Pubblicato in: Agricoltura, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Geopolitica Mondiale, Russia

Putin. Dal controllo del petrolio a quello del grano.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-11-15.

2017-11-15__Putin_Grano__001

La vera grande difficoltà intrinseca ad ogni discorso economico è la complessità del sistema nella sua generalità.

Se sicuramente la comprensione è facilitata dal ragionare su di un argomento per volta, alla fine arriva sempre il momento in cui si resta obbligati a considerare la situazione nel suo insieme.

Questo momento riserva sorprese anche molto grandi, e spesso non molto piacevoli.

Un elemento che considerato a sé stante sarebbe sembrato della massima importanza, nel quadro di una visione globale potrebbe diventare secondario, financo privo di valore.

Sarebbe davvero ingenuo pensare che i diversi elementi non interagiscano di loro, esattamente come sarebbe ingenuo pensare che gli effetti seguano leggi lineari.

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Nel rudimentale immaginario collettivo, la Russia è vista quasi esclusivamente come potenza militare oppure come potenza energetica. Due aspetti reali e concreti, che certo non estinguono la realtà russa. Non solo. L’uso delle risorse naturale non è il fine di una nazione, bensì un mezzo per portare avanti le proprie strategie, sempre che, ovviamente, quelle nazioni possano concedersi governi in grado di avere visioni strategiche e strutture organizzative in grado di perseguirle in modo coerente.

In questa ottica i governi occidentali sono severamente penalizzati dal troppo frequente ricorso alle urne. Generalmente parlando, ogni quattro o cinque anni mutano gli orientamenti strategici, condannandosi alla marginalizzazione.

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2017-11-15__Putin_Grano__002

«Russia, a leading exporter of crude oil for decades now, is increasingly dominating another critical global commodity. Its output of wheat has surged in recent years as good growing conditions boost farmers’ profits, allowing them to reinvest in better seeds and equipment»

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«About half the countries in the world import wheat from Russia»

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«Some of the biggest buyers are situated a short distance away, in the Middle East and North Africa, but demand comes from as far away as Mexico and Indonesia»

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«This season’s shipments are expected to be up more than 40 percent from just three years ago»

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«What’s the allure of Russian grain? It’s cheap»

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«tractors made by U.S. firm Deere & Co. and Germany’s Claas KGaA roll across Russian farms, and crops are sprayed with pesticides made by Monsanto Co. and Syngenta AG.»

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«Now forecast as the top wheat shipper, Russia saw its share of the export market jump from less than 1 percent in 2000 to an estimated 18 percent this season»

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«Russian grain typically doesn’t meet strict quality requirements set by key buyers Algeria and Saudi Arabia, for example, and it’s cheaper for Brazil to buy from suppliers within the Mercosur free-trade bloc.»

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«Transforming its farm industry will still leave Russia a long way from competing in the global corn, sugar or meat markets in the way it does with wheat»

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«The nation struggles to compete in corn because the government bans genetically modified seeds that make growing the crop more profitable in other countries»

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Cerchiamo di riassumere, sintetizzando.

– L’umanità necessita di un alto numero di materia prime, di commodities, che sono indispensabili: il cibo è prioritario su tutto.

– Se è strategico per una nazione raggiungere una ragionevole autosufficienza alimentare, altrettanto stratetico è il dominare e controllare i mercati mondiali: da questo punto di vista la produzione agricola è una arma, ed anche molto efficiente.

– Il grano russo è prodotto a prezzi di circa la metà di quello occidentale. Seguire il mercato delle commodities, ossia quei beni le caratteristiche dei quali non differiscono per sito di produzione, può essere anche fuorviante, se gli indici considerati prendano in esame solo la componente produttiva occidentale.

– La Russia ha il grande vantaggio nel poter stabilire prezzi politici, ed usualmente i grandi contratti sono stilati nell’ambito di accordi internazionali bilaterali, evitando il confronto con il mercato globale.

– Non solo. Un governo accentrato e snello, dotato di effettivo potere decisionale, può coordinare in modo particolarmente efficiente prezzi e disponibilità delle materie prime prodotte per l’estero: li vede non parcellizzati, bensì come un tutto unico.

– Da questo punto di vista il Chicago Board of Trade, classico mercato del frumento, pur restando di primaria importanza, ha perso molto del suo passato valore quando si considerino gli equilibri alimentari mondiali.


Bloomberg. 2017-11-13. How an Oil Giant (Russia) Came to Dominate Wheat

Russia, a leading exporter of crude oil for decades now, is increasingly dominating another critical global commodity. Its output of wheat has surged in recent years as good growing conditions boost farmers’ profits, allowing them to reinvest in better seeds and equipment. As low oil prices hurt the ruble, making grain more alluring for overseas buyers, Russia grabbed more of the wheat-export market from major shippers like the U.S. This is particularly welcome news for Russia as it tries to cut its dependence on agricultural imports, after it banned imports of some western foods in retaliation to sanctions imposed over the annexation of Crimea.

  1. Who’s buying Russian wheat?

About half the countries in the world import wheat from Russia. Some of the biggest buyers are situated a short distance away, in the Middle East and North Africa, but demand comes from as far away as Mexico and Indonesia. Russia’s top customer, Egypt, depends on Russian wheat to feed its people, while No. 2 buyer Turkey uses the grain to make flour it then exports. This season’s shipments are expected to be up more than 40 percent from just three years ago.

  1. What’s the allure of Russian grain?

It’s cheap. Gluts from years of bumper harvests depressed prices, which are also kept down by the short shipping routes from the Black Sea — the hub for the bulk of Russia’s supply — to Middle Eastern and African buyers. More recently, poor crops made grain from North America and Australia less attractive to some of their traditional markets in Asia, opening up the door for Russian wheat.

  1. How did Russia become a wheat export king?

Russia’s wheat exports began to surge at the start of this century, after Soviet-era collective farms gave way to private ownership of rich soils and farmers gained access to the latest international technology. Now, tractors made by U.S. firm Deere & Co. and Germany’s Claas KGaA roll across Russian farms, and crops are sprayed with pesticides made by Monsanto Co. and Syngenta AG. Helped by state support, farmers’ costs can be as little as half those of major competitors, so Russia can afford to keep planting even when prices tumble.

  1. What does Russian dominance mean for world markets?

Now forecast as the top wheat shipper, Russia saw its share of the export market jump from less than 1 percent in 2000 to an estimated 18 percent this season. During the same period, the U.S. share was cut almost in half. Bigger Russian harvests have added to the global glut and pushed prices in Chicago to near a decade low, prompting American farmers to plant the least winter wheat in a century last year. Russia’s dominance also gives it the power to shake up world markets. Benchmark prices surged almost 50 percent in 2010 as Russia banned exports, following a drought.

  1. Can Russia keep tightening its grip on exports?

Harvests may keep setting records — weather permitting — but there are signs the country’s ports and railways are starting to creak under the pressure of so many exports. Plus, Russia has struggled to crack some markets. Russian grain typically doesn’t meet strict quality requirements set by key buyers Algeria and Saudi Arabia, for example, and it’s cheaper for Brazil to buy from suppliers within the Mercosur free-trade bloc. Russia has made inroads in Asia, but high shipping costs will likely limit how much it sends there.

  1. Can Russia replicate its success with other foodstuff?

Transforming its farm industry will still leave Russia a long way from competing in the global corn, sugar or meat markets in the way it does with wheat. It’s now self-sufficient in producing sugar, but output costs are too high for large-scale exporting. Plus, Russia isn’t equipped to adequately handle shipments in containers, the world’s preferred way to haul white sugar. The nation struggles to compete in corn because the government bans genetically modified seeds that make growing the crop more profitable in other countries. Widespread African swine fever in Russia’s agricultural regions prevents significant pork exports.

The Reference Shelf

– A report on the revival of Russian agriculture by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

– Climate change helped Russia become a food-supply superpower, writes Bloomberg View’s Leonid Bershidsky.

– Ukraine is among the nations struggling to keep up in wheat.

– Duke University research on Russia’s wheat economy and its influence on the Middle East’s food security.

– An analysis of Russian agricultural potential by Sara Menker, founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence.

– A report by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Center on implications for Australia of Russia’s wheat expansion.

– The United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization’s country profile on Russia.

 

Annunci
Pubblicato in: Agricoltura, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Unione Europea

Qualcuno ha mastrussato i carpelli delle clementine.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-11-14.

Clementina ibridizzata«La clementina (Citrus × clementina) è un agrume, appartenente al gruppo degli ibridi fra mandarini e arance dolci. Per questo motivo è anche comunemente conosciuta col nome di mandarancio.

Le prime menzioni scritte dell’ibrido risalgono al 1902.

Secondo alcune fonti, l’origine della clementina sarebbe accidentale, e il primo frutto fu scoperto da Fra Clément Rodier (da cui avrebbe anche preso il nome) nel giardino del suo orfanotrofio a Misserghin, Algeria. Si fa strada inoltre l’ipotesi che l’ibrido sia molto più antico e provenga dalla Cina o dal Giappone; il religioso algerino l’avrebbe solo introdotto nel Mediterraneo.

Dopo le prime ibridazioni agli inizi del secolo XX, fu presto evidente che si trattava di una nuova specie di Citrus (Citrus reticulata Blanco), dato che le caratteristiche rimanevano inalterate nel tempo e la riproduzione sistematica dell’agrume non dava alcun problema. Dopo decenni di coltivazione sperimentale i frutti conservavano le qualità dei primi ibridi, ed erano sempre più richiesti dal consumatore. Dal 1940 la clementina è uno degli agrumi stabilmente presenti sul mercato italiano e, negli ultimi decenni, il frutto più venduto dopo le arance.» [Fonte]

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Quindi, la clementina è un frutto ogm, sia pure per ibridazione, ma anche gli stretti osservanti anti – ogm non se ne curano più di tanto.

Questo pregevole frutto ha però dei nemici, elenco che riprendiamo da Arance Trizzino.

Afide verde degli agrumi (Aphis citricola) attacca soprattutto arancio, mandarino e clementine, provocando accartocciamenti fogliari, deperimenti vegetativi, colatura dei fiori ed ostacolando lo sviluppo dei germogli. Particolarmente dannoso nei vivai su piante in allevamento, su piante reinnestate. Afide del cotone infesta soprattutto aranci, mandarini, clementine, provocando danni limitati. Afide bruno degli agrumi provoca docciatura e la deformazione delle foglie, senza accartocciamenti vistosi. È responsabile della diffusione di virosi.

Mosca mediterranea della frutta (Ceratitis capitata). Le specie più colpite sono l’arancio, il clementino, il mandarino. I danni sono legati alle punture di ovideposizione che sui frutti verdi provocano aree giallastre, rotondeggianti, sui quelli in fase di maturazione hanno margine verdastro e vanno soggetti a cascola. I danni si verificano sui frutti e sono provocati:

– Dalle punture di ovideposizione che determinano la comparsa di aree zonate e mollicce (Agrumi) soggette, successivamente, a marcescenza;

– Dall’attività delle larve che si sviluppano in modo gregario dentro ai frutti; esse si nutrono della polpa provocando anche il disfacimento molle della polpa stessa che successivamente viene attaccata anche da agenti di marciumi fungini, determinando la completa degenerazione del frutto.

– Ragnetto rosso tessitore (Tetranychus urticae). Si sviluppano, ammassati in colonie, soprattutto sui giovani germogli, sulla pagina inferiore delle foglie e lungo le nervature, e compiono più generazioni all’anno. Le loro punture provocano decolorazioni degli organi attaccati e anomalie nel loro regolare sviluppo. Gli attacchi degli acari sono favoriti da climi caldi e secchi.

Acari: Ragnetto rosso tessitore (Tetranychus urticae); Panonico o Ragnetto rosso degli agrumi (Panonychus citri) Acaro rugginoso (Aculops pelekassi) Acaro dell’argentatura (Polyphagotarsonemus latus): danneggiano le foglie e i frutti.
Gommosi batterica (fungo – Phytophtora spp.). Il sintomo caratteristico è la presenza sulla base del tronco di una macchia di umido sulla corteccia che poi tende a fessurarsi con fuoriuscita di essudati gommosi. Sulla parte aerea si nota deperimento generale con clorosi diffusa, caduta delle foglie, scarsa fioritura.

Virosi (citrus tristezza virus). Chiamata tristezza degli agrumi, la malattia si manifesta soprattutto su piante innestate su specie sensibili come l’arancio amaro. Le piante attaccate manifestano riduzione di sviluppo, perdita delle foglie e disseccamento dei rami.

Tripide (Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis). È un isetto di colore nero, con gli ultimi due segmenti addominali bruno-rossicci; è dotato di ali strette e frangiate. Le neanidi sono di colore giallognolo.

Il Tripide degli agrumi e delle serre è una specie polifaga che si adatta a climi caldi e di conseguenza molto diffusa nelle serre; vive prevalentemente nella pagina inferiore delle foglie.

Il danno si manifesta sulle foglie; tuttavia sugli Agrumi (limone) anche sui frutti, mentre su alcune piante da fiore (Gladiolo) colpisce anche i fiori.

Il danno è determinato dalle punture trofiche e dagli escrementi puntiformi e nerastri che imbrattano foglie e frutti; sulle foglie si manifesta con argentature del lembo, necrosi e successiva filloptosi.

Sui frutti degli Agrumi, soprattutto del limone, provoca una caratteristica rugginosità, in seguito alla suberificazione dei tessuti; la rugginosità assume colore biancastro, sui frutti maturi, mentre è di colore marroncino, sui frutti verdi.
La rugginosità può essere causata anche dall’attacco di Acari come Panonychus citri ed altri.

