Exclusive: Mexico may extend relaxed bank credit rules to help economy grow



FILE PHOTO: Mexico’s Undersecretary of Finance and Public Credit Gabriel Yorio speaks during an interview with Reuters in Mexico City, Mexico September 11, 2019. Picture taken September 11, 2019. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

September 10, 2020

By Stefanie Eschenbacher and Abraham Gonzalez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s finance ministry is considering extending relaxed banking credit rules to help its battered economy recover, a top official said on Wednesday, after it presented an austere 2021 budget that leaves little room to maneuver.

Deputy Finance Minister Gabriel Yorio said the ministry was in talks with the banking industry and the central bank about the possible extension until next year of the temporary measures designed to avoid defaults and loss of collateral.

The measures were introduced earlier this year as part of the government’s strategy to reduce the impact of the coronavirus containment in the country, which is still scarred by memories of the 1995 “Tequila crisis,” when Mexicans lost homes and savings.

Yorio said he hoped an extension could be announced within a “couple of weeks,” while suggesting the facilities could be restricted to certain sectors of the economy to limit risks to the financial system.

Earlier this year, the finance ministry and the central bank agreed to loosen credit quality restrictions for banks. In turn, banks were able to offer borrowers repayment options so as to avoid defaults.

“What we have to do, maybe, is be selective with the sectors,” Yorio said.

Industries that had already reopened and potentially had better cash flow might be excluded, he said, to focus resources on others, such as airlines, that would face a slow recovery.

On Tuesday the government unveiled a lean budget that aims to reduce the country’s debt as a proportion of GDP in 2021 even as it struggles with high coronavirus infections and a slow economic recovery.

Speaking in an interview at the National Palace a day after the budget, Yorio acknowledged that it could take two to three years for Mexico’s economy to reach its pre-pandemic size.

“If the economic opening is delayed, it might take us even more time,” he said, adding that the recovery was a concern for credit ratings agencies which have Mexico on a negative outlook.

Ratings agencies have Mexico’s bonds still several notches above speculative grade, or junk. But investors increasingly worry that they will eventually follow those of state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos in its descent into junk.

“They all measure the credit risk…that’s why it is important to maintain stable debt,” Yorio said.

“But the second most important variable is in terms of growth,” he said, adding that the risk of a downgrade was one of the main worries in the ministry.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been an outlier among both wealthy and emerging nations, insisting on tight spending limits even as the economy fell in the deepest recession since the 1930s Great Depression.

Latin America’s second-largest economy was already in a mild recession before the pandemic.

The room for economic stimulus from budget measures was constrained in a country that collects just 15% of GDP in tax, Yorio said, hence the need to turn to the financial system to support growth.

“Not all measures have to come from the budget,” he said.

(Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher and Abraham Gonzalez; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Kim Coghill)





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Grow Bigger With Pre-Exhaustion Training


You’re probably reading this because you want bigger, stronger muscles. Unfortunately, many of us don’t always see the results we want, despite going to the gym every day and banging out rep after rep with the heaviest weights we can handle.

If this sounds familiar, I think I know what the issue is. You’re focusing on doing the reps and moving the weight instead of working the muscle—and yes, there is a big difference between the two.

What is Pre-Exhaustion Training?

Many workout programs call for you to start with a compound movement like squats for legs or bent-over rows for back. Because multiple muscles are needed to complete these lifts, more joints are working. So when you do these moves first, typically you can handle more weight.

The goal, however, is not just to lift the most weight, it’s to make the muscle you want to grow do most of the work. This requires establishing a strong mind-muscle connection. The best way to do that is to target the specific muscle you’re trying to build first.

Before you get cranking with that compound lift, do an isolation exercise to target the muscle you want to grow. This is what’s known as a pre-exhaust. For chest, for example, you might do flyes before your bench presses. The reps you do with the isolation exercise fatigue the muscle—hence the term pre-exhaustion. So, by the time you get to the compound lift, your target muscle has already been working. Sure, you might not be able to use as much weight now, but you benefit from a primed muscle that is now doing the work it needs to grow.

