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CONTRARIAN INVESTORS PILE $16M INTO PLATINUM INSIDE A YEAR AMID DIESEL EMISSIONS DEBATE

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CONTRARIAN INVESTORS PILE $16M INTO PLATINUM INSIDE A YEAR AMID DIESEL EMISSIONS DEBATE
  • BullionVault’s VAT-free offer meets over 15% of Western world’s physical platinum investment demand in first year
  • Almost two-fifths of total annual platinum use comes for autocatalysts to reduce harmful emissions from diesel engines, now subject to intense debate in Europe
  • BullionVault users believe in the metal’s long-term value, investing $15.8m since March 2017

CONTRARIAN INVESTORS PILE $16M INTO PLATINUM INSIDE A YEAR AMID DIESEL EMISSIONS DEBATE 3

BullionVault users have seized the opportunity of physical platinum as a contrarian investment and put $15.8m into the metal in the 12 months since the platform first added it to its gold and silver offer.

Users of the world’s leading precious-metals market online have built total platinum holdings of more than half-a-tonne (16,603 Troy ounces).

This equals 15.6% of 2017’s physical platinum investment demand in BullionVault’s key target markets of Western Europe and North America[1].

Primarily used as an industrial metal, platinum helps create perhaps one-in-five of all manufactured objects today, forming a vital component for automotive, electrical, chemicals, glass, petroleum, and increasingly biomedical products.

Two fifths of the metal’s total annual demand goes to autocatalysts for reducing emissions from petrol and primarily diesel-fuelled vehicles. Diesel has come under intense media pressure following the scandal over emissions-test cheating by some manufacturers.

Adrian Ash, director of research, said:

“The flood of negative headlines on diesel have created a tide of negative sentiment towards platinum. For contrary-minded investors that opens up an opportunity to research and buy into what the crowd has overlooked.

“Diesel is likely to dominate heavy-duty engines worldwide for decades to come. For cutting emissions, platinum is part of the solution, not the problem. Platinum is also about much more than diesel. Analysts expect industrial demand to rise in 2018, led by the chemicals, glass and medical sectors, plus strong growth in fuel-cell technology for both stationary and transport power generation.”

Slashing the cost of physical investing compared to small bars and coins, BullionVault enables people to trade as little as 1 gram of platinum at a time, held in the form of large, wholesale-market approved bars.

All stored in specialist vaults in London, this platinum is zero-rated for VAT sales tax, saving UK and other European Union investors 20% immediately compared to ‘retail’ products bought from traditional bar and coin dealers.

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 4

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 5

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 6

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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