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WHERE HAVE ALL YOUR SAVINGS GONE? – INVESTORS MAY DRAW THE WRONG LESSON FROM HISTORY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 11, 2008

Dec 4th 2008

From The Economist print edition

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIST’

For American and European savers it has been a lost decade. After two booms and two busts, stockmarkets have earned them nothing, or less, in the past ten years. Low interest rates have made bonds and bank deposits unrewarding too. Were it not for the tax relief they receive, contributors to personal pension plans would have been better off keeping their money under their mattresses. It will be little consolation to Westerners that savers in Japan have known this empty feeling for far longer.

This year’s figures are enough to put anybody off saving. American mutual-fund assets have declined by $2.4 trillion—a fifth of their value—since the start of 2008; in Britain, the drop is more than a quarter, or almost £130 billion ($195 billion). The value of global stockmarkets has shrunk by maybe $30 trillion, or roughly half. These figures put the losses on credit-related securities—where the financial crisis began—into the shade.

Nor has the bad news been confined to equities. This year the value of all manner of risky investments, from corporate bonds to commodities to hedge funds, has been clobbered. The belief that diversification into “alternative assets” could prevent investors losing money in bear markets has proved false. And of course housing, which many people counted on for their retirement nest-eggs, has lost value too (see article).

As a result, saving seems like pouring money into a black hole (see article). Any American who has diligently put $100 a month into a domestic equity mutual fund for the past ten years will find his pot worth less than he put into it; a European who did the same has lost a quarter of his money.

Save your cake and eat it

It may seem an odd time to worry about savings. This week the National Bureau of Economic Research declared that the world’s largest economy, America, had been in recession since December last year. The economies of Japan and much of western Europe have been shrinking. A rapid, global, private-sector shift to thrift is exactly what the world economy does not need. That’s why governments around the world have been passing hurried measures to try to encourage people to spend more of their incomes.

In some countries, they should. Asians (and Germans too — see article), have been squirrelling their money away with excessive enthusiasm. But other countries’ citizens have been putting too little aside for their old age. In America, the household savings ratio (the proportion of disposable income not used for consumption) has been below 2.5% since 1999; in Britain, it has been below 3% in each of the past two years. The Asians’ parsimony made the Anglo-Saxons’ profligacy possible. Through their increasingly sophisticated financial systems, the Americans and British were able to borrow from the thrifty Asians to finance their spending spree. And, because their house prices were rising so fast, they had the collateral and the confidence to do so.

In other words, Anglo-Saxons were able to save their cake and eat it. They did not have to sacrifice consumption in order to build up assets for the future, because lax monetary policies encouraged borrowing that pushed up the prices of housing and other assets, which gave them the illusion of having saved enough. But now this debt burden is being unwound, asset prices are collapsing and savings rates are rising because consumers are unwilling, or unable, to borrow.

Though this is bad news for the American and British economies in the short term, it ought to be good news in the long term. How good, though, depends as much on where people put their savings as on how much they put aside.

Careless caution

If savers treated financial assets as they do other goods, they would sell them when they are expensive and buy them when they are cheap. Actually, they do the opposite. They piled into the market in 1999-2000, at the peak, and are piling out of it now. They should, of course, have got out in 2000, when the global price-earnings ratio was 35; shares look relatively much more attractive now, since the ratio is down to ten. A recent analysis shows that, when American price-earnings ratios are low, returns on equities over the next decade average 8%; when they are high, returns average 3%.

But people’s recent losses have made them cautious. They are putting their money into cash or money-market funds, rather than equities or corporate bonds. The returns they are getting on their savings look increasingly pitiful. Interest rates are falling sharply, with more central banks announcing cuts this week. Savers may initially be shielded from the full impact of those reductions, because commercial banks are competing for retail deposits. But rates in many big economies are heading for, or have already reached, 1-2%.

Caution is understandable, after the trauma of this year. Equity and corporate bond markets could yet fall further, especially as the news on the economy seems to get worse every week. But it is still perverse that investors were happy to buy shares nine years ago, when the ratio of share prices to profits was three times what it is today, and are now determined to keep their money in cash and bonds.

That approach will be hopelessly inadequate for those who want to build a decent pension, especially in defined-contribution, or money-purchase, schemes, where the employee bears all the investment risk. The average American scheme member contributes just 7.8% of salary to his pension scheme. His employer, on average, contributes only 4.4%. He has a pot worth only $68,000. A rule of thumb is that total contributions need to be around 20% of wages to match a traditional final-salary scheme.

