Friday, July 31, 2015

Federal government announces dollars for sonar to map Arctic sea floor

Federal government announces dollars for sonar to map Arctic sea floor

Danish-Germany relations to be improved by Eurostar-style tunnel

Danish-Germany relations to be improved by Eurostar-style tunnel
by David Wormley
European Commission has approved fehmarn belt fixed link between Denmark and Germany
The EU has granted approval for the construction of an under-sea tunnel creating a more direct link between Denmark and Germany, shortening journey times significantly. Europe’s supra-governmental body will also finance €589m of the €8.7bn project using its Connecting Europe Facility.
The funds in this facility are earmarked to integrate the EU further, which this road and rail project looks to achieve by shortening rail journey times between Copenhagen and Hamburg from five hours to just 2.
The tunnel will have a large capacity, with a rail line going in each direction sitting next to a four-lane motorway. The route will go below ground at Roedby in Denmark and emerge in Fehmarn, an hour and forty minutes from Hamburg by car. Roedby is roughly the same distance from Copenhagen, an hour and fifty minutes of driving.
Germany is already Denmark’s largest trading partner, accounting for 20% of the country’s imports and buying 13% of its exports.
The trading relationships of Germany, Europe’s largest economy, are much more diversified: Germany only sends 1.4% of its exports to Denmark, and sources only 1.2% of its imports from the Scandinavian nation. According to MIT’s Atlas Project, bilateral trade between these countries was €31.5bn in 2012.
A breakdown of Danish exports to Germany in 2012. The biggest category is pork products, likely driven by Denmark’s famous salami.
Hopefully the project will bring greater benefits than did the original Eurotunnel, which had 80-100% cost overruns and did not deliver much of the promised economic benefit. Much of this failure to deliver is attributed to the tunnel’s competition with ferries, and in this case there also exists a competing ferry line.
However, thanks to the highway that will pass through the tunnel, it will be much cheaper, faster and easier for cars to drive across the tunnel rather than boarding a 45-minute ferry.
With an average one-way price of more than €50 for the Roedby-Puttgarden crossing, there is a significant price umbrella to be undercut. This is where the Eurotunnel missed out, as all crossings by car are done by train, rather than by having the cars drive through themselves.
This lack of friction at either side of the crossing will create a better experience for cross-border travellers, but is unlikely to improve the economies of the port towns on either side. With no reason to stop, travellers are likely to pass straight through when travelling both by car and by train.
Conversely, the reduced cost and friction of travel may build the regional economies by opening up new markets and expanding the circle of influence for businesses in these areas.
Construction is due to commence in January 2016, with project completion expected in 2024.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Facebook's ascent has investors betting on more gains

Facebook's ascent has investors betting on more gains

The big selloffs in shares of social media companies last quarter following weak results seem to be brushed under the carpet this earnings season as investors focus instead on the success of Facebook Inc (FB.O).
Investors in the options market are betting on more gains for the stock after it reports results Wednesday.
Facebook escaped the rout in social media stocks after last quarter's results. The shares are up about 20 percent this year. The stock and a handful of other winners account for the bulk of S&P 500 .SPX gains this year.
The rapid ascent has made Facebook one of the ten largest S&P companies in terms of market capitalization, with the stock now worth more than $260 billion - surpassing decades-old companies like Wal-Mart Stores (WMT.N) and Procter & Gamble (PG.N).
Earnings seasons are typically choppy for stocks and even more so for social media companies due to their high valuations and ongoing concern, in some cases, about their business models.
Last quarter, investors spooked by disappointing results sent shares of Twitter (TWTR.N), LinkedIn (LNKD.N) and Yelp (YELP.N) down by more than 20 percent the week they reported results.
“These stocks are some of the most expensive stocks in the market,” said Stephen Massocca, managing director with Wedbush Equity Management in San Francisco.
“If numbers are disappointing and either growth or profitability looks out of reach, it’s very easy to see why investors would get out in a hurry,” he said.
The bullishness in Facebook’s recent options trading makes it unique in the sector.
Analysts expect robust mobile pricing and strength in video ads to help the company post strong results when it reports after the close of trading on Wednesday.
Strong viewership numbers for YouTube, which helped drive Google Inc's (GOOGL.O) stellar second-quarter results, bodes well for video on Facebook's own platform.
In July, open interest in Facebook’s call options, usually used for bets the stock will rise, increased by 24 percent, twice as much as the increase in puts, which are usually bets on a decline. Currently, for every put option there are nearly two calls open, the highest this ratio has ever been, according to options analytics firm Trade Alert.
"The recent decline in Facebook's put/call open interest ratio to an all-time low implies long positioning ahead of earnings," said Jim Strugger, a derivatives strategist at MKM Partners.
In contrast, trading in the options of Twitter, LinkedIn (LNKD.N) and Yelp Inc (YELP.N) suggest high risk of volatile moves in the shares but give little clue to their direction.
Twitter and Yelp are expected to report results on Tuesday afternoon, and LinkedIn's results are scheduled for Thursday.
So far, there is little to suggest traders are preparing for the kind of selloff seen in social media names last quarter, said Anshul Agarwal, equity derivative strategist at Bay Crest Partners in New York.
"For LinkedIn, Yelp, and Twitter, we haven't witnessed particularly bearish options flow," he said.
(Reporting by Saqi

