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Emerging Markets Outlook: Investment is strong, but uncertainty remains – Logistics Management

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The $4.9 trillion global logistics market operates as the backbone of international trade, which grew 272% from 2000 to 2021. Expectations for the global logistics market to grow to $6.55 trillion by 2027, coupled with continued growth in e-commerce and the rebound of contract logistics, has companies looking to reimagine their logistics operating models.

However, companies continue to deal with disruption from the pandemic, which has now been further complicated by the war in Ukraine. In fact, a recent Accenture report found supply chain challenges arising from the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could result in a potential €920 billion cumulative loss to gross domestic product (GDP) across the Eurozone by 2023.

Because of these complications, supply chain networks need to be more flexible and efficient while building resilience, relevance and sustainability into the core. Supply chain networks are often more global—not less—with companies using factories that are higher tech, smaller, more numerous, more local, and closer to customers.

As companies build these networks, they’re investing in digital capabilities to enhance service levels and control costs—and they’re also looking to omni-channel fulfillment platforms with dynamic order allocation capabilities to meet ever-changing customer demands.

Transforming with the latest technologies and ensuring resilience and sustainability are embedded throughout these supply chain networks will make companies future-ready and better equipped to managed potential disruptions.

The expansion of emerging markets is an important consideration. As companies look to uncover new channels for growth, they’re continuing investment in emerging markets.

Disruption: Supply chain shocks and the accumulation of disruption

Depending on the length and severity of the war, the cost of supply chain disruption in the Eurozone across 2022-2023 could amount to € 242 billion (2% of GDP) in an ongoing war scenario or € 920 billion
(7.7% of GDP) in an protracted war scenario.

Logistics Breakdowns
• Transportation bottlenecks worsened input shortages and sent costs skyrocketing.
• Continued lockdowns in Chinese ports and war in Ukraine further strain the issue.
• 90% of Ukraine’s wheat exports have halted due to port closures. Ukraine accounts for nearly 10% of global wheat exports. Wheat prices hit record highs, rising 30% in 2021Q1 on previous quarter.

Energy Security 
• Energy markets were already undersupplied before the war given the economic recovery.
• The war in Ukraine has caused further oil and gas price spikes: the price of brent crude oil could peak at 115 USD per barrel in 2022.
• Suppliers are shutting down some operations becauseenergy costs are too high, which creates another wave of input supply shocks.

Lack of Material Supplies
• Resurging demand and initial precautionary hoarding led to inflation and overwhelmed supply chains.
• The concentration of suppliers for critical minerals and food is compounding challenges.
• For example, Russia is one of the largest suppliers of palladium, platinum and diamonds, while Ukraine is the critical supplier for neon gas, agricultural products, and metal ores.

A Tight Talent Market
• Labor and skill shortages plagued most industries.
• The war has created further tension in targeted skills areas like transportation.
•14.5% of the global seafarer workforce are from Russia and the Ukraine.

Thailand

Thailand continues to make large strides in their economic development. Logistics investments have been fast-tracked as the country obtains more market share.

Thailand had previously broken ground in 2021 on mega-projects worth $5.3 billion to improve national infrastructure focused on roads and rail. This is highlighted by a rail line that will better connect six provinces within a 50-mile radius to Bangkok. Supporting urban sprawl in Thailand is now imperative as the people of Thailand continue to prosper despite economic setbacks associated with the pandemic.

In total, Thailand has $60 billion planned in spending to help support The Ministry of Transport’s 40 mega-projects. Year-over-year, Thailand was able to jump three spots up on Agility’s Emerging Markets Logistics Index Top 20.

Vietnam

Although delayed action from policy makers has caused Vietnam to lose logistics market share, despite prime real estate and economic growth, Vietnam is still considered to be an integral part of omni-channel growth and a large contributor to the internet economy.

Vietnam has positioned itself as key player associated in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, with e-commerce spend growing 24% year-over-year. As a benefactor in the U.S.-China trade war, as manufacturers are forced to diversify supply chains networks, Vietnam’s core competency is related to labor intensive industries due to their low labor cost.

With 2,030 miles of coastline, Vietnam holds a strategic position for the maritime industry, seeing a 7% growth year-over-year in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Vietnam had started to invest in the growth of a Da Nang mega-port as early as 2016, which has promised to support 27.2M tons by 2030 and 92.5 million tons by 2045.

However, Vietnam is challenged by size constraints driven by underdeveloped infrastructure, as evidenced in dropping three spots on Agility’s Emerging Markets Logistics Index Top 20.

