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US Announces Food Security Efforts in Wake of Climate Change

US Announces Food Security Efforts in Wake of Climate Change


Global climate change is inevitable, but can we do something about it?

The reality has set in. The White House announced the average cost of these delays earlier this week, and on July 29, the president announced a series of partnerships with various food and agricultural businesses to ensure the resiliency of American food security in preparation for further climate changes.

The partnerships (with large companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé), are aimed at strengthening American agricultural production (which has actually fallen slowly but steadily since 2009). The Climate Assessment, released in May, revealed that crop yield will definitely be affected by climate change. The administration will be unveiling new sets of data, and the USDA will be hosting a series of agriculture innovation workshops designed to keep coming up with new ways to keep up with food demand, and how to prepare for any future food emergencies.

The data will be available on GeoPlatform.gov, in the hope that they will shape the future of agricultural production in America.

For the latest happenings in the food and drink world, visit our Food News page.

Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi


World faces worst food crisis for at least 50 years, UN warns

The world stands on the brink of a food crisis worse than any seen for at least 50 years, the UN has warned as it urged governments to act swiftly to avoid disaster.

Better social protections for poor people are urgently needed as the looming recession following the coronavirus pandemic may put basic nutrition beyond their reach, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, said on Tuesday.

“Unless immediate action is taken, it is increasingly clear that there is an impending global food emergency that could have long-term impacts on hundreds of millions of children and adults,” he said. “We need to act now to avoid the worst impacts of our efforts to control the pandemic.”

Although harvests of staple crops are holding up, and the export bans and protectionism that experts feared have so far been largely avoided, the worst of the impacts of the pandemic and ensuing recession are yet to be felt. Guterres warned: “Even in countries with abundant food, we see risks of disruption in the food supply chain.”

About 50 million people risk falling into extreme poverty this year owing to the pandemic, but the long-term effects will be even worse, as poor nutrition in childhood causes lifelong suffering. Already, one in five children around the world are stunted in their growth by the age of five, and millions more are likely to suffer the same fate if poverty rates soar.

Guterres laid out a three-point plan to repair the world’s ailing food systems and prevent further harm. These are: to focus aid on the worst-stricken regions to stave off immediate disaster, and for governments to prioritise food supply chains to strengthen social protections so that young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and other at-risk groups – including children who are not receiving school meals in lockdown – receive adequate nutrition and to invest in the future, by building a global recovery from the pandemic that prioritises healthy and environmentally sustainable food systems.

Maximo Torero, the chief economist of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said the world’s food systems were under threat as never before in recent times, as the pandemic and lockdowns hampered people’s ability to harvest and buy and sell food. “We need to be careful,” he said. “This is a very different food crisis than the ones we have seen.”

Harvests are healthy and supplies of staple foods such as grains are “robust”, according to the UN report on the impact of Covid-19 on food security and nutrition, published on Tuesday. But most people get their food from local markets, which are vulnerable to disruption from lockdowns.

Increasing unemployment and the loss of income associated with lockdowns are also putting food out of reach for many struggling people. Though global markets have remained steady, the price of basic foods has begun to rise in some countries.

Lockdowns are slowing harvests, while millions of seasonal labourers are unable to work. Food waste has reached damaging levels, with farmers forced to dump perishable produce as the result of supply chain problems, and in the meat industry plants have been forced to close in some countries.

Even before the lockdowns, the global food system was failing in many areas, according to the UN. The report pointed to conflict, natural disasters, the climate crisis, and the arrival of pests and plant and animal plagues as existing problems. East Africa, for instance, is facing the worst swarms of locusts for decades, while heavy rain is hampering relief efforts.

The additional impact of the coronavirus crisis and lockdowns, and the resulting recession, would compound the damage and tip millions into dire hunger, experts warned.

“The Covid-19 crisis is attacking us at every angle,” said Agnes Kalibata, the UN secretary general’s special envoy for the 2021 food systems summit. “It has exposed dangerous deficiencies in our food systems and actively threatens the lives and livelihoods of people around the world, especially the more than 1 billion people who have employment in the various industries in food systems.”

She pointed to Latin America and the Caribbean, where a third of the population already live in a precarious state of food insecurity, and where Brazil is fast becoming a hotspot for coronavirus cases. “Across the region, the pandemic has weakened economies and disrupted supply chains, leading to food price hikes,” she warned.

The pandemic risks reversing the progress that has been made in recent decades on lifting people out of poverty and improving their access to healthy food, the UN found.

Any remedies must also target the climate emergency, which is strongly linked to the world’s food systems, said Elwyn Grainger-Jones, the executive director of the CGIAR System Organization, a global agricultural research body. “Solutions need to be science-based and coordinated across sectors to provide immediate response and assistance for those most in need, ongoing and inclusive support in recovery and – perhaps most importantly – future resilience to all shocks, including climate extremes.”

Kalibata said there was also an opportunity for countries to improve food systems alongside reducing poverty and increasing global resilience to shocks.

“Food has always brought people together and it can again if we build back better as it relates to our food systems,” she said.


Kerry wants world’s biggest polluters to pledge real change

United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry waves as he arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, March 10, 2021, to meet French President Emanjuel Macron. Kerry traveled to Paris to relaunch transatlantic cooperation with European officials in the wake of President Joe Biden’s decision to rejoin the global effort to curb climate change. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS (AP) — U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry on Wednesday called on the world’s biggest polluters to make “key decisions” in the coming months that would rein in climate change.

Kerry, who is on a trip to Europe this week, spoke after a meeting in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee presidential palace.

Kerry said the French president indicated that he wants to work with his U.S. counterpart “very closely not just on the reduction of emissions but particularly on the tools necessary to… achieve that goal.”

Kerry discussed preparations for a U.S.-hosted climate summit Apr. 22-23 that will virtually gather the leader of twenty countries that pump out 81% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The talks followed U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris climate accord in the first hours of his presidency, reversing the U.S. withdrawal ordered by his predecessor Donald Trump.

“All countries that are emitting greenhouse gases must raise ambition,” Kerry said, speaking earlier on Wednesday in a joint news conference with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

Major emitters of greenhouse gases are preparing for the next U.N. climate summit taking place in Glasgow, U.K., in November. The summit aims to relaunch global efforts to keep rising global temperatures to below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) as agreed in the Paris accord.

“We can manage this. But we know that to do that, we must make key decisions now in the next eight months leading up to Glasgow. And Glasgow may well be our last best hope to be able to get the world on the track,” Kerry said.

Kerry would not comment on China’s new five-year plan that set last week new, but moderate energy and climate targets. China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, said it will reduce carbon emissions per unit of economic output by 18% over the next five years.

“We ’re not trying to single out one nation,” Kerry said.

“The point of the Paris agreement was everybody accepted the goal. The point of Paris (agreement) is that everybody said: we will get on this road. And the problem today is we’re not on that road sufficiently,” he added.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Wal-Mart (WMT) Announces Food Leadership Changes As Competition Heats Up

Wal-Mart WMT has announced changes to its U.S. food leadership team in an internal memo on Friday, reports Reuters. Executive Vice President Charles Redfield said Wal-Mart is working to position leaders from the company in new roles to make the company more competitive.

One such change is for Shawn Baldwin, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for produce and global food sourcing. He will begin to focus on a new initiative for Hispanic customers. Martin Mundo, who has worked for Wal-Mart in Argentina, will replace Baldwin.

Earlier this month, Target Corporation TGT CEO Brian Cornell said that Hispanic customers are shopping less this year. “They are staying at home,” Cornell said. “They are going out less often. Particularly around border towns in the United States, you’re seeing a change in behavior.”

The memo did not elaborate on the new initiative, but it seems Wal-Mart is facing similar issues with its Hispanic customers.

Wal-Mart will also split leadership in its bakery and deli departments. Kerry Robinson used to be in charge of both the bakery and deli business, but now will just oversee the bakery while Tyler Lehr will take over the company’s deli services.

The company announced leadership changes in its merchandising operations in a separate memo sent on Friday. One such change for Wal-Mart is the company naming Greg Hall as senior vice president of merchandise operation for food.

The retail giant has made this move at a time when grocery companies are competing heavily for consumers. German grocery chain Lidl opened its first U.S. stores last month and plans to have 100 open by the summer of 2018. Aldi, another grocery store competitor, recently announced expansion plans to open 900 additional stores over the next five years. Both chains offer low prices similar to Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart’s leadership changes also follow Amazon.com’s AMZN purchase of Whole Foods WFM for $13.7 billion. While Amazon has experimented with food delivery through its Prime Fresh grocery delivery service, the retail giant’s acquisition of Whole Food suggests a full investment into food and grocery services.

While Wal-Mart dominates brick-and-mortar retail, Amazon has a superior online presence. Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods could threaten Wal-Mart’s current position.

Time will tell if these leadership shake-ups make a difference for Wal-Mart in the long run.

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PG&E to Sell San Francisco Headquarters for $800 Million

(Bloomberg) -- PG&E Corp. has reached a deal to sell its iconic San Francisco headquarters to real estate joint-venture Hines Atlas for $800 million as the utility giant moves to cut costs after it emerged from bankruptcy last year.PG&E, which plans to move to Oakland next year, needs approval from state regulators to sell the 1.7 million-square-foot (158,000-square-meter) complex, which includes 77 Beale Street and 245 Market Street, according to a statement Monday.The sale comes as office markets around the globe have been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. One broker estimated in 2019 that PG&E’s headquarters could bring in more than $1 billion. The utility giant is one of the most high-profile companies to leave San Francisco for Oakland, a less expensive city located across San Francisco Bay.Nearly a dozen bids were submitted for the property, according to a person familiar with the matter. That level of interest suggests real estate investors are willing to bet on a rebound for office demand in the city.“It’s a fantastic bet on San Francisco,” said J.D. Lumpkin, executive managing director at commercial real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield in San Francisco, who wasn’t involved in the deal. “While San Francisco has taken its lumps through Covid, perhaps more than other cities, there’s a lot of evidence that we will rebound over the next two or three years.”PG&E didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the bids. The company’s shares rose as much as 2.1% Monday.Unlike some other large property sales in San Francisco since the pandemic, the complex will require a substantial amount of renovation. It also doesn’t have a tenant in place, so the buyers will have to fill it in a few years once the redevelopment is finished.Also See: KKR Said to Buy $1.08 Billion San Francisco Dropbox OfficesSan Francisco’s overall office vacancy rate in the first quarter shattered the previous record high hit during the dot-com bust at the turn of the century, according to CBRE Group Inc. That’s pushed rent down and weighed on the value of buildings.The sale price is about $200 million less than expected, Citigroup Inc. utility analyst Ryan Levine wrote in a research note Monday. That raises the prospect that PG&E may need to raise equity this year, he said.Offset BillsPG&E intends to distribute about $400 million from its gain on the sale to customers over five years to offset bill increases as it invests in safety and operational improvements. In an added benefit, most PG&E workers will have shorter commutes to their new office, the company said.CBRE’s San Francisco Capital Markets team brokered the deal.PG&E filed for bankruptcy in early 2019 after collapsing under liabilities from wildfires sparked by its equipment. Though the company exited Chapter 11 last year, it remains burdened by about $42 billion of debt, raising concerns about its financial durability and ability to make the investments required to fire-proof its grid.Hines is one of the biggest private real estate investors and managers in the world, according to its website. Hines Atlas is a joint venture between Hines and another investor, a Hines spokesman said. He declined to name the other investor.(Adds details of bid beginning in fourth 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.

Exclusive-HSBC CEO says Bitcoin not for us

LONDON (Reuters) -HSBC has no plans to launch a cryptocurrency trading desk or offer the digital coins as an investment to customers, because they are too volatile and lack transparency, its Chief Executive Noel Quinn told Reuters. Europe's largest bank's stance on cryptocurrencies comes as the world's biggest and best-known, Bitcoin, has tumbled nearly 50% from the year's high, after China cracked down on mining the currency and prominent advocate Elon Musk tempered his support. It marks it out against rivals such as Goldman Sachs, which Reuters in March reported had restarted its cryptocurrency trading desk, and UBS which other media said was exploring ways to offer the currencies as an investment product.

