Intel nearly ruined the business of one of the largest camera manufacturers

, Text: Elyas Kasmi

Nikon produces, in addition to cameras, also lithography equipment for the production of semiconductor products. She supplied most of it for years to Intel, but Intel decided to partially switch to outsourcing and cut equipment purchases, which sharply hit Nikon’s financial stability and led to a global layoff of its staff.

What is Intel’s fault

Nikon, one of the world’s top three digital camera manufacturers, is struggling financially and preparing for a massive layoff. Some of the blame for what is happening in the company lies with the American Intel, a longtime partner of Nikon.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, Intel is ordering equipment from Nikon for the production of processors – the company, unlike AMD, has a number of its own factories. However, it has already announced plans to connect third-party chips to the production of its chips, as many companies from this area do that do not have their own factories. In the foreseeable future, it intends to significantly increase the share of its products manufactured at the facilities of its partners, and it will no longer need its own lithographic equipment in the same quantities, which will affect Nikon’s finances – the company received up to 70-80% of the proceeds in the lithographic equipment segment from Intel, while the division itself for the production of such “hardware” brings the company up to 40% of total revenue.

Why does Intel need all this

Intel will increase the volume of production at third-party factories in order to keep up with competitors – AMD, for example, releases 7-nanometer processors at factories of Taiwanese TSMC, while Intel barely mastered 10 nm and is holding on to the obsolete 14 nm with a stranglehold. AMD is going to switch to 5 nm in the coming years, which Intel, using its own capacities, cannot yet afford.

Intel destroys Nikon’s business to stay afloat amid competition

One of the contract manufacturers of Intel chips may be the Korean company Samsung, which, along with TSMC, has already mastered 5-nanometer standards. For the first time this became known back in November 2019, but then Intel was quick to refute this information. In June 2020, Reuters published new confirmations of possible cooperation between Intel and Samsung.

Nikon’s financial difficulties

According to statistics from, as of September 2020, Nikon was ranked third in the global ranking of digital camera manufacturers. It held an 18.6% share, beating Fujifilm and Panasonic (both 4.7%). Nikon was ahead of Sony (20.2%) and Canon with a 45.4% share.

But even being in the top three does not mean that Nikon is in complete order with finances. In fact, for the second quarter of fiscal 2021 (the company ends on March 31, 2021) Nikon received revenue of 110.9 billion yen ($ 1.067 billion at the exchange rate as of November 23, 2020), which is 25% less than in the same period the previous fiscal year.

Nikon’s market share after all the changes may decline

Almost all divisions of the company showed negative results, not counting only Healthcare Business (production of medical equipment) – it received 0.1 billion yen ($ 963 thousand) in operating profit, and its revenue reached 15.4 billion yen ($ 148.3 million).

The Imaging Products Business, which deals specifically with the production of photographic equipment, showed a drop in revenue from 51.7 billion yen ($ 497.9 million) a year ago to 39.3 billion yen ($ 378.5 million) at the end of the reporting period. Operating loss for the second quarter of fiscal 2021 was 19.3 billion yen ($ 185.8 million).

The division of Precision Equipment Business, which produces, among other things, lithographic equipment, at the end of the reporting period received revenue of 44.2 billion yen ($ 425.6 million) and an operating loss of 0.9 billion yen ($ 8.6 million). Industrial Metrology and Others Division – Revenue of 12.2 billion yen ($ 117.5 million) on an operating loss of 2.5 billion yen ($ 24 million).

During this period, Nikon sold 240 thousand cameras with interchangeable lenses (350 thousand a year earlier), 390 thousand lenses (there were 570 thousand) and 70 thousand compact cameras without interchangeable lenses (230 thousand a year earlier).

Consequences for Nikon

Due to financial turmoil and difficulties in partnering with Intel, Nikon is going to lay off about 2,000 people, which is 10% of its entire staff as of Q3 2020. Among them will be camera sales specialists, since the demand for them fell sharply due to the popularity of smartphones. The coronavirus pandemic has also had a negative impact on this area – the closure of borders around the world has reduced the number of tourists who no longer need cameras to photograph the sights of other countries, since they can no longer get into them.

Nikon also intends to move production outside of Japan to cut costs. The assembly of its cameras in the foreseeable future will be fully implemented in Thailand – according to preliminary estimates, this step, coupled with the reduction of staff, will allow her to reduce operating costs by 63 billion yen.

Possible solutions

One of the options for solving financial problems, writes the Nikkei Asian Review, may be to strengthen partnerships with China. China is currently actively developing semiconductor manufacturing, but at the same time strives to minimize the use of American equipment and technologies.

In this regard, Chinese companies may be interested in Nikon lithography equipment, which Intel no longer requires. However, Nikon has not announced any new deals with China so far, although sales of its lithography equipment have dropped significantly. For example, between April and September 2020, it shipped only nine units, although in the same period of 2019 it delivered 18 units.

Nobody needs cameras

The digital camera market is indeed shrinking at a record pace. According to the Japan Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA), 1.562 million SLR cameras were sold between January and September 2020, down 54% from a year earlier. Mirrorless camera sales fell 34% to 1.807 million globally.