Mexico

Although hit hard by the pandemic in 2020 with an 8.6% economic contraction, Mexico was able to make-up and surpass 2019 GDP ($1.269 billion) in 2021 ($1.285 billion). Despite economic turbulence, Mexico benefits from a strong trade-partnership with the United States as well as a private-backed investment in infrastructure.

Of the $44 billion committed, 33% is planned to go toward transportation projects, including highways, rail, ports and airports through 2024. With a trend of shippers looking to position closer to their customer, Mexico holds the highest forecast compound annual growth rate—tied with India—at 10%.

India

Like Mexico, India is projected to maintain a 10% annual growth rate and maintain Agility’s ranking at No. 2. India Goods and Services Tax, as well as private-sector investment, have been a catalyst for infrastructure improvement since its inception in 2017.

Due to this infusion of money, India has already built 3.5 million miles of roads, second only to the United States. However, India’s National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), a $1.2 trillion infrastructure program, will support continued investment.

Logistics related NIP calls to action are 34,000 more miles of road development; a National Rail Plan implemented by 2030 to support a multi-modal transportation solution with the goal of hauling 45% of freight on rail by 2030; and moves to address digital infrastructure to match the growing business demand and provide access to all citizens.

The Indian government is not just prioritizing interconnected transportation infrastructure, but also making a $94 billion investment in sustainability. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission aims to deploy solar energy technologies to create favorable conditions for solar manufacturing capability.

Indonesia

Driven by government restrictions on business during the pandemic, logistics business activities have declined 50%, however current GDP growth indicates economic rebound.

The majority of the Indonesian logistics market is driven by transportation, predominantly road freight, accounting for 70% to 80% of total volumes within their borders. However, 90% of Indonesia’s exports are moved via ship.

Indonesia’s Ministry of National Development released a $412 billion infrastructure investment plan in 2019 to address the World Bank’s assessment of a $500 billion infrastructure investment gap in 2017.

Indonesia remains steadfast in its commitment to plan, aiming to finish the Trans-Sumatra Tolls Roads by December of 2022, effectively providing an additional 1,751 miles of roadway to travel on, with a commitment to complete construction of 3,000 more miles. The goal is logistics cost reduction as well as connectedness within the island to support maturing e-commerce market demand.

Malaysia

As ships have grown 2.9 times larger from Post Panamax II to Megamax-24, so must the ports that support their throughput. Malaysia now has two of the three largest ports of all emerging market countries with both ports achieving strong container volume increases in 2021.

Malaysia will look to grow port infrastructure to capture economies of scale driven by larger ships. Stating with a $179 million expansion in 2022 for the Port of Tanjung as well as multi-million, private-sector investment within facilities in Port Klang. The freight and logistics market in the region is expected to continue to grow, registering a 4% increase to CAGR through 2027.

Looking ahead

Through the end of this year and into 2023, shippers will have to continue to break the physical limits of supply chains, enabling organizations to do more with less and meet customers’ growing expectations for order fulfillment in a cost-efficient way.

Emerging themes to watch in the United States

After historic spending on freight in 2021, shippers are starting to reap the benefits of a softening truckload market. The DAT dry van load-to-truck ratio was at 4.57 in April, down 37% month-over-month and 21% year-over-year, with contractual rates surpassing spot rates in March 2022.

For the first time since June 2020, we’re starting to see normalization of route guide tender acceptance and a stabilization on spot market rates.

Shippers and carriers are shifting their concerns to the now historic rise in diesel prices. Truckload carriers and private fleet managers are
continuing to focus on basic operating efficiencies.

This includes, but is not limited to, fuel mileage being reduced by 3%, increase utilization of equipment, and implementation of electric vehicles. The question remains of how to mitigate risks related to energy consumption, which will be a theme in the United States moving forward.

Leveraging capital investment and technology to better support global logistics channels will unlock greater capacity and cost-efficiencies of emerging markets.

As shippers continue to pivot toward more and more emerging markets, supply chains need to be redesigned with economic diversification in mind, as well as sustainability and resilience. Though, keep in mind, global uncertainty and unrest will always affect supply chain networks.

Whether the issues arising are an increase in costs, a shortage of labor, or additional trade barriers, shippers need to quickly pivot to reimagine, build and operate supply chain networks that orchestrate change, simplify life, and positively affect business, society and the planet.

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Venture capital investment slides to prepandemic levels in second quarter amid tech slowdown – The Globe and Mail

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Canada’s tech sector has struggled since last fall as a mixture of macroeconomic events, including the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began triggering supply chain slowdowns and broad uncertainty.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Venture-capital funding in Canada fell to prepandemic levels in the second quarter this year as the tech downturn hit privately held companies, the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association says, and financiers warn that the sector’s sudden caution may continue.