Adding the Pre-Exhaustion Technique to Your Workouts

Now that you know pre-exhaustion sets come first in the workout, which exercises should you use to pre-exhaust? While any movement that isolates the specific area you’re trying to target would work, your best bet is to go with a machine movement that allows a controlled, full range of motion and lets you perform one side at a time.

You could work both sides if you like, but if you have trouble feeling one side more than the other, or your weaker side is lagging, choose a unilateral movement and start with that weaker side. For example, if you’re going to do back and have trouble feeling your lats working, then you could opt for a single-arm pull-down. If your target muscles are your quads or hamstrings, start with a single-leg press or curl.

As for the sets and reps, do 3-4 sets of this first exercise and keep the rep range at 6-12. Start with a lighter weight and focus on performing the reps a little slower as you establish that mind-muscle connection. Add weight and lower the reps with each successive set. By the time you finish that last set, you should be mentally locked in and physically prepared to take on the rest of your workout.



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Brexit – Fears grow of a December Brexit without a trade deal | Britain


ON JUNE 15th Boris Johnson promised to put “a bit of oomph” into trade talks between Britain and the European Union so as to reach an outline agreement in July. Yet September has come with no sign of a deal. Little progress is expected when the talks resume in London next week. Indeed, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, says negotiations are going backwards and a deal by year-end (when the standstill transition period ends) seems unlikely. The end-October deadline, to allow time to draft and ratify a treaty that will run to hundreds of pages, is just eight weeks away.

This does not make no deal inevitable. Brinkmanship on both sides is often for domestic consumption. Progress has been nugatory because the sticking points are political and cannot be resolved within current negotiating mandates. This applies especially to the two hottest issues—fisheries and rules to stop one side using state subsidies to undercut the other. Heads of government have not engaged in the detail; since they want a deal, many analysts expect a last-minute agreement when they do. After all, this happened last year when Mr Johnson signed the withdrawal treaty.

Yet this may be optimistic. Fisheries, which account for less than 0.1% of GDP, might not scupper a deal, but rules to limit state aid go to the heart of the new relationship. Mr Johnson is allergic to EU constraints on his freedom of action, and his government has not set out its plans for state subsidies. For its part, the EU detects an existential threat in opening up to an untrammelled and competitive neighbour. Never mind that Britain has in the past resorted to state aid less than most countries, or that EU rules against it have been suspended during covid-19.

As Sam Lowe of the Centre for European Reform, a think-tank, notes, the economic difference between a barebones trade deal and no deal is not all that large. A deal would avoid tariffs in sensitive sectors like cars, but in either case disruption from customs checks, lorry queues and intrusive non-tariff barriers would be substantial. The biggest difference might be that, under no deal, Mr Johnson’s team could try to blame disruption not on the deal it had done but on the EU’s obstinacy.

Some argue that Mr Johnson’s growing reputation for incompetence makes him more likely to accept any trade agreement he can get. If he cannot secure the “oven-ready” Brexit deal he promised last year, what can he do? Yet a weakened prime minister who is again seen to be giving in to Brussels bullies would also be vulnerable to attacks from his own party hardliners. Many now claim to be unhappy with the withdrawal treaty, especially the customs border it is erecting between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

The parallel with Mr Johnson’s last-minute deal with Leo Varadkar, the Irish taoiseach, on the withdrawal agreement in October 2019 does not really work. The timetable is tighter this time. Rejigging the Northern Irish piece of the withdrawal treaty was simpler and quicker than writing a new trade agreement. Last year, unlike today, Mr Johnson was prevented by Parliament from going for the alternative of no deal. And as Georgina Wright of the Institute for Government, another think-tank, says, both sides are now better prepared for the consequences.

Moreover, instead of the friendly Irish in 2019 Mr Johnson now faces the implacable French. They have the most to lose from reduced access to British fishing waters, and are also the most exercised about state aid. Bilateral relations have been strained by rows over asylum-seekers crossing the Channel and covid-19 quarantine rules. Emmanuel Macron faces a tight presidential race in early 2022; being seen to help Mr Johnson would hardly boost his cause. This week his foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, accused Britain of taking an intransigent and unrealistic attitude.

