world largest – Aisa Net Wed, 09 Mar 2022 23:25:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 world largest – Aisa Net 32 32 Principle or pragmatism? Big brands are leaving Russia Wed, 09 Mar 2022 18:15:50 +0000

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McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Unilever: The list of mainstream brands leaving Russia has accelerated in recent days, joining what a Yale professor called a ‘trade blockade’ by Russian President Vladimir’s regime Putin.

The departure of names such as McDonald’s and Levis is loaded with historical significance. The sight of crowds queuing for Big Macs in Moscow was seen as a marker of the end of the Soviet Union, while Levi’s 501 jeans had become a symbol of dissent behind the Iron Curtain.

There were some notable exceptions, such as Danone boss Antoine de Saint-Affrique, who defended his decision to stay in Russia, arguing that he had a “responsibility to the people we feed, the farmers who supply us milk, and the tens of thousands of people who depend on us.

It’s not just mainstream brands. Shell said yesterday it would pull out completely and stop any further purchases of Russian oil. French company Total is under pressure to follow suit.

Russian companies are starting to feel the heat, especially in financial services. The international ambitions of state-backed institutions VTB and Sberbank have been hampered by sanctions, but at home – where the two lenders account for almost half of the banking market – they are hit even harder. JPMorgan Chase has joined MSCI, S&P Dow Jones and FTSE Russell in removing Russian debt from their bond indexes.

On the other side of the economic war, European companies – especially those in energy-intensive sectors such as metals – are preparing for a severe fallout.

For automakers, which already face high input costs and supply chain issues, rising energy bills — their highest costs after labor and materials raw materials – is another blow to their competitiveness.

Airlines, the most oil-consuming sector of all, now faces a second serious crisis in less than two years as the price of fuel rockets and flight cards must be redrawn. “We faced the plague, only to be visited by a war,” said Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary.

Fertilizer and chemical companies are also hard hit. Norway’s Yara warned of a food crisis. Russia is a key source of fertilizer materials that power global agriculture. Petrochemical companies are also likely to suffer from soaring prices for naphtha, which is made from crude oil and used to create resins and plastics. Almost half of European naphtha imports come from Russia.

European banks with large exposure to Russia, such as Italy’s UniCredit, France’s Societe Generale and Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank, are also expected to be affected. UniCredit said an “extreme scenario” in which all of its Russian business was wiped out would leave it with losses of 7 billion euros.

But back to this corporate exodus. Despite the big-name McFlurry heading for the exit, many more have yet to take a stand, our Moral Money newsletter reports.

Either way, argues trade writer Alan Beattie, many of those who leave are motivated more by the threat of sanctions damage than their virtue suggests. He points out that many are happy to do business with other autocracies that do some pretty dastardly things.

“Jumping out of Russia before being pushed is a personal interest: it’s not an act of principle,” he said.

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Need to know: the economy

The American and British decision to ban Russian oil imports has opened a new front in the economic war against Vladimir Putin – here’s our explanation of what that means for global energy markets. Our great read examines whether coal could be the big winner as Europe scrambles to find alternatives. Calls are also growing for more fracking. Meanwhile, UK consumers are urged to reduce their energy consumption by turning down the heating and driving more slowly.

The threat to the economic recovery is the uncomfortable backdrop to tomorrow’s political meeting of the European Central Bank. However, European stocks were boosted by hopes that further stimulus from the EU could be on the way. The gravity of the situation was underscored by economics writer Chris Giles, who compares Russia’s oil shock to those of the 1970s and examines its potential to lead to stagflation – the toxic combination of slow growth and high inflation.

Annotated graph of oil prices, nominal and real prices

Latest UK and Europe

Ahead of her March 23 spring statement and as the economic fallout from Ukraine begins to deepen the cost of living crisis, the British Chancellor Rishi Sunak is under increasing pressure to cut taxes. consumer spending strengthened in February with the reopening of offices and the resumption of social life, according to the payment company Barclaycard, supported by similar findings from the British Retail Consortium. However, the cost of living moves up the list of consumer concerns.

British MPs have accelerated a new economic crimes bill, but Foreign Secretary Liz Truss admitted the country had been “slower” than the EU and US in imposing sanctions on Russian oligarchs. UK taxpayers could be owed £50m in loan guarantees to several of them.

Latest World

Decades of work by China Globalizing its currency by increasing its use in international finance is bearing fruit as investors turn to new safe-haven assets amid the current turmoil. The renminbi, the currency of Russia’s closest strategic ally and main trading partner, has remained remarkably stable throughout the crisis. Still, the Lex column is skeptical of Beijing’s ability to provide financial infrastructure like card payments to help Moscow circumvent sanctions.

Line chart of dollar exchange rate (pegged to 100) showing Chinese currency ignoring Ukraine crisis

Need to know: business

The Global nickel The market, which was already booming due to the conflict in Ukraine, came to a halt today after soaring prices prompted China’s main commodities exchange to freeze trading in some of its most heavily traded contracts. assets. Russia is the world’s third largest supplier of nickel with 13% of global capacity.

Cathay PacificHong Kong’s chief executive said the airline plans to burn up to HK$1.5 billion ($192 million) a month due to Hong Kong’s tough pandemic restrictions, as it reported a net loss of HK$5.5 billion for 2021. Meanwhile, local residents are stuck in limbo waiting for authorities to act as Covid cases soarreports Ravi Mattu, associate news editor for Asia, from our office in the city.

Losses at UK furniture retailer more than doubled to £31.4m as supply chain pressures and rising shipping costs started to take their toll. The furniture sector has been particularly hard hit by freight pressures, as many of its large bulky items, or their raw materials, come from China and elsewhere in Asia.

