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DAMIETTA, Egypt, June 18, 2018 (MENA) - Two container ships and two cargo vessels have arrived at the Egyptian Port of Damietta over the past 24 hours.

Seventeen other vessels are docked at the anchorage area waiting for their entry procedures to be completed, a statement by the Damietta Port Authority said Monday.

Two trains laden with 2,642 tons of wheat and 108 trucks carrying 5,872 tons of wheat left the port, the statement added.

SARASOTA, (United States), June 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Along sun-splashed shorelines in the US state of Florida, home prices are on the rise, developers are busy building new complexes, and listings just blocks from the beach describe homes that are "not in a flood zone," meaning no flood insurance is required.

But experts warn that ignoring sea level rise won't prevent a looming economic crisis caused by water-logged homes that will someday become unsafe, uninhabitable and too costly to insure.

A reality check may come sooner than many may think, according to a report out Monday by the Union of Concerned Scientists, which finds as many as 64,000 coastal residences worth $26 billion in Florida are at risk of chronic flooding in the next 30 years, the life of a typical mortgage.

Across the United States, 311,000 coastal homes with a collective market value of about $120 billion in Monday's dollars are at risk of chronic flooding by 2045, it said.

By century's end, if current trends continue, more than $1 trillion in commercial and private US property may be at risk, "with Florida's coastal real estate among the most exposed," said the report.

And it's not because of the increased risk of hurricanes or storm surge.

Rather, the danger comes from flooding due to high tides -- sometimes called sunny day floods, or nuisance flooding -- when waterpools into streets, sidewalks, storefronts and homes.

"This risk is relatively near-term, well before places go underwater completely, and even in the absence of storms," said Rachel Cleetus, lead economist and policy director with the Climate and Energy program at the UCS.

Coastal real estate markets are not currently factoring in these risks, she said.

"But market perceptions can shift and they can shift quickly in some places," she added, describing a market correction as "inevitable."

To make the risks clearer to people, UCS released a searchable online map that shows where the danger is greatest, available atwww.ucsusa.org/underwater.

The online realty site Zillow provided data for the analysis but did not take part in the scientific research.

The projections use a high-end scenario for sea level rise because that is an "appropriately conservative projection to use" when estimating risk to homes, often people's largest asset, Cleetus said.

Chronic inundation is defined in the report as flooding that happens at least 26 times a year.

By 2045, rising seas are expected to bring an extra 1.8 feet (55 centimeters) of water along Florida's coast, according to the UCS report.

By 2100, Florida can expect an average of 6.4 extra feet of water -- an awful lot given that the state's average elevation above sea level is only about six feet, with many places three feet or below. "This is a slow-moving disaster," said Cleetus.

The low-lying Tampa Bay area, Miami and The Keys island chain face the most peril from sea level rise.

One worry is that insurance premiums will increase so much that coastal homes become unaffordable for those with fixed or lower incomes.

Local governments may decide to cut power and water to flooded neighborhoods.

Many will risk losing their largest financial asset -- their homes -- and municipalities will forfeit huge amounts of revenue from property taxes.

In Florida alone, the "homes at risk by 2100 currently contribute roughly $5 billion collectively in annual property tax revenue," said the report.

SINGAPORE, June 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Google will invest $550 million in Chinese e-commerce powerhouse JD.com, part of the US internet giant’s efforts to expand its presence in fast-growing Asian markets and battle rivals including Amazon.com.

The two companies described the investment as one piece of a broader partnership that will include the promotion of JD.com products on Google’s shopping service. This could help JD.com expand beyond its base in China and Southeast Asia and establish a meaningful presence in US and European markets.

Company officials said the agreement initially would not involve any major new Google initiatives in China, where the company’s main services are blocked over its refusal to censor search results in line with local laws.

JD.com’s investors include Chinese social media powerhouse Tencent Holdings Ltd, the arch-rival of Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, and Walmart Inc.

Google is stepping up its investments across Asia, where a rapidly growing middle class and a lack of infrastructure in retail, finance and other areas have made it a battleground for US and Chinese internet giants. Google recently took a stake in Indonesian ride-hailing firm Go-Jek, and sources have told Reuters that it may also invest in Indian e-commerce upstart Flipkart.

Google declined to comment on the rumored Flipkart deal. The JD.com investment is being made by the operating unit of Google rather than one of parent company Alphabet’s investment vehicles.

Google will get 27.1 million newly issued JD.com Class A ordinary shares as part of the deal. This will give them less than a 1 percent stake in JD, a spokesman for JD said.

For JD.com, the Google deal shows its determination to build a set of global alliances as it seeks to counter Alibaba, which has been more focused on forging domestic retail tie-ups. Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, which is making big internet investments around the globe, is a major investor in Alibaba.

“This partnership with Google opens up a broad range of possibilities to offer a superior retail experience to consumers throughout the world,” said Jianwen Liao, JD.com’s chief strategy officer, in a statement.