The talks are likely to go to the wire. Mujtaba Rahman of the Eurasia Group, a consultancy, says that officials are resigned to them drifting into November or even later, assuming a way can be found to avert a cliff-edge crash on December 31st. The currency markets seem relaxed. Yet they may underprice the risk of no deal, which would be hard to pull back from. The bigger paradox is the sight of a supposedly radical Tory government driven not by the urge for post-Brexit deregulation but by an atavistic fondness for 1970s-style state support for industry: a model that looks rather more like China than Singapore.

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Deal or no deal?”

Reuse this contentThe Trust Project



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Leaving the family business to grow my inner entrepreneur


If you’ve ever bought frozen dumplings from a supermarket or an Asian grocery store, chances are they are Mr Chen’s, a Chinese food brand named after my entrepreneurial dad, who started a wholesale business in the 1980s to bring his favourite foods to Australia.

As a teenager, I spent time working in the warehouse with my siblings, learning the ins and outs of the business. In my early 20s, after some experience in the IT industry, I quit my job to work in the family business. Within a couple of years, however, I decided to venture out on my own and ended up in a successful venture with my friend Tim Molloy, who has been my co-founder on several businesses throughout the years. So how did I go from the family business to striking out on my own?

Dynamic matters

Working in the family business taught me that dynamic matters. I am the youngest of four children. While we were all adults, you can probably guess where I was in the pecking order.

To take risks, make key decisions and assume responsibility, I knew I had to do it outside of the established hierarchy. Firstly, it meant that I would impact – positively or negatively – something of my own instead of risking the family legacy. Secondly, outside of the family dynamic, I could take more control. With Tim, I found joint responsibility and shared leadership as equal partners.

Today, there’s no love lost having left. I’m still involved in the family business, but my sisters run Chen Foods and do it well while I’m happy forging my own path with Good Things.

Find your working style

Another factor that attracted me to follow my own path was that the structure of a day at Chen Foods is quite formal, with set hours and duties, due to the nature of the sector. Working in the family business taught me a lot about hard work and setting up strong systems and processes.

Comparatively though, the way Tim and I work in Good Things developed organically. While we manage our leads and clients in a timely manner, we don’t necessarily count hours, and we’re flexible with doing what we need to do to build our business.

Prepare for reality

No business survives close to four decades without a few challenges and lean times. I saw the hard knocks as well as the successes of Chen Foods, which meant I had my eyes open to the reality of business when I headed out on my own. I knew any problem in the business would be my problem by default and I would need to work through them to find a solution.

As a result, Tim and I have learnt to seize opportunities when we see them because we’ve had to ride out major changes in our market. For example, more than a decade ago we had a thriving business selling neckties, then a combination of the global financial crisis and a fashion movement away from ties almost killed it. We pivoted, which became the seed for the branded merchandise agency we have today, Good Things.

Growing up in a family business enabled me to see what it was like to build something, which compelled me to create something of my own. If you have the good fortune to work in the family business – whether or not you end up there – learn everything you can from the experience so you can hone your skills and find your place. If nothing else, it’s a free training opportunity not many others get, so don’t waste it.

Jeremy Chen, Co-founder and Managing Director, Good Things





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Canberra Raiders grow mullets for mental health awareness | The Canberra Times


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How good must it feel charging towards the try line, feeling the wind in your hair? Well, more than a few Canberra Raiders have a better chance of enjoying that feeling as they start to sport some pretty impressive mullets. The Raiders are taking part in the Black Dog Institute’s Mullets for Mental Health initiative, and they’re looking all business in the front, party in the back. Josh Papalii, Curtis Scott, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Elliott Whitehead and John Bateman are all taking part, as well as younger squad and staff members. Throughout September, they will be sporting mullets and raising funds to show support for mental health research. The Raiders hope to raise $10,000 for the cause. Hopefully, the mullets won’t have any detrimental aerodynamic impact. In-form Englishman Elliott Whitehead was one of the players growing a mullet, and sounded a little jealous of some of his hirsute teammates. “Especially Papalii, when he broke away over there, it looked good flowing in the background,” Whitehead said. “I think mullets are more an Australian thing. Back in England, there are a few people who do grow them and stuff, but it’s not the biggest trend back in England. But it’s good to take part and do something different with my hair for a change.” The Black Dog Institute says one in five people will experience symptoms of mental illness in any given year. Roughly 60 per cent of these people won’t seek help. You can help the Raiders reach their goal for the institute by donating at teamblackdog.org.au/fundraisers/canberraraiders

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Education gap between rich and poor stops closing and is likely to grow again | UK News



The attainment gap between poorer pupils and their more affluent counterparts could widen after it stopped closing for the first time in a decade, according to a new study.