The world of work

The experience of confinement and working from home has prompted many people to change jobs, but what are the pitfalls? Work and careers columnist Lucy Kellaway has four big lessons for making the most of a career change.

working women, who already have the lion’s share of domestic burdens, have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus crisis, usually taking on additional childcare and teaching responsibilities as schools were closed – all at the detriment to their career. “As the world emerges from the pandemic, now is the time to ensure that the cost of care appears elsewhere than in women’s wealth,” says the FT editorial board.

“The pandemic has hit the female talent pool hard,” writes Eleanor Mills, founder of a platform for middle aged women. Companies need to do more to support women through ‘pinch points’, such as divorce, added family responsibilities and the experience of menopause, if they are to reap the benefits of their hard-earned wisdom, she argues. .

Menopause is also the subject of the latest Working It podcast. Isabel Berwick and her guests discuss pioneering politics on Channel 4, as well as the downsides of women being open about their health.

Read our Women in Business special report to learn more about how women’s working lives have been altered by the pandemic.

Covid cases and vaccinations

Total number of global cases: 441.8mn

Total doses administered: 10.9 billion

Get the latest global picture with our vaccine tracker

And finally . . .

Has all that doomscrolling on your phone got you swaying? Find out how European tech correspondent Madhumita Murgia pulled off her digital diet attempt.

© Paul Pateman

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]]> Russia doubles interest rates after sanctions drive down ruble Mon, 28 Feb 2022 22:54:45 +0000

Russia’s central bank more than doubled interest rates on Monday in a bid to stabilize the country’s financial markets, after unprecedented Western sanctions sent the ruble down as much as 29%.

The central bank raised its main interest rate to 20% from 9.5% in an emergency decision, saying “the external conditions of the Russian economy have changed dramatically”.

The ruble fell to nearly 118 against the U.S. dollar in offshore trading on Monday, according to Bloomberg data, after Russian President Vladimir Putin put his nuclear forces on alert and the United States, the Europe and the UK have triggered sanctions aimed at cutting the country off from the global financial system.

The exchange rate then recovered to around 105 in what market participants described as deeply tense trading conditions that made it difficult for foreigners to sell.

Russia’s largest foreign bond, $7 billion in debt maturing in 2047, lost more than half its value on Monday to about 30 cents on the dollar, according to Tradeweb data. Some investors said they saw a possibility that Russia could default on its debt, which has become extremely difficult to trade. “If you see a quote on screen, it may or may not be live,” one said. “There is nothing certain in this environment. It’s not about fundamentals anymore, it’s about compliance issues.

Trading in stocks and derivatives on the Moscow Stock Exchange has been suspended, the Russian central bank confirmed on Monday. However, Russian-focused stocks traded in other markets around the world fell sharply.

The global certificates of deposit of Russian companies traded in London, such as Sberbank, Lukoil and VTB, remained open. Sberbank, whose European subsidiaries, warned by the European Central Bank, were “fail”, fell more than 70%, as did TCS Group, owner of Tinkoff.

Moscow is pushed further to the margins of world markets. Norway said on Sunday that its $1.3 billion oil fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, would freeze its investments in Russian assets and begin to divest from the country. BP, the British energy group, has also said it will sell the 20% stake in Russian state oil company Rosneft it has held since 2013, and other major Western companies have ended Russian partnerships.

The ruble had already been hit hard the previous week, slipping to record highs following the invasion and imposition of sanctions by the United States and Europe. On Monday, Governor Elvira Nabiullina said Russia’s central bank had spent $1 billion defending the ruble last Thursday, and a “small amount” on Friday.

But the United States and its allies stepped up punitive measures on Saturday, targeting the Russian central bank to prevent it from using international reserves. Nabiullina said on Monday that this had prevented the central bank from intervening further. Western allies also agreed to remove some of the country’s lenders from the Swift messaging system, crucial infrastructure for global payments.

Line chart of 7-day repo minimum rate, % showing Russia's central bank raising its key rate to 20%

Russians formed long queues to withdraw cash from ATMs as the central bank lacked an obvious mechanism to stabilize its economy and currency.

Putin introduced capital controls on Monday, prohibiting Russians from transferring foreign currency abroad or repaying foreign currency loans outside the country starting Tuesday. He also ordered Russian exporters to sell 80% of their foreign currency earnings since Jan. 1 in a bid to help offset the ruble’s sharp decline.

But analysts agree that Western sanctions can inflict lasting damage. “Simply put, Russia’s ability to transact with any financial institution globally will be severely compromised, as most international banks in all jurisdictions use Swift,” wrote analyst George Saravelos. Deutsche Bank, in a note to clients.

“Money markets could see some deterioration in funding conditions this week due to the uncertain impact of an asset freeze on global liquidity. The European Central Bank, the Fed and other other central banks are stepping in to provide strong support if needed,” he said.

On Friday, ratings agency S&P Global downgraded Russia’s debt rating to junk status, underscoring the risk that the military assault on Ukraine could prove even more damaging for global financial markets. country.

“The Russian bond market is not functioning at all, except that European and American banks are working to unwind all outstanding transactions with Russian banks,” said Kaan Nazli, portfolio manager at Neuberger Berman.

Additional reporting by Max Seddon, Philip Stafford, Harriet Clarfelt and Kate Duguid

Exit Stage Left: Uncompetitive coal being crowded out by cheaper renewables Sun, 27 Feb 2022 13:13:59 +0000

Last week, the owner of Australia’s largest coal-fired power station announced the early closure of its plant and replacement with the largest battery in the southern hemisphere. According to the CEO of Origin Energy, “The economics of coal-fired power plants are under increasing and unsustainable pressure from cleaner, lower-cost generation, including solar, wind and batteries.”

