Tag: 杭州桑拿

UK accused of schizophrenia over risk-sharing pensions policyUK accused of schizophrenia over risk-sharing pensions policy

first_imgThe UK government is pursuing a schizophrenic pensions policy and is unpicking the consensus between social partners that allowed for the introduction of auto-enrolment, a senior opposition politician has warned.In her first major pension policy speech since taking on the brief, shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves said the government should consider issuing longevity bonds to assist retirees and that the potential launch of collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes required stricter governance rules.She also warned that the government was unpicking the consensus around auto-enrolment by increasing the earnings threshold, and said it should be lowered by around £4,000 (€4,925) to allow for low-income workers to be automatically enrolled.Reeves, who has also shadowed pensions minister Steve Webb since becoming an MP in 2010, accused the government of not knowing where its pension policy was heading. “There seems to be [some] schizophrenia in the government,” she said, referencing recent relaxation of drawdown rules announced in this year’s Budget.“On one hand, it is pulling in the direction of more individualised schemes – it’s your pot of money and when you’re 55 you can do whatever you like with it,” she said.“On the other hand, this [question of] should we have a collective DC scheme, which, if it is going to work properly, we can’t have everyone taking their money out at 55 and not sharing that risk.”Michael Johnson of the Conservative-leaning Centre for Policy Studies also saw the tension between the Budget policy changes and the Department for Work & Pensions’ stated desire to reintroduce risk sharing – either through a new model of defined ambition (DA) pension, or the introduction of a framework for a collective DC system – as an opportunity for the opposition.“There is a great opportunity for the Labour Party to focus on what it is for our national identity – are we a nation of sharers, or are we a nation of individuals.”Reeves said it needed to be made clear that CDC schemes would expose members to a new set of risks and required “robust” governance mechanisms.“So opening the way to collective DC schemes makes it all the more important that the government take up our call to impose a legal requirement on all pension scheme providers to prioritise the interests of savers above those of shareholders – policed, where possible, by independent trustees.”The MP later added that trustees in CDC schemes would need to ensure the interests of all members, and not only those of pensioners, were protected to avoid active members subsidising the prior generation’s retirement. Reeves also announced that David Blake of the Cass Business School-based Pensions Institute had agreed to chair a policy taskforce for her party.The group, which would also include a representative from the employer lobby group CBI, would examine the role of the National Employment Savings Trust in allowing savers “to access good-quality retirement products” and help savers manage longevity risk.Reeves said the government could start issuing longevity bonds, a measure backed a decade ago by then-Bank of England governor Mervyn King to assist the annuity market.The OECD has in the past also urged governments worldwide to “kick-start” a longevity bond market to assist pension funds with their longevity risk.last_img read more

Warriors report: 3 things we learned from Day 5 of training campWarriors report: 3 things we learned from Day 5 of training camp

first_imgOAKLAND – The Warriors wrapped up Day 5 of training camp Monday afternoon.Here are three takeaways from the session.Patrick McCaw is again a no-showThe third-year guard opted not to attend his fifth straight practice as he decides whether to accept the Warriors’ $1.7 million qualifying offer. McCaw, who averaged 4.0 points, 1.4 assist and 1.4 rebounds last season, has until 11:59 pm ET Monday to accept the offer. However, according to sources, McCaw is mulling over a two-year, $4 …last_img read more

