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UPDATE 1-Bradesco Brazil set aside $ 462 million for COVID-19 loan losses | Instant News


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SAO PAULO, October 28 (Reuters) – Brazilian lender Banco Bradesco SA reported a higher-than-expected third-quarter recurring net profit on Wednesday, despite a surge in loan loss provisions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Brazil’s second-largest private sector lender posted net income of 5.031 billion reais ($ 894.56 million), about 15% above the consensus analyst forecast according to Refinitiv, but down 23.1% from a year earlier.

Bradesco set aside 5.588 billion reais for bad loans, up 67.5% from a year earlier, but down 37.1% from the previous quarter. That includes 2.6 billion reais in extraordinary provisions related to potential losses caused by the coronavirus crisis.

“The results show the first signs of returning to normality,” said Bradesco Chief Executive Octavio de Lazari in a statement.

As the bank provided a grace period of up to 180 days to help clients deal with the economic crisis stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the 90-day default ratio fell 0.7 percentage points to 2.3%.

The bank said it was providing a loan grace period of up to 73 billion reais.

Its lending books rose only 0.5% during the quarter, mainly on consumer loans, even though Brazil is facing a recession and unemployment is at its highest level in eight years.

The bank also indicated it has taken some cost-cutting steps as it fell 5.7% from a year earlier, but rose during the quarter.

Return on equity was at 15.2%, recovering from the second quarter, when the bank decided to set aside extraordinary provisions to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

$ 1 = 5,6240 reais Reported by Carolina Mandl; Edited by Leslie Adler and Sam Holmes

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UPDATE 3-Moody’s downgraded the UK as COVID-19 and Brexit hit its debt outlook | Instant News


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October 16 (Reuters) – Ratings agency Moody’s cut Britain’s debt rating on Friday due to a major economic hit from the coronavirus crisis, Brexit and the lack of a clear budget plan from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.

Moody’s lowered its rating to “Aa3” from “Aa2”, putting Britain on par with Belgium and the Czech Republic.

The world’s sixth largest economy shrank the most among the G7 countries in the second quarter and its public debt has reached 2 billion pounds ($ 2.58 billion), exceeding 100% of gross domestic product.

Moody’s said UK growth has been “much weaker than expected and is likely to remain so in the future.”

The UK is facing sharper peak-to-trough contraction than other Group 20 economies due to the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, the size of its service sector, being hit by social distancing rules, and the risk of a further outbreak. the word.

The downgrade is another blow to Johnson, who has come under fire from opposition parties and lawmakers in his Conservative Party for handling the pandemic, which has killed more people in Britain than anywhere else in Europe.

Moody’s said Britain’s failure to reach a broad trade agreement with the EU would add to the damage caused by COVID-19.

Johnson said earlier on Friday there was no point in continuing trade negotiations.

“Even if there is a trade agreement between the UK and the EU by the end of 2020, it is likely to have a narrow scope,” Moody’s said.

He also said Britain had lost budget discipline and its high debt levels were unlikely to come down quickly.

“Britain effectively lacks a fiscal policy anchor,” he said.

Spending cuts are likely to be politically difficult and tax increases could hinder economic recovery.

The British government responded by saying it had no choice but to increase spending to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

“Over time and as the economy recovers, the government will take the necessary steps to ensure the long-term health of public finances,” said a finance ministry spokesman.

Moody’s revised its sovereign debt outlook to “stable” from “negative”. This downgrade puts Moody’s rating on the same level as Fitch’s while Standard & Poor’s rates the country one notch higher. ($ 1 = 0.7744 pounds) (Reporting by Aditi Sebastian in Bengaluru and William Schomberg in London, Editing by Devika Syamnath and Matthew Lewis)

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FEATURES-Polyester from pollution? The next generation of fashion turned green | Instant News


ROME, Oct 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – From using custom-made, biodegradable fabrics and photosynthetic ‘live’ clothing to polyester made from planet-warming carbon dioxide, European startups are on their way to transform one the world’s most polluting industry: fashion.

These businesses are responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and ocean shipments combined during the pre-pandemic period, said the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Most of fashion’s emissions – up to 40% – come from making polyester, the most widely used fabric, says Benoit Illy, co-founder and CEO of French start-up Fairbrics.

“If we can bring emissions from polyester down to zero or a negative value, we can significantly reduce industrial emissions,” he said in a telephone interview.

Illy and co-founder of Tawfiq Nasr Allah, both chemists, aim to replace the existing polyester production process, which uses fossil fuels, with their new technology.

It uses electricity and a catalyst to convert carbon dioxide – emitted when fossil fuels are burned and a key driver of climate change – into synthetic fiber, Illy said.

In some ways, the process is similar to a tree capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and using sunlight and natural enzymes to produce fiber, he said.