In the same week, $100 billion in renewable energy investments were submitted for the government’s “Renewable Energy Zone”, in the region where most of Australia’s coal-fired power stations are located. The 80 investment projects included solar power, wind power, batteries and pumped hydropower.

The energy economy now means that coal is not competitive, and certainly in the decades to come. For state-owned Electricité du Cambodge (EDC) in Cambodia, coal-fired power is almost double the price it pays for auctioned solar power projects.

In this respect, Cambodia is in an enviable position – only a third of the coal-fired power projects planned to supply the Kingdom are actually built or nearing completion. With these plants alone, Cambodia has a more than adequate supply of electricity. Which is fortunate, as the remaining two-thirds of planned coal projects may struggle to secure funding. The risk that these projects will be delayed or canceled is high after announcements last year that China, Japan and Korea – in addition to a host of other countries, private and public banks – were on the verge of to end their support for coal power.

Strategically, a contingency plan if these projects cannot get funding would be prudent for Cambodia. Modeling analysis performed for Cambodia’s power system shows that without this planned but not yet started 3,100 MW coal-fired power, electricity costs would be lower through 2030 and 2040. Such a plan would balance between existing coal and hydropower, with new solar, wind, unconventional hydro, and fast-acting gas and batteries.

The results show that it is economically stronger for Cambodia – this would translate into cheaper electricity, better energy security, more investment and green jobs. No need to pay monthly to import coal or fuel gas for electricity, or worry about the volatility of world coal or gas prices. And that means global brands continue to operate in Cambodia trying to decarbonize their supply chains.

As in Australia, investors are ready. Last year, $920 billion was invested in energy transition deployment and climate technology companies, with Asia-Pacific accounting for half of that and growing rapidly, according to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance report for 2021. Investment in Cambodia will be aided by the new Investment Law which signals support for green energy, as well as the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The international community has pledged to help. Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would step up support for developing countries in green and low-carbon energy while ending its support for coal.

In Cambodia, the French Development Agency (AFD) is financing millions of EDCs to modernize its network with support from the EU. The Asian Development Bank (AfDB) supports the Cambodian government in its energy planning, energy efficiency policy and the development of an investment support pipeline, as well as technical support to meet the challenges of the integration of variable solar energy into the grid.

JICA has long supported the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and EDC. The International Energy Agency has reached out to support Cambodia – the IEA has done an amazing job helping Thailand understand how to prepare for and take advantage of variable renewables at lower cost. Australia has helped MME and EDC develop a strategy and roadmap to take incremental steps each year to be ready. Germany, via GIZ and KfW, supports efficient energy use, grid expansion and electric mobility. This month, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched its Smart Power program for Southeast Asia.

Cambodia is in a good position to leapfrog the challenges other countries face in phasing out coal and planning for a balanced future. EDC and MME are well positioned at the center of the power system to make sound, technology-neutral economic decisions. In many developed markets, there is a separation of responsibilities for the supply and dispatch of electricity, the transmission of electricity through network cables, and the sale to customers. In other countries, it can be difficult to work with all these stakeholders with different vested interests to adapt to and take advantage of significant technological changes.

In Cambodia, EDC purchases and signs agreements for power generation from Independent Power Producers (IPPs); they do the same for network infrastructure such as transmission or distribution cables. EDC also manages the delicate balancing of electricity through its dispatch center at the National Control Center; and finally, EDC sells electricity to many customers (although most rural customers buy electricity from Rural Electric Companies (REEs). This means EDC can have visibility and control systems, from generation to users, to maintain network reliability and stability.

For example, EDC is responsible for dispatching electricity. They know what is needed to maintain network balance at the millisecond, hour, day, and season level and they can procure the appropriate provisioning and “grid balancing services” to meet these needs with more solar and wind power. They can then guarantee the availability of a fast-acting response from batteries, hydroelectric plants, gas engines or customers (i.e. pay a customer to refuse their use). Or when EDC purchases and signs a power purchase agreement with an IPP (hopefully competitively), it can ensure that its contracts include future adjustment clauses such as the flexibility incentive (to increase or decrease) or pay different prices depending on when solar power is plentiful or when the sun is down.

Cambodia has excellent solar and wind resources, more than 10 times greater than its needs. Solar, wind and battery power can be built quickly and incrementally – as Elon Musk proved to the world when he announced that the world’s largest battery would be built in 100 days to meet the balancing needs of the world. South Australia network.

In Thailand, the electric utility EGAT is currently purchasing a hybrid of floating solar, hydraulic, battery and system controls, towards its goal of solarizing all the dams in the country.

The technology to balance the variability of solar and wind generation at a site or system level already exists and is being deployed worldwide. Production variability becomes difficult when its production share exceeds 20-25%. To be clear, Cambodia is not at that stage at all – according to the Electricity Authority of Cambodia, only 6% of the country’s generation came from solar power in 2021. This will decrease by more than half when the new coal-fired power plant in Sihanoukville is commissioned. South Australia is already at over 55% and on some days it is at 100%.

Clean energy is generally designed for its environmental and climate change mitigation benefits. This month, Cambodian Environment Minister Say Samal launched “Cambodia’s Long-Term Strategy for Carbon Neutrality. This has been submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and makes Cambodia one of the only two least developed countries to have submitted a strategy with a clear objective of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Achieving this target largely depends on forestry and agriculture, with the emissions intensity of the electricity sector actually increasing. If coal projects cannot continue, an emergency strategy with a more balanced mix would greatly improve the chances of achieving these goals with stronger economic benefits for Cambodia.

Bridget McIntosh is Country Manager, EnergyLab Cambodia

China’s real estate market is expected to rebound this year Fri, 25 Feb 2022 04:53:35 +0000

By Liangping Gao and Ryan Woo

BEIJING (Reuters) – Shaken by a shortage of cash among developers, China’s property market is expected to remain weak in the first half of 2022 before rebounding later in the year as policies aimed at encouraging buyers help restore sentiment, according to a Reuters poll.