Against this background, Olympus, once one of the most popular vendors of photographic equipment, decided to finally leave the camera market, where it had been present since 1934. As CNews reported, it will sell its business to the Japanese investment fund JIP, which in 2014 bought the VAIO brand from Sony and manufacture of laptops.

The company itself explains its withdrawal from the market by the impossibility of competing with smartphones, since more and more people prefer to take pictures on them.


Corona: How German companies avoid infection

BAt the auto supplier ZF, work is going on again at the Eitorf location. Production in the shock absorber plant in North Rhine-Westphalia last stood still for four days because there was an accumulation of corona cases. The virus was detected in 91 of the almost 700 employees, reports the health department of the Rhein-Sieg district.

Two more test series are now being set up to get a better picture of the situation and to identify those employees who are now allowed to continue working at least in one-shift operation.

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Distance and hygiene rules

ZF cannot explain how the infections came about. “To date, there is no indication that the virus has spread on the factory premises,” says a company spokesman with reference to intensive controls by the authorities.

“No hygiene deficiencies were found.” And there is no other case in the ZF world, with 160,000 employees at 260 locations in 41 countries, that is only rudimentarily comparable.

Only a few companies stand still

But it is not only at Germany’s third largest automotive supplier that there is a lack of comparable cases. It is true that production companies with increased numbers of corona cases and corresponding effects on production can be found across Germany. The upholstered furniture manufacturer Himolla, for example, recently cut production at its Taufkirchen location in Bavaria by 40 percent because 36 out of 160 employees had a positive result in series tests.

In Fürth, on the other hand, the dough production at Wolf Butterback was shut down for a day because additional protective measures were implemented in the factory after the virus was detected in 56 of 600 employees.

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Closed catering at the Maschsee in Hanover.  Closed restaurant at Maschsee Hanover.  GES / Daily life in Hanover during the corona crisis, April 23rd, 2020 GES / Daily life during the corona crisis in Hanover, Germany.  04/23/2020 [ Rechtehinweis: picture alliance/augenklick/GE

Unter dem Strich ist die Zahl der Vorfälle in der Industrie und im produzierenden Gewerbe aber gering, heißt es beim Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) aus Köln. „Vorfälle gibt es vereinzelt, aber nicht flächendeckend“, sagt Hubertus Bardt, Geschäftsführer und Leiter Wissenschaft beim IW. „Die Auswirkungen der aktuell zweiten Welle auf die Industrie halten sich bislang in engen Grenzen.“

Eine Hochburg für Ansteckungen sei das produzierende Gewerbe, in dem nicht mal eben auf Homeoffice umgestellt werden kann, jedenfalls nicht. „Die Unternehmen haben im Frühjahr schnell und viel gelernt und passende Hygienekonzepte auf- und umgesetzt“, sagt Bardt.

Lieferketten in Gefahr

Entsprechend groß ist die Erleichterung bei den einschlägigen Branchenverbänden. Denn natürlich hat die Wirtschaft Angst, dass sich die Produktion in den Unternehmen zum Hotspot entwickelt und damit Beschränkungen oder gar Schließungen drohen, die dann für etliche Unternehmen zum Überlebensrisiko werden könnten und dazu noch Auswirkungen auf Lieferketten haben. Der Fall ZF zum Beispiel hat dem Vernehmen nach bei VW in Wolfsburg sofort für Alarmstimmung gesorgt – weil die Stoßdämpfer aus Eitorf dort in der Produktion benötigt werden.

„Vereinzelt kann es kurzfristig zu Störungen in der Lieferkette kommen, wenn ein kritischer Zulieferer kurzfristig nicht liefern kann. Dies stellt aber insgesamt kein wesentliches Problem dar“, sagt Bianca Illner, die Leiterin der Abteilung Business Advisory beim Maschinenbauverband VDMA. Bisher habe es aber nur vereinzelt Fälle in den Unternehmen gegeben. „Meistens ist die Produktion für mehrere Stunden bis zu einem Tag geschlossen, um in Ruhe eine Kontaktverfolgung und weitere Hygienemaßnahmen vornehmen zu können.“

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Die Maschinenbauunternehmen setzen dabei auf Austausch. Seit März schon gibt es den vom Verband initiierten und regelmäßig tagenden Arbeitskreis „Produzieren während einer Pandemie“.

Den gleichen Namen hat zudem ein 37-seitiges Papier mit Empfehlungen zu Themen wie Kontaktvermeidung, Abstandsregeln oder Hygiene- und Schutzausrüstungen. Maskenpflicht, Abstandsgebote, Trennwände und Desinfektionspausen, aber auch entzerrte Schichten und immer gleiche Team-Zusammensetzungen gehören dabei zum Standardprogramm in den Firmen.