Monday, July 27, 2015

50 percent stake in The Economist LONDON

Pearson says in talks to sell its 50 percent stake in The Economist

Britain's Pearson (PSON.L) said on Saturday it was in talks to sell its 50 percent stake in The Economist Group, publisher of The Economist newspaper.
The move comes on the heels of Pearson's sale of the Financial Times newspaper to Japanese media group Nikkei, announced this week as its focuses on its education business.
"Pearson confirms it is in discussions with The Economist Group Board and trustees regarding the potential sale of our 50 percent share in the group," the company said in a statement on Saturday.
"There is no certainty that this process will lead to a transaction."
Pearson did not name the potential buyers.
People familiar with the matter said, however, that the group of families and staff and former staff that own the remaining 50 percent are talking to Pearson but need to raise cash to fund the deal.
The co-owners of the weekly publication, which had a paid circulation of 1.6 million at the end of 2014 and reported 67 million pounds in annual operating profit in June, have greater voting rights than Pearson, which holds only B shares.
Any change of ownership would need the consent of the holders of the A shares, which include the Cadbury, Rothschild, Schroder and Agnelli families, an analyst told Reuters on Friday.
It would also need to be approved by trustees who are tasked with preserving the independence of the ownership of the company and the editorial independence of the title.
The families were unlikely to back any plans by Pearson to sell to a third party, industry bankers said.
Bernstein analyst Claudio Aspesi estimated the stake could be worth 300 to 400 million pounds, based on a multiple of 15 times its net income of 46 million pounds.
It is unlikely that any offer would reflect the same rich multiple that Nikkei agreed to pay for the Financial Times.
The Japanese company had been in competition with Germany's Axel Springer (AXSPY.PK) to win control of the trophy asset.
Beside The Economist itself, the group operates several subsidiaries including The Economist Intelligence Unit, Economist Events and Economist Corporate Network.
A deal would likely take several weeks to be agreed, a source close to the situation said on Saturday.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle and Pamela Barbaglia; Editing by Susan Fenton and Hugh Lawson)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Citibank pay an estimated $700m in relief to customers harmed by illegal credit card procedures

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has demanded that Citibank pay an estimated $700m in relief to customers harmed by illegal credit card procedures.
The fine relates to the banks ‘‘deceptive marketing, billing, and administration of debt protection and credit monitoring add-on products.’’ CFPB estimate that nearly 9m customers have been affected by the illegal practices.
Between 2003 and 2012, the national bank actively enrolled customers in a number of credit card and debt protection add-on services, including “AccountCare,” “Balance Protector,” “Credit Protection,” “Credit Protector,” and “Payment Safeguard.” It is believed that all these services were marketed deceptively by Citibank.
Some of the largest illegal marketing practices undertaken by Citibank included:
  • Misrepresenting cost and fees for coverage
  • Misrepresenting benefits of some products
  • Illegal practices in the enrollment process
  • Misrepresenting or omitting information about eligibility for coverage
Citibank also committed a number of unfair billing practices for its add-on services, including charging customers for benefits that they did not receive and failing to provide product benefits.
The lending firm is now banned from marketing all add-on products by telephone or at the point of sale or engaging in attempts to retain consumers by telephone. Citibank will also pay $35m in civil money penalties to CFPB.
‘‘We continue to uncover illegal credit card add-on practices that are costing unknowing consumers millions of dollars,’’ explained CFPB Director Richard Cordray.
‘‘In our four years, this is the tenth action we’ve taken against companies in this space for deceiving consumers. We will remain on the lookout for similar conduct and will address it as we find it.’’