After being a mainstay of strength in the world’s second-largest economy, the heavily indebted real estate sector faltered last year when Beijing launched a deleveraging campaign that caught several major developers by surprise, disrupting project deliveries and dampening morale. buyers.

In addition to battling a rapidly cooling real estate sector, China has also encountered sporadic outbreaks of COVID-19 that could deal a heavy blow to factory production and consumption.

Average home prices are expected to fall 1.0% year on year in the first half, according to a Reuters survey of 17 analysts and economists conducted between February 16 and 23. The estimate remained unchanged from that of a Reuters poll in November.

For the year as a whole, house prices are expected to rise 2.0%.

“House prices are likely to rise if restrictions are eased,” said Li Qilin, chief economist at Hongta Securities, adding that the credit environment and regulatory policies on real estate have eased slightly since the month. beginning of this year.

“Real estate transactions in first- and second-tier cities, supported by their economic and demographic advantages, will be remarkably better than in third- and fourth-tier cities.”

Authorities unveiled a series of measures to boost sales and sentiment, including giving developers easier access to stranded pre-sale funds, requiring lower down payments for first-time home buyers and allowing banks businesses to reduce mortgage rates.

Analysts are more bullish on housing demand and supply than in the last Reuters survey, although they said sentiment has not fully recovered and property companies still face funding pressures .

For demand, real estate sales are expected to fall 14.0% in the first half, following a 16.0% drop in the November survey. Sales are expected to fall by 7.5% for the year as a whole.

Many respondents said policies governing demand, especially actual demand, would be relaxed, but for now sellers were relying on the discount offer.

“Homebuyers’ confidence has yet to be restored, and rebates are still a key marketing tool,” said Huang Yu, vice president of China Index Academy, a real estate research institute based in China. Beijing.

“Tier 1 and 2 cities will see an increase in the scale of new home transactions, leading to a structural rise in house prices nationwide.”

China’s housing minister pledged on Thursday to keep the real estate market stable this year and ensure that real housing demand is met.

Investment by property companies should fall by 2.0% in H1 and gain 1.5% over the year as a whole. Reuters previously forecast investment to fall 3.0% in the first half of 2022.

Real estate investment rose 4.4% in 2021, the slowest pace in 17 months, while property company sales by area rose 1.9%.

“Real estate companies under pressure on capital will act cautiously on land purchases and real estate investments,” said Lu Wenxi, chief analyst at real estate agency Centaline.

Daniel Yao, China research manager at JLL, a commercial real estate services provider, expected authorities to provide more loans to real estate companies for project development and make it easier for them to issue bonds. to relieve liquidity pressure and stabilize the outlook.

Of the 17 respondents, 13 said China would delay rolling out a property tax pilot given the pressure on its economy.

(For more stories from Reuters Quarterly Housing Market Surveys:)

(Reporting by Liangping Gao and Ryan Woo, Additional reporting by Jenny Su and Wang Shuyan; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

COLUMN-Surge in electric vehicle battery demand supercharges nickel: Andy Home Mon, 21 Feb 2022 15:09:15 +0000

By Andy Home

LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Nickel hit its highest level in more than a decade on Monday morning.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month nickel broke January’s high of $24,435 a tonne to hit $24,610, a level last traded in 2011.

Time spreads remain in the grip of fierce compression, with the cash premium closing last week at $465 a tonne.

The huge LME delivery incentive pulled metal into exchange warehouses, but not enough to stop the downtrend.

The possibility of sanctions against Russia, which accounts for around 7% of global production and is a major exporter to Western and Chinese markets, is in the bullish mix.

But the underlying driver of rising nickel prices is electric.


According to Adamas Intelligence, a record 286.2 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electric passenger vehicle (EV) battery capacity was deployed on roads around the world last year.

This represents a 113% increase compared to 2020, as sales of new energy vehicles continued to grow strongly in China, the world’s largest market, and exploded in Europe.

The electric vehicle battery sector uses less nickel than the stainless steel sector, but is growing much faster.

Not all batteries use nickel. A new generation of cheaper lithium-iron-phosphate batteries is gaining market share in China.

But 54% of battery capacity deployed last year used high-nickel cathode chemistry, according to Adamas Intelligence. Low-nickel chemicals accounted for 26% and nickel-free products only 20%.

The amount of nickel deployed in new electric vehicles last December was a record 19,651 tonnes, up 44% year-on-year and 29% month-on-month, the report said. consulting firm.

The electric vehicle revolution appears to be rapidly approaching a state of critical mass, which translates into record prices for cathode inputs such as nickel and cobalt and, of course, lithium itself.


The growing demand for battery metals reflects both the exponential increase in electric vehicle sales and the building of a global battery manufacturing industry, with each new gigafactory representing additional pull on metal stocks.

This traction is complicated in the case of nickel because not everything is suitable for conversion into sulphate which is mixed with the precursor mixture.

Class I nickel, defined as containing at least 99.8% metal, is just the ticket. It is also what is traded and stored on both the LME and the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

This is why there has been such a rush for the metal of exchange. Shanghai stocks have been running empty for many months and currently stand at just 5,301 tonnes.

At this time last year, LME warehouses held nearly 295,000 tonnes of nickel, 250,000 tonnes in the form of registered inventory and 45,000 tonnes of fictitious off-market inventory.

LME stocks today stand at 83,274 tonnes, of which 52% has been canceled and is awaiting physical loading.

Shadow stocks had fallen to just 2,687 tonnes by the end of December, according to the LME’s latest out-of-mandate stock report.