Inadequate savings, badly invested, are a problem for individuals and the economy. Cautious savers are putting their money in banks; banks are reluctant to lend; companies therefore find it hard both to borrow money and to raise equity capital. This timidity hurts companies and, in the long term, savers. Implausible as it may sound, right now equities and corporate bonds are a better long-term bet than cash.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIST’ (Spain)

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BLIND LEADING THE ONE-EYED

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 17, 2008

Nov 18, 2008

by Chan Akya

My worst fears about the weekend gathering in Washington of world leaders to discuss the financial THE PARABLE OF THE BLIND - painting by Bruegelcrisis were realized overnight when the statement after their meeting was released. It contained a host of generic fluff and very little mention of the specific actions required to tackle the gargantuan economic problems of today.

The statement accompanying the meeting, held under the Group of 20 (G-20) banner, could have been put together by a bunch of first-year economics students. It probably was, but that’s not what worries me about the initiative. In the opening part of the statement, the following section seemed positive: “Our work will be guided by a shared belief that market principles, open trade and investment regimes, and effectively regulated financial markets foster the dynamism, innovation, and entrepreneurship that are essential for economic growth, employment, and poverty reduction.”

After paying lip service to the idea of free market principles in the introduction, every aspect of the statement from then on relates to market, fiscal and monetary intervention on an epic scale by the assembled bureaucrats. In the next section on “root causes of the current crisis” is the following gem:

Major underlying factors to the current situation were, among others, inconsistent and insufficiently coordinated macroeconomic policies, inadequate structural reforms, which led to unsustainable global macroeconomic outcomes. These developments, together, contributed to excesses and ultimately resulted in severe market disruption.

Right there you have the prevailing notion that government intervention is what will help the global THE PARABLE OF THE BLIND - by the Greenwich Workshopeconomic system recover; indeed it was the absence of dialogue between these super-smart folks that led us to the current swamp. In related news, pigs were seen flying over Washington all day, but I digress.

Discussing “Actions taken and to be taken”, the statement goes on to say the following, laying the grounds for justifying pretty much any action by any government anywhere in the world but more importantly also bringing in the widely discredited multilateral agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) back into the global picture: “As immediate steps to achieve these objectives, as well as to address longer-term challenges, we will:

– Continue our vigorous efforts and take whatever further actions are necessary to stabilize the financial system.

– Recognize the importance of monetary policy support, as deemed appropriate to domestic conditions.

– Use fiscal measures to stimulate domestic demand to rapid effect, as appropriate, while maintaining a policy framework conducive to fiscal sustainability.

– Help emerging and developing economies gain access to finance in current difficult financial conditions, including through liquidity facilities and program support. We stress the International Monetary Fund’s important role in crisis response, welcome its new short-term liquidity facility, and urge the ongoing review of its instruments and facilities to ensure flexibility.

– Encourage the World Bank and other multilateral development banks (MDBs) to use their full capacity THE PARABLE OF THE BLIND - A Belgian stampin support of their development agenda, and we welcome the recent introduction of new facilities by the World Bank in the areas of infrastructure and trade finance.

– Ensure that the IMF, World Bank and other MDBs have sufficient resources to continue playing their role in overcoming the crisis.”

Right here we have the makings of a return to the world economic order of yore, namely for the governments of the Group of Seven (G-7) leading industrialized nations to continue their spendthrift ways banking on the savings of emerging countries, while the latter remain happy in their role as supplicants to the global economy rather than assuming a leading role as is warranted by current fundamentals.

The return of international finance’s Terrible Twins is further proof of a hankering for the orthodoxy of export-oriented emerging economies securing access to financing as arranged by these shoddy bankers. It is amazing to me that countries like South Korea, Brazil and India signed up to this nonsense despite the very real structural problems created by these very programs in the recent past for these countries by the IMF.

Against these ideas there is an alternative of emerging countries floating their currencies and relying on internal consumption, which would predicate increased capital inflows for emerging countries at the cost of increasing capital costs for G-7 members. This option was apparently never even brought up in the meeting.

Secondly, the idea that emerging countries face multiple tariff barriers that keep millions in poverty was also not sufficiently discussed in the Washington meeting. To wit, Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is singularly responsible for the poverty, starvation and malnutrition of millions of people in Africa and Latin America, yet there was not a mention of this unfair trade barrier in the Washington meeting. Instead, the idea of circling back to the status quo in one form or another appears to have taken precedence.

Reforming financial markets

Something must have gone wrong in Washington because the next section of the statement relating THE PARABLE OF THE BLIND - by Shannon Larrattto financial system reforms actually makes sense in places. I am guessing this was simply an oversight by the assembled officials; actual implementation will probably fail to follow any of the principles laid down. Paragraph 9, which details the common principles of reform, has the following five guiding headlines:

1. Strengthening transparency and accountability.

2. Enhancing sound regulation.

3. Promoting integrity in financial markets.

4. Reinforcing international cooperation.

5. Reforming international financial institutions.

I am really happy to note in this section that European attempts to reduce disclosure on financial assets by banks have come to naught. The 2009 leadership of Brazil, the United Kingdom and Korea to implement a series of recommendations will coordinate the G-20 Finance Ministers Group. Personally, I found that trio an odd choice, with only Brazil having a functioning financial system not overwhelmed by near-term liabilities. Then again, finding countries with relatively unstressed financial systems is a fairly difficult matter and perhaps the assembled leaders wanted to have people with sufficient experience of pain – for example the UK – participating in the recovery plans. That seems fine overall. The specific areas of recommendations being laid out are as under:

“Mitigating against pro-cyclicality in regulatory policy.