SA awards R31bn power contractsSA awards R31bn power contracts

first_img3 March 2008South African state-owned electricity company Eskom has awarded Alstom and Hitachi Power Africa contracts worth more than R31-billion to equip a new 4 740-megawatt coal-fired power station – dubbed “Project Bravo” – to be built in the Witbank area of Mpumalanga province.French company Alstom has secured an estimated R13-billion contract to supply turbines and related infrastructure, while Hitachi Power Africa – a venture between Germany-based Hitachi Power Europe and South African empowerment partners – has won an R18.5-billion contract to provide boilers for the new power station.Both companies were awarded similar contracts in November 2007 for “Project Medupi”, another coal-fired power station being constructed in Lephalale in South Africa’s Limpopo province.French connectionParis-based Alstom signed a contract worth more than €1.3-billion (around R13-billion) to provide six 790-megawatt steam turbine and turbo-generator packages, six air-cooled condensers and auxiliary equipment, as well as all associated erection and commissioning services for Project Bravo.The contract with Alstom was signed on Friday during a business summit in Cape Town, attended by South African President Thabo Mbeki and his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy.“Thanks to this contract, Alstom will again be able to make an important contribution to Eskom’s capital expansion programme to increase generation capacity,” Alstom executive vice-president Philippe Joubert said in a statement last week.“Our equipment is being used in about 80% of existing power stations in South Africa, providing us with crucial local experience.”As part of agreements signed during Sarkozy’s visit, a number of French engineers will come to South Africa to assist both the government and Eskom to deal better with the country’s energy shortage problems.Alstom has also won contracts to refurbish the 2 100-megawatt Arnot coal-fired power plant, adding an extra 300-megawatts to its power output by December 2010, as well as returning to service two mothballed plants, Grootvlei and Komati, which together will add an additional 2 161-megawatts to the grid by 2010.French-based Areva is also competing to build Eskom’s proposed nuclear power station, dubbed Nuclear 1, as well as a fleet of nuclear power stations which could eventually provide up to 20 000-megawatts of electricity to the national grid.Investment in education and skillsEngineering News reported last week that Eskom had awarded Hitachi Power Africa with a contract worth R18.5-billion to supply Project Bravo with boilers.“After the intense negotiations we are very proud to have been awarded the six utility steam generators for Bravo,” Hitachi Power Europe chief operating officer Klaus-Dieter Rennert told Engineering News, adding that the contract put the company in the position to increase employment opportunities and invest in education and skills development.Engineering News reported that more than 50% of the value of the contracts would be procured locally, creating thousands of jobs.SAinfo reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Markets Right Now Tech rout erases stocks gain for yearMarkets Right Now Tech rout erases stocks gain for year

first_imgNEW YORK — The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local):9:35 a.m.Stocks are opening sharply lower on Wall Street as a rout in major technology companies continued.Apple sank another 3.8 per cent in early trading Tuesday and Microsoft gave up 2.5 per cent.The early drops put major indexes back into the red for the year.Tech stocks were among the biggest decliners in Europe, too. Nokia, a big supplier of telecom networks, fell 4 per cent, while its Swedish rival Ericsson lost 3.5 per cent.The only stocks that rose were utilities and other safe-play companies.The S&P 500 fell 36 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 2,654.The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 421 points, or 1.7 per cent, to 24,598. The Nasdaq lost 133 points, or 1.9 per cent, to 6,893.Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 3.05 per cent.The Associated Presslast_img read more

‘Foolishness of DeMo, GST was not done by anyone in 70 years’‘Foolishness of DeMo, GST was not done by anyone in 70 years’

first_imgRaebareli (UP): Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his strident criticism of the Congress, party president Rahul Gandhi Saturday said in the last 70 years, the “foolishness of demonetisation and Gabbar Singh Tax” was not done by anybody.He was addressing an election meeting in Unchahar in Rabeareli from where UPA chairperson and his mother Sonia Gandhi is seeking re-election to the Lok Sabha. “In the past 70 years, the foolishness of demonetisation and Gabbar Singh Tax (Gandhi’s coinage for the Goods and Services Tax or GST) was not done by anyone,” Gandhi said. Also Read – Ajay Lamba takes oath as chief justice of Gauhati HCHis remarks come against the backdrop of repeated attacks by the prime minister on the Congress, holding it responsible for all ills since the country got Independence. “Chowkidar (watchman) has done ‘chori’ (theft) of factories and employment of people of Raebareli and Amethi (the Lok Sabha seat represented by the Congress chief),” he said. Rahul Gandhi also accused Modi of not wanting to fill 22 lakh vacant posts in the government. “Some 22 lakh jobs are vacant in the government. Modi did not want to fill these vacant posts and only wants to help his friends. We will give these 22 lakh jobs in one year and 10 lakh jobs in panchyats,” he said. Also Read – HC directs Centre to place Bihar IAS officer’s inter-cadre transfer plea before authoritiesThe Congress president asked the gathering, “Where are Anil Ambani, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi – in jail or outside? “If a farmer of Raebareli takes loan of Rs 20,000 and is unable to repay, he is sent to jail. From 2019, when our government will come to power no farmer will got to jail in such cases. We will bring a separate farmers’ budget in which they will get to know MSP, storm losses compensation, insurance details and what they will get when they suffer losses,” he said. Charging the prime minister of taking away money from “our pocket, your pocket”, he promised that the Congress will ensure that the people get back their money. “Modi has taken away money from your house, lied and fooled you and made you stand in queues telling you that it is fight against corruption and blackmoney. He fooled the country and took money from your pocket for a ‘chor’ (thief) like Anil Ambani,” Gandhi said. “Have you seen ‘Hindustan ke chor’ Anil Ambani, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya standing in a line,” he asked the gathering. Promising that Congress will “put back money in your pocket”, Gandhi said when people get money, they will start making purchases. “After demonetisation you stopped purchasing and factories stopped manufacturing giving rise to unemployment. Our ‘Nyay’ will give jobs.” Nyuntam Aay Yojana (Nyay) is the party’s ambitious minimum income guarantee scheme, which assures up to Rs 72,000 a year or Rs 6,000 a month income to 20 per cent of India’s poorest families. “Whatever we do is well thought. It’s impossible to give Rs 15 lakh in every bank account as economy will collapse. But giving Rs 3.60 lakh individually is possible in five years with Rs 72,000 per year,” he said. Stating that in the present regime, crop insurance money was not given to farmers, Gandhi said, “Entire work of insurance has been given to people like Anil Ambani. You give money for insurance but when you face loss you are not compensated. Rs 10,000 crore have been taken from farmers and given to people like Anil Ambani…”last_img read more