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Is it a plane? – is it a yacht?

Is it a plane? – is it a yacht? It´s both

Published on July 17, 2015 by    ·   No Comments
The latest superyacht concept design from the amazing brain of Vasily Klyukin is a yacht with a difference.
The Monaco 2050 sports a top deck that is totally removable, which in itself is a rather remarkable idea, but how does one remove it? In this case, the top deck is a VTOL – a Vertical TakeOff and Landing aircraft – that takes off upwards with propellers before engaging its main jets at 1,000 metres.
This eccentric businessman-turned-architect has quite the conversation starter on his hands.
Russian-born Monaco resident Vasily Klyukin is a designer of skyscrapers, extravagant villas, and megayachts.
A successful businessman, Klyukin founded one of Russia’s top 100 banks, which has given him the freedom to pursue his interests of adventuring, charity and architecture. His designs, therefore, are refreshingly unconstrained by practicality.
Previous superyacht designs (which we’ve covered in detail here) include a 63 metre swan-shaped concept complete with folding neck, a 78 metre design inspired by
Mississippi paddle steamers, and a relatively traditional 80 metre with a superstructure that looks like the Manhattan skyline, Empire State Building included.
Klyukin makes no bones about his unusual designs, “If I built a yacht for myself, it wouldn’t be the same as the other ones.
Of course, all the boats are different, but in reality most of them are similar.
Even if you would build the largest yacht in the world, there is always the sea lover who is richer than you and he would beat your record to have the biggest one.
But he would be a champion only for a certain period of time a couple of years more and the garland will float away on the new boat, bigger than the previous ones. I’m not captivated with such a competition.
I do not want to compete at all. I just want a special yacht: one of a kind, I do not want its beauty to float away from me when somebody will build its copy, but 10 metres longer.”
During the Cannes Film Festival AmFar charity gala in 2013, Klyukin reportedly paid €1.2 million to travel to outer space to fly alongside Leonardo Di Caprio on one of the first Virgin Galactic flights, which may have inspired the futuristic twist of the Monaco 2050. Perhaps Monaco ‘2150’ will have a detachable spaceship.
The VTOL, far from being a gimmick, would actually be more useful to the yacht than a helicopter. According to Klyukin, “(It’s not possible) to cross the Atlantic or to fly to Hong Kong by helicopter. Therefore, after gaining the necessary altitude and speed, it’s possible to turn on the jet engines and even go overseas.”
Let’s face it, the Monaco 2050 isn’t going to be launched anytime soon – the 2050 in the name is a clue as to the timescale – but the technology is actually not that far-fetched. This bold dream is sure to inspire many other designers in the years to come.

Friday, July 24, 2015

UK cardholders will switch banks

UK cardholders will switch bank accounts to gain faster payments

British cardholders expect faster and more accessible payments from their bank and are prepared to switch accounts to gain improved payment services, according to an ACI worldwide survey.
The study was conducted by the universal payments company and YouGov, whereby 2000 UK cardholders were questioned about their payment preferences.
The survey reveals that nearly half (45 per cent) of UK bank account holders would switch providers if it would mean gaining access to faster electronic payments.
Over half (65 per cent) of respondents want faster payments when paying for their utility bills. Credit card bills (60 per cent) and transferring cash to family and friends (66 per cent) also takes precedence for British cardholders.
An appetite for faster payments is commonly found within UK millennials, as people born between 1989 and the early 2000s are found to be the fastest adopters to new banking services. Millennials are most attracted to mobile banking, contactless and third-party payment providers.
‘‘Our research shows that today’s consumers want fast and easy payment methods. Speed is very important to them as is convenience. Many big retail banks are missing a trick,’’ stated Barry Kislingbury, lead solutions consultant at ACI Worldwide.
UK cardholders are also likely to switch accounts if they suffer specific banking problems. Payment delays, ATM withdrawal fees and credit and debit card fees are some of the biggest irritations for customers.
‘‘Today’s consumers, especially young ones, are financially and digitally savvy. Banks have a real opportunity to stand out by offering faster payments and other innovations that today’s consumers covet,’’ continued Kislingbury.
Customers have varying opinions when it comes to the future of faster payments. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of UK cardholders expects an electronic transfer to reach recipients immediately while another 23 per cent say up to three hours.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Toshiba CEO Hisao Tanaka resigns over doctored accounts

