Plug Power (PLUG) secured an order from Carrefour Group, helping it to expand its operation in Europe.
Researchers analysed 47 widely available brands, and discovered 10 were contaminated with minuscule amountsThey are sold as being cleaner, healthier and purer than the water that spouts from the average French tap.Now, however, an investigation has discovered traces of pesticides and prescription drugs – including a medicine used to treat breast cancer – in almost one in five brands of bottled water on the shelves of France's supermarkets.While scientists say the contamination is minuscule and the water remains safe, consumer groups are warning of a "potential cocktail effect" for drinkers, and say the findings raise serious environmental concerns.The study was carried out by the consumer magazine 60 Millions de Consommateurs and the non-governmental organisation specialising in global water issues, Fondation France Libertés.Researchers analysed 47 brands of bottled water widely available in France, and discovered that 10 contained "residues from drugs or pesticides"."The biggest surprise was the presence of tamoxifen, a synthetic hormone used in the treatment of breast cancer," the magazine said. It reported finding traces of the powerful prescription drug in the popular brands Mont Roucous, St-Yorre, Salvetat, Saint Amand and the Carrefour discount label Céline Cristaline.It added the quantity was minute but "enough for us to question the purity of the original produce imposed by regulations covering mineral water".Traces of the prescription drugs buflomedil and naftidrofuryl, known as vasodilators and used to dilate arteries in those with high blood pressure, were found in Hepar and Saint Amand mineral waters.Molecules from pesticides banned in 2001 were found in bottles of Vittel, Volvic, Cora and Cristaline.After the mineral water companies contested the results, the magazine commissioned a second round of tests, which confirmed the first results."It's true the micropollutants found were present in very small quantities, but the range of them raises concerns about a potential cocktail effect," 60 Millions de Consommateurs reported."This is serious enough to call for a much bigger study," it added, calling for tighter controls on bottled waters to identify "new pollutants".Thomas Laurenceau, the magazine's editor, said: "What we found is not that one brand is more risky than another; there are no good and bad. The problem is across the whole range."The bottlers are extremely careful but it is worrying to see things there that shouldn't be there, even if they are in minuscule quantities."He added: "In the short term, there is absolutely no problem of quality and these waters are perfectly drinkable. We are talking about tiny traces, millionths of a micron, it's really minuscule".He said the inquiry did not question the honesty of those bottling the water but said there was "concern about the overall resource" in the light of environmental contamination by humans.In 2011, the magazine and France Libertés launched Opération Transparence, calling for greater testing of water supplies and in January published a map of tap water quality in France showing pollution limits were passed in 420 areas.In the latest report, Perrier water and Quézac were declared "clean" by the magazine.FranceFood & drink industryEuropeKim Willsherguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
В X5 Retail Group снова кадровые перемены. Ритейлер, в начале этого года активно ротировавший собственный топ-менеджмент, на этот раз поменял председателя набсовета. Компанию покидает Эрве Деффоре, которого бывший CEO X5 Лев Хасис называл не иначе как звездой ритейла.
Бессменный председатель наблюдательного совета X5 Retail Group (объединяет сети «Пятерочка», «Перекресток» и «Карусель») Эрве Деффоре покинул свой пост с 15 марта «по личным причинам», сообщила компания.
