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I didn’t buy any food for a year – and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been

Rob Greenfield gardened, fished and foraged to eat more sustainably and encourage others to do the same. But to succeed, he needed the community

For the last year I grew and foraged 100% of my food. No grocery stores, no restaurants, not even a drink at a bar. Nature was my garden, my pantry and my pharmacy.

Most people would imagine I live in the countryside on a farm, but actually I live in a city; Orlando, Florida, a few miles from the centre. When I arrived here, I didnt own any land, so in order to grow my food I met people in the neighbourhood and turned their lawns into gardens and shared the bounty of food with them. Im a big believer in the philosophy grow food, not lawns.

I also needed a place to live for my two-year stay in Orlando and I also found this through the local community. I put the message out that I was looking for someone with an unused backyard who could benefit from my being on the property. After a short search I found Lisa, a woman in her early 60s with a lifelong dream of living more sustainably. I built a 100 sq ft tiny house in her backyard and in exchange I turned her entire front yard into a garden, set up rainwater harvesting, composting and grew her fresh produce. Together, we helped meet each others basic needs through an exchange, rather than using money.

Rob Greenfield in his tiny house in Orlando, Florida. Photograph: Sierra Ford Photography

As well as expecting me to live on a farm, most people would probably presume that I had some serious gardening experience to launch this kind of project. On the contrary, previously I had tended just a few small raised beds, growing greens, herbs and tomatoes.

For the past six years I had spent much of my life on the road and as much as I wished to grow my own food, I had never made it happen.

I gave myself just six months of preparation from the time I landed in Orlando to the start of the year when I would buy no food. That was wishful thinking, but just four months behind schedule I was ready to dive into the deep end and forgo all food from the industrial food system for the entire year.

My first breakfast of the year turned out to be my first-ever 100% homegrown and foraged meal. From then I was fully immersed in my food every meal, every snack, every single bite and nibble.

Although this specific project was new, it was not the first time that I had become totally immersed in my food. In 2011 I was living a pretty typical consumeristic life. I never thought about where my food came from until, through watching documentaries and reading, I woke up to the fact that I was consuming the planet I loved with every bite I took.

I vowed to change my eating habits and to inspire others to do so as well. Over the next year I grew over 100 different foods in my gardens. This included dozens of different greens packed with nutrients, sweet potatoes for my caloric needs, delicious fruits like papayas and bananas, veggies like pumpkins, carrots, beans and beets and herbs and peppers to flavour all of my meals. I raised bees so I could have my own candy shop right at home.

Rob Greenfield took up beekeeping as part of his project to forgo buying food. Photograph: Rob Greenfield

Around half of my food came from my garden and the other half was from foraging. I foraged more than 200 foods from nature. I harvested my own sea salt from the ocean, picked coconuts for a good source of fat, foraged my fruit from hundreds of trees, caught fish from lakes, rivers and the ocean, harvested mushrooms in the woods, and picked nutritious weeds from peoples yards.

Fishing was not just a means of food for me, it was a way to feel connected to the land around me. I used a cast net, typically from the front of a canoe, to catch mullet, one of the most abundant and sustainable fish in Florida.

Protein was one of my most difficult necessities to forage. I was having a hard time catching enough fish, and around month eight I started to become deficient in fat and protein. I remedied this by finding a few deer that had been hit by cars. Some find this to be controversial, but to me its just common sense to use resources that would otherwise go to waste. I know exactly how to identify how long a deer has been dead and if its still good. It may be hard to fathom for someone living in the city, but the details are clear to those who understand the basic signs of nature.

I grew my own medicine and vitamins too, including turmeric and ginger, elderberries to make elderberry syrup to prevent colds and flu and reishi mushrooms. Dried and powdered moringa, also known as the vitamin tree, was my multivitamin when I travelled.

I cooked up dozens of different healthy meals, fermented veggies to make sauerkraut and made delicious beverages like honey wine and ginger beer. I think its safe to say that I ate the healthiest diet of my life. I finished the year weighing the same as when I had started, and I didnt get sick once. I trusted nature and it paid off.