Mosca bianca (Aleurothrixus floccosus). L’ Aleirode (o Aleurodideo Mosca bianca fioccosa degli agrumi) fioccoso è diffuso nelle zone agrumicole dell’Italia Centro-meridionale, delle Isole ed in Liguria; è un insetto di recente introduzione nei nostri areali. I danni, simili a quelli di Dialeurodes citri, sono causati dagli adulti e dagli stadi giovanili; essi sottraggono linfa provocando il deperimento della pianta. Le neanidi formano colonie che possono incrostare completamente la pagina inferiore delle foglie; inoltre producono abbondante melata che, insieme alla produzione cerosa, invischia anche i frutti e su cui si instaurano abbondanti fumaggini. I frutti, soprattutto i mandarini, così colpiti appaiono ricoperti da una patina nerastra che li deprezza commercialmente.

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I parassiti possono anche rendere totalmente improduttiva una piantagione e sono ben pochi i rimedi per tenerli lontani o neutralizzarli. Quelli che sarebbero di maggiore buon senso e maggiormente potenti sono stati proibiti nella presunzione che avrebbero potuto essere nocivi. In realtà per mettere fuori mercato le colture nord africane.

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Sono stati tentati molti approcci per cercare di rende queste piante più resistenti: alla fine qualche buon risultato è stato ottenuto con ulteriori ibridizzazioni e con manipolazioni genetiche. Tutta roba chiaramente ogm, ma siccome l’aspetto esteriore non cambia in modo sostanziale, sono state messe in commercio senza far poi troppi complimenti.

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Per riconoscere le nuove clementine vi sono vari sistemi.

Il più semplice è sbucciarle e contare il numero degli spicchi: otto per le clementine tradizionali, numero variabile per gli ibridi. Non solo, ma le piante ibride hanno quasi sempre frutti con differenti numeri di spicchi. In pratica, trovare ancora delle clementine ad otto spicchi richiede rapporti più che buoni con il fruttivendolo.

Un metodo più raffinato e meno invasivo consiste nel togliere delicatamente il residuo del picciolo.

Immediatamente viene alla vista la corona circolare di macrosporofili ove si possono contare, tipicamente puntini biancastri, i carpelli. Un carpello per ogni spicchio. Il metodo richiede un minimo di allenamento: sono infatti possibili fenomeni apocarpici ed eusincarpici.

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Il prezzo degli ibridi dovrebbe essere consistentemente più basso di quello della pianta tradizionale, poiché questa ultima richiede un uso estensivo di trattamenti chimici, molto costosi. Ma non sempre è così dal banco della frutta.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Energie Alternative, Unione Europea

Germania. Kontrordine, kompagni. Il carbone è bello, buono ed anche profumato.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-11-14.

Ciminiere Tedesche

Ma allora Mr Trump aveva ragione….

Le ciminiere tedesche non inquinano.


I liberal democratici ed i socialisti ideologi non hanno il senso dello humour. Non sanno né sorridere né ridere di sé stessi.

Inoltre, presumono che tutti gli altri siano scemi e che siano anche smemorati.

Correva il giorno del Signore, il 29 giugno 2017: questo era il titolo di un giornale internazionale.

Merkel to put climate change at centre of G20 talks after Trump’s Paris pullout

«German chancellor says Trump administration’s decision to quit Paris climate agreement means EU must show leadership on issue. ….

Tackling climate change will be one of the central tasks of the upcoming Hamburg G20 summit of the world’s largest economies, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said on Thursday, following the US withdrawal from the Paris climate pact. ….

Merkel …. said the climate change scepticism of the Trump administration made it all the more important for the European Union to show leadership ….

Since the decision of the US to quit the Paris climate agreement, we are more determined than ever to make it successful,” she said. “We must tackle this existential challenge, and we cannot wait until every last person on earth has been convinced of the scientific proof.” ….

windfarms in the northernmost states are producing so much energy that in some cases the state has to pay renewable energy companies to switch off their turbines to stop congesting the power grid»

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Giorni or sono la confindustri tedesca aveva preso severe posizioni.

«Germany Needs Gas, Not Hot Air»

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«Germany should ditch its national CO2 emissions targets, end its plans to expand solar and wind power and embrace natural gas instead.»

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«There has probably never been a project in Germany before in which the gap between aspirations, goals and reality has been as wide as it is with the transition to green energy. When it comes to the “Energiewende,” it is no longer facts that count, but ideology and the pushing of scenarios that have little or nothing to do with reality.»

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«The reality is that Germany still lacks the grids for transporting electricity from the renewables-dense north to the south, and that in 2016 electricity consumers had to pay around €1 billion to fire up old oil-powered plants in the south when wind power dropped in the north»

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Queste semplicissime considerazioni si sono riverberate sulle trattative per la formazione di un qualche governo in Germania.

Franza o Spagna purchè se magna

«Germany’s Green party has agreed to compromise on key environmental issues in talks between parties hoping to form a coalition government by the end of the year»

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«The party’s decision to back down on its insistence over a ban on combustion engines and the closing down of coal-fired power plants was welcomed by the other negotiating parties»

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«the Greens said they were ready to admit that their goal of a ban on combustion engines by 2030 was unrealistic»

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«The FDP is strictly against a quick pull-out from coal-fired power»

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«The CSU in particular has indicated its readiness to move to the right in order to claw back the millions of voters both parties lost to the rightwing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).»

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Bene.

Adesso che pur di fare un qualsiasi governo ed accomodarsi a tavola con tovagliolo al collo, coltello nella destra e forchetta nella sinistra, Frau Merkel ed i Grüne ammettono che tutte le loro ubbie erano “unrealistic“.

E l’Europa ha speso in venti anni quasi 4,500 miliardi in un progetto utopico, che è servito solo a foraggiare liberal e socialisti ideologici.

Se si fosse persone serie si dovrebbero confiscare tutti i beni personali e di partito dei socialdemocratici, dei cristiano democratici e dei Grüne.

Parlano tanto di morale questa gente, ma rendere la refurtiva è anch’esso un obbligo morale, esattamente come le dimissioni.


The Guardian. 2017-11-12. German Greens drop car and coal policies in coalition talks with Merkel

Decision to drop key issues welcomed by other negotiating parties but criticised by some supporters.

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Germany’s Green party has agreed to compromise on key environmental issues in talks between parties hoping to form a coalition government by the end of the year.

The party’s decision to back down on its insistence over a ban on combustion engines and the closing down of coal-fired power plants was welcomed by the other negotiating parties as paving the way for official negotiations to begin.

But the news was met with disgruntlement by some Green supporters, who fear the party’s leaders are in danger of watering down some of their core environmental policies in return for entering government.

Angela Merkel’s conservative alliance, the pro-business liberal Free Democratic party (FDP) and the Greens are jostling for their positions in what has been dubbed the Jamaica coalition, due to the match between the parties’ colours and the yellow, green and black Jamaican flag.

After the latest round of exploratory talks between the parties, the Greens said they were ready to admit that their goal of a ban on combustion engines by 2030 was unrealistic.

“It is clear to me that we will not be able to enforce a ban on internal combustion engines by 2030,” the Greens’ co-leader Cem Özdemir told Stuttgarter Zeitung.

The Greens are also prepared to modify their demand that the 20 most polluting coal-fired power plants in Germany should be shut by 2020.

The FDP is strictly against a quick pull-out from coal-fired power. The party’s leader, Christian Lindner, said he would prefer to see more development aid pumped into climate protection instead, suggesting that Germany might suffer energy supply shortfalls if power stations were shut down. The Greens insist Germany produces far more electricity than it needs so shortages are not to be feared.

The Greens’ parliamentary leader, Anton Hofreiter, has signalled that in return he expected the other parties to make compromises over the Greens’ proposal to make it easier for families of refugees in Germany to be able to join them.

Both Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian sister party the CSU are meanwhile keen to assert their leadership having suffered historic losses in September’s election. The CSU in particular has indicated its readiness to move to the right in order to claw back the millions of voters both parties lost to the rightwing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

The presence of the AfD in the Bundestag has given the negotiators an extra impetus with the participants publicly acknowledging the need to pull together to create a strong and stable government.

Germany has never before had a coalition between the conservatives, liberals and Greens on the national level, where the parties’ vast differences have been seen as too great.

Merkel has said she expects the exploratory talks to be completed soon, so that official negotiations can begin on 16 November. A coalition is not expected to be finalised before Christmas.

She has warned against the suggestion made by Lindner of new elections as an alternative should the talks fail. “It is not clever to be constantly talking in public about new elections,” she said, noting that the parties had a national responsibility to form a stable government.

Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Devoluzione socialismo, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Unione Europea

IMF. L’Europa va benissimo ma faccia piani per le prossime catastrofi.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-11-13.

Giorgio_vasari,_vegliardi_dell'apocalisse,_1572-74,_07

Giorgio Vasari. I Vegliardi dell’Apocalisse.


L’Europa sta andando bene, così bene che meglio non si potrebbe.

Parola dell’Imf, il Fondo monetario internazionale.

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Di conseguenza, siccome tutto sta andando benissimo, ci si prepari per i tempi duri che verranno.

«The International Monetary Fund on Monday encouraged European economies to use their relative strength to plan for long-term risks»

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«But countries should make some room in their budgets for manoeuver so they can keep their economies afloat in worse times»

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«member countries still only had “a thin cushion accumulated for a rainy day.”»

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«economies with high public debt including the UK, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain needed to reduce their debt load»

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«Aging populations, spreading protectionism, geopolitical tensions and export loss because of a downturn in China all add to the risks threatening long-term growth»

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Ricapitoliamo.

L’economia dell’Unione Europea sta andando a gonfie vele: meglio di così non si potrebbe.

Ma che nessuno si illuda di poter strare lo champagne.

«worse times»

Già, sta andando così bene che deve prepararsi ai tempi duri.

Ma quali tempi duri se tutto va bene?

«Aging populations»

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«spreading protectionism»

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«geopolitical tensions»

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«export loss»

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Mica male per un quadro che era stato dipinto in modo così ottimistico.

C’è anche l’export loss, ma la colpa non è certo dell’Europa: è tutta dei cinesi. Ci macherebbe.

Ma il colpo finale tramuta l’ottimismo in un cupo pessimismo.

«UK, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain needed to reduce their debt load»

Già.

I debiti pubblici che stanno soffocando l’Occidente sono sempre lì, anzi, crescono.

Siamo chiari.

Un’Europa di vegliardi tutti presi dalle dentiere e dai pannoloni dovrà ridurre il debito pubblico.

In altre parole: smettere di incrementare il debito ed iniziare a rifonderlo. Sarà un futuro di lacrime e sangue, e soprattutto senza speranza. I vecchi moriranno a metà opera.

Adesso, chi ancora ne avesse voglia, rida pure.


Deutsche Welle. 2017-11-13. IMF: ‘Europe must plan for long-term risks’

The International Monetary Fund on Monday encouraged European economies to use their relative strength to plan for long-term risks.

The IMF said all EU economies were growing, turning the Continent into an engine of global trade. “But countries should make some room in their budgets for manoeuver so they can keep their economies afloat in worse times,” the latest IMF outlook said.

It warned that after recovering from the 2008 financial crisis, member countries still only had “a thin cushion accumulated for a rainy day.”

Brexit only one of many risks

The organization cited weak productivity growth and remaining bad loans as alarming problems still to be dealt with.

“Aging populations, spreading protectionism, geopolitical tensions and export loss because of a downturn in China all add to the risks threatening long-term growth.”

It noted that economies with high public debt including the UK, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain needed to reduce their debt load “without jeopardizing the economic uptick.”

The IMF insisted Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden had enough wiggle room in their budgets and should aim to lift growth through higher public investment in infrastructure, housing and the integration of immigrants.

It raised its forecast for EU GDP growth to 2.3 percent this year, up from its previous prediction of just 1.9 percent.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Energie Alternative, Unione Europea

Bonn. ‘Clima’. I patetici contorsionismi logici di Frau Merkel.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-11-13.

Ciminiere Tedesche

Qualsiasi persona con un residuo minimale di buona fede avrebbe dato le dimissioni, piuttosto che rinnegare sé stesso e le proprie idee.

Non è certo il caso di Frau Merkel.

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«Germany should lead the fight against climate change and cut emissions without destroying jobs, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday»

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«the dilemma of the center-right leader in tricky coalition negotiations to form the next government. »

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«Merkel said industrialized countries had a special responsibility to reduce their emission of climate-damaging greenhouse gases»

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«Due to strong economic growth and higher-than-expected immigration, Germany is at risk of missing its emissions target if the next government does not implement further measures»

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«But the chancellor insisted that Germany’s “industrial core” should not be put at risk and any further climate measures should not force companies to relocate»

*

«If steel mills, aluminum factories, copper smelters, if they all leave our country and go somewhere where environmental regulations are not as strict, then we have won nothing for global climate»

*

«measures in order to avoid major disruptions and job losses»

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«The Greens called on Merkel’s conservatives and the FDP to make concessions after the party itself gave ground on Tuesday by dropping its demand for fixed dates to ban cars with internal combustion engines and shut down coal-fired power stations»

*

«Juergen Trittin, another senior member of the Greens, warned Merkel personally that her political future was at stake.»

* * * * * * * *

Da questo discorso non è possibile riconoscere Frau Angela Merkel. È la ammissione che Mr Trump aveva ragione da vendere.

Due i punti nodali, detti in modo da cercare di non perdere la faccia.

«If steel mills, aluminum factories, copper smelters, if they all leave our country and go somewhere where environmental regulations are not as strict, then we have won nothing for global climate»

*

«Germany’s “industrial core” should not be put at risk and any further climate measures should not force companies to relocate»

*

«measures in order to avoid major disruptions and job losses»

* * * * * * * *

In pratica la Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel dice che prenderà tutte le misure possibili per il ‘clima’ sotto due condizioni:

– non obbligare le ditte a delocalizzare la produzione;

– evitare ulteriori perdite di posti di lavoro.

*

In poche parole, il ‘clima‘ in Germania è morto e sepolto.

Visto che bel risultato ha ottenuto AfD senza muovere un dito? L’Unione Europea ha cacciato nel tombino in venti anni circa 4,500 miliardi del Contribuente.


Reuters. 2017-11-13. Merkel tries to bridge climate gap as coalition talks heat up

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany should lead the fight against climate change and cut emissions without destroying jobs, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, treading a fine line as she tries to clinch a coalition deal with environmentalist and pro-business parties.

