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  • Egypt and Tunisia usher in the new era of global food revolutions
    to guess what the Brotherhood s ascendancy might mean for Israel and for strategic stability in the Mid East Asia has as much to lose if this goes wrong as the West China s energy intensity per unit of GDP is double US levels and triple the UK The surge in global food prices since the summer since Ben Bernanke signalled a fresh dollar blitz as it happens is not the underlying cause of Arab revolt any more than bad harvests in 1788 were the cause of the French Revolution Yet they are the trigger and have set off a vicious circle Vulnerable governments are scrambling to lock up world supplies of grain while they can Algeria bought 800 000 tonnes of wheat last week and Indonesia has ordered 800 000 tonnes of rice both greatly exceeding their normal pace of purchases Saudi Arabia Libya and Bangladesh are trying to secure extra grain supplies The UN s Food and Agriculture Organization FAO said its global food index has surpassed the all time high of 2008 both in nominal and real terms The cereals index has risen 39pc in the last year the oil and fats index 55pc The FAO implored goverments to avoid panic responses that aggravate the situation If you are Hosni Mubarak hanging on in Cairo s presidential palace do care about such niceties France s Nicolas Sarkozy blames the commodity spike on hedge funds speculators and the derivatives market largely in London He vowed to use his G20 presidency to smash the racket but then Mr Sarkozy has a penchant for witchhunts against easy targets The European Commission has been hunting for proof to support his claims without success Its draft report to be released last Wednesday but withdrawn under pressure from Paris reached exactly the same conclusion as investigators from the IMF and US and British regulators There is little evidence that the price formation process on commodity markets has changed in recent years with the growing importance of derivatives markets it said As Jeff Currie from Goldman Sachs tirelessly points out future contracts are neutral For every trader making money by going long on wheat sugar pork bellies zinc or crude oil there is a trader losing money on the other side It is a paper transfer between financial players You have to buy and hoard the vast amounts of these bulk commodities to have much impact on the price which is costly and difficult to do though people do park crude on floating tankers sometimes and Chinese firms allegedly stashed copper in warehouses last year But that is not what commodity index funds with 150bn are actually doing with food base metals and energy Only governments have strategic petroleum and grain reserves big enough to make a difference The immediate cause of this food spike was the worst drought in Russia and the Black Sea region for 130 years lasting long enough to damage winter planting as well as the summer harvest Russia imposed

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/food_revolutions.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Food Is Gold, So Billions Invested in Farming
    new money could cause It is important to ask whether these financial investors want to actually operate the means of production or simply want to have a direct link into the physical supply of commodities and thereby reduce the risk of their speculation he said Grain elevators especially could give these investors new ways to make money because they can buy or sell the actual bushels of corn or soybeans rather than buying and selling financial derivatives that are linked to those commodities When crop prices are climbing holding inventory for future sale can yield higher profits than selling to meet current demand for example Or if prices diverge in different parts of the world inventory can be shipped to the more profitable market It s a huge disadvantage to not be able to trade the physical commodity said Andrew J Redleaf founder of Whitebox Advisors a hedge fund management firm in Minneapolis Mr Redleaf bought several large grain elevator complexes from ConAgra and Cargill last year for a long term stake in what he sees as a high growth business The elevators can store 36 million bushels of grain We discovered that our lease customers major food company types are really happy to see us because they are apt to see Cargill and ConAgra as competitors he said The executives making such bets say that fears about their new role are unfounded and that their investments will be a plus for farming and ultimately for consumers The world is asking for more food more energy You see a huge demand said Axel Hinsch chief executive of Calyx Agro a division of the giant Louis Dreyfus Commodities which is buying tens of thousands of acres of cropland in Brazil with the backing of big institutional investors including AIG Investments What this new investment will buy is more technology Mr Hinsch said We will be helping to accelerate the development of infrastructure and the consumer will benefit because there will be more supply Financial investors also can provide grain elevator operators the money they need to weather today s more volatile commodity markets When wild swings in prices become common as they are now elevator operators have to put up more cash to lock in future prices John Duryea co portfolio manager of the Ospraie Special Opportunity Fund is buying 66 grain elevators with a total capacity of 110 million bushels from ConAgra for 2 1 billion The deal expected to close by the end of June also will give Ospraie a stake in 57 fertilizer distribution centers and the barges and ships necessary to keep them supplied with low cost imports Maintaining these essential services helps bring costs down to the farmers Mr Duryea said That has to help mitigate the price increases for crops Mr Duryea of the Ospraie fund dismissed the idea that financial investors with obligations to suppliers and customers of their elevators and fertilizer services would put their thumb on the supply demand scale by holding

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/food_is_gold.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Farmers to cut US planting
    with the exception of soyabean bringing the country s cropland to about 248m acres down 2 per cent from last year Farmers are planting less because reduced profitability on the back of current low prices and high cost for fertilisers The overall acreage fall would be the first since 2005 when US farmers started to expand their cropland to cash in on high prices brought by strong consumption from the nascent ethanol industry and developing countries such as China Ranchers are also expected to cut sharply their production of meat and poultry this season the first simultaneous drop in animal protein output since 1973 Although the drop in cropland and meat output will support prices analysts were unanimous in warning that the deep global economic crisis impact on demand would cap any spike and that a repetition of last year s record prices was unlikely The key US crop is corn and traders forecast a drop in planting to 82 84m acres down from last year s 86m and 2007 s peak of 90 5m It appears certain that 2009 10 US corn balance sheet forecasts will tighten significantly said Lewis Hagerdon an agricultural commodities strategist at JPMorgan Corn prices

