Hickory Springs Celebrates 50 Years of FoamJanuary 29, 2010
Economy in U.S. Grew at 5.7% Pace, Most in Six Years (Update2)Share Business ExchangeTwitterFacebook| Email | Print | A A A
By Timothy R. Homan
Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- The economy in the U.S. expanded in the fourth quarter at the fastest pace in six years as factories cranked up assembly lines and companies increased investment in equipment and software.
The 5.7 percent increase in gross domestic product, which exceeded the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, marked the best performance since the third quarter of 2003, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Efforts to rebuild depleted inventories contributed 3.4 percentage points to GDP, the most in two decades.
Manufacturers such as Intel Corp. may keep leading the recovery as increasing sales prompt companies to restock. A slowdown in consumer spending last quarter is a reminder that 10 percent unemployment is causing Americans to hold back, one reason why the Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates low and the Obama administration is proposing new plans to create jobs.
“The economy is still healing and improving,” said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina, who projected a 5.6 percent gain in GDP. “I think this is a sustainable recovery.”
Stock-index futures added to earlier gains after the report. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.7 percent to 1,086.4 at 8:57 a.m. in New York. Treasuries dropped, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year note up to 3.67 percent from 3.64 percent late yesterday.
The economy was forecast to grow at a 4.7 percent annual pace, according to the median estimate of 84 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Estimates ranged from gains of 3 percent to 7.5 percent.
For all of 2009, the economy shrank 2.4 percent, the worst single-year performance since 1946.
Consumer spending, which comprises about 70 percent of the economy, rose at a 2 percent pace, more than anticipated following a 2.8 percent increase in the previous three months. Economists projected a 1.8 percent gain, according to the survey median.
Third-quarter purchases received a boost from the government’s auto-incentive program that offered buyers discounts to trade in older cars and trucks for new, more fuel- efficient vehicles. The plan expired in August.
Household purchases dropped 0.6 percent last year, the biggest decrease since 1974.
Increases in production last quarter stemmed the slide in inventories. Stockpiles dropped at a $33.5 billion annual pace following a $139.2 billion decline the previous three months. Inventories declined at a record $160.2 billion pace in the second quarter.
Today’s report showed purchases of equipment and software increased at a 13 percent pace in the fourth quarter, the most since 2006. The gain helped offset a 15 percent drop in commercial construction, leaving total business investment up 2.9 percent over the past three months.
Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, posted its biggest quarterly revenue in more than a year last quarter, a sign the computer industry has emerged from last year’s global recession.
“My expectation for 2010 is that we’re going to see robust unit growth,” Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith said in an interview this month. “The consumer segments of the market will stay pretty strong, and I do believe we’re going to see a resurgence in PC client sales.”
A report yesterday showed companies ordered more capital goods such as machinery and computers in December, indicating business investment will keep expanding.
Jobs is one area where a rebound is still not evident. Payrolls fell by 85,000 last month after a 4,000 gain in November that was the first increase in almost two years. The U.S. has lost 7.2 million since the start of the recession in December 2007, the most of any slowdown in the post-World War II era.
The jobless rate held at 10 percent in December, the Labor Department said on Jan. 8. A jump in the number of discouraged workers leaving the labor market kept the rate from rising.
President Barack Obama this week said job creation will be the “number one focus in 2010.” Speaking during his first State of the Union address, Obama called on Congress to deliver a new jobs bill to his desk.
Fed policy makers, after their meeting this week, said the recovery is gaining strength and business investment “appears to be picking up.” They also repeated a pledge to keep the benchmark interest rate low for an “extended period.” The central bankers held the overnight lending rate between banks in the range near zero, where it has been for more than a year.
In other areas of the economy, today’s report showed a smaller trade gap contributed 0.5 percentage point to fourth- quarter growth, while government spending was little changed, dropping at a 0.2 percent pace.
Residential construction climbed at a 5.7 percent rate last quarter after expanding at a 19 percent pace in the previous three months.
Inflation held below the Fed’s long-term forecast. The central bank’s preferred price gauge, which is tied to consumer spending and strips out food and energy costs, rose at a 1.4 percent annual pace following a 1.2 percent increase in the prior quarter.
