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Ocean Economy, Worth $24 Trillion, in Rapid Decline From Overfishing, Climate Change

Ocean Economy, Worth $24 Trillion, in Rapid Decline From Overfishing, Climate Change


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‘We must listen to science,’ researchers urged.

A new report released on Thursday, April 23, by the World Wildlife Foundation, entitled Reviving the Ocean Economy, estimates the total wealth of the ocean at $24 trillion, capable of producing $2.5 trillion in assets per year. Those figures, the WWF cautions, “are a vast underestimation.”

If it were a nation, the ocean would rank seventh in gross domestic product, just behind the U.K. and just ahead of Brazil.

“Underpinning this value,” the report states, “are direct outputs (fishing, aquaculture), services enabled (tourism, education), trade and transportation (coastal and oceanic shipping), and adjacent benefits (carbon sequestration, biotechnology).”

As “human activities” have created major changes to marine ecosystems, changed coastlines, and fished down the food web, marine life is deeply threatened and coastal development leaves “few places for marine life to find refuge or reproduce.” Not to mention, rapid acidification is making the ocean utterly uninhabitable for a broad range of species. Already, the U.S. oyster industry has lost $110 million in revenue and thousands of jobs from acidification alone.

“The analysis did not include valuable intangibles such as the ocean’s role in climate regulation, the production of oxygen, temperature stabilization of our planet, or the spiritual and cultural services the ocean provides,” the report went on to state. “The fact that these additional values are not included in this analysis means that the actual value of the ocean is much higher… We must do more, much more, to protect our ocean asset base. A prudent treasurer or CEO would not wait until the next financial report to correct course. They would act now.”


Economy of China

The economy of the People's Republic of China is a developing market-oriented economy that incorporates economic planning through industrial policies and strategic five-year plans. Dominated by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and mixed-ownership enterprises, the economy also consists of a large domestic private sector and openness to foreign businesses in a system described as a socialist market economy. [26] [27] [28] State-owned enterprises accounted for over 60% of China's market capitalization in 2019 [29] and generated 40% of China's GDP of US$15.66 trillion in 2020, with domestic and foreign private businesses and investment accounting for the remaining 60%. [30] [31] As of the end of 2019, the total assets of all China's SOEs, including those operating in the financial sector, reached US$78.08 trillion. [32] Ninety-one (91) of these SOEs belong to the 2020 Fortune Global 500 companies. [33] China has the world's second largest economy when measured by nominal GDP, and the world's largest economy since 2014 [34] when measured by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), which is claimed by some to be the more accurate measure of an economy's true size. [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] It has been the second largest by nominal GDP since 2010, which rely on fluctuating market exchange rates. [41] An official forecast states that China will become the world's largest economy in nominal GDP by 2028. [42] Historically, China was one of the world's foremost economic powers for most of the two millennia from the 1st until the 19th century. [43]

  • $16.64 trillion (nominal 2021) [4]
  • $26.66 trillion (PPP 2021) [4]
  • $11,819 (nominal 2021) [4]
  • $18,931 (PPP 2021) [4]
  • Household consumption: 39.1%
  • Government consumption: 14.5%
  • Investment in fixed capital: 42.7%
  • Investment in inventories: 1.7%
  • Exports of goods and services: 20.4%
  • Imports of goods and services: −18.4%
  • (2017 est.) [7]
  • 0.6% at national poverty line $2.30/day (2019) [8][note 1]
  • 0.2% on less than $1.90/day (2019)
  • 2.1% on less than $3.20/day (2019)
  • 14.1% on less than $5.50/day (2019)
  • 0.761 high (2019) [10] (85th)
  • 0.639 medium IHDI (2019) [11]
  • 778,700,553 (2020) [12] (1st)
  • 67.4% employment rate (2019) [13]
  • 3.8% (2020) [4]
  • 10.6% youth unemployment (2019) [15][note 3]
  • European Union 17.2%
  • United States 16.7%
  • ASEAN 12.83%
  • Hong Kong 12.16%
  • Japan 5.91%
  • South Korea 4.37%
  • India 3.08%
  • Russia 2.64%
  • Others 23.33% [18]
  • European Union 12.82%
  • ASEAN 12.58%
  • South Korea 9.58%
  • Japan 8.45%
  • Taiwan 8.32%
  • United States 7.24%
  • India 4.03%
  • Brazil 3.63%
  • Others 33.74% [18]
  • $1.523 trillion (31 December 2017) [7]
  • Abroad: $1.383 trillion (31 December 2017) [7]
    : [20]
  • A+ (domestic)
  • A+ (foreign)
  • A+ (T&C assessment)
  • Outlook: stable
    : [21]
  • A1
  • Outlook: stable
    : [22]
  • A+
  • Outlook: stable
  • Scope: [23]
  • A+
  • Outlook: negative

The government began its economic reforms in 1978 under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. [44] As a result, China has the world's fastest-growing major economy, with growth rates averaging 10% over 30 years. [45] [46] China has four of the world's top ten most competitive financial centers (Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shenzhen), more than any other country. [47] China has three of the world's ten largest stock exchanges (Shanghai, Hong Kong and Shenzhen), both by market capitalization and by trade volume. [48] [49] As of October 12, 2020, the total market capitalization of Mainland Chinese stock markets, consisting of the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange, topped US$10 trillion, excluding the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, with about US$5.9 trillion. [50] As of the end of June 2020, foreign investors had bought a total of US$440 billion in Chinese stocks, representing about 2.9% of the total value, and indicating that foreign investors scooped up a total of US$156.6 billion in the stocks just in the first half of 2020. [51] The total value of China's bond market topped US$15.4 trillion, ranked above that of Japan and the U.K., and second only to that of the U.S. with US$40 trillion, as of the beginning of September 2020. [52] As of the end of September 2020, foreign holdings of Chinese bonds reached US$388 billion, or 2.5%, of the total value, notwithstanding an increase by 44.66% year on year. [53]

As of 2019, China's public sector accounted for 63% of total employment. [54] According to the IMF, on a per capita income basis, China ranked 59th by GDP (nominal) and 73rd by GDP (PPP) in 2020. [55] [56] China's GDP was $15.66 trillion (101.6 trillion Yuan) in 2020. [57] [58] The country has natural resources with an estimated worth of $23 trillion, 90% of which are coal and rare earth metals. [59] China also has the world's largest total banking sector assets of around $45.838 trillion (309.41 trillion CNY) with $42.063 trillion in total deposits and other liabilities. [60] [61] Direct foreign investment in China, which totaled about US$1.6 trillion as of the end of October 2016, directly and indirectly contributed about one-third of China's GDP and a quarter of jobs there. [62] As of the end of June 2020, FDI stock in China reached US$2.947 trillion, and China's outgoing FDI stock stood at US$2.128 trillion. Total foreign financial assets owned by China reached US$7.860 trillion, and its foreign financial liabilities US$5.716 trillion, making China the second largest creditor nation after Japan in the world. [63] China is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the world as of 2020, receiving inflows of $163 billion. [64] It has the second largest outward foreign direct investment, at US$136.91 billion for 2019 alone, following Japan at US$226.65 billion for the same period. [65] As of 2018, China was first in the world in total number of billionaires and second in millionaires – there were 658 Chinese billionaires [66] and 3.5 million millionaires. [67] According to the 2019 Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse Group, China surpassed the US in the wealth of the top ten percent of the world's population. [68] [note 5] As of 2020, China is home to the largest companies in the Fortune Global 500 and 129 are headquartered in China. [69] [70] China is also home to more than two hundred privately held technology startups (tech unicorns), each with a valuation of over $1 billion, the highest number in the world. [71] China has the world's largest foreign-exchange reserves worth $3.1 trillion, [72] but if the foreign assets of China's state-owned commercial banks are included, the value of China's reserves rises to nearly $4 trillion. [73]

China is the world's largest manufacturing economy and exporter of goods. [74] It is also the world's fastest-growing consumer market and second-largest importer of goods. [75] China is a net importer of services products. [76] It is the largest trading nation in the world and plays a prominent role in international trade. [77] [78] China became a member of the World Trade Organization in 2001. [79] It also has free trade agreements with several nations, including ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Korea and Switzerland. [80] China's largest trading partners are the US, EU, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, India, Taiwan, Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brazil. [81] With 778 million workers, the Chinese labour force is the world's largest as of 2020. It ranks 31st on the Ease of doing business index [82] and 28th on the Global Competitiveness Report. [83] China ranks 14th on the Global Innovation Index and is the only middle-income economy, the only newly industrialized economy, and the only emerging country in the top 30. [84] [85] China ranks No.1 globally in patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs, and creative goods exports and also has two (Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou and Beijing in the 2nd and 4th spots respectively) of the global top 5 science and technology clusters, which is more than any other country. [86] By the end of April 2021, China's 5G users had already surpassed 300 million. [87]


Sustainable Design

Developed with the Maldives government, the first-of-its kind "island city" will be based in a warm-water lagoon just 10 minutes by boat from the capital Male and its international airport.

