted in COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, EUROPE, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, NATURAL GAS, RUSSIA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

TATA STEEL EXPANSION PLAN ON FULL SWING; NOT TO CUT PRODUCTION (India)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

13 Nov, 2008, 2052 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: Country’s largest private sector steel producer Tata Steel today said its expansion plan is TATA GROUP, INDIA - DELHI - MUMBAIgoing on full swing and has no plan to scale down production despite softening of commodity prices across the world.

“Tata Steel expansion going on in full swing. There is no plan to cut down production,” Tata Sons Director J J Irani said here.

“We are in for difficult period ongoing projects would come. Money should not be a problem,” he said. However, he added, “Ratan Tata has sent a general message that we have to be careful in the present scenario”.

The leader of the over 62-billion dollar group has asked his top honchos to focus on conserving cash and put off expansion through inorganic route unless the acquisitions were strategic in nature.

Recently, the steel producer announced setting up of a new blast furnace at its Jamshedpur unit as part of the Rs 14,000-crore brownfield expansion to augment its production capacity to 10 million tonne in over two years.

The ‘I-blast furnace’, which would have a capacity to make 3.05 million tonne of hot metal per annum, is likely to be commissioned by November 2010.

In addition to increasing the capacity of its existing unit, the steel major is in process of setting up greenfield projects in Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.

While in Jharkhand it proposes to invest about Rs 42,000 crore for a 12 million tonne integrated steel plant, in Orissa it intends to pump in nearly Rs 22,000 crore for a 6 million tonne unit.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, IRON ORE, METALS, METALS INDUSTRY, STEEL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »