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CONCRETE MASONERS PUT THEIR CASE (South Africa)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 13, 2008

11 Dec 2008

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE BUSINESS NEWS’ (South Africa)

THE claims regarding environmental issues relating to products and services are often misleading because the subject is a complex matter that is fraught with misinformation and half truths. The claims often only select snippets of information, and the attributes often have no real impact on the environmental issues at large, says Bob Low of Inca, talking on behalf of concrete masoners.

It is therefore key to any discussion relating to environmental issues, to ask the right questions, namely:

– What environmental issues are being addressed? (e.g. global warming, energy, biodiversity, water scarcity etc).

– Are the claims material to environmental issues at large?

– Is the entire ‘cradle to grave’ life cycle (i.e. manufacturing, operational life and end of life) taken into account?

The main concern with environmental issues today relate to global warming, which is directly proportional to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. Over 90% of CO2emissions in South Africa are produced in the burning of fossil fuels to produce energy. It is therefore safe to assume that the energy employed during the entire life cycle of the product has a direct impact on global warming issues.

It is estimated that South Africa produces 3.5 billion bricks per annum which equates to 1.6 million tons of CO2 per annum. To put this into context, brick production has the equivalent global warming contribution as the annual emissions from 360 000 average sized sedan cars.

Bricks also constitute approximately 30-60% of a buildings total embodied energy. The global warming effect from masonry products is therefore substantial and material to the environmental issues at large.

One has to analyse the carbon footprint of masonry holistically. The energy employed in the manufacturing of the product (i.e. embodied energy), the energy efficiency of a building built with different masonry materials (i.e. operational energy), and the energy savings resulting from recycling all have be taken into account, before a fair judgment can be made about a products complete environmental impact, Low says.

Embodied energy refers to the amount of energy required to produce the product. Clay and concrete bricks (also called cement bricks in the industry) both employ energy intensive processes. The main contributor of the carbon footprint in clay bricks is in the firing process. Clay is fired in kilns at 1000°C for 2 – 3 days.

The main contributor of embodied energy in concrete is cement. Cement only comprises 10% of a concrete brick. Cement is produced by heating limestone and other materials at 1450°C for 30 minutes. It therefore stands to reason that concrete bricks employ substantially less energy to produce than clay bricks. International and local research concur that the embodied energy of clay products are 2.5MJ / kg whilst concrete bricks are 0.95MJ / kg, according to Low.

The operational life refers to the energy utilized in the life time of the building to heat and cool the ambient temperatures. Clay and concrete have marginally different thermal properties. Concrete generally has a higher thermal capacity (i.e. ability to store heat), which enables the product to store heat at night and release this stored heat during the day. Clay has however better thermal resistance properties making it a better insulating material. Clay and concrete therefore effect the energy utilization of a building differently in different climatic conditions.

“This is however a nebulous comparison as studies show that the choice of masonry has a marginal effect of a buildings energy utilization as more than 80% of heat is transferred via windows, doors and ceilings,” says Low.

He points out that all concrete is 100% recyclable and makes an excellent aggregate to produce other concrete bricks. Clay bricks can be recycled to form sub-base materials in the construction industry. The recycling process ultimately reduces the total embodied energy by only 0.08 MJ / kg (i.e. 8%) which has a marginal effect on the cradle to grave total carbon footprint of clay and concrete masonry.

Low says the correct choice of masonry products will have a massive impact on green house emissions and energy consumption. Embodied energy, the only differential between masonry products, is the most critical and important factor in the entire life cycle of masonry in a building and can account for up to 60% of a buildings embodied energy. Masonry has little impact on the energy utilization during the life of a building and all masonry materials can be recycled effectively.

Concrete has a carbon footprint 2.5 times less than an equivalent clay brick, and the choice of concrete can therefore reduce the carbon emissions of a mid size residential dwelling by 30 tons, which is equivalent to a cars emissions for 7 years. The choice of masonry material is the easiest and most cost effective manner to substantially reduce a buildings carbon footprint, says Low.

FROM SCRATCH NEWSWIRE EDITORIAL BOARD – We would like to highlight the fact that the author of the above text simply did not mention all the mining procedures as to what concerns cement production.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE BUSINESS NEWS’ (South Africa)

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Posted in CEMENT, CHEMICALS (processed components), COAL, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MINING INDUSTRIES, RECESSION, RECYCLING INDUSTRIES, SOUTH AFRICA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET | Leave a Comment »

RUBBLE TOO HAS ITS USES (South Africa)_

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 13, 2008

10 Dec 2008

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE BUSINESS NEWS’ (South Africa)

Black empowered construction materials supplier, Afrimat Limited, is actively involved in the promotion and manufacturing of crushed rubble. Through its subsidiaries, Malans Quarries and Melani Materials, Afrimat has been involved in marketing crushed rubble since the early nineties.

On one of the company’s initial projects – the demolition of the Paarden Island Power Station – material was crushed and sold commercially instead of being carted and dumped at the municipal landfill sites which would have wasted vital air space.

It has not always been plain sailing for the material due to the reluctance from some quarters to use crushed rubble because of concerns about durability and its lacking track record. Divisional manager for Afrimat Cape Town Hylton Hale emphasises that this is definitely not the case as in the nearly 20 years that Afrimat has supplied crushed rubble there have been only two recorded minor failures, which were easily resolved using replacement recycled material.

This prompted the company to approach the University of Cape Town’s Civil Engineering Department in 2002 to embark on a research programme on the use of recycled aggregates in concrete and road layer works. A detailed report was compiled, outlining the use and capabilities of crushed rubble. The report demonstrated that the material is a viable option provided certain criteria such as initial raw material sorting and the exclusion of organic, plastic and other waste, is met.

Since the company has entered the recycling world, Afrimat, through Malans Quarries, has sold over 2.5 million tonnes of recycled road building material.

The company has supplied this material to some prestigious projects including the parking areas and minor roads in the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Grand West Casino, Somerset Mall, Westlake Office Park, Noordhoek Shopping Mall, Cape Town Convention Centre, Century City, amongst others. Afrimat has also supplied recycled material to a number of urban minor roads in townships throughout the Cape Metropolis.

Notably, the City of Cape Town has now recognised the use of recycled material in construction as evidenced in their recent tender for contractors to crush waste rubble at their landfill sites.

Afrimat Cape Town was awarded the contract and distributes and manufactures crushed concrete base and sub base from the Bellville South, Coastal Park and Gordons Bay sites.

“Crushed rubble is here to stay as it not only provides a more economical solution to road building but also plays a vital role in combating minimisation of the ever-expanding and valuable air space at our municipal landfill sites,” says Hale.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE BUSINESS NEWS’ (South Africa)

Posted in COMMERCE, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, RECYCLING INDUSTRIES, SOUTH AFRICA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET | 1 Comment »

CONGRESO AUTORIZA ENDEUDAMIENTO POR US5,000 MILLONES EN 2009 – BM ABRE LA CARTERA PARA MÉXICO; PONE A DISPOSICIÓN US3,000 MILLONES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 12, 2008

11 Diciembre, 2008 – 17:16

APR

PUBLISHED BY ‘EL ECONOMISTA’ (Mexico)

El Banco Mundial (BM) está dispuesto a otorgar a México hasta 3,000 millones de dólares en financiamiento para 2009, anunció el director de la institución para México y Colombia, Axel Van Trotsenburg.

En rueda de prensa conjunta con funcionarios de la Secretaría de Hacienda y el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, destacó que la cifra supera los 2,400 millones de dólares que en total prestará este año al país, de los cuales 400 millones canalizará la próxima semana.

“El Banco Mundial tiene una relación privilegiada con México en el último año y medio”, situación que permite al organismo multilateral definir su relación con países medios.

Por su parte, el titular de la Unidad de Asuntos Hacendarios Internacionales de la Secretaria de Hacienda, Ricardo Ochoa, informó que el Congreso autorizó para 2009 un endeudamiento externo neto por 5,000 millones de dólares.

Esos recursos se utilizaran para el desarrollo de infraestructura, vivienda, medio ambiente y programas sociales, precisó.

Ochoa recordó que el nivel de endeudamiento externo aprobado para el presente año fue de 1,500 millones de dólares.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘EL ECONOMISTA’ (Mexico)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EDUCATION, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, MEXICO, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WORLD BANK | Leave a Comment »

PARA CONSTRUIR EDIFICIO PARA PROYECTO DE LEARJET 85, BOMBARDIER INVERTIRÁ US250 MILLONES EN QUERÉTARO PARA PROYECTO LEARJET (Mexico)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 12, 2008

11 Diciembre, 2008 – 19:44

APR

PUBLISHED BY ‘EL ECONOMISTA’ (Mexico)

El vicepresidente de Operaciones Bombardier Aerospace México, Réal Gervais, informó que durante la primera mitad del
próximo año, iniciará la construcción de un edificio para el proyecto Learjet 85.

El proyecto contempla una inversión por 250 millones de dólares, generará entre 600 y 700 nuevos empleos y se ubicará en el parque Aeroespacial en el municipio de El marqués.

Aclaró que este Learjet es diferente a los modelos que recientemente tuvieron problemas y causaron los accidentes aéreos; la nueva inversión complementa los 200 millones de dólares que se anunciaron con la llegada de esta empresa a Querétaro en octubre del 2005.

‘El proyecto Learjet 85 es muy importante para Bombardier, es totalmente nuevo para la empresa, es un avión totalmente nuevo de hecho, es muy importante también porque utiliza la última tecnología a partir de materiales compuestos para la elaboración de fuselaje y otras piezas, es totalmente distinto a los otros modelos Lear’, dijo.

La manufactura de la estructura de materiales compuestos de Learjet se realizará en la entidad y la terminación de interiores, los vuelos de prueba y la entrega final al cliente se llevarán a cabo en Estados Unidos.

Réal Gervais indicó que la empresa es muy cuidadosa con las inversiones frente a las condiciones económicas que se esperan para el próximo año, por lo que extremará la vigilancia ‘sobre todo en el primer cuarto del 2009’.

Hasta el momento no hay afectaciones, toda vez que el registro de órdenes de compra de Bombardier asciende a 26.1 millones de dólares y no hay cancelaciones extraordinarias de trabajo.

La empresa espera que para el 2010 se llegue a 2,000 empleados, toda vez que ahora se cuenta con 1,200 trabajadores de los que 150 son del área administrativa.

‘Los planes de la empresa no han cambiado en términos de lo que se está produciendo en Querétaro y actualmente 500 personas se dedican a la parte de ensambles de arneses eléctricos y más de 500 personas están dedicadas al ensamble de diferentes componentes estructurales’, detalló.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘EL ECONOMISTA’ (Mexico)

Posted in AIR TRANSPORT INDUSTRY, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, MEXICO, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES, USA | Leave a Comment »

AUNQUE SE DESACELERA 0.48% CON RESPECTO A AGOSTO – Inversión fija bruta sube 7.6% en septiembre: INEGI (Mexico)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 12, 2008

11 Diciembre, 2008 – 15:53

APR

PUBLISHED BY ‘EL ECONOMISTA’ (Mexico)

La inversión que hicieron las empresas en México subió un 7.6% en septiembre frente al mismo mes del año pasado, dijo el instituto de estadísticas, por arriba de lo esperado por el mercado.

Analistas consultados por Reuters esperaban un alza del 5.59% en la inversión para septiembre, según el promedio de un sondeo MEX17 entre 13 especialistas. La mediana de la encuesta había sido del 7.0 por ciento.

La inversión en maquinaria y equipo creció un 21.1% en septiembre a tasa anual, pero en la construcción cayó un 1.6%, según el reporte del Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI).

En cifras desestacionalizadas, la inversión fija bruta cayó un 0.48% en septiembre con respecto a agosto.

El año pasado, la inversión se expandió un 6.7%, mientras el Producto Interno Bruto (PIB) creció un 3.3 por ciento.

Para este año, tanto el Gobierno como el Banco de México (central) esperan una expansión de la economía del 2.0 por ciento.

En el 2009, el banco central pronostica una desaceleración hasta un nivel de entre 0.5 y 1.5%, mientras que el Gobierno prevé una expansión del 1.8 por ciento.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘EL ECONOMISTA’ (Mexico)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, MEXICO, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

REPUBLIC WINDOWS OWNER LINKED TO IOWA PLANT PURCHASE (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 10, 2008

December 08, 2008 – 7:18 PM

by Peter Sachs

PUBLISHED BY ‘CHIGAGO TRIBUNE’ (USA)

A company managed by the wife of Republic Windows and Doors owner Richard Gillman recently purchased an Iowa plant that manufactures similar products, according to public records.

Gillman has come under fire in recent days for abruptly closing Republic’s Goose Island plant and refusing to provide workers there with the 60 days notice and pay required by federal labor law.

Echo Windows and Doors was created two weeks ago and lists Sharon Gillman as its manager, according copies of records obtained by the Daily News from the Iowa Secretary of the State. According to Cook County property tax records, Sharon Gillman is Richard Gillman’s wife.

The couple purchased a $2.6 million Oak Street condo together in 2007, according to property records.

The Gillimans could not be reached for comment today. But this afternoon, Richard Gillman released a statement confirming the creation of the new company.

Also, Amy Zimmerman, who has served as Republic’s marketing director, is now listed as the contact on the newly registered echowindows.com domain name. She refused comment today.

Republic officials have blamed the shutdown on Bank of America’s refusal to provide continued financing.

Republic employees have staged a sit-in at the company’s plant since Friday, and have enlisted numerous politicians in their cause.

Earlier today, Gov. Rod Blagojevich said the state would stop doing business with the bank until it gives Republic the money it needs to stay afloat. Local elected officials, as well as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and President-elect Barack Obama, have urged the company to give the workers their 60 days of pay.

The Iowa plant was formerly operated by TRACO, a window company headquartered in Pennsylvania. Traco confirmed the sale to Echo in a news release last week.

Workers at the plant say Echo officials visited the plant on Thursday, informing them of the sale and shutting down production briefly to do a full inventory of the factory.

“Everybody seemed like they were just kind of confused the day that I was there,” says Herald Wiltshire, an employee there.

Two weeks ago, Traco switched from running two production shifts per day to just one, citing slowing orders for their windows, Wiltshire said. About that same time, the company announced layoffs at another one of its factories, in Bainbridge, Ga., the Post-Searchlight newspaper reported.

But on Friday, the Red Oak plant started up its second shift again, following the announcement from Echo, Wiltshire says.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘CHIGAGO TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

REPUBLIC WINDOWS & DOORS PLANT SIT-IN STILL A STALEMATE – FIRM’S TALKS WITH BANK OF AMERICA, UNION CONTINUE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 10, 2008

December 10, 2008

by Robert Mitchum – Tribune reporter – Tribune reporters Hal Dardick and Dan Mihalopoulos contributed to this report

PUBLISHED BY ‘CHIGAGO TRIBUNE’ (USA)

An offer by Bank of America to extend more credit to Republic Windows & Doors on Goose Island failed by late Tuesday to develop into an agreement to dislodge workers who have been occupying the closed plant for five days in protest of losing pay and benefits.

Representatives of the bank, the company and the workers’ union met for more than seven hours Tuesday, the second straight day of talks aimed at resolving the standoff. The media frenzy surrounding the situation ebbed as attention was focused on the arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges. But community support remained strong, with several unions and religious leaders leading spirited demonstrations outside the building and lending support to the 200 workers and their families inside.

Restless but optimistic, Ricardo Caceres, 39, a 15-year Republic worker, said as the talks dragged on, “I’m waiting for whatever, the good news and the bad news. Everybody’s prepared,” he said.

Meanwhile, city officials, including Mayor Richard Daley, continued to lament the showdown. He said workers “should be paid” the vacation and severance pay they say they’re owed, and that the city is looking into whether the company should refund development funds used to construct its plant.

Republic received more than $10.4 million by the end of 2007, according to a city report. Alderman and administration officials said they were reviewing agreements with Republic which specified that the company maintain certain employment levels through 2019.

“Is there a provision in the agreement that would give the city the legal ability to recover the money?” asked Ald. Joe Moore (48th), who has backed the workers. “If not, shame on the administration and us, the City Council, for not making it part of the agreement and any other agreement.”

Early Tuesday, Bank of America sent a letter to Republic offering to provide limited loans so the company could pay employee claims. Though that sparked hope of a resolution, Bank of America spokeswoman Diane Wagner said agreement on the terms of those payments was still to be reached between management and union representatives.

“We’ll worry about ourselves later; right now we want to do what’s right for those employees,” Wagner said.

She also responded to a timeline released by Republic Monday, which stated that the company had proposed plans in October for an “orderly wind down” of the factory that the bank rejected. The bank had been concerned about Republic’s finances since February and had discussions with owners about closing the plant as early as July.

“Republic had plenty of time to give their employees 60 days’ notice under the WARN act,” Wagner said. “But instead they kept employees in the dark about the company’s dire financial circumstances.”

Workers and their supporters say the company may have violated that federal law by not telling them of the closing until just days before the plant was shuttered.

Wagner also clarified that Bank of America did not cut credit to Republic last week. Rather, she said, Republic maxed out its line of credit from the bank.

Outside the factory Tuesday morning, more than 100 members of religious group Interfaith Worker Justice held a prayer service, sang spirituals and gave fiery speeches in support of the workers.

“I don’t believe that the American people would have $25 billion go to a bank while workers who need the support for that money are standing outside on the street with nothing in their pockets,” said Rev. Nelson Johnson, a pastor from Greensboro, N.C.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘CHIGAGO TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

VICTORY FOR THE UNITED ELECTRICAL WORKERS PLANT TAKEOVER IN CHICAGO! (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 10, 2008

Published: Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Author: Workers Action

PUBLISHED BY ‘PORTLAND INDYMEDIA’ (USA)

On December 5, in Chicago, the owners of Republic Windows and Doors were set to close their doors after declaring financial ruin and abruptly laid off its 260 mostly Latino workers. Rather than passively accepting this kick in the teeth, the United Electrical Workers Union (UE) members decided to fight back, using a tactic not seen in this country since the 1930’s. They occupied the factory and have continued to do so in shifts since Friday.

This struggle is of exceptional importance because of its boldness in responding to the economic crisis and how it is affecting working people. This boldness could set an example for future confrontations and therefore deserves the attention and support of all workers.