Dutch Docklands worked with urban planning and architecture firm Waterstudio, which is developing floating social housing in the Netherlands, to create a water-based urban grid built to evolve with the changing needs of the country.

Maldives thrives on tourism and the same coral reefs that attract holidaymakers also provide the inspiration for much of the development. The hexagon-shaped floating segments are, in part, modeled on the distinctive geometry of local coral.

These are connected to a ring of barrier islands, which act as breakers below the water, thereby lessening the impact of lagoon waves and stabilizing structures on the surface

."The Maldives Floating City does not require any land reclamation, therefore has a minimal impact on the coral reefs," says Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives, speaker of parliament and Climate Vulnerable Forum Ambassador for Ambition.

"What's more, giant new reefs will be grown to act as water breakers. Our adaptation to climate change mustn't destroy nature but work with it, as the Maldives Floating City proposes. In the Maldives, we cannot stop the waves, but we can rise with them."

Maldives Floating City


These are the 10 cities in the US that are most obsessed with eating turkey on Thanksgiving

Every year, Google searches for the term “turkey” skyrocket around a particular day in November.

As you can see from this Google trends data, Thanksgiving seems to be pretty much the only time we care at all about turkeys:

Most of those searches center on recipes for cooking turkey, or where the best place to buy one is.

But there are some cities in the US that are more obsessed with turkey than others. Bus-booking site Busbud crunched the Google data to analyze which cities are most excited for turkey day, based on how often they are searching for it.

Nashville took the top spot, with Washington and Louisville rounding out the top three.

Here are the most turkey-crazy cities in the US, according to Google trends:

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Bitcoin’s Volatility Spawns New Crypto Balance Sheet Alternative

(Bloomberg) -- Corporate treasurers fed up with rock-bottom returns on their cash are about to get another pitch from the world of crypto.Circle Internet Financial Ltd., one of the digital-asset firms behind the so-called stablecoin dubbed USDC that is pegged 1-to-1 to the dollar, has cooked up an alternative for the legions too conservative to follow the likes of Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey into Bitcoin. Park your extra cash in USDC and earn as much as 7% annually through high-yield accounts, the marketing says -- more than 10 times the return on an ultra-safe 1-year Treasury bill.The idea may be appealing to some treasurers who were initially seduced by the big gains in crypto, especially following Bitcoin’s roughly 40% decline since mid-April. Stablecoins such as USDC are gaining increased attention because of their ability to maintain their pegs during the wild crypto price swings, suggesting they could actually serve as a store of value. Even so, not all long-term digital market observers are convinced.“If companies wish to put their corporate reserves into a stablecoin and that is fully audited, it is like putting their money in a bank account which is what they normally do,” John Griffin, professor of finance at the University of Texas at Austin, said in an email. “However, if the account is paying out a higher yield than bank account yields, then it is not merely invested in some risk-free asset.”Here’s how Circle’s program will work: Treasurers would open a “digital-dollar account” where the company’s fiat money is converted into USDC and interest is paid out in USDC. The yield is generated by Circle lending the digital dollars to a network of institutional investors that are willing to pay an interest rate for access to additional capital.The companies would lock in their return when the account is opened, similar to a bank certificate of deposit. Circle plans to offer accounts with maturities ranging from one month to a year, with no early withdrawals allowed. Rates available will be updated on a weekly basis, depending on demand for USDC loans.That’s a bit tamer than the strategy first highlighted last year by MicroStrategy Inc. Chief Executive Officer Michael Saylor, who advocated pouring company reserves into Bitcoin because he said the dollar is being debased by surging inflation. Musk’s February announcement that Tesla Inc. had added Bitcoin to its balance sheet helped fuel the rally that took the largest cryptocurrency to a record in April before it lost more than one-third of its value.“Corporate reserves are not for investing in stocks, going to Vegas, or something more volatile and more rigged against you like Bitcoin,” Griffin said.With few companies outside the crypto realm following MicroStrategy, Tesla and Dorsey’s Square Inc. into Bitcoin, Circle hopes that stablecoins may be the next logical step. The company is working with Genesis Global Capital, one of the largest crypto lenders.The service will be first made available in the U.S. and Switzerland, and will launch “imminently,” Jeremy Allaire, Circle’s CEO, said in an interview. Thousands of businesses are already on the waiting list, according to Circle.“We are seeing the opportunity for the treasury use-case grow a lot,” Allaire said.Other providers of stablecoins are rolling out similar offerings. On May 26, Gemini exchange -- the brainchild of the Winklevoss brothers -- said investors can earn up to 7.4% annually on Gemini dollars through a program called Gemini Earn. The Gemini token is also pegged to the dollar and its reserves are held with State Street Bank and Trust, the largest financial custodian in the world. Each month, the dollar deposit balance is examined by BPM LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm.USDC reserves are attested to monthly by accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP and published online.Various small crypto lenders already offer yield accounts for different coins, including less regulated stablecoins like Tether.For these products, “appropriate users would be people who invest in junk bonds or similar risky lending,” said Aaron Brown, a crypto investor and writer for Bloomberg Opinion. “It might offer a better risk-adjusted return than alternatives. . . or not. But whatever it is, it’s not a savings account in the way most people understand that term.”More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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This Time Is Different: Outside OPEC+, Oil Growth Stalls

(Bloomberg) -- “This time is different” may be the most dangerous words in business: billions of dollars have been lost betting that history won’t repeat itself. And yet now, in the oil world, it looks like this time really will be.For the first time in decades, oil companies aren’t rushing to increase production to chase rising oil prices as Brent crude approaches $70. Even in the Permian, the prolific shale basin at the center of the U.S. energy boom, drillers are resisting their traditional boom-and-bust cycle of spending.The oil industry is on the ropes, constrained by Wall Street investors demanding that companies spend less on drilling and instead return more money to shareholders, and climate change activists pushing against fossil fuels. Exxon Mobil Corp. is paradigmatic of the trend, after its humiliating defeat at the hands of a tiny activist elbowing itself onto the board.The dramatic events in the industry last week only add to what is emerging as an opportunity for the producers of OPEC+, giving the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and Russia more room for maneuver to bring back their own production. As non-OPEC output fails to rebound as fast as many expected -- or feared based on past experience -- the cartel is likely to continue adding more supply when it meets on June 1.‘Criminalization’Shareholders are asking Exxon to drill less and focus on returning money to investors. “They have been throwing money down the drill hole like crazy,” Christopher Ailman, chief investment officer for CalSTRS. “We really saw that company just heading down the hole, not surviving into the future, unless they change and adapt. And now they have to.”Exxon is unlikely to be alone. Royal Dutch Shell Plc lost a landmark legal battle last week when a Dutch court told it to cut emissions significantly by 2030 -- something that would require less oil production. Many in the industry fear a wave of lawsuits elsewhere, with western oil majors more immediate targets than the state-owned oil companies that make up much of OPEC production.“We see a shift from stigmatization toward criminalization of investing in higher oil production,” said Bob McNally, president of consultant Rapidan Energy Group and a former White House official.While it’s true that non-OPEC+ output is creeping back from the crash of 2020 -- and the ultra-depressed levels of April and May last year -- it’s far from a full recovery. Overall, non-OPEC+ output will grow this year by 620,000 barrels a day, less than half the 1.3 million barrels a day it fell in 2020. The supply growth forecast through the rest of this year “comes nowhere close to matching” the expected increase in demand, according to the International Energy Agency.Beyond 2021, oil output is likely to rise in a handful of nations, including the U.S., Brazil, Canada and new oil-producer Guyana. But production will decline elsewhere, from the U.K. to Colombia, Malaysia and Argentina.As non-OPEC+ production increases less than global oil demand, the cartel will be in control of the market, executives and traders said. It’s a major break with the past, when oil companies responded to higher prices by rushing to invest again, boosting non-OPEC output and leaving the ministers led by Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz bin Salman with a much more difficult balancing act.Drilling DownSo far, the lack of non-OPEC+ oil production growth isn’t registering much in the market. After all, the coronavirus pandemic continues to constrain global oil demand. It may be more noticeable later this year and into 2022. By then, vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 are likely to be bearing fruit, and the world will need more oil. The expected return of Iran into the market will provide some of that, but there will likely be a need for more.When that happens, it will be largely up to OPEC to plug the gap. One signal of how the recovery will be different this time is the U.S. drilling count: It is gradually increasing, but the recovery is slower than it was after the last big oil price crash in 2008-09. Shale companies are sticking to their commitment to return more money to shareholders via dividends. While before the pandemic shale companies re-used 70-90% of their cash flow into further drilling, they are now keeping that metric at around 50%.The result is that U.S. crude production has flat-lined at around 11 million barrels a day since July 2020. 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Is Gold Set to Tear Even Higher? Four Key Charts to Watch

