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    ‘Very large’ Storm Alberto brings floods to Gulf of Mexico coasts

    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Tropical Storm Alberto, the first named storm of 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, has formed over the western Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday, bringing coastal flooding across the southern U.S. coast.The “very large” storm was located about 180 miles (290 km) east of Tampico, Mexico, packing maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph), the Miami-based forecaster said. Alberto is likely to dissipate over Mexico as early as Thursday night, after bringing torrential rainfall, coastal flooding and strong winds from the center along north-eastern Mexico and the south Texas coast. The NHC warned of likely “life-threatening flooding and mudslides” across north-eastern Mexico, including Monterrey, Mexico’s third-biggest city in Nuevo Leon state.”We don’t rule out that Tropical Storm Alberto could intensify to a Category 1 hurricane”, Alejandra Mendez, who heads Mexico’s SMN national meteorological service, told a news conference, citing water temperatures above 31°C (88°F).Hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of at least 119 kph.Mendez added the storm was interacting with formations in the Pacific, which will together bring rains over large parts of Central America, a region that is still facing strong rainfall that left some 11 people dead in El Salvador over the weekend, due to landslides and road accidents.The storm has gathered up humidity from both the Gulf and the Pacific Ocean, Mendez said, and should bring much-needed rain over swathes of Mexico, which has suffered from an extended drought that has drained the country’s dams.Some dams, especially in the north-eastern Tamaulipas state, are as little as 8% full. Nuevo Leon state Governor Samuel Garcia said people should avoid leaving the house when it is raining and workers were ready to address possible impacts on the electricity grid, water and sewage systems.In the United States as far as Louisiana, videos showed flooded coastal towns and water smashing into sea walls, while in Tamaulipas, videos shared on social media showed ominous gray skies as forecasters warned Alberto could bring waves as high as 20 feet (6 meters).Across the Gulf on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, local news outlets filmed strong winds and heavy rainfall, after authorities recorded as much as 192 millimeters in the last day.The NHC predicted “moderate coastal flooding” along much of the Texan coast through Thursday, while Mexican forecasters expect further weekend rains in the south from another formation over the Caribbean.Forecasters have warned that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season will likely be highly active due to impacts from the La Nina weather pattern and warmer ocean waters. More

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    Most Japan firms see no need to follow the U.S. with tariffs on China: Reuters poll

    TOKYO (Reuters) – Most Japanese companies see no need for their government to follow the U.S. in raising tariffs on Chinese imports, saying excessive production capacity in China’s industrial sector does not affect them, a Reuters survey showed on Thursday.U.S. President Joe Biden last month unveiled steep tariff increases on an array of Chinese goods including electric vehicles, batteries and semiconductors, criticising Beijing for generous subsidies and policies that he said help flood global markets with cheap goods.The European Union has also slapped hefty duties on EV imports and the Group of Seven major economies, which includes Japan, last week echoed concerns about what they called harmful non-market practices by China. But 61% of respondents to the survey, conducted June 5-14, said there was no need for Japan to embark on similar measures. The rest said Japan should. Around 53% said China’s excessive production capacity had little to no impact on their business.”It could lead to an escalation in measures and countermeasures against each other and economic conditions will get worse,” a manager at a chemical company wrote in the comment section of the poll.In response to the tariffs, China has accused the United States of subverting its own free trade principles and has said the G7 statement lacks factual basis.The survey of 492 companies was conducted for Reuters by Nikkei Research, with firms responding on condition of anonymity. Roughly 230 companies responded.The companies were also asked whether they think a pledge by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to have wages consistently climb faster than inflation was attainable but only 7% did.”I’m afraid there are many mid-sized and small companies that just can’t make ends meet if they implement wage hikes that keep pace with inflation,” a manager at a wholesale company wrote.Half said the goal was not attainable while 43% said it was hard to tell.As a temporary measure to cushion the economic blow from rising inflation, Kishida’s government is cutting annual income tax by 30,000 yen ($190) and the residential tax by 10,000 yen for each taxpaying citizen who can also claim the same amount in tax breaks for dependents and a spouse with limited income. But 69% of the companies in the poll saw the measure as having little or no effect in stimulating consumer spending.On domestic politics, 54% of the companies expect Kishida to be replaced as prime minister by the end of the year in the wake of a fund-raising scandal.The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has said more than 80 of its lawmakers received proceeds from fund-raising events that were kept off the books. Prosecutors have indicted three lawmakers.An Asahi newspaper poll conducted last week showed support for Kishida’s government fell to 22%, down 2 percentage points from a month ago and the lowest since he took office in October 2021. Former Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba was corporate Japan’s top choice for the country’s next leader, with 24% of firms deeming him a suitable successor. Economic Security Minister Sanae Takaichi was next with 14%.A security maven, Ishiba regularly ranks high in voter surveys on future prime ministers but is less popular with fellow LDP lawmakers whose backing is necessary to win the party’s leadership election. About 80% of companies said they want the LDP and junior coalition partner Komeito to remain in power if Kishida calls a snap election this year. If the coalition government were to lose power, “I fear that political confusion might develop into economic confusion and the weakening of Japan’s competitiveness,” a manager at a food company wrote.Only 6% of the companies surveyed wanted a government led by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, currently the largest opposition party.($1 = 158.05 yen) More

