Connect with us

Finance

APEC Posts Strong First Quarter Growth, on Track to hit 6.4% in 2021

Published

on

The APEC region posted a 6.1 percent increase in economic growth in the first quarter of 2021, bouncing back strongly from a 2 percent decline in the first quarter of 2020, according to an updated report by the APEC Policy Support Unit. This number comfortably puts the region on track to achieve growth expectations for the year, which is now estimated at 6.4 percent, or slightly higher than the earlier prediction.

High growth in the first quarter of 2021 is due to a combination of factors, including the low comparison point following substantial economic contraction a year ago as well as higher government spending given the sustained impact of the pandemic on economic activities, while domestic consumption grew considerably during this period.

In the near term, the APEC Policy Support Unit still sees sustained stimulus measures from governments driving the region’s economic growth. Private consumption will also get a boost of confidence as consumers are expected to draw on their accumulated savings, bolstered in part due to cash transfers and wide-ranging subsidies to households.

“Vaccination programs and rollout still drive economic growth and the recovery progress in the region,” said Dr Denis Hew, Director of the APEC Policy Support Unit.

“We are still seeing a disparity in access to vaccination coverage across APEC; economies with faster rollouts and sustained fiscal support will recover faster and stronger, while economies that struggle with vaccine access and have limited fiscal space will take more time to recover due to these uncertainties,” explained Dr Hew.

Vaccination coverage across APEC is noticeably diverse, ranging from 148 doses per 100 residents to a low of only one dose per 100 residents. As a result, the rate of fully vaccinated people across economies varies greatly, from as low as 0.2 percent to as high as 72 percent of the population as of mid-August.

“The race to vaccinate as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time is extremely crucial,” said Rhea C. Hernando, an APEC Policy Support Unit researcher who updated the report. “Economies cannot afford to keep imposing restrictions, close borders and indefinitely provide wide-ranging fiscal and monetary support.”

Hernando explained that multilateral cooperation is key in facilitating the free flow of vaccine components and related supplies as this will significantly contribute to the accessibility and affordability of vaccines, especially for low- and middle-income economies.

“It is now clear that for economic recovery to be on firmer footing, health must be safeguarded, which in turn necessitates access to vaccines to protect as many people as possible, as soon as possible,” she added.

In terms of trade, the region performed positively in the first quarter of 2021, with the value of merchandise exports and imports growing at a higher rate of 16.8 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively, from a contraction of 6.1 for exports and 4.1 percent for imports during the same period last year. This improved performance is brought mainly by pharmaceuticals and office and communications equipment, while the agrifood, apparel, metals and minerals sectors also added to the trade boost.

The unfaltering impact of COVID-19 on the transport and travel sectors continues to drag APEC’s commercial services performance. For the period January to March 2021, commercial services declined further to 12 percent for exports and 15.2 percent for imports, compared to a decline of 9.5 percent for exports and 9.2 percent for imports for the same period in 2020.

The updated report also notes an increase in inflation during the first half of 2021 to 2.3 percent, compared to 1.6 percent in the first half of 2020, due to the gradual normalization of prices. Inflation is expected to revert to its pre-pandemic levels globally once prices factor in pandemic-related supply-side disruptions.

The whole-year forecast of inflation for the APEC region is 2 percent while it could increase to 2.2 percent in 2022. There is a risk that the upward trend in inflation could persist as consumption activity strengthens following successive quarters of pent-up demand. The report notes that price pressures require continued monitoring and clear communication from monetary policy authorities to guide inflation expectations.

“Addressing the ongoing health crisis, primarily through rapid vaccination rollouts even as appropriate health measures continue to be observed, remains paramount to strengthen economic recovery,” Hernando concluded. “When people feel safe, they are more confident to go out, work and spend accumulated savings while business could resume investment activity, supporting a gradual but uninterrupted economic reopening toward a stronger recovery.”

Continue Reading
Comments

Finance

More efforts needed to boost trust in AI in the financial sector

Published

on

Governments, financial regulators and firms should step up their efforts to work together to address the challenges of developing and deploying trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI) in the financial sector, according to a new OECD report.

