Finance – Baisieux Thu, 21 Oct 2021 09:42:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Finance – Baisieux 32 32 The demand for credit is the problem, not the supply of credit Mon, 22 Mar 2021 09:38:59 +0000

Abhijit Mukhopadhyay
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced its October Monetary policy statement, and has done its best to calm the nerves of the market and the economy by painting a picture of hope for recovery. The RBI expects real GDP to decline 9.5% in 2020-2021, “with downside risks.”

The policy rate and the repo rate are kept unchanged at 4.00% and 3.35% respectively, as are the permanent marginal facility (MSF) and bank rates at 3.35%. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) has shown a slight upward trend, mainly propelled by higher prices for primary items in recent months. Thus, leaving rates unchanged was widely expected, as the central bank would like to have some flexibility to act in the future if the economy becomes inflationary. The RBI, however, expects food prices to fall, thanks to good kharif production.

The central bank has ensured both the market and the government to create comfortable liquidity conditions so that private and public borrowing is not hampered in any way. The following major liquidity improvement announcements were made.

To revive activities in specific sectors with both backward and forward linkages and multiplier effects on growth, the RBI introduced Targeted Long Term Repurchase Transactions (TLTROs) with mandates of up to three years for a total amount of up to Rs. 1 lakh crore, at a variable rate linked to the policy’s repo rate. The liquidity made available by banks under this program must be deployed in corporate bonds, commercial paper and non-convertible bonds issued by entities in growth sectors.

· The liquidity made available by these TLTROs can also be used to grant bank loans to growth sectors. Banks that have raised funds under previous TLTROs will have the option to cancel these transactions prior to maturity. This is done to ensure a smooth and transparent credit operation by the banks.

· Reacting to “comments from market participants”, the central bank also decided to increase the size of special open market operations (OMOs) to Rs 20,000 crore.

· To facilitate liquidity of State Development Loans (SDLs), the RBI will conduct OMOs in SDLs as a special case during the current fiscal year. The umbrella bank hopes to facilitate efficient pricing by undertaking these transactions.

Although there is no restriction on the maximum duration of repo transactions, these transactions are generally undertaken for a period of one week. The extension of the period to three years is intended to allow banks to grant new loans to the sectors concerned.

Simply put, previously commercial banks would borrow money from the RBI for a very short period of time to overcome the immediate liquidity issues they faced. Now, more RBI funds will be available to banks for a much longer period at the repo rate. Thus, low interest rate loans (assuming the pension rate remains at a lower level) will be available for “growth oriented” sectors.

For government development loans, however, the cost of borrowing is expected to be higher as these will be raised through open market operations. Now the question we can ask ourselves is: how do all of these elements contribute to the economic recovery?

The idea that increasing the supply of credit will facilitate economic recovery has been circulating for some time. The massive contraction of GDP induced by the pandemic has only accelerated the clamor. The underlying logic is simple: the provision of loanable funds at low cost will increase credit underwriting, the loans taken (industrial, personal or other) will then be used in new economic activities and will ultimately lead to recovery and growth. increased. But looking at the trends in key pension rates and the credit-to-deposit ratio over the past year, one is bound to be skeptical.

The credit-to-deposit ratio shows how much of each rupee of deposit is given as an actual loan disbursement. Overall, this is one of the basic indicators of credit growth. Although the policy rate for pensions has steadily declined in recent years, the credit-to-deposit ratio has remained constant and, since April of this year, has fallen during the pandemic (Figure 1). Although the cost of borrowing steadily declined and more credit was made available to the economy, there were very few takers for such loans.

The collapse in credit demand becomes visibly significant when looking at the trends in the incremental credit-to-deposit ratio. As the name suggests, this ratio shows how many new deposits are made in the form of new loans in the economy. This ratio was in negative territory between July and September of last year, then slowly recovered to a level of around 60% in March 2020, only to fall back into the negative zone. For comparison, the value of this ratio was 169.70% on December 21, 2018, 126.29% on January 18, 2019 and 116.01% on March 15, 2019.

The growth rates of deposits have been fairly stable even during the pandemic, but there has not been a commensurate growth in credit. The additional credit-to-deposit ratio figures only reaffirm this phenomenon and this trend began long before the pandemic.

Therefore, it is the demand for credit that is the problem, not the supply of credit. If there are few economic actors in the system interested in receiving credit and using it in productive activities, no additional amount of credit will solve this problem.

If the disease is rooted on the demand side, then monetary remedies rarely work. Only fiscal solutions can remedy distortions on the demand side. The time has come to seek these avenues.

The opinions expressed above belong to the author.

The Observer Research Foundation

(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please Click here. We allow sharing of the PDF of the article on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Posted on: Wednesday October 14th, 2020 6:05 AM IST Source link

ComEd Bribery Scandal Clouds image for Exelon nuclear power plants in Illinois Mon, 22 Mar 2021 09:38:58 +0000

Exelon could be forced to shut down its Illinois nuclear power plants if state law is not passed to bolster their eroded financial outlook. But Commonwealth utility branch Edison’s involvement in a corruption scandal has complicated that and other key political efforts in her home state.

CEO Chris Crane described these challenges during the Chicago utility’s second quarter earnings conference call on Tuesday. Last month ComEd accepted pay a fine of $ 200 million as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors to avoid criminal liability in an alleged bribery scheme involving Illinois Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan.

