A long exposure photo shows the path of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket as it launched the ispace mission on Dec. 11, 2022, with the rocket booster’s return and landing visible as well.
Japanese lunar exploration company ispace began its long-anticipated first mission on Sunday, with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching the venture’s lunar lander from Florida.
“This is the very, very beginning of a new era,” ispace founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada told CNBC.
The Tokyo-based company’s Mission 1 is currently on its way to the moon, with a landing expected near the end of April.
Founded more than a decade ago, ispace originated as a team competing for the Google Lunar Xprize under the name Hakuto – after a mythological Japanese white rabbit. After the Xprize competition was canceled, ispace pivoted and expanded its goals, with Hakamada aiming to create “an economically viable ecosystem” around the moon, he said in a recent interview.
The company has grown steadily as it worked toward this first mission, with over 200 employees around the world – including about 50 at its U.S. subsidiary in Denver. Additionally, ispace has steadily raised funds from a wide variety of investors, bringing in $237 million to date through a mixture of equity and debt. The investors of ispace include the Development Bank of Japan, Suzuki Motor, Japan Airlines, and Airbus Ventures.
The ispace Mission 1 lander carries small rovers and payloads for a number of government agencies and companies – including from the U.S., Canada, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates.
The ispace Mission 1 spacecraft deploys from the upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on Dec. 11, 2022.
Before the launch, ispace outlined 10 milestones for the mission – with the company having completed the first three so far: Preparation for launch, deployment after launch, and then establishing a communication link. Next up is to maneuver in orbit, and then a one-month period flying through space before entering the moon’s orbit. The milestones demonstrate the complexity and difficulty of ispace’s mission, with Hakamada emphasizing both his confidence in the mission, as well as noting that each milestone represents another step forward for the company’s goals.
“I have 100% trust in our engineering team, they have been doing the right things to accomplish our successful landing on the lunar surface,” Hakamada said.
If successful, ispace would be the first private company to land on the moon – a feat previously accomplished by global superpowers.
The lunar landeer for the company’s Mission 1.
IMF hikes global growth forecast as inflation cools
The IMF has revised its global economic outlook upwards.
Norberto Duarte | Afp | Getty Images
The International Monetary Fund on Monday revised upward its global growth projections for the year, but warned that higher interest rates and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would likely still weigh on activity.
In its latest economic update, the institution said the global economy will grow 2.9% this year — which represents a 0.2 percentage point improvement from its previous forecast in October. However, it said that number would still mean a fall from an expansion of 3.4% in 2022.
It also revised its projection for 2024 down to 3.1%.
“Growth will remain weak by historical standards, as the fight against inflation and Russia’s war in Ukraine weigh on activity,” Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, director of the research department at the IMF, said in a blog post.
The Fund turned more positive on the global economy due to better-than-expected domestic factors in several countries, such as the United States.
“Economic growth proved surprisingly resilient in the third quarter of last year, with strong labor markets, robust household consumption and business investment, and better-than-expected adaptation to the energy crisis in Europe,” Gourinchas said, also noting that inflationary pressures have come down.
In addition, China announced the reopening of its economy after strict Covid-19 lockdowns, which is expected to contribute to higher global growth. A weaker U.S. dollar has also brightened the prospects for emerging countries that hold debt in foreign currency.
However, the picture isn’t totally positive. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva warned earlier this month that the economy was not as bad as some feared, “but less bad doesn’t quite yet mean good.”
“We have to be cautious,” she said during a CNBC-moderated panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The IMF on Monday warned of several factors that could deteriorate the outlook in the coming months. These included the fact that China’s Covid reopening could stall; inflation could remain high; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could shake energy and food costs even further; and markets could turn sour on worse-than-expected inflation prints.
IMF calculations say that about 84% of nations will face lower headline inflation this year compared to 2022, but they still forecast an annual average rate of 6.6% in 2023 and of 4.3% in 2024.
As such, the Washington, D.C.-based institution said one of the main policy priorities is that central banks keep addressing the surge in consumer prices.
“Clear central bank communication and appropriate reactions to shifts in the data will help keep inflation expectations anchored and lessen wage and price pressures,” the IMF said in its latest report.
“Central banks’ balance sheets will need to be unwound carefully, amid market liquidity risks,” it added.
Most Adani shares continue losses; founder loses $28 billion in month
Gautam Adani, chairperson of Indian conglomerate Adani Group, at the World Congress of Accountants in Mumbai on Nov. 19, 2022. Founder Gautam Adani, the richest man in Asia and once second only to Elon Musk, fell out of the world’s top five richest to rank seventh on the Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.
Indranil Mukherjee | Afp | Getty Images
Shares of most of Adani Group companies continued to see sharp losses for a third consecutive trading session as the company attempted to rebut short seller firm Hindenburg’s report, which accused the conglomerate of stock manipulation and an “accounting fraud scheme.”
Adani Enterprises erased earlier gains of up to 10% and last traded flat in Mumbai’s afternoon trade after the group published a lengthy response of over 400 pages to Hindenburg’s report over the weekend, saying that it will exercise its rights to “pursue remedies” to protect its investors “before all appropriate authorities.”
Adani Enterprises’ stock price remains more than 25% lower in the month to date, Refinitiv data showed. It proceeded with a secondary share sale worth $2.5 billion, which were overshadowed by a rout that wiped out a total of $48 billion as of last week’s close.
His net worth fell $27.9 billion year to date, the index showed. It peaked at $150 billion on Sept. 20, 2022, before falling to to $92.7 billion as of last week’s close, according to the index.
Despite small gains seen in Adani Enterprises, other affiliates of the Adani Group continued to plunge.
Adani Group said Hindenburg’s allegations were a “calculated attack on India, independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and growth story and ambition of India,” in the response it released over the weekend.
The group’s chief financial officer Jugeshinder Singh said in an interview with CNBC-TV18, an affiliate of CNBC, that the value of Adani Enterprises has not changed “simply because” of share price volatility, adding it instead lies in its “ability to incubate new businesses.”
He added that he is confident Adani Enterprises‘ follow-on public offering will be fully subscribed, calling Hindenburg’s report “simply a lie” and the timing of the report “malicious.”
Hindenburg on Monday morning described the group’s response “bloated” and claimed it “ignores every key allegation” against the conglomerate that it raised.
“Fraud cannot be obfuscated by nationalism of a bloated response that ignores every key allegation we raised,” the short seller titled its response to Adani Group.
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