Tag Archives: focus

Agribusiness devours the Brazilian ‘Cerrado’ savanna | Instant News



FOCUS © FRANCE 24

By:

Fanny LOTHAIRE

|
Louise RAULAIS

|
VICKERY Team

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Brazilian soybeans have never sold well, due to the collapse in the value of the Brazilian currency and trade tensions between the US and China. Production of the world’s largest exporter hit a record high this year, especially in the western state of Bahia. But intensive agricultural development has eaten up 50 percent of the “Cerrado” vegetation, a type of tropical savanna. As a result, water resources are depleted, ecosystems are destroyed and small farming communities are deprived. Our Brazilian correspondent reports.

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Lockdown 2.0: Food companies overhaul production to put more toilet paper and pasta sauce in stores | Instant News


CHICAGO / LISBON (Reuters) – When rumors first started circulating that Britain was returning to lockdown, Leanne Barnes was desperate when bread and toilet paper flew off the shelves again at her local supermarket. But surprisingly, the shelves filled up again in a few days.

FILE PHOTO: A worker in a face shield inspects a product on a grocery store shelf in the Manhattan borough in New York City, New York, USA, August 7, 2020. REUTERS / Carlo Allegri / File Photo

Barnes last time filled his kitchen with some comforting additions – macaroni cheese, ravioli, soup and spaghetti. But until last week, he said he had no desire to hoard things.

So far, consumers haven’t returned to the food buying frenzy that made packaged food manufacturers scramble earlier this year.

At the same time, major food companies – including Campbell Soup CPB.N, Kraft Heinz KHC.O and McCormick & Co MKC.N – have told Reuters or have said publicly that they have taken action such as changing production, packaging or pricing so retailers can keep shelf stock.

Their steps include expanding manufacturing, hiring more workers, rerouting products from restaurants to grocery stores, and switching to larger packaging sizes. Many of their moves come at high financial costs.

Economists say shoppers recognize that they cannot afford to overspend and, therefore, are less likely to overpurchase.

Consumers are more likely to refrain from hoarding goods – even with significant promotional offers – because the economy is weak and they want to save financial resources, according to Benny Mantin, director of the Luxembourg Center for Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

A Reuters analysis of a basket of goods shows buyers are buying far less in the United States and Europe than they did earlier this year at the start of the first round of lockdowns.

(Click here for a chart of consumer spending patterns in the United States tmsnrt.rs/2IvYJkk, Germany tmsnrt.rs/3lDqtCl and Great Britain tmsnrt.rs/36yzbew.)

But for consumer firms, the financial consequences of a rapid increase in production were severe.

Beyond the Meat BYND.O Third-quarter sales growth slowed and the company on Monday posted a net loss of $ 19.3 million, partly due to higher costs of retooling its supply chain to meet grocery demand earlier this year, and what it described as less “retail hoarding” over the years. the quarter.

Spice maker McCormick’s costs have surged in the last two quarters and is expected by Refinitiv to rise further this quarter.

“I would say that today, our supply chain is much tougher than it was at the start of the year,” McCormick Chief Executive Lawrence Kurzius told Reuters in October.

Kurzius said that companies should not prioritize products like some gluten-free spices in favor of popular convenience ingredients like pumpkin pie spice and taco seasoning. “I’m not trying to tease fate by saying that, but I think McCormick, as well as our industry as a whole, is in a much better place.”

Next month, Prego’s pasta sauce owner, Campbell Soup, is expected to report an increase in operating costs, the first in five quarters, according to Refinitiv. Campbell – who has sacrificed some products to focus on more popular ones, such as chicken or tomato soup – spent more on sanitation and labor in the last quarter and invested $ 40 million in a new Goldfish cracker factory in September.

Campbell CEO Mark Clouse told Reuters the company had stepped up outsourcing production of soup and some snacks to third-party producers – or “co-packers” – to quickly meet unexpected demand.