Argentina Announces Price Freeze to Control Inflation; Expect a Robust Black Market and Falling Tax Revenue
Argentina just announced price controls. Yet, common sense alone is all it takes to know that price controls cannot work. For example, if government sets prices too low, suppliers will not sell merchandise at a loss, and shortages will appear. It will not matter one bit what the official prices are, because it will be impossible to get merchandise at deep discounts to true market prices. It's as simple as that, yet politicians think they can halt the incoming tide by decree. Please consider Argentina Freezes Prices to Break Inflation Spiral. Argentina announced a two-month price freeze on supermarket products Monday in an effort to stop spiraling inflation. The price freeze applies to every product in all of the nation's largest supermarkets — a group including Walmart, Carrefour, Coto, Jumbo, Disco and other large chains. The companies' trade group, representing 70 percent of the Argentine supermarket sector, reached the accord with Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno, the government's news agency Telam reported. The commerce ministry wants consumers to keep receipts and complain to a hotline about any price hikes they see before April 1. Polls show Argentines worry most about inflation, which private economists estimate could reach 30 percent this year. The government says it's trying to hold the next union wage hikes to 20 percent, a figure that suggests how little anyone believes the official index that pegs annual inflation at just 10 percent. Expect a Robust Black Market The government's official CPI measurement is 10.8%, but no one believes that, especially with the government attempting to hold wage hikes to a mere 20%. Setting up a hotline is a waste of time and money. Actually, it's worse than that. If the hotline and other enforcement mechanisms succeed at anything, it will be to drive transactions to the black market. And then the government will lose tax revenue in the process. The more "success" the government has in suppressing illegal price hikes, the bigger the black market will become. Mike "Mish" Shedlock http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.comMike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Up until now, Argentina's descent into a hyperinflationary basket case, with a crashing currency and loss of outside funding was relatively moderate and controlled. All this is about to change. Today, in a futile attempt to halt inflation, the government of Cristina Kirchner announced a two-month price freeze on supermarket products. The price freeze applies to every product in all of the nation’s largest supermarkets — a group including Walmart, Carrefour, Coto, Jumbo, Disco and other large chains. The companies’ trade group, representing 70 percent of the Argentine supermarket sector, reached the accord with Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno, the government’s news agency Telam reported. As AP reports, "The commerce ministry wants consumers to keep receipts and complain to a hotline about any price hikes they see before April 1." Perhaps they will. What consumers will certainly do is scramble into local stores to take advantage of artificially-controlled prices knowing very well they have two short months to stock up on perishable goods at today's prices, before the country's inflation comes soaring back, only this time many of the local stores will not be around as their profit margins implode and as owners, especially of foreign-based chains, make the prudent decision to get out of Dodge while the getting's good and before the next steps, including such measures as nationalization, in the escalation into a full out hyperinflationary collapse, are taken by Argentina's female ruler. As such expect photos of empty shelves from Buenos Aires to start popping up in a few days, comparable to how threats of a gun and weapon ban by the US government did more for the top and bottom line of US arms dealers than any military conflict ever could. Sure enough: Economist Soledad Perez Duhalde of the abeceb.com consulting firm predicted on Monday that the price freeze will have only a very short term effect, and noted that similar moves in Argentina had failed to control inflation. Consumers shouldn’t be surprised if the supermarkets are slow to restock their shelves and offer fewer products for sale, she added. In other news Argentina, just like the rest of the "developed" world, appears to have a slight inflation tracking problem: Polls show Argentines worry most about inflation, which private economists estimate could reach 30 percent this year. The government says it’s trying to hold the next union wage hikes to 20 percent, a figure that suggests how little anyone believes the official index that pegs annual inflation at just 10 percent. The BLS has the solution: just exclude any product whose price is rising from your CPI calculation, and voila. For everything else there is a hedonic adjustment. The ironic comparison to the US does not end there however: A more effective way to contain inflation would be to “reduce government spending, which is financing an expansion of the money supply, and to have a credible price index.” Wait, are they still talking about Argentina or the US? The government announced the price freeze on the first business day after the International Monetary Fund formally censured Argentina for putting out inaccurate economic data. The IMF has given Argentina until September to bring its inflation and economic growth statistics up to international standards. If Argentina doesn’t comply, it could face expulsion from the world body in November. Well good thing the US complies with the IMF's stringent "seasonally adjusted" data reporting quality control. Or else, the US may have been expelled from the IMF too. And then who would fund the creeping bailout of Europe (aside from Germany of course)? The IMF censure “is not just a new error ... it’s also a clear example of the organization’s unequal treatment and double standards in regard to certain member countries,” Lorenzino said. “Argentina, just as it agreed with the IMF to do, will keep working to improve its statistical procedures in accordance with good international standards.” So to summarize: first capital controls, then a currency crisis, then expectations of sovereign default, then a rise in military tensions, and finally - price controls, after which all out chaos usually follows. Study this sequence well: it is coming to every "developed" country near you in the months and years ahead. But, as with every other hyperinflationary implosion, there is a silver lining: the stock market is soaring... ... at least in Peso terms. When priced in USD, the 360% stock market "rise" is more like -9% in the past 21 years. But luckily, the general public has a gene that prevents it from grasping the difference between nominal and real - something Ben Bernanke is very well aware of.