Beyond brownfield assetsBeyond brownfield assets

first_imgGiven the size of the Indian economy and expectations of future growth, infrastructure remains a crucial area of focus for both financial and strategic investors alike. As capital flow gradually picks up in the sector over the last five years and operational assets are bought out, the obvious question is: What next in terms of infrastructure projects? The last few years have seen a significant focus from a plethora of global infrastructure investors in India, especially in the transportation and energy sectors. The primary strategy has been buying out companies or a portfolio of operational brownfield projects. Sellers of such projects have been motivated by the need to reduce their debt and in some cases carve out non-core assets. Buyers of brownfield assets have been motivated by getting access to assets that are operational, thereby giving them a foothold in the Indian market. Also Read – A special kind of bondHowever, as brownfield assets see more capital pursuing them, we see two trends emerging. Firstly, high-quality brownfield assets for sale are fewer now, given the capital inflow over the last few years. Secondly, given the increased competition, from an investor’s perspective, due to the yield compression in brownfield assets, the returns available may not be in proportion to the underlying risk. Therefore, the need for investors to move beyond brownfield assets is one that needs attention. Also Read – Insider threat managementFor India, focused investors such as pension funds and private equity funds, the requirement to look beyond brownfield infrastructure assets were in the works for a while. Mainly, extending further out on the risk curve is required to deploy more capital to work. Beyond brownfield assets, investors must now consider assets that aren’t necessarily purely greenfield but are under-construction and close to completion. The move towards under-construction projects will allow investors access to a larger pool of assets to choose from. Given the still strained balance sheets in the infrastructure sector, opportunities exist that need to be tapped. The move towards assets that aren’t operational or a portfolio of such assets is a natural progression in the market. The vital question is the valuation of such assets. Fundamentally, for distressed projects and under-construction projects, there is a potential for unlocking value by investors accessing such projects. Acquiring projects suffering from either time and cost overruns, or both for that matter, at attractive valuations is the key. The seller of such assets can unlock much-needed capital, and the users of such assets can hope to access the much-needed infrastructure sooner. In effect, investors will have to be more “hands-on” in approaching under-construction projects. The need for a more operationally intensive plan will require financial investors to team up with operator companies. Such partnerships will take a variety of forms ranging from joint ventures to the utilisation of financial vehicles that allow for partnerships between operators and capital providers. For operational industry players such as integrated energy businesses, an opportunity exists wherein they can potentially utilise their operational expertise to get an edge in the infrastructure market. The recent deal in which Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) monetised a pool of arbitration awards is a variant of this strategy, and a deal that displays how investors can unlock value through moving higher on the risk curve. In this particular case, HCC gets access to much-needed liquidity and the investors, the Blackrock-led consortium, get an opportunity to utilise their long-term capital to generate investment returns. Over the past few years, the investor interest in accessing high-quality brownfield assets to deploy capital has been a natural first step taken by both large and small players entering Indian markets. Given the constrained balance sheets of many Indian businesses especially infrastructure companies has meant that carving out and monetisation of assets to reduce debt was a natural progression in the market. However, in a multi-decade time horizon, given India’s vast infrastructure needs, a move higher on the risk curve towards under-construction projects to be able to deploy more significant amounts of capital is only natural. From an investor perspective, accessing non-brownfield projects implies dealing with three primary issues around land acquisition, construction risk, and an effective infrastructure-linked ecosystem. The immediate investment focus must shift towards projects or portfolios of projects where risk linked to the latter two must be undertaken, while land acquisition issues have primarily been resolved. The capacity of investors and the strategies adopted to deal with non-brownfield projects will lead to increased infrastructure investments and will expedite infrastructure creation. Investors and the government will have to keep a keen eye on any policy changes that might be needed as the market evolves with increasing amounts of capital looking towards incomplete and yet attractive infrastructure assets. (The author heads Development Tracks, an infrastructure advisory firm. Views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