Maskenpflicht und umgebaute Kantinen

Vielerorts gehen die Maßnahmen aber auch noch deutlich weiter. Der Ventilatorenhersteller EBM-Papst zum Beispiel testet derzeit kamerabasierte Temperaturmessgeräte an den Eingängen und hat zudem schon seit Wochen Handgeräte im Einsatz, mit denen im Bedarfsfall die Temperatur gemessen wird. Zudem hält das Familienunternehmen aus Mulfingen in Baden-Württemberg sowohl Tausende Schnelltests als auch klassische PCR-Tests für die Belegschaft vor, mit denen alle Personen aus dem Arbeitsumfeld von Mitarbeitern mit auftretenden Symptomen sofort überprüft werden.

Auch die Kantine wurde umgebaut. „Wir haben jeden zweiten Stuhl rausgenommen“, beschreibt ein Sprecher. Nun liegt ein Mindestabstand von 1,50 Metern zwischen den einzelnen Sitzplätzen am Mittagstisch. Daher müssen die Mitarbeiter abteilungsspezifisch und in Etappen in die Kantine gehen, die zudem ihre Öffnungszeiten ausgeweitet hat, damit auch jeder Mitarbeiter versorgt werden kann. Und bislang wirken die Maßnahmen. „Wir hatten bislang keine Übertragung auf dem Werksgelände“, versichert der Sprecher, demzufolge der Maßnahmenkatalog regelmäßig aktualisiert wird.

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Autogipfel mit der Kanzlerin

Das passiert auch bei Pre Zero, der Entsorgungstochter der Schwarz-Gruppe, zu der die beiden Handelsketten Lidl und Kaufland gehören. Aktuell sind die Müllwerker von Pre Zero angehalten, ihre pro Person fünf Arbeitsanzüge möglichst oft zur Reinigung zu bringen. Gleichzeitig werden die Kontakte im Unternehmen auf das Nötigste beschränkt, sagt ein Sprecher. Dazu wurden die Arbeitszeiten verändert. Nun können sich die einzelnen Schichten nicht mehr zum kollegialen Plausch treffen.

Zudem werden die Teams der Sammelfahrzeuge nicht mehr getauscht. Und auch die Zuordnung der Wagen, in denen im Übrigen eine Maskenpflicht gilt, bleibt unverändert: Wenn möglich nehmen die Mitarbeiter die Müllfahrzeuge nach Feierabend sogar mit nach Hause, damit keine anderen Fahrer und Teams ihre Spuren im jeweiligen Lkw hinterlassen können. „Wir stellen damit sicher, dass die Kreislaufwirtschaft trotz der sehr speziellen Rahmenbedingungen zuverlässig funktioniert.“

Interne Kritik an neuem Arbeitszeiten-Modell

Weitgehend reibungslos läuft auch der Tagesbetrieb bei der Deutschen Post in der Pandemiezeit. Weder in den 36 Paketzentren noch in den 82 Briefzentren, die im Bundesgebiet und den Bundesländern verteilt sind, kam es bisher zu Schließungen. Dabei steigt die Arbeit der rund 140.000 Postmitarbeiter, von denen gut die Hälfte Briefe und Pakete zustellt, in diesen Wochen täglich an.

„Aktuell liegen wir bei den Paketmengen bereits mehr als 13 Prozent über dem vergleichbaren Vorjahreszeitraum“, heißt es in einem internen Rundschreiben. An jedem Werktag stellt die Post etwa 55 Millionen Briefe und gut fünf Millionen Pakete zu. An Spitzentagen in der Zeit vor Weihnachten sind es elf Millionen Paketsendungen.

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Bislang spricht die Post für ihre wichtigen Zustellbasen und Zustellstützpunkte bundesweit von einem „vergleichsweise niedrigen Infektionsgeschehen“. Dagegen habe sich die Lage in den großen Sortierzentren nach höheren Werten „inzwischen erfreulicherweise stabilisiert“. Als wichtigste Maßnahme zum Schutz der Mitarbeiter hat die Post ihren Tagesbetrieb aufgeteilt.

Das sogenannte Zwei-Wellen-Verfahren in der Auslieferung bedeutet, dass zum Beispiel nur die Hälfte aller Briefboten zu ihrer üblichen Frühmorgenzeit mit der Arbeit beginnt. Die anderen Zusteller machen sich erst am Vormittag auf ihre Zustelltouren. Intern hat es daran laut Gewerkschaftsangaben auch Kritik gegeben.

Kontaktreduzierung auch in Betrieben

Die Post testet in jeder Arbeitswoche eine bis zu fünfstellige Zahl von Mitarbeitern auf eine Infektion mit dem Coronavirus. Dabei kam zuletzt heraus, dass dadurch bis zu 30 Prozent der Covid-19 Fälle im Betrieb frühzeitig erkannt werden konnten. Fast die Hälfte der Tests entfallen auf PCR-Volltestungen in den Paketzentren. Daneben hat das Unternehmen wöchentliche Selbsttests für bestimmten Mitarbeiter organisiert.

Dazu gehören zum Beispiel sämtliche Verwaltungsbeschäftigte mit Kontakt zu Mitarbeitern in den Betriebshallen ebenso wie die Transportaufsicht oder Personaldisponenten. In den Postzentren setzt der Konzern seit einigen Wochen eigene Sicherheitskräfte ein. Denn längst nicht überall werden die Regeln eingehalten. So habe die neu eingerichtete Gesundheits-Security bei ihren Vor-Ort-Begehungen immer wieder Verstöße gegen die Abstandsregeln oder das Tragen von Mund-Nasen-Schutz festgestellt, heißt es in dem Rundschreiben.