Retail figures in Spain have fallen for 30 successive months, the decline accelerating since latest austerity measures appliedIt was one of the most miserable Christmases on record for retailers in Spain as sales plunged last month in the midst of one of the worst consumer crises the recession-hit country has ever seen.With sales tax hikes biting, unemployment growing and many workers and pensioners watching the real values of their income fall, Spaniards kept their wallets tightly closed, helping to produce a 10.7% fall in sales in December compared with the same month in 2011.The retail slump actually accelerated, rising from a fall of 7.8% for November and an annual rate for 2012 of 6.8%. Retail sales in Spain have now fallen for 30 successive months, and the decline has quickened since the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, implemented further austerity measures to bring the budget into line.Major retailers such as the supermarket chain Carrefour and Ikea have reported falls in their Spanish stores. Trading data is not available for Inditex – the Spanish retail giant that owns Zara, Massimo Dutti and Stradivarius clothes stores – although it had already reported a slump of 1.3% in sales over the first six months of 2012.Rajoy's austerity-bound government increased VAT in September in an attempt to fill its coffers. The Christmas sales fall was a further sign that families have fewer euros to spend. Savings are also down, meaning the downturn is not just the result of frightened families trying to build up their savings.Spain's civil service union, CSI-F, claimed the Christmas sales slump could be blamed directly on decisions to suppress an extra monthly payment normally handed to public staff in December.Car and house sales are falling, suggesting the recession that prompted the economy to shrink by 1.4% last year will continue. Most analysts predict the economy will contract by a similar rate this year as the government seeks to cut the budget deficit further just as borrowing costs shoot up. Unemployment rose above 26% last month and is predicted to climb higher but the government insists the recession will bottom out this year and growth will return by 2014.On Monday night, Olli Rehn, the EU's economic and monetary affairs commissioner, hinted that the austerity programme may have to be relaxed: "If there has been a serious deterioration in the economy, we can propose an extension of a country's adjustment path … That's what we did last year in the case of Spain."Spain is understood to have missed the target of cutting its deficit to 6.3% of GDP in 2012, making it much harder to hit the 2013 goal of 4.5%.Clive Black, retail analyst at Shore Capital, said consumers in Spain, like those elsewhere in Europe, had been cutting back on non-food and discretionary spending to focus on essentials."Large stores have suffered more than small ones because they are in out-of-town locations which require a car. Not going to them reduces temptation and the use of petrol. Small stores, local stores and local supermarkets have gained market share because they are more accessible."Few British retailers are exposed to the Spanish market. Marks & Spencer has eight stores focused on expat enclaves such as Gran Canaria and Tenerife. But one brand with a significant presence in the country is the value retailer Primark, part of the UK-listed Associated British Foods.Primark has defied the woes of the Spanish economy and continued to expand its presence. It now operates 35 outlets in Spain, with six opening since October."It delivers very strong value credentials to customers," said Black. "Which in any market is a virtue, but especially when the market is facing an economic downturn of the magnitude of the downturn in southern Europe."Spanish media companies, meanwhile, expect advertising spending to fall almost twice as fast as thought in 2013. A poll released on Tuesday forecast advertising spending would fall 7% this year. Based on forecasts from sales and marketing directors at Spanish media groups, the survey from consultancy Zenith predicted Spain's battered advertising sector would not pick up until April 2014.SpainEuropeEurozone crisisEuropean UnionEuropean monetary unionEconomicsFinancial crisisEuroGlobal recessionGiles Tremlettguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