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    Holograph Announces HLG Burn Plan, Followed by Technical Partnership With Cybersecurity Specialist Halborn

    Omnichain tokenization protocol Holograph has announced a technical partnership with web3 cybersecurity specialist Halborn. The collaboration will see Halborn engaged to provide regular audits with a view to reinforce protocol security.The appointment of Halborn follows a recent incident in which a malicious attacker was able to mint HLG, the native Holograph token. Halborn has been commissioned to review the incident in order to strengthen the protocol’s security.Upon completion of the joint analysis, a full report will be released by Holograph detailing the incident and the measures that have been implemented to prevent a recurrence. At the same time, Holograph has confirmed that it will reach out to exchanges to resume HLG deposits so that trading can recommence.To further mitigate the effects of the incident, an HLG Burn Plan, developed with extensive community feedback, has commenced. The initiative will see HLG burned to restore the originally programmed supply of 10 billion HLG. Approximately 200 million HLG will be burned from the attacker’s frozen centralized exchange accounts, and another 800 million burned from the Holograph treasury and open market purchases. The first phase of the HLG Burn Plan has already been implemented, involving the burning of 53 million HLG. Holograph has committed to provide onchain proof of each burn as it occurs. The HLG Burn Plan will be implemented in tranches of varying sizes until a total of 1 billion HLG has been removed from the market. Moving forward, Holograph will collaborate with Halborn on all aspects of protocol security, and will utilize Halborn’s technical expertise to ensure that every component of its omnichain protocol is fully strengthened.About HalbornHalborn is an award-winning, elite cybersecurity company for blockchain organizations. It serves as a third-party partner to continuously assess organizations’ most vital assets, drive maximum value, and provide world-class cybersecurity consulting and execution every step of the way.Learn more: https://www.halborn.com/About HolographHolograph is an omnichain tokenization protocol, enabling asset issuers to mint natively composable omnichain tokens. Holograph has been used to mint millions of onchain assets, making it one of the most widely used protocols for cross-chain asset production and distribution.Learn more: https://www.holograph.xyz/ContactMarketAcross PRpr@marketacross.comThis article was originally published on Chainwire More

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    German tax revenues up 2.6% in May

    Growth in wage tax and in flat-rate withholding tax on interest and capital gains contrasted with lower revenues from sales tax and corporation tax compared with a year ago.In the first five months of the year, tax revenues in Europe’s biggest economy rose 2.8% to 322.3 billion euros, said the ministry in its monthly report.The most recent tax estimates put this year’s overall tax revenues 4.1% higher, at almost 864 billion euros.The government is in the midst of discussions about the 2025 budget with the three parties, including Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and Finance Minister Christian Lindner’s Free Democrats (FDP) at odds in many areas.Looking at the wider economy, the report said that although some indicators had moved sideways in May, the leading ones were increasingly pointing to a moderate recovery for the rest of the year.($1 = 0.9305 euros) More

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    Mexican restaurant chain IPO may be turning point for Australia’s market