The GDP price gauge climbed at a 0.6 percent pace, less than the 1.3 percent median forecast of economists surveyed.
Today’s GDP report is the first for the quarter and will be revised in February and March as more information becomes available.
To contact the reporter on this story: Timothy R. Homan in Washington email@example.comLast Updated: January 29, 2010 08:58 EST
I PURCHASED SMALLER SCOOTERS FOR MY SON & DAUGHTER. I ADMIT AFTER WATCHING THEM RIDE WAS A LITTLE SCARY. HAVING CONFIDENCE THEY WOULD EXCEL I PURCHASED 2 OF THE RAZOR A5 SCOOTERS. NO COMPLAINTS. NICE AND STURDY, FRAME IS EXCELLENT AND I CAN EVEN RIDE THE SCOOTER. GREAT BUY FOR THE PARENTS WHOP NEED 2 KNOW THAT THE FRAME IS SOLID HEAVY DUTY METAL. BUY THIS SCOOTER. EXCELLENT PRICE.
Razor’s new creation the A5 Lux Scooter, with its larger 200mm Urethane wheels, this makes the A5 the largest Kick Scooter out there. The larger wheels add greater performance on bumpy roads and rough pavement. Using the same aluminum and steel construction and break system as the original A scooter. With Razor’s patented folding mechanism it makes this a great compact ride for all ages.
The Razor kick scooter has always been a favorite of all ages, but it hasn’t always been big enough for all ages. Enter the Razor A5 Lux, a deluxe-size kick scooter with extra-large 200mm urethane wheels. The wheels not only support more weight (up to 220 pounds), but they also require less work than smaller wheels. Now you can spend less time pushing and more time riding. The A5 Lux is also extremely durable, with a super-strong aluminum T-tube frame and deck. And like all Razor kick scooters, the A5 Lux folds up quickly for easy storage or transport. Other features include an adjustable handlebar height, Abec-5 bearings, and a patented rear fender brake. Appropriate for ages 8 and older, the A5 Lux measures 35 by 41 by 21 inches (W x H x D) when unfolded and weighs 13 pounds.
Founded in June 2000, Razor USA is a privately held company based in Cerritos, California. Home of the wildly popular Razor kick scooter, Razor’s catalog also includes such models as the E100, E200, and E300 electric scooters, the cutting-edge Dirt Rocket, Pocket Mod, Pocket Rocket, and Ground Force, a line of electric-powered ride-on toys, and a junior line of scooters. Razor also offers an action video: RVM, featuring Team Razor, a group of pro scooter athletes ages 9 to 20 who tour the world participating in demonstrations and competitions. Razor has won numerous awards, including the Toy Industry Association’s “toy of the year” and “toy of the year” honors from Time, Parents, Parenting, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Nick Jr., and U.S. News & World Report.
By Pan Xiaoyi | 2010-1-29 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
German firm fuses 4 units to tap growth
By Pan Xiaoyi | 2010-1-29 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
BAYER MaterialScience yesterday announced it has consolidated its four units in China, now its third-largest market globally, to offer improved services and prepare for bigger growth in the Chinese market.
The units have been combined under Bayer MaterialScience (China) Co, which will have a total investment of 2.1 billion euros (US$2.95 billion) in fixed assets in Shanghai by 2012. It will also boast integrated production, marketing and sales, as well as research and development activities. It will source 4 billion yuan (US$585.93 million) worth of products annually from China.
"For Bayer MaterialScience, China is currently the third-largest market worldwide and is becoming a growth engine for our global business," said Michael Koenig, president of Bayer MaterialScience in China.
The German company saw slower growth in China last year due to falling orders in the first half, but it still outperformed markets elsewhere. Company officials are positive about this year as consumption in and outside China is seen to pick up.
The automotive industry, with its continuing need for materials, will continue to drive growth in business after it expanded by double digits in 2009 thanks to the government's stimulus measures, according to Michelle Jou, vice president of the Polycarbonates Business Unit.
An additional manufacturing facility is set to be completed by the end of 2010 with an initial annual production capacity of 250,000 tons of TDI (toluene diisocyanate), which is widely used as a component in car seats and furniture such as mattresses and sofas.