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Ob die Wirtschaft auch in den kommenden Wochen weiter gut durch die Krise kommt, hängt derweil nicht allein an den Unternehmen. „Schulschließungen wären ein harter Schlag für die Unternehmen, vor allem in den produktionsnahen Bereichen“, warnt zum Beispiel IW-Experte Bardt. Der Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI) wiederum sorgt sich um die Lieferketten und sieht dahin gehend eine „hochgradig fragile“ Lage.

„Unternehmen der Industrie sind in Sorge wegen härterer Maßnahmen zur Eindämmung des Infektionsgeschehens in anderen Staaten“, sagt Verbandspräsident Dieter Kempf. „Der internationale Warenaustausch und die grenzüberschreitende Wirtschaftstätigkeit müssen auch in Zeiten einer Pandemie so gut wie nur möglich funktionieren.“ Die Bundesregierung müsse daher auf europäischer Ebene die von ihr angestoßene Verabredung gemeinsamer Standards sicherstellen, damit in allen EU-Risikogebieten vergleichbare und gegenseitig anerkannte Hygiene- und Schutzmaßnahmen gelten.

Dienstreisen werden wieder schwieriger

Dass es in China nun wieder verschärfte Einreisebestimmungen gibt, ist nach BDI-Angaben ein schwerer Schlag. „Die neuen Bestimmungen belasten die Geschäftstätigkeit der deutschen Industrie im wichtigen chinesischen Markt sehr“, kommentiert Hauptgeschäftsführer Joachim Lang.

„Ingenieure können Anlagen nicht in Betrieb nehmen, Service-Techniker nicht deren reibungslose Funktion gewährleisten, Vertriebsmitarbeiter nicht ihre chinesischen Kunden vor Ort beraten und bedienen. Die Folgen der mittel- und langfristigen Einschränkungen gehen zulasten unserer Unternehmen.“ Die globalisierte und integrierte Welt sei auch in Pandemiezeiten auf einen möglichst uneingeschränkten Personenverkehr angewiesen.


The Tesla fighter is to be produced in Hanover

Düsseldorf The Volkswagen plant in Hanover becomes the new showcase project for the electric offensive of the world’s largest car manufacturer. Probably from 2024 onwards, the new electric luxury flagship of the group is to be produced in the VW transporter factory in the Lower Saxony state capital, which is operating under the project name “Landjet” in the current development phase. As announced on Friday from corporate circles, the Hanoverian VW factory will manufacture the top electric model for three different group brands.

On Friday, the Volkswagen supervisory board set the investment program for the next five years. The conversion of the VW factory in Hanover to the “Landjet” project is part of this program. The Wolfsburg-based company plans to invest around 150 billion euros by 2025. About half of this will go into the transformation of car production, i.e. electrification and digitization.

The development planning for the “Landjet” project lies with the Ingolstadt premium subsidiary Audi, which has set up its own special unit for this purpose under the name “Artemis”. The new electric luxury car is to be located as a “Tesla hunter” above the previous top model A8. With the electric sedan, Audi wants to bring an alternative to the next generation of the Model S from Tesla on the market.

At the same time, the “Artemis” developers in battery technology and software are supposed to make up for the lead of the US competitor, which is currently well ahead of the Wolfsburg-based car company in terms of technology. Currently sold e-models such as the ID.3 from the VW brand are technically not yet as advanced as comparable Tesla vehicles. “Artemis” is supposed to be something of a lighthouse project for the entire group.

If the “Landjet” goes into series production as planned in 2024, there will be much more than just the one Audi variant. As it was said in addition in Wolfsburg, a Porsche and a Bentley derivative are also planned. The VW brand is not included because the new flagship model is intended to cover only the luxury and premium segment. In future, all three brand variants will roll off the production line in Hanover, where so far VW vans (“Bulli”) have been mainly produced.

Audi production plant is too small

Since Audi is in charge of the development work for the “Artemis” project, the later production of the car in an Audi factory would have been obvious. But the technology speaks against it: “The production facilities in the existing Audi factories are too small for the ‘Landjet’,” said a group manager.

The new model is to be a real luxury car with probably three rows of seats and correspondingly large. In the VW transporter plant in Hanover, production and painting systems are designed for such larger vehicles. The “Landjet” can go into series production there very quickly and with less additional effort than in an Audi factory, the manager continues. In addition to the three-brand model, the VW factory in Hanover will in future manufacture the ID.Buzz, a fully electric version of the VW bus.

Of the total of 73 billion euros that the VW Group intends to spend on transformation with electrification and digitization over the next five years, around 27 billion euros will go to new digital projects. That is about twice as much as in the investment plan that the Wolfsburg-based company launched last year. Behind this is the realization that the VW Group has to upgrade its vehicles massively digitally in order to be able to keep up with the pioneer Tesla.