Merkel’s comments, made in her weekly podcast in the midst of 200-nation talks on limiting global warming in Bonn, show the dilemma of the center-right leader in tricky coalition negotiations to form the next government.

Merkel’s conservatives, which bled support to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Sept. 24 election, are trying to forge a coalition government with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the environmentalist Greens.

The unlikely partners have cited progress after three weeks of exploratory talks about a three-way coalition. But the Greens raised the pressure on Merkel ahead of a meeting on Sunday in which party leaders are due to thrash out differences over climate, immigration and euro zone policy.

The Greens want Merkel and the other parties to spell out which additional measures the next government will implement for Germany to reach its 2020 goal of lowering emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels.

In her podcast, Merkel said industrialized countries had a special responsibility to reduce their emission of climate-damaging greenhouse gases, warning that time was running out.

“The urgency, I think we all see this in light of the natural disasters, is great,” Merkel said. Climate change is leading to droughts and famine and this is causing mass migration from poorer to richer countries, she added.

Referring to the Paris climate agreement, Merkel said: “As things stand right now, the target to keep the rise in temperature below two degrees Celsius – ideally at around 1.5 degrees – will be missed.”

WRESTLING

Due to strong economic growth and higher-than-expected immigration, Germany is at risk of missing its emissions target if the next government does not implement further measures.

“That’s why we are also wrestling in exploratory talks for a possible new coalition about this: How can we adopt even more measures in order to try and reach this 2020 goal,” Merkel said.

But the chancellor insisted that Germany’s “industrial core” should not be put at risk and any further climate measures should not force companies to relocate.

“If steel mills, aluminum factories, copper smelters, if they all leave our country and go somewhere where environmental regulations are not as strict, then we have won nothing for global climate,” Merkel said.

The government should therefore adopt a sound mix of regulatory policy, financial incentives and voluntary measures in order to avoid major disruptions and job losses, she said.

“We have to push ahead forcefully with electromobility and alternative drive systems,” Merkel said. She also suggested that the next government should give tax incentives for home owners to improve building insulation.

The Greens called on Merkel’s conservatives and the FDP to make concessions after the party itself gave ground on Tuesday by dropping its demand for fixed dates to ban cars with internal combustion engines and shut down coal-fired power stations.

“Instead of the week of truth, this was a week of disappointment,” parliamentary floor leader Anton Hofreiter told Der Spiegel magazine, adding that the Greens had done their part by offering “painful” compromises.

Juergen Trittin, another senior member of the Greens, warned Merkel personally that her political future was at stake.

“Mrs Merkel, the lead candidate of the conservatives and acting chancellor, she wants to get re-elected – with our votes,” Trittin said. “And for this, she must move now.”

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Economia e Produzione Industriale

Tesla. ‘The Tesla Debt Disaster Scenario’.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-11-11.

2017-11-13__Tesla__001

«La “house of cards” eretta da Elon Musk è sul punto di essere

spazzata via dalla tempesta: Tesla produce poche auto e

dalla sua nascita ha già bruciato 10 miliardi di dollari.»


«Tesla Inc  (NAS:TSLA) Long-Term Debt & Capital Lease Obligation: $9,585 Mil (As of Sep. 2017) =GURUF(“NAS:TSLA”,”Long-Term Debt & Capital Lease Obligation”)

Long-Term Debt is the debt due more than 12 months in the future. Tesla Inc’s long-term debt & capital lease obligation for the quarter that ended in Sep. 2017 was $9,585 Mil.

Warning Sign:

Tesla Inc keeps issuing new debt. Over the past 3 years, it issued USD 4.4 billion of debt.

LT-Debt-to-Total-Asset is a measurement representing the percentage of a corporation’s assets that are financed with loans and financial obligations lasting more than one year. The ratio provides a general measure of the financial position of a company, including its ability to meet financial requirements for outstanding loans. It is calculated as a company’s long-term debt divide by its Total Assets. Tesla Inc’s long-term debt for the quarter that ended in Sep. 2017 was $9,585 Mil. Tesla Inc’s Total Assets for the quarter that ended in Sep. 2017 was $28,107 Mil. Tesla Inc’s LT-Debt-to-Total-Asset for the quarter that ended in Sep. 2017 was 0.34.

Tesla Inc’s LT-Debt-to-Total-Asset increased from Sep. 2016 (0.19) to Sep. 2017 (0.34). It may suggest that Tesla Inc is progressively becoming more dependent on debt to grow their business.» [Fonte]

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Msn constata mestamente:

The Tesla Debt Disaster Scenario Not Imminent, But An Increasingly Real Possibility

«Tesla will pay about $4,500 in interest for every car it will sell this year, making the production ramp-up increasingly urgent.

Even when production will be increased, it is estimated that each Model 3 will likely sell at a loss, meaning that Tesla will have to continue going into debt.

Given that Tesla cannot finance itself internally and the high stock valuation makes investors less tolerant of stock dilution, Tesla is in danger of developing a debt problem.»

*

Tesla Will Face A Cash Crunch Without A Capital Raise In The Next 90 Days

*

«in laying the groundwork for an electric and autonomous future, he took one risk too many»

*

Trump. Tesla. Toyota fa fagotto e la lascia alla bancarotta.

Tesla. Inquinerebbe e sarebbe pericolosa. – Handelsblatt

Tesla. Vendite -24%, ma tanto lo stato ripiana….

*

Non sarebbe mica la prima volta che persone prima osannate, siano dopo additate come associazioni per delinquere. Ma fra il prima ed il poi c’è stato in mezzo un gigantesco fallimento.


Seeking Alpha.  2017-11-09. The Tesla Debt Disaster Scenario Not Imminent, But An Increasingly Real Possibility

– Tesla will pay about $4,500 in interest for every car it will sell this year, making the production ramp-up increasingly urgent.

– Even when production will be increased, it is estimated that each Model 3 will likely sell at a loss, meaning that Tesla will have to continue going into debt.

– Given that Tesla cannot finance itself internally and the high stock valuation makes investors less tolerant of stock dilution, Tesla is in danger of developing a debt problem.

*

As I often like to point out, one of the most important factors I like to look at when assessing a company’s health is its interest on debt to revenue ratio. For mining companies, I tend to view a company with some skepticism once interest on debt starts to take up more than 10% of its revenues. Revenues are of course very volatile in mining, for the obvious reason that commodity prices also tend to be very volatile, which is why I tend to measure their interest/revenue ratio during the worst of times. For a car manufacturer like Tesla (TSLA), there is no such thing as “worst of times” due to car price volatility, nevertheless this might be getting close to being the worst of times for Tesla, if it continues to fail to ramp up Model 3 production for much longer.

It is not an official tally, and it may be subject to change, but inside EVs just reported a very weak month of October for Model S and Model X deliveries in the US. The two models saw combined deliveries for the month fall below 2,000 units. The word on Model 3 deliveries is that they are being built by hand and for October 145 units were delivered. In other words, there is no increase in total production happening at this point in time. What’s likely happening, if we are to see a large number of Model 3 cars being delivered in the fourth quarter, is that current production capacity may be diverted from Model S and Model X production to the Model 3. The automated production of Tesla cars, which we were told will lead to yearly sales of 500,000 cars per year, will have to wait a while longer. Until Q1 2018, according to Elon Musk.

Odds of Tesla running out of cash.

As we well know, there are three major sources of cash that a company can tap. There is the internal cash flow situation. In Tesla’s case, that is problematic, because it has been spending more than it has been taking in. With some analysts seeing a net loss of as much as $3,000 for each base Model 3 once they will finally be produced, it is unlikely that we will see a situation where Tesla will be able to self finance its operations and future aspirations from internal resources. There also is the option of offering more shares, in other words, stock dilution. It is something that Tesla has relied on as a means of financing itself in the past few years, especially last year.

As we can see, there has been a steady increase in the stock supply, which has been alright, for as long as Tesla’s market cap kept increasing. Problem is that it is currently already more or less priced in as a car maker that sells millions of cars, while it is currently struggling to get past the 100,000 unit sales per year mark. I personally think that stock dilution has now become a dry well for Tesla. It mainly played out that option last year, which is not something that Tesla can expect the market to tolerate again for some years to come.

It is something it can no longer heavily rely on, because its investors already are being pressured by the simple fact that this stock has gotten so far ahead of reality, as well as the fact that reality seems to keep hitting obstacles to reaching the point that its investors are expecting it to reach. If Tesla were to try to attempt larger scale stock offerings again, it would most likely lead to a significant selloff, because the argument to being in this stock at this price currently is not very strong, to say the least.

Bonds.

Interest expenses totaled $117 million in the third quarter, on revenue of just under $3 billion. That is just about 4% of total revenue that went on servicing its debt. By many accounts that is not a lot. A more interesting measure of what this debt servicing costs means is if we equate it to interest per car delivered in Q3. Given sales of just over 26,000 units, it comes out to almost $4,500/car. The reason why I find this measure interesting is because Tesla investors and supporters often cite its lack of legacy costs as one of the reasons it is likely to out-compete its larger rivals. Debt is emerging as Tesla’s own legacy cost of sorts, and it is showing more and more signs of getting out of control. Long-term debt is now sitting at $9.6 billion, which is a very significant increase from the end of 2016, when it was just under $6 billion. The shift to more financing of activities through long-term debt, from previous year’s focus on stock offerings, is in my view something that happened out of necessity. Stock holders had to be given something as a reason to hang in there, given how far ahead it was getting of itself. A reprieve from more stock dilution was just the thing that helped Tesla stock advance this year.

The solution to its debt problem is of course to grow out of it, which is where the need to get those large scale Model 3 deliveries out the door as soon as possible becomes more and more urgent. At first sight, that seems like a sure solution, given that if Tesla is to indeed deliver 500,000 cars/year by 2019 (2018 not likely to be the year for that milestone). Given the assumption that the debt load will not grow very significantly from current levels, we could be looking at a decline of its interest/car from the roughly $4,500 last quarter, to perhaps just $1,500-$2,000 in 2019.

As good as the legacy cost per car decline sounds however, based on the assumption that those 500,000 cars per year sales volumes will materialize, it will not be as great of an achievement financially speaking as it may seem. It will only serve to buy more time. One of the main flaws with the assumption that the eventual successful roll-out of the Model 3 will resolve Tesla’s financial situation lies in the fact that it is assumed the sale of this model will be profitable. At the moment it is estimated that Tesla will take a loss of about $2,800/base Model 3 sold at the base price of $35,000. The study also estimates that it will take the purchase of an average of $6,000 in extra options per car just for Tesla to break even on each Model 3 it will deliver. While some may assume that this is likely to happen based on past experiences with Model S and Model X customers, we should keep in mind that the income demographic of the Model 3 customers is likely to be very different from that of the more affluent buyers of the previous models, which range in price from $70,000, to $145,000.

By my rough estimate, fewer than 50,000 future buyers of the Model 3 will benefit from the $7,500 federal EV subsidy, given that there is a 200,000 unit cap on the subsidy for each and every maker, after which the subsidy is phased out. This means that buyers of the Model 3 will end up paying more and more starting next year as the subsidy is phased out, to the point where by 2019, the subsidy level for Tesla will reach zero. The reason why I believe this can potentially be a major problem for Tesla in terms of its Model 3 sales, as well as the potential sale of extra features, is because as I pointed out in previous articles, a $35,000 base price sedan is not the typical price range of a sedan model that typically makes it into the top 10 of the US sales ranking.

The top 10 selling sedan models in the US all have a price tag that is under $24,000. While I do believe that the Model 3 will break into this top 10 sales ranking, at least for a year or two, we should keep in mind that it will be based on consumers making a very atypical choice to buy a sedan priced at that level, in such a high number. What this means is that effectively hundreds of thousands of people who would ordinarily not pay $35,000 or more for a midsize sedan will now do so, out of ideological convictions, rather than rational consumer considerations, such as price/utility. This fact suggests that the typical Model 3 buyer will be very price sensitive. Going back to the Model 3 profitability issue, if it will indeed depend on the average Model 3 customer opting for an extra $6,000 in additional options, it is very probable that it will not happen, meaning that the Model 3 will sell at a loss, even after mass production will be scaled up, meaning that Tesla will continue to rely on stock dilution or bond offers as a means to finance itself for the foreseeable future.

While the ramp-up of the Model 3 will not be Tesla’s savior, because it does not lead to an improvement in the financial situation, we should also keep in mind that there are still many obstacles in the way of the Model 3 even reaching the stated goal of helping Tesla reach sales of 500,000 units per year. Questions remain with regard to just how committed the potential customers who put down the refundable deposit really are. Furthermore, it seems the rate of growth in those deposits is more or less reaching stagnation. Customer deposits have grown by $22 million, to a total of $686 million for the first nine months of the year. What this means is that if we are to assume that as many Model S and Model X cars are currently reserved as being delivered, then only 22,000 Model 3 cars were booked for future delivery during these nine months. Of course, assuming that the other two models are in balance in terms of booking to sales is not necessarily realistic, but it does nevertheless help put the deposits situation into perspective. I think it may be a sign that Tesla demand growth is fading. I personally believe that Tesla is benefiting from pent up ideologically-driven demand for its cars. That pent-up demand may fade once deliveries finally start to make a dent in this particular consumer demographic segment.

There also are the issues of manufacturing problems, as well as the issue of having to secure some of the raw materials that go into its batteries and electric motors. All these obstacles that need to be overcome, just so Tesla can end up producing a car that it is likely to lose money on, or break even at best, and only if customers will end up opting for a lot of extras. Nor is the volume of half a million cars sold per year the level needed to justify its current market cap. So while Model 3 success, if it will eventually happen, will go a long way in meeting the company’s need to ramp up production volumes that can justify its market cap, it will not lead to profitability, most likely, therefore it is not a solution to its financial problems.