Foraging greens on a local street. Photograph:

This project wasnt just about growing and foraging all my food, though. It was about empowering others to grow their own food and reclaim their health. During the year I built gardens for 15 other people through my Gardens for the People programme, planted more than 200 community fruit trees, sent out more 5,000 seed packs to help people grow their own organic, healthy food and taught free gardening classes to the people in my community.

Throughout the year I worked with five single-parent local families to help them grow healthy food. The programme provided its own challenges, but it was truly beautiful to see the children and their mothers connect with the land under their feet and harvest the food growing freely and abundantly in their own yards.

Ive been exploring food for nearly a decade and I believe that the globalised, industrialised food system is broken. This was my personal quest to see whether I could step away from big agriculture and grow and forage every bite of my own food. I saw that it is indeed possible. Im not saying its possible for everyone. In fact, I dont think it is possible for most of us. More importantly I dont think its even necessary. The answers lie in community.

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‘They said we used cheddar!’: chef demands removal from Michelin Guide

Marc Veyrat of La Maison des Bois stated he had actually been depressed for months after losing a sought after star following amateur examination

Knives are being honed in the elite world of French gastronomy after a well-known chef required that his dining establishment, which just recently lost among its 3 stars, be withdrawn from the Michelin Guide — a demand the publishers of the renowned red book have actually declined.

In a remarkable letter, exposed by Le Point , Marc Veyrat railed versus his demotion in January, voicing his doubts that the guide’s inspectors had actually even visited his dining establishment, La Maison des Bois, in the Haute Savoie.

“I have actually been depressed for 6 months. How attempt you take the health of your chefs captive?” composed Veyrat, who is understood for his signature black hat. When Gordon Ramsay was removed of a Michelin star at his New York dining establishment, he compared the experience to losing a sweetheart and losing the Champions League.

Veyrat knocked the “extensive incompetence” of the guide’s inspectors. “They attempted to state that we put cheddar in our souffle of beaufort, reblochon and tomme! They have actually insulted our area; my staff members raged,” he stated, according to Le Monde . “When we have eggs from our chickens, milk from our cows, and 2 botanists gather our plants every early morning!”

In an interview with Lyon Capitale , Veyrat stated the inspectors”understand definitely nothing about cooking
! … Let them place on an apron and get in the cooking area! We are waiting. Let them reveal us what they understand how to do … The Michelin, they’re essentially novices. They could not prepare a good meal,” he stated.

Veyrat likewise required to be revealed the costs from the inspectors ‘go to.”You need to have the ability to discover that proof,” he composed to the publishers.”You are impostors who just desire clashes, for industrial factors.”

The guide’s worldwide director, Gwendal Poullennec, stated Veyrat’s dining establishment has actually been gone to”a number of times every year considering that he resumed “. Regardless of the chef’s demand, La Maison des Bois would not be withdrawn. Poullennec continued, the guide is working for the consumers and not for the dining establishment:”The stars are granted by Michelin on an annual basis and they are not the home of the chefs. They are for foodies and readers to provide the chance to find an experience.”

In 2018, French chef Sebastien Bras requested for his dining establishment Le Suquet to be withdrawn from the guide, stating he did not wish to prepare under the “substantial pressure” of a possible assessment. His demand was at first satisfied– however this January, Le Suquet was re-listed , this time with 2 stars instead of 3.

Poullennec included that he was sorry to become aware of Veyrat’s suffering, however”we need to look forward. Possibly one day he will be back to the 3 star level, that’s a matter for him. For that he has to focus on providing the finest experience for the consumers.”

Eating at La Maison des Bois, which has a view of Mont Blanc, is explained on Veyrat’s site as comparable to”a genuine pastoral and mineral symphony in which nature’s bounty is shown in each and every meal”. The”stellar event” menu, priced at EUR395( 354), provides meals consisting of”impression”of caviar with trout eggs and” king prawns prepared in spruce bark”. The dining establishment has its own arboretums, veggie gardens and orchards, raises its own cows, chickens and freshwater fish, and makes its own bread and cider.