“In the next few years it will be important to take a leading position in vehicle software too,” said VW CEO Herbert Diess. Only as a digital mobility group could Volkswagen meet the needs of its customers for individual and fully networked mobility in the future. That is the reason why the group has now doubled its investment in digitization. In future, Volkswagen intends to develop 60 percent of the software it needs itself.

Works council chief Osterloh praises Diess

Diess received support for this from the influential workers’ side. “The investments impressively show that our group delivers and is really serious about transformation, e-mobility and digitization,” said VW works council chairman Bernd Osterloh.

Volkswagen was the first car company to commit to complying with the Paris climate protection agreement and wants to become climate neutral by 2050. In its long-term plan for the next ten years, the group plans to bring around 70 all-electric models onto the market by 2030. Around 20 of these have already started and another 50 will follow. In addition, another 60 hybrid vehicles are planned by the end of the decade.

Markus Duesmann

The CEO of Audi AG wants to catch up with the industry leader Tesla as quickly as possible.

(Photo: AUDI AG)

The five-year plan approved by the Volkswagen supervisory board on Friday does not yet include a possible tightening of the EU climate targets as part of the “Green Deal”. If it comes to that, the VW group would probably have to increase the number of its all-electric models by another 20 percent.

The decision on this can be made in one year at the earliest in the next VW planning round in 2021. The EU Commission presented new climate targets in mid-September. Brussels wants to reduce EU-wide carbon dioxide emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 instead of the 40 percent previously planned.

Other VW locations, especially in Lower Saxony, will also benefit from the decision to approve further investments in the billions. Around three billion euros will flow into the Wolfburg parent plant alone in the coming years. Because the sales figures for the Golf continue to decline, Wolfsburg is getting an additional SUV to keep the factory running at full capacity. So far, the VW Tiguan has been rolling off the assembly line there. From 2024 onwards, the slightly larger sister model Tayron will also be manufactured. For the time being, the main plant continues to produce cars with combustion engines. A decision to move into electrical production is likely next year.

Further e-models are planned for the VW factory in Emden, East Frisia. The VW Aero, the electric counterpart to the Passat, will go into series production there from 2023. A limousine and a station wagon are being planned. The Passat, which is still rolling off the assembly line in Emden, is moving to the VW plant in the Slovakian capital, Bratislava. The Passat is produced there together with the very similar Superb from the sister brand Skoda.

Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD), also a member of the Volkswagen Supervisory Board, welcomed the decisions. “The VW Group shows that it is ready and able to accelerate the already rapidly progressing transformation once again,” said Weil. The future of the Lower Saxony VW locations will be secured with the resolutions.

The VW share was up almost 0.5 percent in the afternoon – slightly better than the Dax, Germany’s leading share index.

More: Audi aims at the electric luxury class – new flagship is to compete with Tesla


A lot of pressure, enthusiasm and good money

Construction site of the Tesla Gigafactory

Tesla wants to hire up to 7,000 people by next summer, and ultimately 12,000 people will work in Grünheide.

(Photo: Marc-Steffen Unger for Handelsblatt)

Berlin, Düsseldorf Lightning visit from Elon Musk. The Tesla boss visited the Tesla factory in Berlin, just a few weeks after his last flying visit from California. The urgency is great. The expansion of the factory, which has so far been raised at record speed, is stalling, and approval from the state authorities is still a long time coming after many complaints from citizens.

Another reason for the visit: job interviews. Musk looked at “top engineers,” as he wrote on Twitter. The 49-year-old wants to set up a task force for the factory that will intervene in the event of future technical problems. 25 employees should report to him directly.

The e-mail address to which applicants can send their documents: [email protected]. “25 guns” or 25 cannons, that is reminiscent of Wild West and Top-Gun, just as Musk imagines his company: wild, direct and first-class. The structure of the task force shows: Musk doesn’t like to delegate, wants to be involved down to the smallest detail.

Tesla is a company with flat hierarchies and short decision-making paths. Numerous conversations with former and current Tesla employees result in the image of an employer who demands a lot, but also gives a lot. Working hours and stress can be extremely high, and the tasks change constantly. The pay is good and highly performance-related.

Tesla wants to hire up to 7,000 people by next summer, and ultimately 12,000 people will work in Grünheide in two years. Tesla currently employs around 50,000 worldwide. “I really appreciated my work at Tesla,” says Jochen Rudat, former Tesla European boss, who worked there for ten years and at times reported directly to Musk. “There were clear speeches, nothing was political.”

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Industrial production fell 0.6% in September

Factory in the Valencian Community.

Factory in the Valencian Community.

The Industrial production decreased 0.6% in September compared to the same month of 2019, a fall 5.3 points softer than that of August (5.9%) with which the indicator is approaching stabilization after falling for nine consecutive months.

The industrial production index (IPI) for September published this Friday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) recovered thanks to the positive evolution of consumer goods and intermediate goods, although the production of capital goods and energy continued in negative.

The IPI has already started the year down, with reductions in production of 4.3% in January and 0.4% in February, which, from the declaration of alarm status, reached 12.1% in March, from 34.1% in April and from 28% in May, to later moderate to 10.1% in June, 6.3% in July and 5.9% in August.