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Putin Is Betting Coal Still Has a Future

(Bloomberg) -- European governments are drawing up plans to phase out coal, U.S. coal-fired power plants are being shuttered as prices of clean energy plummet, and new Asian projects are being scrapped as lenders back away from the dirtiest fossil fuel.And Russia? President Vladimir Putin’s government is spending more than $10 billion on railroad upgrades that will help boost exports of the commodity. Authorities will use prisoners to help speed the work, reviving a reviled Soviet-era tradition.The project to modernize and expand railroads that run to Russia’s Far Eastern ports is part of a broader push to make the nation among the last standing in fossil fuel exports as other countries switch to greener alternatives. The government is betting that coal consumption will continue to rise in big Asian markets like China even as it dries up elsewhere.“It's realistic to expect Asian demand for imported coal to increase if conditions are right,'' said Evgeniy Bragin, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at UMMC Holding, which owns a coal company in western Siberia’s Kuzbass region. “We need to keep developing and expanding the rail infrastructure so that we have the opportunity to export coal.’’The latest 720 billion ruble ($9.8 billion) project to expand Russia’s two longest railroads — the Tsarist-era Trans-Siberian and Soviet Baikal-Amur Mainline that link western Russia with the Pacific Ocean— will aim to boost cargo capacity for coal and other goods to 182 million tons a year by 2024. Capacity already more than doubled to 144 million tons under a 520 billion ruble modernization plan that began in 2013. Putin urged faster progress on the next leg at a meeting with coal miners in March.“Russia is trying to monetize its coal reserves fast enough that coal will contribute to GDP rather than being stuck in the ground,” said Madina Khrustaleva, an analyst who specializes in the region for TS Lombard in London.Putin is betting that his country’s land border with China and good relations with President Xi Jinping make it a natural candidate to dominate exports to the nation that consumes more than half of the world’s coal. His case is helped by the fact that Australia, currently the number one coal exporter, is facing trade restrictions from China amid a diplomatic dispute over the origins of the coronavirus.But the plan is fraught with risk, both for Russia’s economy and the planet. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends immediate phasing out of coal to avoid catastrophic global warming and the effects of climate change are expected to cost Russia billions in coming decades. Earlier this month the International Energy Agency went one step further and said no new fossil-fuel infrastructure should be built if the world wants to keep global warming will below 1.5 degrees Celsius. With all but one of the top 10 economies committed to reaching net-zero emissions within decades, the IEA's Net Zero by 2050 Roadmap calls for phasing out all coal power plants without carbon capture as soon as 2040.It’s also not a given that Asian coal demand will keep growing. Coal consumption in China is poised to reach a record this year and the country continues to build coal-fired power plants, but it also plans to start reducing consumption starting in 2026. At the same time it's increasing output from domestic mines, leaving less room for foreign supplies. Even in the IEA's least climate-friendly scenarios, global coal demand is expected to stay flat in 2040 compared to 2019.A coal strategy approved by the Russian government last year envisages a 10% increase in coal output from pre-pandemic levels by 2035 under the most conservative scenario, based on rising demand not just from China, but also India, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and possibly Indonesia.The relatively low sulphur content of Russian coal might give it an edge in Korea, which has tightened pollution laws in recent years, but other Asian countries have struggled to secure funding for proposed plants and Indonesia said this week it won’t approve any new coal-fired power plants. At a Group of Seven nations meeting, environment ministers agreed to phase out support for building coal power plants without carbon capture before the end of this year.For Putin there is more at stake than just money. At a video conference in March, he reminded government officials that the coal industry drives the local economies of several Russian regions that are home to about 11 million people. Unrest among coal miners helped put pressure on the government before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, though the sector is now a much smaller and less influential part of the economy.“We need to carefully assess all possible scenarios in order to guarantee that our coal mining regions are developed even if global demand decreases,” Putin said. The country’s biggest coal producers are privately run, meaning they aren’t facing the kind of financing problems currently being encountered by listed companies elsewhere as banks pull back funding for dirty energy. Suek Plc, owned by billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, and Kuzbassrazrezugol OJSC, controlled by Iskander Makhmudov, are both planning to increase output. Russia also plans to boost coal production for steel making. A-Property, owned by Russian businessmen Albert Avdolyan, bought the Elga coal mine in Russia’s Far Eastern region of Yakutia last year and plans to invest 130 billion rubles to expand output to 45 million tons of coal from the current 5 million tons by 2023. A third stage of Russia’s railroad expansion project will focus on boosting infrastructure for shipping coal out of Yakutia, a Russian Railways official said last month.“In 2021, many Asia Pacific states have seen their economies recover from the pandemic,” said Oleg Korzhov, the CEO of Mechel PJSC, one of Russia’s biggest coal companies. “We expect that demand for metallurgical coal in Asia Pacific will remain high in the next five years.”More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Bond Traders Look to Jobs for Taper Clues While Cash Glut Grows

(Bloomberg) -- The glut of spare cash in dollar funding markets is combining with inflation concerns to stoke debate among investors about just how soon the Federal Reserve might have to take its foot off the accelerator.Bond traders are keenly attuned to the buildup of dollars in short-term interest-rate markets, an overabundance reflected in the amount of money sitting and earning absolutely nothing at the Fed’s reverse repo facility. For some, that’s yet another sign that the so-called quantitative easing program ought to be dialed back from its current pace of $120 billion a month, although others say that the central bank facility is acting like it should, as a safety valve, and also point to the other factors fueling the oversupply.Either way, the cash pile --and whether the usage of the Fed’s facility resumes its upward trajectory after slipping on Friday -- is set to be a key focus for traders in the coming week along with crucial U.S. jobs data, which may give clues about just how strong growth and inflation really are.“Progress toward achieving the dual mandate should be the biggest factor” driving decisions about policy tightening, said Credit Suisse Group AG strategist Jonathan Cohn, referring to the Fed’s twin goals on employment and consumer prices.The drumbeat of policy makers making noises about when the Fed should debate tempering its asset purchases has been quickening, although officials have been careful to say that their views are premised on the economy continuing to power forward and the prospects for sustained inflation. The strength of the upcoming labor market report is therefore set to be a major catalyst for bets about when both tapering and rate hikes might begin to take place, as will the evolution of funding markets.The next central bank policy meeting will take place June 15-16, while there is talk of possible tapering signals coming out of the Kansas City Fed’s annual gathering at Jackson Hole in August.Money-market traders are currently pricing in about 18 basis points worth of Fed rate hikes by the end of next year -- down around 3 basis points from levels late last month. That equates to around a 72% chance of a standard 25 basis-point increase in 2022. Before they even get to that point though, officials need to get through tapering, and most analysts expect there to be a lag before they embark on pushing interest rates higherAsymmetric RiskThe yield on 10-year notes has drifted slightly lower over the past couple of weeks, although it received some support in recent days from reports about government budget proposals and at around 1.59% is firmly entrenched in the range that it’s been in for a few months. Bond-market inflation expectations, as measured by so-called breakeven rates, have also eased back slightly, although they remain within sight of the decade highs they reached earlier in May.Some traders are wary that the upcoming report on May job creation could reignite the move higher in long-term yields. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg is for an increase in payrolls of around 671,000 people and a figure of that magnitude or higher could make the prior month’s unexpectedly weak reading seem like a one off. There is also the prospect of a revision to figures for April, which came in at around 266,000 despite earlier predictions for a gain of 1,000,000.“The risks in the market are asymmetric toward higher yields,” said John Briggs, global head of desk strategy at Natwest Markets. “After last month’s payroll figure, economists are being conservative this time, so there’s a chance the actual figure is above consensus. And after that, people will then start to worry about the next consumer price report,” set to be released on June 10.What to WatchThe Treasuries market will be closed Monday for a U.S. holiday. Below are the calendar highlights.The economic calendarJune 1: Markit U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers index construction spending Institute for Supply Management manufacturing gauge Dallas Fed manufacturing indexJune 2: MBA mortgage applications Fed Beige Book vehicle salesJune 3: Challenger job cuts ADP employment change nonfarm productivity weekly jobless claims Langer consumer comfort Markit U.S. services PMI ISM services indicatorJune 4: Monthly jobs report factory, durable goods and capital goods ordersThe Fed calendar:June 1: Fed Vice Chairman for supervision Randal Quarles Fed Governor Lael BrainardJune 2: Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker Chicago Fed President Charles Evans Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic Dallas Fed President Robert KaplanJune 3: Bostic Kaplan Harker QuarlesJune 4: Fed Chair Jerome Powell takes part in a Bank for International Settlements panel on climate change with European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and other officialsThe auction calendar:June 1: 13-week bills, 26-week bills, 42-day cash management billJune 3: 4-week bills, 8-week billsMore stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Exclusive: Blue Apron's CEO On Management Turnover, COVID-19 Safety, Standing Out Among Meal Kit Rivals

Meal kit delivery company Blue Apron Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: APRN) has prioritized food safety for a long time, and it was "fairly easy" to communicate this message to consumers when safety issues came to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Apron CEO Linda Findley Kozlowski told Benzinga in an interview.