The Michelin article of La Maison des Bois stays radiant . The dining establishment is, it states,” worth the detour “, with an”remarkable food”– the very best example of which is the”balade”in the woods”where flavours burst, escape, in between herby notes, sap of fir and mushrooms”. The only drawback, the write-up notes, is the cost.

Despite Veyrat’s anger at being implicated of utilizing cheddar, no reference is made in the guide of the range of cheese utilized in the souffle.

The Michelin Guide has its roots in the late 19th century, when siblings Andre and Edouard Michelin established their tire business and chose to produce a recommendation for vehicle drivers, filled with info for their journeys. By the 1920s, the red book included reviews of dining establishments and hotels, which were evaluated anonymously by a group of secret restaurants. The star rankings were presented in 1926, with the hierarchy of absolutely no, one, 2 and 3 stars generated 5 years later on.

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The hunt for black gold: is California the world’s next truffle hotspot?

For decades, enthusiasts have hoped truffles can follow wines path to success in the state. Charlotte Simmonds joins a search for the delicacy

Staci OToole is lying face down in the dirt. I can smell it! she cries, nose to the roots of a hazelnut tree.

A funky, fungal odor emanates from a shallow hole in the ground of this Sonoma Valley orchard. It hints at a hidden treasure many years in the making: a French Prigord truffle, grown right here in California.

Commonly known as black truffles or even black diamonds, Prigords are one of the worlds most sought-after delicacies, selling for $800 or more per pound. Revered for lending an intoxicating flavor to everything from tagliatelle to sushi, they remain widely adored and shrouded in mystery.

With wild truffles increasingly scarce, scenes of affable farmers trawling the woods with a pot-bellied pig are becoming a rare sight. Most black truffles these days come from farms, where they are hunted by specially trained dogs. Cultivation secrets in this lucrative industry have traditionally been closely guarded, with the market dominated by France, Italy and Spain. But in recent years New World upstarts have been gaining ground: Australia is expected to produce 15 metric tons this year, while New Zealand, South Africa and Chile all have burgeoning industries.

For decades many have pinned their hopes on the Mediterranean climate, robust wine industry and thriving food scene of California as the worlds next truffle hotspot. Now, it appears, such hopes are paying off.

OToole and her truffle-hunting dogs in Santa Rosa. Photograph: Talia Herman/The Guardian

The birth of an industry

On this bright winter day, OToole, AKA the Truffle Huntress, has brought her pedigree truffle dogs to survey a property in the heart of northern Californias wine country. Mila, the more experienced of the lagotto Romagnolo dogs, is leading the charge. Panettone, still in training, bounds close behind.

The pair survey the orchard with enthusiasm and ruthless efficiency: several quick sniffs at the base of a tree are enough to determine whether a truffle lurks beneath. They comb several rows of trees without luck before Mila pounces and paws at the ground: the sign to start digging.

Wearing knee-high wellies and oversized sunglasses, OToole uses a delicate truffle trowel, a tool that looks more like a blunt dagger than a shovel, to turn the soil, occasionally lowering herself to the ground to sniff at her progress. I can tell if Ive got something here because it will make my mouth start watering, she explains, brimming with optimism.

Truffles can take up to 10 years to produce, and growing them is like farming in the dark: fiddling at the surface in the hopes something magic is taking root below.

OToole came to truffle hunting after a career as a health insurance executive living in Silicon Valley. She wasnt ready to retire but wasnt sure what to do next.

Turned out her dog held the key. The lagotto Romagnolo is a traditional Italian truffle hunting breedso attuned to its craft that, when she bought Mila from the breeder, they made her promise she would train it up properly. Mila was a natural, finding her first truffle at just 12 weeks old. OToole now works as a hunter on various orchards while running her own farm, which this year harvested almost 2lb.

OToole had Truffle Huntress sewn on to her shirt. Photograph: Talia Herman/The Guardian

She is hardly alone. The orchard where I met her belongs to Harshal Sanghavi and Matt Hicks, a San Francisco couple who harvested their first truffle just before Christmas. The Sonoma winery Jackson Family Wines, meanwhile, found its first truffles in 2017 and this year hauled out slightly over 30lb.