Crane apologized for the company’s failure to prevent activities outlined in the agreement, including arranging jobs, contracts and payments for Madigan associates in return for help with the legislation favorable to public service. “We have taken strong action to address these [issues]”Crane said.” These new policies and surveillance will ensure this doesn’t happen again. ”

At the same time, Crane noted that the company was “trying to implement a legislative strategy in Illinois” that would offer its state nuclear power plants another avenue to generate market revenue from. capacity, seen as an essential element of their future financial viability.

Exelon has the country’s largest nuclear generation fleet and other generation assets; it operates utilities in Illinois, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, DC

Exelon on Tuesday reported second-quarter profit of $ 521 million, or 53 cents per share on a GAAP basis, beating its previous forecast despite costs related to storms and disruption related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Exelon’s nuclear power plants are at stake

A December decision of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires the mid-Atlantic grid operator, PJM, to impose minimum prices on a wide range of state-supported grid resources. That rule should include Exelon’s Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear power plants, which receive hundreds of millions of dollars a year in zero-emission credits created by Illinois. Future Energy Uses Act.

Exelon is looking to extend zero-emission credits to its nuclear power plants in Braidwood, Byron and Dresden, which failed to complete PJM’s last capacity auction in 2018 and could face early retirement without further financial support .

Although FERC has not approved PJM’s plan to comply with its order, and PJM has yet to set a date to resume its long-delayed capacity auctions, “there is a strong feeling….” Some are not profitable right now, and others may. to become.”

Exelon wants Illinois to create a new structure, known as the “fixed resource requirement,” which could allow these factories to be paid for their capacity values ​​outside of the PJM market. This mechanism is part of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, a bill that combines a mandate for 100% renewable energy by 2050 with other policies relating to carbon reduction, electric transport and job creation.

But the corruption scandal has driven a wedge between public service and state lawmakers, while the COVID-19 pandemic has forced lawmakers to cut much of their work this spring and focus on responses to the public health crisis. The Clean Energy Jobs Act failed to move forward during an emergency session in May, as did an alternative, less ambitious clean energy bill called the Path to 100.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker suspended the energy task force involved in drafting the Clean Energy Jobs Act after the deferred prosecution agreement was announced, said through a spokesperson that future legislation “will not be not written by utility companies “.

In the absence of a legislative solution to the challenges of Exelon’s nuclear power plants in Illinois, Crane said, “If we can’t find… a path to profitability, we’ll have to shut them down. This would be “a sad turn of events that will affect the state’s carbon reduction targets” given that nuclear power provides about 90% of Illinois’ carbon-free power “and will seriously affect communities ”which depend on power plants for jobs and economic activity.

But Exelon “will not allow the balance sheet to be further deteriorated by the exploitation of non-economic assets,” he said. Exelon has successfully won zero carbon credits in New York and New Jersey, but also plans to shut down its Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in pennsylvania if this state does not create similar supports.

Formula tariff extension and Chicago grid takeover both remain uncertain

ComEd also faces an uphill battle in its efforts to win an extension of a plan in place since 2011 that allows it to file its capital expansion plans as part of formula rate updates, rather than through through a traditional rate setting process with the Illinois Commerce Commission. A bill that would have extended the structure of calculated rates beyond its expiration in 2022 was not passed by the legislature this year.

ComEd CEO Joe Dominguez said during Tuesday’s earnings call that the formula’s pricing structure has allowed the utility to make significant improvements in customer service and system reliability, while reducing customer rates over the past decade. But the utility $ 9.53 billion capital plan for 2020 to 2023, which will come into effect under the calculated rate structure, will add more than $ 5 billion to its capital rate base and lead to price increases for customers in the years to come.

The new capital plan includes replacing aging power lines and poles and updating underground power cables, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in networked LED street lights, distribution network automation and d ‘other improvements to his multibillion dollar smart grid investments allowed by the law of 2011 which introduced the structure of formula rates.

ComEd will continue these programs whether or not Illinois lawmakers extend those formula rates, but it is pushing for their continuation, Dominguez said. “We believe that good regulatory and political results are driven by good operational performance. ”

Exelon also faces the potential threat of having its Chicago power grid taken over by the city, even if this effort seems to be running out of steam in the face of the high costs it would impose on the city’s budget. Proponents of Chicago’s grid municipalization say it could cut costs and allow for more ambitious renewable energy targets.

But the costs of the operation could range from $ 5 billion to $ 11 billion, according to preliminary estimates pending fuller details from an ongoing study. Crane said ComEd is working with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and City Council on an agreement to extend its franchise agreement to supply the city’s power for a year while the study is nearing completion. .

Source link

Ford to look beyond credit ratings in sales surge Mon, 22 Mar 2021 09:38:58 +0000

A major auto lender has decided to change their approval process to go beyond credit scores in an effort to increase sales.

Ford Motor’s finance unit decision is expected to unfold in the coming years, even as concerns grow about increasing losses on auto loans in the industry. Ford Motor Credit is expected to announce the plans as early as Friday.

The company says it is looking for ways to increase loan and lease approvals for applicants with limited credit histories. These consumers are often denied credit because they do not have a history of debt management and, as a result, have low credit scores. Ford’s credit division plans to examine new data to try to determine whether these customers, as well as those with stronger borrowing histories, are likely to repay their loans.

Subprime auto loans across the industry have enabled consumers with missed loan payments and other defaults on their credit reports to obtain financing. This has helped fuel new car sales in the United States, which hit record highs in 2015 and again in 2016. But as losses worsened, many lenders have backed away from schemes with risky borrowers.

