© Reuters. Alex Flores walks on a dry area of Lake Titicaca, Latin America’s largest freshwater basin, as it is edging towards record low levels, on Cojata Island, Bolivia October 26, 2023. REUTERS/Claudia Morales/File Photo
By Monica Machicao and Sergio Limachi
COJATA, Bolivia (Reuters) – The exposed cracked floors of parts of Lake Titicaca, South America’s largest body of fresh water and the highest navigable lake in the world nestled amid the Andes mountains, are an alarming sight for local farmer Manuel Flores.
His crops are parched, nearby water wells have dried up amid a long spell of drought, and his livestock are struggling. Like many who live on or around the lake, he used to get around easily by boat. Now he walks across the dried-up lake bed.
The lake, once seen as a deity by the pre-Columbian people that lived on its shores, is an important ecosystem for wildlife and a water source for millions of people, including in the city of El Alto, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) to the east.
But its water levels are now reaching record lows, worsened by the El Nino weather phenomenon that means less rain in the area, compounding a long dry spell and rare high temperatures.
Scientists say such extreme weather is becoming increasingly common globally because of climate change, which also intensifies the effects of El Nino.
“I am 50 years old. Never before has Lake Titicaca dried up like it is now. This affects us, because there is no more food for our livestock and we cannot travel by boat,” said farmer Flores. “Now we have to walk and our crops no longer exist because it hasn’t rained since last year.”
The drought is approaching critical levels for the region’s agriculture, farmers and experts said. If it does not rain by early December there will be no planting of potatoes, one of the food staples for Bolivia’s rural communities and cities.
Around the lake, especially in the smaller and shallower “Lago Menor,” the waters have receded from the shoreline, partly due to the lack of rains, high temperatures and receding of the Andean glaciers, whose melt water normally feeds the lake.
Experts say many of the factors contributing to the shrinking of Lake Titicaca could be linked to climate change.
“Ninety-five percent of the water loss from the lake is due to evaporation, which shows that this is totally or almost totally caused by climate change,” said Xavier Lazzaro, an aquatic systems specialist with French research institute IRD.
‘GOING DOWN CENTIMETER BY CENTIMETER’
According to MapBiomas Agua, which has monitored changes in surface water bodies in the area for two decades, Bolivia overall has seen a 39% drop in its natural surface waters, such as rivers and lagoons, between 1985 and 2022.
The decline comes with global temperatures hitting record highs, which has impacted rivers, lakes and glaciers from the United States to Asia.
“There are many factors, many causes,” said Rodney Camargo, an official at local NGO Friends of Nature Foundation (FAN).
“On one hand we have local causes that we know about: deforestation, fires, human activity, large dams, which have an effect. In global terms we have climate change, and phenomena such as El Nino and La Nina, which cause floods and droughts.”
Back at Lake Titicaca, Fredy Aruquipa, the person in charge of monitoring the lake’s water level, watches it decline daily.
“The water is going down centimeter by centimeter,” he said.
U.S. stocks soar after better than expected inflation stokes rate hopes
Investing.com — U.S. stocks surged on Tuesday after data showed that inflation cooled more than expected in October, offering support to the view that the Federal Reserve may be closing to ending its rate-hiking cycle.
By 10:55 ET (15:55 GMT), the was up 505 points or 1.5%, while the was up 2% and the was up 2.3%.
The main indices on Wall Street closed mixed on Monday in subdued trading at the start of a new week. The 30-stock Dow added 0.2%, while the benchmark S&P dipped by 0.1% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 0.2%.
U.S. CPI cools more than expected
These gains followed the release of data showing headline inflation in the U.S. slowed by more than expected in October, in a boost for Federal Reserve officials keen on corralling price pressures in the world’s largest economy.
The U.S. rose by 3.2% in October on an annualized basis, decelerating from a rate of 3.7% in September. It was the reading’s first decline in three months. Month-on-month, the measure came in flat, down from a gain of 0.4% in September.
Economists had forecast a 3.3% annual gain and a 0.1% gain from the prior month.
Fed Chair indicated last week that further interest rate hikes were still possible as the central bank attempts to bring inflation back down to its 2% target, but the market still widely expects the Fed to stand pat at the year’s last meeting as inflationary pressures show signs of cooling. This result has prompted investors to speculate that the Fed’s next move may be a cut next year.
Home Depot reports drop in 3Q sales
On the corporate side of the equation, big-box retailers are stepping up with earnings reports.
Home Depot (NYSE:) reported a smaller-than-anticipated 3.1% decline in third-quarter comparable sales as customers undertook more modest projects and home repairs. The retailer also indicated caution about the coming months, as it narrowed its full-year outlook, now expecting sales to fall by 3% to 4% from the prior year, compared with a previous expectation of a 2% to 5% decline. Shares rose 6.3%.