Blue Apron's Management Turnover: Blue Apron's C-suite and board structure has undergone a lot of change in the last few years.

Kozlowski was named CEO just over a year ago. In fact, the entire executive team has been replaced since May 2018, according to Grocery Dive.

The most recent departure was announced Thursday afternoon &mdashtwo days after Kozlowski's phone interview with Benzinga.

Blue Apron CFO Timothy Bensley said he will leave the company at the end of the year and act as an advisor through the first quarter of 2021.

Blue Apron has focused on bringing talent with particular expertise in e-commerce, digital experiences and managing a customer-centric business, Kozlowski said.

"The company has been through a lot of transition over the years," she told Benzinga.

Blue Apron has added executives and board members who can help the company drive digital scale and growth, she said.

Why Blue Apron Is Safer Than Grocers: One of the biggest advantages Blue Apron boasts over grocers is that 70% of what it sources comes directly from the producer, and the other 30% is just one stepremoved, the CEO said.

In contrast, she said it can never be known how many people previously touched and handled produce that's sitting in the grocery aisle bin.

Blue Apron has U.S. Food and Drug Administration-regulated facilities along with the Safe Quality Food certification.

Blue Apron sources directly from farms that emphasize animal welfare, so it didn't suffer from any supply chain-related issues from temporary shutdowns at meat processing plants at Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) and elsewhere, Kozlowski said.

'Adventurousness' In The Kitchen: Consumers may not be as eager to return to restaurants once it is safe to do so, said Blue Apron's CEO.

Internal feedback and external market research show that people are happy and confident cooking in the kitchen, she said.

In fact, consumers are showing a high degree of "adventurousness" in the kitchen and are eager to learn new cooking techniques to use with some of the more exotic ingredients Blue Apron offers.

"We are starting to see more and more interest in special occasions and those sort of things, including our premium offering, which is our higher-end, restaurant-quality recipes that people can cook at home," Kozlowski said.

Competitive Environment For Blue Apron: The meal kit space is growing with new competitors looking to stand out through unique offerings.

Grocery chain Kroger Co (NYSE: KR) is offering its consumers a free code to access NBC Universal's Peacock Premium streaming service as part of its HomeChef meal kit service, as an example.

Yet these "mainstream" meal delivery kits aren't exciting and offer "common recipes," Kozlowski said.

Blue Apron helps customers "discover new recipes," she said.

Blue Apron's WW Partnership: Blue Apron and WW International Inc (NASDAQ: WW) teamed up to create a line of meals that are consistent with WW's &mdash formerly Weight Watchers &mdash program.

WW's core message is that people can eat what they want to so long as it falls within its point system.

Blue Apron is able to leverage its already existing healthy lineup of kits to increase its own exposure to WW members, Kozlowski said.

A partnership with WW also represents a simple extension of Blue Apron's healthier options, she said.

Customization With Blue Apron: The majority of Americans aren't looking to follow any one particular diet and believe in an overall balanced approach to the food they consume, the meal kit CEO said.

To address this reality, Blue Apron continues to work on a recipe customization option where all consumers are accommodated based on their own unique needs or desires, Kozlowski said.

"Instead of creating really rigid paths for people &mdash give them a lot more flexibility so that they can meet their own specific needs," she said.

In the area of plant-based meat alternatives, Blue Apron is seeing heightened interest, the CEO said.
Interestingly, a lot of demand exists for products that are a hybrid meat product mixed with a plant-based or vegan alternative, she said.

Blue Apron started offering Beyond Meat Inc (NASDAQ: BYND) products in 2019 and continues to do so, as Kozlowski said people are "looking for different dietary options."

A Blue Apron meal kit. Courtesy photo.

See more from Benzinga

© 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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Earnings to Watch Next Week: Zoom, Advance Auto Parts, Lululemon and Cooper Companies in Focus

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Bitcoin’s Volatility Spawns New Crypto Balance Sheet Alternative

(Bloomberg) -- Corporate treasurers fed up with rock-bottom returns on their cash are about to get another pitch from the world of crypto.Circle Internet Financial Ltd., one of the digital-asset firms behind the so-called stablecoin dubbed USDC that is pegged 1-to-1 to the dollar, has cooked up an alternative for the legions too conservative to follow the likes of Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey into Bitcoin. Park your extra cash in USDC and earn as much as 7% annually through high-yield accounts, the marketing says -- more than 10 times the return on an ultra-safe 1-year Treasury bill.The idea may be appealing to some treasurers who were initially seduced by the big gains in crypto, especially following Bitcoin’s roughly 40% decline since mid-April. Stablecoins such as USDC are gaining increased attention because of their ability to maintain their pegs during the wild crypto price swings, suggesting they could actually serve as a store of value. Even so, not all long-term digital market observers are convinced.“If companies wish to put their corporate reserves into a stablecoin and that is fully audited, it is like putting their money in a bank account which is what they normally do,” John Griffin, professor of finance at the University of Texas at Austin, said in an email. “However, if the account is paying out a higher yield than bank account yields, then it is not merely invested in some risk-free asset.”Here’s how Circle’s program will work: Treasurers would open a “digital-dollar account” where the company’s fiat money is converted into USDC and interest is paid out in USDC. The yield is generated by Circle lending the digital dollars to a network of institutional investors that are willing to pay an interest rate for access to additional capital.The companies would lock in their return when the account is opened, similar to a bank certificate of deposit. Circle plans to offer accounts with maturities ranging from one month to a year, with no early withdrawals allowed. Rates available will be updated on a weekly basis, depending on demand for USDC loans.That’s a bit tamer than the strategy first highlighted last year by MicroStrategy Inc. Chief Executive Officer Michael Saylor, who advocated pouring company reserves into Bitcoin because he said the dollar is being debased by surging inflation. Musk’s February announcement that Tesla Inc. had added Bitcoin to its balance sheet helped fuel the rally that took the largest cryptocurrency to a record in April before it lost more than one-third of its value.“Corporate reserves are not for investing in stocks, going to Vegas, or something more volatile and more rigged against you like Bitcoin,” Griffin said.With few companies outside the crypto realm following MicroStrategy, Tesla and Dorsey’s Square Inc. into Bitcoin, Circle hopes that stablecoins may be the next logical step. The company is working with Genesis Global Capital, one of the largest crypto lenders.The service will be first made available in the U.S. and Switzerland, and will launch “imminently,” Jeremy Allaire, Circle’s CEO, said in an interview. Thousands of businesses are already on the waiting list, according to Circle.“We are seeing the opportunity for the treasury use-case grow a lot,” Allaire said.Other providers of stablecoins are rolling out similar offerings. On May 26, Gemini exchange -- the brainchild of the Winklevoss brothers -- said investors can earn up to 7.4% annually on Gemini dollars through a program called Gemini Earn. The Gemini token is also pegged to the dollar and its reserves are held with State Street Bank and Trust, the largest financial custodian in the world. Each month, the dollar deposit balance is examined by BPM LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm.USDC reserves are attested to monthly by accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP and published online.Various small crypto lenders already offer yield accounts for different coins, including less regulated stablecoins like Tether.For these products, “appropriate users would be people who invest in junk bonds or similar risky lending,” said Aaron Brown, a crypto investor and writer for Bloomberg Opinion. “It might offer a better risk-adjusted return than alternatives. . . or not. But whatever it is, it’s not a savings account in the way most people understand that term.”More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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This Time Is Different: Outside OPEC+, Oil Growth Stalls