Ford’s sales in the United States are down 4.3% in the first seven months of the year compared to the same period a year earlier, while total sales of new cars in the United States are down 2.8%, according to Wells Fargo & Co.’s auto loan volume fell 45% in the second quarter from a year ago due to tighter underwriting standards. Ally Financial Inc. auto loan origination fell 8.5% for the same period.

Some lenders are looking elsewhere to increase the volume of loans. One area of ​​interest is that of borrowers who have low credit scores because they haven’t used debt from banks and other traditional lenders.

Ford Credit is one of the largest US lenders to say it is considering using alternative underwriting methods, beyond traditional factors that primarily focus on credit reports. “No financial services company would take this decision lightly,” said Jim Moynes, vice president of risk management at Ford Credit.

A range of smaller finance providers, including credit unions and online lenders, also assessed factors other than credit reports and scores for applicants with thin credit records.

Ford Credit hopes that new credit scoring methods will better predict risk among a wide range of borrowers. Although its write-off rate is lower than the industry average, losses are increasing. The company wrote off $ 82 million in consumer loans and leases in the United States as a loss in the second quarter, up 30% from the previous year.

Ford Credit says it doesn’t think its decision will result in more losses because it will look at more data than it currently checks on loan applicants. While the overall result will likely be more loan approvals, there will be some tightening as well because some borrowers who are currently approved might not be under the new model.

The origins of this change can be traced back to last year, when Ford Credit entered into a contract with fintech firm ZestFinance to conduct a study on the ability of alternative data to assess the likelihood of loan applicants defaulting. This study was based on a group of existing Ford Credit borrowers.

Ford Credit has decided to extend this new type of underwriting to all applicants, including those with poor credit records. Factors such as whether applicants have provided the same cell phone number on previous loan applications and whether they have professional licenses could help green light their loan applications, Mr. Moynes.

Proponents of the strategy claim that potential borrowers with limited credit histories are often unfairly excluded from low-cost loans, while critics say it’s another way to dress subprime loans to people who have had debts. financial problems.

Source link

For black families, evictions still at a critical point – despite moratorium: NPR Mon, 22 Mar 2021 09:38:58 +0000


It’s a simple fact, black and brown families are more likely to be evicted than white ones. There are several reasons for this, but the pandemic has only made matters worse. This is Pam Fessler from NPR.

PAM FESSLER, BYLINE: Take Aniya, an unemployed mother of two, struggling to get by. By the end of the month, she must move out of her two-bedroom apartment in Richmond, Va., And find new accommodation. This in addition to an already difficult year 2020.

ANIYA: My kids come home from school, trying to work. It was just a lot. It was a lot of pressure on me, trying to figure out what we were going to do, given that now there was a whole life change – a world change, really.

FESSLER: COVID meant his night shift in an Amazon warehouse was no longer practical, after his children’s school and daycare was canceled. She turned a corner of her living room into a mini classroom, complete with a colorful plastic table and chairs, stacks of books, and posters with simple words for her boys, ages 5 and 3.

ANIYA: The things that are sort of easier to learn, I guess you could say – your beginner’s words.

FESSLER: Like a dream, happy and home. Aniya started having trouble paying her rent, $ 650 per month, soon after she stopped working.

ANIYA: After that, it was pretty much – they just sued me and tried to get me out, basically, of the unit.

FESSLER: She avoided the eviction with the help of a lawyer and emergency rental assistance. He covered his rent back, even future rent payments. She was therefore surprised when she received a letter saying that her lease would not be renewed.

ANIYA: That I had to leave before February 28th.

FESSLER: Aniya is hardly alone. National statistics are not available, but the Eviction Lab at Princeton University estimates that more than a million tenants have been evicted during the pandemic, despite a government moratorium. Researcher Peter Hepburn says those affected, like Aniya, are disproportionately black.

PETER HEPBURN: Blacks make up about 21% of all tenants, but they make up 35% of all accused in eviction cases.

FESSLER: And that doesn’t take into account anyone whose leases aren’t renewed or who leave on their own to avoid an eviction request, which can have serious repercussions – which is why we’ve agreed not to not use Aniya’s full name.

HEPBURN: Once you’ve been filed against for eviction – you know, not even necessarily evicted, but just having that file on your file – it’s going to make finding your next apartment a lot more difficult.

FESSLER: It’s a downward cycle that Hepburn says hits black families the hardest. They are more likely to rent their home than to own a home and pay a larger share of their income when they do. They also tend to have a smaller financial cushion in an emergency. Now, with the pandemic, blacks are more likely to have lost their jobs and three times more likely than whites to be hospitalized with COVID-19. Being deported only increases those risks.

PALMER HEENAN: The majority of the people I represent are black or brown, and of those, the majority are mothers. I mean, it’s really disheartening.

FESSLER: Palmer Heenan is a member of the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. He has dealt with Aniya’s case and says he is observing the accumulation of inconveniences his clients are facing.

HEENAN: I recently had a client who had been kicked out, who basically said to me, how are my kids supposed to go to school if we live in my car? My car does not have Wi-Fi.

ANIYA: It’s completely broken. I use it so that our living room is not freezing and our heating is on all day.

FESSLER: Aniya took this apartment because it was very affordable, but she soon realized that it had a lot of flaws. She shows how she uses a rolled-up towel to seal a leaky sliding glass door, which opens to a second-story balcony but does not lock. It’s the same in her children’s room.

