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Daily Archives: May 16, 2022

Chart: NY Fed’s Survey of Manufacturers Plunge into Contraction in May 2022

Source : Bloomberg

Chart: Japan Corporate Prices Increased 10% in April 2022

Double digits increase since 1980

Source : Nikkei

In Pictures: Food of Benu in San Francisco, USA

Fine Dining Modern American Cuisine

No.28 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Breakthrough Deaths Comprise Increasing Proportion of Those Who Died from COVID-19

Arielle Mitropoulos wrote . . . . . . . . .

A growing proportion of COVID-19 deaths are occurring among the vaccinated, a new ABC News analysis of federal data shows.

In August of 2021, about 18.9% of COVID-19 deaths occurred among the vaccinated. Six months later, in February 2022, that proportional percent of deaths had increased to more than 40%.

Comparatively, in September 2021, just 1.1% of COVID-19 deaths occurred among Americans who had been fully vaccinated and boosted with their first dose. By February 2022, that percentage had increased to about 25%.

Experts said the increase in breakthrough deaths is expected with more Americans reaching full vaccination status.

“These data should not be interpreted as vaccines not working. In fact, these real-world analyses continue to reaffirm the incredible protection these vaccines afford especially when up to date with boosters,” said Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and an ABC News contributor.

In addition, many vulnerable Americans are more than one year out from their primary vaccinations and have yet to receive booster doses.

To date, more than 220 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, 100 million of whom have received their first COVID-19 booster. However, about 91.5 million eligible Americans — about half of those currently eligible — have yet to receive their first booster shot.

The increase in breakthrough deaths comes as a growing proportion of older Americans enter the hospital for COVID-19 related care.

Last summer, after more vulnerable, older populations had been vaccinated, the share of Americans ages 65 years and older in the hospital had dipped to a pandemic low — with younger populations representing the largest age groups of people in need of care. However, throughout the omicron surge, the average age of those in the hospital with COVID-19 has steadily gotten older again.

More than 90% of seniors have been fully vaccinated, but a third of them have yet to receive their first booster shot. Even with overall high vaccination rates in older populations, in recent months, during the omicron surge, 73% of deaths have been among those 65 and older.

Health experts said vaccines and boosters continue to provide significant protection against severe disease. However, waning immunity re-emphasizes the urgency of boosting older Americans and high-risk Americans with additional doses.

“This trend in increased risk among the elderly further supports the need for community wide immunization. Older populations, especially those with underlying conditions, continue to be at great risk of severe complications, especially as immunity wanes. The best way to protect them is to make sure everyone around them is fully immunized,” Brownstein said.

All Americans over the age of 50, immunocompromised people over the age of 12, and people who received two doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, are currently eligible for a second booster.

Approximately 10.5 million people in the U.S. have received their second booster dose.

“Given the fact that immunity is waning, we’ve got to get people boosted,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told GBH News’s Boston Public Radio on Monday.

In February, unvaccinated adults were 10 times more likely to die of COVID-19 compared to vaccinated individuals and five times more likely to require hospitalization, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Compared to fully vaccinated and boosted adults, unvaccinated people were about 20 times more likely to die of COVID-19 and seven times more likely to require hospitalization.


Source : abc News

Infographic: Synthetic Biology – The $3.6 Trillion Science Changing Life as We Know It

See large image . . . . . .

Source : Visual Capitalist

打造香港成ESG都會 邁向零碳經濟

鄧希煒 wrote . . . . . . . . .

「環境、社會及管治」(Environmental, Social, and Governance;簡稱ESG)近年成為全球熱門話題。近日環球金融市場備受時局動盪影響,市民因受「息誘」,對綠色債券趨之若鶩,但對其背後意義及對經濟的影響,到底有多少認識?

本文就此探索香港成為綠色金融中心的3個範疇:(1)可持續融資可否創造股東價值?(2)香港要成為綠色金融中心的關鍵;(3)綠色金融怎樣成為香港年輕一代及經濟的新出路?