(Bloomberg) -- “This time is different” may be the most dangerous words in business: billions of dollars have been lost betting that history won’t repeat itself. And yet now, in the oil world, it looks like this time really will be.For the first time in decades, oil companies aren’t rushing to increase production to chase rising oil prices as Brent crude approaches $70. Even in the Permian, the prolific shale basin at the center of the U.S. energy boom, drillers are resisting their traditional boom-and-bust cycle of spending.The oil industry is on the ropes, constrained by Wall Street investors demanding that companies spend less on drilling and instead return more money to shareholders, and climate change activists pushing against fossil fuels. Exxon Mobil Corp. is paradigmatic of the trend, after its humiliating defeat at the hands of a tiny activist elbowing itself onto the board.The dramatic events in the industry last week only add to what is emerging as an opportunity for the producers of OPEC+, giving the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and Russia more room for maneuver to bring back their own production. As non-OPEC output fails to rebound as fast as many expected -- or feared based on past experience -- the cartel is likely to continue adding more supply when it meets on June 1.‘Criminalization’Shareholders are asking Exxon to drill less and focus on returning money to investors. “They have been throwing money down the drill hole like crazy,” Christopher Ailman, chief investment officer for CalSTRS. “We really saw that company just heading down the hole, not surviving into the future, unless they change and adapt. And now they have to.”Exxon is unlikely to be alone. Royal Dutch Shell Plc lost a landmark legal battle last week when a Dutch court told it to cut emissions significantly by 2030 -- something that would require less oil production. Many in the industry fear a wave of lawsuits elsewhere, with western oil majors more immediate targets than the state-owned oil companies that make up much of OPEC production.“We see a shift from stigmatization toward criminalization of investing in higher oil production,” said Bob McNally, president of consultant Rapidan Energy Group and a former White House official.While it’s true that non-OPEC+ output is creeping back from the crash of 2020 -- and the ultra-depressed levels of April and May last year -- it’s far from a full recovery. Overall, non-OPEC+ output will grow this year by 620,000 barrels a day, less than half the 1.3 million barrels a day it fell in 2020. The supply growth forecast through the rest of this year “comes nowhere close to matching” the expected increase in demand, according to the International Energy Agency.Beyond 2021, oil output is likely to rise in a handful of nations, including the U.S., Brazil, Canada and new oil-producer Guyana. But production will decline elsewhere, from the U.K. to Colombia, Malaysia and Argentina.As non-OPEC+ production increases less than global oil demand, the cartel will be in control of the market, executives and traders said. It’s a major break with the past, when oil companies responded to higher prices by rushing to invest again, boosting non-OPEC output and leaving the ministers led by Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz bin Salman with a much more difficult balancing act.Drilling DownSo far, the lack of non-OPEC+ oil production growth isn’t registering much in the market. After all, the coronavirus pandemic continues to constrain global oil demand. It may be more noticeable later this year and into 2022. By then, vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 are likely to be bearing fruit, and the world will need more oil. The expected return of Iran into the market will provide some of that, but there will likely be a need for more.When that happens, it will be largely up to OPEC to plug the gap. One signal of how the recovery will be different this time is the U.S. drilling count: It is gradually increasing, but the recovery is slower than it was after the last big oil price crash in 2008-09. Shale companies are sticking to their commitment to return more money to shareholders via dividends. While before the pandemic shale companies re-used 70-90% of their cash flow into further drilling, they are now keeping that metric at around 50%.The result is that U.S. crude production has flat-lined at around 11 million barrels a day since July 2020. Outside the U.S. and Canada, the outlook is even more somber: at the end of April, the ex-North America oil rig count stood at 523, lower than it was a year ago, and nearly 40% below the same month two years earlier, according to data from Baker Hughes Co.When Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz predicted earlier this year that “‘drill, baby, drill’ is gone for ever,” it sounded like a bold call. As ministers meet this week, they may dare to hope he’s right.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Is Gold Set to Tear Even Higher? Four Key Charts to Watch

(Bloomberg) -- Just when the vaccine rollout and economic optimism left gold looking like last year’s metal, it staged a recovery.Bullion is one of the best-performing commodities this month, erasing almost all of this year’s losses. Investors have been lured back by gold’s appeal as an inflation hedge, while the Federal Reserve maintains its monetary stimulus and says price pressures should prove temporary. Spot gold rose 0.4% on Friday, capping a fourth straight weekly gain.Diego Parrilla, who runs the Quadriga Igneo fund, is among those who recently boosted their exposure to gold, saying that central banks won’t risk increasing interest rates to combat inflation for fear of “pricking the enormous bubbles” they’ve created.“We have entered a new paradigm that will be dominated by deeply negative real interest rates, high inflation, and low nominal rates -- an extremely supportive environment for gold,” said Parrilla, who manages $350 million.Still, gold is ultimately a haven asset which conventional logic suggests should suffer as the economy booms. So can the latest rally be sustained? Here are four key charts to watch.Inflation ConundrumIt’s been the hottest question in finance this year, and probably the biggest one for gold: will current inflationary pressures be transitory or persistent?If you ask the Fed, the answer is the former. Parts of bond market disagree, with market-based measures of long-term inflation expectations rising to the highest since 2013 earlier this month.That’s a sweet-spot for gold, which benefits when monetary policy keeps bond rates low even as inflation persists. Real yields on Treasuries have slipped deeper into negative recently, burnishing the appeal of bullion.Where they go next will be critical. Any hint the Fed may taper because of inflation or labor market strength could see bond rates spike -- triggering a repeat of the taper tantrum seen in the wake of the financial crisis, when gold dropped 26% in the space of six months.“The position I think you get to is a place where it gets to be very vulnerable to the taper narrative,” said Marcus Garvey, head of metals strategy at Macquarie Group Ltd.On the other hand, anything that drags on the global economic recovery -- be it poor jobs data or new virus variants -- should see real yields plunge, benefiting the metal.Dollar DriverThe dollar has been another important driver of gold this year. After initially strengthening as the U.S. vaccination program outpaced the rest of the world, it’s declined since March as other nations closed the gap, providing a tailwind for the precious metal.Most analysts don’t see much movement in the dollar going forward, with the median forecast compiled by Bloomberg suggesting only a slight strengthening.If they’re wrong, be it due to divergence in the global recovery or surprising hawkishness from other nations’ central banks, the implications for bullion could be significant.Investor DemandGold’s poor start to the year came as exchange-traded funds cut their holdings of the metal by 237 tons in the four months through to April. Hedge funds trading on Comex also reduced their exposure to the lowest since 2019 in early March.In the second quarter, flows have started to reverse. If that picks up steam, gold could find another leg higher.“There is still potentially a lot of pent-up investment demand,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S. “Still, positions are relatively small.”Others, including Aegon NV’s Robert Jan Van Der Mark, who cut his exposure to gold in November after vaccines were announced, remain to be convinced.“With vaccination rollout on track and economies reopening, we have less appetite for a safe haven/stagflation type of assets in the portfolio,” he said.Bitcoin BounceOften touted as digital bullion, Bitcoin’s rally in the first months of the year was demoralizing for gold bulls. The two assets are both favored by those fearful of hyperinflation and currency debasement, so the cryptocurrency’s outperformance may have turned the heads of would-be bullion buyers.Bitcoin has dropped about 40% from its mid-April high, with substantial outflows from funds. Gold could be a beneficiary.(An earlier version of this story corrected spelling of the central bank in the second paragraph.)More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Sunak pushes Biden for tougher global tax deal

Rishi Sunak is pushing the United States to agree to tougher rules on the tax paid by tech giants as part of a global corporation tax overhaul. Finance ministers from the G7 will meet this week to thrash out the biggest reforms to global tax rules in a generation in a bid to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share. President Joe Biden has proposed a minimum global corporation tax rate of 15pc as well as new rules forcing the world's largest 100 companies to pay taxes based on the location of their customers, rather than where they book profits. The plans are aimed to preventing multinationals from shifting profits to low-tax jurisdictions - a growing problem that is feared will deprive governments of revenues as they try to recover from the pandemic. However, the UK is holding out on backing America's plans for a minimum corporation tax rate as it seeks more assurances over the tax treatment of big tech companies such as Facebook, Amazon and Google. The Chancellor told the Mail on Sunday: "We understand why an agreement on global corporation tax is important to our American friends. We need them to understand why fair taxation of tech companies is important to us. "There's a deal to be had and I'm urging the US - and all of the G7 - to come to the table next week and get it done."