    SYDNEY (Reuters) – After two years in deep freeze, Australian investors will be looking for signs the initial public offerings market is thawing as fast-growing Mexican restaurant chain Guzman Y Gomez serves up the country’s biggest IPO in 11 months.The Sydney startup puts up A$335.1 million ($223.4 million)of new stock, about one-sixth of the company, for trading on Thursday.In its listing prospectus, the company forecast a second consecutive net loss for 2024 but a profit in 2025 and hopes investors back its plans to match the current Australian store count of McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) in 20 years.Guzman Y Gomez’s (GYG) initial issue was closed to the public and largely involved selling shares to existing financiers and franchise owners. How the shares perform will send a signal about broader sentiment after high interest rates and inflation squashed demand through 2022 and 2023.Australian listings collapsed after a record 2021 as pandemic stimulus payments ended and the central bank raised interest rates to slow inflation. In 2024 so far, Australia has raised just A$98 million in IPOs, the second-lowest June half in more than a decade, according to LSEG data.”Guzman Y Gomez will be a bit of a bellwether,” said Campbell Welch, an adviser at Novus Capital who ran a small IPO for health services provider Freedom Care in November, one of 32 new listings in the country in 2023, compared with nearly 200 in 2021.”It’s still pretty tough to raise money but some of these things look like they’re resolving themselves. I don’t see why it can’t succeed.”A prospectus filed in May generated rolling headlines about GYG’s target of opening at least 30 stores per year from 183 in Australia currently – a rate it has achieved just once, in 2023 – and about its omission of store lease liabilities and share-based payments from earnings projections.The company said its accounting treatment of expenses was typical of franchise businesses.”Once we’re listed, the market will price us every day and our focus will be on the things we can control: selling burritos and delivering on our strategy,” GYG founder and co-CEO Steven Marks said in a statement.A Morningstar client note valued the stock at A$15 a share, below its A$22 issue price, saying the company with 3.5% of the country’s fast food market had not established a competitive advantage which would justify its rapid expansion.Without that advantage “we are hesitant to fully bake in management’s 1,000-store long-term projection”, Morningstar analyst Johannes Faul wrote.”The restaurant space is highly competitive. Switching costs are nonexistent for patrons and barriers to entry are relatively low.”Sebastian Evans, chief investment officer at NAOS Asset Management, said GYG’s small share register and ambitious growth narrative may support the stock given its familiarity with Australians.”We will follow the business and have done so for some time, but we believe the significant ramp-up in store rollout and the proposed geographic split of these new stores adds to the amount of execution risk,” Evans said.Emanuel Datt, principal of investment manager Datt Capital, said the fact GYG considered a private sale before choosing a listing – as reported by Australian media – indicates “public markets may be falling back into favour.”($1 = 1.4997 Australian dollars) More

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    Brazil’s ruling Workers’ party seeks to gag central bank chief

    Standard DigitalWeekend Print + Standard Digitalwasnow $85 per monthBilled Quarterly at $199. Complete digital access plus the FT newspaper delivered Monday-Saturday.What’s included Global news & analysisExpert opinionFT App on Android & iOSFT Edit appFirstFT: the day’s biggest stories20+ curated newslettersFollow topics & set alerts with myFTFT Videos & Podcasts20 monthly gift articles to shareLex: FT’s flagship investment column15+ Premium newsletters by leading expertsFT Digital Edition: our digitised print editionWeekday Print EditionFT WeekendFT Digital EditionGlobal news & analysisExpert opinionSpecial featuresExclusive FT analysisFT Digital EditionGlobal news & analysisExpert opinionSpecial featuresExclusive FT analysisGlobal news & analysisExpert opinionFT App on Android & iOSFT Edit appFirstFT: the day’s biggest stories20+ curated newslettersFollow topics & set alerts with myFTFT Videos & Podcasts10 monthly gift articles to shareGlobal news & analysisExpert opinionFT App on Android & iOSFT Edit appFirstFT: the day’s biggest stories20+ curated newslettersFollow topics & set alerts with myFTFT Videos & Podcasts20 monthly gift articles to shareLex: FT’s flagship investment column15+ Premium newsletters by leading expertsFT Digital Edition: our digitised print editionEverything in PrintWeekday Print EditionFT WeekendFT Digital EditionGlobal news & analysisExpert opinionSpecial featuresExclusive FT analysisPlusEverything in Premium DigitalEverything in Standard DigitalGlobal news & analysisExpert opinionSpecial featuresFirstFT newsletterVideos & PodcastsFT App on Android & iOSFT Edit app10 gift articles per monthExclusive FT analysisPremium newslettersFT Digital Edition10 additional gift articles per monthMake and share highlightsFT WorkspaceMarkets data widgetSubscription ManagerWorkflow integrationsOccasional readers go freeVolume discountFT Weekend Print deliveryPlusEverything in Standard DigitalFT Weekend Print deliveryPlusEverything in Premium Digital More

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    FirstFT: Silicon Valley steps up security practices over Chinese spy threat