The chain of events leading to this crisis started when Republic Window’s creditor, Bank of America, refused to extend credit to the company. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Republic Window’s sales had fallen from $4 million to $2.9 million in the last month. However, Bank of America is flush with $25 billion from the bi-partisan bail out. At a solidarity demonstration outside the plant on Saturday, protesters expressed the situation concisely with stickers and signs reading, “You got bailed out, we got sold out.”

Workers are demanding $1.5 million in severance and vacation pay owed them by management. Federal law mandates that workers get paid for unused vacation time and are either given 60 days notice of a mass layoff or pay for that time. The UE workers were only given three days notice of the closing. Republic Window and Door’s officials are claiming that Bank of America is not allowing them to make these required payments and benefit adjustments. Bank of America has responded by stating that they have no “…right to control whether a company complies with applicable laws or honors its commitment to its employees.” While this bickering between thieves continues, the workers’ intolerable situation and justified anger remains. “We aren’t animals,” Apolinar Cabrera, a 17-year Republic Windows employee, told Chicago Town Daily News. “We’re human beings and deserve to be treated like human beings.”

Workers have also expressed their suspicion that Republic Windows and Doors intends to move out of state and restructure their finances, leaving debt and misery in the wake. Some have reported that as early as two weeks ago the company started moving equipment out of the plant.

In this economic crisis, given what the capitalists are trying to get away with by making working people pay for the recession, the stakes are high. A 14-year machine operator at the company, Ron Bender, observed, “We’re doing this for the other working people in the country. What’s happened to us can happen to anyone — they could just close up and put you out and give you no severance pay.”

The AFL-CIO and Change to Win, as well as all other organizations concerned with the rights of working people should line up in solidarity with these UE members by educating and mobilizing their ranks in support. A victory could embolden workers across the country to resist the results of Wall Street’s greed and the bailout, which will be all the more needed as times grow harder. It could serve as a stepping stone for greater victories in the future where workers will not simply demand vacation and severance pay from a bankrupt company, but demand that such a company be nationalized under workers’ control. Furthermore, such a working class movement could go beyond addressing the problems at a given company and win victories for all workers in the areas of health care, ending the current wars, ensuring adequate funding for education, creating jobs for all, and so on.

The news has been brutal and frightening for workers over the last few months. A worldwide recession of unknown depth and duration is unfolding. In this country, the number of home foreclosures is expected to hit seven million by the end of the year. Last month alone 533,000 workers lost their jobs, contributing to the highest unemployment rate in 15 years. And while this decline accelerates, workers have been stung with a Democratic Party-led bi-partisan bailout of the financial institutions whose reckless greed is responsible for this mess. The New York Times estimates that this rescue package for the wealthy will cost seven trillion American taxpayer dollars (see “The Bail Out Intensifies” on this site). While this arrangement helps to ease the capitalists’ anxiety, they place a dark cloud over working people’s future. Rather than promoting economic growth, the bailout measures are more likely to result in hoarding on the part of the bailout’s beneficiaries as well as produce inflation. Meanwhile, unemployment will continue to climb, and there will be further slicing of our already cut-to-the-bone social safety net by the capitalists’ politicians.

The inevitable consequence of such developments is that people are left with no choice but to fight against the conditions they are forced to endure. They begin to see that there are opposed interests at play between those who control the economy and political system, and those who are expected to do all the sacrificing. Workers will be compelled to act and, as a result, begin to become aware of themselves as a class where, if they are to defend themselves and their rights, must unite against those who are accustomed to ruling them without question. Under such circumstances, the workers’ demands are always modest and partial to begin with, but, to the degree that their actions rely on their independent strength as a class, they plot a course towards growing confrontation with the capitalist status quo and thereby raise the question of who shall control society, working people or the rich minority. Nationwide, such a course initially starts with an accumulation of small skirmishes, unavoidably leading to a social explosion that can place the working class’ interests on the historical stage in a way that would have been seen as impossible just a short time ago. The worker’s occupation of Republic Windows and Doors could prove to be a skirmish that sets the example for a working class upsurge that will bring more change and hope into our lives than any capitalist politician ever could.

There is no telling how long this occupation and the struggle behind it will continue. Workers, Republic Windows and Doors, and Bank of America are supposed to meet at 4:00pm on Monday. Nevertheless, these workers’ actions have already made a mark in labor history. Food has been coming for them from all over in solidarity. You can donate by going to http://www.ueunion.org and clicking on “anger in Chicago,” or by writing a check payable to the “UE Local 110 Solidarity Fund” and sending it to UE Local 1110 Solidarity Fund, 37 S. Ashland, Chicago, IL 60607. Messages of support can be sent to organizer Leah Fried. At the Jobs with Justice Web site, you can send a message of protest to Bank of America. http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/12/101949.html. You can also call UE at 312-829-8300.

Even President-elect, Barak Obama, because of massive public support for the UE workers, has felt compelled to offer support to the workers at Republic Windows and Doors in the form of lip service, without promising any specific action.

Organized labor should call on the government to take over Republic Windows and Doors and let the workers run the plant themselves. This demand could be part of a government emergency public works project that would make all public buildings, beginning with public housing, more energy efficient by installing new windows and doors. Such a program could then be the first step in establishing a broad-based coalition that would advocate a public works program that would put people back to work while maintaining their standard of living. This program could instill confidence among working people and their allies and inspire them to proceed onwards to fundamentally change the economic system so that it would serve the needs of people, not the pursuit of profits for the rich.

In these hard times, now more than ever, an injury to one is an injury to all. A victory for UE Local 1110 at Republic Windows is a victory for all workers!

HOMEPAGE: WORKERS ACTION

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘PORTLAND INDYMEDIA’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENERGY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND CONSCIENCE, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

CEMENT COMPANIES CUT PRICES (India)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 9, 2008

10 Dec 2008, 01:29 hrs IST

AGENCIES

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES OF INDIA’

NEW DELHI: Major cement manufacturers, including ACC, Ambuja Cements and Shree Cement, on Tuesday announced CEMENT FACEprice cuts by up to Rs 7 per bag in response to the government’s move to reduce CENVAT by 4%. The companies, however, have not passed on the entire benefit of excise duty cut due to hike in railway freight by about 8% from Monday.

Led by the country’s largest manufacturer ACC, leading firms like Ambuja, JK Lakshmi, JK Cement, Dalmia Cement and Shree Cement have slashed their rates. Cement is available between Rs 150 and Rs 250 across the country.

ACC cut the prices by up to Rs 5 per bag, while Ambuja Cements reduced by up to Rs 6 per bag at different places across the country.

“The Indian Railways have increased the freight tariff by changing the classification for coal and cement which is expected to push the prices of cement up by Rs 1.50 to Rs 2 per bag. After factoring in the increased railway tariff, the price of our cement is expected to go down by Rs 4 to Rs 6 per bag from today,” Ambuja Cements said.

The maximum amount of reduction was announced by Delhi-based JK Lakshmi Cement by up to Rs 7 a bag.

The company’s whole time director Shailendra Chouksey said the highest quantum of reduction would take place in Uttarakhand, while in Delhi it would come down by Rs 5. “We are also evaluating the freight charge hike by the Railways. This reduction (in cement prices) has been done considering that fact also,” Chouksey said.

Other manufacturers like JK Cement, Shree Cement and Dalmia Cement have also reduced cement prices between Rs 4 and Rs 5 across the country.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES OF INDIA’ (UK)

Posted in CEMENT, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, RUPEE (India) | Leave a Comment »

INDIA-RUSSIA NUCLEAR DEAL SIGNED

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 8, 2008

Friday, 5 December 2008, 11:35 GMT

FOLHA ONLINE

PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

Visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a key deal to build four nuclear power plants in India.

President Medvedev signed the accord in the Indian capital, Delhi, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The deal follows the landmark civilian nuclear accord between India and United States earlier this year.

In September, the Nuclear Suppliers Group lifted a ban that had stopped India from getting access to the global nuclear market.

The Russian agreement is part of a series of deals, including ones on space and defence sales.

Third country

Russia will now build four nuclear energy reactors at Kudankulam in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Russia is already building two other reactors at the Kudankulam site.

Russia becomes the third country to sign a nuclear deal with India after the signing of the India-US agreement which allows India access to civilian nuclear technology and fuel.

France has also signed a co-operation pact with Delhi.

Moscow and Delhi also signed a deal under which Russia will assist India in its space programme, including sending Indian astronauts into space.

And India will buy 80 military helicopters from Russia, cementing a relationship that dates back to the Cold War.

President Medvedev also pledged to support India’s fight against terrorism following last week’s Mumbai attacks.

The Russian president is on a three-day visit. On his arrival in Delhi, he was welcomed with a full military salute at the presidential palace.

Later, he visited the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation.

India and Russia have been traditional allies and around 70% of India’s military hardware comes from Russia.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

Posted in COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MILITARY CONTRACTS, NUCLEAR ENERGY, RUSSIA, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA | 1 Comment »

OBAMA BANKING ON LARGE-SCALE PUBLIC WORKS PROJECT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

Posted on Sat, Dec. 6, 2008

by Ann Sanner – The Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘PHILLY.COM’ (USA)

OBAMA TRANSITION: CHANGE.GOV

CHICAGO – President-elect Barack Obama said Saturday he wants to revive the economy through a job-creating public works plan on a scale unseen since the building program of the interstate highway system in the 1950s.

He offered no price estimate for the grand plan, how the money might be divided or the effect on the country’s financial health at a time of burgeoning deficits.