The OECD Business and Finance Outlook 2021 says that investment in AI finance is on the rise. The financial and insurance sector has consistently been within the top 10 industries in terms of the amount of VC investments in AI start-ups, investing over USD 4 billion worldwide in 2020. Almost 65% of VC investments in the sector went to American AI start-ups.

As AI applications become increasingly integrated into business and finance, the use of trustworthy AI will become increasingly important for ensuring trustworthy financial markets, says the report.

AI has the potential to facilitate transactions, enhance market efficiency, reinforce financial stability, promote greater financial inclusion and improve customer experience. But AI also raises unique challenges to privacy, autonomy, transparency and accountability, which are particularly complex in the financial sector, according to the Outlook.

Critically, increasingly complex AI algorithms that are difficult, or even impossible, to explain could amplify existing risks in financial markets or give rise to new risks.

Transparency, fairness, data governance and accountability are key to managing risk as determinants of trustworthy AI. Failing to foster these qualities in AI systems could lead to the introduction of biases generating discriminatory and unfair results, market convergence and herding behaviour or the concentration of markets by dominant players, which can all undermine market integrity and stability.  

Existing financial regulations may fall short of addressing systemic risks presented by wide-scale adoption of AI-based FinTech by financial firms, says the report.

These conditions have led to a critical juncture for the deployment of AI applications in business and finance, according to the Oulook. Financial regulators are grappling with whether and how to adapt existing rules, or create new ones, to keep pace with technological advances in AI applications, while striking the right balance between managing risks and supporting innovation.

At the international level, the OECD AI Principles, adopted in May 2019, became the first international standard agreed by governments for the responsible stewardship of trustworthy AI. The OECD, together with international partners working to support financial markets and financial sustainability, must reinforce efforts to facilitate multilateral engagement on implementing the Principles in the context of financial markets and other business sectors.

Continue Reading

Finance

50 Firms Collaborate to Champion Next Gen Careers in Industry

Published

on

The World Economic Forum today launches the New Generation Industry Leaders (NGIL) programme, a global community of fast-rising young industrialists to accelerate environmental and social progress in manufacturing and production sectors, transforming perceptions and inspiring a new generation to take up a career in industry.

Over 50 world-leading companies in the production ecosystem, including Apple, DHL, Johnson & Johnson, Rockwell Automation, Siemens and Stanley Black & Decker, are supporting the NGIL programme. Beyond proposing their young leaders to join the community, these companies are making their training materials available to the community and executives are acting as mentors for the community members.

Emerging technologies are transforming industries as diverse as automotive, chemicals, electronics, healthcare and textiles. But industrial production is facing a skills shortage in all areas from R&D and design to consumer behaviour and end-of-use cycles. Research from global consulting firm Korn Ferry found that by 2030, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people, which could result in $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues. The New Generation Industry Leaders community will play an active role to address these challenges.

Mark Maybury, Chief Technology Officer of Stanley Black & Decker said: “Stanley Black & Decker is honored to contribute to the establishment of the NGIL community which fills a critical gap in the leadership development of future industrial leaders. This programme inspires the next generation through exposure to visionary industrial leaders, cross connecting this worldwide cohort to foster peer-to-peer learning and transforming their future by accelerating their growth and focusing their purpose on global challenges.”

Tanja Küppers, Chief Operating Officer of DHL Supply Chain Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “New Generation Industry Leaders have the ability to push innovative minds and fire up the hearts of people to reach great heights of sustainable performance; by embracing connectedness with the business, society and environment they act as responsible leaders towards their workforce, customers and partners.”

Members of the New Generation Industry Leaders programme are nominated by senior executives from their respective companies and organizations. The first cohort of leaders numbers over 100, of whom half are women. They represent more than 20 countries and 12 industrial sectors, including energy, automotive, mining and metals. Each cohort of new leaders will embark on an 18-month journey embracing the following principles and activities:

· Get inspired: learning modules in strategy, leadership and operations, delivered by thought leaders, CEOs and senior executives from the production ecosystem.