While the world's attention has focused on the US, the suffering and consequences for the Caribbean nation are far greaterWhen hurricane Sandy struck, Fifi Bouille was giving birth in a refugee camp. There were no medics around, only her sisters. Throughout the three-hour labour, rain beat down on the tent and fierce winds tugged at the canvas.Not long after the umbilical cord was cut, the gusts were so great that the sisters feared the covering would be ripped from above them, so the first-time mother had to carry her newborn son through muddy paths in the middle of the the storm to find new shelter "I was terrified my baby might die," says Bouille, who is now sharing a tent with six others. The danger of the storm has passed, but she is now faced by a new concern: how to feed her child and herself.The hurricane did not just take their tent, but their cooking utensils, bedding and meagre supplies of food. On Wednesday, she had one meal of corn. On Thursday, nothing."I need food, but I don't have enough money to buy it," she says. "Tell people we need nappies, cooking utensils, protein."Bouille is not alone in fearing that Sandy's aftermath may be more terrible than the storm itself for Haiti. Although the world's attention has mostly focused on the hurricane's impact on the United States, the short-term suffering and long-term consequences for this Caribbean nation – the poorest country in the western hemisphere – are far greater because so many people already live permanently on the edge of catastrophe.Bouille moved to the Marassa refugee camp after her home and family were destroyed by a devastating earthquake in January 2010. As with the storms before and after, the impact of that disaster was worsened by high levels of poverty, dire infrastructure and weak governance.Almost three years after the earthquake, 350,000 people in the capital of Port-au-Prince are still living in camps for displaced refugees.Over the past three years, hundreds who now live in the Marassa camp have been forced to flee twice: from homes destroyed in the quake, to tents which were ripped and flooded in the storm, and to a temporary shelter in a fire station. Since Sandy struck, the camp's inhabitants have rebuilt their simple church made of sheets of corrugated iron, but are still waiting for new tents and food supplies.Community leaders say cholera and hunger stalk the 3,500 camp residents, and starvation had claimed one life shortly before Sandy struck. Aid groups such as Oxfam have helped, but humanitarian support has ebbed in the past two years."We need food," said Mogaline Richard. "There have been promises, but nothing has come yet."Haitians of proud of their country's origins. Later this month, people will celebrate the great battle fought by sugarcane slaves against their French overlords that led to the establishment of the world's first black-led republic in 1804.But Johan Peleman, head of the United Nation's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, warns: "This country is very vulnerable. It has the world's worst cholera epidemic and 3.5% of people in the capital are still living in tents."Haiti was only hit by Sandy's tail, but 54 people died and 20 are still missing. Prime minister Laurent Lamothe described it as a "disaster of major proportions". There is little resentment that the US gets far more attention. Instead, the mood is more one of resignation that a catastrophe in a poor country is less of a story."This is not the first nor the last disaster we will have. We have seen so much worse that we are relieved there is only this," said Emmelie Prohete, a writer based in Port-au-Prince. "In New York, disasters do not happen every day so the media have a good catch. In Haiti, the disasters come everyday. Well, almost."Even before Sandy, Haiti had more cholera cases than the rest of the world put together. Almost 6% of the population have been affected and 7,500 people have died.To respond to the rush of cases this month, Médecins Sans Frontières have opened an extra cholera treatment centre in Carrefour, where the tents are now almost filled with 158 patients, including many young children.Ezechial Maxi, a journalism student, came in on Monday after being turned away by the general hospital. "The doctors were on strike because they have no medicine and they're not getting paid. I was crying. I knew I had cholera and thought I was going to die."After being put on an IV drip with a simple rehydrating formula, he has now almost fully recovered.Cholera is a disease of the poor. It is not difficult to avoid or treat if basic sanitation and clean water are available. But in much of Port-au-Prince, this is not the case. Many road are flooded. Street markets keep their food on the wet, rubbish-strewn and easily contaminated floor.Sandy will add to those risks, but, says Joan Arnan, the head of MSF's mission in Haiti: "When it goes away, there'll