Toshiba CEO Hisao Tanaka resigns over doctored accounts that inflated profits

Toshiba acknowledges systematic coverup that began in 2008

Toshiba Corp. CEO Hisao Tanaka bows during a press conference to announce his resignation at the company's headquarters in Tokyo on Tuesday. He stepped down to take responsibility for doctored books that inflated profits at the Japanese technology manufacturer.
Toshiba Corp. CEO Hisao Tanaka bows during a press conference to announce his resignation at the company's headquarters in Tokyo on Tuesday. He stepped down to take responsibility for doctored books that inflated profits at the Japanese technology manufacturer. (Shizuo Kambayashi/Associated Press)
Toshiba's CEO and eight other executives resigned Tuesday to take responsibility for doctored books that inflated profits at the Japanese technology manufacturer by 152 billion yen ($1.59 billion Cdn) over several years.
Toshiba Corp. acknowledged a systematic coverup, which began in 2008. Various parts of the Japanese company's sprawling business including computer chips and personal computers were struggling financially, but top managers set unrealistic earnings targets under the banner of "challenge," and subordinates faked results.
On top of its struggles in electronics, Tokyo-based Toshiba's prospects in nuclear power, one of its core businesses, were shaken after the 2011 Fukushima disaster set off public fears about reactor safety, making new nuclear plants unlikely in Japan. All 48 of the nation's working reactors are now offline.
Bowing deeply before flashing cameras at a news conference, CEO Hisao Tanaka kept his head lowered for nearly half a minute in a gesture meant to convey deep shame and contrition. Tanaka's predecessors, Norio Sasaki, now a vice chairman, and Atsutoshi Nishida, an adviser, also gave up their posts along with six other executives.
"We have a serious responsibility," Tanaka told reporters. The company will need to "build a new structure" to reform itself, he said.
The company said that the fraud continued through the fiscal year that ended in March, and work on revising the accounts to show the complete and true financial picture is not yet finished. It promised an emergency stockholder meeting for September, where it plans to deliver a genuine financial report.
The scandal highlights how Japan is still struggling to improve corporate governance despite recent steps to increase independent oversight of companies.
In 2011, Olympus Corp., which makes medical equipment and cameras, was embroiled in a scandal after its president Michael Woodford, a Briton, blew the whistle on a long-running coverup of losses at the company.

Lack of transparency

Loizos Heracleous, Professor of Strategy at Warwick Business School in Britain, said corporate Japan is still lacking in areas such as transparency and board independence compared with the global standard.
"The Toshiba scandal will be seen in the context of the Olympus event, with investors wondering whether there is a pattern of account manipulation in corporate behaviour," he said in a commentary. "Japanese regulatory authorities will need to reassure the markets that they are casting a watchful eye over Japanese corporations."
Toshiba has repeatedly apologized to shareholders and customers. It has set up an outside investigation group to analyze why the scandal happened and propose what needs to be done to prevent a recurrence.
The inflation of profits to meet targets was carried out not only on one or two projects, but across the board, sometimes because the projects weren't even breaking even, according to the report of an investigation.
"There was intense pressure to produce results under the challenge initiative," the report said. "So employees felt cornered into resorting to inappropriate measures."
Tanaka will be replaced by Masashi Muromachi, chairman of the board.
Toshiba shares were up six per cent, recovering recent losses, as investors took the resignations as a sign the company might right itself.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

PayPal returns to market with $52 billion

PayPal returns to market with $52 billion valuation

PayPal Holdings Inc (PYPL.O) shares jumped as much as 11 percent in their highly anticipated return to the Nasdaq after more than a decade in eBay Inc's (EBAY.O) fold, valuing the digital payment processor at about $52 billion.
PayPal is a giant in the market it helped create - it processed 4 billion payments tootling about $235 billion in 2014. But the online payments landscape has changed drastically since the company was snapped up by eBay in 2002.
Freed from eBay, PayPal is now expected to partner with other e-commerce sites and try to seize market share from startups such as Stripe and Square and Apple Inc (AAPL.O), which unveiled its own mobile payments service last year.
For eBay, the separation allows the company to focus on its struggling e-commerce marketplace.
PayPal shares soared to $42.55 in early trading. EBay's stock fell as much as 4.7 percent, valuing the company at about $32 billion.
"PayPal is the gorilla among independent digital payment service providers with more than 160 million active accounts, global scale and brand recognition," J.P. Morgan analysts said.
PayPal is also looking to compete with Western Union Co (WU.N) and other money transfer companies. CEO Dan Shulman said he was looking to use PayPal's size to offer affordable financial services widely.
"It's clear that the potential for mobile technology to transform money extends beyond commerce. The vast majority of the world's 7 billion people lack access to even basic financial services," Schulman told Reuters.
PayPal was founded in the late 1990s by venture capitalist Peter Thiel, Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) CEO Elon Musk and others. It went public in 2002 and was acquired by eBay soon after for $1.5 billion.
Bowing to pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn, eBay said last year it would split PayPal as this would give both companies more focus and flexibility.
The companies, however, are not severing ties altogether -eBay has agreed it won't cut the volume of transactions it channels through PayPal for the next five years.
Wall Street analysts were overwhelmingly bullish on the stock. Nine of the 11 starting coverage on the stock have a "buy" or similar rating. Only Evercore has a "sell". Price targets range from $36 to $48.
BMO capital Markets analysts said they expected investors to value PayPal relative to Visa Inc (V.N) and MasterCard Inc (MA.N), but added that PayPal had a relatively low EBITDA margin profile of 27 percent - around half that of the credit card giants.
PayPal also faces a fight in the rapidly evolving mobile payments market.
"The competitive advantages PayPal enjoyed in the traditional online commerce channel do not necessarily carry over into the mobile and offline worlds, in our view," J.P. Morgan analysts said.
PayPal recently acquired Xoom, putting it in a position to take on Western Union and MoneyGram's (MGI.O) online businesses.
(Editing by Sayantani Ghosh, Rodney Joyce and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

U.S. banks to hold more equity capital

The Federal Reserve will meet on Monday to adopt a new rule for the eight largest U.S. banks to hold more equity capital, amid fears on Wall Street that the measure may make it less profitable.
The rule was largely similar to when it was proposed in December, when the U.S. central bank said the banks would face a surcharge of between 1 percent and 4.5 percent of their assets.
The Fed also gave numerical estimates of what the rule would mean for each of the banks. The numbers were in line with an estimate by Goldman Sachs (GS.N) analysts in December.
Regulators want U.S. banks whose failure could threaten markets to fund themselves more with shareholder equity, and less with borrowed funds.
They also want to discourage banks from relying on unstable short-term borrowing, a key contributing factor to the demise of Lehman Brothers at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.
JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) faces the highest surcharge at 4.5 percent, followed by Citigroup (C.N) at 3.5 percent.
All the firms were on their way to meet the surcharges over the three-year period during which they will need to implement the measure, the Fed said. Seven already meet it now.
Only JPMorgan faces a shortfall of $12.5 billion at the moment, Federal Reserve staff said on a conference call. In December, that number still stood at some $20 billion.
The company said in February that it would do "whatever it takes" to keep the surcharge below 4.5 percent.
The rule does not require the firms to meet the surcharges in the Fed's so-called stress tests, an annual health check during which banks have to run through a simulated severe economic and financial crisis.
But the Fed later this year would look at changing the stress test procedures to better address systemic risk arising from the largest financial institutions, Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo said in a statement.
"While incorporation of some or all of the capital surcharges would be one way to account for those risks, it is only one among a number of possibilities, all of which we will want to evaluate," Tarullo said.