· Connect: peer networking sessions to learn from each other’s unique workplaces and career experiences and to share ideas, challenges and solutions.

· Transform: smaller cross-industry teams to help accelerate responsible industry transformation and co-create new ideas to get the world excited about new opportunities and innovations in manufacturing and production.

Members agree to collaborate to drive positive change within each impact area in their own organizations, with the goal of leveraging their shared efforts to engage with and attract younger generations.

Jeremy Jurgens, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum, said: “The transformation in manufacturing and production being driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution can only succeed with the leadership and collaboration of young professionals. We are thrilled to announce the launch of this inaugural group of exceptional leaders who will challenge their peers to embrace the incredible opportunities promised by a career in industry.”

Lawrence Whittle, Chief Executive Office of global technology firm Parsable, said: “Today’s factories are the most technologically advanced work environments in the world. So much innovation is happening in industrial sectors. But industry has an image problem – it’s not seen by young people as tech-savvy or future-focused. We urgently need to change perceptions around a career in manufacturing to attract and retain the finest talent from mobile-first generations.”

Continue Reading

Finance

Clean Skies for Tomorrow Leaders: 10% Sustainable Aviation Fuel by 2030

Published

on

Today, 60 companies in the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition – whose mission is to accelerate the deployment of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) – achieved a milestone on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050 by working together to power global aviation with 10% SAF by 2030.

As aviation remains a “hard to abate” sector in reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, strong climate action from the industry is particularly important as travel begins to return to pre-pandemic levels. Accelerating the supply and use of SAF technologies to reach 10% of global jet aviation fuel supply by 2030 is a significant move to put the aviation industry on the path to net-zero emissions.

This will only be possible through the concerted effort of industry leaders. The following organizations have signed the 2030 Ambition Statement:

  • Accenture
  • ACME
  • Airbus
  • Airports Council International
  • American Airlines
  • ANA Holdings Inc
  • Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL)
  • Bank of America
  • Biodiesel Association of India (BDAI)
  • Boeing
  • Boston Consulting Group
  • bp
  • British Airways
  • Caphenia
  • Carbon Engineering Ltd.
  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW)
  • Deloitte
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Deutsche Post DHL Group
  • Dubai Airports
  • Enerkem
  • ENI
  • Fraport
  • Fulcrum BioEnergy
  • Heathrow Airport
  • Honeywell
  • Iberia
  • Indian Institute of Petroleum
  • International Airlines Group
  • Japan Airlines
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Kuehne+Nagel
  • LanzaJet
  • LanzaTech
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Neste
  • Norsk e-Fuel AS
  • Novo Nordisk AS
  • oneworld alliance
  • Ørsted
  • Praj Industries Limited
  • Punjab Renewable Energy Systems Pvt Ltd
  • PwC
  • Qatar Airways Group
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Royal Schiphol Group
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • Shell
  • SkyNRG
  • SpiceJet
  • Suncor
  • Sunfire
  • Sydney Airport
  • The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
  • TotalEnergies
  • United Airlines
  • Velocys
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Visa Inc.

Signatory companies include airlines, airports, fuel suppliers and other aviation innovators from around the world. They also include non-aviation companies that rely on corporate air travel for their business operations, demonstrating that the responsibility of decarbonizing the industry lies with all those who depend on the aviation sector.

“Achieving our ambition will require commitment, innovation and cross-industry collaboration from a wide range of stakeholders,” said Lauren Uppink Calderwood, Head of Aviation, Travel and Tourism at the World Economic Forum. “We are calling on governments, international organizations and others to work with us to take important steps forward through new policies, targeted investments and regulations that create a level playing field while incentivizing transformation.”

This statement is also in full support of the UN High Level Climate Champions’ 2030 Breakthrough Outcome for aviation, one of over 30 sectoral near-term targets that are critical to halving emissions by 2030 and delivering the promise of the Paris Agreement.