The Education Policy Institute’s (EPI) findings have highlighted major issues within education for more vulnerable and deprived students.

The report is likely to cause alarm given the halt in progress occurred before the coronavirus pandemic had hit the education system.

Researchers found that disadvantaged pupils in England are 18.1 months of learning behind their peers by the time they finish their GCSE’s – the same gap as five years ago. It also found that the gap at primary school increased for the first time since 2007.

And for the most persistently disadvantaged students, the attainment gap had actually widened in every year but one since 2014.

The report concluded that the findings provide “concerning evidence that progress in narrowing educational inequalities has ground to a halt”.

It added: “The gap between disadvantaged pupils and their non-disadvantaged peers has stopped closing. This was the worrying position from which the school system entered the pandemic and lockdown in 2020, which are widely expected to worsen disadvantage gaps.”

The EPI report found the seaside town of Blackpool had one of the widest gaps in the country. It is an area of deprivation and home to very vulnerable children and families.

Reece Otley has five children of school age. He says he doesn’t have enough money to buy school uniforms for their return to class next week.

“It can be quite a worry this time of year to make sure everything is in position for the kids getting back to school.

“We’re at the lower end of the income scale, we’re really not well off and this has a huge impact on my children’s education – I can tell that, it’s obvious.”

He added: “Because of the COVID situation and lack of income coming in and the children being at home more, we’ve had to reach out to the food bank from our daughter’s school.”

Blackpool headteacher has seen for herself the effects of deprivation on children’s life chances.

Speaking to Sky News, she said: “The most vulnerable is becoming more common. Families are struggling without a washing machine, the children have to go to bed with a coat on because their no heating, they may not be able to get the bus to school because they can’t afford the bus fare.

“In turn they’ll have to walk, they walk in the rain, they don’t have a suitable coat; so they’ll come to us at school after limited sleep, hungry and damp. So it’s down to us to put that right.”

“It’s becoming more and more and I know when we get back in September, the pandemic would have created another layer of deprivation within our families.”

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David Laws, executive chairman of the EPI, said: “This report highlights that in spite of the government’s aspiration to ‘level up’ opportunity, the education gap between poor children and the rest is no longer closing, for the first time in around a decade.

“Before the COVID crisis, disadvantaged children were around 1.5 years of learning behind other pupils, and this figure seems almost certain to have increased since the closure of schools.

“It is deeply concerning that our country entered the pandemic with such a lack of progress in this key area of social policy, and the government urgently needs to put in place new policy measures to help poor children to start to close the gap again.”



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Wall Street heavyweights warming to Biden as they grow weary of Trump


More and more finance professionals, they say, appear to be sidelining their concerns about Biden’s age – 77 – and his style. They are surprisingly unperturbed at the likelihood of his raising their taxes and stiffening oversight of their industry. In return, they welcome the more seasoned and methodical presidency they believe he could bring.

It does not hurt that Biden has also not crusaded against Wall Street, the way his primary rivals Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders did.

They may not exactly be falling in love with Biden. But they are falling in line.

“I’ve seen meaningful numbers of people put aside what would appear to be their short-term economic interest because they value being citizens in a democracy,” said Seth Klarman, founder of the hedge fund Baupost.

A longtime independent, Klarman was at one point New England’s biggest giver to the Republican Party. But in this cycle, he has given $US3 million ($4.2 million) to groups supporting Biden.

Or as James Attwood, a managing director at the Carlyle Group and a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, put it, “For people who are in the business of hiring and firing CEOs, Donald Trump should have been fired a while ago.” (Attwood contributed $US200,000 in June to the Biden Action Fund, a joint committee with the Democratic National Committee.)

In May and June alone, the Biden Action Fund raised more than $US11.5 million. That tally – a good measuring stick for Wall Street support because it was set up in part to draw contributions from that industry – included $US710,000 from Josh Bekenstein, a chairman of Bain Capital, and his wife.