(Reporting by Douwe Miedema; Editing by Paul Simao)

Monday, July 20, 2015

lives cut short by air pollution

Almost 9,500 people in London had their lives cut short by air pollution in 2010, accounting for a fifth of all deaths in the city that year, and the effect was deadlier where traffic was heaviest, according to a new report from King's College London.
The research was commissioned by Transport for London and the Greater London Authority and looked at the number of deaths associated with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) tied to vehicles' diesel fumes, in addition to particulate matter — such as dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and microscopic liquid droplets— in the air in order to provide a more complete understanding of London's air quality.
A past report from 2008 only studied particulate mater, to which it attributed 4,267 premature deaths. The King's College London study, which pooled results from multiple studies on particulate matter and NO2 exposure,puts the new death toll twice as high, at 9,416, and found that pollution associated with NO2 was the main killer: 5,879 early deaths were related to NO2 emissions, compared to 3,537 from particulates.
Heather Walton, an author of the study, said that because the researchers broadened their lens, looking at NO2 concentrations, the researchers were able to compare air quality in different regions within a single city. Most research on urban air pollution looks only at particulate matter, which is more evenly spread in the atmosphere, providing a good measure of average pollution over a large area, but not for determining variation within an urban area. N02 concentrations, however, remain high close to where they are emitted but dissipate rapidly the farther one is from the source of pollution, such as a vehicle tailpipe.
The London study notes, however, that the link between mortality and NO2 was less clear than it was for particulate matter, acknowledging that deaths associated with NO2 may also be due to other traffic pollutants — making NO2 more useful as a proxy for deaths resulting from car emissions, especially diesel engines, which emit around 20 times more NO2 than petrol cars.
"While [the World Health Organization] considers that it was plausible that long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide was associated with mortality, this does not necessarily mean that it is responsible for the whole of the effect," Heather Walton, another study author, told VICE News. "It is unknown how much of the effect is due to NO2 and how much to other traffic pollutants."
Still, by comparison, the study's death toll is higher than the 8,550 annual deaths in London resulting from smoking from 2008 to 2010. Figures also suggest that air pollution killed six times as many people in London as the number killed in car accidents each year throughout all of England, said Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation.
"Exposure to air pollution increases the risk of lung cancer, impairs child lung development, and increases the risk of hospitalization among people with a pre-existing lung condition," Woods told VICE News. "It is time we stop talking and take immediate action to prevent more people being needlessly killed by the air that they breathe."
Traditionally, particulate matter is the standard way air pollution is measured, and is the preferred yardstick used by organizations like WHO. Last year, the agency released a report on outdoor particulate air pollution for 1600 major cities across the globe, using data collected locally.
The WHO found that London's levels of PM2.5, which are very small particles of air pollution, was16 units per cubic meter of air, which was on par with New York's (14) and Paris (17), but lower than that found in Los Angeles (20). Levels of PM2.5 in South American cities were typically twice as high: Brazil's Rio de Janeiro came in at 36 units, while Santiago, Chile was 26 units of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air.
Beijing, a city widely maligned for its air quality, came in at 56 units of PM2.5 — roughly half of what the WHO found in five major cities in India.
The WHO estimated that outdoor air pollution killed about 3.7 million people in 2012, roughly 6.7 percent of all global deaths.
Watch the VICE News documentary "Toxic Waste in the US: Coal Ash" here:
Follow Aaron CantĂș on Twitter: @aaronmiguel_