still be cholera and misery in this country. The problem here is structural. We're talking about a very fragile country that cannot respond. Unless there is more support for the international community, this situation will repeat itself every time there is a big storm."More than any single disaster, the danger is from a steady accumulation of problems and not just in the city.Sandy turned dirt roads and paths into deep, fast running streams in the village of Jacquet in the district of Gantheir, an hour north-east of Port-au-Prince. About three-quarters of the people in this community of 2,850 people had their homes destroyed. Most of the homes were built from the same mud that gushed down from the denuded mountainside. All that was left of the school was a few dozen breeze blocks, upended desks and a twisted blackboard that still had the lesson notes "history needs its documents" chalked up in French. The nearby football pitch and farm fields were filled with mud and rocks.Downstream, homes made of mud walls and tin roofs had either collapsed or been flooded. There were already seven people to a small room in some of them. Now the community is squashed tighter in the few homes that remain dry and strong."The water came into our homes at midnight. There was just a little at first, but by 4am it had turned into a torrent of mud that took away almost everything we owned," said Yanick Thelemarque, a mother of seven who has only eaten one meal in the past two days.Food insecurity is growing. More than 70% of crops, including bananas, plantains and maize, were destroyed in the south of the country, officials say."Our harvest is gone and we don't have enough money to buy anything so, after we brush our teeth in the morning, our mouths are empty for the whole day," Thelemarque said.For several villagers, this was the second or third time in three years that a disaster had ruined their homes.Jean-Tholere Cenat, a farmer, lost his house and crops of potatoes, beans and leaks. "The flood left us alive, but took our spirits," he says. "Tell people we need food and housing."In the past, food shortages have led to violence. The anger is already evident here. When the deputy mayor came to hear their problems, he was shouted down by a crowd yelling "We're hungry."Local people say it was not always this way. "Life was better for us 20 years ago, when schooling was free and a little land was enough to feed and family," says Jean-Carlo Prosper, who runs a non-governmental organisation that works with Oxfam to ease the problems and help people rebuild. "Now everything is more expensive. There are more people and the soil quality is worse because it has to be constantly cultivated."On the radio, people hear how the US has suffered as a result of Sandy and they sympathise. But, although it was the same storm, its impact seems to have played out in two different worlds.Reports that electricity was slowly being restored in New York contrasted here with villages that had no electricity to begin with.Dieula Geffrard lost her home and her husband in the 2010 earthquake. The refugee tent she and her four children moved into afterwards was destroyed by a storm the same year.Her portable home in Kafou Desruissaux, about an hour's drive from Port-au-Prince, has now been inundated with mud."My home wasn't strong enough to withstand the floods, which took away my bed, clothes and shoes," she says.She counts herself lucky, though, to be alive. After the waters subsided , she found the body of her neighbour, the town tailor. "This place has been forgotten," says Geffrard, "Please help us."Additional reporting: Jean-Daniel DeloneHaitiHurricane SandyAmericasUnited StatesNatural disasters and extreme weatherHurricanesJonathan Wattsguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
В четверг, 11 октября, ключевые фондовые индексы европейского региона продемонстрировали повышательную динамику, и лишь рынок Скандинавии закрылся в "красной" зоне. Новостной фон был довольно смешанным, однако, позитивная статистика по рынку труда США, положительные итоги аукциона в Италии, а также хорошие отчетности Burberry Group и Carrefour поддержали быков. Международное
Аседова Наталия, ведущий специалист отдела анализа мировых рынков ИК "ФИНАМ" В четверг, 11 октября, ключевые фондовые индексы европейского региона продемонстрировали повышательную динамику, и лишь рынок Скандинавии закрылся в "красной" зоне. Новостной фон был довольно смешанным, однако, позитивная статистика по рынку труда США, положительные итоги аукциона в Италии, а также хорошие отчетности Burberry Group и Carrefour поддержали быков. Читать далее...
