MarketLine Blog

Posts written by Mohammed Iqbal

Airforce modernization picks up pace in the Middle East

MarketLine

Tension in the Middle East has been expanding in recent years as the emergence of a new de factor leader in Saudi Arabia has led to the country reacting aggressively to what it perceives to be an expansion of Iranian influence and power in the Middle East. This tension is ultimately leading to a de facto arms race between the two powers wherein both also seek to stay ahead of the other from a technological point of view. Sanctions whilst holding back Iran in recent years have now been removed,… Read more

Elon Musk brand continues to grow: Heavy public profile and revolutionary products amplify Musk’s popularity

MarketLine

Elon Musk’s brand image has evolved strongly over the past two decades, and he is today one of the most recognizable and admired CEOs globally. Whilst some of the major companies he owns such as Tesla are still very small compared to their market competitors Musk’s popularity only seems to grow. This is primarily due to two major reasons. The first is that Musk’s companies are engaged in the manufacturing of products that do not only carry financial benefits to the owner, but also do the wider society some good, whether… Read more

Shinzo Abe reelected as tensions in Asia rise

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Japan has in the past decade been hit by two major financial crises. The first one was the global financial crisis of 2008 and the second one came about following the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. The latter resulted in a nuclear meltdown and forced the Japanese government to immediately cease operations at all other nuclear power plants in the country, which together generated almost a third of all electricity consumed in Japan. As Japan increasingly relied on fossil fuel powered electricity in the aftermath of Fukushima, increased imports of… Read more

eSports continues to grow in popularity: However challenges like match-fixing amplify the need for more regulatory bodies

MarketLine

eSports has grown at an impressive pace in recent years, and this rise has attracted the interest of globally recognized sponsors and sporting clubs. As the speed of internet has increased as have broadband connectivity levels, and the ease of playing games online has substantially increased. Sensing this opportunity brands like Intel and Red Bull as well as sporting clubs like Paris Saint-Germain and the Philadelphia 76ers have entered eSports as sponsors. However as the popularity of eSports has increased, so have the challenges it faces. One notable example is… Read more

KPMG South Africa involved in “Zuptagate” scandal: Senior staff fired as audits fall “short of the quality expected”

MarketLine

In May 2017, a series of emails were leaked which showed a very close relationship between the Gupta family and the incumbent South African President Jacob Zuma. Opposition parties and civil rights groups claimed that this close relationship had resulted in a whole host of government contracts being given to the Gupta family without the proper procedures being followed. In the midst of this scandal were caught major multinationals like KPMG, McKinsey, Bell Pottinger and SAP. All of them have been associated with the Gupta family’s activities in South Africa… Read more

Melting ice opens up Arctic shipping route for longer periods

MarketLine

As the melting of ice in the Arctic region intensifies due to increased human activity in the Arctic region, the possibility of using the region for marine transportation purposes also increases. Whereas in the past vessels would have to be escorted by heavy ice breakers, the complete disappearance of or reduction in size of ice has resulted in customized transportation vessels that can also act as moderate ice breakers to emerge. These customized vessels require no escort and have been able to cover vast distances in the Arctic region in… Read more

World’s largest airport under construction in Istanbul

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Turkey, and Istanbul in particular, has seen a strong rise in the number of passengers using air travel in recent years. This has been most evident in the case of Ataturk Airport which as the hub of the country’s national airline company Turkish Airlines, has seen its capacity limit pushed to breaking point. With the 2016 terrorist attack at the airport also showing its security vulnerabilities, the city authorities as well as the national government were therefore very keen on building a new airport which could deal with the strong… Read more

Discovery Communications seeking to merge with Scripps Networks Interactive

MarketLine

Due to the emergence of online streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, the demand for traditional TV broadcasting has taken a hit. As consumers especially those belonging to the younger demographic have slowly made their way towards substitutes, advertisement too has followed suit. In fact according to some sources 2016 was the first year in which online advertisement overtook the value of traditional TV advertisement, clearly emphasizing the change that has taken place. Given these recent developments in the TV broadcasting market, it comes as no surprise… Read more

Ambitious Trans-Iran Canal still waiting for construction to begin: “Competitor” to Suez Canal unlikely to see construction begin any time soon

MarketLine

Despite having been officially announced for several years now, construction on the Trans-Iranian Canal Project has as of July 2017 still not begun. A number of reasons have been given to explain this delay including the high fixed costs required to build this canal. Official estimates put the cost of the project in the range of $10bn but other estimates suggest the figure could at least be double the amount. Whilst the authorities claim the returns from this project will justify the high cost of the project for the construction… Read more

AT&T and Time Warner looking to complement each other as part of merger deal

MarketLine

In October 2016, Time Warner and AT&T agreed to merge as part of a deal which would see AT&T paying $85.4bn for the merger to take place. The total transaction value would further take the deal up to $108.7bn adding in Time Warner’s debt. Despite the hefty cost, the merger deal makes perfect sense from a business point of view since through a merger with telecommunications giant AT&T, Time Warner is able to broadcast its globally recognized digital content to a much wider audience. AT&T meanwhile will be able to… Read more