“There will be enough soup for the winter,” he said. “You’ll see shelves that feel fuller than you might see in March because we’ve worked closely with retailers to make sure we get the right collection.”

Other companies grappling with higher production costs include Procter & Gamble PG.N, which has kept Charmin’s products at record levels this year and has hired more workers to keep the line up 24/7.

Kimberly-Clark’s rival KMB.N, the world’s largest maker of toilet paper, also experienced higher production and distribution costs, meanwhile Clorox CLX.N this month said it was “investing significantly” in third-party suppliers and getting products to retailers faster.

Companies including Kraft Heinz also run factories 24/7 and make larger, more affordable packaging sizes.

“Affordability is a growing concern, which should be a boon for companies that are quick to adapt,” said Miguel Patricio, CEO of Kraft Heinz which is seeing more demand for Mac & Cheese 12 packs and bigger bottles of ketchup.

Patricio told Reuters Kraft Heinz had increased US third-party manufacturing by 20%, and its own production by 20-25%. Kellogg said the company has plans to invest in “significant capacity” into 2021.

McCormick’s Kurzius said it, too, is reaching more deals with co-packers, changing factory shifts to operate 24/7 and hiring 400 US manufacturing workers to increase capacity. “We have added the equivalent of a new manufacturing center to meet this year’s surge in demand,” Kurzius said.

Reporting by Richa Naidu in Chicago, Victoria Waldersee in Lisbon, Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Edited by Vanessa O’Connell and Nick Zieminski

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Clash of consoles: PlayStation and New Xbox enters the $ 150 billion gaming arena – fighting! | Instant News


TOKYO / CHICAGO / STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Think Michelangelo vs Da Vinci. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Batman v Superman. Another epic competition rejoins next week as Sony and Microsoft go head-to-head against the next generation of their blockbuster video-game consoles.

Xbox Series XIS – Microsoft’s next-generation game console seen in this handout image dated September 2020. Microsoft / Handout via REUTERS

Sony, whose PlayStation 5 (PS5) takes on Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S, is widely seen to be in the forefront of capitalizing on the pandemic-driven consumer spending boom that has propped up the $ 150 billion video game industry.

The Japanese company’s deep gaming bench and broader fan base – having sold more than 100 million PS4s, winning the battle of the previous generation – will see it maintain its lead over American rivals, according to industry experts.

“People who own an Xbox tend to buy a new Xbox, whereas people who own a PlayStation tend to buy a new PlayStation,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter.

However, the industry is changing and cloud gaming is on the rise, allowing games to be streamed without bulky hardware. This could limit console sales in the coming years, analysts say, a change that could benefit Microsoft.

The two consoles – the first to be released by both companies in seven years – were eagerly awaited; The Xbox will go on sale on Tuesday, and the PS5 two days later in the core market, priced around $ 300 to $ 500 each.

The race to pre-order devices actually started a few weeks ago, although it is flashing and you may have missed it. Sony PS5 pre-orders sold out within minutes on many retail sites, for example, frustrating fans.

Julian Mercado, 17, successfully ordered a PS5 from Walmart.com WMT.N just minutes after pre-orders started on September 16th, knowing he would face legions of gamers.

“It’s exactly like shopping on Black Friday,” said the high school student from Dallas, who has been playing video games with his father since he was five years old. “You came early, you left with something good. You come late, you will leave with nothing. “

PLAY IN PANDEMIC

Sony 6758.T may have an edge, but the stakes are high for Japanese companies. Its gambling business is the biggest money earner; in fiscal 2019, the division, which includes hardware, software, and services, generated nearly a quarter of approximately $ 77 billion in group sales and nearly 30% of its $ 7.9 billion operating profit.

Microsoft MSFT.O doesn’t detail game results, although that’s a smaller part of the business than for Sony. It also doesn’t reveal hardware sales but the current Xbox One is estimated by analysts to have sold 50 million units.

For another big hardware player, Nintendo Japan 7974.T, the console sticks to fruition with forecasts for the climb last week following increased demand for its Switch.