The ideas were outlined in the weekly radio address the day after the government reported that employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, the most in 34 years. They are part of a vision for a massive economy recovery plan Obama wants Congress to pass and have waiting on his desk when he takes office Jan. 20.

The president-elect’s address never once used the word “spend,” relying instead on “invest” or “investments,” and pledging wise stewardship of taxpayer money in upgrading roads and schools, and making public buildings more energy-efficient.

“We won’t just throw money at the problem,” Obama said. “We’ll measure progress by the reforms we make and the results we achieve , by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.”

Obama said his plan would employ millions of people by “making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s.” He said state officials would lose the federal dollars if they did not quickly use the money to repair highways and bridges.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, a 1991 final estimate of the cost of the interstate system put it at $128.9 billion, with a federal share of $114.3 billion. The estimate covered only the mileage (42,795 miles) built under the interstate construction program. Construction of the system began in 1956 under President Dwight Eisenhower.

More than 5,000 highway projects are ready to go today, state transportation officials say, if Congress will pony up $64.3 billion as part of an economic aid plan. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which compiled the list, said the projects would provide jobs and help reduce a backlog of crumbling roads and bridges.

A bipartisan group of governors recently met with Obama to press for some $136 billion in infrastructure projects in addition to money for health care costs.

Several governors welcomed Obama’s economic plan.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said the state had more than a billion dollars in “ready-to-go” projects that have been planned for and can be under contract within 180 days. “His plan will put people to work and give the economy a critically important boost,” Kaine said in a written statement.

In a joint statement, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said it would help the U.S. stay ahead of other countries. “To stay competitive globally, the time to repair and modernize our nation’s infrastructure is now,” they said.

In the address, Obama also said he wants to install energy-saving light bulbs and replace old heating systems in federal buildings to cut costs and create jobs.

School buildings would get an upgrade, too. “Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools,” Obama said.

As a part of the package, Obama said he wants to expand broadband Internet access in communities. “Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online,” he said.

Hospitals also should be connected to each through the Internet. He said he wanted to ensure the facilities were using the latest technology and electronic medical records.

Obama planned to announce more details of the economic recovery plan in the coming weeks.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘PHILLY.COM’ (USA)

Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | 1 Comment »

BRITISH HOUSE PRICES PLUNGE AT RECORD ANNUAL PACE: SURVEY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 6, 2008

4 Dec 2008, 1723 hrs IST

AGENCIES

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

LONDON: British house prices slumped by a record 14.9 percent in the three months to November compared to a year earlier, the country’s biggest provider of home loans said Thursday in the latest sign of a growing recession.

Prices also fell 2.6 percent on a monthly basis from October to November, cutting the average price of a house to 163,605 pounds ($237,650, 188,760 euros), said the Halifax, which is part of British bank HBOS.

The annual figure was the largest drop since the series was launched in 1983, while the monthly decline was the biggest since September 1992.

“The combination of high house prices in relation to earnings, constraints on householders’ incomes and spending power and the decline in the availability of mortgage finance since the summer of 2007 has curbed housing demand,” said Halifax chief economist Martin Ellis.

“These factors are major contributors to lower house prices and activity.”

Lower house prices, however, mean that a key housing affordability measure, the ratio of house prices to earnings, was at its most favourable for more than five years, the Halifax said.

Despite recent sharp house-price falls, the average home costs 124 percent more than ten years ago, when it was worth just 73,129 pounds, the bank added.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

QATAR LOOKS TO GROW FOOD IN KENYA -THE GULF STATE HAS JOINED A GROWING LIST OF RICH COUNTRIES THAT WANT TO GROW FOOD IN POOR COUNTRIES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 5, 2008

Tuesday December 2 2008 16.58 GMT

Xan Rice in Nairobi – guardian.co.uk

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Qatar has asked Kenya to lease it 40,000 hectares of land to grow crops as part of a proposed package that would also see the Gulf state fund a new £2.4bn port on the popular tourist island of Lamu off the east African country.

The deal is the latest example of wealthy countries and companies trying to secure food supplies from the developing world.

Other Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have also been negotiating leases of large tracts of farmland in countries such as Sudan and Senegal since the global food shortages and price rises earlier this year.

The Kenyan president, Mwai Kibaki, returned from a visit to Qatar on Monday. His spokesman said the request for land in the Tana river delta, south of Lamu, in north-east Kenya was being seriously considered.

“Nothing comes for free,” said Isaiah Kabira. “If you want people to invest in your country then you have to make concessions.”

But the deal is likely to cause concern in Kenya where fertile land is unequally distributed. Several prominent political families own huge tracts of farmland, while millions of people live in densely packed slums.

The country is also experiencing a food crisis, with the government forced to introduce subsidies and price controls on maize this week after poor production and planning caused the price of the staple “ugali” flour to double in less than a year.

Kibaki said that Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was keen to invest in a second port to complement Mombasa, which serves as a gateway for goods bound for Uganda and Rwanda and is struggling to cope with the large volumes of cargo.

By building docks in Lamu, Kenya hopes to open a new trade corridor that will give landlocked Ethiopia and the autonomous region of Southern Sudan access to the Indian Ocean. Kabira said that if the financing was agreed, construction of the port would begin in 2010.

Qatar, which has large oil and gas revenues, imports most of its food, as most of its land is barren desert and just 1% is suitable for arable farming. It has already reportedly struck deals this year to grow rice in Cambodia, maize and wheat in Sudan and vegetables in Vietnam.

Much of the produce will be exported to the Gulf. Qatar’s foreign ministry in Doha did not return calls today, but Kabira said that its intention was to grow “vegetables and fruit” in Kenya.

The area proposed for the farming project is near the Tana river delta where the Kenyan government owns nearly 500,000 hectares (1.3m acres) of uncultivated land.

But a separate agreement to allow a local company to grow sugarcane and build a factory in the area has attracted fierce opposition from environmentalists who say a pristine ecosystem of mangrove swamps, savannah and forests will be destroyed.

Pastoralists, who regard the land as communal and rear up to 60,000 cattle to graze in the delta each dry season, are also opposed to the plan.

“We will have to ensure that this new project is properly explained to the people before it can go ahead,” said Kabira.

The sudden rush by foreign governments and companies to secure food supplies in Africa has some experts worried. Jacques Diouf, director general of the UN’s food and agricultural organisation (FAO), recently spoke of the risk of a “neo-colonial” agricultural system emerging.

The FAO said some of the first overseas projects by Gulf companies in Sudan, where more than 5 million people receive international food aid, showed limited local benefits, with much of the specialist labour and farming inputs imported.

A deal struck last month by Daewoo Logistics and Madagascar to grow crops on 1.3m hectares of land also attracted strong criticism. While the South Korean firm has promised to provide local jobs and will have to invest in building roads and farming infrastructure, it is paying no upfront fee and has a 99-year lease.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Posted in 'DOHA TALKS', AGRICULTURE, BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FOREIGN POLICIES, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, KENYA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, QATAR, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, ROAD TRANSPORT, SOUTH KOREA, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE UNITED NATIONS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES, WATER | Leave a Comment »

BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES – Not a pretty site – Project reviews in the mining sector have raised uncertainty about growth and helped undermine building and construction share prices (South Africa)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 4, 2008

28 November 2008

by Andrew McNulty

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL MAIL’ (South Africa)

A few months ago, building & construction shares were priced at a large premium to the local stock market. After steep falls in recent weeks, that has changed markedly.

Murray & Roberts (M&R) and Aveng, the two biggest companies in the sector, have fallen by almost 60% in less than three months. They now trade on historical p:e ratios of less than eight, in line with – or below – the market average.

This may seem anomalous, as infrastructure and related investment is expected to be the healthiest area of the economy over the next year. Several companies have reported large order books and expressed confidence that the work will go ahead.

But the shares reflect dwindling investor confidence in the sector and increased uncertainty about the earnings outlook beyond next year.

WHAT IT MEANS
Earnings and order books remain strong

Uncertainty about the outlook has increased

The price weakness is linked partly to weakness in specific areas. After the collapse in commodity prices, mining companies are reviewing capital projects and some have announced project deferrals. The steel sector is cutting production and curbing prices. And activity in the residential sector is flat or declining.

These changes will directly affect some companies’ earnings. At Aveng’s AGM on October 24, chairman Angus Band said a lower steel price and lower vehicle sales will be bad for the group’s manufacturing and processing businesses, which include Trident Steel, a trading company.

However, Band also highlighted a broader change. His annual review, written in July, said the infrastructure landscape remained “very positive”, with opportunities extending well beyond 2010, especially in the power, roads and transport environment, while commodity prices were expected to fuel demand for infrastructure projects for mining houses.

At the AGM, Band said the global investment climate had since changed significantly because of the liquidity squeeze and economic slowdown.

He added that Aveng’s customers will “inevitably find it more difficult and more expensive” to fund projects and that’s likely to affect the group’s order books in the medium term.

Aveng’s share has fallen 33% since Band made that statement. For many investors, it confirms a more uncertain and possibly bearish outlook for a sector with a cyclical history.

“Nasty surprises are the norm in the international building & construction sector,” says independent analyst Mark Ingham, who has specialised in the sector for more than a decade. “A few companies, such as WBHO, have been consistent, but people did get carried away with the ‘dotcon’ theme.”