The need to finance production as well as new product development means that Tesla is set to continue borrowing significant amounts of money for many years to come. Whether it will be through more stock dilution, which I believe will be met with more and more investor hostility, therefore it will be less and less successful, or through bond issuance, the path Tesla is on is very problematic financially speaking. Debt financing in particular will act as a growing financial strain on the entire operation, especially if the market will eventually decide to no longer give Tesla the benefit of the doubt in terms of its odds of ever reaching profitability, leading to much higher interest rates in the future. While I’m not advocating for this outcome as being the most likely scenario, it is a scenario that in my view has now become a lot more likely to occur, given the trends and events we observed in the past few months. Tesla will not have imminent problems, because I believe it still has the faith of its investors going for it, but eventually there will come a point where that investor confidence will become shaken to the point where there will be no way of re-gaining it, at which point this already delicate balancing act will become untenable.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.


The New York Times.  2017-11-09. Tesla’s Dangerous Sprint Into the Future

Twenty miles east of Reno, Nev., where packs of wild mustangs roam free through the parched landscape, Tesla Gigafactory 1 sprawls near Interstate 80. It is a destination for engineers from all over the world, to which any Reno hotel clerk can give you precise, can’t-miss-it directions. The Gigafactory, whose construction began in June 2014, is not only outrageously large but also on its way to becoming the biggest manufacturing plant on earth. Now 30 percent complete, its square footage already equals about 35 Costco stores, and a small city of construction workers, machinery and storage containers has sprung up around it. Perhaps the only thing as impressive as its size is its cloak of secrecy, which seems of a piece with Tesla’s increasing tendency toward stealth, opacity and even paranoia. When I visited in September, a guard at the gate gave militaristic instructions on where to go. Turning to my Lyft driver, he said severely: “When you complete the drop-off, you are not to get out of the car. Under any circumstances. Turn around and leave. Immediately.”

To hear its executives tell it, Tesla is misunderstood because it is still perceived as a car manufacturer, when its goals are more complex and far-reaching. But at least some people have bought into these grand ambitions. This summer, Tesla’s stock-market valuation at times rose above those of Ford and General Motors, and its worth exceeded $60 billion. It did not seem to matter to investors that the company had never made an annual profit, had missed its production targets repeatedly and had become enmeshed in controversy over its self-driving “autopilot” technologies, or that Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, had conceded that the value of his company, of which he owns about 22 percent, was “higher than we have the right to deserve.” Tesla was a headlong bet on the future, a huge wager on the idea of a better world. And its secretive Gigafactory was the arsenal for a full-fledged attack on the incumbent powers of the car and fossil-fuel industries. The factory would help validate Musk and his company’s seriousness about leading humanity’s turn to greener technologies, with a vision now encompassing solar roofing tiles and battery packs for home and industry. Most crucial, it involved producing millions of Tesla cars and trucks, all of which would be sleek, electric and self-driving.

If ambitions were all it took, Tesla would be crowned the colossus of the global car industry. But rapidly accelerating new technologies have brought uncertainty as well. Automakers are encountering three destabilizing forces all at once: automation, electrification and sharing. And sizing up which companies will be the winners and losers in their wakes is in no way obvious. In terms of self-driving cars, it seems likely that long-established companies — General Motors and Ford, as well as BMW and Audi — will benefit from their substantial reserves of cash and deep manufacturing experience. Because these automakers can invest deeply in research (and spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy start-ups), they can remain competitive with companies less inherently cautious, like Tesla and Waymo, the spinoff of Google’s self-driving projects.

Tesla’s goal has always been focused on going green, rather than creating the driverless future. (Its mission is emblazoned on its factory walls: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”) Yet as the automobile industry settles on the consensus that self-driving cars are coming — their promise to improve safety and to help ride-sharing replace car ownership for many Americans propels their inevitability — Tesla finds itself in the midst of a contest to do both. This set of challenges should be enough for any company, especially one led by a chief executive whose time is compromised by other business commitments as a founder of a rocket company (SpaceX), a new tunneling operation (the Boring Company), a company planning a human-computer interface (Neuralink) and a nonprofit focused on the dangers of artificial intelligence (OpenAI). But Tesla has given itself a few others too. One is to essentially reinvent modern manufacturing processes at the Gigafactory. Yet another is to create the first mass-market electric car ever. In the meantime, a company that has never made much profit needs to somehow figure out how to do so — that is, to put itself in the black before financial losses and missed deadlines curdle any hope that Tesla inspires, among customers or stockholders, into skepticism.

Four hundred possible sites all over the western United States were winnowed down to this Nevada location. I hopped into a Chevy Suburban at the Gigafactory with several Tesla employees to take a look around. We drove through an expansive parking lot and up a steep hill so we could overlook the sprawling building and commotion below. The Gigafactory is often described, somewhat reductively, as a plant where Panasonic, a large tenant within the space, manufactures customized lithium-ion batteries that Tesla then installs in its products. Such an enormous plant allows for long production lines and economies of scale, which company engineers believe will help them lower significantly the price of the batteries, and thus the price of electric cars. The logic within Tesla is that only by “scaling up” — making billions of cheaper batteries for millions of cars — can it have an actual impact on our worsening pollution and increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The Gigafactory had to be big, Musk noted at its opening in July 2016, “because the world is big.” But the plant’s utility is actually in the sum of countless small improvements. As one Tesla executive involved in its design told me, the goal here was not only to minimize the movement of materials like lithium and cobalt but also to shorten the path of every molecule that moves through the plant. “Because the further a molecule needs to travel,” he said, “the more cost gets added into it. We actually think of it in terms of molecular distance.”

Still, the Gigafactory is considerably more than a battery factory: It’s the physical embodiment of various technological breakthroughs the company — which just manufactured its 250,000th car — is trying to bring to its cars and energy-storage systems. Tesla makes motors here for its new Model 3 car, for instance, which are then trucked to its assembly plant in Fremont, Calif., 240 miles away. When we went inside, after a labyrinthine walk through offices and up and down stairways, we reached a rapidly moving automated factory line, where batteries were being installed into Powerwalls and Powerpacks — the residential and industrial units that store energy collected from solar panels (or any electrical generator). Later in the month, devices like these would make their way to Puerto Rico, where Tesla rebuilt the power infrastructure for a children’s hospital, and southern Australia, where the company is involved in a vast public project to shore up the country’s electrical grid. “We think of this building as a product, because it is a product,” my guide told me as we walked alongside a production line. Every machine had been scrutinized, every inch mapped out, every efficiency contemplated. Tesla had taken the highly unusual step of setting up a separate entity to take full control of the building’s design, engineering and construction, reflecting Tesla’s D.I.Y. ethos to achieve levels of vertical ownership and quality control that its executives believe are unreachable otherwise. The company had even concocted its own Tesla blend of coffee to serve near its cafeterias. “If we cannot get exactly what we want from the world,” one executive told me, “then we have to go do it ourselves.”

Tesla’s grand plans in many respects depend on how much innovation the company can bring to the process of battery making. If the Gigafactory succeeds in reducing costs — one battery-industry analyst, Sam Jaffe, the director at Cairn Energy Research Advisors, told me he thinks the company should be able to drive down the price of its cells by 30 percent — multiple dividends will accrue to Tesla. Cheaper batteries mean more than cheaper cars. They mean Tesla can put larger battery packs into cars for the same cost, increasing the vehicles’ range, power and appeal compared with the competition. At the same time, they could make its home energy-storage systems more efficient. Tesla could also gain an advantage in the race to produce autonomous vehicles, or A.V.s. The electric vehicles, or E.V.s, that Tesla wants to make autonomous have zero emissions. If self-driving cars go on rotation, say, in Uber and Lyft fleets, they could run 24-7, possibly leading to more cars on the road. “One of the concerns about automation is that it’s going to drastically increase the miles we drive,” Stephen Zoepf, the executive director at the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford, told me. “So if we expect as a society that we’re going to be driving a lot more, we obviously want to mitigate the environmental impact.”

At the Gigafactory, J.B. Straubel, a Tesla founder and the company’s chief technology officer, recounted the plant’s origin story. In 2012, he did a back-of-the-envelope calculation and realized that if Tesla were to sell something on the order of 500,000 cars a year, it would require the world’s entire output of lithium-ion batteries at the time. “We realized, holy crap, this means we need a huge factory,” he said, “because there was no way to do this just by putting in an order with some cell company and have them ship a few more.” His projections were not far off. When we met in September, orders for the Model 3, which began production in midyear and has been billed as the company’s first mass-market car, were around 455,000 through July, suggesting that the demand for E.V.s is far larger than any of the traditional automakers ever imagined. In the future, Straubel told me, Tesla plans to put up many more Gigafactories around the world, “ones that are actually quite a lot bigger than this one” — and it would construct those itself too. “This isn’t just a big building that’s full of equipment,” he added. “There’s this idea here of the machine that builds the machine, and it’s really true. This place is the embodiment of that.”

The impression he wanted me to have, I think, was that Tesla, once it gets this prodigious machine humming, will become robotically unstoppable at cranking out smaller machines, a great big clean-energy perpetual-motion device. At the same time, the company’s executives, from Straubel and Musk on down, were urging potential customers not to view each Tesla product in isolation but as parts of an ecosystem. The Tesla customer could soon use Tesla solar roof tiles during the day to charge up a Tesla Powerwall unit, filled with Gigafactory-made batteries — at night the Powerwall could in turn recharge the Tesla sedan. Perhaps the customer very much liked to drive? In that case, he or she might occasionally stop at one of the hundreds of Tesla “supercharger” stations in cities or along highways. Or maybe the owner didn’t like to drive at all and preferred to be driven automatically. Tesla would soon straddle our peculiar moment, the transitional era where humans begin to take their hands off their machines. “Every car made since October of last year,” Musk promised in early August, “is capable of full autonomy, we believe.”

The day after I toured the Gigafactory, I visited Tesla’s California headquarters in Palo Alto to see Doug Field, a top executive involved with the Model 3. Its price begins at $35,000, which gets you an average range of 220 miles on a full battery charge; a model with a larger battery pack (and a range of 310 miles) begins at $44,000. Even that price is a significant step down for the company, whose other cars’ most basic configurations start at about $70,000. I had driven from Reno to Palo Alto in a rented Tesla Model S valued at about $145,000; it was a four-hour trip, not including a 40-minute stop at a Tesla recharging station in Vacaville, Calif., and with the car’s neck-breaking acceleration it seemed the drive could have taken half that time but for speed limits. As the company’s flagship vehicle, the Model S is outfitted with several large LED screens but still has the feel of a conventional luxury car. The smaller Model 3 is a different machine altogether — spry and strikingly austere. One large touch-screen in the center of the dashboard essentially controls all the car’s driving and interior settings, while also monitoring the battery charge. When I arrived in early September, the first Model 3s had just come off the assembly line, and Field, a rangy engineer who spent a good part of his career at Apple, met me in front of the offices in a metallic blue model. He slid into the passenger side and invited me to take the wheel. “I’ll give you a quick orientation,” he said, “and then we’ll drive off.”

Field quickly showed me the controls. There weren’t many except for a few dials on the steering wheel. The screen to its right served as the car’s dashboard. “This looks forward to an era of autonomy,” Field explained, “but it’s also simpler and easier to manufacture.” That meant cheaper too, which was crucial: Tesla had concluded that every dollar saved on the cost of making the car would mean 100 more families could buy it in a year. As we drove through Palo Alto, the car was nimble and responsive, with the same kind of leaping acceleration that characterizes the Model S. But it took some time to get used to checking the screen to my right for my speed and autopilot settings. Field told me his team had concluded that it would be natural and intuitive for a younger generation. “It’s interesting when you put young people in the car,” he said. “This is the way all kids navigate technology.” It’s also possible that the kids might do more navigating, or giving the car orders, than driving. Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla’s design chief, later told me that in creating the car’s interior, he faced the question of making a car that was affordable and stylish but also relevant for a future era. There was vigorous debate within the company about what to do if the Model 3 became truly autonomous. As time went on, von Holzhausen’s group reasoned, this car would be driven less and would be driving more. Thus the decision to jettison dials and controls made sense, because the need for driver information would be reduced, and the central screen could mark routes and arrival times and double as an entertainment center. Those would be the essential tools. Or, as von Holzhausen put it, “The screen then became the hero of the vehicle.”

All of Tesla’s cars, including the Model 3, come with cameras and sensors; the sensors are small radar and ultrasonic devices situated around the car’s exterior that could enable it, presuming the right software is eventually developed, to become self-driving. Because each Tesla car maintains a cellular connection, over-the-air improvements dispensed by the company are a regular feature — tweaking acceleration or braking capabilities through uploaded instructions, for instance. Sometimes the extent to which the company can improve or alter its cars’ performance, even years after they left the factory, can be startling or unsettling, as was the case when Tesla temporarily extended the battery range for some drivers fleeing Hurricane Irma in Florida this summer. Self-driving, which Field assured me would ultimately come to pass with the right software and which Musk has repeatedly promoted to investors and customers, would allow Teslas to become something much more than they are. In the parlance of the Society of Automotive Engineers, which has quantified the capabilities a car must have to be considered self-driving, the vehicles will have nearly attained Level 5. This level denotes a safe and fully autonomous car that can operate in any place, and any conditions, without a driver.

At the moment, Teslas are at Level 2. Their cameras, sensors and software support a more modest capability known as “enhanced autopilot,” which costs an additional $5,000 in a new Model S or Model 3. In certain road and weather conditions, the cars can regulate speed and braking in traffic, steer automatically, change lanes and parallel park autonomously. By some industry rankings, these features now help make Teslas among the safest cars on the road. But following the deadly crash of a Model S driver who was using autopilot in Florida in May 2016, the company reconfigured what the cars permit. When I tried the automated steering on my Model S during the drive from Reno to Palo Alto, for instance, the car chimed frequently in distress and warned me through a dashboard notice when I took my hands off the wheel for a few seconds. I’d been informed that if this happened three times, the car would slow down, stop and rescind my autopilot privileges altogether. I didn’t push it. Clearly, the car — and Tesla, too — still needed its driver.