The PS5 will retail for $ 499.99 or $ 399.99 for the digital version only, while the Xbox Series X will sell for $ 499.99 and the lower spec S Series for $ 299.99.

About 5 million PS5s are expected to go on sale this year, versus 3.9 million new Xbox, according to media research firm Ampere, with combined sales expected to be higher than the previous generation.

Graphics – PlayStation v Xbox sales forecast: here

“This pandemic is expected to change the US holiday spending season,” said Jason Benowitz, senior portfolio manager at Roosevelt Investment Group. “Playing from home has become a way for some to socialize safely.”

Sony’s gaming depth is supported by the in-house studio behind exclusives like “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales”. In contrast, the new Xbox, gaming experts say, will be short on lethal launch titles, with its latest flagship “Halo” series being pushed back into the next year as the hit pandemic progresses.

The growth of cloud gaming could benefit the US software giant in the coming years. Although the two companies have moved to offer services, Microsoft has been more aggressive.

The Xbox Game Pass subscription service has grown rapidly; It offers more than 100 titles including new games and has more than 15 million users. Sony has been reluctant to make its most popular titles available on services like PlayStation Now, fearing this could cannibalize high-cost game sales.

‘REQUEST OUTSTRIPS SUPPLY’

The pandemic, while sparking some demand, has also limited production of Sony and Microsoft, according to industry experts, who see shortages expanding into 2021.

“Demand will exceed supply so there will be some people who won’t get a console when they want it,” said Piers Harding-Rolls, Ampere’s director of gaming research.

Sony has announced retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy BBY.N and Target TGT.N will sell the PS5 exclusively online when it launches on November 12, to prevent people from camping outside shops during the pandemic.

Walmart will sell the new console for $ 1.1 billion by the end of January, according to Wedbush. It dominates the US market along with GameStop GME.N, each with a share of about 30%, while console sales at Target and Best Buy account for about 15% each, the research firm said.

Target said it is working closely with its vendors to secure sufficient inventory. Several buyers who have ordered consoles told Reuters that Target said they might receive them a few days after the launch date.

Walmart said it would start selling the new console at launch but declined to comment on whether it will have enough stock to meet demand. Best Buy also declined to comment on whether it would be able to comply with the request, while GameStop did not respond to a request for comment.

For DeAnthony Thicklin, the casino clerk who ordered his PS5 on Target.com in September, the priority was getting a console on launch day itself.

The 25-year-old offers some advice.

“Have all your card information ready so the only thing you have to do is click,” he said. “Do not hesitate. Hurry up. “

Reporting by Sam Nussey in Tokyo, Richa Naidu in Chicago and Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Additional reporting by Uday Sampath Kumar; Edited by Kenneth Li and Pravin Char

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Traumatic dam damage to the valley’s dam increases the amount of ESG funding in Brazil | Instant News


RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Many Brazilian investors – have been blown away by iron ore miner Vale SA VALE3.SA tough cash flow – poised to forgive the company in the months following the deadly dam disaster in 2019, piling back into its stock after the initial sell-off.

FILE PHOTO: A rescue worker reacts during a demonstration to honor the victims of the dam collapse belonging to Brazilian mining company Vale SA, in Brumadinho, Brazil February 25, 2019. REUTERS / Washington Alves / File Photo

But not everyone is willing to go on as if nothing had happened.

The two companies’ deadly dam disaster in three years is a formative moment for ethical investment in Brazil, where criteria based on environmental and governance concerns have long been dismissed as ideological.

“Our funds are suffering a lot. Vale has been our top position so far, ”said Marcio Correia, stock manager at Rio de Janeiro-based JGP, who shared the same suffering with other fund managers as stocks lost a quarter of their value in the days after the dam exploded.

“We recognize that we are ignoring the risks associated with mining, the climate problem, and we decided to take them seriously.”

In response, the 34 billion reais ($ 6.07 billion) asset management firm co-founded in the 1990s by Paulo Guedes, now Brazil’s economy minister, sold two-thirds of its stake in Vale.