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Boom in Chinese Firms Listing in the U.S. Comes to a Sudden Halt

(Bloomberg) -- At least three Chinese companies have put their plans to list in the U.S. on hold, heralding a slowdown in what’s been a record start to a year for initial public offerings by mainland and Hong Kong firms.A bike-sharing platform, a podcaster and a cloud computing firm are among popular Chinese corporates holding off plans for a U.S. float, put off by recent market declines, souring investor sentiment toward fast-growth companies and lackluster debuts by peers like Waterdrop Inc.Hello Inc., Ximalaya Inc. and Qiniu Ltd. are postponing plans to take orders from investors, even though the three had filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission well over two weeks ago. In the U.S., companies can kick off their roadshows two weeks after filing publicly and most typically stick to that timetable.“The recent broad market selloff, combined with the correction of the IPO market since the beginning of last month when some new issuers tanked during their debuts, may make the market conditions less predictable for newcomers who are ‘physically’ ready -- meaning they have cleared all regulatory hurdles for IPO -- to get out of the door,” said Stephanie Tang, head of private equity for Greater China at law firm Hogan Lovells. “Some participants may choose to monitor the market for more stable conditions.”The delays throw a wrench in a listings flood by Chinese and Hong Kong companies in the U.S. that already reached $7.1 billion year-to-date -- the fastest pace on record -- after booming in 2020. Demand for IPOs surged as a wave of global stimulus money, ultra-low interest rates and rallying stock markets lured investors despite Sino-American tensions and the continued risk of mainland stocks being kicked off U.S. exchanges.READ: Stock Market’s Million Little Dramas Come Down to a Supply GlutThe S&P 500 Index capped its biggest two-week slide since February on Friday amid mounting investor concern over inflation and its impact on tech and other growth stocks. China’s CSI 300 Index remains in a technical correction, having fallen more than 10% from a February peak, while the Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index, which tracks Chinese companies listed in the U.S., has slumped 30% from its high that month.‘Less Predictable’Hello, which offers a bike-sharing platform plus electric scooters for sale, has delayed its planned launch and is still undecided on its prospective valuation given rising investor caution about new shares, Bloomberg News has reported. It had been planning to raise between $500 million and $1 billion in the offering, although the final number will depend on valuations, according to one person with knowledge of the matter.Online podcast and radio services startup Ximalaya and enterprise cloud services provider Qiniu have put their listings on hold after beginning to gauge investor interest at the end of April, people with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.The sounding out of investors, or pre-marketing process, generally comes after filing for an IPO and before formal order-taking in a roadshow. Hello declined to comment while Qiniu didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Ximalaya’s IPO process is ongoing and the company will seek public listing at an appropriate time depending on market conditions, it said in response to questions.Weak DebutsThe poor performance of recent Chinese debutants has also sapped investor confidence. Insurance tech firm Waterdrop has plunged 40% from its offer price since going public earlier this month. Onion Global Ltd., a lifestyle brand platform, has fallen about 9% below its IPO price.In fact, almost 59% or specifically 20 of the 34 Chinese firms that have listed in the U.S. this year are under water, data compiled by Bloomberg show, among them the two largest IPOs -- e-cigarette maker RLX Technology Inc. and online Q&A site Zhihu Inc. Of the ones that listed in 2020, just 40% are trading below their IPO prices.The recent volatility in global markets has spooked U.S. companies as well. They have also been delaying floats or facing weak debuts.For some, the current challenges faced by Chinese listing hopefuls are likely to be transitory, with the hotly-anticipated IPO of ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing Inc., which has filed confidentially for a multibillion-dollar offering, set to prove the real test of investor appetite for the China story.“There is a natural strong growth in China which international investors will still want to invest in over the longer term,” said Gary Dugan, chief executive officer at the Global CIO Office in Singapore.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Battered Bitcoin claws back losses as oil rallies on recovery hopes

Consumer-related stocks helped tip London markets into the green, following two weeks of drops, helped by a weekend of Covid restrictions being eased. “It seems investors have had a good weekend and have realised how many other people have also been enjoying newly reinstated opportunities,” said Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell. “From cinemas to restaurants, shops to bingo halls, real life has translated into share gains for companies like Primark owner Premier Foods, The Restaurant Group and the Rank Group.” The domestically-focused FTSE 250 index added 84.31 points to close at 22,483. Gambling company Rank Group led the leaderboard, rising 14.2p to 196.2p, followed by Mr Kipling’s parent Premier Foods, which gained 6p to 107.6p. Joining them in the top 10 was Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group, which added 6.4p to 128.4p, as well as pub chain Wetherspoon. Similar types of blue-chip companies helped push the FTSE 100 to close in positive territory, though gains were tempered by miners which mostly fell after China’s commodity price warnings. Meanwhile, stocks globally struggled for momentum as investors awaited key US inflation readings for guidance on monetary policy. London’s benchmark FTSE 100 edged up 33.54 points to close at 7,051.59 Catering company Compass Group led the charge, up by 43p at £15.82. Gambling firms Entain and Flutter Entertainment also finished in the top 10, gaining 35.5p to £16.14 and 270p to £13.20 respectively. They were followed by hotel owners Intercontinental Hotels Group and Whitbread, which rose 98p to £49.22 and 59p to £31.50, respectively. Heavyweight oil stocks also performed well as oil prices extended Friday’s rally and climbed higher after Iran said that gaps remain in negotiations aimed at reaching a deal to end US sanctions on its crude. Iran said there are still differences around the timing of when countries will return to compliance with the original 2015 nuclear agreement, allaying some concern about a rapid ramp-up in the Persian Gulf nation’s output. While the market is anticipating the Islamic Republic’s supply will pick up again by late summer, the demand recovery will be strong enough to absorb it, according to Goldman Sachs. The bank expects Brent futures to hit $80 (£57) a barrel in the next few months. Royal Dutch Shell added 10.4p to £13.50, while BP rose 4.2p to 316.4p. Dominating the bottom of the rankings and dragging on the index, however, were miners including Fresnillo, Antofagasta, BHP and Evraz. RBC also cut its price target on Chilean miner Antofagasta. Elsewhere among companies, shares of FTSE 250 software firm Kainos fell 25p to £13.87 despite saying its annual pre-tax profit more than doubled in an eleventh consecutive year of growth, surging 124pc to £57.1m in the year through March. Revenue grew by 31pc to £234.7m while booking rose 6pc.

China Braces for $1.3 Trillion Maturity Wall as Defaults Surge

(Bloomberg) -- Even by the standards of a record-breaking global credit binge, China’s corporate bond tab stands out: $1.3 trillion of domestic debt payable in the next 12 months.That’s 30% more than what U.S. companies owe, 63% more than in all of Europe and enough money to buy Tesla Inc. twice over. What’s more, it’s all coming due at a time when Chinese borrowers are defaulting on onshore debt at an unprecedented pace.The combination has investors bracing for another turbulent stretch for the world’s second-largest credit market. It’s also underscoring the challenge for Chinese authorities as they work toward two conflicting goals: reducing moral hazard by allowing more defaults, and turning the domestic bond market into a more reliable source of long-term funding.While average corporate bond maturities have increased in the U.S., Europe and Japan in recent years, they’re getting shorter in China as defaults prompt investors to reduce risk. Domestic Chinese bonds issued in the first quarter had an average tenor of 3.02 years, down from 3.22 years for all of last year and on course for the shortest annual average since Fitch Ratings began compiling the data in 2016.“As credit risk increases, everyone wants to limit their exposure by investing in shorter maturities only,” said Iris Pang, chief economist for Greater China at ING Bank NV. “Issuers also want to sell shorter-dated bonds because as defaults rise, longer-dated bonds have even higher borrowing costs.”The move toward shorter maturities has coincided with a Chinese government campaign to instill more discipline in local credit markets, which have long been underpinned by implicit state guarantees. Investors are increasingly rethinking the widely held assumption that authorities will backstop big borrowers amid a string of missed payments by state-owned companies and a selloff in bonds issued by China Huarong Asset Management Co.The country’s onshore defaults have swelled from negligible levels in 2016 to exceed 100 billion yuan ($15.5 billion) for four straight years. That milestone was reached again last month, putting defaults on track for another record annual high.The resulting preference for shorter-dated bonds has exacerbated one of China’s structural challenges: a dearth of long-term institutional money. Even before authorities began allowing more defaults, short-term investments including banks’ wealth management products played an outsized role.Social security funds and insurance firms are the main providers of long-term funding in China, but their presence in the bond market is limited, said Wu Zhaoyin, chief strategist at AVIC Trust Co., a financial firm. “It’s difficult to sell long-dated bonds in China because there is a lack of long-term capital,” Wu said.Chinese authorities have been taking steps to attract long-term investors, including foreign pension funds and university endowments. The government has in recent years scrapped some investment quotas and dismantled foreign ownership limits for life insurers, brokerages and fund managers.But even if those efforts gain traction, it’s not clear Chinese companies will embrace longer maturities. Many prefer selling short-dated bonds because they lack long-term capital management plans, according to Shen Meng, director at Chanson & Co., a Beijing-based boutique investment bank. That applies even for state-owned enterprises, whose senior managers typically get reshuffled by the government every three to five years, Shen said.The upshot is that China’s domestic credit market faces a near constant cycle of refinancing and repayment risk, which threatens to exacerbate volatility as defaults rise. A similar dynamic is also playing out in the offshore market, where maturities total $167 billion over the next 12 months.For ING’s Pang, the cycle is unlikely to change anytime soon. “It may last for another decade in China,” she said.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

U.S. Treasury deputy chief sees G7 backing for 15%-plus global minimum tax

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said he expects strong backing from G7 peers for Washington's proposed 15%-plus global minimum corporate tax, which should help solidify support in the U.S. Congress for domestic corporate tax legislation. "My sense is that you're going to see a lot of unified support amongst the G7 moving forward," Adeyemo told Reuters on Monday after France, Germany, Italy and Japan made positive comments about the Treasury's proposal.

Fed's balance sheet could reach $9 trillion by end of 2022, NY Fed report projects

(Reuters) -The Federal Reserve's ongoing asset purchases could lead the central bank's portfolio to grow to $9.0 trillion by the end of 2022, according to projections https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/markets/omo/omo2020-pdf.pdf released by the New York Fed on Monday. Reserve balances could peak at $6.2 trillion by the end of 2022 and then steadily decline, according to the forecasts, issued as part of an annual report conducted by the markets team at the New York Fed. The Fed's portfolio could hold steady through 2025 if proceeds from maturing securities are reinvested.

First Warning Sign in Global Commodity Boom Flashes in China

(Bloomberg) -- One pillar of this year’s blistering commodities rally -- Chinese demand -- may be teetering.Beijing aced its economic recovery from the pandemic largely via an expansion in credit and a state-aided construction boom that sucked in raw materials from across the planet. Already the world’s biggest consumer, China spent $150 billion on crude oil, iron ore and copper ore alone in the first four months of 2021. Resurgent demand and rising prices mean that’s $36 billion more than the same period last year.With global commodities rising to record highs, Chinese government officials are trying to temper prices and reduce some of the speculative froth that’s driven markets. Wary of inflating asset bubbles, the People’s Bank of China has also been restricting the flow of money to the economy since last year, albeit gradually to avoid derailing growth. At the same time, funding for infrastructure projects has shown signs of slowing.Economic data for April suggest that both China’s economic expansion and its credit impulse -- new credit as a percentage of GDP -- may already have crested, putting the rally on a precarious footing. The most obvious impact of China’s deleveraging would fall on those metals keyed to real estate and infrastructure spending, from copper and aluminum, to steel and its main ingredient, iron ore.“Credit is a major driver for commodity prices, and we reckon prices peak when credit peaks,” said Alison Li, co-head of base metals research at Mysteel in Shanghai. “That refers to global credit, but Chinese credit accounts for a big part of it, especially when it comes to infrastructure and property investment.”But the impact of China’s credit pullback could ripple far and wide, threatening the rally in global oil prices and even China’s crop markets. And while tighter money supply hasn’t stopped many metals hitting eye-popping levels in recent weeks, some, like copper, are already seeing consumers shying away from higher prices.“The slowdown in credit will have a negative impact on China’s demand for commodities,” said Hao Zhou, senior emerging markets economist at Commerzbank AG. “So far, property and infrastructure investments haven’t shown an obvious deceleration. But they are likely to trend lower in the second half of this year.”A lag between the withdrawal of credit and stimulus from the economy and its impact on China’s raw material purchases may mean that markets haven’t yet peaked. However, its companies may eventually soften imports due to tighter credit conditions, which means the direction of the global commodity market will hinge on how much the recovery in economies including the U.S. and Europe can continue to drive prices higher.Some sectors have seen policy push an expansion in capacity, such as Beijing’s move to grow the country’s crude oil refining and copper smelting industries. Purchases of the materials needed for production in those sectors may continue to see gains although at a slower pace.One example of slowing purchases is likely to be in refined copper, said Mysteel’s Li. The premium paid for the metal at the port of Yangshan has already hit a four-year low in a sign of waning demand, and imports are likely to fall this year, she said.At the same time, the rally in copper prices probably still has a few months to run, according to a recent note from Citigroup Inc., citing the lag between peak credit and peak demand. From around $9,850 a ton now, the bank expects copper to reach $12,200 by September.It’s a dynamic that’s also playing out in ferrous metals markets.“We’re still at an early phase of tightening in terms of money reaching projects,” said Tomas Gutierrez, an analyst at Kallanish Commodities Ltd. “Iron ore demand reacts with a lag of several months to tightening. Steel demand is still around record highs on the back of the economic recovery and ongoing investments, but is likely to pull back slightly by the end of the year.”For agriculture, credit tightening may only affect China’s soaring crop imports around the margins, said Ma Wenfeng, an analyst at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Co. Less cash in the system could soften domestic prices by curbing speculation, which may in turn reduce the small proportion of imports handled by private firms, he said.The wider trend is for China’s state-owned giants to keep importing grains to cover the nation’s domestic shortfall, to replenish state reserves and to meet trade deal obligations with the U.S.No DisasterMore broadly, Beijing’s policy tightening doesn’t spell disaster for commodities bulls. For one, the authorities are unlikely to accelerate deleveraging from this point, according the latest comments from the State Council, China’s cabinet.“Internal guidance from our macro department is that the country won’t tighten credit too much -- they just won’t loosen further,” said Harry Jiang, head of trading and research at Yonggang Resouces, a commodity trader in Shanghai. “We don’t have many concerns over credit tightening.”And in any case, raw materials markets are no longer almost entirely in thrall to Chinese demand.“In the past, the inflection point of industrial metal prices often coincides with that of China’s credit cycle,” said Larry Hu, chief China economist at Macquarie Group Ltd. “But that doesn’t mean it will be like that this time too, because the U.S. has unleashed much larger stimulus than China, and its demand is very strong.”Hu also pointed to caution among China’s leaders, who probably don’t want to risk choking off their much-admired recovery by sharp swings in policy.“I expect China’s property investment will slow down, but not by too much,” he said. “Infrastructure investment hasn’t changed too much in the past few years, and won’t this year either.”Additionally, China has been pumping up consumer spending as a lever for growth, and isn’t as reliant on infrastructure and property investment as it used to be, said Bruce Pang, head of macro and strategy research at China Renaissance Securities Hong Kong. The disruption to global commodities supply because of the pandemic is also a new factor that can support prices, he said.Other policy priorities, such as cutting steel production to make inroads on China’s climate pledges, or boosting the supply of energy products, whether domestically or via purchases from overseas, are other complicating factors when it comes to assessing import demand and prices for specific commodities, according to analysts.(Updates copper price in 11th 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.

