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DAY 1 OF THE INTERNATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE CONFERENCE-FIDIC

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day 1

“Innovative infrastructure solutions” was the theme presented on the 101º edition of the International Infrastructure Conference, promoted by FIDIC, International Federation of Consulting Engineers. The conference  begun on 29th  september an It’s being held at Royal Tulip Hotel, in Rio de Janeiro city, Brazil.

The conference was supported by ABCE, Brazilian Assotiation of Consultant Engineers, that represents more than one hundred companies. Around 650 people, from 70 countries, such as engineers, industry leaders, clients and finantial institutions,  were welcomed for the  three days conference and its parallel events, such as exibition an network area, city tours and social dinners.

The opening cerimony was host by Pablo Bueno, FIDIC president, and by Mauro Viegas, ABCE president. Júlio Cesar Bueno, Secretary of economic Development, Energy, Industry and Services for the State of  Rio de Janeiro, and the engineer César Borges, Minister of Ports, were the invited guests.

Bueno began his presentation by annoucing that this edition has a new plenary format, with a variety of important international speakers. The main topic was the importance of proper and innovative solutions , to ensure global  quality of life. To expose that, he showed the statistics of the growth demand for infrastructure, and mentioned billion people with no acess to eletricity, basic sanitation service and clean water supply. Due to the limited finantial resources, it is necessary to support projects from the government and the society, to promote quality of life, operation/maintenance optimization and cost and risks redutions.

Mauro Viegas continued the theme, by enhancing the need to valoing the consultive engineering role, and to improve the process for the sustainable development by efficient solutions, new resources and new recruitment  methods, and impact redutions.

Focusing on the characteristics of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Secretary of Economic Development Julio Bueno draws attention to the major economic challenges of Brazil: the oil and the pre-salt. According to these forecast, the production of oil will be doubled by 2020 and tripled by 2035. The engineer and Minister for Ports César Borges said that the enterprises need the participation of consulting engineering to ensure good projects, from diagnosis of needs and interferences to final execution. According to the Minister, public invenstiments in Brazil are not enough and the country have been using private and public-private partnerships, in order to ensure attractiveness projects.
Luciano Coutinho, President of BNDES (The Brazilina Development Banck),  was the keynote speaker ot the plenary named ‘’Brazil in the National and Global Market”. The others speakers were Debora Wetzel, from World Bank, Antonio Sosa, corporate VP of Infrastructure, CAF (Development Bank of Latin America), and Nestor Rosa, chief of Transport Division, IADB (Inter American Development Bank). The importance of private participation in infrastructure was shown again. Debora Wetzel said that the integration of the markets is needed. Antonio Sosa spoke about the infrastructure as a tool to development, but it alone does not promote any development. To achieve that, it is necessary to promote innovation, business vision, productivity and knowlodge. He also presented some of the main projects of Development Bank of Latin America, such as UMO25, GeoSUR, GeoPOLIS and IDEAL report. Sustainable infrastructure and safe transportation, to promote regional integration, were the main topics presented by Nestor Sosa.

Luciano compared the annual growth rates between advanced economies and emerging markets, showing the growth of developing nations. Luciano also presented BNDES’ increasing investments and contributions to brazilian development and the forecast for the next few years for industry, housing, agriculture, services and infrastructure, such as eletricity, telecommunications, highways, ports and airports.

Mauro Viegas Filho, luciano coutinho e pablo bueno

Mauro Viegas Filho, luciano coutinho e pablo bueno

The second plenary was named “Rethinking Infrastructutre’’ and was focused on cities development . Denise Hamu, president of UNEB (United Nations Environmental Programme) spoke about the reasons why UNEP focus on cities, its strategic importance, global iniciatives for resources, assisting cities, linking partners, coordinating and supporting development of clear goals and tasks, and how to provide acess to expertise. In addition, acoording to presented surveys, major of the cities are aware of the environmental risks. Torsten Kleiss, Senior Strategy Manager at Simens AG discussed about how cities need to provide space to live, work and enjoy; and the basic needs of citizens, such as t, life quality, security and clean environment. He lighlighted that infrastruscture is the key for cities competitiveness and how automation can provide reliable power supply, meet increasing demands and improve comfort while reducing energy consuption and costs. Also discussing about the energy sector, Fernando Pinto Dias Perrone, Manager of the Energy Efficiency Projects Department from Eletrobras, presented the new scenario of its transformation, energy efficiency policy and the challenges for the sustainability of cities, such as efficient buildings and urban infrastructure and redution of emissions. Osvaldo Pedrosa, president of Pre-sal Petroleo, in Brazil, presented Brazil’s huge potential to new discoveries (88% of ultimately recoverable resources remain to be produced) and the new production sharing regime. He also spoke about deepwater pre-salt being a very attrative business and the most complex projects in the O&G industry.
New professionals in the industry, professional development, innovative improvements  by capacitation and personal interactions were the main topics of the last part of the conference.