That August, it also established its first ESG-guided special fund – environmental, social and governance criteria.

Other local investors are also starting to realize that ESG issues have major financial implications.

“The Vale disaster changed the game in Brazil,” said Eduardo Dumans, a Sao Paulo-based Constellation asset management partner.

As of September this year, some 20 self-designed sustainable funds had attracted about 1 billion reais, double the 18 months earlier, said the association of Brazilian financial institutions, Anbima. The country is still lagging behind international trends.

The three leading ESG investment companies in Brazil manage less than 50 billion reais. Two of these have funds that do not exclude all polluting industries, although they use ESG data to help decide on investments.

Worldwide, funds integrating ESG criteria managed to hit $ 30 trillion when the Brumadinho dam disaster occurred, figures from the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance show.

“If Vale is committed to change, it will be because of international investors, not because of investors in Brazil,” said Fabio Alperowitch, portfolio manager of Fama, a 2.5 billion reais company known as a pioneer of sustainable investing in Brazil.

But he said ESG was finally gaining popularity in Brazil.

“I saw all of this with a mixture of hate and love. I have been advocating for this for 30 years and for a long time nobody cared, “he said. “It’s become trendy now.”

SECURITY OBSESSION

Vale has taken action to try to regain trust.

“Safety has become an obsession, and the company believes that integrating ESG into our routines will be critical to reducing Vale’s risk,” he said in written response to questions from Reuters.

This has set aside 18.6 billion reais to clean and restore the environment and to compensate the victims after the dam exploded in 2019. So far, it has spent more than 10 billion reais of that amount.

Its efforts to address the ESG issue helped persuade rating agency Moody’s to restore Vale’s investment rating on October 1.

Still Vale has the lowest corporate rating multiple of the top global miners, based on the company’s value against earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ratio (EBITDA), a commonly used metric.

The JGP and other ethics-focused Brazilian fund said Vale’s decline in value reflected continuing investor doubts about its ability to meet ESG targets without compromising production.

Recovering his reputation has been particularly difficult because Brumadinho collapsed in January 2019, killing 270 people, just over three years after another dam exploded in Samarco in November 2015 killing 19 people in Brazil’s worst environmental disaster.

JGP has ruled out buying Vale shares until August 2021 – which will mark two years since the creation of a special ESG fund.

Correia said the ban could be extended unless Vale reassured investors of its commitment to good practices and measures to prevent new accidents, protect the environment and improve its behavior when mining on indigenous lands.

Responding to a Reuters question, Vale said its safety measures include reducing the use of dams that store mining waste known as tailings to support safer dry stacking.

In addition, it is said that 20% of the long-term compensation target for senior management will be based on ESG performance without providing a specific timeframe.

But the Dumans at Constellation, which has 13 billion reais under management and includes Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann among minority stakeholders, said he would not consider Vale.

As well as ESG, he said Constellation avoids volatile asset classes like metals.

But without risk, there is no reward. Iron ore prices hit a six-year high in mid-September making major iron ore producer Vale appear cheap.

“The tricky thing is that Vale is cheaper than peers so it attracts investors,” said Correia.

Reporting by Sabrina Valle; additional reporting by Simon Jessop and Ross Kerber. Edited by Christian Plumb and Barbara Lewis

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Traumatic dam damage to the valley’s dam increases the amount of ESG funding in Brazil | Instant News


RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Many Brazilian investors – have been blown away by iron ore miner Vale SA VALE3.SA tough cash flow – poised to forgive the company in the months following the deadly dam disaster in 2019, piling back into its stock after the initial sell-off.

FILE PHOTO: A rescue worker reacts during a demonstration to honor the victims of the dam collapse belonging to Brazilian mining company Vale SA, in Brumadinho, Brazil February 25, 2019. REUTERS / Washington Alves / File Photo

But not everyone is willing to go on as if nothing had happened.

