Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

Vanadium is the latest beneficiary of the battery craze

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Going with the flow

OPEN a toolbox, pull out a spanner and you may be holding a bit of the answer to global warming: vanadium, a metal named after Vanadis, the Scandinavian goddess of beauty. Used mostly in alloys to strengthen steel, its appearance may not live up to the romance of its name. Yet vanadium could become a vital ingredient in large clean-energy batteries, in which case it will shine a lot brighter.

Its price has already been rising faster than cobalt, copper and nickel, all of which are used in lithium-ion batteries (see chart). The main reason for the run-up is prosaic. About nine-tenths of the world’s vanadium is used to harden steel; China has tightened standards on the strength of rebar to make buildings more earthquake-proof. Mark Smith, boss of Largo Resources, which mines high-purity vanadium in Brazil, says this alone should increase demand for the metal by up to 15,000 tonnes in 2018-19. Last year total production was 83,000 tonnes.

But…Continue reading

Renewables: power move

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Decline in capital spending value does not mean investment growth has halted

The stress that kills American workers

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

WORK can make you sick and shorten your life. That is the argument of a hard-hitting book* by Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In an obvious way, that claim is outdated. Health-and-safety rules help explain why deaths from accidents in American workplaces fell by 65% between 1970 and 2015. But one problem has not gone away: stress. As many as 80% of American workers suffer from high levels of stress in their job, according to a survey entitled “Attitudes in the American Workplace”. Nearly half say it is so debilitating that they need help.

Firms are at least aware of the issue. A study in 2008 by Watson Wyatt (a consultancy that is now part of Towers Watson) found that 48% of organisations said job-related stress affected performance. But only 5% of employers said they were doing anything to deal with the matter.

Mr Pfeffer’s book focuses on America, where the problem seems particularly acute. One survey found that 55% of employees log into…Continue reading

Google is fined €4.3bn in the biggest-ever antitrust penalty

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

“THE making of a big tech reckoning,” blared one typical headline earlier this year. “The case for breaking up Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google,” touted another. Based on media coverage alone it might seem as if the tech titans are in trouble. Add in the news, on July 18th, of a record €4.3bn fine for Google by the European Commission and that impression is strengthened. But if you look hard at where the regulatory rubber is actually hitting the road, the techlash seems much less brutal. Notwithstanding this week’s fine—which amounts to just over $5bn and is the biggest antitrust penalty ever—the online giants are nowhere near being reined in.

To be sure, the mood has changed. In America a survey for Axios, a news website, found that between October and March the favourability ratings of Facebook, Amazon and Google had fallen by 28%, 13% and 12%, respectively. Republicans such as Ted Cruz, a senator, now employ anti-tech rhetoric. Last month the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)…Continue reading

Warm weather and high gas prices hit Q1 operating profits at SSE

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Governments need to publish oil and gas contracts

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Openness prevents corruption, showing governments and companies have nothing to hide

Trump administration weighs tariffs on uranium imports

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Probe on national security grounds opens potential new front in escalating trade war

Mexico postpones oil tenders until after L?pez Obrador takes office

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Oil trader Vitol and Peabody invest $20m in coal-to-oil start-up

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

London-based Arq will supply Vitol with coal-based material that can be blended into oil

Tullow Oil ordered to pay extra $50m over Ghana dispute

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018