Reviewing and aligning global accounting standards, particularly for complex securities in times of stress.

Strengthening the resilience and transparency of credit derivatives markets and reducing their systemic risks, including by improving the infrastructure of over-the-counter markets.

Reviewing compensation practices as they relate to incentives for risk taking and innovation.

Reviewing the mandates, governance, and resource requirements of the IFIs [international financial institutions].

Defining the scope of systemically important institutions and determining their appropriate regulation or oversight.”

The next section on Open Global Economy isn’t worth reading, containing as it does platitudes about the World Trade Organization, the Doha round and so on without any substantive discussion on handling current conflicts on tariff barriers and capital flows.

The rest of the document deals with specific recommendations relating to the implementation of the five principles of reform as laid out previously. Of these, the move towards accounting standardization will help resolve a number of capital flow constraints, regulatory arbitrage and other egregious misuses of fiduciary principles in the financial markets.

Another welcome initiative in the financial market section is the reform of the over-the-counter market for credit default swaps (CDS), which will almost surely move to an exchange-traded or electronic trading format in the next few months. The need for this market is paramount more now than ever before, and I am happy that the G-20 has understood the rationale for a continued broadening of this market, rather than a reversal or even a shutdown as was suggested by a number of government officials in the US and Europe of late.

Missed opportunity

Overall, the G-20 meeting strikes me a missed opportunity for discussing a broadening of the world’s economic engine by inculcating stronger measures towards consumption in emerging countries and moving them away from the IMF-orthodoxy of remaining suppliers of cheap goods to developed countries.

Failures in the financial system need to be addressed, but the root cause of a misallocation of capital ONE-EYED ILLYfrom high-growth areas to lower-growth areas, that is from savers in countries like China, Brazil and India to the overextended consumers and pensioners of the US and Europe, was not discussed let alone addressed.

The coming wave of Keynesian spending across the world will only intensify this misallocation of capital as emerging countries continue to hold nearly worthless pieces of government debt issued by G-7 countries in return for vacuous promises of continued economic growth.

Then again, perhaps it is not the G-7 countries that are to blame for suggesting ways of keeping themselves economically relevant; such moves after all reflect their self-preservation instinct. What galls me is that leaders of countries such as Brazil, China and India bought into this malarkey.

(Copyright 2008 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘ASIA TIMES’ (Hong Kong – China)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BRASIL, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, G20, IMF, INDIA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, NORTH AMERICA, SOUTH KOREA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA, WORLD BANK | Leave a Comment »

PAN AMERICAN SILVER CUTS 500 JOBS (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

November 13, 2008 at 9:21 AM EST

The Canadian Press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE AND MAIL’

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

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

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

Published: Saturday, November 01, 2008

Claudia Cattaneo, Financial Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ccattaneo@nationalpost.com

© National Post 2008

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CANADA.COM’

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

ZAGREB 1 DRILLING FOR PEMEX

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on October 30, 2008

10/29/2008 6:11:13 PM GMT

Filed from Houston

MEXICO: Crosco Integrated Drilling & Well Services semisubmersible Zagreb 1 is drilling for Mexican Zagreb 1, a Pentagone design semi built in 1977national oil company Pemex in the Gulf of Mexico. Services for Pemex are being provided in cooperation with the Croatian drilling contractor’s local Mexican partner, GOIMAR.

Zagreb 1 is testing and completing the well Pox-1 as part of an 18-month drilling and services contract, which began in early June.

Zagreb 1 underwent an upgrade and refurbishment prior to commencement of the Pemex contract. The rig is capable of drilling in water depths of up to 1,500 feet (457.2 m).

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PUBLISHED BY ‘ENERGY CURRENT’

Posted in COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ENERGY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INTERNATIONAL, MEXICO, NATURAL GAS, NORTH AMERICA | Leave a Comment »

FRANQUIA DE GAMES NORTE-AMERICANA ANUNCIA OPERAÇÕES NO BRASIL – Com escritório em Curitiba, Proximo vai importar jogos e videogames – Em entrevista ao G1, diretor Kevin Baqai promete preços acessíveis

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on October 22, 2008


22/10/08 – 11h21m – Atualizado em 22/10/08 – 11h21m

por Renato Bueno

Do G1, em São Paulo

Uma empresa com sede nos Estados Unidos anunciou recentemente sua presença oficial no mercado Foto - Divulgação - Empresa promete trazer jogos e consoles de videogame a preços competitivosde games e o início de operações em países como República Dominicana, Chile, México e… Brasil. Com sede em Miami, a Proximo Games considera o país uma prioridade na América Latina e promete trazer jogos e videogames a preços competitivos.