Were witnessing the birth of an industry, says Charles Lefevre, a longtime truffle consultant and the founder of New World Truffieres. Lefevres Oregon-based company sells trees whose roots have been inoculated with the black truffle fungus. When he started in the early 2000s, Lefevre recorded small flurries of success in places such as Idaho and Tennessee.

The truffle industry, he says, is no longer just a pipe dream but is seeing exponential growth. Of his 22 farms now in production, 10 have harvested their first truffles within the last two years. It may be the start of something big.

A truffle, sliced in half, at a Jackson Family Wines property. Photograph: Talia Herman/The Guardian

We proved them wrong

The quest to grow truffles in California began decades ago when William Griner, a Vietnam veteran turned pot farmer, took a leap of faith and bought 100 hazelnut trees inoculated with the truffle fungus from a young Frenchman named Franois Picart.

Picart had arrived in California in the mid-1970s, determined to sell truffle trees and help America embrace truffle agriculture. He ultimately found few buyers, returned to France frustrated and went on to launch a highly successful chain of American-themed barbecue restaurants.

But Griners gamble paid off. He cultivated what is considered the first truffle ever grown in North America in 1987. His farm, Mendocino Black Diamonds, would go on to produce 35lb of truffles a year until his death in 2008.

California really was the first state to get involved in growing truffles in North America, says Griners old friend Todd Spanier.

Spanier, who founded California Truffle Orchards, a farm management company, sees clear parallels between the birth of the Napa Valley wine industry, originally viewed with skepticism by Europe, and the truffle pioneers of today. In the 1970s we had the French saying: No one can grow wine outside of France. And we proved them wrong, he said.

A truffle hunter shows off his harvest. Photograph: Talia Herman/The Guardian

Since then, truffle farmings bohemian origins have been replaced by an ambitious entrepreneurialism with a distinctly Silicon Valley edge. Truffle fever has taken root not just among professional farmers but many first-timers, bringing new players and new ideas to the industry.

Take Dr Paul Thomas and Robert Chang, a mycology scientist and a former tech executive who are building a giant database of truffle knowledge. Thomas had founded a UK-based truffle research company, Mycorrhizal Systems LTD, before teaming up with Chang for a new venture: the American Truffle Company. Now with orchards in the US and more than 20 other countries, this network feeds real-time information about climate, soil and irrigation back to their server in the Bay Area. This is the big data of truffles, Chang likes to say.

Truffle farmers now benefit from two major festivals the Oregon truffle festival, founded by Lefevre in 2006, and the Napa truffle festival, founded by the American Truffle Company in 2010 which provide a platform to mingle, learn and share breakthroughs.

In Italy and France its all very secretive, but here its much more collaborative, says OToole. Thats why were having so much success. The California way is kind of different: we all share data. We are trying to build an industry.

Farmers areencouraged by the prospect of serving the states ambitious dining scene, and in this regard time is on their side. A truffles odor and flavor drops precipitously once its out of the ground; a good truffle should be served within a week.

Jackson Family Wines, currently the jewel in Californias truffle crown, produced so many this year that it sold the extras to several Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurants. The winerys executive chef, Justin Wrangler, says it has more demand than it can meet.

Justin Wrangler, the executive chief at Jackson Family Wines, and his daughter Delanie, nine, cook pasta with truffles, butter and cheese in Santa Rosa. Photograph: Talia Herman/The Guardian

A tipping point

Its hard to imagine Californias truffles will stay secret for long. Rivalling Europe in volume wont happen overnight, and many who have planted truffles are still waiting for results. But the mood is one of cautious optimism.

OTooles truffle hunting expedition that day comes late in the season, but shes confident theres more to be found on the Jackson Family Wines property.

She heads out with her dogs, Wrangler, and the farms manager. In the end, the afternoon yields a couple of small truffles. Specimens found several days prior, however, are truly monumental.