The two companies’ deadly dam disaster in three years is a formative moment for ethical investment in Brazil, where criteria based on environmental and governance concerns have long been dismissed as ideological.

“Our funds are suffering a lot. Vale has been our top position so far, ”said Marcio Correia, stock manager at Rio de Janeiro-based JGP, who shared the same suffering with other fund managers as stocks lost a quarter of their value in the days after the dam exploded.

“We recognize that we are ignoring the risks associated with mining, the climate problem, and we decided to take them seriously.”

In response, the 34 billion reais ($ 6.07 billion) asset management firm co-founded in the 1990s by Paulo Guedes, now Brazil’s economy minister, sold two-thirds of its stake in Vale.

That August, it also established its first ESG-guided special fund – environmental, social and governance criteria.

Other local investors are also starting to realize that ESG issues have major financial implications.

“The Vale disaster changed the game in Brazil,” said Eduardo Dumans, a Sao Paulo-based Constellation asset management partner.

As of September this year, some 20 self-designed sustainable funds had attracted about 1 billion reais, double the 18 months earlier, said the association of Brazilian financial institutions, Anbima. The country is still lagging behind international trends.

The three leading ESG investment companies in Brazil manage less than 50 billion reais. Two of these have funds that do not exclude all polluting industries, although they use ESG data to help decide on investments.

Worldwide, funds integrating ESG criteria managed to hit $ 30 trillion when the Brumadinho dam disaster occurred, figures from the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance show.

“If Vale is committed to change, it will be because of international investors, not because of investors in Brazil,” said Fabio Alperowitch, portfolio manager of Fama, a 2.5 billion reais company known as a pioneer of sustainable investing in Brazil.

But he said ESG was finally gaining popularity in Brazil.

“I saw all of this with a mixture of hate and love. I have been advocating for this for 30 years and for a long time nobody cared, “he said. “It’s become trendy now.”

SECURITY OBSESSION

Vale has taken action to try to regain trust.

“Safety has become an obsession, and the company believes that integrating ESG into our routines will be critical to reducing Vale’s risk,” he said in written response to questions from Reuters.

This has set aside 18.6 billion reais to clean and restore the environment and to compensate the victims after the dam exploded in 2019. So far, it has spent more than 10 billion reais of that amount.

Its efforts to address the ESG issue helped persuade rating agency Moody’s to restore Vale’s investment rating on October 1.

Still Vale has the lowest corporate rating multiple of the top global miners, based on the company’s value against earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ratio (EBITDA), a commonly used metric.

The JGP and other ethics-focused Brazilian fund said Vale’s decline in value reflected continuing investor doubts about its ability to meet ESG targets without compromising production.

Recovering his reputation has been particularly difficult because Brumadinho collapsed in January 2019, killing 270 people, just over three years after another dam exploded in Samarco in November 2015 killing 19 people in Brazil’s worst environmental disaster.

JGP has ruled out buying Vale shares until August 2021 – which will mark two years since the creation of a special ESG fund.

Correia said the ban could be extended unless Vale reassured investors of its commitment to good practices and measures to prevent new accidents, protect the environment and improve its behavior when mining on indigenous lands.

Responding to a Reuters question, Vale said its safety measures include reducing the use of dams that store mining waste known as tailings to support safer dry stacking.

In addition, it is said that 20% of the long-term compensation target for senior management will be based on ESG performance without providing a specific timeframe.

But the Dumans at Constellation, which has 13 billion reais under management and includes Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann among minority stakeholders, said he would not consider Vale.

As well as ESG, he said Constellation avoids volatile asset classes like metals.

But without risk, there is no reward. Iron ore prices hit a six-year high in mid-September making major iron ore producer Vale appear cheap.

“The tricky thing is that Vale is cheaper than peers so it attracts investors,” said Correia.

Reporting by Sabrina Valle; additional reporting by Simon Jessop and Ross Kerber. Edited by Christian Plumb and Barbara Lewis

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