Bitcoin Rises to Near $40K After Musk Tweets About BTC Mining’s ‘Promising’ Renewable Usage

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Hong Kong Exchange’s New CEO Is Put on Cleanup Duty

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The easier oversight allowed the listing of Chinese technology giants such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and positioned it as the exchange-of-choice for mainland firms amid tensions with the U.S.But there has also been criticism that investor protections were sacrificed to win business. Over the past years, there has been a steady stream of flareups between the bourse and the regulator over IPO quality, the proliferation of shell companies and whether to allow dual class shares.“The HKEX has done a great job in market development, and has introduced measures to improve investor protection,” Sally Wong, CEO of Hong Kong Investment Funds Association, said in an email. “But it seems that issuers’ voices tend to prevail over that of the investors. We very much look forward to working with the new CEO to see how to strike a more appropriate balance to better safeguard investor interests.”Spokespeople for the exchange and the Securities and Futures Commission as well as Aguzin declined to comment.In a review released last year after the former IPO vetting co-head was arrested for bribery, the SFC discovered “numerous ambiguities” in the Chinese Wall between its listing and business divisions. Other issues highlighted last year include keeping track of share options and following up on complaints on withdrawn IPO applications.Cha had begun to tighten internal checks and balances for senior managers toward the end of Li’s tenure as well as assert more board control over hiring, people familiar have said. The exchange has halted the interactions between its listing and business units, according to the SFC review. Last week, in a joint statement with the SFC, the bourse vowed to better police its frothy IPO market, citing concerns about companies inflating their values, market manipulation and unusually high underwriting fees.Aguzin is expected by the board to prioritize the exchange’s role as a regulator alongside its growth ambitions, people familiar said.David Webb, a former HKEX director, investor and corporate governance activist, is skeptical the bourse will institute any meaningful reforms. “HKEX has, with government approval, lowered its standards to attract business, for example, by listing second-class shares with weak voting rights,” he said in an email. “It shows no sign of raising them again.”Investors have also urged the exchange to set rules requiring company boards to have a lead outside board member or an independent chair, according to Wong. “But it seems that the HKEX is not ready to even bring them up for market consultation.”The government is on board with Aguzin’s appointment, which comes at a fraught time after Beijing has tightened its grip on the city, raising questions about its continued status as an international financial hub.Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui said the three-tiered regulatory system comprising his department, the SFC and HKEX has worked well. Aguzin’s appointment embodies the city’s openness and its role as a gateway between China and the world, he said. “This is exactly what we will pursue.”Further deepening connections to China is seen as key to growth for the bourse, which also faces stiffer competition from mainland exchanges as China opens its financial markets.While Aguzin has worked in Asia for the past decade -- also serving as JPMorgan’s CEO of Asia Pacific from 2013 to 2020 -- he will be the first non-Chinese CEO of a bourse that often needs to deal with Beijing.Cha is well connected in China, having served as vice chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission. She has signaled that she sees the bourse’s role as serving Beijing’s interests and avoiding competition with the mainland, a person said familiar with the matter said last year.The push toward the mainland is not all welcome in China. Expanding the link to include several benchmark stocks has proved difficult, with one sticking point being whether to include shares like Alibaba Group, which are dual listed and with weighted voting rights.Even so, Cha said at the time of the appointment that Aguzin’s remit will include further strengthening the link to the mainland.Another board member, Fred Hu, said in an interview that “Aguzin is well positioned to take HKEX into the future, to further deepen the connectivity with China but also connectivity with the rest of the world.”More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

IMF Official: ‘A World With More Than One Reserve Currency Is a More Stable World’

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China crypto mining business hit by Beijing crackdown, bitcoin tumbles

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VMware 1Q22 Earnings to Rise Nearly 4%, Revenue to Jump 7%

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Bitcoin Sees Green as Pendulum Shifts to FOMO

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Singapore clears LSE deal for Refinitiv after FX pledge

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Unique Grants for NGOs working in the areas of Agriculture, Food, and Nutrition

Agriculture is one important medium to gather nutritious food, and is practiced in every part of the world. It is a most useful way of eradication of hunger through the production of healthy food. Therefore, to guide NGOs better, we have compiled a list of new grant opportunities in the field of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition.

Nominations Open for 2020 World Agriculture Prize (100,000 USD)
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Nominations Open for the Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research
Nominations are now open for the $10,000 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation, presented every October in Des Moines, Iowa, by the World Food Prize Foundation. This award will recognize exceptional, science-based achievement in international agriculture and food production by an individual under 40 who has clearly demonstrated intellectual courage, stamina, and determination in the fight to eliminate global hunger and poverty…[more]

Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers 2020
Applications are now open for the 2020 Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers. This annual award, which began in 2007, is organized and presented by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council (AFFRC), the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) of Japan and supported by Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS)…[more]

Submissions Open for the Zayed Sustainability Prize 2021
The Zayed Sustainability Prize has announced that its submissions process for the 2021 edition is now open. The Prize fund comes from the Abu Dhabi Government as a way to honour and continue the sustainability and humanitarian legacy of the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan…[more]

Lead 2030 Challenge for SDG 13: Climate Action and Sustainable Agriculture
Asahi is proud to support the Lead 2030 Challenge for SDG 13. The Challenge aims to find and support solutions that will contribute to the future of sustainable agriculture by supporting and enabling farmers to reduce their emissions and/or help adaptation and resilience against the climate challenges of this decade and beyond…[more]

SOLVE 2020 Sustainable Food Systems Challenge
The MIT Solve community has announced the 2020 Global Challenge on the topic of “Sustainable Food Systems”. Agriculture occupies more than 40 percent of the Earth’s land and is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Farming, fishing, transporting, processing, and distributing food supports 28 percent of human livelihood, including 470 million smallholder farmers who often depend on less than 2 hectares for both income and sustenance…[more]

$100,000 Grant for New NGO Startups for providing Solutions to disrupt hunger worldwide (Cohort II)
The World Food Programme is seeking applications for its Innovation Accelerator Programme. The WFP Innovation Accelerator sources, supports and scales high-potential solutions to hunger worldwide. They provide WFP staff, entrepreneurs, start-ups, companies and non-governmental organizations with access to funding, mentorship, hands-on support and WFP operations…[more]

The Conservation, Food and Health Foundation inviting NGOs from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East
The Conservation, Food and Health Foundation seeks to protect natural resources, improve the production and distribution of food, and promote public health in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. The foundation helps build the capacity of organizations and coalitions with grants that support research or improve the learning and generation of local solutions to complex problems…[more]

Apply for The Liveability Challenge and Win up to S$1 million in Funding
The Liveability Challenge is welcoming proposals to make cities in the tropics sustainable and future-ready. Started in 2018, The Liveability Challenge is a global call for viable, groundbreaking solutions to some of the greatest problems facing cities in the tropics in the 21st century…[more]

Common Fund for Commodities: Funding Innovation to Support Commodity Development Activities
The Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) is inviting applicants for support of commodity development activities in its member countries. The CFC provides a range of financial and technical instruments in support or business activities contributing to commodity sector development in Developing Countries…[more]

GCRF Networking Grants inviting Applicants from UK and Developing Countries
The Academy of Medical Sciences in partnership with the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society, is launching the sixth round of Networking Grants, funded through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). The GCRF Networking Grants will be delivered as part of the Joint Academies Resilient Futures programme…[more]

Nominations Open for Africa Food Prize 2020 (US $100,000)
The Africa Food Prize is the preeminent award recognizing an outstanding individual or institution that is leading the effort to change the reality of farming in Africa—from a struggle to survive to a business that thrives. The Africa Food Prize will honor outstanding contributions within every aspect of agriculture and food production that is clearly related to combating hunger and reducing poverty in Africa…[more]

SEARCA Travel Grants Program 2020
The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) is seeking applications for its Travel Grants Program to reinforce the Center’s efforts and resources in the promotion of inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD) toward food security and poverty alleviation in the region…[more]

PRIMA announces Call for Applications for Farming Systems 2020 (Alternative Animal Feeds)
PRIMA is seeking applications for Farming Systems 2020 under the topic of “Genetic conservation and animal feeds” and sub-topic of “Alternative animal feeds”. The Mediterranean’s population will reach 560 million people in 2030 the demand for meat as animal products is set to climb steeply as the population increases…[more]

PRIMA announces Call for Applications for Farming Systems 2020 (Conservation and Valorization of local Animal Genetic Resources)
PRIMA is seeking applications for Farming Systems 2020 under the topic of “Genetic conservation and animal feeds” and sub-topic of “Conservation and Valorization of local Animal Genetic Resources (RIA)”. The Mediterranean’s population will reach 560 million people in 2030 the demand for meat as animal products is set to climb steeply as the population increases…[more]

PRIMA announces Call for Applications for Agro-Food Value Chain 2020
PRIMA is seeking applications for Agro-food Value Chain 2020 on Valorising the health benefits of the Traditional Mediterranean food products. The Mediterranean diet is considered by the UNESCO as one “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” identifying several Mediterranean countries. Together with appropriate techniques of food processing and the correct life-style historically associated to the Mediterranean societies, a balanced diet has been recognized for having multiple health benefits…[more]

IFAD Call for Proposals: Scaling up Renewable Energy Technologies in Agriculture
The purpose of this Call for Proposals is to identify the recipient of a three-year grant financed by IFAD of a total of US$2 million to implement the Scaling up Renewable Energy Technologies in Agriculture project. The main goal of this project is to promote the inclusion of Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) in existing IFAD projects and programmes in the Latin America and Caribbean…[more]

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Racism in food? US, North European cuisines enjoy a privileged status, while others are named 'ethnic'

In American cities, taxi drivers mimic the story of immigration to the nation as a whole.

Synopsis

By Suvir Saran

While cuisines from the US and northern Europe thrive in privileged entitlement, those from the rest of the world are labelled “ethnic”, languishing in the nuances that deem them strange, unequal, dirty, cheap and worse.

When I arrived in New York City in 1993, Manhattan was a very different place from what it is today.

The taxi drivers were Russian, Greek, some even Irish. But this was rapidly changing. More and more frequently, I encountered Haitian, Dominican, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi drivers.

With this demographic change, there was a burgeoning of restaurants that catered to the culinary preferences of these men — and also some women — on the move.

The changing nationalities of taxi drivers is a fascinating barometer of immigration waves that hit a city. Especially in American cities, taxi drivers mimic the story of immigration to the nation as a whole. They come from someplace and belong to some race. No human can claim to being race-less and without an ethnic identity, however mixed it might be.

It is this identity that we have as humans that makes each one of us fall into some loose grouping of people, however flawed such a criterion might be.


“Everyone’s a little bit racist,” so the song goes, and so even in the most ecumenical of minds and times, people are divided into isms. It is the most natural thing to have happened. It is hard to keep it from happening.

The word “ethnic” is associated with traits exhibited by a group of people with a common ancestry and culture. It speaks of kindred spirits. It creates, rather loosely, large swaths of people familial in ways that might not even make sense to themselves.

It sorts people into groups whose members have racial, cultural, linguistic, tribal, national, or religious features in common. It divides neighbourhoods. It divides people — now matter where they come from.

The chauvinism that comes with the word is nothing new. The American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “These are ancient ethnic revels,/ Of a faith long since forsaken.” With those words, he assigned “ethnic” to that world which was not converted to Christianity.

In the United States, the word “ethnic” has been used with derision to label those people who are something other than northern European.

The Othering This colonising mindset might be nothing respected or celebrated today, at least in places of public domain, but it has a deeply rooted influence on our way of thinking and our way of living. Colonists may have long left many a shore, but their prejudices, their opinions of those they colonised and their dehumanising attitudes towards those they oppressed live and thrive yet today.

Longfellow is long gone, but the word “ethnic” continues to define nationalism, jingoism and superior-ism ever more freely and with nary a care to its egregious, divisive history and discordant essence.

How can civil societies be so uncivil as to use a word that stereotypes and divides? How can super-patriotic citizens of a nation get away with the use of a word with a stealth history of dangerous profiling to further their agendas? Take, for example, the United States, where a majority of citizens are people of a racial and cultural makeup entirely different from the natives. Yet, in the US, “ethnic” has been used with derision to label those people who are something other than northern European. In Longfellow’s time, the word was used to single out the Jewish populace and thus came with baggage similar to what it carries today when it is used to marginalise newer waves of immigrants coming across borders. Post-World War II, the Jewish and Christian immigrants of northern European descent — as well as those considered Caucasian by the mere colour of their skin, with no distinction given to racial origins or geography — have lived happily for the most part as a majority, having had their status magically changed to “native”, while those immigrants who arrived with darker skin, speaking another language from places other than northern Europe, have been deemed “ethnic”.

Did each of those northern European immigrants somehow arrive from some extraterrestrial planet with existing culture, no language, no race of their own?