The CVCA said in a new report Thursday that there was $1.65-billion in venture capital (VC) deployed across 182 deals in the second quarter of 2022. It was the lowest quarter since the pandemic prompted a flood of cash into digital-services companies, down 67 per cent from $5.1-billion in the same quarter in 2021. But it was roughly on par with 2019′s $1.66-billion second-quarter investment.

The investment figures the association released for the first half of 2022, however, suggest that the downturn’s true impact will be more starkly revealed in the coming quarters as data catches up with the gap between when deals are first negotiated, closed and then announced.

What crisis? Venture capitalists bet big on crypto

Where are venture capitalists investing in Canada?

In its report, the CVCA said that the $4.5-billion in investments announced in the first quarter – the country’s second-highest quarter on record – was largely comprised of 25 “mega-deals” worth more than $50-million that were “largely residual transactions” from 2021.

Particularly among later-stage companies, “we’re going to see a slowdown that might persist,” Christiane Wherry, the CVCA’s vice-president of research and product, said in an interview. While some of the institutional investors her association works with are “able to stay the course” with financings, she said she’s seen much more caution among smaller VC firms, funds and family offices.

There may now be a “more realistic air” to the venture ecosystem as venture investors spend time “digesting the end of the pandemic and where we go from here,” said Matt Golden of Golden Ventures. Michael Hyatt, entrepreneur, investor and Northleaf Capital Partners adviser, said that financiers “are being highly discriminate about what they are going into.”

Sean O’Connor, managing director of Conexus Venture Capital in Regina and chair of the CVCA’s data committee, said that “founders and VCs are not seeing eye to eye as we figure out what the new world looks like,” which could lead to tension in calculating company valuations.

“We’ve seen the VC space move back into something a bit more normalized from before the pandemic, but it’s a struggle to figure out how much of that regression will show up in valuations.”

The swelling of valuations in both public and private markets during the first two calendar years of the pandemic has been broadly recognized, in hindsight, as a unique moment in which a global shift to digital services coincided with historically low interest rates.

The moment was also precarious. Ms. Wherry acknowledged that 2021′s record-breaking Canadian venture investment levels, which the CVCA calculated as reaching $14.2-billion, was an “outlier year – with record high levels that we probably won’t return to any time soon.”

The tech sector has struggled since last fall as a mixture of macroeconomic events including the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began triggering supply chain slowdowns and broad uncertainty. Subsequent high inflation put pressure on central banks to boost interest rates, making capital more expensive and drying up the pools of investor money that flooded the market for tech companies since the Great Recession.

Not all segments of the tech sector are facing the same headwinds in Canada, according to the CVCA’s numbers. Young, seed-stage companies aren’t exposed to the same investor pressures and economic factors as bigger, cash-consuming firms. They saw $263-million in financing across 104 deals, making the second quarter the highest on record both in terms of total investment and deal number.

Environmentally friendly or sustainability-focused companies, classified as “clean tech,” saw investment levels surpass 2020 levels in the first half of 2022, and the CVCA said the sector could reach 2021 investment levels by the end of the year. “As investors shift their focus from the pandemic, which was an emergency situation, now they’re shifting their focus to something equally as urgent,” Ms. Wherry said.

But in general, the public-market pullback was a shock for later-stage companies that might hope to tap into public markets: the CVCA didn’t record a single initial public offering last quarter, it said.

After numerous massive deals in the first quarter, such as a $775-million round for password-protection company 1Password (AgileBits Inc.), the biggest deals last quarter were much smaller. They included $185-million for Calgary challenger bank Neo Financial Technologies Inc., $101-million for “unbreakable” pantyhose maker Sheertex Holdings Corp., US$100-million for biotechnology startup Ventus Therapeutics Inc. and $100-million for Toronto virtual-private-network company Tailscale Inc.

The CVCA also reported Thursday that Canada saw $3.3-billion worth of private-equity deals in the second quarter – a 32-per-cent drop – across 202 transactions.

With a report from Sean Silcoff

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Thailand's investment pledges slump in H1 as foreign projects wane – SaltWire CB powered by Cape Breton Post

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BANGKOK (Reuters) – Investment applications in Thailand dropped by 42% in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period last year, official data showed on Wednesday, led by a sharp fall in foreign projects as the global economy slowed.

Foreign investments, which made up 60% of the overall 220 billion baht ($6.22 billion) of applications in January-June, more than halved year-on-year, data from the Board of Investment (BOI) showed.

But a surge in electric vehicle (EV) and digital investments bucked the trend, and the BOI said on Wednesday it had approved several new major investment pledges.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our policies and incentives to ensure Thailand remains the resilient destination of choice for global investors in fast growing sectors such as electric vehicles,” BOI said in a statement.

