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New Zealand: New efforts to curb skyrocketing house prices

MarketLine

New Zealand has the world’s most frenetic property market, with prices in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, now outstripping London. In 2017, New Zealand house prices were the most unaffordable in the world and prices in Auckland have risen by 75% over the last four years alone. Home ownership is also low with only one quarter of New Zealanders owning a home. The last five years have also witnessed a rise in homelessness. At the same time, New Zealand has recently become known as a get-away for the foreign super-rich… Read more

US becomes world’s leading oil producer: Expanded oil production changes global industry dynamic

MarketLine

For a long time the US has been a leading oil player, but the combined might of OPEC was sufficient to reduce the global influence the country could have. However, thawing relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia reveal a decline in the ability of Gulf oil states to shape the international oil price according to domestic wants. Under such circumstances, expanding US production over much of the last decade has gone up against comparatively steady production from both Russia and Saudi Arabia. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts the… Read more

Brandless The Procter & Gamble for millennials

MarketLine

Brandless, a startup e-commerce consumer packaged goods company, wants to set a landing point for consumers who seek quality and transparency, and want to avoid brand loyalty and choice overload typical for the majority of grocery stores. By selling its products online in no-frills packaging, Brandless claims to save consumers up to 40% by eliminating hidden costs associated with marketing, branding, and advertising for a national brand. Through the principles of its business model, Brandless is creating a direct relationship with its consumers, which most CPG brands do not actually… Read more

New Zealand: Halt to offshore drilling

MarketLine

New Zealand pumped an average of just 31,000 barrels of crude oil a day in 2017, according to data from the US Energy Information Agency (EIA), a fraction of the 913,000 barrels produced daily in the North Sea. The country’s annual oil production makes up just 1.4% of the country’s economy. The industry is already in decline after a downturn in the global market from 2014 took a heavy toll on its earnings. Crude oil production declined in 2016 to the lowest level in a decade, and spending on production… Read more

Saudi Arabia – Wind of change in the desert kingdom will create new business opportunities

MarketLine

Saudi Arabia has for decades been one of the world’s most culturally austere and restrictive countries, not allowing gender mixing, concerts, and cinemas, amongst others. However, the government’s Vision 2030 reform program is set to return the country to a more moderate Islam, diversify the economy and reduce the country’s dependence on oil by growing sectors like entertainment, arts, tourism and culture. This liberalizing reform drive has already opened the door to concerts, comedy shows and women drivers over the past year. From June 2018 women will be allowed to… Read more

Australian bookmakers under pressure as new legislation hits hard

MarketLine

Online gambling is incredibly popular in Australia with around 80% of Australians gambling at least once a year. Adults in Australia gamble more per capita than any other nation in the world, an average of $976.50 per adult. That is 40% higher than Singapore, the runner-up, and around double the average in other Western countries. The existing loopholes in the gambling law created a gray area allowing almost every form of online gambling. This has attracted many of the world’s top online gambling sites, as well as illegal operators to… Read more

UK sugar tax – Attempts to curb rising levels of obesity

MarketLine

The UK is the most obese country in Western Europe, and the sixth most obese country in the world. Around 26.9% of the British population has a body mass index of 30 and above, according to the OECD report and the cost of treating ill health caused by obesity and related issues is rising fast, threatening the NHS budget. The government, long criticized for taking no action to tackle this issue, decided to introduce a Soft Drinks Industry Levy, in the hope that the increased cost will stop people from… Read more

Chinese ban on waste imports: End to off-shoring dirt

MarketLine

Introduction of the ban on imported solid waste, coming to force in China as of January 1, 2018, means the country will be importing a lot less of foreign waste material, and replacing it with recycled material collected in its own domestic market instead. China’s dominance in manufacturing means that for years it has been the world’s largest importer of recyclable materials. The country’s hunger for plastic, the most difficult waste material to dispose of, has spawned a lucrative industry where plastic waste was purchased from the international market and… Read more

AeroFarms: High-Rise Greens

MarketLine

AeroFarms’ food growing method, called aeroponics, requires no dirt, no sun and needs about 95% less water than traditional farming. It also applies 40% less fertilizer, and no pesticides. The company uses rehabilitated buildings, such as warehouses or old industrial plants, instead of constructing sophisticated massive, modern facilities from scratch, which dramatically reduces the property costs. While about ten years ago, indoor farming was associated with high costs and visions of people in lab coats walking around plants in soil many stories up in the air, the reality today is… Read more

Kindred AI – Putting robots in human shoes

MarketLine

Teaching computers to learn on their own has been the core aim of AI research, with the world’s largest tech companies, including Facebook, Google and Baidu, all racing to develop the best techniques. Although there have been breakthroughs in speech and image recognition, the machines still struggle to handle basic physical tasks. Kindred AI, a Canadian start up, decided to tackle these issues applying a new, innovative approach based on the technique of immersive teleoperation. According to its founders, the best way to make robots as smart as humans, is… Read more

Blue Apron – Changing the way of eating and buying food

MarketLine

The US meal-kit delivery service is projected to be a $5bn market over the next three years. Though space is already crowded, a start-up company, Blue Apron, managed to carve a niche out for itself. By recognizing the educational void for the multitude of home cooks and building a wildly successful business around feeding them, while sharpening their kitchen prowess, the company managed to build a $2bn recipe-delivery business with 2,500 employees, in 36 months. By designing its business model around supply chain efficiencies, the company managed to get fresher… Read more

US and China trade talks: Emphasis on steel and tariffs is misguided

MarketLine

The danger of current US policy towards Chinese steel is that damaging tariffs will be imposed. Many observers describe such a policy as the nuclear option because the ability of other countries to impose harmful tariffs on US goods will be just as strong. Troublingly, tariffs would do little to solve the actual problem of dumping on the international market. A policy with many similarities was attempted in 2002 but resulted in a public climb down by the then President Bush after severe job losses were incurred. Tariffs are not… Read more

Uncertainty over political events trumps fundamentals as markets fall

MarketLine

On Thursday June 23, 2016 the UK went to the polls to decide on its future as a member of the European Union (EU). By a small margin, the country opted to leave and despite the fact that no steps to enact Article 50 have yet been taken by Theresa May and her government, speculation about an imminent implosion of the British economy has been rife, damaging the value of the Pound and serving as a rather convenient scapegoat for everything from companies’ poor performance to increased prices, to political… Read more

Whole Foods: A victim of its own success?

MarketLine

Whole Foods, the US-based organic food retailer, is not now nor will it ever be a cheap shopping experience. Despite its high prices, the company has seen its revenues rise in recent years, as demand for healthy, natural foods has constantly increased. However, despite a whole paycheck being needed to shop at this organic food giant, recently only a fraction of one has been needed to buy the company’s stock. The company has seen its shares fall almost 35% in 2014. The main reason for the stock’s poor performance is… Read more