MarketLine Blog

Posts about Government

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

UK Gambling Restrictions: Proposed changes to gambling limits are the wrong approach to a very real problem

MarketLine

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, supported by a proposal from the UK Gambling Commission, announced plans on October 31, 2017 to cut the maximum bet that can be made at B2 gaming machines, often known as fixed-odds betting terminals by more than half, from its current level of £100 ($131) to a level around £20-30 ($26-$39). At present a consumer could theoretically bet – and lose – up to £18,000 ($23,600) in one hour on a B2 machine. The government is also considering an increase in the… Read more

Spain in turmoil: Catalan parliament declares independence from Spain

MarketLine

The Spanish region of Catalonia, on October 1, held a referendum on independence, despite fierce opposition from the central government, which said the vote violated the Constitution. The vote was held even after being suspended by the Constitutional Court. The decision to go forward with a vote descended into chaos, with hundreds injured due to clashes with the police and now a mass conflict has appeared between the Spanish authorities and the Catalonians. Catalonia’s withdrawal from Spain would impact the Spanish economy negatively let alone the European Union, but without… Read more

Shinzo Abe reelected as tensions in Asia rise

MarketLine

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

Boeing vs. Bombardier: Tariffs justified as Bombardier receives state aid

MarketLine

In September 2017, the US Department of Commerce announced the preliminary decision to implement import tariffs of approximately 220% on any imports of Bombardier’s C-Series jets into the US. Following a complaint by major competitor Boeing that Bombardier was dumping its jets into the US market as below cost-price, the tariff plan has met with widespread criticism across Canada – where Bombardier is based – and in the UK, where wings are built in a plant in Belfast, currently providing 4,200 jobs. In reality the tariff – which would more… 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

Macron labor law reforms: Overdue changes to French labor laws are much needed victory for business

MarketLine

The envisioned reforms are wide-ranging and are easily the most ambitious set of labor market reforms to have made it this far intact. Previously, all efforts have floundered under the weight of popular protest. Although productivity remains healthy in the domestic economy, business growth has been stymied by bad regulation which deters job creation, especially for small businesses nearing the 50th employee threshold which makes the employer subject to an alarmingly complex and costly set of regulations. Bodies representing small and medium businesses are pleased with the outcome, hailing them… Read more

No longer too big to jail: Imprisoning heir to Samsung can create change in chaebol culture

MarketLine

Efforts to solve problems emanating from corporate governance and culture within massive chaebols have gained fresh impetus from the conviction of Lee Jae-yong for bribery in a corruption scandal which was responsible for the impeachment of President Park earlier this year. For significant change in culture to occur and for forces seeking change to stand a reasonable chance of success, Mr. Lee must remain in prison rather than be subject to the pardons previous prison sentences handed to powerful businessmen have ended in. Pushed by a sizeable chunk of public… Read more

Ezetap Quest to democratize India’s digital payments industry

MarketLine

India has recently been going through a digitalization of almost everything, and this revolution has now reached the traditional banking and finance sectors. As even large banks have realized that using time tested technology means always staying a generation behind, there is now much acceptance and demand in terms of implementing financial startup products and services in the country. Additionally, the recent and largest ever government demonetization caused a cash-crunch, hitting the remote, rural areas most, and left citizens with no choice but to go digital. With nearly 1 billion… 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

Poland: Kaczynski close to demolishing all remaining democratic oversight in Poland

MarketLine

Kaczynski’s ruling PiS (Law & Justice) party has, since its election, been rapidly demolishing the process of democracy in Poland. The PiS party has crushed the power of the opposing parties and state institutions that had the ability to stand in its way. In July 2017, the party introduced a bill attacking the independence of the judiciary and despite street protests and chaotic and angry scenes in the house, and this bill has now passed. This bill will mean that judges will be in direct control of the justice minister,… 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

Behind the Digital Iron Curtain: Rise of Chinese Silicon Valley

MarketLine

After a long period of rapid, double digit growth, the Chinese economy entered a more sustainable phase of development, based on innovation and consumption. Given the large population of 1.3 billion in China, the explosive growth of smartphone users, e-commerce, and online content consumption and creation led to a digital revolution in almost all industries and business sectors. While the Chinese Communist Party is trying to match its social control in the real world with the virtual world, which becomes more and more restrictive, the country’s internet is thriving and… Read more

UK General Election: Night of upsets points to an enormously difficult period to come for the UK

MarketLine

A fairly staggering set of results in June 2017 showed that in the UK, the political climate is changing. Almost every poll done in the run up to the election suggested a landslide victory for the incumbent government and the result was that the Conservative Party dropped its majority and only a deal with the DUP would provide them with a minority government. The implications of this result are wide ranging. It looks increasingly likely that there will be a second general election within six months as confidence in Theresa… Read more

Donald Trump: The Anti-Globalism Billionaire

MarketLine

Since revealing plans to run for President, billionaire businessman Donald Trump has expressed surprising anti-globalist sentiments. For a man who’s made his fortune running luxury resorts across the globe, it is initially surprising that he would claim to oppose trade blocs, a major driver of globalization and free trade. But perhaps Donald Trump is taking his new job seriously. The ex-businessman is now the most powerful person on the planet and that comes with certain responsibilities. The US people voted for a populist, radical alternative to the established political system… Read more