The stock rush keeps the time spreads volatile and the offset high. The absence of fresh warrantage – only 600 tons have been delivered so far this month – points to a simultaneous tightening of the physical supply chain, where premiums are also rising.


The latest high nickel prices follow news that China’s Tsingshan has made its first delivery of Indonesian nickel matte to Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co Ltd.

This is a landmark development, marking a new way of processing laterite ore to battery-grade material.

Indonesia is the world’s largest nickel producer, but has historically supplied it in the form of nickel pig iron to the stainless steel industry.

It is now the experimental heartland of the global battery-grade nickel industry, with some operators following Tsingshan down the matte processing path and others opting for high-pressure acid leaching technology.

The magnitude of nickel accumulation in Indonesia is difficult to overestimate. The country’s mining output jumped 35% to 936,000 tonnes in the first 11 months of 2021, according to the International Nickel Study Group.

This meteoric expansion should, in theory, mean a much improved availability of battery-grade materials and a consequent drop in demand for Class I nickel.

Most analysts are optimistic on prices for the first half of the year, but more cautious thereafter due to this wave of Indonesian construction supply.

The reality, however, can be more complicated.


What is mined and processed in Indonesia will not go anywhere near an exchange warehouse.

It won’t be in the right shape to qualify for exchange delivery, meaning its impact on the market will be muted until it displaces enough Class I metal to keep visible stocks from slipping. .

In the meantime, the price of nickel will be determined by how much or how much of the metal is in the exchange warehouses.

A more fundamental question, perhaps, is whether Indonesia’s nickel rush will do much to satisfy Western demand for battery-grade metal.

The country’s production sector is dominated by Chinese entities, which means most of the additional nickel supply will eventually flow to Chinese battery makers to meet domestic demand.

Even if Western players wanted to bulk up, it’s not clear that their end customers, the automakers, would want them to.

Indonesian nickel has a high carbon footprint due to the energy-intensive processing route and the fact that coal is an essential part of the country’s energy mix.

Also there is heightened scrutiny -boom of wider environmental and social impacts of nickel mining in Indonesia.

Tesla has off-take agreements with BHP Group for Australian nickel, Trafigura for Caledonian nickel and Talon Metals for metal mined in the United States.

That says a lot about where the green pioneer thinks they can get green metal.

If other automakers come to the same conclusion, the impact of the supply surge in Indonesia could be significantly mitigated outside of China.

Ironically, just as Tsingshan closes the chemical gap between Class I and other forms of nickel, the end-user market gap could widen.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author, columnist for Reuters.

(Editing by David Clarke)


Samsung Securities goes live giving clients real-time access via Blue Ocean ATS

Seoul becomes first Asian market hub to launch US stock trading day from Korea

NEW YORK and SEOUL, February 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Blue Ocean Technologies LLC (BOT), a global fintech leader in after-hours commerce and the holding company of Blue Ocean ATS; and Samsung Securities, the brokerage subsidiary of the Samsung Group, today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), entering into a strategic partnership to trade the stocks of the US National Market System (NMS) during business hours. local offices in Korea. Effective February 6, 2022, (US ET) Samsung Securities has begun offering its clients access to US stocks through the Blue Ocean Alternative Trading System (ATS) market center. This platform offers Asia Pacific based investors the ability to trade during their local business hours, i.e., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Blue Ocean ATS is currently offering all subscribers the ability to trade through its Blue Ocean Session brand from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. United States ET.

For the first time in history, US stocks began trading during local business hours on Monday morning in Korea, thanks to this partnership between Samsung Securities and Blue Ocean Technologies LLC. Blue Ocean ATS is currently connected to major brokers in the United States to serve institutional and retail investors who wish to trade during non-traditional US market hours. Samsung Securities is Blue Ocean Technologies’ premier international partner for seamless access to electronic trading and market data during a time previously inaccessible to Asia Pacific based investors.

By launching Overnight Trading Service, Samsung Securities is the only company that can trade US stocks during the day in Korea. Three hours after the post-trade and 30 minutes before the pre-trade, Samsung Securities clients will be able to trade US stocks for 20 hours and 30 minutes per day. Previously, Korean investors (and other global investors) had difficulty trading US stocks overnight and dawn, but now, given the partnership with Blue Ocean, the problem is completely solved.

According to Samsung Securities, 50% of all trades are traded from 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. (Korean time), it seems that investors are focusing on the beginning of the trading day because it is very difficult to trade at dawn or when the investors usually sleep. The Blue Ocean night trading service will broaden the overseas trading base.

Chairman and CEO of Blue Ocean Technologies, Ralph Laymansaid, “Today marks an important milestone for global investors through our strategic partnership with Samsung Securities, an incredibly respected global brand and multi-faceted innovator. We are delighted to have officially launched in Asia to facilitate access to real-time trading for Korean investors. This partnership allows us to transport the US equity trading day and our Blue Ocean trading model, to provide expanded local access to the world’s largest capital market. Samsung Securities has gained a global first-mover advantage as the first APAC-based company to offer its clients access to this new business opportunity. Effective today, the US stock market opens in Seoul.”

Corporate Vice President of Samsung Securities, Jae Hoon Sacommented: “Despite the expansion of overseas trade, the physical time difference in each country has been a difficult obstacle for investors, and the opening of the service has made it easy for domestic investors to trade U.S. stocks on the day of the opening of the Korean market, completely changing the game for the investment community. Investors can compare the same type of industry stocks in the United States and Korea, and they can invest immediately using the information of the news and company announcement after the US market close.In the past, Korean investors started their day by checking market conditions after the US market closed, now we look forward to seeing investors Americans start their day by checking market conditions after the Korean market closes,” he added.