Target (NYSE:) follows with its earnings on Wednesday, while Walmart (NYSE:) and Macy’s (NYSE:) are scheduled to release their results on Thursday.
Electric vehicle maker Fisker Inc (NYSE:) reported disappointing earnings and said it would delay its quarterly regulatory filing. Shares were down 23%.
Oil helped by IEA lifting demand growth forecasts
Oil prices edged higher Tuesday after the International Energy Agency raised its oil demand growth forecasts for this year and next despite economic risks ahead.
The IEA, in its , lifted its 2023 growth forecast to 2.4 million barrels per day from 2.3 million, and 930,000 barrels per day from 880,000 in 2024.
The agency, however, was careful to point to an expected deceleration in economic growth in nearly all major economies next year, but said its expectations were underpinned by hopes of interest rate cuts and the recent fall in crude prices.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries had also slightly raised its 2023 forecast for growth in global oil demand, in its , released on Monday.
(Peter Nurse and Oliver Gray contributed to this item.)
Lloyd’s of London SPAC venture scrapped due to volatile markets
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view shows the Lutine Bell during an event to mark accession of Britain’s King Charles at the Lloyd’s Building in the City of London, Britain, September 15, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier/File Photo
By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – Financials Acquisition Corp said on Monday it would enter liquidation as it scraps a planned merger with its newly formed insurance venture, citing “insufficient” cash commitments due to volatile capital markets.
The special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) had unveiled plans to combine with London Innovation Underwriters (LIU) and raise additional funds to deploy in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market.
A shareholder meeting planned for Nov. 14 to approve the tie-up plans and seek up to 300 million pounds has been cancelled, the company said.
The SPAC has an end of year deadline to use funds raised for a takeover, and said it would not seek an extension.
“Consequently, the Company proposes to cease operations, other than for the purpose of returning funds to Shareholders and conducting an orderly winding up of the Company,” Financials Acquisition Corp said in a statement.
“In order to ensure due payment of creditors, the Company proposes to appoint a liquidator as soon as practicable to administer the winding up of operations, and expects to release a further announcement regarding this process in due course.”
LIU said despite interest from a wide range of investors, the level of demand was insufficient to reach the minimum cash threshold required.
LIU said it would consider exploring alternative options to pursue its strategy of accessing the Lloyd’s of London insurance market.
The failed effort comes amid a dearth of new listings in London and concerns over its appeal as a capital markets hub, despite profits at Lloyds (LON:) of London which are booming thanks to rising prices for insuring commercial risks.
Following a frenzy of deals in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, SPACs have lost popularity as they struggleto find businesses to merge with. Others have seen lacklustre stock performance after acquiring a target.
Medical device stocks rise in relief after Wegovy heart benefits data
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A 0.25 mg injection pen of Novo Nordisk’s weight-loss drug Wegovy is shown in this photo illustration in Oslo, Norway, September 1, 2023. REUTERS/Victoria Klesty/Illustration/File Photo
(Reuters) -Shares of U.S. medical device makers rose on Monday as a potential hit from the cardiac benefits of Novo Nordisk (NYSE:)’s weight-loss drug Wegovy was seen as more moderate for the battered sector than initially feared by investors.
To be sure, the full results presented on Saturday at a major medical meeting gave analysts even more confidence in the heart protective benefits of the hugely popular drug.
“We believe key findings could be seen as a marginal positive for some, but not all, verticals within MedTech, especially given currently depressed sentiment,” said Baird analyst Jeff Johnson.
The data, for instance, showed the reduction in risk of non-fatal stroke was not statistically significant over the length of the trial.
That lifted shares of Penumbra (NYSE:), which makes devices used in surgeries for stroke patients, 13% in morning trading.
Its shares have tumbled about 28% as of last close since Novo in August said Wegovy had also shown a clear cardiovascular benefit.
The $4.64 billion iShares US Medical Devices ETF rose 2.3% on Monday, eyeing its biggest one-day percentage gain since April. The ETF is down about 13% this year, through Friday’s close.
Shares of diabetes care device makers Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:), Dexcom (NASDAQ:), Insulet (NASDAQ:), Tandem and Medtronic (NYSE:) gained between 2% and 8%.
Monday’s moves are the latest sign that investors across industries are closely looking at developments with the popular new class of weight-loss and diabetes drugs called GLP-1s such as Wegovy and Eli Lilly (NYSE:)’s Mounjaro and Zepbound.
“The full detailed results … do not shift our outlook that MedTech device stocks appear broadly oversold,” said Leerink analyst Mike Kratky.
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