ANIYA: See, there’s no lock on the window at all. It’s completely gone.

FESSLER: Not to mention the peeling paint, the faulty refrigerator, and a bee infestation last summer. You can still see dead bees in the grooves under its windows. We reached out to Aniya’s owner, KRS Holdings in Richmond, but they declined to comment for this story. Landlords often claim that they can’t maintain their properties if people don’t pay the rent and if landlords go out of business, it will only worsen the lack of affordable housing.

Congress has approved $ 25 billion in rent assistance to deal with the crisis and is considering an additional $ 25 billion. But Jaboa Lake, an analyst at the left-wing Center for American Progress, says that’s not enough.

LAKE JABOA: It still doesn’t even affect the rent arrears that are owed. And we know, once again, that rent arrears owed have a disproportionate impact on families of color.

FESSLER: She’s worried about what will happen when the pandemic ends and these families find themselves struggling with debt.

LAKE: People take out loans. They use their credit cards. They sell their personal effects.

FESSLER: Anything to get by. But that debt and bad credit scores can affect their ability to secure an apartment or even a job later. Congress and some states are looking for solutions, such as extending rent assistance – which also helps landlords – and removing eviction records from a tenant’s record. In the meantime, Aniya moves on. She hopes to move to North Carolina with relatives so she can get back on her feet and start from scratch.

Pam Fessler, NPR News.


Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website Terms of use and permissions pages to for more information.

NPR transcripts are created within an emergency time frame by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR entrepreneur, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative recording of NPR’s programming is the audio recording.

Source link

How NBC’s “Community” Helps a Jazz Musician Reach a New Fan Base Mon, 22 Mar 2021 09:38:58 +0000

In this season’s Halloween episode Community, NBC’s sitcom with a rabid cult, most of the main characters have reimagined a basic slasher story with their own twist. Danny Pudi’s Abed Nadir decided to defy the conventions of horror in his shooting, until one particular detail: when the two characters in his story turned on the radio to see if there were any reports of a killer on the loose, they were treated to a relaxing and sweet jazz melody. After all, that’s probably what would happen if you turned on the radio. The earworm melody lasted 20 seconds – the actual song played for nine seconds before moving on to Pudi humming the silky saxophone melody for a full 11 seconds – before Chevy Chase’s Pierce Hawthorne rudely interrupted the song. happy melody of Pudi.

The song used in this scene sounds familiar but foreign, it’s a relaxing number that could easily be played on any contemporary or adult smooth jazz radio station across the country. And yet, despite the airwaves Community, this melody, “Dawn“, was not on commercial radio. At least that’s what the song’s creator, Michael Haggins says: It never had a commercial broadcast.

Born in Pasadena, California, the 55-year-old jazz bassist grew up with music. His uncle Al Duncan was a session drummer for Vee-Jay Records and Chess Records in the 1950s and 1960s – he recorded with Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Etta James, Sonny Boy Williamson and many other musicians – and wrote a staple of the blues, “It’s too late my brother. Haggins got into music at a young age, playing a guitar he got for Christmas as a kid and picking up the saxophone in grade school. He eventually stuck with the electric bass, playing in a group with future Billboard frontman Robbie Nevil in the 80s, and came out on his own in the 2000s. He self-published two solo albums – the 2004 one Dawn and 2008 Traffic–and his third album, World of dreams, should be released at the end of May.

Music is a passionate project for Haggins. He’s a video technician for CBS by day, and he works on promos for prime-time shows. He’s spent decades working on television, and although he’s so close to the action, he still feels like he’s looking through the glass where he wants to go with his music. As he walks down the halls at work and scrutinizes the various stages, he sometimes imagines himself putting on a bass and showing everyone his stuff, and performing on television programs shot on both coasts. ” I would like to do Letterman“says Haggins, one of the many shows he’s hoping to appear on.” Just a song! “

While it wasn’t aired and didn’t play, say, the Today show, Haggins has slowly but surely found some fame thanks to Community. This is the first appearance on the show during “Horror Fiction in Seven Scary Steps“was one of the best moments in this particular episode. The song reappeared four episodes later in”Table football and night vigilance“with Donald Glover’s Troy Barnes humming it happily at one point, then humming it in grief when he hears heartbreaking news.

Then Community was on hiatus for a few months and finally returned in March. Just before the show resumes on the air, the cast and producers got together to talk To Paley Festival 2012, an annual television conference at the Paley Center for Media that welcomes those involved in creative programming. During the question-and-answer session, a fan asked a particular question, “This is the song that was in the Halloween episode and the Batman episode, will we hear this song again?” In response, almost everyone on stage burst into song, approaching the saxophone melody that features prominently in “Daybreak.” The short answer was yes.

“Daybreak” appeared on Community time and time again since the show returned to air. It’s in the first episode since his return, “Urban wedding and the arts of the sandwich. “It comes up twice in a two-part story about a giant pillow fight, once in each episode. And it shows up in the dying moments of the end credits scene over the past week or so.”Analysis of virtual systems. “” Daybreak “has a life of its own on Community. On the surface, this is a meme from a TV show known to be obsessed with memes, but the role it plays in the lives of the show’s characters accurately describes how groups of people listen to music. People bond over certain songs, they share those memorable tunes in good times and bad, and tunes can become shortcuts for entire shared experiences between a few people or an entire community, uh,. Just like “Daybreak” on Community.