About Blue Ocean Technologies:
Blue Ocean Technologies, LLC (BOT) is a unique capital markets fintech company that empowers global investors to trade during overnight trading hours in the United States. Blue Ocean Technologies’ U.S. subsidiary, Blue Ocean ATS, LLC, and its Blue Ocean Alternative Trading System (BOATS) trading system, currently trade stocks on the U.S. National Market System (NMS) from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. 12 am ET Sunday – Thursday. Founded in 2019, Blue Ocean ATS’ mission is to turn american trade into global trade through its flagship service, Blue Ocean Session, providing access and transparency to subscribers in all time zones during non-traditional US market hours. Learn more about connecting:

For more information, please visit our website: and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

SOURCEBlue Ocean Technologies, LLC

New technology drives South Korea’s IPO boom Sat, 29 Jan 2022 18:47:20 +0000

More than 20 companies went public in South Korea’s main market last year, raising about $14 billion, nearly double the previous record set in 2010.

Last year was a banner year for IPOs around the world, and South Korea was no exception. And 2022 is shaping up to be another bumper year for Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

More than 20 companies went public in South Korea’s main market last year, raising about $14 billion, nearly double the previous record set in 2010. Among the biggest are the IPO of 3 $.8 in August from video game producer Krafton, the $2.1 billion raised by KakaoBank in July and the $1.3 offering in March from biopharmaceutical company SK Bioscience, which was one of the IPOs best performing stock exchanges in the world for the year.

The market got off to a flying start this year, with the $10.8 billion offering in mid-January from LG Energy Solutions, the world’s second-largest maker of batteries for electric vehicles. The company will use the funds in part to increase battery production capacity by 2.6 times over the next three years as it expands into six countries. LGES’ offering was more than double the size of the previous largest transaction on the Korean exchange, Samsung Life Insurance in 2010.

Near press time, construction company Hyundai Engineering was aiming to raise about $1 billion in an IPO in late January. Later in the quarter, Hyundai Oilbank, the refining unit of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, will make its third attempt to go public. South Korean retail giant Shinsegae Group’s online store segment and online grocery delivery platform Market Kurly are among other issuers aiming to go public in the coming months.

Increased interest from retail investors, in part thanks to a new system that improves the chances that retail investors will have access to offerings, has been a major driver of Korea’s IPO market. More than 20 million people, nearly 40 percent of South Korea’s total population, participated in the IPO market last year, more than 11 times the previous year’s total. Additionally, the Korean stock market benefited from investors seeking to increase their allocation to Asian markets outside of China, following Beijing’s regulatory crackdown.

China voices support for Russian invasion of Ukraine Fri, 28 Jan 2022 21:57:26 +0000 As Ukraine braces for Russia’s impact, China has weighed in – and the two superpowers are saying one thing but doing another.

China has come out in support of Russia’s impending invasion of Ukraine, insisting that the “outdated” NATO alliance is the real cause of the crisis.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Russia’s “reasonable security concerns should be taken seriously and resolved”.

He made no reference to European and Ukrainian security concerns over Moscow’s 100,000 troops, heavy tanks, armored vehicles, warplanes and warships gathering at their borders.

“We call on all parties to remain calm and refrain from doing things that stir up tensions and exacerbate the crisis,” he said.

Within hours, his Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, was promoting the crisis.

He said Moscow was acting in response to “legitimate security concerns” over what was a “leftover from the Cold War”.

“As the world’s largest military alliance, NATO should abandon the outdated Cold War mentality and ideological biases, and do things that are conducive to maintaining peace and stability.”

Meanwhile, Moscow began issuing demands.

President Vladimir Putin wants to divide Europe into spheres of influence. The desires of nations caught in between are irrelevant.

Beijing has publicly backed the move.

US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman previously said Putin was asking the alliance to reject any new membership applications as “non-starting”.

“We will not allow anyone to slam the open NATO door.”

Small Eastern European nations such as Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus have requested NATO protection. It is a response to the Russian leader’s efforts to bring the former Soviet Union states back under Moscow’s control. And Sweden and Finland, long neutrals, have debated the move in light of Putin’s increasingly aggressive behavior.

“China firmly opposes all kinds of petty cliques,” Zhao said. Although he went on to describe Beijing’s growing relationship with Moscow as “mature, stable and resilient.”

Brothers in arms

President Xi will greet President Putin during an official visit to the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

Chinese UN representative Zhang Jun said this week that Moscow had promised Beijing not to disrupt the two-week event by invading Ukraine.

“Regarding the situation in Ukraine, we heard from Russia that it has no intention of starting a war,” he said.

The two have gone to great lengths to highlight their growing relationship in recent years. This is despite a long-running dispute over ownership of Russia’s eastern provinces.

The relationship has yet to be formalized by an alliance. But recent large-scale combined military exercises demonstrate a willingness of their forces to work together.

Much of Beijing’s support for Moscow has consisted of global posturing and propaganda contests.

He accuses Washington of being in decline. Not knowing how to react to the rise of Russia and China.

“Western elites have given their answer: shift the problem to countries they don’t like – China and Russia,” a Communist Party op-ed in the world times accused.

The excuse of authoritarianism is consistent.

“Russian and Chinese thinkers make the argument that different cultural traditions and ‘civilizations’ should be able to develop in different ways,” the editorial insists.

mutual defense

And Russia’s insistence on historical ownership of Ukraine mirrors China’s ambitions on Taiwan.

“The entanglement between Ukrainians and Russians dates back to Tsarist Russia,” reads the Communist Party’s opinion piece. “If there is any similarity between the Ukrainian tension and the Taiwan question, it is that they have nothing to do with the world order.”

Ukraine and Taiwan, however, disagree. Not that their opinion matters to Russia and China.

