Exports Markets Aren’t Likely to Ease Long-Term Pressures on U.S. Coal Producers FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence:With the domestic coal market saturated and analysts forecasting a continued secular decline for thermal coal, producers have been pinning their hopes on overseas buyers.The strong export market the industry has enjoyed this year should continue at least through the first half of 2018, one analyst said, but its long-term viability is less certain.Coal advocates in the industry and the current administration have cited the export market as a vital and necessary area for coal industry growth, including a recent initiative announced by the White House intended to bolster coal use and demand for U.S. coal abroad.Exports have surged this year, with year-to-date shipments from the Hampton Roads port facilities in Virginia up 65.8% through November. September’s total U.S. exports were the highest since March 2014.The U.S. Energy Information Administration is forecasting a slowdown in 2018. In its most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook, released Dec. 12, it predicted a 17% decline in exports, from 89 million tons in 2017 to 74 million tons.Ever-shifting geopolitics plays a role in those forecasts, along with a global movement away from coal-fired generation and pressure from natural gas and renewables.More ($): Relief from global market far from certain for US coal
Most of the 20 largest Swiss pension funds do not systematically consider sustainability criteria in their investment decisions, instead seeming to see responsible investment as an add-on rather than integral part of the investment process, according to ShareAction and WWF Switzerland.The conclusions are based on a survey of the 20 largest* pension funds in Switzerland, representing CHF281bn (€253bn) in assets, or around 36% of all Swiss occupational pension funds.Sixteen of the pension funds participated in the survey by filling out a questionnaire, while the other four were assessed only on the basis of publicly available information.WWF and ShareAction then grouped the pension funds into quintiles, ranging from “best practice” to “underpeformers/no scoring possible”. None of the pension funds obtained the “best practice” score or were classed as “underperformers”.There were five that scored the highest overall, being classed as demonstrating “good practice” : BVK Kanton Zurich, Pensionskasse Post, Pensionskasse Stadt Zurich, Bernische Pensionskasse and CPEG-État de Genève.Sonia Hierzig, research officer at ShareAction and author of the survey report, said: “The results demonstrate that, whilst the 20 funds we looked at do consider responsible investment, there’s a long way to go to adopt international best practice, particularly when it comes to transparency and climate risk management.”Overall, according to the report, “the industry still seems to understand Responsible Investment mainly as an activity separate from other aspects of the investment process, rather than fully integrating environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) considerations into investment decisions”.Only one pension fund has developed a strategy on the financial risks related to climate change, the groups said.The survey found that nine of the 16 participating funds have a detailed responsible investment policy, four have a general policy and the remainder none.All of the participating pension funds outsource some or all investment management, and nine said they took the responsible investment capabilities of all asset managers and consultants into account when choosing which to hire.Only two of the 20 pension funds have signed up to the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, according to the survey report.It noted that five of the pension funds surveyed were founding members of SVVK-ASIR, the Swiss association for responsible investment, “which indicates that Swiss pension funds are increasingly taking up responsible investment activities”.SVVK-ASIR could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.*Based on AUM in 2014. The euro conversion is based on current exchange rates.
The 25-year-old said he is equally happy partnering Leinster’s Ian Madigan or club-mate Ian Keatley, the two fly-halves vying to start in Rome while Sexton completes his 12-week concussion lay-off. “There’s no more pressure than usual,” said Murray of conducting Ireland’s tempo in Sexton’s absence. “Other people might say there is but I don’t see that. “It’s come up with Munster before that there might be a bit more pressure on me but I just try and play my own game, try and play well and if I play well hopefully all that stuff, that pressure and responsibility, looks after itself. “The two lads, the two Ians who are going for the 10 spot this weekend, have been in and out of the team in training. “They have been getting their reps in and doing real well and I have no issue with whoever gets picked. ” Forwards coach Simon Easterby confirmed fit-again flanker Sean O’Brien is “in the mix” for selection following his strong showing for Ireland Wolfhounds on Friday night. The abrasive Leinster back-rower has endured two reconstructions on the same shoulder in 14 months, but is now primed for his first Test action since November 2013. The British and Irish Lions scrum-half is “through that first contact fear” after a month out with neck trouble, and should start against the Azzurri in Rome. The sharp tactician shoulders the brunt of the playmaking duties in a French-style half-back set-up at Munster, but does not expect a repeat at Test level this weekend. “Sean was good on Friday night, in his own assessment he blew up a little bit and you would do,” said Easterby. “He’s a long time out of the game but we all saw what he can be, the competitiveness of the man. “Certainly having him in the mix for selection is a real positive, especially after losing Chris Henry and Rhys Ruddock after the autumn. “Obviously Rhys broke his arm and Chris has had his illness, so we’ve had a few players step through, but having Sean come back to full fitness and back into the squad and in the mix is great to have him as a selection option.” Jamie Heaslip remained a fitness doubt on Tuesday with shoulder trouble, but Easterby said the Leinster number eight still has time to prove his fitness. “Players might not train until a Tuesday, that’s not unusual,” said Easterby. “You have to adapt and give players opportunity, without it affecting preparation.” Boss Joe Schmidt will be relieved to have frontline nine Murray fit to start in Rome, with the increasingly-poised half-back crucial to Ireland’s tactical nous. Murray’s ability to run a game in the manner of a fly-half from the nine berth could prove priceless at the Stadio Olimpico, especially in the absence of Racing Metro 10 Sexton. Murray said he has eased comfortably back into confrontational training, claiming there is “no hassle” now over the disc problem that has blighted his last month. “I just over-extended my neck against Zebre about a month ago,” said Murray. “I maybe could have got back for the two European games, but the specialists and doctors advised against it. “I’m feeling good and fit to play now. “It was a disc problem in my neck. It’s gone now. There is no hassle over it. “I just ran into a player’s chest and squashed myself. It wasn’t the smartest idea – I won’t be doing that again! “I have done all my contact. I have done bag work, tackled a few of the lads and feel good. I’ve gotten through that first contact fear if you want to call it that.” Press Association Conor Murray insists Johnny Sexton’s absence will not heap extra pressure on him to spearhead Ireland’s attack in Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations opener in Italy.