A Proximo conta com um centro de operações em Curitiba (PR) e tem planos de abrir lojas próprias em até seis meses, além de fornecer produtos para revendedores já estabelecidos. Segundo a empresa, a atuação sem intermediários permite um preço mais competitivo para os games, já que eles serão comprados diretamente dos fabricantes e trazidos para o Brasil. O diretor de desenvolvimento de negócios, Kevin Baqai, porém, preferiu não fazer uma estimativa de quanto poderá custar um jogo para um console de nova geração, como Xbox 360 e PlayStation 3.

Em menos de dois anos, a Proximo já é a terceira franquia de revenda e distribuição de games a estabelecer uma base de operações no Brasil. Antes dela, a canadense Synergex e a franquia mexicana Gamers também inauguraram lojas e escritórios no país.

Em entrevista ao G1, o diretor Kevin Baqai fala sobre o mercado de games no Brasil e dos planos da Foto - Divulgação - Kevin Baqai promete games a preços competitivos no BrasilProximo para a estréia no país. Ele diz que já visitou cidades brasileiras como São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Vitória e Curitiba, e garante: apesar das condições nem sempre favoráveis ao setor, o Brasil é um dos principais mercados da América Latina.

G1 – Quando e por que a Proximo decidiu investir no Brasil?

Kevin Baqai – Para nós, o Brasil é um dos mercados de game mais importantes da região. Na verdade, é nosso primeiro escritório fora dos Estados Unidos – estamos sediados em Curitiba. Estivemos trabalhando com vários distribuidores e revendedores no Brasil por mais de 5 anos, através da Game Quest.

G1 – Quando começam oficialmente as operações no Brasil?

Kevin – Na verdade, estamos bem avançados. A companhia já está em operação, com equipes locais. Estamos em discussão com alguns parceiros regionais sobre acordos e franquias. Gostaríamos de ter um parceiro forte, com a mesma visão de nosso diretor-executivo, que definiu nossa missão: ser a número 1 entre as lojas especializadas em games na América Latina.

G1 – O mercado brasileiro conta com a distribuidora canadense Synergex e com a rede de lojas Gamers, do México. Nesse mercado, qual vai ser o foco da Proximo?

Kevin – Temos um modelo de negócios único que vai beneficiar tanto a indústria quanto os jogadores. Compramos os produtos diretamente dos fabricantes e trazemos para o Brasil, eliminando intermediários e possibilitando os preços que os jogadores esperavam pagar.

G1 – Um jogo de Xbox 360 ou PlayStation 3 no Brasil é vendido a um preço que chega a três vezes o preço original em dólar. É possível prever qual será a faixa de preços dos games trazidos pela Proximo?

Kevin – Esperamos que o preço nas lojas seja competitivo com o preço dos Estados Unidos. Considerando que o Brasil tem taxas e tarifas complexas, esperamos oferecer aos jogadores as melhores opções, preços e serviços.

G1 – Qual a importância da América Latina nesse mercado?

Kevin – É um mercado subestimado, que tem um potencial de crescimento signigficativo. A comunidade de jogadores sempre quis poder conseguir os novos lançamentos direto nas lojas locais, mas nunca teve opções.

G1 – Como estão os contatos com empresas e o governo no Brasil?

Kevin – Temos um ótimo relacionamento com produtoras como Activision, Ubisoft, Konami e muitas outras. Atualmente estamos em negociação com diretores regionais das três fabricantes de videogame – Sony, Microsoft e Nintendo – para criar promoções e suprir a demanda do mercado. Planejamos entrar para a Abes (Associação Brasileira das Empresas de Software), com quem já discutimos sobre assuntos referentes às políticas da indústria de games no país.

G1 – A pirataria é um obstáculo para os negócios no Brasil?

Kevin – Sim e não. A pirataria vai durar até que os consumidores percebam que estão prejudicando a indústria da qual eles fazem parte. Conforme os games se tornam cada vez mais avançados, com recursos on-line, vai diminuir a ocorrência de produtos pirateados, porque o consumidor vai querer jogos que funcionem completamente. Temos planos de trabalhar com produtoras de software e hardware para conseguir suporte em ações legais contra piratas de aparelhos e de games.

G1 – Quando serão inauguradas as primeiras lojas?

Kevin – No momento estamos importando games para os clientes atuais. Quando inauguramos as primeiras lojas com a marca Proximo, o que deve acontecer num prazo de três a seis meses, já devemos estar vendendo também videogames e periféricos.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘G1’ (RJ)

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