Whether the current fleet of Teslas can become A.V.s is not merely a technical question for the company; it may prove crucial as Tesla struggles to become a major automaker. In 2006, when Musk began to articulate his aspirations for Tesla publicly, he posted what he called his “Master Plan” on the company’s blog. He wrote that Tesla would transition from making an expensive electric sports car built in small numbers to making a luxury electric vehicle that expanded its manufacturing competence and market share before ultimately entering the electric mass market. The money from one project would be used to fund each successive project. And the larger idea was not to sell cool cars, or even fast cars, but to hasten the transition of automobiles from gas and diesel to electricity. Steve Jurvetson, an early venture investor in Tesla who now sits on its board, told me that there wasn’t much talk of a self-driving future at the start. “I don’t recall a discussion of autonomous vehicles and driving being part of the original pitch of Tesla,” he said. “It was a big-enough issue to prove that an electric drive train could be a success.” As he and Musk knew, there had not been a start-up American car company that had succeeded in nearly a century.

In the summer of 2016, Musk updated his vision for the company — “Master Plan, Part Deux.” In the decade since Part 1, the acceptance of electric vehicles had grown to the point where some traditional carmakers, in a surprising turn, were beginning to speak of an inevitable transition to an era when all models were battery-powered. Entire countries (like China) and enormous markets (like California) were also considering eventual bans on internal-combustion engines. As E.V. technology seemed ascendant, a variety of factors outside the auto industry were creating real potential for self-driving vehicles: great gains in computer-processing power, cheaper hardware sensors, better mobile connectivity, advances in artificial intelligence and enhanced mapping software. In his updated master plan, Musk stated that every Tesla would now have self-driving capabilities and that the application of “fleet learning” — a variation on machine learning — would help the company someday deliver a car that was 10 times safer in self-driving mode than when controlled by a human.

Musk also explained a new fundamental goal of the company. Tesla, he said, wanted to “enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it.” In other words, any new Tesla could in due time be part of a sharing network, able to taxi strangers around while its owner worked, slept or did whatever. Most Americans’ cars stay parked about 95 percent of the time. A Tesla would not. In the same way that Tesla’s electric drive train made the American car more efficient, the Tesla network would make the total utilization of the vehicle more efficient, too.

App-based sharing networks for cars already exist: These companies — Turo and Getaround, for instance — are different from, say, Zipcar, because they depend on peer-to-peer communications to arrange for rentals. In essence, they function like mobile Airbnbs, and in some cases have drawn the ire of users in the wake of driver crashes and insurance issues. A Tesla network would push this concept much further, involving perhaps hundreds of thousands or millions of cars, all of them already connected to the internet. Yet such a business network, one Tesla executive told me, most likely wouldn’t succeed unless Tesla’s cars were fully autonomous. Any concerns about insurance and lending a car to a risky driver would disappear, he argued, if autonomous driving proves to be much safer than manual driving. Just as important, autonomy makes irrelevant the problem of getting the car to where it’s needed next — it can be sent wherever it needs to go via mobile app. What’s crucial here is that the Tesla network, if it becomes functional, can defray the cost of an electric car like the Model 3, which is billed as Tesla’s affordable car but can easily surpass $50,000 with various options. If your car is making money for you when you’re not using it, it effectively becomes a tool that uses the virtues of A.V.s to promote the market adoption of E.V.s.

Over the course of several months, I often asked people at Tesla, as well as those working on autonomous technologies elsewhere, how far away the self-driving future might be. There was no solid consensus beyond somewhere between two and five years. I tended to believe that the timeline might extend much further and would depend on how tightly we regulate such vehicles and how we agree to define autonomy. Does it mean interstate driving on a sunny day? Or driving within a dedicated area on city streets? Is it a Level 5 overnight trip through heavy rain from Boston to Washington? A driverless taxi pickup on a crowded street under partial construction — orange cones, backhoes, chaos — as a nightclub lets out? Part of the debate concerns hardware and whether the collection of sensors that automotive engineers now build into their A.V.s can collect enough data to create a fully autonomous car. These sensors generally include radar, cameras and Lidar, the expensive laser-based technology that Tesla has so far declined to use. Many other A.V. researchers consider it essential. Lidar uses light waves, rather than radio waves, to map and “read” a car’s environs.

Musk has promised that before the end of this year, a Tesla vehicle will drive itself coast to coast completely on autopilot. A number of competitors — especially Waymo and General Motors — seem to be closing in on similarly ambitious goals. But it’s worth noting that no Level 5 car has ever been publicly deployed, and it’s doubtful one even exists; the coast-to-coast trip on autopilot, Musk suggested, wouldn’t yet be an instance where a driver could, say, go to sleep at the wheel. What’s more, no Level 4 car, where the vehicle is self-driving under certain weather and geographical conditions, has been put in regular service, either. In fact, while driver-assistance tools like autopilot can greatly reduce crash rates, no company or researcher has ever demonstrated that a robotic automobile can consistently operate in the everyday world more safely than a car with a human driver.

An executive close to Musk told me that his boss believes that creating a true A.V. is a “solvable” problem, one probably less difficult than others he has encountered in various business endeavors — for instance, creating cheap, reusable rockets for SpaceX, his other major company, or pushing Tesla’s Model S to such unlikely success. This may indeed prove true. But unlike other tech innovations, the development of driverless cars cannot count on something like Moore’s Law, which has projected a doubling of computing power at regular intervals and has allowed Silicon Valley entrepreneurs a clear window into the future. Based on conversations with engineers on the A.V. front lines, the most difficult problem is rigging cars with sensors and software that can take a rich, clear, picture of every element in the surrounding environment — people, bikes, signs, obstacles — and then algorithmically choreograph the future.

This challenge is as arduous for Tesla as it is for engineers everywhere working to solve it. And yet the exigencies of Tesla’s business model add an additional layer of complexity. To reach its sustainability goals and become profitable, the company must make lots of cars that are electric and sporty and increasingly affordable; meanwhile, to prepare for the future, Tesla has to build cars that eventually won’t need us. Some of the most experienced researchers working on A.V.s believe that these are two separate and possibly irreconcilable ambitions and that it makes more sense to focus on a pure driverless car, even if it proves to be a very expensive proposition at first, rather than follow Tesla’s incrementalist policy, which would involve rolling out software on a regular basis until the driver does less and less and finally nothing at all. With the second approach, one Silicon Valley engineer said, “the market pressures that are going to be applied to those technologies mean that you’re not going to climb up the safety and reliability curve” to build a true A.V. Keeping the vehicle affordable is in constant tension with making the vehicle autonomous. Musk’s optimism alone can’t change that.

The first company to succeed at A.V. technology won’t necessarily capture the market in a way that, say, Facebook did with social media. Tesla might have time to make its current strategy work, and it could be that what matters more in the near term are the company’s advantages in batteries and electric vehicles (assuming it can manage the transition to mass-market production). Jurvetson, the early Tesla investor, told me that he thought the company with the best artificial-intelligence systems would come to dominate the auto business of the future. But he did not put a time frame on it, and he did not see it as a winner-take-all prospect. Vivek Wadhwa, a prominent tech entrepreneur and Tesla enthusiast, told me that he sees Tesla’s success prefigured in the smartphone market. “After five years, Tesla will become the Apple in the industry,” he predicted, based on the fact that it is best positioned to capitalize on the potential combination of E.V. and A.V. technologies. But Wadhwa pointed out that phones running on Google’s operating system, rather than Apple’s, are the ones that dominate the world. “Musk will be exactly where Tim Cook will be,” he said. “Tesla will be the iPhone of cars — more elegant, better designed. Maybe even safer.”

Musk declined my interview requests over the course of several months. By early November, the number of Model 3 cars coming out of the factory had fallen far short of what Musk had promised, the company’s stock price had taken a nose-dive and there appeared to be serious software and robotic glitches at the Gigafactory. Musk was said to be too busy to talk, which did not always square with his social-media postings: jokes, poems, photos of tunnels he was digging, links to stories about the dangers of artificial intelligence and, in one instance, footage of a camping excursion on the roof of the Gigafactory.

The company’s evasiveness and secrecy extended to self-driving cars, a subject it was unwilling to discuss in any detail. One Tesla engineer I spoke with, who works on autopilot systems, maintained that the company’s camera and sensory hardware will prove good enough to get his team where it wants to go, which as a near-term goal means cars with a self-driving capability that is twice as good as a human driver (rather than 10 times as good, per the second master plan). By November, Musk was telling investors that the actual goal was to get the system simply on a par with a human driver and that that might require a more powerful computer in the cars, which Tesla would swap in free if necessary. Some customers have already paid $3,000 for a Tesla “self-driving” package (on top of the $5,000 for “enhanced autopilot”), based on Musk’s assurances that the new cars have all the hardware necessary and will be autonomous once regulations and functional software are worked out.

There’s no clear indication of whether these efforts are on track, and in the past year, several engineers who ran Tesla’s autopilot unit have left the company. In early October, Scott Miller, an executive involved with General Motors’ self-driving efforts, charged publicly that Musk was “full of crap” for claiming that his cars could offer self-driving capabilities with their current hardware. His assertions echo those of some other Tesla critics I spoke with: Without Lidar, or a more expensive hardware approach, Musk’s cars may be at a significant disadvantage. Indeed, several people familiar with the company’s A.V. work viewed its self-driving approach as a perilous one, given that there is no definitive way to predict how long it could take Tesla to satisfy the promises made to customers. In the best case, if A.I. and software breakthroughs ultimately transform cars like the Model 3 into self-driving vehicles, Musk will have pulled off something that perhaps seems impossible today. In the worst case, hundreds of thousands of owners will have cars that won’t achieve the status of true A.V.s and can only hope that the sharing network of the master plan will someday become a reality.

Tesla’s setbacks, Musk noted in November, shouldn’t eclipse the fact that the company has already grown faster by some measures than Ford when it rolled out the Model T in the early 1900s. He takes a longer view of his business than Wall Street analysts. In a recent TED interview, while discussing his plans for cities on Mars, he argued that it’s a mistake to assume that technology gets better as time goes on. “It does not automatically improve,” he insisted. “It only improves if a lot of people work very hard to make it better, and actually it will, I think, by itself degrade.” He cited the Egyptian pyramids and Roman aqueducts and how the knowledge to build them was lost for hundreds, or even thousands, of years afterward. The relevance is striking in a time when the federal government would rather subsidize the growth of the coal and fossil-fuel industries than renewable energy and electric cars.

Long before anyone saw Tesla as a legitimate player in the auto industry, Musk also appears to have understood that in taking chances that no established carmaker would, Tesla could be an innovative force to quicken our slow, plodding progress in transportation. Imagine Tesla didn’t exist, Steve Jurvetson told me. “What would the world look like? I have this sinking suspicion it wouldn’t look that different than 10 years ago. A bunch of hybrid cars. A bunch of noise about hydrogen vehicles. You know, I don’t think the world would look anything like today — where entire nations are saying, ‘We’re going to stop making gas cars.’ ”

The company’s impact, real and potential, is all the more surprising considering that Musk has staked Tesla’s success on the industrial equivalent of a shoestring, lacking the resources of established carmakers. He has used customer revenue, his own wealth, venture capital, bank and government loans, investments by other automakers and the American stock and debt markets to effectively fund a multibillion-dollar research-and-development project. In that way, he has led the industry to the start of a new era. And now his company, hindered by debilitating manufacturing bottlenecks and its extravagant promises of self-driving, is poised to find out whether, in laying the groundwork for an electric and autonomous future, he took one risk too many.


Auto. 2017-11-09. Tesla alla resa dei conti, tecnici in fuga e una voragine nei bilanci

La “house of cards” eretta da Elon Musk è sul punto di essere spazzata via dalla tempesta: Tesla produce poche auto e dalla sua nascita ha già bruciato 10 miliardi di dollari.

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Per Tesla è il tempo della resa dei conti. Detto all’ottimista maniera di chi non smette di dare credito al vulcanico Elon Musk, oppure con il senso classico di quando la festa è finita, gli azionisti pretendono risposte e lo staff tecnico di primo livello prepara la fuga. Il momento della verità ormai è fissato, nove mesi da ora senza deroghe: oltre le promesse non possono portare.

L’ultima crepa alla casa di cristallo di una azienda che produce entusiasmo è l’addio di Jon Wagner, il responsabile dello sviluppo degli accumulatori elettrici, ovvero in casa Tesla un personaggio chiave negli incroci tra prodotti in arrivo e novità allo studio. Wagner abbandona con signorilità nel momento peggiore, con la nuova Model 3 ferma al palo di 260 pezzi usciti dalle catene di montaggio in un mese, contro le 1.500 previste a settimana, lontani dall’obiettivo dei 20.000 veicoli ogni 30 giorni sbandierato agli azionisti come possibile entro il 2017, e ormai rimandato vagamente al 2018.

Vetture montate a mano, un “collo di bottiglia” nella produzione di batterie che ha portato ad un disarmante rallentamento dei processi industriali. Il caos che Elon Musk affronta ancora dall’alto di una azienda che vive di fama, giudicata visionaria e giustificabile in tutto, con le sue azioni in grado di crescere il 61% negli ultimi 12 mesi, il 900% negli ultimi cinque anni, del 1200% dal lancio nel 2010. Peccato siano i crudi conti economici a svegliare la finanza americana dal sogno d’aver trovato un nuovo Steve Jobs.

Tecnicamente, Tesla ha venduto nel terzo trimestre di quest’anno 26.000 vetture tra Model S e Model X, dunque una crescita del 4,5% rispetto al terzo trimestre del 2016 e del 17,7% rispetto al secondo trimestre. Sarebbe tutto bello se l’azienda volesse limitarsi a raggiungere il dignitoso obiettivo 2017 di vendere e con molto profitto un totale di 100.000 auto. Finisse qui Tesla, ne parleremmo come di una caso al limite del clamoroso nell’aver coniugato con successo l’auto elettrica ad una immagine di lusso raffinato e quasi culturale, guadagnandoci anche bei soldi. Peccato però che il sistema Tesla purtroppo vada oltre e vada peggio, nato com’è prestando il fianco alla speculazione finanziaria che ha portato le sue azioni a valere un totale attuale di ben 51,10 miliardi di euro, e distorto da una facilità di finanziarsi, chiedendo capitali agli azionisti, che non ha precedenti nella storia finanziaria statunitense.