Stock Splits Are Back. So Is the Debate Over Whether They Matter

(Bloomberg) -- Stock splits are back in vogue among big U.S. companies, reviving a debate about whether the practice that had fallen out of favor for years is worth the fuss.Last week, Nvidia Corp. became the eighth company in the S&P 500 Index to announce a split in the past year, joining big names like Apple Inc. and Tesla Inc. That’s the most over a comparable period in six years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The surge in splits comes amid a rally that’s pushed share prices of almost 600 stocks in the Russell 3000 Index above $100. Yet that has done little to settle the age-old-argument among investors about whether such stock-price engineering has any bearing on performance. In fact, recent developments such as soaring retail trading and fractional share ownership have only heated things up.“Arithmetically, there’s no merit to the notion that stock splits work,” said Mark Lehmann, chief executive officer of JMP Securities LLC. “But there is an optical hesitancy for certain stocks at certain prices and there is a segment of the investing public where that will never change.”The primary motivation cited by companies doing splits is simple: to make each share cheaper to buy. Nvidia, whose share price has more than quadrupled since the start of 2019 to reach almost $650, said in a statement announcing its 4-for-1 stock-split plan that its aim was to “make stock ownership more accessible to investors and employees.” A representative for the chipmaker declined to comment further.Once a reliable hallmark of bull-market exuberance, the practice had until recently fallen out of favor. In 2006 and 2007, when stocks were again setting records, there were 47 splits in the S&P 500. Three companies -- Nvidia, Paccar Inc. and Cummins Inc. -- even split twice. In 2019, there were only two.For Julian Emanuel, chief equity and derivatives strategist at BTIG, it’s harder to make the case for splitting a stock these days because of the rise of commission-free trading and brokerages offering fractional shares. Those developments “have largely rendered irrelevant the dollar value of a company’s share price,” he said in an interview.Brokerages like Robinhood now let investors buy a slice of a share for as little as $1 rather than forking over, say, more than $2,300 for a single share of Google-parent Alphabet Inc.Limited Benefits A look at the data backs up the case against splits providing long-term benefits to stock performance. The shares of companies that have split outperformed the S&P 500 on average in four of the last five years in the year the split was announced, according to Bloomberg data. The calendar year following the move, however, those same shares underperformed four of the five years.The recent rash of stock splits has sparked speculation that other large technology companies like Amazon.com Inc. that boast four-digit share prices may be next. Amazon split its stock three times in 1998 and 1999 and hasn’t done one since. Shares of the e-commerce giant trade around $3,200 and have gained more than 5,000% since its last split.Regardless of what the historical-performance record shows, the surge in retail trading over the past year may be altering the calculus for companies when it comes to evaluating splits.U.S. retail investors are now second in share trading only to market makers and independent high-frequency traders, according to Larry Tabb, director of market structure research at Bloomberg Intelligence. The retail segment is now larger than quantitative investors, hedge funds and traditional long-only participants, said Tabb.“A lot of investing is driven by psychology,” said Kevin Walkush, a portfolio manager with Jensen Investment Management. “Now, rather than a retail investor facing the challenge of buying a fractional share, a stock split means they can buy it outright. It just opens up the market that much more for retail investors.”More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Globant Says It Bought Bitcoin in Q1

With the purchase, the Luxembourg-based company becomes the latest company to hold cryptocurrency on its balance sheet.

Putin Is Betting Coal Still Has a Future

(Bloomberg) -- European governments are drawing up plans to phase out coal, U.S. coal-fired power plants are being shuttered as prices of clean energy plummet, and new Asian projects are being scrapped as lenders back away from the dirtiest fossil fuel.And Russia? President Vladimir Putin’s government is spending more than $10 billion on railroad upgrades that will help boost exports of the commodity. Authorities will use prisoners to help speed the work, reviving a reviled Soviet-era tradition.The project to modernize and expand railroads that run to Russia’s Far Eastern ports is part of a broader push to make the nation among the last standing in fossil fuel exports as other countries switch to greener alternatives. The government is betting that coal consumption will continue to rise in big Asian markets like China even as it dries up elsewhere.“It's realistic to expect Asian demand for imported coal to increase if conditions are right,'' said Evgeniy Bragin, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at UMMC Holding, which owns a coal company in western Siberia’s Kuzbass region. “We need to keep developing and expanding the rail infrastructure so that we have the opportunity to export coal.’’The latest 720 billion ruble ($9.8 billion) project to expand Russia’s two longest railroads — the Tsarist-era Trans-Siberian and Soviet Baikal-Amur Mainline that link western Russia with the Pacific Ocean— will aim to boost cargo capacity for coal and other goods to 182 million tons a year by 2024. Capacity already more than doubled to 144 million tons under a 520 billion ruble modernization plan that began in 2013. Putin urged faster progress on the next leg at a meeting with coal miners in March.“Russia is trying to monetize its coal reserves fast enough that coal will contribute to GDP rather than being stuck in the ground,” said Madina Khrustaleva, an analyst who specializes in the region for TS Lombard in London.Putin is betting that his country’s land border with China and good relations with President Xi Jinping make it a natural candidate to dominate exports to the nation that consumes more than half of the world’s coal. His case is helped by the fact that Australia, currently the number one coal exporter, is facing trade restrictions from China amid a diplomatic dispute over the origins of the coronavirus.But the plan is fraught with risk, both for Russia’s economy and the planet. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends immediate phasing out of coal to avoid catastrophic global warming and the effects of climate change are expected to cost Russia billions in coming decades. Earlier this month the International Energy Agency went one step further and said no new fossil-fuel infrastructure should be built if the world wants to keep global warming will below 1.5 degrees Celsius. With all but one of the top 10 economies committed to reaching net-zero emissions within decades, the IEA's Net Zero by 2050 Roadmap calls for phasing out all coal power plants without carbon capture as soon as 2040.It’s also not a given that Asian coal demand will keep growing. Coal consumption in China is poised to reach a record this year and the country continues to build coal-fired power plants, but it also plans to start reducing consumption starting in 2026. At the same time it's increasing output from domestic mines, leaving less room for foreign supplies. Even in the IEA's least climate-friendly scenarios, global coal demand is expected to stay flat in 2040 compared to 2019.A coal strategy approved by the Russian government last year envisages a 10% increase in coal output from pre-pandemic levels by 2035 under the most conservative scenario, based on rising demand not just from China, but also India, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and possibly Indonesia.The relatively low sulphur content of Russian coal might give it an edge in Korea, which has tightened pollution laws in recent years, but other Asian countries have struggled to secure funding for proposed plants and Indonesia said this week it won’t approve any new coal-fired power plants. At a Group of Seven nations meeting, environment ministers agreed to phase out support for building coal power plants without carbon capture before the end of this year.For Putin there is more at stake than just money. At a video conference in March, he reminded government officials that the coal industry drives the local economies of several Russian regions that are home to about 11 million people. Unrest among coal miners helped put pressure on the government before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, though the sector is now a much smaller and less influential part of the economy.“We need to carefully assess all possible scenarios in order to guarantee that our coal mining regions are developed even if global demand decreases,” Putin said. The country’s biggest coal producers are privately run, meaning they aren’t facing the kind of financing problems currently being encountered by listed companies elsewhere as banks pull back funding for dirty energy. Suek Plc, owned by billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, and Kuzbassrazrezugol OJSC, controlled by Iskander Makhmudov, are both planning to increase output. Russia also plans to boost coal production for steel making. A-Property, owned by Russian businessmen Albert Avdolyan, bought the Elga coal mine in Russia’s Far Eastern region of Yakutia last year and plans to invest 130 billion rubles to expand output to 45 million tons of coal from the current 5 million tons by 2023. A third stage of Russia’s railroad expansion project will focus on boosting infrastructure for shipping coal out of Yakutia, a Russian Railways official said last month.“In 2021, many Asia Pacific states have seen their economies recover from the pandemic,” said Oleg Korzhov, the CEO of Mechel PJSC, one of Russia’s biggest coal companies. “We expect that demand for metallurgical coal in Asia Pacific will remain high in the next five years.”More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Bond Traders Look to Jobs for Taper Clues While Cash Glut Grows