Hoping to cash in on China's goal to improve energy efficiency and combat climate change, the firm plans to launch eco-commercial building projects.http://www.shanghaidaily.com/sp/article/2010/201001/20100129/article_427201.htm#ixzz0e0rtfwdm
According to brewery officials, there wasn’t any basis for the employees to bribe anyone, as the consignment was exempted from tax.
“All taxes on plants and machineries of the brewery were exempted, as the factory is being expanded to increase the production capacity and they were aware that the consignment is not taxable,” said Passang Dorji. Even if the consignment was dutiable, the company would be paying only 10 percent of the consignment’s worth, which amounts to only about Nu 114,000, he said.
Following a tip off, Phuentsholing police detained the three employees of the Bhutan Brewery Pvt. Ltd. and two customs officials for an alleged bribery attempt on January 13.
The Bhutan Brewery employee who allegedly went to hand over a bribe of Nu 180,000 to a customs official was arrested by police before he handed over the cash. The custom officials were detained based on the confession of the Bhutan Brewery employee.
The consignment reached the customs on January 5 and since it carried a statutory note stating that it was hazardous to environment, Custom officials asked for a clearance from the national environment commission (NEC).
The consignment was released on January 12 on condition that Bhutan brewery would get the clearance from NEC. Following this, the brewery employees applied for an amount of Nu 180,000 to be paid as tax for the consignment.
The three employees are a driver, the commercial assistant and the finance manager of the procurement department upon whose recommendation the amount was released.
The consignment consisted of seven drums of (Polyol) poly compound from India and seven drums of Iso compound (Isocyanate) from Germany. The solution compound are mixed to produce a puff to make the brewery tank, called uni-tank, heat resistant, according to brewery officials.
Passang Dorji said that this was the first time the factory imported such consignment for the factory expansion work. Earlier the commercial assistant and the driver were with Bhutan beverage, the coca cola company, founded by Tashi group of companies. “After the company went bankrupt, the two were brought into Bhutan brewery to protect their employment,” he said.
Phuentsholing police refused to comment saying that it would “hamper” their investigation.
Meanwhile, the regional revenue and custom officials were unavailable for comment.
By Kinga Dema
This Democrat-dominated government certainly has its eyes firmly set on a goal to heavily increase regulation, especially on Wall Street after the financial collapse of 2008. But how many companies face threats of failure due to anthropogenic global warming? We’ll soon find out, now that the SEC has demanded that publicly-traded corporations reveal those risks to stockholders:
A politically divided Securities and Exchange Commission voted on Wednesday to make clear when companies must provide information to investors about the business risks associated with climate change.
The commission, in a 3 to 2 vote, decided to require that companies disclose in their public filings the impact of climate change on their businesses — from new regulations or legislation they may face domestically or abroad to potential changes in economic trends or physical risks to a company.
Chairman Mary L. Schapiro and the two Democrats on the commission supported the new requirements, while the two Republicans vehemently opposed them.
“I can only conclude that the purpose of this release is to place the imprimatur of the commission on the agenda of the social and environmental policy lobby, an agenda that falls outside of our expertise and beyond our fundamental mission of investor protection,” Republican commissioner Kathleen L. Casey said.
Clearly, Casey correctly diagnoses the Democrats’ intentions on this point. They want to highlight the potential damage that some corporations do through carbon emissions, while highlighting the benefits from others who play along on AGW. Putting this in the jurisdiction of the SEC is a two-fer for the Obama administration — they can claim regulatory gains on both AGW and Wall Street.
But this may hold the potential for enormous backfire. With the cap-and-trade legislation still on the docket, all of these corporations will have to forecast for higher energy prices, more restrictive manufacturing and service standards, and the costs of retrofitting. The Obama administration and Democrats in Congress have consistently and drastically underestimated the impact of their bills on the private sector. Now, by forcing companies to analyze the impact of their environmental agendas on their bottom lines, the American public can get a much clearer and much less optimistic take on cap-and-trade and carbon-tax regulations. Because those reports will be part of the public record, analysts can compile a daunting picture of the burdens the Democratic agenda will create on private business and economic growth.