 

LONDON, June 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Cryptocurrencies are not scalable and are more likely to suffer a breakdown in trust and efficiency the greater the number of people using them, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) said on Sunday in its latest warning about the rise of virtual currencies.

For any form of money to work across large networks it requires trust in the stability of its value and in its ability to scale efficiently, the BIS, an umbrella group for the world’s central banks, said in its annual report.

But trust can disappear instantly because of the fragility of the decentralized networks on which cryptocurrencies depend, the BIS said.

Those networks are also prone to congestion the bigger they become, according to the BIS, which noted the high transaction fees of the best-known digital currency, bitcoin, and the limited number of transactions per second they can handle.

“Trust can evaporate at any time because of the fragility of the decentralised consensus through which transactions are recorded,” the Switzerland-based group said in its report.

“Not only does this call into question the finality of individual payments, it also means that a cryptocurrency can simply stop functioning, resulting in a complete loss of value.”

The BIS’ head of research, Hyun Song Shin, said sovereign money had value because it had users, but many people holding cryptocurrencies did so often purely for speculative purposes.

“Without users, it would simply be a worthless token. That’s true whether it’s a piece of paper with a face on it, or a digital token,” he said, comparing virtual coins to baseball cards or Tamagotchi.

The dependency of users on so-called miners to record and verify crypto transactions is also flawed, according to the BIS, requiring vast and costly energy use.

It has issued a series of warnings this year after an explosive rise in cryptocurrency values attracted a wave of followers.

 

 

TOKYO, June 18, 2018 (News Wires) - The dollar edged up towards a seven-month high on Monday as investors bet the United States and China would avoid a full-blown trade war, although tensions between the two slowed its gains.

The dollar index versus a basket of six major currencies crept up 0.1 percent to 94.862.

The index was close to 95.131, a peak scaled on Friday, thanks to the dollar soaring more than 1 percent last week after the US Federal Reserve gave a hawkish signal on interest rates while the European Central Bank struck a dovish tone.

On top of last week’s Fed, ECB and the Bank of Japan policy meetings, the currency markets also weighed a US-North Korea summit and the renewed trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.

The greenback navigated through those events, last of which was a decision by the United States on Friday to enact tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods. Soon afterward, China’s official Xinhua news agency said Beijing would impose 25 percent tariffs on 659 US products, ranging from soybeans and autos to seafood.

“The reaction by currencies to the trade developments has been mostly limited as the US measure and China’s response were in line with expectations,” said Yukio Ishizuki, senior currency strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.

“A further escalation of US-China trade tensions is of course a risk scenario. But the current tariffs, even if implemented, will hardly dent the global economy and the market also has to ponder about a scenario in which the two countries try to defuse tensions.”

The dollar was down 0.2 percent at 110.44 yen, weighed down as risk appetites cooled on the back of falling Tokyo shares.

The Nikkei fell on Monday with sentiment hurt by a combination of trade concerns and a strong earthquake that hit the western Japanese city of Osaka.

Even when natural disasters and regional tensions hit close to home, the yen is often viewed as a safe haven currency, partly because of the resilience provided by Japan’s current account surplus.

Despite the slip, the dollar managed to stay in reach of a three-week high of 110.905 yen brushed on Friday.

The euro fell 0.15 percent to $1.1592, extending losses after sliding 1.3 percent the previous week after the ECB signalled it will keep interest rates at record lows well into next year.

Commodity-linked currencies sagged on the back of sliding crude oil prices.

The Canadian dollar traded at C$1.3184 per dollar after retreating to a one-year low of C$1.3210 on Friday.

The Australian dollar was little changed at $0.7442 after plumbing a five-week low of $0.7426 and the New Zealand dollar lost 0.25 percent to $0.6928 .

Brent crude futures fell to a six-week low of $72.45 a barrel on Monday in the wake of reports that top suppliers Saudi Arabia and Russia would likely increase production at the June 22 OPEC meeting in Vienna.

The OPEC meeting “will be one of this week’s key events due to the way oil prices shape economic and price views and thus impact yields and currencies,” said Koji Fukaya, president at FPG Securities in Tokyo.

OSLO, June 18, 2018 (News Wires) - At least 25 percent of the plastics used in new Volvo car models from 2025 will be from recycled materials, the Chinese-owned company said on Monday in an anti-pollution plan praised by the United Nations.

Recycled plastics - such as from fishing nets or old bottles in car dashboards or carpets, would not affect safety or quality, Stuart Templar, director for sustainability at Volvo Cars, said. “We think this makes business sense,” he said.

Many big companies are designing products that can be recycled after use to limit pollution. Volvo’s plan goes a step further by building ever more recycled materials into its production lines.

“Volvo Cars is committed to minimizing its global environmental footprint,” Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars, which is owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd, said in a statement.

Volvo said it was in talks with plastics producers to achieve its “ambition that from 2025, at least 25 percent of the plastics used in every newly launched Volvo car will be made from recycled material.”

Volvo sold 570,000 cars last year, with about five percent of plastics in its cars currently made from recycled materials.

 

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