(Bloomberg) -- The glut of spare cash in dollar funding markets is combining with inflation concerns to stoke debate among investors about just how soon the Federal Reserve might have to take its foot off the accelerator.Bond traders are keenly attuned to the buildup of dollars in short-term interest-rate markets, an overabundance reflected in the amount of money sitting and earning absolutely nothing at the Fed’s reverse repo facility. For some, that’s yet another sign that the so-called quantitative easing program ought to be dialed back from its current pace of $120 billion a month, although others say that the central bank facility is acting like it should, as a safety valve, and also point to the other factors fueling the oversupply.Either way, the cash pile --and whether the usage of the Fed’s facility resumes its upward trajectory after slipping on Friday -- is set to be a key focus for traders in the coming week along with crucial U.S. jobs data, which may give clues about just how strong growth and inflation really are.“Progress toward achieving the dual mandate should be the biggest factor” driving decisions about policy tightening, said Credit Suisse Group AG strategist Jonathan Cohn, referring to the Fed’s twin goals on employment and consumer prices.The drumbeat of policy makers making noises about when the Fed should debate tempering its asset purchases has been quickening, although officials have been careful to say that their views are premised on the economy continuing to power forward and the prospects for sustained inflation. The strength of the upcoming labor market report is therefore set to be a major catalyst for bets about when both tapering and rate hikes might begin to take place, as will the evolution of funding markets.The next central bank policy meeting will take place June 15-16, while there is talk of possible tapering signals coming out of the Kansas City Fed’s annual gathering at Jackson Hole in August.Money-market traders are currently pricing in about 18 basis points worth of Fed rate hikes by the end of next year -- down around 3 basis points from levels late last month. That equates to around a 72% chance of a standard 25 basis-point increase in 2022. Before they even get to that point though, officials need to get through tapering, and most analysts expect there to be a lag before they embark on pushing interest rates higherAsymmetric RiskThe yield on 10-year notes has drifted slightly lower over the past couple of weeks, although it received some support in recent days from reports about government budget proposals and at around 1.59% is firmly entrenched in the range that it’s been in for a few months. Bond-market inflation expectations, as measured by so-called breakeven rates, have also eased back slightly, although they remain within sight of the decade highs they reached earlier in May.Some traders are wary that the upcoming report on May job creation could reignite the move higher in long-term yields. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg is for an increase in payrolls of around 671,000 people and a figure of that magnitude or higher could make the prior month’s unexpectedly weak reading seem like a one off. There is also the prospect of a revision to figures for April, which came in at around 266,000 despite earlier predictions for a gain of 1,000,000.“The risks in the market are asymmetric toward higher yields,” said John Briggs, global head of desk strategy at Natwest Markets. “After last month’s payroll figure, economists are being conservative this time, so there’s a chance the actual figure is above consensus. And after that, people will then start to worry about the next consumer price report,” set to be released on June 10.What to WatchThe Treasuries market will be closed Monday for a U.S. holiday. Below are the calendar highlights.The economic calendarJune 1: Markit U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers index construction spending Institute for Supply Management manufacturing gauge Dallas Fed manufacturing indexJune 2: MBA mortgage applications Fed Beige Book vehicle salesJune 3: Challenger job cuts ADP employment change nonfarm productivity weekly jobless claims Langer consumer comfort Markit U.S. services PMI ISM services indicatorJune 4: Monthly jobs report factory, durable goods and capital goods ordersThe Fed calendar:June 1: Fed Vice Chairman for supervision Randal Quarles Fed Governor Lael BrainardJune 2: Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker Chicago Fed President Charles Evans Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic Dallas Fed President Robert KaplanJune 3: Bostic Kaplan Harker QuarlesJune 4: Fed Chair Jerome Powell takes part in a Bank for International Settlements panel on climate change with European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and other officialsThe auction calendar:June 1: 13-week bills, 26-week bills, 42-day cash management billJune 3: 4-week bills, 8-week billsMore stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Mortgage rates dip beneath 3% again, offering new refinance savings

Over 14 million mortgage holders can qualify to save on a refi, new data shows.

ESG investment as important as divestment from fossil fuels: former Bank of England governor

Since leaving the top post at the Bank of England last year, former Governor Mark Carney has arguably been the most vocal advocate, in urging financial institutions to align themselves with emissions goals of the Paris climate agreement. But as shareholders increasingly step up pressure, and lawmakers call for stricter regulations around climate disclosures, Carney says fossil fuel divestments shouldn’t be the sole focus of tackling the global crisis.

Fourth stimulus check in jeopardy while the last payments keep dwindling

Will President Biden and Congress provide more relief? It's looking iffy.


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POST NAVIGATION

I can’t see anything wrong with the logic. Scary that these monumental changes will start soon. Should i ‘head for the hills’? What should one do??

Better to meet your neighbors and form strong social bonds. There is no place left to run. Learn to grow food. Trade skills. Love all life. Either we all make it or we all don’t. Becoming an activist also helps weather the storm.

Leif is utterly correct. Enrol in a permaculture design certificate, it will give you clarity and purpose and it will give you an instant community of people to share the journey with!

Paul, first, thank you for your insights. Why is it that none of our discussions bring up the role of over population in any serious dialog about the sustainability of our planet. I continue to see most of our sustainability issues being driven by the fact that we are outgrowing the small planet that we inhabit. It seems very obvious to me that if we were to wave a magic wand and reduce the population to half of what it is presently, the food supply would become less of an issue and the destruction of our environment would be greatly reduced. I was just re-watching the sci-fi thriller, The Matrix, and Agent Smith’s observation that humans are not mammals, but are more like viruses, seems spot on. We spread and multiple until we overwhelm one particular area, then move on to continue the process elsewhere. The planet body is dying and our viral tendencies will soon no longer have a viable host to live in.

Yeah but you can’t just depopulate the world. Just like that! And its the FIRST WORLD that is causing waaaay more damage than the third world. All our (Australian) consumption and our waste is multiples of what a person living in – say – Mali or even in the Pacific Islands is responsible for. The First World needs to lead the way – and it needs to be more than just keep cups and stainless steel straws.

It’s a big third-rail issue that has no humane solution. In the long run, nature or Gaia will solve it for us without regard to our values of first and third worlds, love of rampant consumerism or desire/need to eat.

In my lifetime, the population of the planet has approximately doubled. The negative effects are obvious. As Paul points out, we are dealing with systems here, interrelated and whatever happens will cause effects throughout the biosphere.

I feel it is more accurate to refer to ‘the consumer population’, not ‘population’. For obvious reasons. The consumer population is the problem and the human propensity to consume more and more would still destroy the planet given half the current world population.

I agree with pretty much all that is written. You have confirmed much of what I have been thinking for a while but especially since Covid but I have struggled to articulate it and have been accused of being too pessimistic and overly catastrophic in my thinking. Thank you for your analysis.
Catherine

Ronald van Zon
@RovanZon
·
Mar 11, 2018
Only two ways to stop devastating #climatechange. Either worldleaders wake up, unite and take immediate and bold actions or we will have to take the streets, companies and parliaments..

Mother Nature is giving us a warning, a notice. Within the “sacrifice” we have all had to make for 60 days, she has shown us that a new way of life possible, and it’s not bad. On my farm, its pretty much business as usual: plant, stewardship, husbantry, harvest, preserve. We have all sacrificed time for money. Let us take the time back, and slow the consumption on our terms, or Mother will see to it on her terms. Thanks Paul, for 25 years, you have been a clear voice.

Paul writes: “But first we have to decide to change. This is about choice, not about our capacity to deliver. Each and every ‘black elephant’ is fixable – if we act in time.”

I agree it’s possible for us to DECIDE to change rapidly and radically, and my desire is to entice people to do so by graphically showing how huge the reward will be when we sovereign humans make a global Golden Rule decision to treat each other with love, respect, and fairness (probably worth more than $1000 Trillion in real human value) and to rewrite our laws, treaties, and agreements to that effect, which is now suddenly possible for the first time in history due to the leverage of our global network and our personal communicators.

This is huge reward is graphically illustrated in my not-yet-published hero’s journey cartoon book “MORE THAN ENOUGH: We Have Already Created Abundance and We Can DECIDE To Have It Right Now.” In the non-cartoon second half of this book I mini-review 85 books from our wisdom heroes that underpin the MTE thesis–Paul’s GREAT DISRUPTION is one of my top ten favorites. Plus, the first three chapters and more of MTE are online at morethanenoughnow.org. I am still fine-tuning the book and looking at propagation options, so I gratefully appreciate feedback and encouragement, which can reach me via the web site.

Timothy Nobles, Ashland, Oregon

Well, if nothing else COVID-19 has clearly shown the planet would be just fine if humanity left overnight. But since that is unlikely to happen, the next most effective step is to embark on a gradual decline of the world’s population.
The current global fertility rate is at just a little over 2.4 while the natural replacement rate is 2.1. So with that a global program to limit the number of children to no more than two children per woman, we would in affect see a stabilisation and a slow decline in population that would be helped along by the fact many countries, particularly advanced Western countries, have ageing populations.

This isn’t to say that lowering world population is the silver bullet and if we do that suddenly everything will be fine, but is the single biggest step we could do to lower consumption of natural resources and the humanities imprint on the planet.