André Lima Cordeiro, executive manager of CENPES (Petrobras Research Center), presented the growth, investment in resources and technological strategies and challenges. Mandana Cont, consultant engineer from Iran, presented her survey “Women in Engineering”, highlighting the growth of women in engineering and their participation in the local and global industry. However, in all countries, it was observed that gender discrimination in employment, position and salaries. The statistc that less than 10% of women are in management positions were given as an example.

Jakub Bialachowski, ‎Member of the Board at B-Act, from Poland, and Joost Merema, from Pro6 Managers, from Netherlands, both presented new working relations, focusing on people and quality. According to them, providing as inspiring working environmental and working with an integrated team are the key to spark creativity and improve performance. Jakub says that, in order to ensure positive changes, it is necessary to optimize our time. He shows new working options, such as flexibility, remote work, part-time job (especially for mothers) and coworking, promote improvments, but need a culture change. Joost says that engineering work with government and society, focusing on quality and price, and combining technology, knowledge, and adding value to the projects. He finishes his presentation by proposing some questions to the participants, to make them think of the key factors on sucessful projects: how do we work together? How do we communicate? How are we able to share our goals?

FIDIC was found in 1913, in Switzerland, and promote and implement strategics goals of consultive engineering industry.

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Stocks slip from highs; investors wait on Fed

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Stocks slip from highs; investors wait on Fed 1

By Matt Scuffham

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global stocks slipped from record levels on Tuesday, with investors cautious as the Federal Reserve kicked off its two-day policy meeting and U.S. lawmakers continued to debate a new stimulus plan.

Those concerns overshadowed impressive results from a slew of companies, including from General Electric and Johnson & Johnson, which had earlier pushed the S&P 500 to a record high.

“Investors don’t expect the Fed to give any reason to think they are getting closer to talking about when they will consider scaling back QE, but nervousness is brewing on Wall Street,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

Wall Street’s main indexes closed lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22.96 points, or 0.07%, to 30,937.04, the S&P 500 lost 5.74 points, or 0.15%, to 3,849.62 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 9.93 points, or 0.07%, to 13,626.07.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 nations, fell 1.99 points or 0.3%, to 666.09.

After a “buy everything” rally over several months supported by money-printing pandemic stimulus packages, near-zero interest rates and the start of COVID-19 vaccination programs, some investors are worried markets may be near “bubble” territory.

They point to rocketing prices of assets such as bitcoin or the soaring stock of short-squeezed videogame retailer GameStop.

“There is room for some consolidation,” said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss wealth manager Prime Partners.

Uncertainty over the timing and size of fiscal stimulus also tempered sentiment.

Disagreements have meant months of indecision in the United States, where new coronavirus cases have been above 175,000 a day and millions of people are out of work.

Democrats in the U.S. Senate will act alone to approve a fresh round of stimulus if Republicans do not support the measure, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

U.S. Treasury yields were narrowly mixed in choppy trading, after hitting three-week lows on the long end of the curve, as investors remained cautious about the stimulus and the slow global roll-out of coronavirus vaccines.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 2/32 in price to yield 1.0347%.

The U.S. dollar edged lower across the board as traders showed a preference for riskier currencies.

The dollar index fell 0.2%, with the euro up 0.21% to $1.2162.

European stocks advanced, shrugging off political upheaval in Italy, as strong earnings from wealth manager UBS and auto parts maker Autoliv added to a string of upbeat corporate updates.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up 0.6%, with a rally in automakers, industrial companies and SAP helping the German DAX outperform.

Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index added 0.64%, at 1,573.47.

The IMF raised its forecast for global economic growth in 2021 and said the coronavirus-triggered downturn in 2020 would be nearly a full percentage point less severe than expected.