Early next year, Fairbrics – its name refers to a “fairer” way of producing fabrics – hopes to produce one kilogram of polyester yarn a day, he said.

The company’s goal is to pursue an industrial scale by early 2024, he said.

The room for improvement is clear: The fashion industry currently consumes more than 60 million tonnes of polyester a year, says Illy.

INSPIRED BY NATURE

Under pressure from increasingly environmentally conscious shoppers, brands from luxury fashion houses to street names are also taking steps to reduce waste.

This month, H&M, the world’s second-largest fashion retailer, said it will showcase a recycling machine that can turn old jumpers into new sweaters or scarves on-site at a store in Stockholm.

Every second, textiles worth of garbage trucks are hoarded or burned, a costly waste of resources, according to a foundation founded by retired British screen star Ellen MacArthur.

However, if Aniela Hoitink, founder of the Dutch company MycoTEX, had its way, people’s wardrobes would adopt a more biological life cycle, with clothes growing and then rotting like the way trees grow and drop leaves.

He works with mycelium – the thread that eats mushrooms – to produce on-demand, on-demand clothing that reduces waste and reduces chemical use. At the end of their useful life – at least two years – the clothing will be biodegradable.

The production cycle – growing the mycelium, harvesting it, 3D printing it, drying it and then finishing the final product – currently takes about two to three weeks, said Hoitink, who has worked in fashion for more than a decade.

3D modeling also allows seamless clothes that are comfortable and fit, says Hoitink.

“When you have clothes tailored, it’s (a) luxurious. But we are sure that with this production system we can do it en masse, “he said.

In particular, these materials can facilitate the formation of garments for various body types and markets, he added.

“At the moment, everything is based on Western standards. But African agencies are very different. Asia’s body is very different. If we could design with all those different body types in mind, it would be much better for everyone. “

CLIMATE POSITIVE CLOTHING?

The London-based Post Carbon Lab wants to take emission reductions even further, ensuring fashion and design have a positive effect on the climate by turning fabrics into carbon-absorbing surfaces.

Designers and researchers Dian-Jen Lin and Hannes Hulstaert did this by using photosynthetic coating technology that inserts microorganisms, such as algae, onto fabrics.

The resulting textiles, with living organisms, can then absorb carbon dioxide that changes the climate, said Lin.

Having ‘live’ clothing does require different care, says Lin, and users need to provide it with access to humidity – such as windows that open on a rainy day – as well as ventilation and light.

Fairbrics, MycoTEX and Post Carbon Lab are three of the 10 finalists for the 2020 European Social Innovation Competition, which focuses on fashion and is run by the European Commission.

Other finalists, selected from more than 760 applicants, included Germany’s Kleiderly, which recycles textile waste into new materials, and Resortecs’ soluble stitches based in Belgium which allows for easy recycling and reuse.

The competition, now in its eighth year, seeks practical solutions to major environmental and social problems and has focused in recent years on issues such as cutting plastic waste and better integrating refugees, said Sonya Gospodinova, spokesperson for the European Union.

Three winners are expected to be announced on November 26, with each receiving 50,000 euros ($ 59,000) in prize money, organizers said.

“What is the ecological role of fashion?” asked Lin from the Post Carbon Lab. “If we don’t have the environment, where we basically all live, there’s nothing. There is no society, no happy community to build. And … the clock is ticking. “

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DESCRIPTION – Central banks are eyeing digital cash to fend off crypto threats | Instant News


FRANKFURT / LONDON, Oct 9 (Reuters) – The world’s largest central bank – and even a few smaller banks – are playing with the idea of ​​issuing a digital currency.

This will allow holders to make payments via the internet and possibly even offline, competing with existing electronic payment instruments such as digital wallets, online banks or cryptocurrencies.

Unlike this private solution, the official digital currency will be backed by the central bank, making it “risk free” like banknotes and coins.

While most projects are still in their infancy, they have shifted into higher gear in the past year after Facebook Inc announced plans to create its own virtual tokens and the COVID-19 pandemic increased digital payments.

A group of seven central banks coordinated by the Bank for International Settlements on Friday explained how digital currencies might function.

Here’s what we know so far:

WHAT IS CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCY?

Central bank digital currency (CBDC) is an electronic currency equivalent to cash.

Like banknotes or coins, it gives the holder a claim directly to the central bank, bypasses commercial banks and offers a greater level of security because the central bank will never run out of the currency it issues.

Access to central bank money outside of cash has so far been restricted to financial institutions. Extending it to a wider public can have major economic and financial impacts.

WHY DO WE NEED IT?

Authorities said the CBDC would provide a basic means of payment for all as cash use waned. It will also offer a safer and potentially less expensive alternative to personal solutions.