Eating Away
In NYC and most of the US even today, non-northern European foods termed “ethnic”. This epithet is a kiss death, a poison ivy that looks beautiful but stings viscerally and damns for life.

Food is something we have to indulge in to survive — all of us. Each of us has our comfort food. Then there is “gourmet food”, the “aspirational cuisines”, the “fine cuisines”, the “classy cuisines”, the “expensive cuisines”, the “fancy” ones, the “premium” ones. Ethnic food falls into none of these categories.

It was in the mid-1990s that my friend Ed Schoenfeld, the acclaimed Chinese restaurateur and owner of Red Farm, NYC, took the New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl and I to Pings in Queens for what he promised would be the best Chinese meal in town. It was a given that the restaurant wouldn’t get two stars. Just the fact that we would leave Manhattan meant the loss of one of those rarefied stars. And then there was the “ethnic” element. The food was, after all, Chinese.

Nothing was said, nothing was overt, but the word hung in the air. Ruth couldn’t have been more gracious, more in awe, more inclusive, more forward in her thinking and appreciation, in her celebration and in her review. Pings got one star, the first serious review for an “ethnic restaurant” in a borough. It also made Queens look good at a time when it was even more marginalised than it is now as a not-so-gentile part of the city.

Two and a half decades have passed since I first became aware of the restaurant scene in New York and started paying attention to the word “ethnic” and its baggage. The word has only gotten dirtier and more muddied in jingoism. I am still most often introduced as an “ethnic chef,” my cookbooks characterised as “ethnic cookbooks”, my food called “ethnic food”. This, when I have been one of the lucky few who have achieved a lot in the world of culinaria. How dare I complain? I have no reason to — I am a lucky exception.

But even I, in my day-to-day life, when I am not the lucky ethnic boy” whose “ethnic food” gets rave reviews in newspapers and magazines, quickly become the other. Called slurs that are too dirty and hateful to mention, even shaken up physically, and profiled at airports in cities where go to be feted on local television and to speak at forums. My success in certain circles can’t alter the established mindset. My legend is too small to impact the nation as a whole, my story too insignificant to change the thinking of the majority towards the “ethnic” other.

At the Culinary Institute of America, where I chair the Asian Studies Center, every care is being taken to educate a new cadre of chefs and operators to think of cuisine as a world of diverse flavours, and not in the archaic chauvinistic manner. They are making every effort to lose the term “ethnic cuisine” and instead talk about “world cuisine”. In fact, the cuisines of the non-northern European nations are getting a lot of play in their corridors and in their thought leadership conference Sometimes I feel bad for guard when I see them on the sidelines, feeling as neglected as we “ethnic” did.

I have not yet seen is a bold and daring most culinary institutes elsewhere including in nations that were once colonised marginalised — where native food culinary traditions are given any pride in education or even in societal acceptance. The colonised, now free, are colonising their own landscape through post-colonised mindscape. “Conti Cuisine” is what the food of northern Europe is called at institutes of culinary education across India.

“Conti Cuisine” is what the food of northern Europe is called at institutes of culinary education across India. More emphasis is given to this cuisine than the incredible cuisines of the regions of India

More emphasis is given to this cuisine — a bastardised version of the original — than to the incredible cuisines of the regions of India. The mindset that perpetuates it, the colonisers’ superiority, is in many ways even more flawed than that of the colonisers themselves.

Until the nations of the world that are not part of the northern European geography wake up to take pride in their own cultures and cuisines and start collecting, celebrating and sharing recipes from their own nations, the world that is beyond their shores will certainly find them other, lesser and poorer in more ways than one. We all ought to celebrate a world of flavours, not just a region of flavours.

Is it possible to use the word “ethnic” to simply connect us to a race and geography, and let go of its use in a deeper cultural context? Is it not preferable to have the food of the people of France be called French and that of the people of India be called Indian, and of the people of China, Chinese, and so on? Why should cuisines from the US, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Spain and other nations big and small that we consider part of northern Europe thrive in privileged entitlement and be considered “high end”, even if not called as such, while the cuisines of the rest of the world are labelled “ethnic” and as a result languish in the hidden nuances that deem them strange, unequal, dirty, cheap, other and worse?

We must all rise, as civilised people, and make this world that “one world, one people, one global village” that we all hoped we could become with the dawning of the internet age.

Is that too much to ask? Am I speaking of utopia? Does “ethnic food” — the food most often associated with deeply, deliciously comforting flavours eaten by the majority of the world, food that is often rooted in spiritual, seasonal and local context — not have any chance of being given the respect that is afforded to the foods that had the good luck of arriving with the colonists?


IMOCO, Inc. Announces Food and Beverage Division

HENDERSONVILLE, NC--(Marketwired - Nov 19, 2015) - IMOCO, Inc. (Industrial Maintenance Overflow Corporation) has announced the addition of their new Food and Beverage division. IMOCO's Food and Beverage division specializes in construction and sanitary welding for the food, beverage, dairy and pharmaceutical industries.

Design and installation of process piping systems unique to the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries are specialties of IMOCO's Food and Beverage division. With vast experience in materials and joining techniques, based on the movement of the product and the sanitation and health requirements of the industry, IMOCO team members have worked on projects for some of the largest breweries, dairies, and bottling companies in the United States. Among the areas of specialty are Georg Fischer piping, stainless steel piping, stainless steel welding, utility piping, and controls and automation.

"Although we have participated in this type of construction throughout the years, by hiring well-qualified project managers that focus on food and beverage grade construction, we are now in a position to respond to the tremendous demand occurring throughout the southeast," said Bill Harris, Vice President of the Food and Beverage Division of IMOCO, Inc. He continued, "IMOCO is very excited to support the existing breweries, cideries and wineries in the area as well as help those needing new construction."

IMOCO operates as a sub-contractor or a full-service design/build contractor, depending on a client's particular needs. As a fully-licensed, unlimited contractor with projects spanning the US, Mexico and Canada, IMOCO understands the importance of bringing projects in on time and within budget, and have specialized in doing so for over 50 years. For more information please contact Bill Harris at 828-684-2000 .

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PG&E to Sell San Francisco Headquarters for $800 Million

(Bloomberg) -- PG&E Corp. has reached a deal to sell its iconic San Francisco headquarters to real estate joint-venture Hines Atlas for $800 million as the utility giant moves to cut costs after it emerged from bankruptcy last year.PG&E, which plans to move to Oakland next year, needs approval from state regulators to sell the 1.7 million-square-foot (158,000-square-meter) complex, which includes 77 Beale Street and 245 Market Street, according to a statement Monday.The sale comes as office markets around the globe have been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. One broker estimated in 2019 that PG&E’s headquarters could bring in more than $1 billion. The utility giant is one of the most high-profile companies to leave San Francisco for Oakland, a less expensive city located across San Francisco Bay.Nearly a dozen bids were submitted for the property, according to a person familiar with the matter. That level of interest suggests real estate investors are willing to bet on a rebound for office demand in the city.“It’s a fantastic bet on San Francisco,” said J.D. Lumpkin, executive managing director at commercial real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield in San Francisco, who wasn’t involved in the deal. “While San Francisco has taken its lumps through Covid, perhaps more than other cities, there’s a lot of evidence that we will rebound over the next two or three years.”PG&E didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the bids. The company’s shares rose as much as 2.1% Monday.Unlike some other large property sales in San Francisco since the pandemic, the complex will require a substantial amount of renovation. It also doesn’t have a tenant in place, so the buyers will have to fill it in a few years once the redevelopment is finished.Also See: KKR Said to Buy $1.08 Billion San Francisco Dropbox OfficesSan Francisco’s overall office vacancy rate in the first quarter shattered the previous record high hit during the dot-com bust at the turn of the century, according to CBRE Group Inc. That’s pushed rent down and weighed on the value of buildings.The sale price is about $200 million less than expected, Citigroup Inc. utility analyst Ryan Levine wrote in a research note Monday. That raises the prospect that PG&E may need to raise equity this year, he said.Offset BillsPG&E intends to distribute about $400 million from its gain on the sale to customers over five years to offset bill increases as it invests in safety and operational improvements. In an added benefit, most PG&E workers will have shorter commutes to their new office, the company said.CBRE’s San Francisco Capital Markets team brokered the deal.PG&E filed for bankruptcy in early 2019 after collapsing under liabilities from wildfires sparked by its equipment. Though the company exited Chapter 11 last year, it remains burdened by about $42 billion of debt, raising concerns about its financial durability and ability to make the investments required to fire-proof its grid.Hines is one of the biggest private real estate investors and managers in the world, according to its website. Hines Atlas is a joint venture between Hines and another investor, a Hines spokesman said. He declined to name the other investor.(Adds details of bid beginning in fourth 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.

Exclusive-HSBC CEO says Bitcoin not for us

LONDON (Reuters) -HSBC has no plans to launch a cryptocurrency trading desk or offer the digital coins as an investment to customers, because they are too volatile and lack transparency, its Chief Executive Noel Quinn told Reuters. Europe's largest bank's stance on cryptocurrencies comes as the world's biggest and best-known, Bitcoin, has tumbled nearly 50% from the year's high, after China cracked down on mining the currency and prominent advocate Elon Musk tempered his support. It marks it out against rivals such as Goldman Sachs, which Reuters in March reported had restarted its cryptocurrency trading desk, and UBS which other media said was exploring ways to offer the currencies as an investment product.

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Boom in Chinese Firms Listing in the U.S. Comes to a Sudden Halt

(Bloomberg) -- At least three Chinese companies have put their plans to list in the U.S. on hold, heralding a slowdown in what’s been a record start to a year for initial public offerings by mainland and Hong Kong firms.A bike-sharing platform, a podcaster and a cloud computing firm are among popular Chinese corporates holding off plans for a U.S. float, put off by recent market declines, souring investor sentiment toward fast-growth companies and lackluster debuts by peers like Waterdrop Inc.Hello Inc., Ximalaya Inc. and Qiniu Ltd. are postponing plans to take orders from investors, even though the three had filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission well over two weeks ago. In the U.S., companies can kick off their roadshows two weeks after filing publicly and most typically stick to that timetable.“The recent broad market selloff, combined with the correction of the IPO market since the beginning of last month when some new issuers tanked during their debuts, may make the market conditions less predictable for newcomers who are ‘physically’ ready -- meaning they have cleared all regulatory hurdles for IPO -- to get out of the door,” said Stephanie Tang, head of private equity for Greater China at law firm Hogan Lovells. “Some participants may choose to monitor the market for more stable conditions.”The delays throw a wrench in a listings flood by Chinese and Hong Kong companies in the U.S. that already reached $7.1 billion year-to-date -- the fastest pace on record -- after booming in 2020. Demand for IPOs surged as a wave of global stimulus money, ultra-low interest rates and rallying stock markets lured investors despite Sino-American tensions and the continued risk of mainland stocks being kicked off U.S. exchanges.READ: Stock Market’s Million Little Dramas Come Down to a Supply GlutThe S&P 500 Index capped its biggest two-week slide since February on Friday amid mounting investor concern over inflation and its impact on tech and other growth stocks. China’s CSI 300 Index remains in a technical correction, having fallen more than 10% from a February peak, while the Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index, which tracks Chinese companies listed in the U.S., has slumped 30% from its high that month.‘Less Predictable’Hello, which offers a bike-sharing platform plus electric scooters for sale, has delayed its planned launch and is still undecided on its prospective valuation given rising investor caution about new shares, Bloomberg News has reported. It had been planning to raise between $500 million and $1 billion in the offering, although the final number will depend on valuations, according to one person with knowledge of the matter.Online podcast and radio services startup Ximalaya and enterprise cloud services provider Qiniu have put their listings on hold after beginning to gauge investor interest at the end of April, people with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.The sounding out of investors, or pre-marketing process, generally comes after filing for an IPO and before formal order-taking in a roadshow. Hello declined to comment while Qiniu didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Ximalaya’s IPO process is ongoing and the company will seek public listing at an appropriate time depending on market conditions, it said in response to questions.Weak DebutsThe poor performance of recent Chinese debutants has also sapped investor confidence. Insurance tech firm Waterdrop has plunged 40% from its offer price since going public earlier this month. Onion Global Ltd., a lifestyle brand platform, has fallen about 9% below its IPO price.In fact, almost 59% or specifically 20 of the 34 Chinese firms that have listed in the U.S. this year are under water, data compiled by Bloomberg show, among them the two largest IPOs -- e-cigarette maker RLX Technology Inc. and online Q&A site Zhihu Inc. Of the ones that listed in 2020, just 40% are trading below their IPO prices.The recent volatility in global markets has spooked U.S. companies as well. They have also been delaying floats or facing weak debuts.For some, the current challenges faced by Chinese listing hopefuls are likely to be transitory, with the hotly-anticipated IPO of ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing Inc., which has filed confidentially for a multibillion-dollar offering, set to prove the real test of investor appetite for the China story.“There is a natural strong growth in China which international investors will still want to invest in over the longer term,” said Gary Dugan, chief executive officer at the Global CIO Office in Singapore.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Battered Bitcoin claws back losses as oil rallies on recovery hopes

Consumer-related stocks helped tip London markets into the green, following two weeks of drops, helped by a weekend of Covid restrictions being eased. “It seems investors have had a good weekend and have realised how many other people have also been enjoying newly reinstated opportunities,” said Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell. “From cinemas to restaurants, shops to bingo halls, real life has translated into share gains for companies like Primark owner Premier Foods, The Restaurant Group and the Rank Group.” The domestically-focused FTSE 250 index added 84.31 points to close at 22,483. Gambling company Rank Group led the leaderboard, rising 14.2p to 196.2p, followed by Mr Kipling’s parent Premier Foods, which gained 6p to 107.6p. Joining them in the top 10 was Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group, which added 6.4p to 128.4p, as well as pub chain Wetherspoon. Similar types of blue-chip companies helped push the FTSE 100 to close in positive territory, though gains were tempered by miners which mostly fell after China’s commodity price warnings. Meanwhile, stocks globally struggled for momentum as investors awaited key US inflation readings for guidance on monetary policy. London’s benchmark FTSE 100 edged up 33.54 points to close at 7,051.59 Catering company Compass Group led the charge, up by 43p at £15.82. Gambling firms Entain and Flutter Entertainment also finished in the top 10, gaining 35.5p to £16.14 and 270p to £13.20 respectively. They were followed by hotel owners Intercontinental Hotels Group and Whitbread, which rose 98p to £49.22 and 59p to £31.50, respectively. Heavyweight oil stocks also performed well as oil prices extended Friday’s rally and climbed higher after Iran said that gaps remain in negotiations aimed at reaching a deal to end US sanctions on its crude. Iran said there are still differences around the timing of when countries will return to compliance with the original 2015 nuclear agreement, allaying some concern about a rapid ramp-up in the Persian Gulf nation’s output. While the market is anticipating the Islamic Republic’s supply will pick up again by late summer, the demand recovery will be strong enough to absorb it, according to Goldman Sachs. The bank expects Brent futures to hit $80 (£57) a barrel in the next few months. Royal Dutch Shell added 10.4p to £13.50, while BP rose 4.2p to 316.4p. Dominating the bottom of the rankings and dragging on the index, however, were miners including Fresnillo, Antofagasta, BHP and Evraz. RBC also cut its price target on Chilean miner Antofagasta. Elsewhere among companies, shares of FTSE 250 software firm Kainos fell 25p to £13.87 despite saying its annual pre-tax profit more than doubled in an eleventh consecutive year of growth, surging 124pc to £57.1m in the year through March. Revenue grew by 31pc to £234.7m while booking rose 6pc.