    Standard DigitalWeekend Print + Standard Digitalwasnow $75 per monthComplete digital access to quality FT journalism with expert analysis from industry leaders. Pay a year upfront and save 20%.What’s included Global news & analysisExpert opinionFT App on Android & iOSFT Edit appFirstFT: the day’s biggest stories20+ curated newslettersFollow topics & set alerts with myFTFT Videos & Podcasts20 monthly gift articles to shareLex: FT’s flagship investment column15+ Premium newsletters by leading expertsFT Digital Edition: our digitised print editionWeekday Print EditionFT WeekendFT Digital EditionGlobal news & analysisExpert opinionSpecial featuresExclusive FT analysisFT Digital EditionGlobal news & analysisExpert opinionSpecial featuresExclusive FT analysisGlobal news & analysisExpert opinionFT App on Android & iOSFT Edit appFirstFT: the day’s biggest stories20+ curated newslettersFollow topics & set alerts with myFTFT Videos & Podcasts10 monthly gift articles to shareGlobal news & analysisExpert opinionFT App on Android & iOSFT Edit appFirstFT: the day’s biggest stories20+ curated newslettersFollow topics & set alerts with myFTFT Videos & Podcasts20 monthly gift articles to shareLex: FT’s flagship investment column15+ Premium newsletters by leading expertsFT Digital Edition: our digitised print editionEverything in PrintWeekday Print EditionFT WeekendFT Digital EditionGlobal news & analysisExpert opinionSpecial featuresExclusive FT analysisPlusEverything in Premium DigitalEverything in Standard DigitalGlobal news & analysisExpert opinionSpecial featuresFirstFT newsletterVideos & PodcastsFT App on Android & iOSFT Edit app10 gift articles per monthExclusive FT analysisPremium newslettersFT Digital Edition10 additional gift articles per monthMake and share highlightsFT WorkspaceMarkets data widgetSubscription ManagerWorkflow integrationsOccasional readers go freeVolume discountFT Weekend Print deliveryPlusEverything in Standard DigitalFT Weekend Print deliveryPlusEverything in Premium Digital More

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    Morning Bid: Asian stocks at 2-year high; China, Indonesia set rates

    (Reuters) – A look at the day ahead in Asian markets.No Wall Street, no problem. Investors in Asia go into Thursday in a bullish mood with Asian stocks at two-year highs, boosted by strength in tech and calm across global markets that is keeping a lid on volatility and loosening financial conditions.U.S. markets were closed on Wednesday but investors weren’t fazed by any potential liquidity concerns – the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index leaped more than 1% to its highest since April 2022, and the MSCI World index hit a record high.Highlights from Thursday’s Asia and Pacific calendar are interest rate decisions from China and Indonesia, and first quarter GDP figures from New Zealand.The People’s Bank of China is likely to keep benchmark lending rates unchanged, after holding its medium-term lending facility (MLF) loans steady earlier this week. Markets mostly use MLF rates as a guide to lending benchmarks.Economic activity and indicators remain sluggish though, and pressure to ease in the coming months is mounting.Bank Indonesia is also expected to keep its key interest rate on hold, at 6.25%, according to a Reuters poll of economists who pushed out their first rate cut call to early next year from late this year.That change in outlook was partly driven by the rupiah’s slide to four-year lows against the U.S. dollar, which led the central bank to unexpectedly raise rates in April.Inflation has been within the bank’s 1.5%-3.5% target range for almost a year, but the U.S. Federal Reserve’s ‘higher for longer’ policy stance and dollar’s persistent strength have tempered rate cut hopes.It’s not inconceivable that New Zealand slipped into a technical recession in Q1, albeit an extremely mild one. The consensus forecast in a Reuters poll is for quarter-on-quarter GDP growth of 0.1%, following a contraction of 0.1% in the October-December period.Back on the market front, if Wednesday’s break higher in Asian stocks is to be a springboard, China may have to get out of its funk – while the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index has risen 12% from its mid-April low, China’s blue chip CSI 300 index has flat-lined.Asian tech shares are, unsurprisingly, on an Nvidia-inspired roll. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tech index jumped 3.7% on Wednesday, one of its best days this year.If U.S. financial conditions are a key driver for markets more broadly, investors in Asia should be bullish – they are now the loosest since March, according to Goldman Sachs, and the loosest in two and a half years, according to the Chicago Fed. In currencies, the yen remains anchored near lows that prompted Tokyo to intervene recently, but traders appear relaxed – one-month dollar/yen implied volatility fell for a sixth day on Wednesday to its lowest since April 8.Here are key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Thursday:- China interest rate decision- Indonesia interest rate decision – New Zealand GDP (Q1) More