Nicaraguan Canal project loses momentum: Expansions to Panama and Suez Canal reduce need for a second canal in Central America

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The idea behind the Nicaraguan Canal dates back centuries, but has always been beaten back by the Panama Canal, initially by the latter’s construction, and secondly by its expansion, which has made the construction of the Nicaraguan Canal less desirable. Whilst the Nicaraguan government has declared the importance of the construction of the canal for the nation’s economy the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Group (HKND), which is in charge of the construction of the canal, has yet to initiate this construction five years after the project’s announcement. A number… Read more

‘Energiewende’ boosts German renewable sector but change in policy leads to growth deceleration

MarketLine

Germany has set some of the most ambitious green energy targets for itself, not only in Europe but also the world. This decision has come about due to strong public opinion in favor of green energy in the country, especially as an increasing percentage of the population becomes aware of the negative consequences of global warming on the planet. Liberal feed-tariff rates have subsequently pushed Germany to become one of the largest producers of renewable energy in the world, with the country ranking third globally with regards to total cumulative… Read more

China’s OBOR project: Threatening the Singaporean transportation sector

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Singapore’s location at the southern tip of the Strait of Malacca has allowed the country to position itself as one of the world’s major transportation hubs. Through this Strait travels practically all trade between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and therefore trade going in and out of countries such as Japan and China will more likely than not pass through Singapore, especially if headed towards Europe, the Middle East and Africa. To emphasize its importance, almost half of all Chinese oil imports pass through Singapore, and the figure is even… Read more

Baltic nations agriculture and transportation sectors suffer due to Russian sanctions

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Western sanctions on Russia due to the events that unfolded in Crimea in 2014 resulted in Russia only days later reciprocating and introducing its own sanctions on the EU and the US. Whilst the EU sanctions have focused on oil companies and Russian banks, Russian sanctions on the EU have focused on the agricultural sector. This has been bad news for players in the agricultural and transportation sectors in the Baltic nations. Russia has historically been a key export market for Baltic exporters and the two have a long history… Read more

New potential OPEC-Russia deal to cut oil production levels: Other producers likely to boost supply in case of such a deal

MarketLine

The steep decline in the price of crude oil that began in the latter half of 2014 and reached its lowest point in early 2016 caused great disruption in countries for which oil exports constitute a major portion of total exports. Countries in this group include the OPEC nations as well as other major non-OPEC oil producers like Russia, Brazil and Canada. In December 2016, a Saudi led OPEC effort was finally able to come to an agreement with Russia and several other oil producers in the region such as… Read more

Car manufacturing sector booming in the UK: Weaker pound boosts exports, yet Brexit worries persist

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2017 has been a good year for the UK car manufacturing sector as far as production levels are concerned, with the country manufacturing cars in March 2017 at a level last seen in the year 2000. Manufacturing levels have been boosted by a strong rise in exports of cars, which has come about due to the weak pound, low crude oil prices and rising demand for British cars in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as in the United States. However all of this has been happening among the backdrop of… Read more

Alitalia staff vote down latest cost cutting plan: Financial difficulties making the future of the company look increasingly uncertain

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Alitalia has for many years now been a company incurring consecutive losses year after year. Historically the Italian government has stepped in during times of extreme financial difficulties to bail out the country’s flag carrier. However in 2014 it agreed to sell a 49% stake in the company to UAE based Etihad Airways, which subsequently invested significant resources into Alitalia in order to turn it into a profit making company. Disappointing results nevertheless have continued and Etihad’s attempts to get the company to reduce costs by lowering wages and reducing… Read more

Iranian aviation industry will witness strong growth post removal of sanctions: Threat of renewed sanctions under Trump presidency nevertheless persist.

MarketLine

After decades of sanctions, the US government under Obama announced in early 2016 that it was lifting sanctions on Iran, due to the latter’s compliance with the IAEA over its nuclear programme. One of the strongest beneficiaries of this removal of US led western sanctions on Iran seems to be the Iranian aviation industry, which in recent months has concluded billion dollar deals with major aircraft producers such as Boeing and Airbus, for the purchase of hundreds of planes. The deal with Boeing alone is said to go as far… Read more

Australia’s mining sector returning to strong growth: Increasing commodity prices and stabilizing export markets boost the sector

MarketLine

The Australian mining sector is said to have witnessed a boom from 2003 onwards, as demand from China, Japan and other major Asian markets surged as a consequence of strong growth. Simultaneously this strong demand boosted commodity prices, resulting in large profits for the Australian mining sector. However as growth in the Australian mining sector’s largest export market China has decelerated in recent years and fears of stronger decreases in the future emerged, the Australian mining sector has taken a hit. Another major export market Japan too suffered financial instability… Read more

House prices in Sweden witness steep growth: Strong demand will continue pushing prices up even further

MarketLine

The Swedish housing market has witnessed a steep increase in prices in recent years, and this is the consequence of the supply of new houses not meeting the present and increasing demand for accommodation. A major reason for the increase in demand for buying property is that renting property has become increasingly difficult due to scarcity, especially for younger adults entering the property market for the first time. With record low interest rates currently being offered by banks, many Swedes have therefore taken on mortgages in order to purchase properties,… Read more