China Braces for $1.3 Trillion Maturity Wall as Defaults Surge

(Bloomberg) -- Even by the standards of a record-breaking global credit binge, China’s corporate bond tab stands out: $1.3 trillion of domestic debt payable in the next 12 months.That’s 30% more than what U.S. companies owe, 63% more than in all of Europe and enough money to buy Tesla Inc. twice over. What’s more, it’s all coming due at a time when Chinese borrowers are defaulting on onshore debt at an unprecedented pace.The combination has investors bracing for another turbulent stretch for the world’s second-largest credit market. It’s also underscoring the challenge for Chinese authorities as they work toward two conflicting goals: reducing moral hazard by allowing more defaults, and turning the domestic bond market into a more reliable source of long-term funding.While average corporate bond maturities have increased in the U.S., Europe and Japan in recent years, they’re getting shorter in China as defaults prompt investors to reduce risk. Domestic Chinese bonds issued in the first quarter had an average tenor of 3.02 years, down from 3.22 years for all of last year and on course for the shortest annual average since Fitch Ratings began compiling the data in 2016.“As credit risk increases, everyone wants to limit their exposure by investing in shorter maturities only,” said Iris Pang, chief economist for Greater China at ING Bank NV. “Issuers also want to sell shorter-dated bonds because as defaults rise, longer-dated bonds have even higher borrowing costs.”The move toward shorter maturities has coincided with a Chinese government campaign to instill more discipline in local credit markets, which have long been underpinned by implicit state guarantees. Investors are increasingly rethinking the widely held assumption that authorities will backstop big borrowers amid a string of missed payments by state-owned companies and a selloff in bonds issued by China Huarong Asset Management Co.The country’s onshore defaults have swelled from negligible levels in 2016 to exceed 100 billion yuan ($15.5 billion) for four straight years. That milestone was reached again last month, putting defaults on track for another record annual high.The resulting preference for shorter-dated bonds has exacerbated one of China’s structural challenges: a dearth of long-term institutional money. Even before authorities began allowing more defaults, short-term investments including banks’ wealth management products played an outsized role.Social security funds and insurance firms are the main providers of long-term funding in China, but their presence in the bond market is limited, said Wu Zhaoyin, chief strategist at AVIC Trust Co., a financial firm. “It’s difficult to sell long-dated bonds in China because there is a lack of long-term capital,” Wu said.Chinese authorities have been taking steps to attract long-term investors, including foreign pension funds and university endowments. The government has in recent years scrapped some investment quotas and dismantled foreign ownership limits for life insurers, brokerages and fund managers.But even if those efforts gain traction, it’s not clear Chinese companies will embrace longer maturities. Many prefer selling short-dated bonds because they lack long-term capital management plans, according to Shen Meng, director at Chanson & Co., a Beijing-based boutique investment bank. That applies even for state-owned enterprises, whose senior managers typically get reshuffled by the government every three to five years, Shen said.The upshot is that China’s domestic credit market faces a near constant cycle of refinancing and repayment risk, which threatens to exacerbate volatility as defaults rise. A similar dynamic is also playing out in the offshore market, where maturities total $167 billion over the next 12 months.For ING’s Pang, the cycle is unlikely to change anytime soon. “It may last for another decade in China,” she said.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

U.S. Treasury deputy chief sees G7 backing for 15%-plus global minimum tax

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said he expects strong backing from G7 peers for Washington's proposed 15%-plus global minimum corporate tax, which should help solidify support in the U.S. Congress for domestic corporate tax legislation. "My sense is that you're going to see a lot of unified support amongst the G7 moving forward," Adeyemo told Reuters on Monday after France, Germany, Italy and Japan made positive comments about the Treasury's proposal.

Fed's balance sheet could reach $9 trillion by end of 2022, NY Fed report projects

(Reuters) -The Federal Reserve's ongoing asset purchases could lead the central bank's portfolio to grow to $9.0 trillion by the end of 2022, according to projections https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/markets/omo/omo2020-pdf.pdf released by the New York Fed on Monday. Reserve balances could peak at $6.2 trillion by the end of 2022 and then steadily decline, according to the forecasts, issued as part of an annual report conducted by the markets team at the New York Fed. The Fed's portfolio could hold steady through 2025 if proceeds from maturing securities are reinvested.

First Warning Sign in Global Commodity Boom Flashes in China

(Bloomberg) -- One pillar of this year’s blistering commodities rally -- Chinese demand -- may be teetering.Beijing aced its economic recovery from the pandemic largely via an expansion in credit and a state-aided construction boom that sucked in raw materials from across the planet. Already the world’s biggest consumer, China spent $150 billion on crude oil, iron ore and copper ore alone in the first four months of 2021. Resurgent demand and rising prices mean that’s $36 billion more than the same period last year.With global commodities rising to record highs, Chinese government officials are trying to temper prices and reduce some of the speculative froth that’s driven markets. Wary of inflating asset bubbles, the People’s Bank of China has also been restricting the flow of money to the economy since last year, albeit gradually to avoid derailing growth. At the same time, funding for infrastructure projects has shown signs of slowing.Economic data for April suggest that both China’s economic expansion and its credit impulse -- new credit as a percentage of GDP -- may already have crested, putting the rally on a precarious footing. The most obvious impact of China’s deleveraging would fall on those metals keyed to real estate and infrastructure spending, from copper and aluminum, to steel and its main ingredient, iron ore.“Credit is a major driver for commodity prices, and we reckon prices peak when credit peaks,” said Alison Li, co-head of base metals research at Mysteel in Shanghai. “That refers to global credit, but Chinese credit accounts for a big part of it, especially when it comes to infrastructure and property investment.”But the impact of China’s credit pullback could ripple far and wide, threatening the rally in global oil prices and even China’s crop markets. And while tighter money supply hasn’t stopped many metals hitting eye-popping levels in recent weeks, some, like copper, are already seeing consumers shying away from higher prices.“The slowdown in credit will have a negative impact on China’s demand for commodities,” said Hao Zhou, senior emerging markets economist at Commerzbank AG. “So far, property and infrastructure investments haven’t shown an obvious deceleration. But they are likely to trend lower in the second half of this year.”A lag between the withdrawal of credit and stimulus from the economy and its impact on China’s raw material purchases may mean that markets haven’t yet peaked. However, its companies may eventually soften imports due to tighter credit conditions, which means the direction of the global commodity market will hinge on how much the recovery in economies including the U.S. and Europe can continue to drive prices higher.Some sectors have seen policy push an expansion in capacity, such as Beijing’s move to grow the country’s crude oil refining and copper smelting industries. Purchases of the materials needed for production in those sectors may continue to see gains although at a slower pace.One example of slowing purchases is likely to be in refined copper, said Mysteel’s Li. The premium paid for the metal at the port of Yangshan has already hit a four-year low in a sign of waning demand, and imports are likely to fall this year, she said.At the same time, the rally in copper prices probably still has a few months to run, according to a recent note from Citigroup Inc., citing the lag between peak credit and peak demand. From around $9,850 a ton now, the bank expects copper to reach $12,200 by September.It’s a dynamic that’s also playing out in ferrous metals markets.“We’re still at an early phase of tightening in terms of money reaching projects,” said Tomas Gutierrez, an analyst at Kallanish Commodities Ltd. “Iron ore demand reacts with a lag of several months to tightening. Steel demand is still around record highs on the back of the economic recovery and ongoing investments, but is likely to pull back slightly by the end of the year.”For agriculture, credit tightening may only affect China’s soaring crop imports around the margins, said Ma Wenfeng, an analyst at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Co. Less cash in the system could soften domestic prices by curbing speculation, which may in turn reduce the small proportion of imports handled by private firms, he said.The wider trend is for China’s state-owned giants to keep importing grains to cover the nation’s domestic shortfall, to replenish state reserves and to meet trade deal obligations with the U.S.No DisasterMore broadly, Beijing’s policy tightening doesn’t spell disaster for commodities bulls. For one, the authorities are unlikely to accelerate deleveraging from this point, according the latest comments from the State Council, China’s cabinet.“Internal guidance from our macro department is that the country won’t tighten credit too much -- they just won’t loosen further,” said Harry Jiang, head of trading and research at Yonggang Resouces, a commodity trader in Shanghai. “We don’t have many concerns over credit tightening.”And in any case, raw materials markets are no longer almost entirely in thrall to Chinese demand.“In the past, the inflection point of industrial metal prices often coincides with that of China’s credit cycle,” said Larry Hu, chief China economist at Macquarie Group Ltd. “But that doesn’t mean it will be like that this time too, because the U.S. has unleashed much larger stimulus than China, and its demand is very strong.”Hu also pointed to caution among China’s leaders, who probably don’t want to risk choking off their much-admired recovery by sharp swings in policy.“I expect China’s property investment will slow down, but not by too much,” he said. “Infrastructure investment hasn’t changed too much in the past few years, and won’t this year either.”Additionally, China has been pumping up consumer spending as a lever for growth, and isn’t as reliant on infrastructure and property investment as it used to be, said Bruce Pang, head of macro and strategy research at China Renaissance Securities Hong Kong. The disruption to global commodities supply because of the pandemic is also a new factor that can support prices, he said.Other policy priorities, such as cutting steel production to make inroads on China’s climate pledges, or boosting the supply of energy products, whether domestically or via purchases from overseas, are other complicating factors when it comes to assessing import demand and prices for specific commodities, according to analysts.(Updates copper price in 11th 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.

Bitcoin Rises to Near $40K After Musk Tweets About BTC Mining’s ‘Promising’ Renewable Usage

Elon Musk continues to tweet about bitcoin.

Gold Price Futures (GC) Technical Analysis – Big Challenge for Gold Bulls at $1899.20 Retracement Level

The direction of the August Comex gold futures market on Monday is likely to be determined by trader reaction to the major 50% level at $1899.20.