Ennesimo colpo ad effetto, il 16 novembre Tesla svelerà il suo prototipo di camion elettrico, con Elon Musk intenzionato nonostante a dimostrarsi ancora capace di progettare e progredire. Gli analisti si domandano in questi giorni se però sia mai stato in grado banalmente di contare. Come noto, Tesla ha chiuso il periodo luglio-settembre 2017 con una perdita drammatica di 619 milioni di dollari, e i fatti raccontano che l’azienda sia stata in grado di trovarsi in attivo soltanto in due trimestri sui 30 della sua vita. Dopo la tempesta, c’è il dramma.

Negli ultimi 12 mesi l’azienda ha chiesto e ottenuto la cifra stratosferica di 3,15 miliardi di dollari come aumento di capitale da parte dei soci, ma il disordine tra investimenti e ritardi nella industrializzazione della compatta elettrica Model 3 avrebbero portato a svuotare così rapidamente le casse da garantire da oggi appena nove mesi di liquidità. Tesla avrebbe bisogni di ricorrere a nuovi crediti entro la prima parte del 2018, ma non può perché nessuno se la sente più di ignorare un dato terrificante, i 10 miliardi di dollari letteralmente bruciati dal momento della sua nascita, diventando la più grande compagnia quotata in borda della storia a non aver mai prodotto utili.
E dunque l’ora dei bilanci è arrivata, nonostante le premesse e le promesse di Elon Musk nel voler accelerare drasticamente la produzione della Model 3 per riportare in asse la compagnia. Il dramma sta nel piano industriale così limitato che era impossibile da non criticare, a patto di volersi solo occupare di speculazioni e non di strategia industriale. Tesla non ha mai approcciato la produzione di massa, il suo unico stabilimento di Fremont in California ha una capacità produttiva che non potrà superare in nessun caso i 500 mila veicoli anno, guarda caso proprio l’obiettivo di vendite che lo stesso Musk aveva per la Model 3 dal prossimo anno.

Le promesse sono conti che non possono tornare. Ancora lui ha annunciato la realizzazione di ulteriori 10 o 20 Gigafactory identiche all’impianto di Sparks in Nevada che attualmente neppure riesce a produrre in modo automatizzato le batterie per la nuova vettura. Si assembla a mano, in condizioni di lavoro tutt’altro che idilliache, mentre a Fremont 700 tra impiegati e operai sono stati licenziati senza una spiegazione, senza poter continuare a partecipare alla favola americana della genialità che trasforma radicalmente l’industria e la società. Nel frattempo avanza la proposta del partito repubblicani al Congresso Usa di eliminare l’incentivo fiscale da 7.500 dollari per l’acquisto di una auto elettrica. Finora il prezzo fissato per la nuova Model 3 era rivoluzionario nello sfiorare la cifra quasi popolare di 35.000 dollari, lasciando comunque molti dubbi sul profitto che l’azienda riuscisse a ricavarne. Al momento della resa dei conti, di sicuro questo non potrebbe affatto tornare.

Bloomberg. 2017-11-09. Tesla Buys Automated Machine Maker Amid Production Problems

– Perbix had been supplier to carmaker for almost three years

– Musk alluded to machines ‘limping along,’ holding back Model 3

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Tesla Inc. has acquired Perbix, a closely held maker of automated machines used for manufacturing, as the electric-car maker struggles to boost production of its most important new model.

Perbix has been a supplier to the automaker led by Elon Musk for almost three years, according to a Tesla spokesman, who declined to disclose the terms of the deal. James Dudley, Perbix’s president, will receive about $10.5 million in Tesla stock, according to a regulatory filing.

Musk last week alluded to automation challenges as among the reasons the Model 3 sedan, which starts at $35,000, has gotten off to a bumpy start. The chief executive officer pushed back a projection for when Tesla will make 5,000 of the cars per week by about three months, to the end of the first quarter of next year. Tesla said in a filing last week it’ll wait until reaching that intermediate target before taking steps to boost weekly output to 10,000 units, allowing the company time to optimize its automation and conserve spending.

“With Model 3, either the machine works, or it doesn’t, or it’s limping along and we get short quite severely on output,” Musk said on an earnings call with analysts last week. By contrast, with the Model S sedan or Model X sport utility vehicle, “because a lot less of it was automated, we could scale up labor hours and achieve a high level of production.”

The Perbix purchase comes about a year after Tesla announced the acquisition of German manufacturing-technology specialist Grohmann Engineering to boost production and reduce manufacturing costs. Tesla will expand its presence in the Minneapolis area where Perbix is based, the spokesman said.

Tesla built only 260 Model 3 sedans in the third quarter, trailing its 1,500-unit forecast.

Technica. 2017-11-09. Still in Model 3 “production hell,” Tesla buys factory technology supplier

Tesla still working on making a factory the “machine that builds the machine.”

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On Tuesday, Tesla announced that it had purchased an automation and machining company called Perbix. Perbix has supplied Tesla with parts for its high-tech factories in Fremont, California, and Sparks, Nevada, for the past three years, according to CNBC. Although it’s unclear how much Tesla paid for Perbix, the company says it made an offer of cash and stock, and SEC filings show that Perbix owner James S. Dudley received 34,772 shares of Tesla stock, which reflects about $10.6 million at today’s share price of $305.59.

he purchase comes exactly a year after Tesla acquired German firm Grohmann Engineering, which then became Tesla Advanced Automation Germany. The Germany-based engineering department specializes in factory automation, much like Perbix does. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has stressed high-level automation as critical in boosting Tesla’s delivery numbers. Tesla struggled for years to make delivery quotas on the Model S and the Model X vehicles, and Musk told investors last year that his solution was to make each of his factories look like an “alien dreadnought.” An oft-repasted phrase from Tesla executives is that the company is focusing on factory automation to build “the machine that makes the machine.”

Although Tesla is largely making its quotas now with respect to the Models S and X, the electric vehicle maker had a very disappointing third quarter with respect to the Model 3. The “budget” vehicle aimed to bring long-range EVs to the market for a mere $35,000 by mid-2017. But after a debut event at the end of Q2, the company admitted it had only built 266 Teslas in Q3, claiming that bottlenecks in battery-pack construction were hindering its ability to churn out the pre-ordered cars.

Tesla said on its most recent earnings call that it was aiming to deliver 5,000 cars a week by the end of Q1 2018. On the same earnings call, Musk also called out a supplier “dropping the ball” as the main cause for the Model 3 bottlenecks. That supplier evidently wasn’t Perbix. In a statement today, the company praised Perbix’s reliability, saying that it “has executed flawlessly on a number of extremely complex automation projects.”

Perbix is based north of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and it will remain there after the purchase. At 150 people, Perbix is smaller than 700-person Grohmann Engineering was. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Perbix has built “a system that makes the drive-unit rotors” in Tesla cars, and it has supplied the automaker with equipment for Gigafactory operations.

Market Insider. 2017-11-09. The History of Tesla’s Stock Price

Tesla launched its IPO on June 29, 2010. Trading on the NASDAQ, Tesla offered 13.3 million shares at a price of $17 per share. It raised a total of just over $226 million.

Tesla’s stock price was essentially flat for several years after the 2010 IPO. There wasn’t a lot going on. In 2008, the carmaker had endured a near-death experience, and in the lead-up to the IPO and afterwards, it was selling only one car, the original Roadster. The business plan at this point was for CEO Elon Musk and his team to keep the lights on long enough in order to roll out Tesla’s first built-from-scratch car, the Model S sedan. Which eventually happened in 2012.

In 2013 Motor Trend named the Model S its Car of the Year. It was at this point, Tesla’s stock price took off. If you bought Tesla stock right after the IPO and held on, you’d be looking at an 1,000%-plus return today.

Since the sudden growth in 2013 Tesla’s stock price history has been one of extreme volatility. Although a stable stock price wasn’t expected or widely predicted. Investor confidence would soar, then collapse, with sentiment turning on every news event, product announcement or delay, quarterly earnings report, and market-moving tweet by Elon Musk

At one point, Musk himself said that the company’s stock price was overvalued. Unlike the rest of the industry, with its slow, predictable stock price behavior for publicly traded carmakers, and with its long business cycles, Tesla was behaving more like a Silicon Valley tech company.

Stock analysts fixated on the pace of deliveries as the best indicator of how Tesla’s stock price was performing. Wondering if there was sufficient demand for Tesla electric cars, in a market that otherwise didn’t seem to want them, to justify the monumental valuation. Eventually, Tesla began reporting quarterly sales, mainly to give the Wall Street analysts and stock investors something to go on.

In 2015, the long-awaited Model X SUV was added to the lineup, enhancing sales and giving Tesla a vehicle to use to compete in the booming crossover market. But the Model X arrived three years late, and the tremendous complexity of the car meant that Tesla spent the first half of 2016 sorting out myriad production issues.Some compensation arrived in the form of the reveal of the Model 3 mass-market vehicle. Tesla quickly racked up 373,000 pre-orders for the vehicle, at $1,000 a pop.

Despite improvements in product. Wall Street was losing the thread, however. And Tesla’s stock price would routinely suffer. Tesla wasn’t considered very good car manufacturer in the traditional sense, consistently missing its deliveries guidance, and investors began to figure this out. Tesla’s stock price volatility had briefly faded, only to return. And until the tail end of 2016, Tesla was enduring a slow stock price slide. Fortunately for Musk, the company had executed a capital raise before the skepticism set it.

However since then Tesla’s stock price has continued toward its all-time highs and broken $300 a share for the first time in the company’s history. At first, it looked like a massive short squeeze — Tesla has always been a popular stock to short. But Tesla stock steadily consolidated its gains.

Tesla has had a highly volatile stock price that has at times baffled investors. There was only one period of smooth price growth, and it gave way to a reliable pattern of volatility that preceded a massive drop.

Up until the recent rallies, it could be argued Wall Street had figured out that Tesla was a car company, not a tech company, and had reset its expectations about growth for the stock price.

 

Pubblicato in: Cina, Commercio, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Geopolitica Mondiale, Stati Uniti, Trump

Cina ed Usa firmano accordi bilaterali per 250 miliardi di dollari.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-11-10.

 2017-11-10__Xi_Trump__001

Poniamoci una domanda e cerchiamo di rispondere, anche se la risposta sarebbe davvero molto complessa: a cosa servono i Governi ed i Capi dello stato?

Sicuramente servono a preservare la pace internazionale e domestica, frutto dell’esercizio di giuste costumanze e decisioni, di rapporti intrinsecamente corretti ed equi.

Altra importante componente è la conservazione del potere di acquisto della valuta ed una osservanza ragionevole dei rapporti giuridici ed economici, nel rispetto sostanziale della libertà umana.

Infine, un buon governo innalza il potere di acquisto della popolazione: non si chiedono miracoli impossibili, ma ogni anno diminuisca il numero delle persone indigenti, lasciando anche che i benestanti migliorino ed i ricchi continuino ad arricchirsi.

È da considerarsi buono il governo che abbassa le tasse.

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Se a prima vista quanto detto sembrerebbe essere banale, uno sguardo alla storia ci permetterebbe di dire che governi del genere sono una rarità.

Esattamente come si resterebbe stupiti dal dover constatare che risultati del genere siano stati ottenuti anche, e soprattutto, da sistemi di governo profondamente differenti da quelli attuali in Occidente.

Ci si rende conto quanto un simile approccio euristico possa anche urtare la sensibilità di alcuni, ma alla fin fine tutto è giudicabile sulla base dei risultati conseguiti. I mezzi usati diventano immediatamente trasparenti.

* * * * * * *

«Two-way investment is gaining steam»

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«Bilateral trade surged to 519.6 billion U.S.dollars in 2016 from 2.5 billion dollars in 1979 when the two countries established diplomatic ties»

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«We also welcome U.S. companies and financial institutions to participate in the ‘Belt and Road Initiative»

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«Chinese and U.S. companies signed deals worth more than 250 billion U.S. dollars during President Donald Trump’s state visit to China»

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«China and the United States have huge potential in reciprocal economic and trade cooperation, Xi sai»

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«China and the United States are highly complementary rather than competitive»

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«Deals include purchases of Boeing aircraft, Ford automobiles, U.S. soybeans and joint development of liquified natural gas in Alaska»

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«The two sides should uphold the principles of equality and mutual benefit, mutual understanding and accommodation, and handle disputes through dialogue and consultation»

* * * * * * *

Il Presidente Trump ha fatto ciò che avrebbe dovuto fare ogni capo di stato degno di tale nome: rafforzare i legami economici e commerciali e portare a casa contratti vantaggiosi per ambo le parti.

E così è stato: accordi per 250 miliardi sono un ottimo risultato.

Come si vede, la strada degli accordi bilaterali è ben più proficua di quella dei trattati commerciali locoregionali.

Solo per fare un esempio pratico:

Boeing committed to forging closer partnership with China for common development

«According to Boeing’s 2017 China Current Market Outlook, China will need to purchase more than 7,240 new airplanes valued at 1.1 trillion U.S. dollars over the next 20 years, he said.»

Avere un mercato sicuro per venti anni e stimabile a circa 1,100 miliardi di dollari non è cosa da poco. E questo riguarda solo la Boeing.

L’accordo per il gas naturale liquefatto ha una stima ancora superiore a quello della Boeing.

Delfin taps China for US floating LNG plant

«Delfin Midstream, developing the first floating facility to export U.S. natural gas, has sealed a preliminary 15-year sales deal with city gas distributor China Gas Holdings ….

unnamed Chinese banks to fund its ambitious $8 billion as the current global supply overhang in liquefied natural gas (LNG)»

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La White House ha voltato pagina.


Xinuanet. 2017-11-09. Chinese, U.S. companies sign over 250 bln USD business deals

BEIJING, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) — Chinese and U.S. companies signed deals worth more than 250 billion U.S. dollars during President Donald Trump’s state visit to China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday revealed the figure after he and President Trump witnessed the signing of the agreements.

