Oil prices extended gains Thursday after Russia signaled it was ready to cut output before a key producers’ meeting aimed at boosting energy markets as the coronavirus pandemic strangles demand.US benchmark West Texas Intermediate rose 4.6 percent to US$26.26 a barrel, while Brent crude, the international benchmark, jumped 2.7 percent to $33.73.Read also: Chinese oil refiners to lift April production to 2019 levels Oil exporting group OPEC, led by top producer Saudi Arabia, and others – including Russia – will meet via video conference later Thursday and expectations are growing they will agree to reduce output to support prices.Prices are at near-two-decade lows with travel restrictions and lockdowns around the world throttling demand, and Riyadh and Moscow locked in a vicious price war.But Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s second-biggest producer, now look set to draw a line under their dispute to help stabilize battered markets.Moscow said Wednesday it is willing to cut output by about 1.6 million barrels a day, or about 15 percent, Bloomberg News reported, smoothing the path towards a deal. A key question had been whether the US would join any deal, but analysts say a fall in America’s crude output forecast released earlier this week is likely enough to satisfy Riyadh and Moscow for now. Another key meeting takes place Friday, when G20 energy ministers hold talks remotely to discuss steps to steady the market.Read also: Pertamina to go ahead with higher oil production plan despite oil price crashStill, analysts caution that the devil will be in the detail, and an output cut deemed too small could send prices down even further.A cut of just 10 million barrels a day “might not trigger much of rally and probably eventually see selling pressure drive crude back to the low-mid $20s”, said Edward Moya, senior market analyst with OANDA.He also cautioned that a “turn for the worse could happen” which derails a deal, adding that “the following 24 hours will be critical for global oil prices”.Topics :
There is also a change in attitude towards calories and sugar over the festive period. “Our customers tell us that around Christmas time, they want something a bit more indulgent compared to what they normally have for the rest of the year,” says Briony Raven, global coffee and packaging director at Pret a Manger. It’s a habit also observed by Phil Smith, head of category at retail and foodservice manufacturer UCC Coffee: “Calories just don’t seem to count at Christmas.”New flavoursThen there’s the innovation factor. Coffee shops constantly revamp their festive menus to create a buzz when they are unveiled. That’s a calculated move.“Cafés and coffee shops often become known for certain seasonal flavours that draw in customers every year, but they’re also looking for the next big thing in festive hot drinks,” says Smith. “The Christmas season is a contest to see who can create the biggest, most popular or most exciting hot drink. It gives coffee shops a USP and if done well it can make them virtually famous via the press and social media.”Costa’s showstopper for 2019 is a new Irish Velvet range, comprising latte, cappuccino, hot chocolate and frostinos each flavoured with non-alcoholic Irish coffee sauce. That’s joined by a new Festive Spiced Cappuccino and its first Christmas Tea, a blend of Sri Lankan tea leaves and “aromatic winter spices”. Meanwhile, Starbucks has unveiled a Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate as its Christmas centrepiece. “Each year we’ve seen growth in our festive range by providing a modern twist on familiar flavours,” says a Starbucks spokeswoman.Full screen in popup Certain things are synonymous with Christmas. Michael Bublé coming out of hibernation. The annual dash for the supermarket turkeys. And, of course, the Starbucks red cups.Yes, festive hot drinks have fast become a calendar event. For proof, just look at the number of Twitter and Instagram posts under the Starbucks #redcup hashtag. A Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate is the star of Starbucks’ festive lineup this year, combining marshmallow syrup with mocha sauce, topped with marshmallow flavoured whipped cream and caramelised sugar (rsp: from £3.10)Source: Starbucks Caffè Nero’s Caramelised Almond range includes a latte and a hot chocolate variant (rsp: £3.40), with the latter crowned the Huffington Post’s Best Christmas Hot Drink for 2019.Source: Caffè Nero Instagram 1/4 show caption Costa’s new Irish Velvet range comprises a latte, capuccino, hot chocolate and frostino variants (rsp: £2.95-£3.45) Next While Starbucks may claim to be the “original creator of festive hot drinks” – marked by the introduction of its Christmas Blend into UK stores in 1998 – it’s now just one of many players in this market. Costa, Caffè Nero, Greggs, Pret a Manger and independents are all bringing out their own festive blends.Yet retail has been notably absent from this boom. Aside from the odd festive product, the hot drink aisles largely fail to reflect the excitement in the out-of-home arena.So just how lucrative are festive drinks? What is the secret to their success? And can retail get in on the act?Big businessThere are no exact figures on the size of the Christmas-themed beverages market, but overall spend at the likes of Starbucks and Costa suggests it’s big business. According to Worldpay, shoppers spend more in coffee shops in December than any other month of the year. The average sale is worth £7.62 over the entire month – a figure that rises to £10.50 on 23 December.And the festive drinks menu will heavily influence where consumers spend that money, Harris Interactive data shows. Of the shoppers who buy into festive hot drinks, 64% would be likely to base their choice of coffee shop on their Christmas drink offer. Pret A Manger’s Crème Brûlée Latte is finished off with whipped cream and a sprinkle of brown sugar (rsp: £3.00)Source: Pret A Manger Pret is similarly focusing on innovation. Last year, it doubled its original range of festive hot drinks to keep up with demand. “It just keeps getting bigger every year,” says Raven.Retail potentialYet on the retail side, Christmas hot drinks remain a fairly small business. There are few options on the supermarket shelves. In Tesco, for example, there are only two SKUs available: Taylor’s Limited Edition Christmas Blend ground coffee and Tassimo Costa Gingerbread Latte. Previous Emotional connectionThe popularity of these drinks may seem at odds with their nutritional content. For these beverages would certainly fall foul of the sugar police. According to research from online marketplace Onbuy.com, Caffè Nero’s Caramelised Almond Hot Chocolate contains 38.5g of sugar – the equivalent of more than nine teaspoons – and Pret’s hot chocolates are even worse. A cup of its Mint Chocolate or Hazelnut Hot Chocolate contains more than 11 teaspoons (47.9g) of the white stuff, yet the chain says shoppers are still flocking to buy the products.That’s because the love of these beverages is far more emotional than rational. In our Harris Interactive survey of Christmas hot drink consumers, 48% said they were a sign that Christmas had begun. More than four in 10 said the drinks got them into the festive spirit. And they are willing to pay for this feeling.