Bitcoin Holds Short-Term Support Faces Resistance at $40K

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Hong Kong Exchange’s New CEO Is Put on Cleanup Duty

(Bloomberg) -- The veteran JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker who’s taking the helm at Hong Kong’s exchange has been put on cleanup duty.Chairman Laura Cha has handed Nicolas Aguzin, who takes charge Monday, the task of reviewing the exchange’s practices after a bribery scandal and censure from the regulator, according to people familiar with the matter. The 52-year-old former head of JPMorgan’s international private bank is seen by Cha as having the experience to force a cultural shake-up given his background at a heavily regulated bank, said the people, asking to remain anonymous discussing sensitive issues.Aguzin takes over as the bourse is delivering record earnings. His predecessor, Charles Li, oversaw a doubling of revenue during his decade in charge through acquisitions, loosened listing rules and, most importantly, trading links with mainland China. The easier oversight allowed the listing of Chinese technology giants such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and positioned it as the exchange-of-choice for mainland firms amid tensions with the U.S.But there has also been criticism that investor protections were sacrificed to win business. Over the past years, there has been a steady stream of flareups between the bourse and the regulator over IPO quality, the proliferation of shell companies and whether to allow dual class shares.“The HKEX has done a great job in market development, and has introduced measures to improve investor protection,” Sally Wong, CEO of Hong Kong Investment Funds Association, said in an email. “But it seems that issuers’ voices tend to prevail over that of the investors. We very much look forward to working with the new CEO to see how to strike a more appropriate balance to better safeguard investor interests.”Spokespeople for the exchange and the Securities and Futures Commission as well as Aguzin declined to comment.In a review released last year after the former IPO vetting co-head was arrested for bribery, the SFC discovered “numerous ambiguities” in the Chinese Wall between its listing and business divisions. Other issues highlighted last year include keeping track of share options and following up on complaints on withdrawn IPO applications.Cha had begun to tighten internal checks and balances for senior managers toward the end of Li’s tenure as well as assert more board control over hiring, people familiar have said. The exchange has halted the interactions between its listing and business units, according to the SFC review. Last week, in a joint statement with the SFC, the bourse vowed to better police its frothy IPO market, citing concerns about companies inflating their values, market manipulation and unusually high underwriting fees.Aguzin is expected by the board to prioritize the exchange’s role as a regulator alongside its growth ambitions, people familiar said.David Webb, a former HKEX director, investor and corporate governance activist, is skeptical the bourse will institute any meaningful reforms. “HKEX has, with government approval, lowered its standards to attract business, for example, by listing second-class shares with weak voting rights,” he said in an email. “It shows no sign of raising them again.”Investors have also urged the exchange to set rules requiring company boards to have a lead outside board member or an independent chair, according to Wong. “But it seems that the HKEX is not ready to even bring them up for market consultation.”The government is on board with Aguzin’s appointment, which comes at a fraught time after Beijing has tightened its grip on the city, raising questions about its continued status as an international financial hub.Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui said the three-tiered regulatory system comprising his department, the SFC and HKEX has worked well. Aguzin’s appointment embodies the city’s openness and its role as a gateway between China and the world, he said. “This is exactly what we will pursue.”Further deepening connections to China is seen as key to growth for the bourse, which also faces stiffer competition from mainland exchanges as China opens its financial markets.While Aguzin has worked in Asia for the past decade -- also serving as JPMorgan’s CEO of Asia Pacific from 2013 to 2020 -- he will be the first non-Chinese CEO of a bourse that often needs to deal with Beijing.Cha is well connected in China, having served as vice chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission. She has signaled that she sees the bourse’s role as serving Beijing’s interests and avoiding competition with the mainland, a person said familiar with the matter said last year.The push toward the mainland is not all welcome in China. Expanding the link to include several benchmark stocks has proved difficult, with one sticking point being whether to include shares like Alibaba Group, which are dual listed and with weighted voting rights.Even so, Cha said at the time of the appointment that Aguzin’s remit will include further strengthening the link to the mainland.Another board member, Fred Hu, said in an interview that “Aguzin is well positioned to take HKEX into the future, to further deepen the connectivity with China but also connectivity with the rest of the world.”More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

IMF Official: ‘A World With More Than One Reserve Currency Is a More Stable World’

Tommaso Mancini-Griffoli said the world would be more stable if it diversified from the dollar, but also that crypto was too young and volatile to be a global reserve.

European Equities: A Quiet Economic Calendar and Low Volumes May Test Support

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Stock market news live updates: Stock futures open slightly higher, extending gains as tech stocks rebounded

Stock futures opened slightly higher Monday evening following a rally during the regular trading day, with technology stocks outperforming as concerns over rising inflation were at least temporarily pushed to the side.

China crypto mining business hit by Beijing crackdown, bitcoin tumbles

SHANGHAI (Reuters) -Cryptocurrency miners, including HashCow and BTC.TOP, have halted all or part of their China operations after Beijing intensified a crackdown on bitcoin mining and trading, hammering digital currencies amid heightened global regulatory scrutiny. It was the first time China's cabinet has targeted virtual currency mining, a sizable business in the world's second-biggest economy that some estimates say accounts for as much as 70% of the global crypto supply. Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi on Monday suspended both crypto-mining and some trading services to new clients from mainland China, adding it will instead focus on overseas businesses.

VMware 1Q22 Earnings to Rise Nearly 4%, Revenue to Jump 7%

The California-based tech giant VMware is expected to report its fiscal first-quarter of 2022 earnings of $1.58 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of about 4% from $1.52 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

Bitcoin Sees Green as Pendulum Shifts to FOMO

The bitcoin (BTC) price is seeing green once again after an Elon Musk-induced sell-off sent the market spiraling nearly two weeks ago.

Singapore clears LSE deal for Refinitiv after FX pledge

Singapore's competition authority has approved the London Stock Exchange Group's $27 billion acquisition of data and analytics company Refinitiv provided the bourse continues to offer certain foreign exchange benchmarks to rivals. The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS)gave the conditional approval after examining whether the deal, which transforms the 300 year old bourse into a one-stop shop for data, trading and analytics, threatened competition in the currency market. The LSE has committed to making Refinitiv's WM/Reuters foreign exchange benchmarks available to existing and future customers to provide index licencing services or clearing services in Singapore, CCCS said in a statement, adding that the commitment, effective from Monday, was for 10 years.


The BusinessGreen Guide to the SDGs: SDG2 - Zero Hunger

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Our at a glance guide to the SDGs continues with SDG2 and the pledge to 'end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture'

The targets

SDG2 includes five targets and three sub-targets, as well as 13 indicators.

2.1 By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.

2.2 By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.

2.3 By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.

2.4 By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.

2.5 By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed.

2.A Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries.

2.B Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets, including through the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round.

2.C Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility.

Progress to date

The UN's most recent SDG progress report for SDG2 starts on a bleak note. "After a prolonged decline, world hunger appears to be on the rise again," it states. "Conflict, drought and disasters linked to climate change are among the key factors causing the reversal in the long-term progress in fighting global hunger, making the prospect of ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030 more difficult."

The increase in the global undernourishment rate is marginal - climbing from 10.6 per cent in 2015 to 11 per cent in 2016 - but it amounts to 38 million more people going hungry and the potential long term causes of the reversal have policymakers globally extremely worried. Is this a blip caused by food price spikes and protracted conflicts in parts of the Middle East and Africa or is this one of the clearest signs yet that long-projected climate impacts are starting to bite?

Either way, the implications are severe. Malnutrition-induced stunting - where children are too short for their age - is declining in almost every region, but it still impacts 22 per cent of children under five globally. Meanwhile, further evidence of a flawed global food system is provided by the fact that last year 51 million children under five were suffering from wasting, while 38 million were affected by obesity.

Assessing progress on agricultural sustainability remains difficult given the huge number of metrics involved and the massive variations from region to region, but one figure stands out that suggests governments are yet to fully recognise the scale of the challenge: government expenditure in the agricultural sector as a share of GDP fell from 0.38 per cent in 2001 to 0.23 per cent in 2016.

There are few, if any, large scale government-backed sustainable agriculture programmes in operation and R&D funding across the sector is also notoriously underpowered.

However, there is also a potentially encouraging explanation for the fall in government expenditure, as the UN notes progress has been made in reducing subsidies that distort world agricultural markets, with export subsidies having halved inside five years from $491m in 2010 to less than $200m in 2015.

Business implications

SDG2 mirrors SDG1 in its remarkable breadth. Everybody needs to eat every business has a stake in the food supply chain, whether directly as producers or consumers of food, or indirectly through the need for healthy employees and stable, food-secure societies every country needs a sustainable agricultural sector, arguably above all else.

As such, all businesses can support SDG2 by purchasing food with strong sustainability credentials, promoting good nutrition amongst staff and stakeholders, and lobbying for a greater policy focus on sustainable agriculture and climate adaptation.

However, it is for businesses with a direct role in the food supply chain where SDG2 will inevitably have the biggest impact. The inter-locking goals of ending hunger and poor nutrition while embracing sustainable agriculture that improves "capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters" requires sustained increased in yields and higher productivity. But such improvements need to be delivered without the unsustainable intensification that has accelerated soil and biodiversity loss in many parts of the world.

The goal's targets imply systems change across the agri-food industry centred on drastically improved supply chain transparency, ever closer co-operation between farmers - including developing economy smallholders - and end customers, increased R&D spend, a better understanding of ecosystem services, more effective policy interventions and subsidy reforms, and an end to gaming the food commodity market in a way that creates food price volatility.

Business risks

As the most recent UN progress report makes clear SDG2 will be very difficult to achieve. The world is engaged in a race against time to accelerate the adoption of sustainable agricultural methods and enhance food security at a faster rate than climate impacts undermine yields. A failure to win this race would see businesses the world over have to wrestle with rising food prices and the social and economic insecurity that would inevitably result.

More specifically, businesses operating in the food and agriculture space face a web of risks relating to both the supply chain disruption that will likely come if sustainable agricultural practices are not embraced and the disruption that will inevitably accompany attempts to push the sector towards new approaches.

Risks include increased climate impacts leading to higher food prices and availability risks, as well as food price spikes contributing to economic, social, and political instability.

At the same time changes to agricultural subsidies could spark a major shake out of the sector that could lead to further consolidation, while tighter regulations to protect ecosystems and measures to secure fairer deals for farmers at the end of the supply chain could leading to higher short term costs for some operators.

Finally, emerging biotechnologies and changing consumer appetites, such as the trend for vegetarianism, could destroy value and lead to stranded assets for firms that fail to adapt.

Business opportunities

The global effort to deliver on SDG2 should improve the long term risk profiles for all businesses and also create a raft of specific business opportunities arising from the transition to sustainable agricultural techniques.

Reduced levels of malnutrition and food price volatility is likely to result in stronger economic growth in emerging markets and reduced risks of economic, social, and political instability globally. Meanwhile, improved climate resilience and genetic diversity of seeds and livestock should help minimise wider climate and security risks.

Increased R&D across the agricultural sector promises to also unlock a new era of innovation for a highly conservative and inefficient industry, bringing massive resource and cost savings across the piece. At the same time the targeted doubling of yields promises improved financial returns throughout the supply chain.

Similarly, improved nutrition has the potential to bolster economic growth and enhance productivity through improved health across the workforce.

And the nascent trends towards vegetarianism and more sustainable agriculture promises to cut methane emissions, curb deforestation, enhance ecosystem services, and free up more land for biodiversity, while also opening up major new technology-led markets.

Ultimately, businesses that take a holistic approach to SDG2 demonstrating progress in supporting smallholders, protecting habitats, and promoting sustainable practices, while tackling hunger and delivering healthy products should reap dividends amongst an increasingly values-led employee and customer base.

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Government of Canada launches Food Waste Reduction Challenge Français

OTTAWA, ON , Nov. 19, 2020 /CNW/ - Today, while speaking at the Arrell Food Summit, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, launched the first two streams of the Government of Canada's Food Waste Reduction Challenge, part of the Food Policy for Canada .

According to estimates, more than half of Canada's food supply is wasted annually and $49.5 billion of that wasted food is avoidable. Food is wasted from farm to plate, through production, processing, distribution, retail, food-service and at home.

Challenge Streams A and B are now open for concept applications with a closing date of January 18, 2021 . Up to $10.8 million will be awarded to innovators with an innovative way of "doing business" (i.e. a new business model) that can prevent or divert food waste at any point from farm-to-plate.

The Food Waste Reduction Challenge will use a stage-gated approach to move innovators through the process of developing and deploying their solutions. At each stage of the Challenge, an external group of subject matter experts will recommend which applicants move to the following stage and receive funding. For Challenge Streams A and B, at the last stage, one winner per stream will be awarded a grand prize of up to $1.5M .

Funding will be awarded to those whose innovative solutions have the potential of reducing the most amount of food waste, with a focus on new innovators looking to accelerate and grow their solutions and who may not have the necessary resources.

Altogether, the Food Waste Reduction Challenge is a $20M investment. The launch of two additional challenge streams focused on technological solutions to food waste is planned for spring 2021. Challenge Streams C and D will support technologies that can extend the life of food or transform food that would otherwise be lost or wasted.

"Reducing food waste is necessary for so many reasons: it can help save consumers money, improve food security, support efficiency in the agriculture and food sector, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through this exciting challenge, our Government is finding new ways of reducing food waste across the supply chain."
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

"In order to meet our climate targets, Canada must address emissions from all sectors, including emissions from food loss and waste. From production, to transportation, to disposal in landfills, food loss and waste is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The Food Waste Reduction Challenge will help Canadians develop innovative and effective solutions to this problem and I am excited to see the results."
- The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

"As Canada's 'food university', the University of Guelph applauds Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau on the announcement of the Food Waste Reduction Challenge at the 2020 Arrell Food Summit. This challenge will help spur innovative solutions to the problem of food waste throughout Canada's food supply chain. It also aligns perfectly with U of G's Arrell Food Institute's mission of elevating our food system to improve life."
- Charlotte Yates – University of Guelph President and Vice-Chancellor

"With nearly one third of all food produced lost or wasted, tackling food waste is critical to build a more sustainable future. The funding announced today at the Arrell Food Summit by Minister Bibeau will help do just that and also create a great opportunity for young Canadians to ensure our country becomes a world leader on this issue."
- Dr. Evan Fraser , Director of the Arrell Food Institute

"The National Zero Waste Council congratulates AAFC on introducing the Food Waste Reduction Challenge, which will help address food loss and waste by giving our nation's small and medium companies a chance to scale up their innovative business models while also encouraging leadership from the biggest players. We are pleased that the Challenge aligns so well with our Food Loss and Waste Strategy for Canada , and applaud the Government of Canada for its leadership and support for efforts to reduce food loss and waste for the benefit of Canada's food security, economy and climate."
- Malcolm Brodie , Chair, National Zero Waste Council

"Canadian food & beverage companies are at the forefront of the battle against food loss and waste, but there is still a long way to go - last year we helped identify over 11 million kilograms of preventable food waste in just 50 companies. The Food Waste Reduction Challenge has a very important role to play in helping raise awareness of the opportunity that exists, as well as accelerating new solutions that will help companies prevent and reduce their waste".
- Cher Mereweather , President & CEO of Provision Coalition

  • 8% of all greenhouse gases worldwide are the result of food waste.
  • Eligible participants of the Challenge could include for-profit and non-profit organizations, Indigenous organizations, community groups, Canadian academic institutions, regional and municipal governments, and individuals. The Challenge is open to international applicants with a Canadian partner or an ability to register to do business in Canada .
  • The Food Policy for Canada is a roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food system in Canada – one that builds on the Government's ambitious agenda to support the growth of Canada's farmers and food businesses, as well as key federal initiatives.
  • The Food Policy for Canada will also help the country meet its commitments under the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, including to end hunger, promote good health, cut food waste, and encourage sustainable food systems.
  • The Government of Canada is also supporting the reduction of food waste during COVID-19 through the Surplus Food Rescue Program. This program diverts excess food from waste or disposal while addressing food insecurity of vulnerable populations impacted by the pandemic.
  • Canada is committed to the United Nation's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which sets a target to "halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses" by 2030.

SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

For further information: Jean-Sébastien Comeau, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, [email protected], 343-549-2326 Media Relations, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, 613-773-7972, 1-866-345-7972, [email protected]


GrubHub stock hits an all-time low after Uber announces food delivery app

At least that's what investors seem to think in the wake of the company announcing its standalone food delivery service.

Grubhub dropped as much as 8.6% this morning on news that Uber is launching its own standalone competitor to Seamless and Grubhub, the food-delivery services belonging to parent company Grubhub. It's now recovered a bit and is down only about 2%, as the broader tech market has rallied.

Uber is preparing to launch UberEats, its standalone food delivery app, in 10 US cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Austin, the Wall Street Journal confirmed with the company.

UberEats will be the first standalone app from the company since the launch of the main Uber ride-hailing app, and will be live in the Apple App Store and the Google Play store by the end of March.

In a note Wednesday, analysts at Cowen & Co. said they were lowering their price target for Grubhub from $22 to $2o for a couple big reasons.

Uber has a leg up on Grubhub in terms of cost and speed because they already have 16 million US users and 400,000 drivers.

The UberEats launch " includes 5 of 7 top markets making up >90% of GrubHub sales."

UberEats seems to be a "strategically important" service for highly valuable Uber.

Uber has been testing the food-delivery service inside of its main app for the better part of the past 18 months, but it then launched as a standalone app available in Toronto, Wired reported last month.

In each of its participating cities, Uber partners with a couple restaurants each day to offer meals to its customers, which the company delivers via courier within just a few minutes. Just like when you're waiting for your Uber to roll up, you can track your food's progress on your smartphone as it travels to you. Drivers can choose whether they want to be an UberEats driver, and they receive the

$5 delivery fee from each UberEats order they deliver.

Benchmark's Bill Gurley, who invested in GrubHub back in 2011, resigned from Grubhub's board, GrubHub said in a December 24 filing. Gurley is also an Uber investor, and sits on Uber's board.

“We view [Mr.] Gurley’s resignation as a loss to GrubHub, but not surprising given his board seat at Uber, which is increasingly competitive with GrubHub,” Cowen & Co. analysts said in a note.

For his part, Gurley denies he stepped down because of a conflict of interest.

“This is what I would call normal VC life cycle,” Gurley told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s important for me to do new investments.”

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PG&E to Sell San Francisco Headquarters for $800 Million

(Bloomberg) -- PG&E Corp. has reached a deal to sell its iconic San Francisco headquarters to real estate joint-venture Hines Atlas for $800 million as the utility giant moves to cut costs after it emerged from bankruptcy last year.PG&E, which plans to move to Oakland next year, needs approval from state regulators to sell the 1.7 million-square-foot (158,000-square-meter) complex, which includes 77 Beale Street and 245 Market Street, according to a statement Monday.The sale comes as office markets around the globe have been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. One broker estimated in 2019 that PG&E’s headquarters could bring in more than $1 billion. The utility giant is one of the most high-profile companies to leave San Francisco for Oakland, a less expensive city located across San Francisco Bay.Nearly a dozen bids were submitted for the property, according to a person familiar with the matter. That level of interest suggests real estate investors are willing to bet on a rebound for office demand in the city.“It’s a fantastic bet on San Francisco,” said J.D. Lumpkin, executive managing director at commercial real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield in San Francisco, who wasn’t involved in the deal. “While San Francisco has taken its lumps through Covid, perhaps more than other cities, there’s a lot of evidence that we will rebound over the next two or three years.”PG&E didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the bids. The company’s shares rose as much as 2.1% Monday.Unlike some other large property sales in San Francisco since the pandemic, the complex will require a substantial amount of renovation. It also doesn’t have a tenant in place, so the buyers will have to fill it in a few years once the redevelopment is finished.Also See: KKR Said to Buy $1.08 Billion San Francisco Dropbox OfficesSan Francisco’s overall office vacancy rate in the first quarter shattered the previous record high hit during the dot-com bust at the turn of the century, according to CBRE Group Inc. That’s pushed rent down and weighed on the value of buildings.The sale price is about $200 million less than expected, Citigroup Inc. utility analyst Ryan Levine wrote in a research note Monday. That raises the prospect that PG&E may need to raise equity this year, he said.Offset BillsPG&E intends to distribute about $400 million from its gain on the sale to customers over five years to offset bill increases as it invests in safety and operational improvements. In an added benefit, most PG&E workers will have shorter commutes to their new office, the company said.CBRE’s San Francisco Capital Markets team brokered the deal.PG&E filed for bankruptcy in early 2019 after collapsing under liabilities from wildfires sparked by its equipment. Though the company exited Chapter 11 last year, it remains burdened by about $42 billion of debt, raising concerns about its financial durability and ability to make the investments required to fire-proof its grid.Hines is one of the biggest private real estate investors and managers in the world, according to its website. Hines Atlas is a joint venture between Hines and another investor, a Hines spokesman said. He declined to name the other investor.(Adds details of bid beginning in fourth 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.

Exclusive-HSBC CEO says Bitcoin not for us

LONDON (Reuters) -HSBC has no plans to launch a cryptocurrency trading desk or offer the digital coins as an investment to customers, because they are too volatile and lack transparency, its Chief Executive Noel Quinn told Reuters. Europe's largest bank's stance on cryptocurrencies comes as the world's biggest and best-known, Bitcoin, has tumbled nearly 50% from the year's high, after China cracked down on mining the currency and prominent advocate Elon Musk tempered his support. It marks it out against rivals such as Goldman Sachs, which Reuters in March reported had restarted its cryptocurrency trading desk, and UBS which other media said was exploring ways to offer the currencies as an investment product.

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Are Growth Stocks Ready To Blastoff

It’s an annoying fact of life. I have some sobering news for you. According to a study, you’ll spend an average of 2 years of your life waiting in lines. You’ll also feel less anxious waiting in a single line as opposed to multiple lines.

Boom in Chinese Firms Listing in the U.S. Comes to a Sudden Halt

(Bloomberg) -- At least three Chinese companies have put their plans to list in the U.S. on hold, heralding a slowdown in what’s been a record start to a year for initial public offerings by mainland and Hong Kong firms.A bike-sharing platform, a podcaster and a cloud computing firm are among popular Chinese corporates holding off plans for a U.S. float, put off by recent market declines, souring investor sentiment toward fast-growth companies and lackluster debuts by peers like Waterdrop Inc.Hello Inc., Ximalaya Inc. and Qiniu Ltd. are postponing plans to take orders from investors, even though the three had filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission well over two weeks ago. In the U.S., companies can kick off their roadshows two weeks after filing publicly and most typically stick to that timetable.“The recent broad market selloff, combined with the correction of the IPO market since the beginning of last month when some new issuers tanked during their debuts, may make the market conditions less predictable for newcomers who are ‘physically’ ready -- meaning they have cleared all regulatory hurdles for IPO -- to get out of the door,” said Stephanie Tang, head of private equity for Greater China at law firm Hogan Lovells. “Some participants may choose to monitor the market for more stable conditions.”The delays throw a wrench in a listings flood by Chinese and Hong Kong companies in the U.S. that already reached $7.1 billion year-to-date -- the fastest pace on record -- after booming in 2020. Demand for IPOs surged as a wave of global stimulus money, ultra-low interest rates and rallying stock markets lured investors despite Sino-American tensions and the continued risk of mainland stocks being kicked off U.S. exchanges.READ: Stock Market’s Million Little Dramas Come Down to a Supply GlutThe S&P 500 Index capped its biggest two-week slide since February on Friday amid mounting investor concern over inflation and its impact on tech and other growth stocks. China’s CSI 300 Index remains in a technical correction, having fallen more than 10% from a February peak, while the Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index, which tracks Chinese companies listed in the U.S., has slumped 30% from its high that month.‘Less Predictable’Hello, which offers a bike-sharing platform plus electric scooters for sale, has delayed its planned launch and is still undecided on its prospective valuation given rising investor caution about new shares, Bloomberg News has reported. It had been planning to raise between $500 million and $1 billion in the offering, although the final number will depend on valuations, according to one person with knowledge of the matter.Online podcast and radio services startup Ximalaya and enterprise cloud services provider Qiniu have put their listings on hold after beginning to gauge investor interest at the end of April, people with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.The sounding out of investors, or pre-marketing process, generally comes after filing for an IPO and before formal order-taking in a roadshow. Hello declined to comment while Qiniu didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Ximalaya’s IPO process is ongoing and the company will seek public listing at an appropriate time depending on market conditions, it said in response to questions.Weak DebutsThe poor performance of recent Chinese debutants has also sapped investor confidence. Insurance tech firm Waterdrop has plunged 40% from its offer price since going public earlier this month. Onion Global Ltd., a lifestyle brand platform, has fallen about 9% below its IPO price.In fact, almost 59% or specifically 20 of the 34 Chinese firms that have listed in the U.S. this year are under water, data compiled by Bloomberg show, among them the two largest IPOs -- e-cigarette maker RLX Technology Inc. and online Q&A site Zhihu Inc. Of the ones that listed in 2020, just 40% are trading below their IPO prices.The recent volatility in global markets has spooked U.S. companies as well. They have also been delaying floats or facing weak debuts.For some, the current challenges faced by Chinese listing hopefuls are likely to be transitory, with the hotly-anticipated IPO of ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing Inc., which has filed confidentially for a multibillion-dollar offering, set to prove the real test of investor appetite for the China story.“There is a natural strong growth in China which international investors will still want to invest in over the longer term,” said Gary Dugan, chief executive officer at the Global CIO Office in Singapore.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Battered Bitcoin claws back losses as oil rallies on recovery hopes

Consumer-related stocks helped tip London markets into the green, following two weeks of drops, helped by a weekend of Covid restrictions being eased. “It seems investors have had a good weekend and have realised how many other people have also been enjoying newly reinstated opportunities,” said Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell. “From cinemas to restaurants, shops to bingo halls, real life has translated into share gains for companies like Primark owner Premier Foods, The Restaurant Group and the Rank Group.” The domestically-focused FTSE 250 index added 84.31 points to close at 22,483. Gambling company Rank Group led the leaderboard, rising 14.2p to 196.2p, followed by Mr Kipling’s parent Premier Foods, which gained 6p to 107.6p. Joining them in the top 10 was Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group, which added 6.4p to 128.4p, as well as pub chain Wetherspoon. Similar types of blue-chip companies helped push the FTSE 100 to close in positive territory, though gains were tempered by miners which mostly fell after China’s commodity price warnings. Meanwhile, stocks globally struggled for momentum as investors awaited key US inflation readings for guidance on monetary policy. London’s benchmark FTSE 100 edged up 33.54 points to close at 7,051.59 Catering company Compass Group led the charge, up by 43p at £15.82. Gambling firms Entain and Flutter Entertainment also finished in the top 10, gaining 35.5p to £16.14 and 270p to £13.20 respectively. They were followed by hotel owners Intercontinental Hotels Group and Whitbread, which rose 98p to £49.22 and 59p to £31.50, respectively. Heavyweight oil stocks also performed well as oil prices extended Friday’s rally and climbed higher after Iran said that gaps remain in negotiations aimed at reaching a deal to end US sanctions on its crude. Iran said there are still differences around the timing of when countries will return to compliance with the original 2015 nuclear agreement, allaying some concern about a rapid ramp-up in the Persian Gulf nation’s output. While the market is anticipating the Islamic Republic’s supply will pick up again by late summer, the demand recovery will be strong enough to absorb it, according to Goldman Sachs. The bank expects Brent futures to hit $80 (£57) a barrel in the next few months. Royal Dutch Shell added 10.4p to £13.50, while BP rose 4.2p to 316.4p. Dominating the bottom of the rankings and dragging on the index, however, were miners including Fresnillo, Antofagasta, BHP and Evraz. RBC also cut its price target on Chilean miner Antofagasta. Elsewhere among companies, shares of FTSE 250 software firm Kainos fell 25p to £13.87 despite saying its annual pre-tax profit more than doubled in an eleventh consecutive year of growth, surging 124pc to £57.1m in the year through March. Revenue grew by 31pc to £234.7m while booking rose 6pc.