Beijing argues that the Western rules-based order is over. He says a more “democratic” world order is in sight.

“With China and Russia as defense, the world should follow this path in the future – and the United States and some of its pawns will try to erect barriers to prevent urgently needed reforms.”

This pact will soon be put to the test.

Joint naval exercises have just been completed in the Arabian Sea. Both forces practiced anti-piracy operations and simulated ship seizures.

“The exercise further enriched the connotation of the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between China and Russia in the new era, and improved the capabilities and level of the two armies to jointly deal with maritime threats and maintain channel security. maritime strategic areas,” a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Defense said.

A formal alliance is not yet on the cards. But Beijing and Moscow describe their economic and political ties as a “buffer” against interference from Washington.

And that could lessen the impact of future sanctions.

Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov said the US dollar would no longer be the basis of economic activity between the two countries. Instead, each will trade directly in each other’s national currencies.

“There are so-called financial information transmission systems,” Denisov said. “The one developed in Russia may well meet our requirements at least in payment and settlement relations with Chinese financial and banking organizations.”

A game of thrones

China has not always openly supported Russian aggression.

He refrained from backing Moscow in a UN Security Council censure resolution after it invaded Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014. He also refused to back the occupation of parts of Georgia in 2008.

And so far, Beijing’s relations with Kiev have been cordial.

Earlier this month, President Xi Jinping congratulated President Volodymyr Zelensky on 30 years of official relations. Xi stressed “developing China-Ukraine strategic partnership”.

But Ukraine’s independence is at the heart of the unfolding crisis.

Moscow has called for the revocation of NATO membership of former Soviet Union countries. He wants to be reassured that Ukraine will never be allowed to join.

At stake is the mutual defense pact that is at the heart of the NATO alliance.

All nations agree to come to the aid of any attacked member.

And it blunted Putin’s ambitions to restore the Russian empire.

Thus, he began to secure his relations with China.

“There is no doubt that the current situation in the world favors further strengthening of the strategic partnership between Moscow and Beijing,” Moscow’s Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said. “But unlike the United States and its NATO allies, we have no geopolitical plans or goals against a sovereign country.”

Meanwhile, Washington is increasingly convinced that Moscow will act soon.

“I don’t know if he’s made the final decision,” Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said, “but we certainly see any signs that he may be using military force. [between] now and mid-February.

Jamie Seidel is a freelance writer | @JamieSeidel

Read related topics:China

China 2008 vs 2022: richer, stronger, more conflicted | Business and finance Wed, 26 Jan 2022 04:08:19 +0000

BEIJING (AP) — China has seen historic changes since it last hosted the Olympics in 2008: It is wealthier, more heavily armed and openly confrontational.

As President Xi Jinping’s government prepares for the Winter Olympics in February, it has more leverage to exert influence overseas and resist complaints from the United States and other governments over trade, the theft of technology and its treatment of Muslim minorities in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.

The economy is three times bigger today. The ruling Communist Party uses this wealth to try to become a “tech powerhouse” and spends more on its military than any country other than the United States.

“2008 was a turning point,” said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, an expert on China politics at Hong Kong Baptist University. “That was the beginning of China’s assertiveness.”

When fireworks exploded over Beijing in August 2008, China was on the verge of overtaking Japan as the world’s second-largest economy. The ruling party celebrated the most expensive Summer Games to date.

Foreign media dubbed it China’s “coming out party”, echoing the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 which symbolized Japan’s recovery from World War II. After three decades of keeping its head down to focus on development, Beijing was ready to emerge on the world stage as an economic and political force.

The ruling party declared its stronger position in 2012, the year Xi took power, in a document that called for “more strategic rights”, military status and a greater global role.

Xi’s government sees its one-party dictatorship under threat and accuses Washington of trying to deprive China of its rightful role as world leader. The ruling party is tightening its control over society and businesses and using internet filters and other censorship measures to exclude what it deems to be unhealthy foreign influences. It does more to bully Taiwan, the island democracy that Beijing says belongs to China.

“You can see that China is being forced by the United States and its allies such as Australia, Japan and Britain to do this,” said Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing.

Xi seeks to consolidate his control over the country. He is expected to use key political meetings at the end of 2022 to try to break with tradition and stay in power for a third five-year term as head of the ruling party. Earlier, he had the Chinese constitution amended to get rid of term limits on his role as president.

Once “more open to the outside world”, China is now “much more paranoid”, Cabestan said.

Beijing has sent fighter jets in increasing numbers to fly near Taiwan. It is investing money in developing nuclear-capable missiles that can hit the United States, aircraft carriers and other weapons to expand its military reach beyond China’s shores.

China’s leaders believe, Shi said, that they need to defend themselves on several fronts: a tariff war launched by then-President Donald Trump in 2018; restrictions on access to US technology; and military alliances involving Japan, Australia and other governments to counter Beijing’s claims to the South China Sea and other territories.

“If there’s a bad relationship between China and another country, it’s because the other country is hurting China,” Shi said.

In 2008, preparations for the Summer Games included a $43 billion transformation of the Chinese capital. The group built the attractive Bird’s Nest Stadium and other Olympic venues, installed new subway lines and upgraded roads. Exercise equipment has been installed in thousands of public parks across China.

The capital, one of the world’s most polluted cities, launched a ‘blue sky’ campaign that closed or replaced power stations, steel mills and other facilities and imposed traffic controls at an estimated cost of $10 billion.

Today, Xi’s government is grappling with the debt, pollution and other excesses of previous years. He is also in the midst of a marathon campaign, launched before he took office, to steer the economy towards sustainable growth based on consumer spending rather than exports and investment.

In a loosely defined initiative – dubbed “common prosperity” after a 1950s slogan – the ruling party is trying to narrow a politically unstable wealth gap between a billionaire elite and China’s working-class majority.