Ingham cites two areas of uncertainty. One is order books, and whether these companies will continue to secure new work in the medium term to replace existing projects. The other is margins, which are at historically high levels but may fall as competition increases.

“I’ve felt for a while that margins are topping out,” Ingham adds. “In the commercial & residential sector, margins are slipping as more firms are competing for work again. The smaller contractors are already under strain.”

Coronation Fund Managers analyst Quintin Ivan says construction has been one of the most cyclical sectors on the market, and there’s little reason to think that has changed. “They don’t have annuity income streams. It’s feast or famine,” he says.

Ivan adds order books have grown to high levels, which could make it difficult for these companies to maintain growth in a slowing economy.

Investec Asset Management portfolio manager Chris Freund says the recent price declines in the sector mostly reflect selling by foreign investors and are part of a global pattern.

A year ago, rising infrastructure spending in emerging markets was being cited as a reason to buy stocks that benefit directly. Slowing global growth, withdrawal of capital from emerging markets and currency weakness are now seen as reasons to question whether spending will continue as planned.

The selling reflects a broad approach but the prospects – and uncertainties – vary between companies.

In a trading statement this week, M&R says it maintains the market guidance published earlier for the year to June 2009, but cautions shareholders to be prudent with this as “the potential impact of current market volatility may manifest itself on the construction sector and group performance in the future”.

It says cash flow constraints in a few clients has resulted in suspension or delay of projects in each of the group’s markets. It adds its project order book provides a solid performance foundation for the period up to 2012 and beyond.

This includes public works and other strategic projects – local and international – that are likely to continue and will provide stability through the “difficult times” ahead.

Cautious investors say the large SA groups’ international activities are in areas that could become more competitive. Aveng and M&R have operations in Australia; M&R and Group Five have important contracts in the Middle East. Lower prices for oil and mining products could lead to less spending on infrastructure in these regions.

However, offshore operations have helped to diversify these groups’ order books and may help mitigate weakness in domestic markets.

For now, public sector spending in SA is expected mostly to go ahead as planned. Energy and transport remain key areas. Ingham says Basil Read is well placed to benefit from an expected upturn in local roadbuilding. Raubex could also do well in this sector.

Cement & and lime producer PPC’s cement volumes were flat in the year to September. CE John Gomersall says margins are under pressure because of surging costs such as energy and transport, and the group may add an energy surcharge to its prices.

However, Gomersall says the effect on the SA economy from global market volatility is likely to be less in the infrastructure sector than in the formal residential sector. He adds that cement demand for rural and affordable housing is expected to continue, as government plans to eliminate the backlog of almost 3m houses by 2014.

Freund believes shares in the sector have been oversold. They could rise sharply when private-sector projects have resumed and there is evidence that order books are growing again. The sector would also benefit from an upturn in commodity prices.

But the shares are unlikely to recover much while the uncertainty about the growth outlook continues.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL MAIL’ (South Africa)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CEMENT, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, METALS, METALS INDUSTRY, MINING INDUSTRIES, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, SOUTH AFRICA, STEEL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS | Leave a Comment »

SA FIRM TRAINS ITS EYES ON BAY‘S FUTURE (South Africa)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 4, 2008

PORT ELIZABETH – Thursday December 4, 2008

THE HERALD BUSINESS STAFF

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE HERALD ON LINE’ (South Africa)

A NATIONAL company is expanding its training facilities and courses in Mandela Bay in a move to boost skills across a wide spectrum, from basic literacy to the building industry and management development.

Training Force branch manager Jaco van Rooyen said the operation – part of the major Workforce labour brokering and training group – was expanding to meet a forecast increased demand from various types of industries.

“Despite present conditions, we believe the Eastern Cape region will continue to grow at a swift rate and that there will be a high demand for training,” said Van Rooyen.

“This is the sixth permanent training facility we have set up in major centres throughout the country, and we also have two smaller operations,” he added.

Training would include on-site courses and training sessions as well as centralised training at the company‘s new premises in Walmer, Port Elizabeth.

Areas of speciality included transport, construction, management and adult basic education.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE HERALD ON LINE’ (South Africa)

Posted in CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EDUCATION, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, SOUTH AFRICA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES | Leave a Comment »

INÍCIO DAS OBRAS DO EDIFÍCIO MAIS ALTO DA CHINA – O projeto completa o bairro “super alto” e exibe espaço público sustentável

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 30, 2008

28 de novembro de 2008 09:38

PUBLISHED BY ‘PR NEWSWIRE BRASIL’

XANGAI, China, 28 de novembro /PRNewswire-Asia/ – O Shanghai Tower, um edifício de 632 metros (2.074 pés) de altura projetado pela Gensler, empresa líder global em projetos de arquitetura, avança estratégias sustentáveis de projeto e oferece proeminência aos espaços públicos.

A Shanghai Tower Construction & Development Co., Ltd. é a empresa que está desenvolvendo o projeto. Os engenheiros estruturais da Thornton Tomasetti, os engenheiros mecânicos, elétricos e de encanamentos da Cosentini Associates, bem como o Architectural Design and Research Institute (Instituto de Design e Pesquisa em Arquitetura) da Tongji University como o Local Design Institute (Instituto Local de Design) prestarão apoio à Gensler. A construção está prevista para ser concluída em 2014.

O Shanghai Tower está localizado na zona comercial e financeira de Luijiazui, uma área de Xangai que há 18 anos era uma área de terra cultivada. O bairro está posicionado para se tornar o primeiro bairro “super alto” da China, quando o Shanghai Tower foi construído para concluir um trio de torres que inclui o Jin Mao Tower e o Shanghai World Financial Center. Juntos, estes três edifícios criarão um novo ícone na vista de Xangai. Enquanto o projeto do Jin Mao Tower presta uma homenagem ao passado da China e o projeto do SWFC significa o recente crescimento econômico da China, o projeto do Shanghai Tower é o sinal do futuro da China. “Esta torre é símbolo de uma nação cujo futuro está repleto de oportunidades ilimitadas”, declarou Qingwei Kong, presidente da Shanghai Tower Construction & Development Co., Ltd. “Com o Shanghai Tower comemoramos não apenas o sucesso econômico e a conexão cada vez maior da China à comunidade global, como também o compromisso da nossa empresa em desenvolver propriedades que demonstrem as realizações de projetos mais altos, nobres e distintos possíveis”.

O Shanghai Tower terá um espaço para escritórios de alta categoria, varejo, um hotel luxuoso e locais culturais. Os andares mais elevados terão o deck de observação ao ar livre mais alto do mundo. O edifício do pódio da torre contará com um local para varejo de alta categoria com um enorme espaço para eventos. As instalações subterrâneas incluem varejo, conexões ao metrô de Xangai e três andares de estacionamento. “Esperamos que o Shanghai Tower inspire novas idéias com relação ao quanto um edifício alto pode ser sustentável”, disse Art Gensler, FAIA, presidente do conselho da Gensler. “Unimos o perímetro da torre, de cima para baixo, aos espaços públicos e integramos um raciocínio estratégico ambiental em cada etapa. A torre é uma etapa que ganha vida através da presença das pessoas”.

Para mais informação, por favor, contatar:

Jasmine Chien Associada Sênior Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Shanghai Tel.: +86-21-2405-1604 Email: jasmine.chien@ogilvy.com

FONTE Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Xangai

BNED: NG

FONTE: PR NEWSWIRE LATIN AMERICA

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘PR NEWSWIRE BRASIL’

Posted in CHINA, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS | Leave a Comment »

ECONOMY GROWS BY 7.6% IN Q2 (India)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 28, 2008

Saturday, 29 November 2008

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STATESMAN’ (India)

SNS & PTI

NEW DELHI, Nov. 28: Powered by construction and services, the Indian economy notched a reasonable growth rate of 7.6 per cent in the second quarter of the current fiscal.

However, experts said the latest numbers do not mean that the global financial crisis would not impact India in a big way. “We would see moderation in the second half (October-March 2009) as momentum in services sector will peter out especially in transport and hotels,” said Mr DK Joshi, economist with Crisil, a ratings and advisory firm. He now expects the Indian economy to post a growth rate of 6- 6.5 per cent in the second half of current fiscal.

Though quarterly GDP growth was the lowest since the last quarter of 2004, it was better than expected by many analysts, despite poor growth in manufacturing, agriculture and mining.

The Prime Minister’s economic panel member M Govinda Rao said: “It is better than expected, but in the second half there will be definitely a slowdown in manufacturing and services. I expect overall GDP figure to be at seven per cent this fiscal.”
Compared with the year-ago period, the Indian economy seemed to be slowing as the growth was 9.3 per cent in the second quarter of the previous fiscal, but it was expected to moderate as a consequence of the global financial crisis and other domestic factors.

For the first half of this fiscal, the economy expanded at 7.8 per cent, compared with the 9.3 per cent last fiscal. This is much in line with official expectations of 7-8 per cent growth for this fiscal, but quite higher than projected by many others.
Construction grew at 9.7 per cent, which is fairly good, even though it is slower than the 11.8 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year.