This effort still should have been killed as a ridiculous overreach on regulation. Now that the SEC has forced the matter, their Democratic allies will shortly have reason to regret it.
Cheapest Route to Walmart From China May Skip Buffett’s RailwayShare Business ExchangeTwitterFacebook| Email | Print | A A A
By Kyunghee Park and Eric Sabo
Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Chinese toys and sneakers headed to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.and Target Corp. on the U.S. East Coast may bypass Warren Buffett’s $33.8 billion railway as the expansion of the Panama Canal slashes the cost of shipping them by sea.
The deeper, wider canal will allow A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, China Ocean Shipping Group Co. and other lines to ship more cargo directly to New York and Boston instead of unloading it on the West Coast for trains and trucks to finish the journey east. That could save exporters 30 percent, the canal operator said.
The $5.25 billion Panama Canal project, scheduled for completion during its centennial in 2014, may take business from ports including Los Angeles and Seattle, and railroads including Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. It costs as much as $1,000 more per cargo container to use trains than ships, said Lee Sokje, a shipbuilding analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co. in Seoul.
“It is inevitable that railways, such as Burlington Northern, will lose some of their cargo once the Panama Canal is expanded,” said Jee Heon Seok, a shipping analyst for NH Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul. “Many more containers can be moved in a single voyage on a ship than going through the West Coast ports.”
China, poised to overtake Japan this year as the world’s second-biggest economy, may boost exports by 20 percent during the first quarter as the global economy recovers, according to Macquarie Securities Ltd. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.
China Cosco Holdings Co., Asia’s biggest shipping company by market value, and 14 other container lines said Jan. 14 they expect a “significant” increase in transpacific cargo this year on rising U.S. consumer sentiment. China Cosco rose 2.5 percent, the most since Jan. 19, to HK$9.60 in Hong Kong trading.
That prospective growth spurred Berkshire to pay $26 billion for the remaining 77.4 percent of Fort Worth, Texas- based Burlington Northern it didn’t already own. Buffett, the Berkshire chairman, said the largest U.S. railroad will benefit from “moving around more and more goods.” The acquisition is pending and expected to be completed by March 31.
Burlington Northern customers in Gulf of Mexico ports -- including Houston and Galveston, Texas -- may benefit from more traffic going through a wider canal.
Buffett didn’t respond to a request for comment. A Burlington Northern spokeswoman, Suann Lundsberg, said trains deliver cargo from the West Coast to the East Coast as many as nine days faster than ships using the canal.
30 Percent Savings
Rail traffic is expected to continue growing, although probably at a slower rate than in the past, Lundsberg said.
“We know he doesn’t make short-term investments,” Art Wong, spokesman for the port in Long Beach, California, said of Buffett. “He must be making it because he thinks it’s a great long-term investment.”
About 43 percent of Asian cargo shipped to East Coast ports -- including Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida --goes through the Panama Canal, said Rodolfo Sabonge, director of marketing for the Panama Canal Authority. That share may increase to 49 percent by 2025.
“It will become less expensive overall to ship through the canal,” Sabonge said. “Savings could go up to 30 percent.”
The expansion project, started in 2007, is building locks on both sides of the 50-mile canal, digging a new channel linking the locks and deepening the waterway connecting the Pacific Ocean with the Caribbean Sea.
New York Harbor
Currently, ships loading fewer than 5,000 20-foot boxes use the canal. The expansion will accommodate vessels carrying about 12,600 containers and may generate cargo growth of about 5 percent a year, Sabonge said.
“It will, of course, help reduce costs for exporters to the U.S.,” said Victor Fung, chairman of outsourcer Li & Fung Ltd., the world’s biggest supplier of toys, clothes and furniture to retailers including Walmart, Target, Macy’s Inc. and Marks & Spencer Group Plc.
The company reported HK$46.3 billion ($5.96 billion) in sales during the first half of last year, with 61 percent of that coming from the U.S.
East Coast ports are readying for the changes. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is deepening more channels to 50 feet and considering options for a 78-year-old bridge between New Jersey and New York City that may be too low.
“Increasing numbers of big ships are anticipated at our port facilities following an expansion of the Panama Canal,” the agency said in September.