China Braces for $1.3 Trillion Maturity Wall as Defaults Surge

(Bloomberg) -- Even by the standards of a record-breaking global credit binge, China’s corporate bond tab stands out: $1.3 trillion of domestic debt payable in the next 12 months.That’s 30% more than what U.S. companies owe, 63% more than in all of Europe and enough money to buy Tesla Inc. twice over. What’s more, it’s all coming due at a time when Chinese borrowers are defaulting on onshore debt at an unprecedented pace.The combination has investors bracing for another turbulent stretch for the world’s second-largest credit market. It’s also underscoring the challenge for Chinese authorities as they work toward two conflicting goals: reducing moral hazard by allowing more defaults, and turning the domestic bond market into a more reliable source of long-term funding.While average corporate bond maturities have increased in the U.S., Europe and Japan in recent years, they’re getting shorter in China as defaults prompt investors to reduce risk. Domestic Chinese bonds issued in the first quarter had an average tenor of 3.02 years, down from 3.22 years for all of last year and on course for the shortest annual average since Fitch Ratings began compiling the data in 2016.“As credit risk increases, everyone wants to limit their exposure by investing in shorter maturities only,” said Iris Pang, chief economist for Greater China at ING Bank NV. “Issuers also want to sell shorter-dated bonds because as defaults rise, longer-dated bonds have even higher borrowing costs.”The move toward shorter maturities has coincided with a Chinese government campaign to instill more discipline in local credit markets, which have long been underpinned by implicit state guarantees. Investors are increasingly rethinking the widely held assumption that authorities will backstop big borrowers amid a string of missed payments by state-owned companies and a selloff in bonds issued by China Huarong Asset Management Co.The country’s onshore defaults have swelled from negligible levels in 2016 to exceed 100 billion yuan ($15.5 billion) for four straight years. That milestone was reached again last month, putting defaults on track for another record annual high.The resulting preference for shorter-dated bonds has exacerbated one of China’s structural challenges: a dearth of long-term institutional money. Even before authorities began allowing more defaults, short-term investments including banks’ wealth management products played an outsized role.Social security funds and insurance firms are the main providers of long-term funding in China, but their presence in the bond market is limited, said Wu Zhaoyin, chief strategist at AVIC Trust Co., a financial firm. “It’s difficult to sell long-dated bonds in China because there is a lack of long-term capital,” Wu said.Chinese authorities have been taking steps to attract long-term investors, including foreign pension funds and university endowments. The government has in recent years scrapped some investment quotas and dismantled foreign ownership limits for life insurers, brokerages and fund managers.But even if those efforts gain traction, it’s not clear Chinese companies will embrace longer maturities. Many prefer selling short-dated bonds because they lack long-term capital management plans, according to Shen Meng, director at Chanson & Co., a Beijing-based boutique investment bank. That applies even for state-owned enterprises, whose senior managers typically get reshuffled by the government every three to five years, Shen said.The upshot is that China’s domestic credit market faces a near constant cycle of refinancing and repayment risk, which threatens to exacerbate volatility as defaults rise. A similar dynamic is also playing out in the offshore market, where maturities total $167 billion over the next 12 months.For ING’s Pang, the cycle is unlikely to change anytime soon. “It may last for another decade in China,” she said.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

U.S. Treasury deputy chief sees G7 backing for 15%-plus global minimum tax

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said he expects strong backing from G7 peers for Washington's proposed 15%-plus global minimum corporate tax, which should help solidify support in the U.S. Congress for domestic corporate tax legislation. "My sense is that you're going to see a lot of unified support amongst the G7 moving forward," Adeyemo told Reuters on Monday after France, Germany, Italy and Japan made positive comments about the Treasury's proposal.

Fed's balance sheet could reach $9 trillion by end of 2022, NY Fed report projects

(Reuters) -The Federal Reserve's ongoing asset purchases could lead the central bank's portfolio to grow to $9.0 trillion by the end of 2022, according to projections https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/markets/omo/omo2020-pdf.pdf released by the New York Fed on Monday. Reserve balances could peak at $6.2 trillion by the end of 2022 and then steadily decline, according to the forecasts, issued as part of an annual report conducted by the markets team at the New York Fed. The Fed's portfolio could hold steady through 2025 if proceeds from maturing securities are reinvested.

First Warning Sign in Global Commodity Boom Flashes in China

(Bloomberg) -- One pillar of this year’s blistering commodities rally -- Chinese demand -- may be teetering.Beijing aced its economic recovery from the pandemic largely via an expansion in credit and a state-aided construction boom that sucked in raw materials from across the planet. Already the world’s biggest consumer, China spent $150 billion on crude oil, iron ore and copper ore alone in the first four months of 2021. Resurgent demand and rising prices mean that’s $36 billion more than the same period last year.With global commodities rising to record highs, Chinese government officials are trying to temper prices and reduce some of the speculative froth that’s driven markets. Wary of inflating asset bubbles, the People’s Bank of China has also been restricting the flow of money to the economy since last year, albeit gradually to avoid derailing growth. At the same time, funding for infrastructure projects has shown signs of slowing.Economic data for April suggest that both China’s economic expansion and its credit impulse -- new credit as a percentage of GDP -- may already have crested, putting the rally on a precarious footing. The most obvious impact of China’s deleveraging would fall on those metals keyed to real estate and infrastructure spending, from copper and aluminum, to steel and its main ingredient, iron ore.“Credit is a major driver for commodity prices, and we reckon prices peak when credit peaks,” said Alison Li, co-head of base metals research at Mysteel in Shanghai. “That refers to global credit, but Chinese credit accounts for a big part of it, especially when it comes to infrastructure and property investment.”But the impact of China’s credit pullback could ripple far and wide, threatening the rally in global oil prices and even China’s crop markets. And while tighter money supply hasn’t stopped many metals hitting eye-popping levels in recent weeks, some, like copper, are already seeing consumers shying away from higher prices.“The slowdown in credit will have a negative impact on China’s demand for commodities,” said Hao Zhou, senior emerging markets economist at Commerzbank AG. “So far, property and infrastructure investments haven’t shown an obvious deceleration. But they are likely to trend lower in the second half of this year.”A lag between the withdrawal of credit and stimulus from the economy and its impact on China’s raw material purchases may mean that markets haven’t yet peaked. However, its companies may eventually soften imports due to tighter credit conditions, which means the direction of the global commodity market will hinge on how much the recovery in economies including the U.S. and Europe can continue to drive prices higher.Some sectors have seen policy push an expansion in capacity, such as Beijing’s move to grow the country’s crude oil refining and copper smelting industries. Purchases of the materials needed for production in those sectors may continue to see gains although at a slower pace.One example of slowing purchases is likely to be in refined copper, said Mysteel’s Li. The premium paid for the metal at the port of Yangshan has already hit a four-year low in a sign of waning demand, and imports are likely to fall this year, she said.At the same time, the rally in copper prices probably still has a few months to run, according to a recent note from Citigroup Inc., citing the lag between peak credit and peak demand. From around $9,850 a ton now, the bank expects copper to reach $12,200 by September.It’s a dynamic that’s also playing out in ferrous metals markets.“We’re still at an early phase of tightening in terms of money reaching projects,” said Tomas Gutierrez, an analyst at Kallanish Commodities Ltd. “Iron ore demand reacts with a lag of several months to tightening. Steel demand is still around record highs on the back of the economic recovery and ongoing investments, but is likely to pull back slightly by the end of the year.”For agriculture, credit tightening may only affect China’s soaring crop imports around the margins, said Ma Wenfeng, an analyst at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Co. Less cash in the system could soften domestic prices by curbing speculation, which may in turn reduce the small proportion of imports handled by private firms, he said.The wider trend is for China’s state-owned giants to keep importing grains to cover the nation’s domestic shortfall, to replenish state reserves and to meet trade deal obligations with the U.S.No DisasterMore broadly, Beijing’s policy tightening doesn’t spell disaster for commodities bulls. For one, the authorities are unlikely to accelerate deleveraging from this point, according the latest comments from the State Council, China’s cabinet.“Internal guidance from our macro department is that the country won’t tighten credit too much -- they just won’t loosen further,” said Harry Jiang, head of trading and research at Yonggang Resouces, a commodity trader in Shanghai. “We don’t have many concerns over credit tightening.”And in any case, raw materials markets are no longer almost entirely in thrall to Chinese demand.“In the past, the inflection point of industrial metal prices often coincides with that of China’s credit cycle,” said Larry Hu, chief China economist at Macquarie Group Ltd. “But that doesn’t mean it will be like that this time too, because the U.S. has unleashed much larger stimulus than China, and its demand is very strong.”Hu also pointed to caution among China’s leaders, who probably don’t want to risk choking off their much-admired recovery by sharp swings in policy.“I expect China’s property investment will slow down, but not by too much,” he said. “Infrastructure investment hasn’t changed too much in the past few years, and won’t this year either.”Additionally, China has been pumping up consumer spending as a lever for growth, and isn’t as reliant on infrastructure and property investment as it used to be, said Bruce Pang, head of macro and strategy research at China Renaissance Securities Hong Kong. The disruption to global commodities supply because of the pandemic is also a new factor that can support prices, he said.Other policy priorities, such as cutting steel production to make inroads on China’s climate pledges, or boosting the supply of energy products, whether domestically or via purchases from overseas, are other complicating factors when it comes to assessing import demand and prices for specific commodities, according to analysts.(Updates copper price in 11th 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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Hong Kong Exchange’s New CEO Is Put on Cleanup Duty

(Bloomberg) -- The veteran JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker who’s taking the helm at Hong Kong’s exchange has been put on cleanup duty.Chairman Laura Cha has handed Nicolas Aguzin, who takes charge Monday, the task of reviewing the exchange’s practices after a bribery scandal and censure from the regulator, according to people familiar with the matter. The 52-year-old former head of JPMorgan’s international private bank is seen by Cha as having the experience to force a cultural shake-up given his background at a heavily regulated bank, said the people, asking to remain anonymous discussing sensitive issues.Aguzin takes over as the bourse is delivering record earnings. His predecessor, Charles Li, oversaw a doubling of revenue during his decade in charge through acquisitions, loosened listing rules and, most importantly, trading links with mainland China. The easier oversight allowed the listing of Chinese technology giants such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and positioned it as the exchange-of-choice for mainland firms amid tensions with the U.S.But there has also been criticism that investor protections were sacrificed to win business. Over the past years, there has been a steady stream of flareups between the bourse and the regulator over IPO quality, the proliferation of shell companies and whether to allow dual class shares.“The HKEX has done a great job in market development, and has introduced measures to improve investor protection,” Sally Wong, CEO of Hong Kong Investment Funds Association, said in an email. “But it seems that issuers’ voices tend to prevail over that of the investors. We very much look forward to working with the new CEO to see how to strike a more appropriate balance to better safeguard investor interests.”Spokespeople for the exchange and the Securities and Futures Commission as well as Aguzin declined to comment.In a review released last year after the former IPO vetting co-head was arrested for bribery, the SFC discovered “numerous ambiguities” in the Chinese Wall between its listing and business divisions. Other issues highlighted last year include keeping track of share options and following up on complaints on withdrawn IPO applications.Cha had begun to tighten internal checks and balances for senior managers toward the end of Li’s tenure as well as assert more board control over hiring, people familiar have said. The exchange has halted the interactions between its listing and business units, according to the SFC review. Last week, in a joint statement with the SFC, the bourse vowed to better police its frothy IPO market, citing concerns about companies inflating their values, market manipulation and unusually high underwriting fees.Aguzin is expected by the board to prioritize the exchange’s role as a regulator alongside its growth ambitions, people familiar said.David Webb, a former HKEX director, investor and corporate governance activist, is skeptical the bourse will institute any meaningful reforms. “HKEX has, with government approval, lowered its standards to attract business, for example, by listing second-class shares with weak voting rights,” he said in an email. “It shows no sign of raising them again.”Investors have also urged the exchange to set rules requiring company boards to have a lead outside board member or an independent chair, according to Wong. “But it seems that the HKEX is not ready to even bring them up for market consultation.”The government is on board with Aguzin’s appointment, which comes at a fraught time after Beijing has tightened its grip on the city, raising questions about its continued status as an international financial hub.Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui said the three-tiered regulatory system comprising his department, the SFC and HKEX has worked well. Aguzin’s appointment embodies the city’s openness and its role as a gateway between China and the world, he said. “This is exactly what we will pursue.”Further deepening connections to China is seen as key to growth for the bourse, which also faces stiffer competition from mainland exchanges as China opens its financial markets.While Aguzin has worked in Asia for the past decade -- also serving as JPMorgan’s CEO of Asia Pacific from 2013 to 2020 -- he will be the first non-Chinese CEO of a bourse that often needs to deal with Beijing.Cha is well connected in China, having served as vice chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission. She has signaled that she sees the bourse’s role as serving Beijing’s interests and avoiding competition with the mainland, a person said familiar with the matter said last year.The push toward the mainland is not all welcome in China. Expanding the link to include several benchmark stocks has proved difficult, with one sticking point being whether to include shares like Alibaba Group, which are dual listed and with weighted voting rights.Even so, Cha said at the time of the appointment that Aguzin’s remit will include further strengthening the link to the mainland.Another board member, Fred Hu, said in an interview that “Aguzin is well positioned to take HKEX into the future, to further deepen the connectivity with China but also connectivity with the rest of the world.”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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China crypto mining business hit by Beijing crackdown, bitcoin tumbles

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Singapore clears LSE deal for Refinitiv after FX pledge

Singapore's competition authority has approved the London Stock Exchange Group's $27 billion acquisition of data and analytics company Refinitiv provided the bourse continues to offer certain foreign exchange benchmarks to rivals. The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS)gave the conditional approval after examining whether the deal, which transforms the 300 year old bourse into a one-stop shop for data, trading and analytics, threatened competition in the currency market. The LSE has committed to making Refinitiv's WM/Reuters foreign exchange benchmarks available to existing and future customers to provide index licencing services or clearing services in Singapore, CCCS said in a statement, adding that the commitment, effective from Monday, was for 10 years.