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Corporate China's debts

Manage, meddle or magnify? China's corporate debt threat

Beijing may have averted a crisis in its stock markets with heavy-handed intervention, but the world's biggest corporate debt pile - $16.1 trillion and rising - is a much greater threat to its slowing economy and will not be so easily managed.
Corporate China's debts, at 160 percent of GDP, are twice that of the United States, having sharply deteriorated in the past five years, a Thomson Reuters study of over 1,400 companies shows.
And the debt mountain is set to climb 77 percent to $28.8 trillion over the next five years, credit rating agency Standard & Poor's estimates. [ID:nL4N0ZV68I]
Beijing's policy interventions affecting corporate credit have so far been mostly designed to address a different goal - supporting economic growth, which is set to fall to a 25-year low this year.
It has cut interest rates four times since November, reduced the level of reserves banks must hold and removed limits on how much of their deposits they can lend.
Though it wants more of that credit going to smaller companies and innovative areas of the economy, such measures are blunt instruments.
"When the credit taps are opened, risks rise that the money is going to 'problematic' companies or entities," said Louis Kuijs, RBS chief economist for Greater China.
China's banks made 1.28 trillion yuan ($206 billion) in new loans in June, well up on May's 900.8 billion yuan.
The effect of policy easing has been to reduce short-term interest costs, so lending for stock speculation has boomed, but there is little evidence loans are being used for profitable investment in the real economy, where long-term borrowing costs remain high, and banks are reluctant to take risks.
Manufacturers' debts are increasingly dwarfing their profits. The Thomson Reuters study found that in 2010, materials companies' debts were 2.8 times their core profit. At end-2014 they were 5.3 times. For energy companies, indebtedness has risen from 1.1 to 4.4 times core profit. For industrials, from 2.5 to 4.2.
Gao Hong, investor relationship principal at railway equipment maker Jinxi Axle Co (600495.SH), which has seen its debt-to-core profit multiple triple to 10.25 between 2010 and 2014, said the company struggled to find profitable capital projects to invest in, so put money into short-term bank products that guaranteed returns.
"The risk for these (capital) programmes is so high and the rate of return so low that we have to make the best decision for our investors (by) purchasing bank products. Last year, we made profits thanks to the sale of CNR shares," said Gao.
Much of the new lending is going to China's notoriously inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) as part of the government's fiscal stimulus.
“They are lending more to fund infrastructure projects, and some may be done by SOEs where leverage is increasing as a result," said Tao Wang, UBS head of China research.
"Prices are declining and revenue is slowing, and in this environment you cannot force too quick a deleverage – that would lead to a hard landing," said Wang.
S&P expects China's companies to account for 40 percent of the world's new corporate lending in the period through 2019.
But quantity is not the only problem.
Getting credit to the most efficient companies, where it has the most impact on the economy, would be easier if inefficient companies were allowed to fail, so markets can price debt effectively.
Policymakers have said they want market mechanisms to play a bigger role in credit pricing, but in practice have baulked at the consequences, effectively bailing out companies in trouble, as it did last year when state-backed Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science and Technology Co Ltd (002506.SZ) defaulted on a bond coupon payment.
Rapid debt growth, opacity of risk and pricing and very high debt to GDP are a hazardous combination, Standard & Poor's says.
It took an unprecedented series of measures to arrest the plunge in China's stock markets, which are worth just over $8 trillion and are a minority pursuit for the relatively wealthy.
Tackling corporate debt might make that seem like child's play.
"Managing the debt market is probably more dangerous than the stock market because the scale of the debt market is bigger, and without any high-profile default, the moral hazard is a significant issue," said David Cui, BofA Merrill Lynch analyst.
($1 = 6.2084 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Rick Mercer Rant Slams Harper conservatives