The tune is, on the surface, a positive jam: it’s a silky saxophone melody, played by Rod Stewart’s backing musician Jimmy Roberts, and a restrained funk-bass beat allows for upbeat listening. Yet the song comes from a time when Haggins felt his faith was being tested, when he was unsure whether it was the right decision to play music full time or to go away. stick to his television career. “Whenever something good comes up, there’s a storm,” Haggins says. “You start to wonder what you’re doing, why you’re doing it.” From this was born “Daybreak”, a song that sums up Haggins’ positive outlook on life and the affirmation he feels when he wakes up every morning. “The only thing that is always constant is the dawn,” he says. “It’s a little cheerful, when you get up you want to have joy.”

Haggins says “Daybreak” is all about breaking down barriers, too, and although he hasn’t been in music full time, he’s starting to carve out a little niche for himself in the music world. A big push came on July 22, 2010, when The Weather Channel added four Haggins songs to its “Local on the 8’s” lineup for this August. Another great event had happened a year before, when Opening music, a music supervision company that works in film and television, contacted Haggins to use their music. Since then, Aperture has incorporated songs by Michael Haggins Happy endings, Raising hope, MSNBC Wake up to Al, and the 2011 comedy Pass. And of course, Community. Not bad considering that Haggins handles all aspects of his music career himself, from setting up a live show to running his label, Cuate Records Corporation.

Although “Daybreak” became a hit in the world of Community, Haggins didn’t see much of her airing on the show. “I haven’t received a dime yet,” he says. “I should receive compensation for this.” Haggins’ music is recorded through BMI and he is expected to receive a standard performance royalty. He should expect to receive payment at least six months after the first episode that used “Daybreak,” which Haggins says is pretty standard: that means he should get paid pretty much any day now. .

It may take months to wait for residual compensation after a song airs on TV, but Community helped Haggins with his music sales. “I do extremely well with iTunes downloads,” he says. According to Haggins every time “Daybreak” lands on Community he sees an increase in the song’s sales numbers, and it often lands in iTunes’ 100 Jazz singles list. He has also noticed an increase in fan emails since the Halloween episode. Community the fans are certainly dedicated to the show, having launched various “save Community campaigns when the show has been briefly taken off the air. Those same fans turned to “Daybreak,” which Haggins certainly enjoys: If he could, he would do something with the show that gave him so much. “I would like to make a Community gig and do the whole song with the actors there, ”he says.

Source link

As the energy price cap update approaches, now is the time for a change – Forbes Advisor UK Mon, 22 Mar 2021 09:38:57 +0000

Millions of households that have never changed energy supplier or have not changed in two or three years will soon know if they are facing an increase in their energy bill for 2021.

At the beginning of next month, Ofgem, the energy market regulator, will announce the level of its price cap from April 1. He has already offered a £ 21 per household hike to help suppliers cover the financial costs of the coronavirus, although this may be reduced to £ 6 once further technical adjustments are made to the pricing rule.

It could also push the cap even higher to reflect increases in wholesale energy prices during peak demand winter months, as well as other rising costs affecting suppliers.

Any increase in the cap would be reflected in customer invoices on the standard variable rate (SVR) or “default” open-ended tariffs, where suppliers are free to adjust prices at any time.

Customers who have been with their provider for many years tend to be on SVR deals, while those who stayed with their provider when a fixed rate deal ended typically switch to a default rate.

Customers with fixed rate offers, where the price per unit of energy used is locked in for the duration of the agreement, typically 12 months, would escape any increase in the cap.

it means someone switch from a default rate to a fixed rate now would not have to worry about the potential increase in the level of the cap. And, to sweeten the pot, chances are they would be able to find a flat rate at a much lower price than their current SVR / Default deal.

What is the ceiling for energy prices?

Like us reported here, the energy price cap was first introduced in January 2019.

Determined twice a year, the cap sets a limit to the amount energy providers can charge per kWh of gas and electricity for domestic customers on standard variable / default energy tariffs.

These tariffs are used by around 11 million UK households. The current cap was introduced in October 2020 and, at £ 1,042 for a typical household, is the lowest figure ever. As indicated, the rate applicable from April 1 will be announced in February.

Wholesale changes

Ofgem’s price cap calculations take into account the wholesale cost of energy and other impacts of the coronavirus.

With more people at home during lockdown times and due to changes in work practices, home energy use increased in the first lockdown from March 2020, but business premises were in great shape. part closed. This resulted in low demand for electricity and wholesale energy prices fell as a result.

In recent months, wholesale prices have recovered, in part due to higher demand during the cold, dark winter months. This means that energy companies face higher prices when purchasing supplies, and Ofgem is likely to allow them to pass this cost on to higher bills for their customers.

To avoid the double whammy of a possible increase in the energy cap and higher wholesale tariffs, consumers with standard variable tariffs could save money by switching energy providers.

Switching energy is a common practice these days. According to the Energy UK business organization, around 5.5 million electricity customers alone have switched suppliers in 2020.

Loyalty is not rewarded

Loyalty is not rewarded by suppliers and the best energy deals are usually aimed at new customers. There is no shortage of providers large and small to choose from who will take on new accounts, potentially saving households hundreds of pounds.

The switching process should not take more than 21 days and there should be no disruption in the supply unless you choose to upgrade your meters, when the engineer might need to shut off the power for approx. one o’clock.

Understanding your bill

The more you understand your current bill, the more likely you are to upgrade. To get started, browse your recent bills to give yourself an idea of ​​the average amount you are already paying each month.