In September, the production of consumer goods grew by 1.4% thanks to both durables (4.7%) and non-durables (1.1%). The production of intermediate goods also registered an advance, in this case 0.9%. Instead, energy production fell 3.4% and that of capital goods, 2.3%.

Industrial production increased in September in eight autonomous communities, led by Aragon (8.1%) and Galicia (7.2%), while the remaining nine suffered setbacks that were especially notable in the Balearic Islands (21.1%) and Asturias (12.7%).

If the data are corrected for seasonal and calendar effects, the IPI records a drop of 3.4% in September, 2.3 points more moderate than that of August (5.7%), after experiencing declines in all headings except for durable consumer goods.

In monthly and corrected terms, industrial production grew by 0.8% in September compared to August, four tenths more than the previous month, with which it adds five consecutive months in positive.

The monthly rebound was achieved thanks to the higher production of equipment goods (1.9%), non-durable consumer goods (1.6%), and intermediate goods (0.2%), since durable consumer goods (1.7%) and energy (0.4 %).


the expert told who will actually carry the coronavirus asymptomatically

Along with insensitivity to coronavirus due to the structural features of the receptor, the opposite situation is possible.

A photo: Ivan MAKEEV

A Chinese-American team of scientists has released data that may astound many. In one of the hospitals in Beijing, three patients with coronavirus were monitored, each of whom had several complicating circumstances. First, not a young age: 52, 58 and 62 years old. Secondly, concomitant chronic diseases: hypertension and diabetes, which are considered the main risk factors for severe complications of covid. All patients had a long history of virus isolation – at least 50 days. However, not only complications, but even serious symptoms of COVID-19 were not! The researchers recorded “minimal clinical manifestations or their complete absence.”

Scientists have suggested that the secret of such an unexpected reaction to infection in people at risk was a phenomenon called “tolerance to infection,” host tolerance. With some biological characteristics of the organism that are not yet fully understood by science, replication of the virus (that is, relatively speaking, “reproduction”) can be difficult. Or a hyperinflammatory reaction does not develop, including the so-called “cytokine storm”. And as a result of this, the disease is easy. Moreover, even in the presence of chronic diseases, which, it would seem, should aggravate the infectious process.

Is it possible to predict in advance which person is more resistant to coronavirus? We talked about this with honored doctor of Russia, leading scientific editor of the medical portal Mikhail Kagan.


– There are at least three mechanisms that explain why certain people are invulnerable to the coronavirus, says the expert. – First: the genetic characteristics of the receptor through which the virus enters the body.

It is known that the new coronavirus enters cells through a specific receptor (binding to the so-called type 2 angiotensin-converting enzyme, ACE-2). In some people, the structure of this receptor may be such that it is inconvenient for the virus to “dock”. We are talking about an innate individuality of some people. So far, we are not able to determine what exactly this feature is and who exactly has it. But a similar mechanism occurs, say, with HIV resistance. There are lucky ones who simply cannot get it due to the special structure of the receptors through which this virus interacts with immune cells. Obviously, the same is the case with COVID-19.


Why healthy young people can be seriously ill

– Along with insensitivity to coronavirus due to the structural features of the ACE-2 receptor, the opposite situation is possible, – says Mikhail Kagan. – A person may have such a modification of the receptor, which, on the contrary, makes it easier for the coronavirus to enter cells. Moreover, this circumstance has nothing to do with the state of the immune system as a whole! And it is due precisely to the molecular feature of a particular protein, that is, the same genetic factor.

It is because of this that young and healthy people with seemingly strong immunity can get sick with severe complications and even die from covid, the expert explains. Alas, by nature they were unlucky to have such a structure of receptors, which is the most “attractive” and convenient for the coronavirus.

At least three mechanisms can be distinguished that explain why certain people are invulnerable to coronavirus.

At least three mechanisms can be distinguished that explain why certain people are invulnerable to coronavirus.

A photo: Vladimir VELENGURIN


– The second variant of insensitivity to coronavirus – when in humans, certain elements of innate immunity are very strong– continues Dr. Kagan. – As a rule, these are the components of the immune system that are involved in the initial meeting of the virus. The main one is interferon protein.

It turned out that one of the insidious features of the coronavirus is its ability to suppress the production of interferon in the initial stages. Due to the absence of an interferon “barrier”, the virus manages to quickly replicate (multiply) and spread throughout the body.

“However, in some people, the mechanism for producing interferons is so strong that SARS-CoV-2 is not able to suppress it,” the expert explains. – Thanks to this, the innate immunity “extinguishes” the virus already at the entrance and prevents the infection from spreading.

In practice, alas, there are still no surveys that could determine in advance how the mechanism of interferon production will behave in a particular person when meeting with a coronavirus. This is a subject for further research.


– The third variant of immunity to coronavirus may be associated with so-called cross-immunity, – says Mikhail Kagan. – The current coronavirus is not the first in history, it has brothers and sisters. Among them, including seasonal coronaviruses, which cause, in everyday language, common colds. Of course, they differ from SARS-CoV-2, but, being members of the same family, they have similar elements. Therefore, the immune mechanisms developed in a person after encounters with pathogens of seasonal colds may also react to some fragments of the new coronavirus. Due to this, the body is already ready to recognize and worthy of meeting a new, previously unknown enemy. There is a greater chance that the infection will be suppressed at a very early stage, or at least the disease will be easier.