From a ziplock bag, Wrangler produces an inky orb as thick as two tangerines. A portable burner is plugged in, red wine swiftly poured, and before long the chef is tossing slabs of truffle butter through hot pasta. He shaves a black cloud over each bowl before we slurp it up. OToole raises her glass to toast the moment: This is what its all about.

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Fish populations could rise even with extreme climate change, study shows

With much better management of fishing, international catches might increase even if temperature levels increase by as much as 4C, state researchers

Better management of fishing rights around the globe would increase catches even if environment modification takes hold, brand-new research study has actually discovered , ahead of crucial settlements on fishing at the UN next week.

Even if temperature levels increase by as much as 4C above pre-industrial levels– in the upper variety of present projections– the harmful impacts on fishing can be consisted of through enhancing how stocks are fished and handled. The finding is essential since more than 1 billion individuals internationally depend on fish, especially crucial types such as tuna and mackerel, as their primary source of protein.

Governments are satisfying from 4 September in New York for the preliminary of talks on a brand-new international treaty of the high seas , which would intend to make and save overfished stocks access to essential fisheries more fair. Any arrangement is most likely to take numerous years to work out and longer to come into force, however researchers state there is no time at all to be lost, offered the magnitude of the risk to the world’s marine environments.

Climate modification is currently triggering the motion of some types as their conventional environments grow warmer, and overfishing is wreaking heavy damage on stocks. By adjusting fisheries management to a warming environment, and setting up much better systems such as tracking of fleets, the international catch can be increased in spite of these elements, according to the paper released on Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

“This is a favorable message amidst the doom and gloom,” stated Kristin Kleisner, among the authors of the research study and a senior researcher at the United States Environmental Defense Fund. “We can manage how we handle our fisheries. We will have serious impacts [from environment modification] This reveals exactly what we can do as people to manage that.”

If temperature levels were to strike 4C above pre-industrial levels, however excellent management was put in location, there might still be a boost of 17% of the quantity of fish in oceans, compared to a decrease of 5% of fish biomass if existing practices continue and the world warmed by just 1C.

She kept in mind that brand-new innovations, such as tracking of fishing vessels from satellites and through the web, might make a huge distinction in allowing closer management. These methods can likewise make fisheries management more responsive to the altering characteristics of ocean environments, so that fishing can be rerouted if stocks appear to be decreasing.

Under 2C of warming, enhanced management might yield even much better returns, leading to a 16% boost in the catch, totaling up to 25bn portions of seafood a year, and almost a 3rd more fish in the sea than there are today. Federal governments concurred in 2015 to act to restrict warming to no greater than 2C, considered as the limit of security beyond which the results of environment modification are most likely to end up being irreparable and disastrous.

Kleisner stated the outcomes of the research study revealed that federal governments need to take timely action to generate contemporary fisheries management, such as establishing marine secured locations and managing access to fishing premises.

Global Fishing Watch, an worldwide NGO , has actually utilized technological enhancements to open huge quantities of brand-new information on fishing all over the world. These consist of information revealed previously this year on 10s of countless international vessels, which would have been difficult even 5 years earlier.

Sarah Bladen, of Global Fishing Watch, stated even more recent strategies were being offered, with outcomes that might be “game-changing” for fisheries management and avoiding prohibited fishing . “Technological development is putting us within reach of a ‘real-time’ digital ocean. The open ocean has actually long been characterised as the wild west: lawless, remote and pestered by a scarceness of information. Our capability to straight track and discover fishing vessel activity internationally is going through a remarkable improvement.”

She contacted the fishing market to bear in mind: “This truly is, or has to be, a wake-up call: the period of ‘secret’ fishing areas is over. To preserve the social licence to run, fishing markets worldwide have to step up and accept, certainly welcome, levels of openness in fishing activities that were inconceivable a years back.”

Prof Alex Rogers of Oxford University informed the Guardian that global action and an international treaty need to be generated as quickly as possible, prior to the existing damage become a disaster . “The scenario is extremely immediate. We have to bring our activities at sea to a sustainable level,” he stated. “The status quo can not be enabled to continue, if we wish to maintain ocean health and have fish for tomorrow.”