企業、社會、公民的三贏戰略

ESG準則意指在決策過程中將環境、社會和管治因素結合全方位的企業行動,一併考慮。以往很多公司都認為,ESG和綠色舉措純粹對社會和環境有益,並視之為資源消耗和業務開支,但事實上,ESG和綠色金融可以成為可持續投資。

ESG作為業務戰略,打贏人才爭奪戰、與客戶建立聯繫、創造社交媒體Sound bites、展現對公司所在地社區的關顧,和配合監管機構的合作態度,在均富和共富主張當道之際尤其重要。哈佛商學教授Theodore Levitt指出,不論任何企業,最終目的不外乎「尋求並挽留」客戶。要達此目標,企業必須能夠提供令客戶稱心滿意的產品或服務,務求導致消費者養成對有關產品和服務的依賴。ESG突出之處正正在於有助維持這種競爭優勢,其中除了涉及全力宣傳,向消費者灌輸產品或服務的優點之外,還涵蓋將消費者與企業彼此的價值觀和期望互相結合,並積極塑造企業在大眾心目中的正面形象。

香港作為亞洲第三大及全球第五大證券市場,近年舉債活動激增,隨之而來的一大趨勢就是綠色和可持續融資,主要以綠色債券作為公共機構和私人公司的融資工具,較為人所知的例子包括香港機場管理局為資助擴建第三條跑道發行綠債、港鐵為新鐵路項目發行綠債等。ESG評估亦已被香港交易所納入《上市規則》,ESG報告實踐則分為「遵守或解釋」和「推薦」兩部分。換言之,香港上市公司報告應合乎標準,並披露超出規定的內容。

ESG屬資產而非負累

在逆全球化時代,商業環境一直處於混亂狀態。目前,企業較以往任何時候都更積極尋找新方向及目的,不斷進化以求生存或轉型。根據《哈佛商業評論》2015年一項名為The Business Case for Purpose的調查,美國企業高管一致認為公司存在目的之概念正在迅速改變,必須超越股東價值。受訪企業超過八成的高管認為,與員工具有共同目的,且不只是專注於利潤的組織,在轉型工作中會更加成功,亦擁有更多敬業的員工和更忠誠的客戶,並且更能創新及轉型變革。但是,只有少於一半的受訪公司正在積極尋找相關目的。

不少新一代寧願犧牲一些工資,也希望能找到一份有意義的工作,賺錢之餘也能為社會作點貢獻,所以願意承擔社會責任的公司,可減少員工流失,幫助解決年輕人就業問題。研究亦發現,相對於缺乏ESG的同類公司,具ESG的公司股票價值較高,現金流及風險評級亦較理想。雖然「先有雞還是先有蛋」難以實證判斷,但ESG準則似乎適合用作公司管理表現的指標,且能為股東創造價值。

此外,由於專門追蹤ESG表現的公司的ESG導向型基金和總資產管理規模(Assets under management;簡稱AUM)予以支持,令ESG友好型股票供不應求,價格飆升。根據美銀美林2019年一份報告中表示,近5年來,與ESG相關的AUM在各種資產管理策略中增速最高,複合年增長率(CAGR)超過70%。安聯投資研究顯示,截至2020年,ESG AUM已超過35萬億元(美元.下同),亦即全球每100元的AUM,便有30元與ESG相關。

以港鐵公司為例(利申:筆者均與港鐵無任何合作關係),其2021年年報按港交所《環境、社會及管治報告指南》的披露要求出版可持續發展報告。不僅如此,港鐵公司還通過參考全球報告倡議標準(GRI Standards)及聯合國可持續發展目標,定下「三個主要目標」,即「社會共融」、「發展及機遇」以及「減少溫室氣體排放」,以協調有關ESG工作。

