Column: Coal optimism in Australia hides unease about long-term problems FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:BRISBANE—Coal miners supplying Asia’s rapidly growing economies have plenty to be optimistic about as prices and demand appear robust, but they should be wary of getting caught up in the positive feedback loop that nearly destroyed them before.This week’s inaugural Energy Mines and Money conference in Brisbane, the heartland of the industry in top coal exporter Australia, was a sea of optimism about the outlook for the industry. Prices have been on an upward trend since bottoming in 2016 after five years of losses, and miners are once again making good profits amid strong demand from top importers China and India, new consumers such as Pakistan and the reliable veteran buyers like Japan and South Korea.But at the back of the minds of many Australian miners is the fear that they have seen this movie before, and they don’t want the same ending. In 2012, the industry was cock-a-hoop over forecasts that pointed to massive import demand growth in Asia, led by China and India. Problem was it was pretty much all wrong.A well-respected industry consultant and forecaster boldly claimed in early 2012 that China would be importing 1 billion tonnes of coal by 2030, and India would be up to 400 million tonnes. But these forecasts now look hopelessly optimistic, given China’s coal imports were 270.9 million tonnes in 2017. While imports have risen for two years, they are still well below the record 327.2 million tonnes from 2013. While China’s coal imports may rise slightly this year, it’s unlikely they will reach 300 million tonnes, and that 1 billion tonne forecast looks well out of reach.The [new] optimistic forecasts also fail to account for political pressure to move away from coal, not only in China, but increasingly in India. It’s likely that those countries planning on building coal plants powered by imports will also come under mounting pressure from environmental activists, who have become increasingly sophisticated in targeting how coal plants are financed and insured.In fact, if there was another common theme to this week’s conference in Brisbane, it’s that the coal sector still doesn’t fully grasp that array of forces now being deployed against it. The mantra of coal as ‘cheap and reliable and the only way to electrify the masses of people still without power’ was still repeated, and clearly believed.But scratch a little further and miners will tell you of the incredible difficulties in developing projects, with increased government scrutiny and regulation, the rising threat of public opposition and the dearth of financing, notwithstanding a seemingly large pool of investment funds. The inability of India’s Adani to actually start building its Carmichael mine in Queensland, the world’s largest planned mine aimed at supplying the seaborne market, plays on the industry’s mind, as does the virulent public opposition to the mine’s development.More: COLUMN-Resurgent coal exporters should be wary of blinkered optimism: Russell
12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr My family recently took a road trip spanning several thousand miles. With spotty cell coverage for much of the drive, I had a lot of time to look at billboards – how they are used, what they promote and what goal they are trying to achieve. If you work for the many financial institutions that struggle with whether or not to spend money on billboards, or with what message to advertise, these observations may help you clarify your decision.Three objectivesThe majority of billboard advertising fell into one of three categories. They were either promoting brand awareness, promoting a restaurant/entertainment venue at a specific exit or displaying a public service message (i.e. save water, go to church, don’t start forest fires, etc.). These are the only three objectives financial institutions should consider when incorporating billboards into their marketing plan. I saw a lot of billboards across 2,000 miles, and I don’t recall seeing one billboard promoting a specific product or rate. What differentiates your brand from others? That’s what you want on your billboard. A good example is this image of a McDonald’s billboard differentiating itself from expensive coffee places. continue reading »
Topics : “We’ll be prioritizing the vulnerable populations,” Varela said at the Mexican president’s daily news conference, noting that the pricing, while still not final, was not expected to exceed $4 per dose. That could bring the cost of the first 150 million doses to $600 million.Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador hailed the agreement as “good news” for Mexico, and said the vaccine would be distributed without cost in the country, which ranks third worldwide in number of fatalities.Lopez Obrador said he expected the country to still be suffering from the pandemic by the time the vaccine goes into production.Argentina’s president flagged the agreement with Mexico and AstraZeneca, Britain’s second-largest drugmaker, on Wednesday, noting that the initial supply is meant to reach all Latin America except Brazil. Production of 400 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for Latin America could begin early next year, an executive for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc said on Thursday, as the region’s coronavirus death toll stands at nearly 230,000.In partnership with the Mexican and Argentinean governments, AstraZeneca plans to initially produce 150 million doses, and eventually make at least 400 million for distribution throughout the region, said Sylvia Varela, head of AstraZeneca Mexico.Home to some 650 million people, Latin America has registered the world’s highest tallies for coronavirus cases and deaths, with Brazil and Mexico trailing only the United States in record numbers of fatalities. Brazil earlier this month committed $355 million to purchase and produce the AstraZeneca vaccine.The Mexico-Argentina plan, whose cost is unclear, has significant funding from the foundation of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. A spokesman declined to give a sum.Varela said Phase III trials taking place in the United States, South Africa, England and Brazil were expected to conclude by November or December, after which the company would seek government approvals.If granted, the company would then transfer technology to Argentina’s INSUD Group and Mexico’s Laboratorios Liomont at the end of the year, and begin manufacturing in the first quarter of 2021, she said.The active substance in the vaccine would be made in Argentina and sent to Mexico to be completed for distribution, Varela said.