In This Issue   Euro data disappoints   AIn This Issue   Euro data disappoints   A

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Euro data disappoints. *  A$ gets push back. *  Gold holds strong at $1,250. *  James Rickards on inflation. And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Another Recession For The U.S. In 2014?. Good Day!  And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Well, the weather-guessers were wrong about the blizzard yesterday, but. this morning, there’s still a chance they may be right, late, but right.  I slipped and skidded in this morning, the roads hadn’t been touched, but I guess I need new tires, for I wasn’t getting much traction! Tires are important I get that! But I hadn’t experienced any problems up until this morning. So. warning well received! I guess what hit us yesterday and still this morning is on its way east, so you’ve got that going for you, if you live east of St. Louis!  I heard that term I used above while I was gone, and thought it to be so apropos. “weather-guessers”. Well, the “economy-guessers” are really taking a blow to the gut these days, I mean this scenario of starting the year, with thoughts that “this was going to be year the economy soars” that has played for 5 consecutive years, is beginning to show its true colors once again, and one day, instead of asking the Goldman’s, Merrill’s, Deutsche’s, or even Paul Krugman, they’ll call up Chuck, and say, “What are you thinking about the economy this year?”  HA! The currencies are searching for a bid these days, trading in the same clothes day after day.  Stuck in the mud is what they are, but I guess that’s better than getting sold for no reason!  This morning, the euro has backed off a bit on news that Eurozone Retail Sales dropped -1.6% from December, and -1.0% annually. The final aggregate PMI reading for the Eurozone, was 52.9 which was a bit softer than the November print of 53.2.  So, all-in-all, not good data for the Eurozone this morning, and thus the weaker euro as I write. The Aussie dollar (A$), which has enjoyed the first two days of this week’s trading, saw some push back overnight when it was learned that even though the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) had dropped their language about the currency being too strong, and that they were satisfied with the current rate structure, some Aussie banks are still saying they believe another rate cut is coming. This is the type of stuff that usually has a knee-jerk reaction for a currency and then its swept under the rug, as I suspect this will be the case here. You know, the IMM futures positions showed that going into last week there were a record number of short positions in the A$… But when the RBA made their comments earlier this week, that caused the majority of those short positions to be closed out, and thus we had the A$ rally going on.  The A$ will need a new reason to buy the currency after the short position close out, so be careful reading a long term rally into this move by the A$ this week. I continue to prefer the New Zealand dollar / kiwi right now given the rate hike prospects for the currency. As I told you yesterday, I see the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) getting around to that long awaited rate hike at the March meeting. I know,  a lot can happen between now and the March meeting, that could change that outlook. But, I’m pretty solid in my boots on this one folks. But overall, we’re seeing the tight ranges that I talked about above hold true to form this morning.  Gold, on the other hand, found a bid late yesterday afternoon, and was able to carve out a small gain, but that was significant because it kept the shiny metal above the $1,250 level that I told you I believe is psychological, and this morning Gold has added a shekel or two to its value. I told you the past couple of days how I was seeing more bullish talk about Gold once again, and it continued yesterday as I read an article by the Casey Research team written by an acquaintance, Bud Conrad, on why he felt Gold should be bought right now! And then I also spent a long time reading James Rickards’ latest article, that I found on Google+. I’m going to highlight this article in the FWIW section today, but just to whet your whistle, here’s James Rickards talking about inflation here in the U.S.  I took this from the 5 Minute Forecast. These guys do such a great job each day. “The Fed is trying to tip the psychology of the consumer toward spending,” explains Currency Wars author Jim Rickards in a recent Op-Ed. “This is extremely difficult to do in the short run. “But once you change the psychology,” he adds, “it is extremely difficult to change it back again. If the Fed succeeds in raising inflationary expectations, those expectations may quickly get out of control, as they did in the 1970s. This means that instead of inflation leveling off at 3%, inflation may quickly jump to 7% or higher. The Fed believes they can dial down the thermostat if this happens, but they will discover that the psychology is not easy to reverse and inflation will run out of control.” Boy the Richard Russell article snippet I gave you yesterday was well received by quite a few readers who wrote to tell me so.  That was great! If you missed it, you can certainly read yesterday’s Pfennig on the Pfennig blog site at: www.dailypfennig.com My friend, Jim Powell, a great writer, I must add, had a great line in his latest newsletter. “in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king”. he believes that the remark describes the U.S.  quite well!  