All major segments in the services sector recorded high growth, though slower than in the second quarter of the fiscal 2007-08.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STATESMAN’ (India)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MINING INDUSTRIES, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, THE WORK MARKET, TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES | Leave a Comment »

MELTDOWN FAR FROM OVER, NEW MORTGAGE CRISIS LOOMS (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 27, 2008

Thu Nov 27, 1:17 pm ET

by Matt Apuzzo – Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The full scope of the housing meltdown isn’t clear and already there are ominous signs of a new crisis — one that could turn out the lights on malls, hotels and storefronts nationwide.

Even as the holiday shopping season begins in full swing, the same events poisoning the housing market are now at work on commercial properties, and the bad news is trickling in. Malls from Michigan to Georgia are entering foreclosure.

Hotels in Tucson, Ariz., and Hilton Head, S.C., also are about to default on their mortgages.

That pace is expected to quicken. The number of late payments and defaults will double, if not triple, by the end of next year, according to analysts from Fitch Ratings Ltd., which evaluates companies’ credit.

“We’re probably in the first inning of the commercial mortgage problem,” said Scott Tross, a real estate lawyer with Herrick Feinstein in New Jersey.

That’s bad news for more than just property owners. When businesses go dark, employees lose jobs. Towns lose tax revenue. School budgets and social services feel the pinch.

Companies have survived plenty of downturns, but economists see this one playing out like never before. In the past, when businesses hit rough patches, owners negotiated with banks or refinanced their loans.

But many banks no longer hold the loans they made. Over the past decade, banks have increasingly bundled mortgages and sold them to investors. Pension funds, insurance companies, and hedge funds bought the seemingly safe securities and are now bracing for losses that could ripple through the financial system.

“It’s a toxic drug and nobody knows how bad it’s going to be,” said Paul Miller, an analyst with Friedman, Billings, Ramsey, who was among the first to sound alarm bells in the residential market.

Unlike home mortgages, businesses don’t pay their loans over 30 years. Commercial mortgages are usually written for five, seven or 10 years with big payments due at the end. About $20 billion will be due next year, covering everything from office and condo complexes to hotels and malls.

The retail outlook is particularly bad. Circuit City and Linens ‘n Things have sought bankruptcy protection. Home Depot, Sears, Ann Taylor and Foot Locker are closing stores.

Those retailers typically were paying rent that was expected to cover mortgage payments. When those $20 billion in mortgages come due next year — 2010 and 2011 totals are projected to be even higher — many property owners won’t have the money.

Some will survive, but those property owners whose loans required little money up front will have less incentive to weather the storm.

Refinancing formerly was an option, but many properties are worth less than when they were purchased. And since investors no longer want to buy commercial mortgages, banks are reluctant to write new loans to refinance those facing foreclosure.

California, New York, Texas and Florida — states with a high concentration of mortgages in the securities market, according to Fitch — are particularly vulnerable. Texas and Florida are already seeing increased delinquencies and defaults, as are Michigan, Tennessee and Georgia.

The worst-case scenario goes something like this: With banks unwilling to refinance, a shopping center goes into foreclosure. Nobody can buy the mall because banks won’t write mortgages as long as investors won’t purchase them.

“Credit markets have seized up,” corporate securities lawyer Michael Gambro said. “People are not willing to take risks. They’re not buying anything.”

That drives down investments already on the books. Insurance companies are seeing their stock prices fall on fears they are too invested in commercial mortgages.

“The system has never been tested for a deep recession,” said Ken Rosen, a real estate hedge fund manager and University of California at Berkeley professor of real estate economics.

One hope was that the U.S. would use some of the $700 billion financial bailout to buy shaky investments from banks and insurance companies. That was the original plan. But Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has issued a stunning turnabout, saying the U.S. no longer planned to buy troubled securities. For those watching the wave of commercial defaults about to crest, the announcement was poorly received.

“He’s created havoc in the marketplace by changing the rules,” Rosen said. “It was the stupidest statement on Earth.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering another option that might ease the crisis, one that would change accounting rules so banks don’t have to declare huge losses whenever the market declines.

But the only surefire remedy is for the economy to stabilize, for businesses to start expanding and for investors to trust the market again. Until then, Tross said, “There’s going to be a lot of pain going forward.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘YAHOO NEWS’

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

LOCKED OUT (UK)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 26, 2008

Wednesday November 26 2008 00.01 GMT

Editorial guardian.co.uk

The Guardian

This financial crisis began with housing, and any hope of its ending must lie with housing. That THE HOUSING MARKETdoes not just mean house prices finding some kind of bottom, but also would-be homeowners being able to get fairly priced mortgages, and securing a more stable supply of new homes. Consumers naturally focus on the prices quoted by estate agents, but yesterday both the government and the Bank of England were more worried about getting banks to lend. That is a big question in need of an urgent answer, but it is only one part of the housing puzzle. Until all the bits are solved, this boom and bust will be repeated over and over again.

Just how important is housing? Consider this. Politicians have spent the past couple of days arguing over the government’s £21bn boost to the economy. That is a big number, but it is dwarfed by what is going on in the mortgage market. There, last year’s net total of £108bn of new home loans has shrunk to around £40bn this year and could fall below zero next year. What was a hundred-billion-pound business will shrink to nearly nothing. No wonder Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, told MPs yesterday that getting banks to lend “was more important than anything else at present”. Without that, he warned, “a steep recession” beckoned.

How to end the mortgage drought? Alistair Darling appointed Sir James Crosby, the former head of HBOS, to suggest ideas. His final report was published on Monday and went (understandably) underreported, but its recommendations are eye-popping. In the summer he was equivocal about government intervention; this time he is emphatic. He suggests that Mr Darling should help get the banks themselves greater access to finance that can then be passed on to would-be homebuyers. At the bubble’s peak nearly two-thirds of mortgage lending came not from deposits, but via money markets – which are nearly frozen. The Crosby report suggests that the government should auction its services as a guarantor to banks seeking to tap into financial markets. In return, the government must require that the funds go into new mortgages.

Like so much else the government has done over the past weeks, this a big, bold gamble – and Mr Darling is right to take it. True, matters have not been helped by the government’s arm’s-length management of the part-nationalised banks, when what is needed is much more hands-on direction of lending. But banks are themselves struggling to raise money to lend. This scheme could help ease the problem and Mr Darling is right to adopt it.

Still, there is a vast chasm between a technical scheme drawn up by a financier and a policy taken up by a government. That difference can be summed up in one word: vision. The short-term priority must be to allow the property bubble to deflate in as orderly a fashion as possible so as not to send further shocks through an already traumatised economy. But over the longer term, house prices must come down and orgiastic lending and wild property speculation must be curbed.

The challenge for Mr Darling is to manage this transition. What he must not do is restore the housing market to some kind of health, only for it all to soar away again. That means ministers changing their minds on what housing is for. Gordon Brown has long believed that as many people as possible should own their homes: “a home-owning, asset-owning, property-owning democracy” was his slogan. But housing is a public good: having enough houses at fair prices ultimately matters to any society that needs teachers and nurses. To turn property into a private asset is to court bubbles, buy-to-let madness and supply problems. This financial crisis has raised many questions over where the boundary between public and private interest should lie. The housing bubble is no different.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘LIBERTY STREET’

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

50 000 ROMANIANS SACKED IN TWO MONTHS OVER FINANCIAL CRISIS EFFECTS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 24, 2008

24 November 2008, Monday

The consequences of the global financial crisis have led to the sacking of 50 000 Romanians in October and November so far, the Romanian newspaper Ziua reported Monday as quoted by the Pari Daily.

Over 150 000 Romanians in total have been made redundant in the recent months, according to the article.

The President of the National Council of Small and Medium Sized Private Enterprises in Romania Ovidiu Nicolescu is quoted as saying that the economy was in stagnation, the investments had been blockaded, and the orders from abroad had declined substantially.

The Ziua newspaper points out that Romania’s economic growth in 2009 would most likely be 4%, which twice lower than the previously expected 8%. The prognosis is based on the opinion of 11 leading economists.

Romania’s construction, manufacturing, and agriculture are expected to bear the brunt of the effects of the financial crisis.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘NOVINITE’ (Bulgaria)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, ROMANIA, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS | Leave a Comment »

A RISK WORTH TAKING – MANY ETHICAL SUB-PRIME LENDERS STILL MANAGE TO MAKE PLENTY OF MONEY.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 19, 2008

NEWSWEEK (print edition) – November 24, 2008

by Daniel Gross, with Andrew Murr in Los Angeles and Hilary Shenfeld in Chicago

In recent months, conservative economists and editorialists have tried to pin the blame for die unholy international financial mess on sub-prime lending and sub-prime borrowers. If bureaucrats and social activists hadn’t pressured firms to lend to the working poor, the narrative goes, we’d still be partying like it was 2005 and Bear Stearns would be a going concern. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page has repeatedly heaped blame on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), the 1977 law aimed at preventing redlining in minority neighborhoods. Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto in September proclaimed that “loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster.”

This line of reasoning is absurd on several levels. Many of the biggest sub-prime lenders weren’t banks, and thus weren’t covered by die CRA, Nobody forced Bear Stearns to borrow $33 for every dollar of assets it had, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac didn’t coerce highly compensated CEOs into rolling out no-money-down, exploding adjustable-rate mortgages. Banks will lose just as much money lending to really rich white guys like former Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld as they will on loans to poor people of color in the South Bronx.