What about COVID-19 tolerance?

“There are still many secrets for humanity in the new infection,” notes Mikhail Kagan. – A very strange picture is observed. It is known that in the first week of illness, the virus actively replicates (multiplies). How much it reaches in the body depends on two factors: the initial dose received during infection, and the production of interferon (a protein that is an element of the immune system, see above).

However, after the first week, when the rapid multiplication of the virus stops and the organism, it would seem, begins to defeat it and literally “scraps” of genetic material (individual proteins and RNA of the virus) remain, something strange happens. It is to these fragments that an immune overreaction suddenly occurs, leading to the development of the strongest generalized inflammation. And it is precisely this that leads to those very serious complications, due to which people end up in hospitals, intensive care units and on mechanical ventilation. That is, in fact, it is not the virus itself that kills a person, but a distorted immune response to fragments, “scraps” of SARS-CoV-2.

– Such an overreaction during treatment is suppressed with the help of drugs that reduce immunity and inflammation, – the doctor continues. – By analogy with this, it can be assumed that individuals with initially weakened certain mechanisms of the immune system will suffer less from overreaction and the complications arising from it. Please note: I am talking only about individual mechanisms, and not about weakened immunity in general. In order to transfer the infection asymptomatically or in a mild form, it is important not only to avoid the immune “burst” at the second stage of the disease, but also to successfully cope with the meeting of the coronavirus at the first stage. In other words, a person, most likely, should have a sufficiently strong mechanism for the production of interferon and, at the same time, the inability to develop an immune hyperreaction to the very “bits” of the virus, including fragments of RNA and some proteins.

Who is so lucky in practice – it’s hard to say yet. Scientists continue their research.


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globally stable world production in 2020

Global wine production is expected to be broadly stable in 2020, according to the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV). The latter nevertheless underlines the impact of climate change on the vines, with the 2020 harvest taking place “Below average” over the past five years. For the year 2020, the OIV estimates world wine production between 253.9 and 262.2 million hectoliters (Mhl), i.e. an average of 258 Mhl, after 256 Mhl in 2019.

In the European Union, the harvest is estimated at 159 Mhl, or 5% more than in 2019. Italy, the world’s largest producer (47.2 Mhl), observed a decline of 1% while the production of France, in second position (43.9 Mhl), increased by 4%. Spain, the third largest producer in the world (37.5 Mhl), saw its production jump by 11%.

The production of each of these three countries – which represents 49% of world wine production – is however below their respective five-year average 2015-2020, underlines the OIV. This results in particular from upstream market regulation, some vineyards having voluntarily reduced their volumes so as not to affect too much the prices already pulled down by the Covid-19 crisis.

The impact of droughts and forest fires

The OIV also underlines the impact in several regions of the world of droughts and forest fires, which have affected many wineries.

Main victim of climatic hazards this year, Argentina, which saw its production drop by 17% compared to 2019 and by 13% compared to the five-year average, to 10.8 Mhl, due to the phenomenon The boy. In South America, Chile also suffered from drought and posted a decline of 13% to 10.3 Mhl.

→ READ. Harvests under pressure from Covid-19

Australia has observed a sharp decline in its production, to 10.6 Mhl (-11% compared to 2019 and -16% compared to its five-year average).

Ditto in the United States: if the first estimates of the OIV, based on those of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), expect wine production of 24.7 Mhl in 2020, i.e. an increase of 1% per year. compared to 2019, the OIV warns that this figure could be “Significantly revised in the coming months” when “The real effects of the fires in the Napa and Sonoma wine valleys will be assessed”.


new demonstration by breeders against the end of fur production

The fate of animals is currently dividing Poland. In mid-September, a bill was adopted by the deputies to prohibit the breeding of fur animals and the export of meat resulting from ritual slaughter. This initiative was led by the Deputy Prime Minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and strong man of the conservative Law and Justice party (PiS), the majority formation of the ruling coalition.

For a month, discontent has been mounting among farmers who have followed demonstrations across the country. On Wednesday, October 7, farmers slowed down traffic on main roads leaving wheelbarrows of manure outside the offices of political leaders in protest. They plan to demonstrate again, Tuesday, October 13, in Warsaw, when the law should go through the Senate which will have to give its approval.

Fear of the loss of thousands of jobs

Poland is the third largest producer of fur in the world – behind China and Denmark – according to NGOs. In this Eastern European country, animal husbandry supports thousands of people – there are an estimated 550 Polish farms that exploit 5.2 million animals for their furs. In addition to breeders, many indirect professions are also threatened by the destruction of this sector. In the first line, people working in cage production or even the tannery.

At the same time, the end of the export of meat resulting from ritual slaughter may also be a blow for some farmers. Indeed, Poland is one of the biggest exporters of kosher halal meats to Israel and the Jewish communities in Europe. Opponents of this law fear the disappearance of thousands of jobs without any alternative. According to the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, the economic impact of the bill would be around 1.6 billion euros.