The invoice will also provide you with the name of your current supplier, as well as the name of your energy tariff. Your annual statement or summary will also tell you how much gas or electricity you are using, usually expressed in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

Armed with this information and coupled with personal data including: your postcode; type of building in which you live; number of occupants who make up the household; and at what times of the day and night your property is occupied, then you can use our comparison service to find the most competitive rate.

Standard rates

Once you have entered your information, you will be presented with a list of tariffs, including: Fixed rate offers (where the amount you pay per unit of gas or electricity stays the same for the duration of the offer, say 12 or 24 months); variable offers (where the unit price is subject to change); and Economy 7 (where the unit price depends on the time of day or night when the energy is actually used).

Tariffs are available separately for gas and electricity supplies, but “dual fuel” options combine the pair from one supplier. It can be cheaper and gives customers a single invoice and a single point of contact.

After finding an acceptable rate, it is important to review its terms and conditions noting the early exit charges if you decide to take out a fixed price contract only to exit the supplier before the contract ends.

Push the button

Once you’re happy to continue, the next step is to confirm the change. It is not necessary to inform your current supplier as it is up to the new supplier to manage the process and organize a change date.

In due course, you will be asked to provide meter readings to your old and new suppliers on changeover day. Your old supplier should then provide a final invoice no later than six weeks after the change.

Any credit is refunded and, if the old invoice is debited, this amount must be refunded.

A majority of energy providers have subscribed to the Energy Switch guarantee which promises to change supply within 21 days, including a 14-day cooling off period.

This period is a legal requirement and allows customers to change their mind, without penalty, about a change before it is complete.

Source link

Dairy farms have more problems than the trade war Mon, 22 Mar 2021 09:38:57 +0000

Amid the ongoing trade dispute, China announced it was suspending its purchases of U.S. agricultural products this week. The trade war was wreak havoc on the American agricultural industry, which is heavily dependent on exports.

But even before President Trump took office, parts of America’s agricultural industry faced another problem: oversupply. Agricultural products, including pork, chicken, grains and dairy products, have seen years of low prices amid continued glut.

Dairy products are a key example. Milk prices have been low since 2014, when prices fell after years of growing production.

“We really have too much milk on the market,” said Sarah Lloyd, who runs a 400-cow farm in Wisconsin, the Nelson family’s dairy farm.

Before 2014, milk prices had increased. At the time, farmers saw the value of their product increase and many decided to expand.

“It was that domino effect, where every dairy farm was trying to get bigger,” said Naomi Blohm of consulting firm Stewart Peterson.

But at the end of 2014, the global market changed. China has significantly reduced its imports of milk. The European Union has lifted production quotas. Russia has banned imports of Western dairy products.

Farms had to continue producing milk, even if they earned less. Many farms took out loans to expand when prices were high and had to continue producing milk to meet their loan repayments.

Over 2,700 farms closed across the United States between 2017 and 2018. For the farms still present, many are in difficulty.

“The Nelson Family Farm has been in business for over 100 years,” said Lloyd. “We’re just digging deep into the asset base that generations have built. “

The dairy industry has received a lot of help from the government. Federal grants are estimated to represent as much 73% of dairy farm income.

Daniel Sumner, agricultural economist at UC Davis, said farms should be designed to withstand price fluctuations.

“Agricultural prices go up and down,” he said. “It’s part of the business.

What’s unusual this time around, Sumner said, is how long the prices have been low. It’s not just dairy products: the prices of many agricultural products have been falling for several years. By now, he said, they should have recovered.

“That hasn’t really happened for a lot of commodities, in part because they’re so sensitive to international trade turmoil,” Sumner said.

China is the fifth market for US agricultural exports. Before the trade dispute, it had been a major export market for years. With the closure of this market, supply increases in the United States

California and Wisconsin, the two largest milk producers, receive nearly $ 130 million to deal with the trade war. Sumner said the prices also remain low because the industry is also becoming more productive.

“This means that these people can produce crops and livestock products at slightly lower prices,” he said.

The prices of dairy products are starting to increase a bit this year. Dean Foods, the largest milk producer in the United States, said this week it is paying more for the milk that it sources.

This was in part due to a rainy spring, which made it more difficult for farmers to plant fodder crops, increasing production costs. Then there is a drop in production itself, with the closing of dairy farms.

But Lloyd said reducing milk production could help farmers in the long run.

“We just really need to talk to people about what to do if you were producing less and getting paid more,” Lloyd said.

The National Farmers Union called for a government incentive program to better control the dairy market. This could mean a production cap or a levy if farmers want to grow.

So far, nothing has reached Congress.

Source link

Indian government seeks to tap foreign lenders for loans to its small businesses: sources Mon, 22 Mar 2021 09:38:57 +0000

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The Indian government is in talks with foreign lenders to provide up to $ 14.5 billion in credit to millions of its small businesses, two officials said, a sign that the country’s banking system may not be tough enough to do the job on its own.

FILE PHOTO: A worker operates a lathe as he manufactures spare parts for car gearboxes at a workshop in Calcutta, India July 4, 2019. REUTERS / Rupak De Chowdhuri / File Photo

The government is in talks with several foreign lenders, including the German public development bank KfW Group, the World Bank and some Canadian institutions to extend lines of credit to small businesses, said one of the officials, who did not wanted to be identified. Reuters.

KfW’s Indian office confirmed the talks, although the focus was on credit lines to support solar power generation for small businesses. The talks were at an early stage, KfW said.