The Southeast Asian country has promoted high-tech sectors and supported EVs to maintain its status as a regional auto production base.

In January-June, investment pledges in EVs surged 212% from a year earlier to 42.4 billion baht while ones in the digital sector jumped 202% to 1.45 billion baht, the BOI said.

On Wednesday, the BOI approved investment pledges worth 44.5 billion baht – including China’s BYD’s 17.9 billion baht project to produce EVs, and PTT’s 18 billion baht gas production project, the agency said.

($1 = 35.38 baht)

(Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon, Satawasin Staporncharnchai and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by John Geddie)

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Quebec pension giant Caisse takes $33.6 billion investment hit in worst markets in 50 years – Financial Post

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Pension fund writes off $150-million investment in bankrupt Celsius

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The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec posted a negative return of 7.9 per cent for the first six months of the year, in what chief executive Charles Emond noted was the worst period for stock and bond markets over the past 50 years.

As of June 30, the Caisse had net assets of $392 billion, with the $28.2-billion decrease due to investment losses of $33.6 billion offset by $5.4 billion in net deposits. The losses included a full write off of the fund’s US$150 million investment in crypto lender Celsius Network LLC, which is now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the United States.

“The first six months of the year were very challenging,” Emond said in a statement. “The mix of factors we faced had not been witnessed in several decades: spiking inflation that triggered rapid and sharp interest rate hikes, rare simultaneous corrections in both stock and bond markets, fears of an economic downturn and the war in Ukraine with its many collateral effects.”

Over the same period, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board reported a positive return of 1.2 per cent on Monday.

During a news conference Wednesday to discuss the Caisse results, Emond said the Quebec pension fund wrote off the Celsius crypto investment even though it is considering its legal options and intends to preserve its rights in the court-monitored U.S. bankruptcy proceedings.

“We decided to take it now” out of prudence, Emond said of the writeoff. “The last chapter hasn’t been written.”

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He said his team conducted extensive due diligence with outside experts and consultants. They were aware of management and regulatory issues at Celsius and underestimated the time it would take to resolve them, he said, adding the Caisse was keen on “seizing the potential of block chain technology” and perhaps the investment in Celsius had been made “too soon” in the company’s development.

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He noted that the investment was a very small part of a large venture portfolio that has produced 35 per cent returns over the past five years.

“In these disruptive technologies, there’s ups and downs…. Some big winners and many losers,” Emond said.

Although the Caisse posted an overall return in negative territory for the first six months of the year, the performance exceeded that of its benchmark portfolio — which posted a negative return of 10.5 per cent.

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“Over five and 10 years, annualized returns were 6.1 per cent and 8.3 per cent respectively, also outpacing benchmark portfolio returns,” the pension manager noted.

Emond said the Caisse is managing the “turbulence” with a combination of asset diversification and strategic adjustments made since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“For the past two years, we’ve been working in an environment of extremes characterized by particularly fast and pronounced changes. These unusual and unstable conditions will persist for some time,” he said.

“In the short term, we’ll be watching what central banks do to contain inflation and how that impacts the economy.”

  1. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan board eked out a 1.2 per cent return in the first half of the year.

    Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board ekes out small return in ‘difficult’ markets

  2. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board reported a 4.2 per cent loss, equivalent to $23 billion, for the three months ending June 30.

    CPPIB breaks winning streak with $23-billion loss amid ‘market turbulence’

  3. In July, crypto lender Celsius Network filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and owes users about US$4.7 billion.

    Canadian watchdogs join probe of Celsius’ multi-billion-dollar collapse, sources say

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During the first six months of the year, negative returns in equities and fixed income were partially offset by gains in the Caisse’s investments in real assets including infrastructure and real estate.

The pension giant posted a negative return of 13.1 per cent in fixed income, which beat the negative 15.1 per cent return for its benchmark portfolio. This represented nearly $3 billion in “value added” attributable to all credit activities, the Caisse said.

A negative return of 16 per cent in equities beat the negative 17.2 per cent return in the benchmark portfolio.

The Caisse’s real estate and infrastructure portfolios, meanwhile, generated a 7.9 per cent six-month return, “demonstrating their diversifying role which contributes to limiting inflation’s impact on the total portfolio.”

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The real asset class performance also beat the benchmark portfolio’s return, which was 2.4 per cent.

“So that asset class played its role. The two portfolios are doing well,” Emond said.

He said it is challenging to compare the short-term performance of Canadian pension funds because they have e different mandates and investment models. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, for example, has less exposure to equity markets than the Caisse and more exposure to natural resources and commodities, which performed well in the first half of the year.

• Email: bshecter@postmedia.com | Twitter:

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