Their main fear is losing control of the payment system if private currencies such as bitcoin or Libra that Facebook proposes are widely adopted.

This can make it difficult for the authorities to detect money laundering and terrorism financing, but it also weakens the central bank’s grip on the money supply, which is one of the main avenues for steering the economy.

For many developing countries, where a large proportion of the population is unbanked, CBDCs can be a way to promote financial inclusion and expand the reach of central bank monetary policy.

WHAT DOES DIGITAL CURRENCY LIKE?

This is where views diverge.

CBDCs can take the form of tokens stored on a physical device, such as a mobile phone or prepaid card, making it easier to transfer offline and anonymously.

Or, it could be in an account managed by an intermediary such as a bank, who would help the authorities manage it and potentially reward you at an interest rate.

While the idea of ​​a CBDC was born partly in response to cryptocurrency, no one said it should use blockchain, the distributed ledger technology (DLT) that supports this token.

The People’s Bank of China said its digital yuan would not rely on blockchain.

WHICH CENTRAL BANK IS LEADING?

The People’s Bank of China aims to be the first to issue a digital currency in an effort to internationalize the yuan and reduce its dependence on the global dollar payment system.

Large state-owned commercial banks are conducting large-scale internal testing of digital wallet applications, according to local media reports.

Several private companies, such as China’s largest vehicle sharing app Didi Chuxing, also participated in the test.

In Sweden, already the world’s least cash-dependent economy, the Riksbank has also started testing e-krona.

The European Central Bank and the Bank of England have both launched consultations on the matter while the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve have so far taken a back seat.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS?

The central bank is concerned that a massive migration to CBDCs will weaken commercial banks, robbing cheap and stable sources of funding such as retail deposits.

In a crisis, this will make them vulnerable to running out of their coffers because clients prefer account security guaranteed by the central bank.

For this reason, most designs envision a limit on how much each consumer will be allowed to hold at CBDC and, potentially, even a lower level of remuneration to reduce its attractiveness.

WHO’S BEHIND TECH?

Several central banks have hired large consulting firms to develop pilot schemes. Swedish Riksbank, for example, has partnered with Accenture Plc to test its e-krona.

But others, mostly in small countries, have taken advantage of cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Lithuania turned to Gibraltar-based blockchain company NEM to issue the first CBDC in the eurozone.

Bahamas hired local technology firm NZIA to design and implement the CBDC “Sand Dollar” platform while the Marshall Islands shifted to New York-based blockchain firm SFB Technologies.

Reporting by Francesco Canepa and Tom Wilson; Additional reporting by Alun John in Hong Kong, Leika Kihara in Tokyo, Bill Schomberg in London, Colm Fulton in Stockholm; Edited by Lisa Shumaker

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FACTBOX-New Zealand Election 2020 – facts and key players | Instant News


WELLINGTON, October 9 (Reuters) – New Zealanders head to the polls on October 17 with popular 40-year-old Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern seen as a frontrunner to secure a second term in office.

Here are some important facts in elections:

– New Zealand holds general elections every 3 years and uses a voting system called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP). A system of proportional representation similar to that used in Germany, where a party, or coalition of parties, requires 61 out of 120 seats in parliament to form a government. This makes the votes of the smaller parties essential for forming coalitions.

In the last election, Prime Minister Bill English led the National Party to win the most number of seats, but the Ardern Labor Party eventually formed the government by winning support from the minority Green Party and New Zealand’s first Centric Party.

Since the MMP was introduced in the 1996 elections, not a single party has been able to form its own government.

– Jacinda Ardern, 40, is a pioneer in the contest, with opinion polls that put her Labor Party ahead of its competitors. His popularity has skyrocketed following his success with the coronavirus, and his loving response to the terror attacks in Christchurch last year.

Ardern takes on Judith Collins, also known as Collins’ Crusher, who exploded in a race just weeks before the vote as the National Party reeled from a series of leadership changes and scandals.

Other leaders include leader of NZ First and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, a monarch in the last election that ended up siding with Ardern. National has announced this time that they will not join hands with Peters.

Meanwhile, Green Party leader James Shaw said he would support the Labor Party in the future.

– New Zealanders will also vote in a referendum to legalize marijuana and euthanasia. Kiwis will be asked whether recreational use of marijuana should become legal and whether the End of Life Choice Act 2019 should go into effect, giving people with terminal illness the option of asking for dying help.

National’s Collins opposes legalizing marijuana, but Ardern declined to say where he would vote. Both support legalization of euthanasia.

– Voting results are published on election night. These preliminary results provide an initial picture of the performance of parties and candidates. The final results will be released on November 6th.

About 3.4 million people have registered to vote. About 250,000 people have voted in the preliminary poll starting October 3 (Reported by Praveen Menon)

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