My question would be, but for how much longer?  I also heard a strange comment last week in Orlando from someone that attended my talk on China. She told me that she attended a presentation by a well known writer, and he said that China won’t ever have the reserve currency of the world, because, the reserve currency has always belonged to the country that had the best navy.  Well. that may be. now.   But what about the future? As I always say, I’m not saying that the Chinese renminbi / yuan is going to replace the dollar as the reserve currency today, tomorrow, next week, month or even year, but it’s going to happen, just watch. The U.S. Data Cupboard, which hasn’t been a place of refuge for the dollar lately, is taking another breather today with only the ADP Employment Change report  and Mortgage Applications printing today. There some other stuff, but it’s all minor league stuff. Yesterday, December Factory Orders fell -1.5%, wiping out the November gain of 1.5%… So, two months running, Factory Orders were nil. And that pretty much describes the U.S. economy. But, not according the Fed Heads, who see through their rose colored glasses an economy strong enough to taper stimulus, but not strong enough to hike interest rates.. Hmmm. strange, I know, but it is what it is. The price of Oil has been rising steadily this past week, and this morning is trading with a $98 handle. The usually strong pull that the price of Oil has on the petrol currencies that include: Canada, Norway, Brazil, Russia, U.K., and Mexico, has failed to materialize this time around. I would think that eventually these petrol currencies will play catch up, should the price of Oil continue to be strong. But for now, they are ignoring the rise in the price of Oil. The Emerging Markets have really been on the skids since the Fed’s first Taper announcement. But the past couple of days have seen these markets gain some relative calm, and even gain a shekel or two. I’m writing an article for the World Money Analyst on the Emerging Markets this month (due next week! ) And while I’m thinking that short term (this year) these markets could see weakness, I also think that long term, this is where the majority of the global growth will come from. For What It’s Worth.  OK. this might be a little long, but well worth the read, as James Rickards, author of Currency Wars, talks about how the U.S. will most likely experience a recession this year. Let’s listen in. “The end of any recession marks the start of a new recovery. Since mid-2009 economic cheerleaders have consistently suggested that the recovery was gaining strength and that growth was moving back to its long-term trend of about 3.5% per year. In the summer of 2009, talking heads spoke of “green shoots.” In early 2010, Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner predicted a “recovery summer.” Every year since, economists have predicted strong growth in the second half of the year and every year those expectations have been disappointed. In fact, the current recovery has been one of the weakest on record with total jobs, labor force participation and real incomes all below the peaks they reached in 2007, and growth has been well below its potential. There has been a recovery in the stock market, and housing prices have recovered some of their losses, but these trends should be viewed as asset bubbles resulting from Fed easy money policies and not solid indicators of real growth. In fact, there is good reason to believe that the economy is heading for another recession soon, rather than the more robust growth economists keep predicting. Throughout this recovery, the economic fundamentals have never been strong. More than 50 million Americans are on food stamps, 26 million Americans are either unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking for work, 11 million Americans are claiming disability payments – effectively a new form of unemployment insurance, and labor force participation is at the lowest level since 1978 when women began to enter the workforce in great numbers. These data are consistent with a depression. By themselves, these fundamentals do not mean the economy is technically in recession, but when combined with other developments, it appears that a new recession may be looming. The first issue is longevity. The average postwar recovery lasted 57 months and this recovery is now 54 months old. This does not mean that a new recession must begin soon, but it is certainly a sober backdrop against which to consider other data. It means that a recession in 2014 is a likely possibility. Other factors are equally downbeat. The Gallup organization reports that 2013 holiday spending plans are down 10% from 2012 levels and 19% from the levels of 2007. The last two times Gallup showed a year-over-year slump in holiday spending plans, the economy did enter a recession soon after. Other recent data show declining home sales and declining home prices. These data are all consistent with a new recession despite booming stock markets.” Chuck again, Mr. Rickards goes on with thoughts on why he thinks a recession is in the cards for the U.S. this year, and you can read it all here if you like by clicking here: https://sp2.img.hsyaolu.com.cn/wp-shlf1314/2031/IMG11207.jpg” alt=”last_img” /> read more