Successful private sector companies in e-commerce and other areas are under pressure to invest in party efforts to reduce dependence on the United States, Europe and Japan as suppliers of technology by developing computer chips and other products. They pay for rural job creation and other policy initiatives.

Xi and other leaders vow to open markets wider to foreign and private competitors while saying state-owned banks, oil producers, telecom operators and other firms are the ‘heart of the economy’ . Business groups complain that despite measures such as removing foreign ownership limits in auto manufacturing, global companies are being squeezed out of promising technologies and other areas.

“China will continue to expand its openness to the outside world,” Xi said in a Jan. 17 speech via video link at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He promised to “ensure all businesses equal status before the law and equal opportunity”.

In a slap in the face to Washington, Xi complained of “hegemonic bullying” and said governments must “let go of a Cold War mentality”.

As athletes and journalists arrive ahead of the opening of the Winter Games on Feb. 4, Chinese leaders face the challenge of supporting slumping economic growth while trying to contain coronavirus outbreaks and pressure property developers , an industry that supports millions of jobs, to reduce debt that Beijing says is dangerously high.

China rebounded quickly from the 2020 pandemic and became the only major economy to grow that year. But growth fell sharply in late 2021 as Beijing’s debt crackdown bit, triggering a slump in property sales and construction.

The economy grew robustly by 8.1% in 2021, but growth fell in the last quarter to 4% from a year earlier. Forecasters say the crisis will deepen before interest rate cuts and other stimulus measures can take effect. The World Bank and private sector economists have cut this year’s growth forecast to just 5%, although it remains one of the highest in the world.

“Economic stability is the top priority in 2022,” Tommy Wu of Oxford Economics said in a report.

AP researcher Yu Bing contributed.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

IMF lowers global economic growth forecast for 2022 to 4.4% on weaker outlook for US and China Tue, 25 Jan 2022 14:00:00 +0000

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The International Monetary Fund has cut its global economic growth forecast for 2022 as the Covid-19 pandemic enters its third year, citing weaker prospects for the United States and China as well as persistent inflation.

The global economy will expand 4.4% this year, down from an estimate of 4.9% in October, the Washington-based IMF said in its World Economic Outlook on Tuesday. The fund forecast growth of 3.8% for 2023, up from the previous projection, but the cumulative expansion for the two years will still be 0.3 percentage points lower than the previous forecast.

The United States, the world’s largest economy, saw its forecast reduced on the outlook for President Joe Biden’s spending program and China, the second-largest, on housing challenges.

The global economy grew 5.9% last year, according to the IMF, the strongest in four decades of detailed data. This followed a 3.1% contraction in 2020 that was the worst peacetime decline in broader numbers since the Great Depression.

Central banks that have cut interest rates to mitigate the economic decline caused by the pandemic are facing pressure to tighten policy to deal with soaring consumer prices, threatening to dampen the rebound in growth. Governments also have less fiscal space to meet health needs and support their economies after racking up record debt.

‘Be ready’

“The past two years reaffirm that this crisis and the ongoing recovery is unlike any other,” wrote Gita Gopinath, who became the fund’s second head this month after three years as chief economist, in a blog accompanying the report.

“Policymakers need to vigilantly monitor a wide range of incoming economic data, prepare for contingencies, and be ready to communicate and execute near-term policy changes,” Gopinath said. “In parallel, bold and effective international cooperation should ensure that this year is the year the world escapes the grip of the pandemic.”

While the IMF sees the omicron variant weighing on growth in the first quarter, it expects the negative impact to fade from the second quarter, assuming the global surge in infections subsides and the virus does not transform into new variants that require more restrictions on mobility.

Supply chain disruptions are spurring more widespread inflation than expected, the IMF said, with an annual rate projected to average 3.9% in advanced economies this year, down from a previous estimate of 2.3%, and 5.9% in emerging and developing countries.

The IMF expects the faster pace of cost-of-living increases to gradually ease later this year, assuming price expectations remain firmly anchored as maritime bottlenecks ease and major economies react with interest rate increases.

Advanced economies raising interest rates can create risks to financial stability and capital flows, currencies and fiscal positions of emerging and developing economies after debt levels rise, the IMF said. . International cooperation will be needed to preserve nations’ access to liquidity and facilitate orderly debt restructuring if necessary, the fund said.

IMF projections:

  • The fund cut its US growth forecast by 1.2 percentage points to 4%. The revision reflects the removal of positive impact assumptions from President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better social spending plan, which has stalled in Congress; early withdrawal of Federal Reserve support; and persistent supply chain bottlenecks

  • He cut China’s growth forecast by 0.8 points to 4.8%, citing disruptions caused by the pandemic, the nation’s zero-tolerance policy for Covid-19 and disruptions in the housing sector.

  • The IMF lowered its growth forecasts for Brazil and Mexico by 1.2 percentage points to 0.3% and 2.8%, respectively, as the fight against inflation already prompted a tightening of monetary policy which will weigh on domestic demand

  • India to grow fastest among major economies at 9% from 8.5%, due to improved credit growth

Projections assume that poor health outcomes from Covid-19 recede to low levels in most countries by the end of this year, vaccination rates improve and treatments become more available. Risks are on the downside, with new variants threatening to prolong the pandemic.

Ending the pandemic depends on ending vaccine inequity, the IMF has said. The share of the population fully immunized is about 70% for high-income countries, but less than 4% for low-income countries. Eighty-six countries, representing 27% of the world’s population, failed to reach the 40% immunization level at the end of last year that the IMF says is needed to stem the pandemic.

The world also suffers from deep inequality in Covid-19 testing, with testing rates around 80 times higher in high-income countries than in low-income countries.

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