But the best refutation may be provided by Douglas Bystry, president and CEO of Clearinghouse CDFI (community-development financial institution), based in Lake Forest, Calif. Since 2003, this for-profit firm in Orange County—home to busted sub-prime behemoths like Ameriquest—has made $220 million in mortgages in die Golden State’s sub-prime killing fields. More than 90 percent of its home loans have gone to first-time buyers, about half of whom are minorities. Out of 770 single-family loans it has made, how many foreclosures have there been? “As far as we know” says Bystry, “seven.” Last year Clearinghouse reported a $1.4 million pretax profit

Community-development banks, credit unions and other CDFIs—a mixture of faith-based and secular, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations — constitute what might be called the “ethical sub-prime lending” industry. Even amid the worst housing crisis since the 1930s, many of these institutions sport healthy payback rates. They haven’t bankrupted then- customers or their. Shareholders. Nor have they rushed to Washington begging for bailouts. Their numbers include tiny start-ups and veterans like Chicago’s Shore-Bank, founded in 1973, which now sports $2.3 billion in assets, 418 employees and branches in Detroit and Cleveland. Cliff Rosenthal, CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, notes that” for his organization’s 200 members, which serve predominantly low-income communities, “delinquent loans are about 3-1 percent of assets.” In the second quarter, by contrast, the national delinquency rate on sub-prime loans was 18.7 percent.

Participants in this “opportunity finance” field, as it is called, aren’t a bunch of squishy social workers. In order to keep their doors open, they have to charge appropriate rates—slightly higher than those on prime, conforming loans—and manage risk properly. They judge their results on financial performance and on the impact they have on the communities they serve. “We have to be profitable, just not profit-maximizing” says Mark Pinsky, president and CEO of the Opportunity Finance Network, an umbrella group for CDFIs that in 2007 collectively lent $2.1 billion, with charge-offs of less than 0.75 percent.

What sets the “good” sub-prime lenders apart is that they never bought into all the perverse incentives and “innovations” of the late sub-prime lending system—the fees paid to mortgage brokers, fancy offices and the reliance on securitization. Like a bunch of present-day George Baileys, ethical sub-prime lenders evaluate applications carefully, don’t pay brokers big fees to rope customers into high-interest loans and mostly hold onto the loans they make rather than reselling them. They focus less on quantity than on quality. Clearinghouse’s borrowers must qualify for the fixed-rate mortgages they take out. “If one of our employees pushed someone into a house they couldn’t afford, they would be fired,” says CEO Bystry.

These lenders put into practice the types of bromides that financial-services companies like to use in their advertising. “We’re in business to improve people’s lives and do asset building,” says Linda Levy, CEO of the Lower East Side Credit Union. The 7,500-member nonprofit, based on still-scruffy Avenue B, doesn’t serve the gentrified part of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, with its precious boutiques and million-dollar lofts. The average balance in its savings accounts is $1,400. The typical member? “A Hispanic woman from either Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic in her late 40s or early 50s, on government assistance, with a bunch of kids,” Levy says. Sure sounds like sub-prime. But the delinquency rate on its portfolio of mortgage and consumer loans is 2.3 percent, and it’s never had a foreclosure.

Ethical sub-prime lenders have to look beyond credit scores and algorithms when making lending judgments. Homewise, based in Santa Fe, N.M., which lends to first-time, working-class home buyers, makes credit decisions based in part on whether borrowers have scraped together a 2 percent down payment “If customers build a savings habit to save that money on a modest income, it says a lot about them and their financial discipline,” says executive director Mike Loftin. Of the 500 loans on Homewise’s books in September, only 0.6 percent were 90 days late. That compares with 2.35 percent of all prime mortgages nationwide.

Since ethical sub-prime lenders know they’re going to live with the loans they make—rather than simply see them—they invest in initiatives that will make it more likely the loans will be paid back. Faith Community United Credit Union, which got started in the basement of a Baptist church in Cleveland in 1952 with members saving quarters on Sundays, now has $10 million in assets. In addition to making loans, “we teach people how to manage their finances and accounts,” says CEO Rita Haynes. ShoreBank, as part of its energy-conservation loan program, offers free energy audits and a free Energy Star refrigerator when upgrades are completed. The theory: reducing energy bills makes it more likely people will stay current with their mortgages. Today, only $4.83 million of ShoreBank’s $1.5 billion loans are in foreclosure, or just 0.32 percent

Ethical sub-prime lenders are now expanding beyond mortgages. Ed Jacob, manager and CEO of Chicago’s North Side Community Federal Credit Union, was alarmed to learn that many of his 2,700 members, most of whom have less than $100 in their accounts, were relying on the “second-tier financial-service marketplace”: check-cashing outlets and payday lenders, which charge exorbitant fees. So he rolled out a Payday Alternative Loan (PAL), $500 for six months at 16.5 percent. The delinquency rate on the more than 5,000 PALs extended thus far is 2.5 percent. “For payday lenders, it’s a success if customers keep taking out loans. To me, it’s a success if they don’t have to anymore,” Jacob says. He believes such loans can build a credit history and help “move people to better products for them and us—auto loans and, eventually, mortgage loans.”

Lending small amounts of money, carefully and responsibly, to working-class people isn’t a recipe for riches or grand executive living. At the headquarters of ShoreBank, which occupies a former movie theater built in 1923, the window in one founder’s office looks out onto a brick wall. Bystry, the CEO of Clearinghouse CDFI, earns a salary of $190,000, apittance compared with the compensation of larger lenders. (Angelo Mozilo, former CEO of Countrywide Financial, was paid $22.1 million in 2007.) For all the growth, this remains very much a niche industry.

Still, the mortgage crisis has provided an opportunity for ethical sub-prime lenders to expand. ShoreBank has added staffers and in August 2007 rolled out a Rescue Loan program, which aims to move borrowers out of expensive adjustable-rate mortgages into fixed-rate loans. “We really believe we can help people caught in these bad mortgages,” says Jean Pogge, executive vice president of consumer and community banking at ShoreBank. And with plenty of lenders having failed or pulled back from markets, new customers are flocking to their doors. “We’re getting demand for regular co-op loans for the first time,” says Levy of the Lower East Side Credit Union. In California, the news on housing may be unrelentingly grim, but through the third quarter, Clearinghouse CDFI made 161 loans for $48.4 million, up about 50 percent from the total in the first three quarters of 2007. Doug Bystry says, “This may be a record year for us.”

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA | Leave a Comment »

EQUIPAMENTO PARA A MONTAGEM DA UNIDADE COMEÇOU A CHEGAR – Fábrica de tijolos no Luena começa a produzir para o ano (Angola)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Sábado, 15 de Novembro de 2008

Ano 9 – Edição Online nº 4651

por Cândido Bessa I

Uma cerâmica com capacidade para produzir 400 mil tijolos por dia será erguida na cidade do Luena, ESCALA INDUSTRIAL DA PRODUÇÃO DE TIJOLOSprovíncia do Moxico, até Outubro do próximo ano. O investimento está avaliado em 36 milhões de dólares e pertence ao grupo empresarial liderado por Bento Kangamba.

O equipamento já começou a chegar ao país e prevê-se que o empreendimento, o primeiro do género no Leste do país, sirva de pólo dinamizador para a construção civil na região, segundo o empresário.

Além de contribuir para o processo de reconstrução de Angola, o empresário pretende com o investimento participar na reabilitação das infra-estruturas básicas na região. O empreendimento deve criar centenas de postos de trabalho directos e indirectos na região Leste.

“Estamos a responder à abertura que o Governo nos tem dado, no sentido de levar os investimentos A PRODUÇÃO ARTESANAL DE TIJOLOS EM ANGOLApara todo o país e, assim, contribuir para a redução do desemprego. É assim que vamos desenvolver Angola, com o contributo de cada um ”, afirma o empresário.

Bento Kangamba elogia o Plano do Governo para 2009 e o Orçamento Geral do Estado, onde o Executivo garante apoios para fortalecer o empresariado nacional. “Foi este programa em que os angolanos votaram e nós, os empresários, estamos satisfeitos com as ideias contidas nele”, afirma.

Para a província do Moxico, o empresário tem ainda em carteira um programa de construção de moradias, que também deve arrancar no próximo ano.

Já em Luanda, Bento Kangamba, através da empresa Organizações Beja-construção civil, vai construir 800 residências de média renda. As infra-estruturas já estão montadas e as primeiras casas serão entregues em Dezembro do próximo ano.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘JORNAL DE ANGOLA’

Posted in ANGOLA, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | 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 »

SANDS SUSPENDS CONSTRUCTION IN LV, MACAU – Company announces plans for capital raising program

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 12, 2008

Nov. 11, 2008

Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

by Howard Stutz – REVIEW-JOURNAL

Las Vegas Sands Corp. told investors Monday it’s stopping construction on its $600 million Strip MACAU'S SKYLINEcondominium tower and shelving some of its development plans in China.

Company President Bill Weidner said the changes could reduce Las Vegas Sands’ capital expenses by $1.8 billion.

“We are going to right size our development pipeline,” Weidner said.

Also, Las Vegas Sands announced plans for a $2.14 billion capital raising program with Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs. The family of Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson will participate in the capital raising project. Details of the capital infusion will be available in a prospectus to be filed later, he said.

Also, Rob Goldstein, the president of the company’s Venetian and Palazzo properties on the Strip, said the company will undergo cost-cutting measures in Las Vegas to save about $100 million.

The moves are being undertaken to right the ship of the listing casino operator.