The hazards to ocean life consist of not just environment overfishing, modification and acidification, however the contamination, consisting of plastics and farming chemicals that we put into the sea, and our commercial exploitation of the seabed, for example for oil and gas expedition and mining. These activities have actually been allowed by brand-new innovation, which is not considered in existing sea governance, which goes back to the 16th century, inning accordance with Rogers.

The governance of the high seas, which cover the majority of the oceans beyond nationwide jurisdictions, had actually stopped working to keep up with this rate of modification, he included: “These brand-new activities can increase extremely rapidly, and do incredible damage in a really brief time.”

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Hong Kongs IPO Takeoff Is Running Out of Runway

Brace, brace. Hong Kong &#x 2019; s IPO launch is going to concern a shrieking stop.

There &#x 2019; s a flood of offers &#xA 0; still in the pipeline, it &#x 2019; s real, from food shipment huge &#xA 0; Meituan Dianping to biotech unicorn&#xA 0; Innovent Biologics Inc.&#xA 0; But financier tiredness is embeding in, with a lot of the hot sales that assisted to reignite the marketplace in the previous year trading listed below their deal costs or revealing dull gains.

China Tower Corp. closed the same &#xA 0; on its launching Wednesday after finishing the world &#x 2019; s greatest going public in 2 years. That mirrors the efficiency of smart device maker Xiaomi Corp., another acutely prepared for listing that &#x 2019; s bit altered a month after it began trading.&#xA 0; Ascletis Pharma Inc.,&#xA 0; a Hangzhou-based maker of HIV drugs, has actually dropped 20 percent considering that making its entryway at the end of July. 1

Even&#xA 0; the online insurance company that stimulated a revival of Hong Kong &#x 2019; s IPO craze remains in the red.&#xA 0;

In the Red

The bulk of significant Hong Kong IPOs in the previous year are trading under water

Source: Bloomberg

Note: China Tower and BeiGene began selling Hong Kong on Wednesday.

ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co., a business backed by web leviathans Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., rose on its&#xA 0; launching &#xA 0; in September, now stands 42 percent listed below its rate on listing.&#xA 0; Two-thirds of IPOs that raised more than $1 billion in the 2 years&#xA 0; ended July 2017 &#xA 0; were listed below their deal costs after 6 months; three-quarters had actually dropped after a year, information put together by Bloomberg program.

Ironically, the reason for the discomfort can be traced partially to steps&#xA 0; Hong Kong Exchanges &Clearing Ltd. has actually required to resist versus a U.S. market that was drawing away China &#x 2019; s&#xA 0; new-economy stars. &#xA 0; Under Chief Executive Officer Charles Li, the exchange operator opened evictions to both dual-class stocks such as Xiaomi and &#x 201C; pre-revenue &#x 201D; biotech companies such as Ascletis.&#xA 0;

The guarantee to IPO hopefuls&#xA 0; was basic: List in Hong Kong and get access to the trading pipelines that permit financiers in mainland China &#x 2019; s partly closed capital markets to purchase into the city &#x 2019; s stocks (another Li effort). Typically not able to list in your home, this used a method for Chinese pharma and tech business to tap the wall of mainland financial investment cash. It likewise assisted Hong Kong to restore its crown &#xA 0; as the world &#x 2019; s most significant most significant IPO fundraising place.

Leading Edge

Hong Kong is the world’s leading place for IPO fundraising this year, beating New York and Nasdaq

Source: Bloomberg

Note: Indian fundraisings are on the National Stock Exchange.

Hong Kong &#x 2019; s pitch likewise held out the possibility of a more direct path back into the mainland stock exchange, through China depositary invoices, though this didn &#x 2019; t work out as hoped. China chose that CDRs were an idea whose &#xA 0; time &#xA 0; hadn &#x 2019; t yet come, requiring Xiaomi to hold off a sale that it had actually prepared to conduct all at once with its Hong Kong IPO. That &#x 2019; s not all: China &#x 2019; s stock market consequently stated they #x &wouldn 2019; t let mainland &#xA 0; financiers purchase show weighted-voting rights , closing Xiaomi off from the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock links.