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/farmers_cut_planting.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Cash-strapped states weigh selling roads, parks
    Massachusetts Turnpike in private hands That could bring in upfront money to help with a 1 4 billion deficit while also saving on highway operating costs In New York Democratic Gov David Paterson appointed a commission to look into leasing state assets including the Tappan Zee Bridge north of New York City the lottery golf courses toll roads parks and beaches Recommendations are expected next month Such projects could be attractive to private investors and public pension funds looking for safe places to put their money in this scary economy said Leonard Gilroy a privatization expert with the market oriented Reason Foundation in Los Angeles Infrastructure is more attractive today than ever Gilroy said It s tangible It s a road It s water It s an airport It s something that is you know you hear the term recession proof Unions don t like privatization deals out of fear that worker wages and benefits will be squeezed as private operators try to boost their profit by streamlining services Taxpayers too can lose out if the arrangements don t work and sometimes even if they do said Mark Price a labor economist with the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg Pa Higher tolls on privatized roads can push drivers onto state operated roads wearing them down faster and raising public costs over time You re privatizing some profits in this process and socializing some losses Price said Selling or leasing public assets can produce an immediate infusion of cash for the state while foisting the tough decisions such as raising tolls onto private operators instead of the politicians The downsides are often after they leave office said Phineas Baxandall a researcher with the consumer oriented U S Public Interest Research Group in Boston Some states struck major privatization deals well before

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/states_selling.html (2016-02-14)
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  • NM Rothschild pitches motorway privatisation plan
    to charge motorists directly through toll booths or electronic card readers The RAC Foundation a motorists group advocated privatisation in a report last week The Rothschild plan has already won the support of Vince Cable the Liberal Democrats deputy leader and Treasury spokesman This is an attractive positive idea which could release considerable resources to the public finances and may have real environmental merits Cable said The scale of it is vast it makes rail privatisation look like small beer Theresa Villiers the shadow transport secretary said the Conservatives had no plans to back Rothschild s proposals Rothschilds like many other banks and consultancies have approached me and my team on a range of ideas for our transport network including their ideas for our road infrastructure but we are not working on any proposals for privatisation of the strategic road network and have no plans to do so Motorway privatisation was considered by John Major s Conservative administration which sold British Rail but was rejected A spokesman at the Department for Transport said It is not unusual for organisations to suggest ideas to government departments but ultimately all policy is decided by ministers and there are no plans to sell

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/rothschild_privatisation.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Bracewell & Giuliani Advises Cintra in First Privatization of Toll Road in Texas
    1 billion upfront and annual lease payments totaling 700 million Three firms have competed for the Comprehensive Development Agreement for State Highway 121 since last summer The proposals were reviewed and scored based on selection criteria set forth by the Regional Transportation Council the metropolitan planning agency for the Dallas Fort Worth area Cintra was awarded this project because of its proven expertise and competitive proposal said Thomas O Moore partner with Bracewell Giuliani This is the largest transportation deal of 2007 This is one of only five deals in the country This CDA is a public private partnership that allows the provider to handle all facets of developing the toll road including completing construction and operating and maintaining the corridor Cintra a subsidiary of Grupo Ferrovial specialized in toll roads and car parks is one of the world s leading private sector developers of transport infrastructure Bracewell Giuliani attorneys that advised on this matter include Partners Thomas O Moore Roger D Aksamit Kevin A Ewing George Y Gonzalez Jason B Hutt Nancy Jo Nelson Andrew M Taylor and Jose Luis Vittor Associates Todd G Amdor Eamonn K Bakewell Patrick A Caballero Erik E Petersen Lisa A Smith and Trevor

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/giuliani_cintra.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Bailed-out Citigroup invests $10 billion in toll roads
    completion of the transaction Citi will turn around and sell 800 million worth of former Itinere assets to Spain s largest highway operator Abertis Infraestrucutras SA and an Italian company called Atlantia SpA formerly known as Autostrade Abertis and Atlantia already own percentage stakes in the affected toll roads company officials said The purchase from Citi will give Abertis 100 percent control of a toll road operation in Chile and

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/citigroup_toll_roads.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Spanish firm offers $12.8 billion to lease Pa. Turnpike
    and use the proceeds to pay for highway bridge and public transit projects But the total would be reduced by about 2 3 billion dollars necessary to assume existing debts and other obligations leaving about 10 5 billion to be invested according to the administration s calculations Rendell said the lease money would be invested with the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System and he said the administration expected to earn 12 percent a year on its money He said that was the average return for SERS over the past 20 years Rendell has said he wants the 359 mile east west turnpike and the 110 mile Northeast Extension to be in the hands of a private operator by mid September but legislators said that is very optimistic If approved the lease would be the largest ever of a U S toll road The Indiana Toll Road was leased in 2006 for 75 years for 3 8 billion and the Chicago Skyway in 2005 for 99 years for 1 83 billion Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission chief executive officer Joseph Brimmeier said today his agency opposes leasing the turnpike prefering to stick with Act 44 the new law that would raise transportation funding by tolling I 80 and increasing turnpike tolls With Act 44 the Turnpike will supply PennDOT almost 84 billion over 50 years without raising taxes or out sourcing a critical asset Brimmeier said in a statement That s why we remain committed to implementing Act 44 and seeing it through to completion Rendell though argued a lease would raise about 150 million more per year than Act 44 If you don t have to toll a road that s a very good idea Rendell said It seems like a slam dunk to me Act 44 relies for much of its

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/criteria_pa_turnpike.html (2016-02-14)
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