I am sick and tired of reading the same rebuttals to this position. Africa is projected to be home to some 4.3billion people by the end of the century! This is nearly the same as the number of people in Asia today, a continent with a far greater carrying capacity for a medium to large mammal that requires a significant amount of resources to survive. Does it make any sense to continue towards that reality, on the hopes we will somehow figure it out along the way? Well, I would say that that is probably the main point in your article, Paul, that we simply cannot keep walking into the problems evident in our future whilst expecting everything to just work out. Further, it is continually pointed out by those that argue population isn’t a problem, that the populations of countries such as India have a lower impact per capita than Western countries. The same argument could’ve been made about China 30 years ago, but the aggregate affect of the country’s economic prosperity has significantly changed that per capita footprint, AS CLEARLY IT WILL for countries like in India and the emerging gigantic nations of Africa as they pursue prosperity.

If we are going to talk about the problems we face in terms of being a “systemic issue”, then we must all be very clear from the outset what definition of a system we are referring to. The system we should be speaking about when we use such language is that of a thermodynamical system. It is the only definition that clearly ties human action to the fundamental reality of life as process of energy use and energy transfer. Everything else we may argue about back in forth in our world is underpinned by this this immutable fact, that life requires energy. We simply have to stop deluding ourselves that the way we live, the societal and political structures we have agreed upon, and the aspirations for our desired futures are not completely dependent on access to energy in a readily available, high density, form.

There is no getting around it, we are an organism that requires a reasonable amount of energy compared to the other organisms we share the planet with. The planet simply isn’t big enough for us to expect some gilded future where the aspirations of 7.7billion can be sustainably met if we are envisioning that future to be a linear progression of the last 200years.

Besides my personal choice almost 45 years ago not to have children and convince as many others to join me as possible, I have long thought that we need to radically reimagine the whole “manly” nonsense about spraying sperm all over the place. My proposal, unpopular and unlikely as it may be, would be to develop a genuinely reversible vasectomy. At the age of puberty, all males would have the operation along with a healthy dose of a suitable psychedelic on a guided trip designed to show the real dimensions of life on this planet, an initiation rite of passage, if you will. Subsequently, upon evidence of suitability as a father, the operation could be reversed for two children to be conceived.

Yes, I know it needs a bit of work and that many will object vehemently to the idea, but we’re going to have to do something.

If nothing else, covid-19 is to a degree a disease of overpopulation – along with the implementation of the absurd idea that it’s perfectly normal for many individuals to fly around the world as they wish.

“I study history and note that when we decide to change, there is virtually no limit to how fast or how dramatically we can do so.”

Please expand on this. I’m far from convinced that history demonstrates this in any convincing way. Rather, it seems that the human race lurches from one crisis to another, sometimes partially recovering, even advancing for a time, but we continually find new ways to screw things up again.


Are our oceans worth $24 trillion?

Image: Q. Phia / Flickr

To celebrate Seagrass Awareness Month, and in recognition of 2018 being the International Year of the Reef, we're re-posting this 2015 article from our partners at WWF, exploring how the Earth's marine ecosystems deliver invaluable, irreplaceable services and resources to the global economy, and asking - can we really put a dollar value on the ocean?

Our oceans are worth at least $24 trillion, according to a new WWF report Reviving the Ocean Economy: The case for Action. And goods and services from coastal and marine environments amount to about $2.5 trillion each year—that would put the ocean as the seventh largest economy in the world if put into terms of Gross Domestic Product.

The economic values listed in the new report are conservative, as outputs—such as wind energy—are not generated by the ocean, and were therefore excluded from the report. Valuable intangibles, such as the ocean’s role in climate regulation or production of oxygen, were also left out. Working with the Boston Consulting Group and the Global Change Institute, WWF developed this report to marry scientific evidence with potential impacts aligned with current trends, making it one of the first to produce an economic assessment of this kind.

&ldquo The oceans are our ‘natural capital’ — a global savings account from which we keep making only withdrawals. To continue this pattern leads one place: bankruptcy. It is time for significant reinvestment and protection of this global commons.&rdquo

&mdash Brad Ack, Senior Vice President for Oceans at WWF

More than two-thirds of the annual value of oceans relies on healthy conditions to maintain its current output. However, habitat destruction, overfishing, pollution, and climate change are endangering this economic engine and the security and livelihoods it supports. Marine resources are on a rapid decline and our oceans are changing faster than we have ever seen before.

The report identifies eight urgent, achievable actions that can help turn oceans around and allow it to continue to meet the essential needs of humanity and nature, ranging from taking global action to avoiding dangerous climate changes to driving international cooperation and investment for the oceans:

  1. Governments must embrace the Sustainable Development Goals, with their strong targets and indicators for the ocean, and commit to coherent policy, financing, trade and technology frameworks to restore and protect ocean ecosystems as part of the UN Post-2015 Agenda process.
  2. Leaders must address the serious problems of ocean warming and acidification. We must listen to science and make the deep cuts in emissions that will prevent further increases in dangerous climate change. It is vital that the world signs on to an ambitious international agreement in Paris in December 2015 (COP21) that will allow the rapid decarbonization of our economies and societies.
  3. Coastal countries must deliver against the agreed target for at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas to be conserved and effectively managed by 2020, with an increase to 30 per cent by 2030. This is not just about the extent of area protected it is about establishing ecologically coherent, representative networks of marine protected areas that help ensure the strongest outcomes for biodiversity, food security and livelihoods.
  4. Habitat protection and fisheries management must go hand in hand.
    Institutional arrangements for managing the ocean should reflect the fact that an integrated approach for ecologically managed fisheries must focus on ecosystem resilience and function, as well as economic and social well-being.
  5. Global crises require global solutions. Given the transboundary nature of the ocean, we need appropriate international mechanisms for negotiation and collaboration to ensure its sustainable management. Formation of a “Blue Alliance” of concerned maritime states will provide leadership and build the case for a rapid and comprehensive set of actions on behalf of the ocean. Such a coalition could cultivate international will and foster the shared global responsibility and informed decision-making that are crucial when it comes to ocean resources. It will also be important to establish a global fund to support countries that have fewer resources and are more vulnerable to the impacts of ocean degradation.
  6. Appropriately structured public-private partnerships that take into account the well-being of communities, ecosystems and business have the potential to revolutionize how sectors work together sustainably. Enabling a network of such cross-sectoral partnerships (public, private and community) to share ideas, solutions and blueprints for sustainable practices will ensure that even the least developed countries will have access to the necessary resources.
  7. Communities and countries must develop complete, transparent and public accounting of the benefits, goods and services that the ocean provides. Valuing the ocean’s assets is vitally important to helping inform effective decision-making.
  8. There is a need for an international platform to support and share ocean knowledge through which problems can be understood, and solutions and methodologies evaluated and applied. Such a platform must be interdisciplinary and informed by biological, social and economic data. This platform will build capacity and improve access to critical information and expertise.

This year marks a unique opportunity for the future of our oceans, as international negotiations on climate change and sustainable development will soon to take place. In the days following the report release the US government takes a leadership role as Chair of the Arctic Council. Working with the 7 other Arctic member nations the US may chart a path for a sustainable future, critical for the health of people, species, and a thriving global economy of marine goods and services

Further information about the WWF report available here.


Government

note: the 50 United States cover six time zones

etymology: named after George Washington (1732-1799), the first president of the United States

note: Australia has four time zones, including Lord Howe Island (UTC+10:30)

etymolgy: the name is claimed to derive from either Kambera or Camberry, which are names corrupted from the original native designation for the area "Nganbra" or "Nganbira"

note: from 18 July 1947 until 1 October 1994, the US administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands it entered into a political relationship with all four political entities: the Northern Mariana Islands is a commonwealth in political union with the US (effective 3 November 1986) the Republic of the Marshall Islands signed a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 21 October 1986) the Federated States of Micronesia signed a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 3 November 1986) Palau concluded a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 1 October 1994)

note: the US court system consists of the federal court system and the state court systems although each court system is responsible for hearing certain types of cases, neither is completely independent of the other, and the systems often interact

note: the design and colors have been the basis for a number of other flags, including Chile, Liberia, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico

note: adopted 1931 during the War of 1812, after witnessing the successful American defense of Fort McHenry in Baltimore following British naval bombardment, Francis Scott KEY wrote the lyrics to what would become the national anthem the lyrics were set to the tune of "The Anacreontic Song" only the first verse is sung

note: adopted 1984 although originally written in the late 19th century, the anthem was not used for all official occasions until 1984 as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)


SWOT References

Ansoff, H.I. (1987), Corporate Strategy, revised edition, Penguin Books.

Brooksbank, R (1996) The BASIC marketing planning process: a practical framework for the smaller business, Journal
of Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol 14, 4, P 16-23.

Dealtry, R. (1992) Dynamic SWOT Analysis, DSA Associates, Birmingham, Haberberg, A. (2000), “Swatting SWOT”, Strategy, (Strategic Planning Society), September.

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