A spokesperson for the World Bank in India said on Saturday that talks with the government were still in their infancy, adding that “further rounds of consultations will help us define the contours of this collaboration.”

The official said the government is planning to obtain up to 1 trillion Indian rupees in loans from foreign institutions because Indian banks are unable to provide enough capital for the small business sector, considered essential to job creation.

“We are exploring, we are discussing with various funding agencies if something can be done (for small and medium enterprises),” said the second official.

Officials have not provided full details of discussions they are having with the banks, or identified everyone they are speaking to, but said talks are at a very early stage.

India’s Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) is discussing the proposal to attract foreign banks with the country’s finance ministry, which will make a final appeal, the second official said.

The surge in foreign lending follows the Indian government’s announcement earlier this month that it planned to borrow around Rs.7 trillion by issuing sovereign bonds overseas.

India’s 63 million micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are responsible for more than a quarter of the country’s manufacturing and service production, and must be revitalized for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to revive it. economy.

Gross domestic product growth fell to a five-year low of 5.8% in the January-March quarter, well below the government’s target rates of over 8%.

But the availability of credit for small and medium-sized enterprises, which also account for around 45% of India’s total exports, has worsened due to a liquidity crisis in the country’s shadow banking sector which has seen large lenders struggle to stay creditworthy.

State-owned banks, which dominate the industry, have been unable to increase lending as they are burdened with more than $ 145 billion in bad debts.

This has led to a severe credit crunch for small businesses. They pay up to 17% annual interest on bank loans, while shadow banks, also known as non-bank financial corporations (NBFCS), can charge up to 20%.

Last month, a study by a panel of the Reserve Bank of India indicated that the overall credit deficit for the MSME sector is estimated at between 20,000 and 25,000 billion rupees.

But lending to such companies can be risky because some lack appropriate financial information, such as historical cash flow data, making it difficult for banks to assess credit risks.

To mitigate these risks for foreign banks, the loans would benefit from sovereign guarantees and would be channeled through Indian government agencies such as the Small Industries Development Bank of India, the senior official said.

Additional reporting by Hans Seidenstuecker in Frankfurt; Editing by Martin Howell, Kim Coghill and Clare Fallon

Source link

‘Enjoyed every minute’ | News from Mount Airy Mon, 22 Mar 2021 09:38:55 +0000

Pat Gwyn browses a Rolodex to verify a library patron’s listing in this 1977 photo. (Courtesy photo)

In 1972, Pat Johnston, a 14-year-old student from Mount Airy High School, needed to raise money for a school trip to Washington, DC. So she entered the Mount Airy Public Library and applied for a part-time job.

She got the job, which turned into more than just a way to raise some funds.

This weekend Pat – now Pat Gwyn – is stepping out of the library for the last time as a staff member. In between, there has been a career spanning over 49 years which Gwyn describes as her dream job.

“I enjoyed every minute of it. I never wanted to do anything else.

Today is his last official day as Chief Librarian at the Mount Airy Public Library – his official title is Branch Manager for the facility, which is part of the North West Regional Library System.

She has seen a lot of changes over the years, from a time when getting a book in the library meant having the librarian go through a huge card catalog to determine if the book was in the library’s collection to today. hui, where almost every book printed on the past century or two, is available in some form with just a click on a smart phone.

Through it all, Gwyn never lost her love for two things: books and people.

“I don’t know where you could put these two things together, books and people, like you would in a library,” she said recently, exhaling an excitement that shows Gwyn is one of those rare people who find their true calling early. in life and then spend that life pursuing the career she has chosen.

When she was 5 years old, Gwyn’s family moved to Pilot Mountain, where she recalls making one of her first visits to a public athenaeum.

“We walked across Pilot Mountain to the library,” she says of what seemed like a long and special trip for a 5-year-old. “We walked through the door… I looked across the room and saw Ruth Stone sitting there surrounded by books,” she said of the longtime librarian. “I was like, ‘This is the place to be.'”

And this is the place she often frequented during her childhood and adolescence, going on to call herself a “regular patron” of the library.

Along the way, her family moved to Mount Airy and she got to know the staff at the municipal library branch, which led to her first job.

“I went to (the librarian) Frances Tharrington and asked if she might need help. … She let me work there. I think she even paid me out of pocket for about a month, ”said Gwyn, still grateful after all these years for this kind gesture from a woman who would become a mentor.

She stayed on the staff after the summer job, working all the odd chores that needed to be done there, eventually finishing high school, then going to Surry Community College.

With the exception of a summer job that tried her hand at a mill, she never left the city library, moving from one position to another – as well as moving to the current location in 1982. – until she was appointed chief librarian in the late 1990s.

While many people in the library field end up earning degrees in library science or related disciplines, Gwyn said his education came through “on-the-job training.”

She attributes three people in particular to her development: Frances Tharrington, Mary Combs and Julia Sharp, her predecessors at the town library.

“They were all wonderful. I learned different things from each of them. I hope I continued what they started, what they taught me.

One of the things she remembers from her working days for each of these libraries is the family atmosphere they all brought to the staff, something that she worked hard to continue.

“We really work as a team,” she said. “We are truly a family. This family has changed over the years, ”but, she says, the group always seems to work well together, genuinely willing to help each other and their clients.

The importance of the library

Reflecting on her career, Gwyn does not speak easily of herself, but rather wishes to focus on her life calling – the library itself.