The takeaway? Hong Kong most likely isn &#x 2019; t all set for business that have yet to make a profit. &#xA 0; The 2 huge gainers amongst listings because mid-2017 are Chinese new-economy companies that are earning money: Tencent-backed online book shop China Literature Ltd. &#xA 0; and biotech &#xA 0; WuXi Biologics(Cayman)Inc. &#xA 0;

A biotech company that &#x 2019; s even more along than Ascletis in scientific trials, such as Innovent, might win more fans, however even that &#x 2019; s no warranty. Cancer drug designer BeiGene Ltd. dropped on its launching Wednesday.

America First

Three of the leading 10 IPOs in the United States in the previous year were Chinese tech business; just Qudian has actually fallen

Source: Bloomberg

Note: iQIYI, Pinduoduo, and Qudian are all Chinese brand-new economy companies.

Chinese IPOs have the tendency to be smaller sized in the United States however their efficiency has actually been much better, with absence of success no bar in a market that rewards development. On the other hand, profits are no guard when development potential customers dim: Qudian Inc., a Beijing-based online loan provider that pays, plunged by over half given that March in the middle of a regulative crackdown on the market.

The lesson for China &#x 2019; s fledgling new-economy stars is that Hong Kong might not deserve the trouble. And for the city &#x 2019; s IPO&#xA 0; financiers: Stick to companies that are currently in the black.

  1. Barring really weak need, brand-new listings do not have the tendency to fall much in the very first month as lenders support their rates.

This column does not always show the viewpoint of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To call the author of this story:
Nisha Gopalan at

To call the editor accountable for this story:
Matthew Brooker at

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Heatwave Boosts U.K. Retailers But Concerns Mount Over Rate Hike

The sweltering summer drove Britons to splurge on food, drink and days away but the boost to retailers may prove short-lived, with higher interest rates expected to hit already fragile consumer confidence, surveys published Tuesday found.

Payments processor Barclaycard said that spending rose an annual 5 percent in July, capping the strongest three-month period since it started measuring the data in 2014. Spending was also boosted by the England soccer team’s best World Cup run for 28 years.

Summer Splurge

U.K. consumer spending grew over 5% for a third month, Barclaycard says

Source: Barclaycard

However, households’ confidence in their finances fell sharply, Barclaycard warned. Meanwhile, a separate report by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG showed same-stores growing just 0.5 percent from the year earlier as the strongest July for food sales in five years came at a cost elsewhere.

“Sales of non-food products struggled,” BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said in a statement. “Three months into an extended period of summer weather, demand for many seasonal purchases has slowed while the heat has kept shoppers away from days spent browsing new ranges. For many in the industry, Autumn could not come sooner.”

Barclaycard said confidence in household finances dropped six percentage points to 59 percent in July, with one in three British shoppers saying they are worried that higher borrowing costs will cut the amount of money they can spend. The Bank of England raised its benchmark interest rate to the highest level since 2009 last week, and Governor Mark Carney signaled the need for further increases over the coming years.

The FIFA World Cup gave a boost to spending in July, with consumers spending 41 percent more in pubs on England match days this summer than on the same days in 2017, Barclaycard said. The semi-final got a 73 percent rise in customers as England soccer fans saw their team lose to Croatia.

The underlying picture for bricks-and-mortar retailers remains one of squeezed consumer spending power, rising costs and online competition. Toys ‘R’ Us U.K., Maplin Electronics and Poundland fell into administration earlier this year. House of Fraser, New Look, Mothercare and Carpetright, among others, have announced store closures as they battle to keep their business alive.

“July’s performance reinforces the fact that it will take more than events-based retail and sunshine to improve the health of the high street,” said Paul Martin, the U.K. head of retail at KPMG. “Retailers must improve efficiency, in many cases reinvent themselves and adapt to the changing retail environment, including last week’s interest rate rise.”

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