China and the United States have huge potential in reciprocal economic and trade cooperation, Xi said.

Deals include purchases of Boeing aircraft, Ford automobiles, U.S. soybeans and joint development of liquified natural gas in Alaska.

Being the world’s biggest developing economy and developed economy, China and the United States are highly complementary rather than competitive, Xi said when meeting with business delegates from both countries.

“We are willing to expand imports of energy and farm produce from the United States, deepen service trade cooperation. We hope the U.S. side will increase exports of civil technology products to China. We will continue to encourage Chinese companies to invest in the United States. We also welcome U.S. companies and financial institutions to participate in the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’,” he said.

Given the rapid growth of bilateral trade, it’s unavoidable to have friction, said Xi. The two sides should uphold the principles of equality and mutual benefit, mutual understanding and accommodation, and handle disputes through dialogue and consultation, he said.

Xi reaffirmed China’s commitment to opening up and reform and said China will not close its door to the world, and it will only become more and more open.

Overseas-invested companies, including the U.S.-invested firms, will enjoy a more open, transparent and standard market environment in China, he said.

Xi said China’s economic outlook will look bright for a long time. The Chinese economy has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development with improving economic structure. It has the foundation, condition and impetus to sustain the good momentum.

China is the United States’ largest trading partner while the U.S. is China’s second largest. Bilateral trade surged to 519.6 billion U.S.dollars in 2016 from 2.5 billion dollars in 1979 when the two countries established diplomatic ties.

Over the past decade, U.S. exports to China increased 11 percent annually on average, while China’s exports to the United States only rose 6.6 percent.

China holds a surplus in goods trade with the United States while the United States maintains service trade surplus with China.

Two-way investment is gaining steam. Jobs created by Chinese-invested firms across America had jumped ninefold since 2009 to 140,000 last year, according to a recent report by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and Rhodium Group.

Pubblicato in: Economia e Produzione Industriale, Problemi Etici e Morali

Auto elettriche. Sfruttano lavoro minorile, corruzione e schiavitù. – Handelsblatt

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-11-09.

2017-11-05__auto elettriche__001

Dmitri Hvorostovsky – Elena Kuznetsova. Демон. Bol’šoj



Handelsblatt pone una serie di severi problemi, ciascuno dei quali meriterebbe una trattazione a parte.

Buona parte del mondo occidentale sembrerebbe vivere una lunga riga di illusioni, mondi fantastici ritenuti essere veri.

Ma la realtà, tutte le realtà, sono estremamente differenti. Per un qualche lasso di tempo possono essere ignorate, ma alla fine ci si sbatte contro.

«For a long time, automakers ignored the problem. All that mattered to them was the price and the quality of the materials»

*

«We are aware of the difficulties in the production of some raw materials»

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«Environmental or social problems in raw materials production in a country far away can now make it into the newspapers here in a matter of hours»

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«German companies share responsibility for this»

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«South African workers are putting their own health at risk to keep Germans healthy»

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«German chemicals group BASF is one of the most important importers and uses the platinum to coat catalytic converters, which are then installed into German cars»

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«So you could say that South African workers are putting their own health at risk to keep Germans healthy and the air clean in German cities. Indirectly, you could even say that German automakers share some responsibility for the deaths and suffering of workers not just in Marikana, but in mines all over the world»

*

«The workers were being paid just €400 ($464) per month for back breaking work»

*

«The brutal reaction of the local police, who acted in coordination with British mining company Lonmin, was later described as a massacre»

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«Cobalt is a vital component of rechargeable batteries for e-cars. It is thought that around 40,000 children are engaged in its extraction in Congo»

* * *

«An average German car weighs around 1,300 kilos, of which metals account for approximately one ton: steel, iron, aluminum, copper and tiny quantities of platinum. Electric cars don’t have heavy metal parts like the combustion engine but they use hundreds of kilos of raw materials for the batteries: lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel and manganese»

*

«The makers of smartphones have been pilloried for years for using metals that have been mined in appalling conditions»

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«The area, in inner Mongolia, produces around 66 percent of the world’s graphite, an important ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries that will power a new generation of electric cars. There are 54 kilos in a Tesla Model S electric car alone»

* * * * * * * *

Cerchiamo di enucleare i principali aspetti, pur consci di tralasciarne molti anche importanti.

– Non esiste una qualche produzione di beni che non costi immani fatiche, lacrime e sangue. E questo è particolarmente vero per le materie prime, specie quelle estrattive.

– Volenti o nolenti, i rapporti benefici / costi guidano l’agire economico, in una rete complessa di equilibri labili e precari. Nessuno può presumere di poter vivere di rendita, specie in un contesto commerciale caratterizzato dalla facilità dei trasporti. Chi non si adegui, scompare rapidamente dalla scena: muore dapprima economicamente, quindi fisicamente.

– La collettività, l’enclave socio – economico che abbia raggiunto una qualche prosperità tende inevitabilmente ad abbandonare lavori particolarmente faticosi o pericolosi, delegandoli ad altri. Nell’antichità si era formata una classe legalizzata di padrone ed una di schiavi. Ma la struttura dei rapporti non cambia de facto ai nostri tempi: i miseri si devono accontentare di quanto la situazione consente loro. È un mero prendere o lasciare. Sopravvivere o morire.

– Queste situazioni ben si prestano a comportamenti ipocriti. Gli occidentali inneggiano la loro ricchezza, mica sudata peraltro ma ereditata dai propri padri, ambiscono a godere ogni possibile tipo di lusso e vorrebbero vivere ‘ecologicamente puliti’. Ambizioni comprensibili, solo che delegano altrui tutte le cose ‘sporche‘. Per un occidentale che sale in macchina e parla al telefonino ci sono state decine di persone sfruttate fino alle midolla.

* * * * * * *

Se si potesse cercare di evitare l’odiosa ipocrisia, si dovrebbero ammettere alcune verità.

– Se è vero che in Congo migliaia di bambini lavorano in condizioni per noi al limite della tollerabilità umana, è anche vero che devono benedire il Cielo che vi siano le miniere, ancorché remunerate al minimo vitale: senza di quelle sarebbero già morti di fame.

– Rinunciare alla produzione, delegandola altrove, porta inevitabilmente nel tempo alla disassuefazione mentre i produttori crescono: alla fine gli equilibri si capovolgono. Nel conseguente turmoil accadono di norma i regolamenti dei conti sospesi. Non ci si illuda.

* * * * * * *

Da molto fastidio, davvero molto, l’ipocrisia che gronda dal discorso dell’Handelsblatt.

Chiunque consumi energia dovrebbe ben sapere che da qualche parte è stata prodotta. Da qualche parte si è ‘inquinato‘.

Chiunque mangi un pane, dovrebbe ben sapere che da qualche parte nel mondo il grano è stato seminato, mietuto, trebbiato, farinato, impastato e quindi infornato.

L’Handelsblatt vuole essere credibile?

Bene. Si faccia parte attiva, anche economicamente, per una più congrua remunerazione delle materie prime.

Smetta di fingere di sdegnarsi per una mano che accarezza una coscia e si sdegni veramente per la mano che uccide.

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Chi non si ricorda Il Demone, Демон, di Michail Lermontov musicato ad arte dal grande Anton Rubinstein?

Il bacio del demone uccide, ma questi resta pur sempre solo con il suo orgoglio, senza amore.


Handelsblatt. 2017-11-03. The German Auto Industry’s Darkest Secrets

German consumers purchasing a new electric car may be buying a few extras they didn’t reckon with – such as child labor, corruption and police brutality.

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The young man shyly moves his T-shirt down over his belly, hiding the scars from the operation and the exit holes. His fellow South Africans call Mzoxolo Magidiwana, 24, “dead man walking” because he will never recover from the injuries he suffered when police opened fire on him and his fellow workers five years ago. Bullets tore into his stomach and his right arm no longer has any strength; nor can he walk properly anymore.

Mr. Magidiwana was one of the leaders of the 3,000 miners who went on strike on August 12, 2012 to protest poor working conditions and low pay at the Marikana platinum mine some 100 kilometers from Johannesburg in South Africa. The workers were being paid just €400 ($464) per month for back breaking work. Below ground, they had to contend with constant accidents and dust that made them ill. Above ground, they were breathing the toxic fumes coming out of the platinum smelter.

The brutal reaction of the local police, who acted in coordination with British mining company Lonmin, was later described as a massacre. They fired 400 rounds into the crowd, killing 37 workers and injuring scores more.

And, as Mr. Magidiwana says now, “German companies share responsibility for this.” He was referring to German automakers that, like companies from other countries, buy platinum from Marikana.

«South African workers are putting their own health at risk to keep Germans healthy.»

Lonmin supplies Western manufacturers with the metal. German chemicals group BASF is one of the most important importers and uses the platinum to coat catalytic converters, which are then installed into German cars.

So you could say that South African workers are putting their own health at risk to keep Germans healthy and the air clean in German cities. Indirectly, you could even say that German automakers share some responsibility for the deaths and suffering of workers not just in Marikana, but in mines all over the world. This is also true of other firms that process mined raw materials, such as cellphone makers Apple and Samsung.

In Congo, thousands of children mine for cobalt. In China, pollution from graphite mining affects workers and inhabitants. In Peru, protests by copper mine workers have turned violent. The products of all of these mines end up in German cars.

For a long time, automakers ignored the problem. All that mattered to them was the price and the quality of the materials. But in recent years, they’ve become more aware of their responsibilities in the matter. Roused by shocking reports of human rights abuses and rattled by the VW diesel emissions scandal, auto industry managers have set about checking up on their procurement procedures and trying to find solutions.

Daimler, BMW and VW don’t deny that there’s a problem in the supply chain and that they’ve got to face up to it.

BMW has been working on the issue since 2012, with the aim to make the supply chain’s provenance as transparent as possible. The car maker has almost achieved that with its steel supplies and has identified 30 raw materials whose provenance it wants more transparency on.

“Breaches of human rights or trespasses against environmental protection don’t fit with our principles or with the premium standards of our products and they could result in customers spurning our cars,” Ferdinand Geckeler, BMW’s sustainability manager, explains.

Mr. Geckeler says BMW has a traffic light system for raw materials without certified provenance. An external agency monitors BMW’s supply chains, assesses dealers, mining companies and countries of origin and then assigns colors. Materials marked green can be purchased without qualms. Yellow indicates that purchases are made on condition that standards are improved. Products marked red are shunned.

“Our goal is to have 95 percent of our suppliers on a green light. But 1 to 3 percent are still red,” says Mr. Geckeler. There is an acknowledgement that the supply chain will never be risk free.

The scandal over emissions-cheating software in VW diesel engines has alerted automakers to the risks of bad publicity.

“Environmental or social problems in raw materials production in a country far away can now make it into the newspapers here in a matter of hours,” Horst Wildemann, an economics professor and specialist in automotive logistics at Munich’s Technical University, notes. “Company bosses are really scared of something like that. The diesel scandal has shown them that public sentiment can endanger entire business divisions.”

An average German car weighs around 1,300 kilos, of which metals account for approximately one ton: steel, iron, aluminum, copper and tiny quantities of platinum. Electric cars don’t have heavy metal parts like the combustion engine but they use hundreds of kilos of raw materials for the batteries: lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel and manganese.

The makers of smartphones have been pilloried for years for using metals that have been mined in appalling conditions. But the quantities used by Apple or Samsung are tiny by comparison with VW or Daimler. A single car contains as much metal as some 30,000 phones. Automakers flood the street with 60 million new cars ever year – that’s 60 billion kilos of metal or 1,800 billion smartphones.

If the automakers insisted, mining companies could offer raw materials produced in fair conditions. And experts estimate that such an approach would boost the price of a new car by some €200 at most. But that’s still too much for some German automakers, who are making more profit than ever before.

BMW appears to be ahead of German rivals in its attempts to monitor suppliers. Daimler has said that, given the complexity of supply chains, “a precise proof of origin is barely possible, even with a large degree of effort.”

«Germany has a special role: The rules must come from the countries where multinational companies are based.»

“We are aware of the difficulties in the production of some raw materials,” was all VW had to say on the matter.

A brief visit to Liumao, China, home to one of the largest graphite mines in the world demonstrates just how difficult. The area, in inner Mongolia, produces around 66 percent of the world’s graphite, an important ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries that will power a new generation of electric cars. There are 54 kilos in a Tesla Model S electric car alone.

But the people in Liumao are paying dearly for Europeans’ desire for less polluting traffic. Workers spend eight hours a day in a darkened room with no air conditioning and insufficient protective gear, the factory run-off seeps into local waterways and poisons local crops.

Working backwards along German auto makers’ supply chains, one finds a Chinese firm called BTS, that supplies battery producers, Samsung SDI and LG Chem. A spokesperson for Samsung concedes there are environmentally damaging mines in the area but says that BTS doesn’t get graphite from them. BMW says they don’t think they are using graphite from those mines but can’t completely rule it out. Daimler and VW did not answer questions about this aspect of their supply chain. And BTS itself did not respond to enquiries.

There is no law forcing German companies to ensure that their suppliers meet social and environmental standards. That is in contrast to other European countries. This year France passed legislation requiring companies to provide information on their supply chains. The Dutch have introduced rules banning child labor from company suppliers and the British have made the most progress, with a 2015 law forcing all companies with revenue above 36 million pounds (€40.6 million) to provide annual information on whether human rights are being observed along their supply chain.

The United Nations is working on a binding agreement to try to rule out human rights abuses along the supply chain. The project was initiated by supplier nations like South Africa but it will have to be implemented by the West, and that’s where the problem lies.

« Cobalt is a vital component of rechargeable batteries for e-cars. It is thought that around 40,000 children are engaged in its extraction in Congo.»

Germany will introduce a rule requiring firms to state whether they’re living up to their social responsibility, but only from 2021 onwards and only for firms employing more than 500 people. A supply chain vetting process will also be introduced but only for some companies and not until 2020. So far the German government has managed to come up with a wish list but any more stringent regulations, such as those wanted by the German foreign office, have been watered down so as not to weigh too heavily on German corporates.

