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  • Archive for November, 2016

    Planting of new forests ‘major investment opportunity’

    2016 - 11.23

    There is a “strong financial case” for planting good quality, commercial forests ripe for investment, an industry body says.

    Tilhill’s latest Forest Market report 2016 recommends new productive forest planting in the UK.

    Forestry industry representatives and investors joined together at the launch of the report in London, where they heard there was a shortage of good quality, commercial forests and a financial case existed for creating new ones.

    “The UK timber processing industry is continuing to grow and develop as the forests, planted in the 1970’s and 1980’s mature,” said Jason Sinden of Tilhill.

    “However, the lack of more recent planting means that there will be a shortage of timber in around 20 years’ time.”

    “Given statistics showing that restocking of felled conifer crops is lagging behind the harvested area, we are at risk of losing productive forest area at a time when the demand for timber shows every sign of increasing,” said Fenning Welstead of John Clegg & Co.

    The report shows 79.19 million of forest properties was traded in 2016 – a drop from 2015’s record sales of 150 million.

    Shell to put $10bn into Brazil

    2016 - 11.21

    Energy giant Shell has announced it plans to invest $10 billion (8 billion) in Brazil over a five-year investment cycle in a sign of growing external confidence in the Latin American economy.

    The move, which could have a positive boost on Brazil’s forestry sector, will see Shell tap into the increased opportunities for foreign companies in the country’s oil industry.

    Already the largest foreign investor in Brazil, Shell plans to invest about 2 billion every year as it looks to double its global deep water production by the early 2020s. It will find the investment from the more than 30 billion in capital it already has deployed in Brazil.

    Regulatory changes announced by Brazil’s government have allowed Shell to expand its deepwater oil and production work there. The firm has 5,500 energy stations in the country and, as a result of its takeover of BG Group earlier this year, owns a number of Brazil oil and gas assets.

    As a result of the investment, production from the company's deepwater portfolio is expected to rise from about 450,000 barrels per day to 900,000 barrels per day.

    "This was a good move by the government and it will open up opportunities for more players to invest in Brazil," Shell chief executive officer Ben van Beurden said.

    Brazil president shores up confidence after Trump elected

    2016 - 11.15

    Brazil’s president Michel Temer is attempting to bolster confidence in his ambitious reform package after the country’s currency plummeted following Donald Trump’s US election victory.

    Brazil’s currency was one of the worst hit in an emerging market sell-off sparked by the billionaire’s shock defeat of Hillary Clinton, the Financial Times reported, suffering a 7.3 per cent depreciation – its worst three-day loss against the dollar since 2008.

    At the weekend the Temer administration published a lengthy list of its claimed economic and social achievements since the incumbent president took power about six months ago.

    Following the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff in August, Brazil’s stock market and currency have spiked, but were hard hit following Mr Trump’s victory.

    “On May 12, at the start of the new government, financial market projections for gross domestic product in 2017 were for growth of 0.5 per cent. Now, after our economic measures, the previsions are for 1.2 per cent growth,” the Brazil government said.

    But analysts pointed to the real’s fall in the few day’s since Mr Trump’s win as a sign of vulnerability in external markets.

    “This is a reminder that the political backdrops in several countries are very uncertain, particularly in Brazil,” Neil Shearing, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, told the FT.

    Mr Temer is pushing through fiscal reforms to help plug a budget deficit as his government attempts to pull Brazil out of one of its worst recessions.

    Take a look here if you’re interested in finding out more about investment opportunities in Brazil.

    Brazil ‘on right track’

    2016 - 11.15

    Brazil is making good progress in its attempt to drive itself out of one of its worst recessions but must open its economy if it is to achieve continued growth, the country’s top economists say.

    In positive news for people thinking about investing in Brazil’s forestry sector, speakers at the annual assembly of the Latin American Banking Federation, held recently in Buenos Aires, said Brazil should start to see a modest return to growth next year.

    GT Review reported that economists from banks including Banco Bradesco and Banco Safra shared a “positive outlook” on Brazil achieving one per cent GDP growth in 2017 and around 2.5 per cent in 2018.

    Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, is in recession but has embarked on a robust growth plan spearheaded by president Michel Temer.

    Otavio de Barros, Bradesco’s chief economist, said a lack of budgetary governance, acceptance of medium to high inflation (currently around six per cent) and being one of the most closed large economies in the world had hampered Brazil’s economy.

    “In the last five decades we have built a very potent economy and now it’s time more than ever to open the economy, gradually and by investing in bilateral and regional agreements. This is crucial to productivity,” Mr de Barros was quoted as saying.

    Take a look here if you’re interested in finding out more about investment opportunities in Brazil.

    Palm oil sector agrees ‘no deforestation’ definition

    2016 - 11.09

    What does ‘no deforestation’ actually mean? For the first time, the palm oil industry has come together to formally agree on a definition for the practice.

    Business Green reports that, for several years, the sector has struggled to get consensus on the land it can develop and the high-carbon land land it can’t.

    Now, major players in the industry, including palm oil producers, suppliers and NGOs have agreed on a unifying definition for ‘no deforestation’.

    Some 15 companies and organisations including Unilever and Greenpeace now agree on the definition after an agreement was reached in Bangkok last week.

    “The agreed definition of "no deforestation" uses a new version of the High Carbon Stock Approach, a methodology to identify areas of land suitable for plantation development and forest areas that should be protected in the long term,” Business Green said.

    “Now agreement on the new definition has been reached all participants will apply an amended version of the High Carbon Stock Approach, once a revised industry toolkit is sent out early next year.”

    Guyana gets its first FSC-certified forest

    2016 - 11.02

    A Guyana forest used to grow greenheart, a hardwood, has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in a first for the South American country.

    Iwokrama is an area of tropical rainforest in Guyana and covers an area of about 3,710 square kilometres, roughly the size of Cornwall in the UK.

    The certification is part of an effort to protect the forest, manage it sustainably and allow greenheart, used to construct ships, ports and docks, to be exported to the UK.

    The Soil Association said it had been working closely with Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development (IIC), which manages the forest, over the past few months. The FSC certificate, granted last month, means all greenheart grown in the forest is FSC-certified and therefore meets UK government guidelines.

    “IIC is the first forest in Guyana to get FSC certification, committing to social, environmental and economic ways of working,” said Maria Berlango, senior certification officer at the Soil Association.

    “As the programme grows and the benefits of certification become evident, local forestry and logging companies will be encouraged to follow suit.”

    Brazil to monitor weather in Amazon rainforest

    2016 - 11.01

    Brazil’s government is reported to have set up the world’s tallest tower as it looks to monitor weather systems in the Amazon rainforest.

    The plus55 website says the tower will be used to monitor the relationship between the rainforest and the atmosphere.

    It’s located 150 kilometers away from the capital of the state of Amazonas in Manaus, in a reserve dedicated to sustainable development.

    At a height of 325 meters, the tower has been built to last for 30 years and will be used to collect data about the gasses that pass between the rainforest and the atmosphere. The tower will start earning its keep in early 2017, after being delivered to the site by plane in three containers.

    “Much of the equipment is of high precision and risks being damaged by the rainforest’s conditions, most notably regarding humidity and intense heat,” plus55 said. “Protection and adequate conditions are therefore necessary at all times.”

    The $7 million project is a partnership between Brazil and Germany.

    Take a look here if you’re interested in finding out more about investment opportunities in Brazil.