The conservative coalition revamped

Through this initiative, the president of PiS – known for his sympathy for animals – has drawn the anger of part of the rural world where the conservative political formation draws part of its votes. If this text divided the electorate of the Polish conservative party, it also caused an internal political crisis since Jaroslaw Kaczynski saw his majority fail him on this text during the vote on the lower house of parliament. Fifteen PiS members, including Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski, were suspended from the party for voting against this bill which received unprecedented support from liberals and environmentalists.

→ MAINTENANCE. Animal condition: “A bench is more valuable than a dog or a cat”

Following this political crisis, the ultra-conservative coalition, in power since 2015, was reshuffled at the end of September. The goal? Put an end to the disorder that had settled in this government coalition for a few weeks. This reshuffle aimed to put an end to the pranks of small minority parties such as “Solidarity Poland” and “Alliance” – which moreover opposed their rejection to the proposed law on animal rights – which the PiS needs to keep his majority.


Vehicle production in Spain rose 12.2% in September

The month of September was not good in Spain in terms of sales, with a fall of 13.5% compared to the same month of 2019 with a total of 70,729 units enrolled. However, Spanish factories did close a good month, reaching production volumes prior to the pandemic. In total, according to data from the Spanish Association of Automobile and Truck Manufacturers (Anfac), a total of 262,589 units, a 12.2% more.

The good figure for the ninth month of 2020 allows to reduce by five points the collapse in the accumulated of the year, reaching the 1,537,231 units, resulting in a drop in 27,7%. The break between the months of March and June will weigh down the whole year. Since Anfac They point to the good performance of foreign markets as the main reason for the increase in production. Despite the fall of the Spanish market in September, data such as the daily production record of Volkswagen Navarra or a new historical record of Seat sales for the month of September, despite falling significantly in Spain, augured good news.

Thus, sales in markets such as italiano, which went up a 9,5% last month, or German, the main market for Seat, which grew a 8,4% They have boosted the Spanish car industry. Despite falling, the good reception of the vehicles’made in Spain‘ in countries like France (-3%) or the United Kingdom (-4.4%) also contributed to the increase in production. It should be noted that, in the absence of data for September, four vehicles manufactured in Spain were among the 10 best sellers in Europe in August: Opel Corsa, he Peugeot 2008, he Renault Captur and the Volkswagen Polo.

It is not strange, in that sense, that exports rose by 20,1% last month up to a total of 235,133 units shipped, although, again, in the accumulated of the year the figure is a 24% worse than in 2019 with 1,317,052 units. France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Turkey they were the main destinations for Spanish vehicles.

Production by segments

Of the total, 206,638 vehicles assembled in the country in September were passenger cars, a 13.1% more, while 166 were off-road vehicles, which returned to occur after months of hiatus. In the first nine months of the year only 5,870 SUVs were manufactured in Spain, a 80.8% less. On the other hand, the manufacture of commercial and industrial vehicles until September stood at 322,503 units, a 25.2% less.

By type of vehicle, the evolution of the sector has improved the production share of alternative vehicles, counting electric, plug-in hybrids, conventional hybrids and gas hybrids, growing this year to 5,6% from the 2,34% with which it closed last year. Until September they have left the local assembly lines 27,949 electrical cigars, a 153.1% more, to which are added 44,137 plug-in hybrids, 4,054 conventional hybrids (-38.2%) and 13,423 natural gas hybrids (-57%).


South Korean prime minister named three strategies to combat coronavirus :: Politics :: RBC

South Korea paid special attention to the prevention of infections, took a course towards digitalization and launched socio-economic support for vulnerable groups of the population

Photo: Ahn Young-joon / AP

South Korean Prime Minister Jung Se Kyung identified three key strategies to combat the virus and restore the economy that are being implemented in his country. The Prime Minister said this during his speech at the Open Innovations forum, broadcast by the RBK channel.

The first strategy is the successful implementation of sanitary and epidemiological measures. According to Jung Se Kyun, it is a direct path to economic recovery. “Both the fight against coronavirus and the economy are two imperative goals, and a wise approach is needed in order to maintain a balance between them,” the Prime Minister said.

“The so-called three-T strategy has proven effective, which includes: mass testing (test), contact tracing (trace) and treatment of cases at an early stage (treatment),” added the Prime Minister. He noted that the Koreans actively participated in all anti-epidemic measures, which made it possible to prevent the further spread of the infection without introducing large-scale restrictions in society.

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The second strategy is to prepare for large-scale changes in the structure of the economy and society, according to Jung Se Kyun. “Due to the global pandemic, we are entering an era of new normalcy, when global production chains are being rebuilt and a new world order is required. Our government has announced a new national development strategy, the so-called Korean New Deal. The essence of the strategy is digitalization in all areas based on a reliable employment protection system, ”the Prime Minister explained. When implementing the new course, the authorities intend to create 900 thousand jobs, and the volume of investments will amount to 58 trillion Korean won (3.96 trillion rubles) by 2025.