Rick Mercer Rant Slams Harper conservatives attack on Canada's Water & Scientists > -SHARE!
View This Documentary Film, 'Sacred Spirit of Water' here >
The film provides insight on how the Harper government Omnibus Bills, Privatization of Water, Hydraulic Fracking will impact all of us, and most significantly, create awareness into what our children and grandchildren will be dealt as a result of the aftermath.
View This CBC Documentary: The Nature of Things with David Suzuki 'Shattered Ground' on Hydraulic fracking, the impacts on water and your communities. >
Harper government removes protection from 99% of Canada's 2.5 million lakes and rivers– except in Conservative ridings >
Harper's omnibus ‘Budget’ Bill C-45 Guts 99% of Canada's Protected Rivers and Lakes - Conservatives Toss Out 130 Year-Old 'Navigation Water Protection Act' to Speed Up Pipeline Construction- Over 99% of Canada's waterways are now unprotected - Canada HAD over 2.5 million protected lakes, and over 8,500 protected rivers. Canada now has ONLY 97 Protected lakes and 62 protected rivers. (90 per cent of the total of those remaining 159 protected lakes and rivers are on conservative riding territory)
"The word "environment" was suddenly deleted from a federal government website that described Conservative proposals to change the law protecting Canada's navigable waterways."
ESSENTIAL READING: Proof Harper works for the Oil Industry, not Canadians >>>
"The Act which previously provided basic protection for our Canadian waters was eliminated and its replacement is called the Navigation Protection Act. Notice first that the word "water" has been removed from the title; that will give you insight into the meat of this Act. This is a continuation of the Harper government's abandonment of responsibility to protect water and water habitats. This new acts leaves 99.9 per cent of our rivers and 99.7 per cent of our lakes without basic protection." >
"It means the removal of almost every lake and river we know from the Navigable Waters Protection Act. From one day to the next we went from 2.5 million protected lakes and rivers in Canada to 159 lakes and rivers protected. You name the river, you name the lake and it is no longer protected by this act, and this has nothing to do with the budget that the government rammed through, it has everything to do with oil pipelines, because you are able to now are able to ruin navigation and not trigger an environmental assessment."
"Major changes to the act—now called the Navigation Protection Act—mean oil and gas developers looking to build on and around lakes and rivers no longer have to notify the federal government of their plans. As a result, future projects won’t trigger a federal environmental assessment, which First Nations say undermines their right to free, prior and informed consent for construction in traditional territories."
Documents reveal oil pipeline industry changed laws in Canada (Navigable Waters' act)
"90% of 159 lakes and rivers that will now be designated as protected are in 1% conservative ridings- The list of lakes includes those surrounded by wealthy cottagers north of Toronto, in the Muskoka district of the riding held by conservative Tony Clement. Among them is Lake Rosseau, where Hollywood celebrities, business moguls and NHL stars perch on its banks.
Harper conservative government removes water protection from historic 130-year-old Canadian law >
Stephen Harper's conservative government guts Canada's environmental protections, water protection act, fishery act, and wild life act >
"Harper’s second monster budget bill dismantled environmental reviews, gutted the Fisheries Act, eliminated wildlife habitat protection, repealed the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, reduced the powers of the auditor general, dissolved the Public Appointments Commission meant to fight patronage, and restricted food safety inspections. Thousands of lakes and rivers are not covered any more by the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the Environmental Assessment Act has been shredded, and fish habitat protection disappeared from the Fisheries Act."
Harper government shuts down Canada's 'groundbreaking' freshwater research station
"Stephen Harper pulled the plug on Canada's greatest freshwater defender and scientific achievement: the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA)"
Stephen Harper Conservative's effort to privatize Canada's municipal water and wastewater systems, and the threat this poses to the accessibility of safety public water for all Canadians. >
Why is Harper Selling Canada's Fresh Water Supply to corporations?
"The Harper government has gutted every regulation and law we had in place to protect our freshwater supplies. Now this deregulation is locked in as corporations from Europe as well as the U.S. can soon claim to have invested in an environment without water protection rules and sue any future government that tries to undo the damage." -Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, Council of Canadians
"About three years ago, the Harper government tied funding to municipalities for new water infrastructure to public-private partnerships. Most people don’t know about it, but it’s quite dangerous because it locks municipalities to a private model"
Why is Harper Letting the EU Profit From Canadian Water?
"Rather rather than providing the funding needed for First Nations water infrastructure needs, the Harper government has instead seen privatization as a quick fix for the water crisis in First Nations communities and has promoted public-private partnerships through its federal budgets." >
It's Official. Stephen Harper is Privatizing Our Water
Council of Canadians Condemns Harper's Sponsorship of Water Privatization Conference >
'Why Canada's Water Is At Risk' by Maude Barlow
National Chairperson, Council of Canadians >
'Fractured Land' depicts First Nations' fight to save water from oil and gas industry
"So, at one extreme you have indigenous, tribal societies trying to stem the race to disaster. At the other extreme, the richest, most powerful societies in world history, like the United States and Canada, are racing full-speed ahead to destroy the environment as quickly as possible." — Noam Chomsky >>
"First Nations people – and the decision of Canadians to stand alongside them – will determine the fate of the planet."
'Indigenous communities against fracking like the Elsipogtog First Nation are on the frontlines of defending water and the land FOR EVERYONE' >
New Brunswick fracking protests are the frontline of a democratic fight > -Guardian
"Freed of the distractions, we will be left with a single question. Do we obey provincial dictates that grant a U.S company license to pollute the water in Canada? Or the laws of Indigenous peoples, of the Supreme Court, and of our conscience, calling us to protect it? The answer will tell us everything about the kind of country we will have."

Best Cuba City Guide – Interactive City Guide

Best Cuba City Guide – Interactive City Guide