2021年4月,港鐵發表可持續發展報告,從中可見該公司在幾方面有所改善。例如,相比2020年,港鐵在港業務耗水量減少5%,殘疾僱員佔比從3.4%增至3.7%。儘管這些ESG安排並非處於創收前沿,但因能減少來自不同利益相關者的潛在負面後果,而足以改善長期財務的可持續表現。

再者,公司還利用綠色金融產品為股東增值。截至2020年年底,港鐵一共發行了15項綠色債券,將ESG納入公司的融資及決策過程。對於大部分融資主體而言,發行綠色債券要比發行普通債券利率為低,有助減低融資成本。同時,由於綠色融資要求公司對項目投資有一定的ESG友好措施,綠色金融除了對股東,也能為整體社會創造價值,如港鐵興建南港島線(東段)採用環保設計,整條鐵路每年可減少約2.1萬公噸二氧化碳排放量,為零碳經濟作出貢獻。

又如渣打銀行推出可持續發展儲蓄戶口,承諾儲蓄用於環保及可持續發展項目,包括綠色金融和可持續發展基建。該儲蓄年利率比一般的年利率為高,通過計劃投資者能追求投資回報之餘同時為環保和社會帶來益處;渣打可以捉緊綠色金融的商機和提升企業形象,有助吸納Z世代及千禧後新客戶;同時投資回報更高的可再生能源和氣候變化新項目,為社會帶來環境效益,是為三贏計劃。

助推轉型成綠色金融中心

香港作為發展綠色債券市場的先驅之一,是亞洲首個簽署綠色債券承諾的地區,體現出特區政府對環境的承擔。

對於政策制定者,加強ESG相關披露已經是全球銀行和金融投資的大趨勢,監管者應鼓勵更多上市和非上市公司將ESG披露作為經營策略,對接全球市場,吸引更多外資。此外,香港更需思考作為國家超級聯繫人,如何為內地企業綠色金融「走出去」上市籌資引入資金。

香港成為可持續融資及經濟中心,綠色金融作為新興產業,在亞洲有大量機遇,有助創造擁有向上流動力的良好就業,協助香港經濟轉型。

未來會有更多公司希望進入綠金賽道,由綠色金融、投資、ESG報告和審計,社區關係和企業社會責任供應鏈等等,需要大量ESG專才。根據國際可再生能源機構2020年最新報告,可再生能源產業在全球創造了1150萬個就業機會。這份報告還預測,到2050年,工作崗位將增加到4200萬個。匯豐「2021永續融資及投資調查」發現,40%亞洲機構投資者因缺乏專業知識或符合資格人才而難以對ESG投資,只有39%投資者制定有ESG投資或企業政策,落後於歐洲的91%及美國的72%。新一代如果能把握產業的初期冒起階段,相信晉升機會不少。

要把香港建設為綠色金融中心,筆者建議落實下列措施:

(1) 引入更多開放式基金型公司,吸引不同類型私募基金在香港成立和營運。

(2) 特區政府作為主要市場監管者,應提倡降低各種互惠基金和交易所買賣基金的管理費。香港很多綠色基金和交易所買賣基金的收費都在1%以上,反觀歐美等成熟的綠色金融市場收費則通常低於1%,相對之下未免缺乏吸引力。

(3) 構建碳市場官方平台,利用本港作為國際金融中心的地位,提供專業的ESG以及「遵守或解釋」標準和審計,並為國際投資者與內地企業穿針引線。

(4) 加速教育和培養ESG與綠色金融人才,皆因現時雖不乏有意開發ESG相關機會的公司,但是符合有關官方標準和市場的人才卻嫌不足。

香港若能夠順應ESG和綠色金融之勢,為我們的下一代創造更多具有高流動性的新工作,鞏固其國際金融中心的地位,自能穩步邁向可持續發展的綠色經濟。


Source : HKU

Charts: China Economic Data for April 2022

Source : 国家统计局