Ports, Railroads Collaborate
Hanjin Shipping Co., South Korea’s largest shipping company that operates two California terminals, is building its first East Coast terminal in Jacksonville to handle an increase in cargo through the canal. The facility opens in 2013.
The ports around Charleston, South Carolina, are dredging to accommodate vessels carrying more than 8,000 20-foot containers.
Six ports on the opposite coast -- Los Angeles; Long Beach; Oakland, California; Seattle; Tacoma, Washington; and Portland, Oregon -- handle about 70 percent of containerized trade between Asia and the U.S., according to an Oct. 12 statement.
They are collaborating with Burlington Northern and Union Pacific Corp. to convince Asian exporters they are better options than the canal for reaching East Coast markets. They cite advantages including deep-water terminals, connections to inland transportation networks, and storage and distribution facilities.
Trains also use less fuel, reducing costs and carbon emissions, they said.
“We don’t think those alternative gateways will go away,” said Tay Yoshitani, chief executive officer for the Port of Seattle. “If we don’t improve our competitiveness, we could lose a lot of cargo.”
WEBWIRE – Thursday, January 28, 2010
* Long-term research strategy creates foundation for profitable growth
* International research Verbund with numerous cooperations secures competitive advantage
* CaRLa Catalysis Laboratory at Heidelberg University to continue successful work over the next five years
In 2010, BASF again intends to maintain its research budget at the previous years’ high level, with an overall target of €1.38 billion. This was confirmed by Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer, Member of the Board of Executive Directors and Research Executive Director, at the company’s Research Press Conference today, January 28, 2010, in Ludwigshafen. For the previous year 2009, BASF’s research allocations reached almost €1.4 billion, slightly above the level of the previous year 2008 (€1.35 billion).
“Only with a continuous flow of innovations can we consistently use competitive advantages to achieve above-market organic growth. Continuity of research strategy is important both in good times and also in times of crisis,” said Kreimeyer explaining BASF’s long-term commitment. The company’s R&D strategy aims to enhance the existing portfolio, develop customer-specific system solutions and deliver solutions to the challenges of the future arising from global megatrends, he continued. The complex issues to be addressed include supplying a growing world population with water, food, energy or mobility. Reflecting these technology and chemistry-relevant global trends, BASF has defined five Growth Clusters for strategic corporate research: Plant Biotechnology, White (Industrial) Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Energy Management and Raw Material Change.
“The main drivers in achieving our ambitious research goals are our currently around 9,300 employees in Research and Development who are dedicated to transforming a pipeline brimming with about 3,300 projects into new business,” emphasized Kreimeyer. It will also be necessary to respond to the paradigm shift currently underway in chemistry, whereby success will no longer be determined merely by new molecules but by new effects, new systems and system solutions, new components and functional materials. “We can only successfully tackle these complex problems through international and interdisciplinary cooperations,” he explained.
Business and science cooperating for success
The importance of international knowledge networks in tackling the challenges of the future was demonstrated by presenting three of BASF’s particularly successful research cooperations during the second part of the press conference. These were the Joint Innovation Lab at Ludwigshafen site which is pushing forward organic electronics, the research initiative at Harvard University in the USA devoted to preventing biofilms, and the Catalysis Research Laboratory (CaRLa) at Heidelberg University.
The joint laboratory of BASF and Heidelberg University has become a prime research location attracting catalysis researchers from around the world. Following a successful evaluation, the run time and funding of the Catalysis Research Laboratory, CaRLa for short, was extended by another five years at the beginning of the year by BASF, Heidelberg University and the State of Baden-Württemberg. At this center, corporate researchers and the university are jointly addressing basic and industrial research topics in the field of homogeneous catalysis.
Since its launch three years ago, CaRLa has become a groundbreaking pilot project for the networking of business and science. Under the motto “Industry on Campus”, the laboratory gives the company additional impulses with new ideas from the academic environment of catalysis research. During the initial sponsorship period, the main emphasis was placed on projects for screening for new catalysts, including the development and improvement of catalysts for controlled hydrogenation of enones and for olefin metathesis. With the first joint patent applications and publications, the goals of accessing new raw materials and establishing even more efficient catalysts in production are coming closer to fulfillment.