“Shoppers are willing to spend more on seasonally themed beverages because of the emotional response they trigger,” explains Megan Carnegie, consumer behaviour analyst from Canvas8. “They mark the beginning of the holidays and people’s annual traditions.” Source: JDEThe success of the latter proves there is an appetite for such drinks. The Tassimo Costa Gingerbread Latte has reached 380,000 households since launching in October 2018 [Kantar 52 w/e 3 November 2019] and is now worth over £1m. And Nescafé says its Gingerbread Latte took £1.3m in the last 12 weeks of 2018 alone. If you ask Mintel senior foodservice analyst Trish Caddy, there is a huge gap in retail for festive hot drinks. “Almost a fifth of British adults still don’t buy hot drinks outside of the home, suggesting there’s massive missing potential to attract these drinkers – more than 10 million people,” she explains.That’s because the majority of these 10 million simply prefer making their drinks at home, according to Mintel research. So providing those shoppers with an at-home festive hot drink could prove lucrative. “There is a clear gap in the market to target this new generation of at-home hot drinks enthusiasts looking to replicate the coffee shop experience through festive innovations,” says Caddy.Indeed, Harris Interactive found 57% of shoppers who buy festive hot drinks out of home would buy a similar product from the supermarkets. Plus, 77% would be willing to pay a premium for a festive variant.UCC’s Smith sees opportunity for a bit of in-store theatre in this area. “There is potential to create an area in store similar to Tesco’s recipe cards, giving shoppers everything they need for their festive hot drink, from syrups and mini marshmallows to cream and sprinkles, all in one place,” he suggests.This could prove the ideal option. Because it’s hard for ready-made retail products to keep up with the fast-paced, ever-changing festive menus of the coffee shop. Plus, stocking Christmas-themed products carries a certain risk, Smith warns. “The pitfalls with seasonal drinks and packaging is the time scale in terms of usage. You have to be very careful that you don’t overproduce or over-order on Christmas products because come January 1, they will no longer be relevant.”But if retailers get it right, they may just give the Starbucks red cups a run for their money.
The IMF said it wanted regulators to have more say in setting their own budgets, and warned against limiting trustees’ pay.The fund also proposed direct supervision of “third parties”, but it did not specify which players it meant.Extended supervision should target governance as well as the qualifications of staff at group level of companies that carried out outsourced tasks, the IMF added.In the opinion of the IMF, pension funds’ recovery plans based on assumptions for future returns, such as 7% for equity, were very optimistic.It also noted that many pension funds used the legal option of charging contributions less than the amount needed to cover costs. The IMF further questioned the effect of DNB’s feasibility check for pension funds, arguing that its 60-year horizon was too long. Dutch supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) should take a stricter stance on pension funds taking too much risk, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).In its five-year financial system stability assessment, it argued that DNB and communication watchdog Authority Financial Markets (AFM) should be allowed to introduce more technical regulation.In an explicit recommendation, it said that the prudent person principle should be elaborated through regulation, to provide the supervisor with more options to intervene if pension funds take excessive risks.In 2011, DNB told the pension fund of glass manufacturer Vereenigde Glasfabrieken to offload most of its 15% gold allocation, which led to a five-year legal battle between the scheme and the supervisor.
‘We can’t win Champions League like this’ – Lionel Messi blasts Barcelona’s style of play under SetienAugust 29, 2020 | By admin | No Comments | Filed in: mmfausynf.
Barcelona star, Lionel Messi has criticised his team’s style under manager, Quique Setien claiming the side cannot hope to be successful with the current system.In an interview with Sport, Messi said winning another Champions League title is not possible unless a major change is made to the team’s style of play. “It is not possible to win it by playing as we have been playing. My opinion is based on the fact that I was lucky to play the Champions League every year,” he said.His comments didn’t go down well with his manager, however, who believes they are in a good position to win the Champions League.Barcelona last won the Champions League in 2015“We are convinced that we can win the Champions League. We have to improve some things, but without a doubt we are convinced that the team has the potential to win the Champions League. ‘We can win it. We are convinced we can win the Champions League, of course we can,” Setien told BeIn Sports.Barcelona have won the last two La Liga titles and are currently top of the table.They have, however, failed to win the Champions League since 2015.Prior to that, they had won the European Cup three times in six years between 2006 and 2011.They drew 1-1 against Napoli in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie before the season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.