Achieving net-zero aviation

SAF is fully compatible with existing aircraft and is a viable industry solution in the transition to 2030 and beyond. Members of the Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition are championing the commercial scale of viable production of sustainable low-carbon aviation fuels (bio and synthetic) for broad adoption in the industry.

Actors across the aviation eco-system agree on the need to first reduce, as far as possible, the emissions caused by the sector. This reduction can be achieved through efforts including the optimization of routes, increased energy efficiency from aircraft design and improved ground operations. Stakeholders such as airports can play an increasingly important role in the adoption and uptake of SAF by developing SAF operational plans or kickstarting co-funding mechanisms.

Synthesized from sustainable, renewable feedstocks – such as municipal waste, agricultural residues and waste lipids, or developed through a power-to-liquid route – SAF has already fuelled more than 250,000 commercial flights.

Difficulties remain in getting SAF to scale up production due to its prohibitively high price gap with fossil-based jet fuel, resulting in a “chicken and egg” problem with supply and demand. Costs will fall if production scales up, but fuel providers are facing headwinds due to high price pressure on low SAF demand, and high risks associated with policy and investment uncertainty. Demonstrating sufficient demand and policy certainty will be crucial to building investor confidence, hence the power of this major commitment from the leading companies in the aviation energy value chain.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Certificate (SAFc) system

To make this concerted effort possible, the Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition has developed a Sustainable Aviation Fuel Certificate (SAFc) system, a new accounting tool that will allow SAF emissions reductions to be claimed by travellers and cargo customers if they are willing to cover the higher costs.

The proposed system also handles fuel supply chain logistics by delivering SAF stock to airports nearest the production plants. With existing technologies and digital demand platforms such as the SAFc, best-practice sustainable aviation can reduce GHG emissions on a lifecycle basis by up to 80%.

The key to long-term net-zero aviation will be to incentivize demand for SAF-fuelled air travel. With this ambitious 10%-by-2030 coalition commitment, members are motivated to aggregate demand for carbon-neutral flying. Some are championing mechanisms including co-investment vehicles, industry-backed policy proposals, and creative value-chain stimulus programmes for corporate passenger and transport business customers.

Expert Thoughts

“Progressing the development and commercial deployment of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is crucial to decarbonising the aviation industry. We are investing heavily in the development of SAF and have partnerships with Velocys in the UK and LanzaJet in the US which could see us powering our flights with sustainable fuel as soon as next year,” says Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO. “Earlier this month we were delighted to collaborate with bp to source enough sustainable aviation fuel with respect to all our flights between London, Glasgow and Edinburgh during COP26, substantially reducing the emissions associated with taking our customers to and from COP26 by up to 80% compared to traditional jet fuel. We need continued support from Government to scale up the development and use of SAF, which will be a game changer for our industry.”

“Delta is looking to the future of sustainable aviation while addressing the current impact of our carbon emissions. It is why we committed to carbon neutrality in March of 2020 and why we have also committed to setting a science-based targets to align with the Paris Agreement,” said Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines. “This partnership with Clean Skies for Tomorrow builds a future for sustainable aviation by bringing together a coalition that will accelerate the supply and use of SAF technologies.”

“Our announcement today to reach 10% SAF by 2030 emphasizes our commitment to the planet and prosperity. Upscaling SAF with a global approach will boost India’s economy,” Ajay Singh, Chairman & CEO, SpiceJet. “Accelerating the SAF industry with a global approach will bring opportunities for economic growth and transformation in India.”

“We’re proud to be joining forces with more than 50 companies collectively committing to powering global aviation with 10% sustainable aviation fuels by 2030. It’s a crucial milestone towards achieving net zero flying by 2050,” says Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic. “From partnering on sustainable aviation fuels with LanzaTech in 2011, to becoming a founding member of the Jet Zero Council, Virgin Atlantic has been leading on sustainability for more than 15 years. Our partnership with Clean Skies for Tomorrow is another step forward in accelerating the global transition to sustainable aviation.”

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Trending