Last week, Las Vegas Sands told investors it was in danger of defaulting on some of its loans, raising the possibility the company could be forced into bankruptcy.

Las Vegas Sands announced its plans during a scheduled conference call with analysts and investors to discuss quarterly earnings for the period that ended Sept. 30. The call was delayed by about 40 minutes because “several things were still coming together,” Weidner said. The company was also attempting to file its quarterly statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In the quarter, Las Vegas Sands said its loss narrowed to $32.2 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with a loss of $48.5 million, or 14 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected Las Vegas Sands to earn 11 cents per share.

Las Vegas Sands said revenues rose companywide to $1.11 billion compared with $694.3 million last year.

In Las Vegas, operating income at The Venetian and Palazzo was $6.1 million, compared with $29.6 million a year ago. Casino revenues on the Strip were $113.2 million for the quarter, an increase of 36.2 percent compared with $83.1 million a year ago. Hotel revenues were $130.5 million, a 57.2 percent increase compared with $83 million in the same quarter a year ago.

The increases were attributed to the Palazzo, which opened in January.

“Our third-quarter results reflect solid operating performance, with both revenues and adjusted property (cash flow) increasing substantially in both Las Vegas and Macau, despite challenging operating environments in each market,” Weidner said.

Before announcing earnings, Las Vegas Sands said it was suspending indefinitely construction of its St. Regis condominium tower on the Strip. Weidner said the podium deck would be completed in order to collect rent on some of the prospective tenants, but the tower would be delayed.

In Bethlehem, Pa., the company will develop the casino portion of the $675 million Sands Bethlehem, which will include a 3,000-slot machine casino, restaurants and a 3,500-space parking garage. Other areas, such as retail portions and other entertainment attractions, will be delayed. The casino is expected to open by the end of June.

Meanwhile, several of the company’s planned Cotai Strip development sites will be shelved until market conditions allow for additional expansion opportunities.

“Given the current conditions in the global credit environment, we have elected to significantly slow the pace of our development activities on the Cotai Strip, including a suspension of our development on sites five and six of the Cotai Strip,” Weidner said.

Weidner said the company will continue to pursue financing to complete construction of the first phase of the Cotai Strip, including a Shangri-La/Traders hotel, an 1,800-room Sheraton hotel and three casinos.

“Our temporary suspension program will enable us to re-commence development in an efficient fashion, should sufficient capital to complete phase one of our development plans become available on reasonable terms,” Weidner said.

Las Vegas Sands said it was moving forward with plans to build the $4 billion Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The company said the capital raising program would help fund the Singapore development.

The capital raising program may also help the company meet some of its debt obligations.

In a filing with the SEC last week, the company told investors it was in danger of not meeting obligations to its lenders on a $3.8 billion portion of its debt unless it can raise capital, cut spending on developments or lift its Las Vegas earnings by the end of the year.

In its filing, Las Vegas Sands said it was in jeopardy of missing certain financial covenant requirements and needs to raise more capital.

The company disclosed a letter from its auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, in which the accounting firm wrote that a default would raise “substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Las Vegas Sands announced earnings after trading closed Monday. Shares of the company closed up 97 cents, or 13.8 percent, to finish at $8 on the New York Stock Exchange. A year ago, the company was trading at $122.96 a share.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL’

Posted in CHINA, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MACAU, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA | Leave a Comment »

ESTA REDUCCIÓN DE PUESTOS DE TRABAJO NO DESPEJA EL HORIZONTE – Cuatro empresas resuelven la situación de crisis con EREs y despidiendo a eventuales y contratas – Arcelor Mittal no renuncia al ERE si en 2009 no se consigue una producción entorno a 1.450.000 Tm.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

30/10/2008

En estos días se van concretando las medidas que las empresas están aplicando para hacer frente a ARCELORlos efectos de la crisis, que en el municipio de Sagunto no sólo afecta al sector de la construcción, sino que también se deja sentir en aquellas empresas que trabajan para el sector del automóvil. Las medidas son reducción de puestos de trabajo, como ya hemos venido informando puntualmente desde nuestra la Edición Digital.

Los trabajadores de Pilkington ratificaron en asamblea el martes por la tarde, un Expediente de Regulación de Empleo (ERE) por el cual, los 436 trabajadores de la plantilla irán al paro 7 días en noviembre y 7 en enero de 2009, según declara el presidente del comité de empresa, Rubén López Redondo, quien considera satisfactorio el resultado ante una situación de reducción de ventas en el sector del automóvil, la empresa tenía ciertas facilidades para que el ERE y además con un precedente a la baja del expediente de Ford que se ha cerrado con unas condiciones inferiores a las conseguidas en Pilkington.

En esa línea de argumentación, el representante social señala: « Haber conseguido,entre otras, que la empresa complemente hasta el 85% del sueldo bruto, los días que estemos en el paro y además estas condiciones son de aplicación a cualquier ERE que pudiera surgir de aquí a diciembre de 2009, por las condiciones del mercado», señala el presidente del comité. El acuerdo también asegura que los días de paro, no afectarán en un futuro ni a la prestación de desempleo ni a otros aspectos que merme los derechos de los trabajadores.

Por otro lado, hay que señalar que Pilkington ha despedido a 35 trabajadores eventuales.

Arcelor despide a las contratas

Arcelor Mittal reduce en el último trimestre 70.000 toneladas su producción anual y para no recurrir al expediente de regulación de empleo acuerdan empresa y representación sindical reducir un turno de trabajo y que el personal excedente se ocupe del mantenimiento. Por lo que unos 130 trabajadores de contratas irán al paro.

Con esta medida no se despeja el horizonte y la previsión es que se reduzcan 110.000 toneladas en el primer semestre de 2009. Si este previsión se cumple y en el segundo trimestre la producción se va recuperando entorno a 1.450.000 toneladas al año, Arcelor no recurrirá al ERE, según informa el presidente del comité Enrique Soriano, quien añade, «esperamos que el mercado se recuperen y los pedidos vayan llegando».

Señalan asimismo que hasta septiembre la producción iba cumpliendo los objetivos y la caída de pedidos ha sido en octubre. La reducción más importante ha sido en las líneas que trabajan para el sector del automóvil que son: Galvanizado y Electrocincado. Decapado y Tándem producen para la propia empresa y para otros clientes y «se van manteniendo los pedidos», subraya Soriano.

Tumesa despide a nueve – trabajadores de plantilla

En la factoría Tubos del Mediterráneo, S.A. (Tumesa) las medidas han sido más drásticas y han TUMESA - Tubos del Mediterráneo, S.A.despedido a nueve trabajadores (seis mujeres y tres hombres) que tienen la carta de cese hace ya varios días en su poder, pero según informan de CC.OO. la empresa rechaza sentarse a negociar, aunque desde el sindicato han ofertado resolver la situación con un reajuste de plantilla con cinco posibilidades: bajas incentivadas, excedencias incentivadas, expediente de regulación de empleo para mayores de 55 años y expediente de suspensión.

Además de los despidos que afectan a la plantilla, también han despedido en Tumesa a una decena de trabajadores que realizaban tareas de carga y descarga.

Bosal España ha resuelto temporalmente sus problemas con cinco días de paro que afectará a toda la plantilla y que se realizarán en los meses que quedan antes de finalizar el año. Recordar que hace once meses esta empresa despidió a 17 trabajadores de plantilla.

Por último, señalar que la empresa Hormol ubicada en el polígono Sepes ha reducido la jornada semanal. La plantilla está trabajando sólo tres días a la semana y la empresa tiene un plazo máximo de ocho meses para paliar esta reducción de mano de obra.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘EL ECONÓMICO’ (Spain)

Posted in AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, COMMERCE, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, METALS INDUSTRY, SPAIN, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS | Leave a Comment »

IRAN URGES INDIA TO COMMIT TO GAS PIPE PLAN

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

1 Nov 2008, 2047 hrs IST, REUTERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES OF INDIA’

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

CHINA CONSTRUCTION MACHINERY INDUSTRY REPORT 2007 TO 2008

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

30/10/2008

Copyright: M2 Communications Ltd.

Source: M2 PressWIRE

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

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

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

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PUBLISHED BY ‘INSURANCE NEWS NET (INN)’

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

GRANITE CONSTRUCTION SIGNS $161M SUBWAY CONTRACT (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

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

Silicon Valley – San Jose Business Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

LIMITLESS INVITES PHASE TWO BIDS (Dubai)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on October 29, 2008

Staff Report

Published: October 28, 2008, 23:32

Dubai: Limitless, Dubai-based master developer with Dh367 billion development portfolio, on Tuesday said it has invited construction firms to bid for the second phase of earthworks on Arabian Canal, its $11 billion (Dh41 billion) waterway that will reshape part of New Dubai and add a 75-kilometre long waterfront for real estate development.

The contract will involve the excavation of around 300 million cubic metres of earth along an 8.5 kilometre stretch of the canal’s route.

It follows the appointment last month of Abu Dhabi-based Tristar for phase one, where 100,000 cubic metres of earth is being moved each day and more than 200 million cubic metres will be excavated in total.

Ian Raine, who is the Project Director for Arabian Canal, said: “This is the second of around 10 packages that will be awarded for the excavation of our 75 kilometre waterway. Work is well underway on phase one.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘GULFNEWS.COM’ (Dubai)

Posted in CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Leave a Comment »