Любая значимая новость может привести рынки в сильное движение, однако техническая картина складывае
В среду вечером рейтинговое агентство S&P понизило суверенный рейтинг Испании с "ВВ+" до "ВВ-". Инвесторы надеются на то, что понижение рейтинга подвигнет Испанию обратиться за помощью международных кредиторов, и долговое бремя еврозоны постепенно разрешится. Европейские индексы неуверенно растут на фоне неплохой отчетности за 1 полугодие и вдохновляющих прогнозов на 3 кв. крупных ритейлеров (Burberry Group PLC и Carrefour SA). Кроме того, на повестке дня остается греческий вопрос. Сегодня утром в Токио директор-распорядитель МВФ К. Лагард сказала, что Греции необходимо предоставить еще два года для того, чтобы были выполнены цели, намеченные в бюджете жесткой экономии. На 14:10 мск FTSE100 подрос на 0,34%, САС40 - на 0,36%, DAX - на 0,59%. Цена трехмесячного фьючерса на индекс SNP500 поднялась на 4.7 п. по сравнению с предыдущим закрытием. Нефтяной фьючерс на сорт wti к полудню подорожал на $0,58 до $91,93 за баррель.
European shares are mixed in early trading, with positive news in trading statements from French retailer Carrefour and British luxury goods group Burberry offsetting S&P's downgrade of Spain to BBB-, just one notch above junk status. EU Stoxx 50 -0.3%, London +0.2%, Paris +0.1%, Frankfurt +0.2%, Milan -0.7%, Madrid -1%.
European shares are mixed in early trading, with positive news in trading statements from French retailer Carrefour and British luxury goods group Burberry offsetting S&P's downgrade of Spain to BBB-, just one notch above junk status. EU Stoxx 50 -0.3%, London +0.2%, Paris +0.1%, Frankfurt +0.2%, Milan -0.7%, Madrid -1%. Post your comment!
MUMBAI, India (AP) — Wal-Mart plans to open retail outlets in India in the next 12 to 18 months, the company said Friday, making it the first multinational to jump on the government's decision to open the country's huge retail market to foreign players. Raj Jain, the managing director of Bharti Wal-Mart, a joint venture that operates 17 wholesale shops in India, confirmed by email that Wal-Mart plans to open direct to consumer stores over the next 18 months, but declined to say how many. India announced last week that it would allow foreign firms to take a majority stake in multi-brand stores for the first time. The surprise decision cheered investors but cost the ruling Congress Party an important coalition ally. New Delhi first tried to enact the measure last year, but backed down in the face of resistance from coalition partners, badly damaging its credibility with global investors. Prior to the reversal, foreign retailers like Wal-Mart could only operate wholesale outlets. Opponents say the move will cost Indians jobs and decimate millions of mom-and-pop shops. Advocates say welcoming players like Wal-Mart is necessary to attract the investment needed for India to modernize its food supply chains, reduce waste and bring down spiraling food prices. Under the new rules, individual states will have the right to decide whether to let the retailers operate from their territory. Only 10 of India's 35 states and territories which are controlled by the ruling Congress Party are likely to welcome foreign retailers initially, according to Eurasia Group analyst David Sloan. The rules also mandate that foreign retailers spend half their investment on building supply chain infrastructure and source 30 percent of manufactured goods from local small- and medium-sized companies. Foreign retailers are also restricted to India's 53 cities with populations exceeding 1 million. India's rules are more restrictive than those of China, Thailand, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia, all of which allow foreign investors 100 percent ownership in retail, according to Goldman Sachs. British-based Tesco PLC and French retailer Carrefour have also expressed interest in expanding in India.