Italy’s FTSE MIB rose 1.2% after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte handed in his resignation to the head of state, hoping he would be given an opportunity to put together a new coalition and rebuild his parliamentary majority.1.2163

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 11.47 points or 1.58% in Asia overnight. South Korea and Hong Kong topped losers, each falling more than 2%. The sell-off also caused Japanese stocks to slip 1% and Chinese blue-chips to tumble 2%, their biggest one-day loss since Sept. 9.

All had touched milestone highs earlier this month.

Gold prices edged lower. Spot gold dropped 0.2% to $1,850.63 an ounce. U.S. gold futures settled down 0.2% at $1,850.90.

U.S. crude oil futures settled at $52.61 a barrel, down 16 cents or 0.30%. Brent crude futures settled at $55.91 a barrel, up 3 cents or 0.05%.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Dan Grebler, Mark Heinrich and Sonya Hepinstall)

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Current cryptocurrencies unlikely to last, Bank of England governor says

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Current cryptocurrencies unlikely to last, Bank of England governor says 2

By David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) – No existing cryptocurrency has a structure that is likely to allow it to work as a means of payment over the long term, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey told an online forum hosted by the Davos-based World Economic Forum on Monday.

“Have we landed on what I would call the design, governance and arrangements for what I might call a lasting digital currency? No, I don’t think we’re there yet, honestly. I don’t think cryptocurrencies as originally formulated are it,” he said.

Bitcoin, the best-known cryptocurrency, hit a record high of $42,000 on Jan. 8 and sank as low as $28,800 last week, far greater volatility than is found with normal currencies.

“The whole question of people having assurance that their payments will be made in something with stable value … ultimately links bank to what we call fiat currency, which has a link to the state,” Bailey said.

The BoE, like the European Central Bank, is looking at the feasibility of issuing its own digital currency. This would allow people to make sterling electronic payments without involving banks, as is currently possible with banknotes, and would in theory help avoid the volatility that renders bitcoin impractical for commerce.

Bailey said the appropriate level of privacy for digital currencies was likely to be hotly debated and was potentially underrated as a challenge in setting one up.

“This is a big one that is coming on to the landscape, the whole question of a privacy standard for transactions made in any form of digital currency, and where the public interest lies,” he said.

(Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Tom Wilson and Alistair Smout)

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EU sustainable investment rules need better corporate data – banking report

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EU sustainable investment rules need better corporate data - banking report 3

By Simon Jessop and Kate Abnett

LONDON (Reuters) – European Union rules aimed at defining sustainable investments should help reduce “greenwashing” by businesses, but better quality corporate data is needed to ensure they work effectively, a banking report said on Tuesday.

The sustainable finance rules will classify investments that can be marketed as sustainable, a move aimed at steering much-needed cash into low-carbon projects to deliver the bloc’s climate goals.

From January to August 2020, 26 of the region’s biggest lenders tested the EU framework across a range of core banking processes, including retail banking, trade finance and lending to smaller companies.

As the main providers of finance to companies across the EU, the ability of the banking system to track and report on whether corporate activities are sustainable or not could prove crucial in assessing the rules’ success or otherwise.

The lenders broadly welcomed the regulations as they seek to align their businesses with the transition to a low-carbon economy, the report by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the European Banking Federation found.

However, they also raised a number of issues, many of which were data-related and could require a phasing in of reporting requirements.

While many large companies are already required to disclose certain environmental and social information by law, the bulk of smaller and mid-sized banking clients are not, hampering banks’ assessment of their alignment with the rules.

Concerns over the quality, detail and standardisation of data is also an issue when looking at banks’ lending overseas, something that would be made more complex as other regions launch their own regulations.

The banks who tested the EU rules called on regulators to seek global alignment of regulations, and for better tools to manage data from clients, such as a centralised EU database.

While under no compulsion to lend to activities that can be classed as sustainable, banks see sustainable finance as a growth area that is likely to take on more importance in coming years should policymakers tighten environmental legislation.

With more investors globally looking to become shareholders of companies with a good record on managing environmental risk, banks are also likely to look to reduce their exposure to environmentally or socially harmful activities over time.

The European Commission is expected to finish the section of the rules covering climate change in the coming months, before they take effect in 2022.

(Reporting by Simon Jessop and Kate Abnett; Editing by Pravin Char)

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