“I’ve always believed the library was for everyone,” she says.

Living up to this ideal presented challenges. First, the potential scope of library users is vast, including children not yet able to read, adolescents, adults busy with their work and family, and older people seeking fulfillment in their later years. .

Add to that the fact that the world has changed rapidly, as has what is available in the library. When she started, people would come in, asking the librarian for help finding a book, which often meant spending a few minutes perusing the voluminous catalog of cards, which in turn directed them to the shelf containing the book in question.

Now? A quick Google search and individuals can have the collected knowledge of the world on seemingly any subject.

And that, Gwyn says, leads to an important function of library services for some: access to the digital world.

“Not everyone has access to the Internet,” she says, which is especially true in rural communities like Surry County. Thus, the library provides computers for free Internet access for anyone with a library card.

A few years ago, she said, when textile companies started to shut down, leaving thousands of people unemployed, the library was ready to play a role in helping those people.

Many, she said, now had to go to school for retraining, a daunting task as much of the work would be done on computers. “A lot of them came to see us, told us they couldn’t use a computer.”

So the library began to organize basic computer classes – which it still does on occasion, or at least before the COVID-19 pandemic,

The library also emphasizes children’s programming, including story time for those who can’t read yet, youth activities, summer reading programs, and other activities.

For adults, she said, in addition to the large and ever-growing catalog of physical books, customers can borrow e-books and participate in a number of activities – book clubs, author conferences, computer lessons, etc. The library also offered printing services for some articles, help with resume writing, voter registration, tax preparation for low-income people, and a wide variety of other services.

The library, she said, serves as a way to “level the playing field” for local residents who may not have access to paid professionals providing these services or be unable to afford them.

With all of these services available in an ever-changing world, Gwyn always looks back on her early experiences at the library, describing what she hopes the library will remain.

“When I was young, no matter where we lived, we always went to the library. This is what we want people to realize now, the library can be an integral part of their life.

Now that she’s handing over the leadership to someone else, Gwyn has declared that she is ready for the next chapter in her life, whatever it may be.

“I’m a little excited to see what I’m going to do,” she said, with no concrete plans. Gwyn said she and her husband, John, didn’t particularly feel like traveling a lot, and although she loves a garden, her husband does most of the gardening.

“I have grandchildren, I can’t wait to spend more time with them, maybe helping with their school. … I have two sisters who are retired, with the pandemic we have not been able to meet. Hope we can spend more time together.

It’s also a good bet, whatever direction the retreat takes, she will walk through a familiar door quite often, once again becoming a “regular client” of the library.

Contact John at 415-4701.

Source link

Frozen by AIB for ten-year-old bad debts Mon, 22 Mar 2021 09:38:53 +0000

My daughter, a final year college student, asked me to vouch for an increase in her overdraft. 500 € to € 1,000 to enable him to take driving lessons. AIB had asked for a guarantor.

I got a call today from the bank. I wouldn’t! I had a Visa card withdrawn from them in 2003, revoked in 2005 and reimbursed in full with the account I closed in 2006!

Yet over 10 years later they recorded me with a poor rating! A6 or an 8 I think. Now my Irish credit rating is good, no problem, but I got a life sentence from AIB. At the time, in 2005, AIB told me that it was only a 5-year ban!

You know that with good behavior you can get by after nine years with a life sentence for murder. With AIB, you are made for life. For how much have we, the taxpayer’s fools, bailed them out again?

MJO’R., Liège

I am tempted to say that this shows that you should never trust a bank. In fact, you should never trust a bank. Your relationship with them is based on a contract. They offer certain services – such as paying interest on savings and offering loans and overdrafts – and you agree to repay any loans in accordance with the terms of the loan agreement.

In this case, it looks like you had some issues with your Visa account over ten years ago. And they were clearly serious enough that the bank would revoke your card. In 2005, before the crash, the banks happily pushed credit to all comers: turning off the tap and taking back your card would have been quite drastic at the time.

Either way, you’ve settled your affairs, paid off the bank in full (which many people caught up in the crash afterwards will never be able to do), and moved on.

What is not clear from your letter is whether, after you have paid off your debt, you continued to do business with AIB or chose to do business elsewhere.

If you have been elsewhere, AIB may not have first-hand experience of your subsequent ability to handle banking affairs – although obviously, like any other lender, they have recourse to the credit bureau where they are. should be able to make sure that you are in good financial health. character for at least the past five years.

If you’ve been banking with them since the Visa card episode, and have had a clean banking “record” in the past decade, the issue is a bit more of a concern.

The bank told you that you would be “banned” for five years. I guess that meant they had no interest in even considering a loan application from you during that time. Of course, this does not mean that they are obligated to give you a loan afterwards, only that they will consider an application.

However, if they now do indeed say that you can apply but our internal rating on you is so low, you are unlikely to even be considered guarantor of a € 1,000 overdraft, then you must clearly consider your position.

While the credit bureau is a repository of credit history information, there is nothing forcing lenders to ignore any other information they may have about repayment capacity, and there shouldn’t be any. But, equally, a balanced examination of such a claim would presuppose a fair assessment of actual solvency.

You should write to the bank, especially if you are still using them, to ask for an explanation and advice on any future relationship, as this has clearly been unexpected and embarrassing in front of your daughter.

If that doesn’t work, your best course of action might be to follow the bank’s lead … and take your business elsewhere.

Please send questions to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2, or email This column is a reading service and is not intended to replace professional advice.

Source link