But Wall Street money has proved to be a double-edged sword for Democrats, as Hillary Clinton discovered when she was hounded four years ago for delivering private speeches to Goldman Sachs and other firms. Progressive voters and activists – many of whom backed Biden’s more liberal rivals in the primary – are particularly leery of any appearance of coziness with the finance industry.

Asked about Wall Street’s role in Biden’s current bid, the campaign invoked Biden’s refrain that America was not built by Wall Street bankers, CEOs and hedge fund managers.

“Everything you need to know about this, Joe Biden has said himself throughout his career – and repeatedly on the trail since the earliest days of this campaign,” said T.J. Ducklo, a Biden spokesman.

As a senator from Delaware, Biden has for decades had relationships with credit-card companies there, but less of a presence in the financial power centre of New York. He has counted a small circle of finance executives as supporters. Marc Lasry, a founder of Avenue Capital, for example, held a fundraiser for Biden during his first run for president in 1988 and continues to back him now. Former hedge fund executive Eric Mindich and short-seller James Chanos have been supporters from well before the pandemic began.

It does not hurt that Biden has also not crusaded against Wall Street, the way his primary rivals Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders did. Financial executives mostly seem to believe that while their taxes would rise in a Biden administration, they would not be subjected to the kind of “fat cat” rhetoric that soured some of their relationships with former President Barack Obama.

“Rich people are just as patriotic as poor people,” Biden told donors at a fundraiser at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan last year. At a Brookings Institution gathering in 2018, he said, “I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason why we’re in trouble.”

Biden’s more benign stance toward the finance industry has provoked scepticism among advocates for stricter regulation.

“When the candidate doesn’t have a clear plan on something like Wall Street reform, it tilts the playing field toward what is probably the most powerful industry in the world,” said Carter Dougherty, a spokesman for Americans for Financial Reform, an advocacy group. “We need more than ‘not Trump appointees’ when it comes to financial regulation.”

Last month, multiple Wall Street bundlers, including Alan Leventhal, chief executive of Beacon Capital; Nat Simons, who runs a clean-tech investment fund; and Gray, Blackstone’s president, held virtual fundraisers for Biden. The giving has been so robust that the Biden campaign is now asking for at least $US1 million in donations before it will confirm the former vice president’s attendance at an event, bundlers said.

Wall Street has fared extraordinarily well under Trump but have grown weary over Trump’s chaotic style of governance.Credit:AP

As the cheques roll in, the Biden campaign has been carefully cultivating its relationship with the business community, with a focus on Wall Street. The outreach has included offering private briefings before major policy rollouts and dangling various donor packages for the upcoming, and mostly virtual, Democratic National Convention.

Nonetheless, how Biden might affect their wallets is a major concern for industry executives who aggressively fought the implementation of new regulations after the financial crisis of 2008. Some in the business community have suggested tweaks to the former vice president’s tax and economic policies in ways that might soften the impact for companies.

At a July meeting with campaign staffers and a handful of Wall Street participants, Charles Phillips, chairman of the software company Infor and a onetime Morgan Stanley tech analyst, argued that Biden should not make huge expenditures on infrastructure and other new programs without also identifying spending cuts.

“We can fund some of this by getting more efficient and getting rid of waste that no one will miss,” Phillips recalled saying.

He said he also argued for a simpler tax code with a corporate rate lower than Biden’s proposed 28 per cent.

In recent meetings with donors, Biden has said that while the wealthy are going to have to “do more,” the details of his tax hikes are still being hammered out, according to someone who has attended multiple fundraisers but requested anonymity to discuss private conversations. At a virtual fundraiser held in late July, the candidate spoke of the need for corporate America to “change its ways.” But the solution, he said, would not be legislative.

Back in February, Biden had taken a precious day off the trail to collect a critical $US800,000 at two New York fundraisers, including the one Gray co-hosted.

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“You’re putting me in a position to be able to be very competitive,” Biden said, thanking his Wall Street supporters.

A few of his finance industry donors, looking back, have privately remarked how the evening turned out to be the most quintessential of Wall Street plays: seeing a distressed asset at that time, and buying low.

The New York Times

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