Auto makers themselves have said that if regulations are to be introduced they should be wide ranging, so as not to damage their own competiveness.

“If anything the EU and Germany have torpedoed the process so far,” argues Michael Reckrodt, of Arbeitskreis Rohstoffe – translated that means “working group for raw materials” – a German NGO that advocates for fair raw materials. Mr. Reckrodt says he is skeptical that things would change at all under Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new government.

After all, Ms. Merkel hasn’t done much on that score in her last 12 years in power. “But Germany has a special role: The rules must come from the countries where multinational companies are based,” says Mr. Reckrodt, even as he acknowledges that the process will take years.

Companies using raw materials with dubious provenance have their own ways of trying to improve things. A common strategy involves not cancelling contracts with slightly dubious suppliers, instead putting commercial pressure on them to change their ways.

For example, Hamburg company Aurubis produces more than a million copper cathodes every year that end up in German cars. And the firm makes clear demands on suppliers when it comes to human rights and working conditions. But, as the company also explains, when there are infringements there’s not much they can do to pressure the mining companies because they use less than 4 percent of the global supply of copper concentrate. If Aurubis broke off their contract, then the copper would just go to other manufacturers who don’t make the same demands, they conclude.

Another supply chain issue has come out of the hype around electric cars. Over the last 12 months, the price of cobalt has doubled to more than $60,000 a ton because it is a vital component of rechargeable batteries. Congo is one of the biggest suppliers of cobalt and it is thought that around 40,000 children are engaged in its extraction.

A Chinese company, Huayou, is one of the biggest sellers of cobalt and one of their managers reports that the company is doing its best to proof suppliers and avoid child labor. Huayou is doing something but, as the manager then admits, they cannot guarantee that all of their cobalt is completely free of child labor.

German chemicals giant BASF says it doesn’t want to cut ties with Lonmin, the company that South African miners were protesting against at the Marikana platinum mine. Instead BASF is setting certain standards that Lonmin must adhere to. If the mining company doesn’t improve, “we reserve the right to terminate the cooperation,” a statement from BASF says.

Lonmin has apologized for the massacre, built homes and set aside 30 million pounds ($39.5 million) to improve working conditions. Wages have been increased and BASF has undertaken audits and paid for a fire brigade at the plant. Still, the workers continue to do eight-hour shifts underground, unable to stand up and without any breathing equipment. Water is used to keep the dust down.

Ask the South African miners here whether anything has improved and they say the drills are quieter now.

Ask them what gives them pleasure and they have only one answer: Pay day.

Pubblicato in: Economia e Produzione Industriale, Finanza e Sistema Bancario, Sistemi Economici, Stati Uniti

Mondo ed Occidente. Economie e borse valori.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-10-29.

Banche 016. Marinus Van Reymerswaele, Prestatori di denaro, 1542.

Se si considera il pil per potere di acquisto, il mondo genera 108,036,500 milioni Usd, la Cina 17,617,300 (16.31%) e gli Stati Uniti 17,418,00 (16.12%). L’Eurozona rende conto di 11,249,482 (10.41%) ed il Gruppo dei G7 di 31.825,293 (29.46%). Però i Brics conteggiano un pil ppa di 32,379,625 Usd, ossia il 29.97% del pil ppa mondiale. I Brics valgono come i paesi del G7.

Di conseguenza, la voce dell’Occidente vale nel mondo al massimo per il 29.46%, ma quella degli Stati Uniti vale solo il 16.12% e quella dell’Eurozona uno scarno 10.41%.

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Questi dati sono parzialmente corroborati ed integrati da un conto recentemente prodotto da Bloomberg, anche se l’articolista lo ha usato per tutt’altro scopo.

«All stocks across the globe are valued at $89.9 trillion»

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«American equities are now worth $28.4 trillion»

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«U.S. shares make up only 31.6 percent of that total»

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Le borse americane rendono conto del 31.6% del totale mondiale, mentre l’economica americana vale il 16.12% di quella mondiale.

Il paragone dovrebbe essere corretto, almeno parzialmente, tenendo conto come molte nazioni occidentali gravitino più sulla borsa americana che su quelle locali.

In ogni caso appare evidente come i volumi finanziari siano quasi il doppio di quelli economici.

Se per alcune teorie economiche questo sarebbe un bene, per altre sarebbe solo il segno di una bolla.

Ma le teorie economiche sono come le previsioni del tempo: spesso prendono solenni cantonate.

Quindi, a nostro sommesso parere, né trionfalismi né terrorismo psicologico.

Si constata soltanto come in situazioni fisiologiche economia e finanza dovrebbe muoversi in modo coordinato. Una finanza asfittica frena il sistema economico tanto quanto una finanza ipertrofica.

Il problema è nella resa utile dei due sistemi: è lo squilibrio tra il rendimento di finanza e di economia che convoglia i flussi di denaro sull’uno o sull’altro mercato, condizionando crescita e sviluppo.

E questo sembrerebbe essere un warning da tenere ben presente.

In fondo, i titoli di borsa sono solo pezzi di carta.


Bloomberg. 2017-10-28. Trump’s Stock Market Is Great, But Rest of the World’s Is Greater

President Donald Trump likes to boast about how well the U.S. stock market’s done during his term. What he doesn’t mention is that the rest of the world has gotten richer, faster at the same time.

American equities are now worth $28.4 trillion, having swelled by almost $3 trillion since he took office in January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

But they’ve lost ground against the rest of the world.

All stocks across the globe are valued at $89.9 trillion. U.S. shares make up only 31.6 percent of that total. That’s the lowest proportion since November 2011, or a few months after the U.S. flirted with default. And it’s sunk from the 11-year high of 38.3 percent set in December under then-President Barack Obama.

 

Pubblicato in: Economia e Produzione Industriale, Energie Alternative, Problemia Energetici

Enea. Gas aumentato al 38%, rinnovabili calate di -7%.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-10-16.

2017-10-16__Enea__001

L’Enea, Agenzia Nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile, ha rilasciato il Report:

Energia: ENEA, gas verso i massimi nel mix energetico (38%) e rinnovabili in calo (-7%), disponibile anche in versione pdf.

Anche se ne riportiamo ampi estratti delle parti più significative, suggeriremmo di leggere l’originale per intero.

Sintesi.

«Secondo la stima preliminare ENEA nel II trimestre 2017 i consumi di energia primaria sono rimasti sullo stesso livello dell’anno precedente, nonostante che dalle principali variabili guida (PIL, produzione industriale, temperatura, prezzi) sia venuta una lieve spinta alla domanda di energia. Il dato cumulato relativo all’intero primo semestre dell’anno mostra invece una crescita dello 0,6%.»

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«In termini di fonti primarie si è registrato un nuovo incremento significativo del gas naturale (+1,2 Mtep, +11% rispetto al II trimestre 2016) e un nuovo calo dei combustibili solidi (-9%) e del petrolio (-1%). Un nuovo calo subiscono anche le fonti energetiche rinnovabili, che scendono di 0,5 Mtep (-7%)»

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«Nella generazione elettrica è aumentata ancora la generazione da gas naturale (+5,6TWh), …. È ancora in calo il ricorso al carbone, con un -11% che segue il -11% del I trimestre e il -13% dell’intero 2016, anche per il perdurare degli elevati prezzi del carbone sui mercati internazionali.»

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«I prezzi dell’energia elettrica risultano in aumento per tutte e tre le fasce di consumo analizzate. Nel caso della piccola impresa italiana, dopo il +1,3% del II trimestre, la stima ENEA è di un aumento del 3,7% nel III trimestre»

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«I prezzi del gas risultano in aumento nell’insieme del primo semestre 2017 (+9% per le piccole utenze), ma si stima una nuova flessione nel III trimestre 2017, che dovrebbe essere sufficiente a riportare i prezzi sui valori del II semestre 2016. Resta il problema del differenziale positivo di prezzo tra piccole e grandi utenze, che si mantiene elevato, attestandosi intorno all’84%.»

*

«la quota di gas naturale sull’energia primaria potrebbe tornare vicino al massimo storico del 38%.»

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«La ripresa dell’economia italiana si riflette sullo scenario energetico nazionale con l’aumento (+1,6%) dei consumi finali di energia nei primi sei mesi del 2017; questa crescita, tuttavia, ha prodotto anche un aumento delle emissioni di anidride carbonica (+1,9%) con il conseguente rallentamento del percorso di decarbonizzazione. A evidenziarlo è l’Analisi trimestrale del sistema energetico italiano curata dall’ENEA, che individua tra le cause dell’aumento delle emissioni fattori di natura congiunturale come la ridotta piovosità che ha fortemente ridimensionato il contributo dell’idroelettrico.

Per l’intero comparto delle rinnovabili, l’Analisi rileva per il secondo trimestre una diminuzione del 7%, con il risultato che a fine 2017, per la prima volta dopo diversi anni, la quota nel mix energetico di queste fonti potrebbe fermare la sua crescita. Dall’Analisi emerge anche un ulteriore calo dei combustibili solidi (-9%) e del petrolio (-1%) e un nuovo significativo incremento sia dei consumi (+11% rispetto allo stesso periodo 2016) che delle importazioni di gas naturale (+10% nel primo semestre 2017). Questo aumento, insieme alla costante e strutturale diminuzione della produzione nazionale, fa sì che a fine anno la nostra dipendenza dal gas estero potrebbe superare il 92%, un nuovo record, con un ritorno ai massimi storici del peso del gas sull’energia primaria totale (38%).

“Questi fattori hanno determinato un nuovo peggioramento dell’indice ISPRED che misura l’andamento di sicurezza, prezzi e decarbonizzazione nel nostro Paese. Se nel primo trimestre 2017 abbiamo rilevato un calo dell’indice del 10% su base annua, ora siamo a -17%, con -4% rispetto al trimestre precedente”, spiega Francesco Gracceva l’esperto ENEA che ha coordinato l’Analisi. “Il nuovo peggioramento è legato in particolare all’aumento delle emissioni, il terzo consecutivo dopo il +5% del IV trimestre 2016 e il +2,5% del I trimestre 2017. In questo scenario gli obiettivi europei di riduzione dei gas serra al 2020 restano comunque a portata di mano, ma il cambiamento della traiettoria di decarbonizzazione a partire dal 2015 rende più problematico il raggiungimento degli obiettivi al 2030”, conclude Gracceva.

Nello specifico, l’indice ISPRED segnala un peggioramento sul lato sicurezza sia degli indicatori del sistema elettrico che del gas, in uno scenario che negli ultimi anni ha visto riemergere alcune fragilità del passato. Sul lato prezzi, l’Indice evidenzia un peggioramento del 14% per effetto principalmente del prezzo del gasolio che, seppur in discesa, risulta il più caro dell’intera Ue (“primato negativo” in condominio con la Svezia e legato alla diminuzione della fiscalità in altri Paesi membri). Allo stesso tempo, aumentano i prezzi dell’energia elettrica per le piccole imprese (+1,3% del II trimestre con una stima di +3,7% nel III trimestre 2017) e del gas per le piccole utenze (+9% nel I semestre).»

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«Nel secondo trimestre 2017 la domanda di gas naturale in Italia è ammontata a circa 13,5 miliardi di m3, in aumento di circa 1,3 miliardi di m3 rispetto allo stesso periodo dell’anno precedente (Figura 39), pari a un incremento dell’11%. Si tratta del quinto incremento tendenziale consecutivo, e negli ultimi dieci trimestri, cioè a partire dal I trimestre del 2015»

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«Dal lato dell’offerta, nel secondo trimestre dell’anno le importazioni hanno seguito la crescita della domanda, aumentando del 9,5% (+1,5 miliardi di m3) rispetto allo stesso trimestre dell’anno precedente (Figura 41).

La Russia resta ampiamente il primo fornitore di gas italiano. Dopo che in due degli ultimi tre trimestri il peso delle importazioni dalla Russia era sceso al di sotto del 40%, nell’ultimo trimestre tale peso è tornato a rappresentare quasi la metà dell’import totale. La forte crescita dei flussi al punto di entrata di Tarvisio (+1,4 miliardi di m3, +20% rispetto all’anno precedente) ha infatti quasi completamente compensato la notevole riduzione dei flussi al punto di entrata di Mazara (-1,7 miliardi di m3, -31%).»

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«Nell’insieme dei Paesi europei si sono registrate tendenze simili a quelle viste per l’Italia. Dopo i massimi raggiunti nel 2016 dall’export di gas russo verso l’Europa (N.B.: Turchia inclusa), grazie a prezzi ai minimi degli ultimi dodici anni e inferiori ai prezzi spot, le esportazioni russe verso l’Europa sono continuate ad aumentare sia nel I sia nel II trimestre 2017, in concomitanza con un prezzo del gas russo sostanzialmente allineato ai prezzi spot»

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«Come nei due trimestri precedenti anche nel II trimestre 2017 le emissioni di CO2 del sistema energetico italiano sono aumentate in termini tendenziali (cioè rispetto allo stesso periodo dell’anno precedente), sebbene in modo meno marcato»

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«D’altra parte, nei due trimestri precedenti le emissioni erano state spinte da un importante fattore congiunturale, la crescita della generazione termoelettrica necessaria per rimpiazzare le ridotte importazioni dalla Francia»

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«La conseguenza è che i dati degli ultimi due anni hanno cambiato in modo significativo la traiettoria di decarbonizzazione italiana, allontanandola dagli obiettivi di più lungo periodo, cioè quelli relativi al 2030 (riduzione del 33% per i settori non- ETS e del 43% per l’insieme dei settori ETS europei)»

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Una cosa resta inspiegata ed apparentemente inspiegabile

I prezzi degli energetici sono denominati in dollari americani.

Se il rapporto euro / dollaro il 20 dicembre dello scorso anno valeva 1.04, ad oggi esso quota 1.1836.

Sarebbe sembrato sequenziale che i prezzi degli energetici fossero variati di conserva, cosa che non è stata.