Last updateThu, 05 May 2016 8pm


Food and Beverage Sales Strongest in Four Years

The U.S. consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry registered its strongest growth in four years in 2015, and some of the biggest gains were achieved by companies targeting the fast-growing market for protein-rich foods and healthy, “mindful” snacks. These are among the findings of new research fromThe Boston Consulting Group and Information Resources, Inc.

A number of large, high-performing CPG companies derived most of their 2015 growth from such product categories as confections, ice cream, and alcoholic beverages, according to IRI data. Most of these companies are, however, also introducing health-focused foods and beverages.

G7 Countries Vow to Support Energy Investments

Leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan the UK and the U.S. have pledged to “promote investing in energy projects through the oil price crash to ensure a steady stream of supply” and “encourage financial institutions to invest in energy projects and infrastructure,” Bloomberg reports.

“The ministers also agreed to support changes to the liquefied natural gas industry -- including long-term contracts with looser destination restrictions and prices linked to spot deals rather than oil -- to foster a more robust and transparent market. The countries will also promote the development of natural gas infrastructure, such as pipelines and storage tanks.” 

New Study Shows Demand for Natural Gas Will Grow

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Center for Manufacturing Research and IHS Economics released a new comprehensive study that reveals how natural gas has strengthened manufacturing and encouraged U.S. manufacturing growth and employment and highlights the positive impact to communities around the U.S. Natural gas is responsible for millions of jobs, tens of thousands in manufacturing alone, and U.S. supply is expected to increase by 48% over the next decade to meet new demand.

Because energy innovation is lowering production costs, IHS expects energy-intensive industries such as chemicals, metals, food and refining to outperform the U.S. economy as a whole through 2025.

Halliburton and Baker Hughes Abandon Proposed Merger Agreement

Halliburton and Baker Hughes announced that the companies have terminated the merger agreement they entered into in November 2014, effective April 30, 2016.

“This was an extremely complex, global transaction and, ultimately, a solution could not be found to satisfy the antitrust concerns of regulators, both in the United States and abroad,” said Baker Hughes chairman and CEO Martin Craighead.

“The companies' decision to abandon this transaction — which would have left many oilfield service markets in the hands of a duopoly — is a victory for the U.S. economy and for all Americans,” commented U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. 

Energy Sector Weighs on Construction Starts

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $660.5 billion, new construction starts in March receded 1% from February’s pace, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. Total construction starts had jumped 13% in February, led by a huge gain for the electric utility and gas plant category. The dollar amount of electric utility and gas plant starts fell considerably in March, accompanied by a pullback for public works.

During the first three months of 2016, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $141.7 billion, down 10% from the same period a year ago that included the start of several massive power plants and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals. 



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