Medicaid: Trump’s budget proposal will not pass congress

MarketLine

It is that time of the year, when the White House is to put forward a proposal to congress underlying the US budget for FY2018 which is to set itself up for the next ten years. It is the first budget submission since Donald Trump took up presidency and there has already been speculation regarding his gloomy views on previous policy that aimed to benefit the less fortunate citizens of America. With the Affordable Care Act (nicknamed Obamacare) set up to help millions of Americans at potential danger of further… Read more

Namibia: NEEEF is not the solution. New policy would be bad for the economy

MarketLine

NEEEF is not the policy the Namibian economy requires at present. Businesses, however big or small, would be required to be at least 25% owned by people described as ‘disadvantaged persons’ and occupy half of board and management positions. The suggested legislation appears to be an effort towards what amounts to forced redistribution of wealth and has similarities with the land redistribution attempted in Zimbabwe. Ownership is not the only target: spending and investment would be subject to new controls too. Problems regarding implementation are legion. Given approximately 40% of… Read more

UK General Election: Theresa May’s Call for Election on June 8 an Opportunistic Masterstroke

MarketLine

On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, a historic result the likes of which has never been seen. On June 5, 1975 the UK voted overwhelmingly in favor of remaining in the EU (then called the European Community) and the thought of any member state actually leaving is a very recent phenomenon. Many point to the Great Recession of 2008-09 as the catalyst for the most recent wave of anti-EU sentiment but opposition to the EU has existed in the UK since it joined… Read more

IMF appeases US trade policy

MarketLine

The first conference held by the IMF since the economic policy of the United States underwent dramatic changes following the election victory of Donald Trump already shows strong signs of moving towards a position designed to appease the new president. Differences between previous statements and policies from the IMF and what is now being espoused point towards the dropping of the pledge occurring for political purposes. Indeed the language used by the German Finance Minister and that of the IMF shows a stark contrast between views on the matter. Whilst… Read more

UK General Election: Prime minister May calls snap GE for 8th June, another big play risks further chaos for the country

MarketLine

On the 18th of April 2017 UK Prime Minister Teresa May announced a snap general election. For months political commentators had been speculating that this might happen, as the opposition parties were weak and the time looked opportune. Conservatives were strong and Prime Minister May needed a strong mandate to help with the exceptional political circumstances that the Brexit vote and subsequent resignation of David Cameron left behind. On announcement the argument provided was exactly this; that the Prime Minister wanted to build on her majority to make sure that… Read more

Iran Transport: Accelerating forward to the future

MarketLine

Iran is a growing hub for transportation, acting as a critical connection point between India and Russia/ Europe. Until recently, the Suez Canal served as the quickest transport route between India and Russia however with Iran undergoing rail infrastructure upgrades and also building part of the North-South corridor, Iran is set to become a key part of the ongoing development of transport links using the rail network. The North-South corridor has the potential to cut the transport time by around 50% and is sure to disrupt the naval transportation market…. Read more

President Park Impeached: Relations with chaebols could change forever

MarketLine

Legislation designed to curtail the strength of chaebols has traditionally failed to discover parliamentary approval; now amendments to several acts have found new impetus following the impeachment of the president. Whilst voters await the coming election, prospective candidates are seeking to assert their case for a change in how chaebols operate in the South Korean economy. However, despite the rise in support, problems will need to be overcome for lasting change to occur. Previous efforts have fallen flat; this time there is a far greater chance of success. Moon Jae-in,… Read more

OPEC: Supply restriction amid global oil glut

MarketLine

OPEC, consisting of 13 oil-rich governments, is the only true cartel allowed, albeit grudgingly, to operate in today’s global economy and it wields considerable power. In 1973 Arab members imposed an oil embargo on the US during the Arab-Israeli war which tripled prices in a matter of months. Three times in recent history OPEC has stepped in to shore up the oil market, and each time prices rallied within days of action being taken. It is fair to say, therefore, that OPEC is a force to be reckoned with. Or… Read more

Brexit – the meaning of a messy divorce for the Euro area.

MarketLine

The lending channel between many industries and banks in the Euro area has been far from normal since 2008. This factor puts Britain in a better position to negotiate Brexit next year. The Euro area will embark on a period of further unprecedented slowdown by detaching itself from the world’s fourth largest economy. Credit to industries coming from the banking sector is key for the region to grow as the single currency area has a bank-based model as opposed to a capital market model. Debt financing to companies is largely… Read more

Donald Trump: Incoming president likely to create bigger mess than his hair

MarketLine

Donald Trump’s policy detail is rather thin, but based on multiple and contradictory things he has said on the campaign trail, shrinking of the state via both reduced tax income and federal spending while promising to build a border wall and renovate infrastructure, protectionist stances on international trade agreements while promising a Brexit Britain a comprehensive deal, an expansion of dirty industries at the expense of environmental regulation, and undermined central bank independence. Donald Trump’s election to the Oval Office was considered one of the most divisive and bitter elections… Read more

Trump’s win is good news for US economy

MarketLine

Donald Trump’s whole mantra during his campaign (as evidenced by his rather natty headwear) has been to ‘Make America Great Again.’ In order to do this, he knows he must make the US competitive on the global stage. He has pledged to reduce taxes heavily for low and middle income Americans and also to make sure that the wealthy (including corporations) do not pay too much as that undermines jobs. This should help boost the currently questionable level of job creation and to increase spending power, which should in turn… Read more

An inconvenient truth about the euro area

MarketLine

The creation of the euro area was a mistake. Top ranks of business and political classes in Europe were expecting an explosion in trade and economic activity following the creation of the single currency area in 2002. The euro would lubricate the integration of the newly formed euro area. It would be possible to achieve higher levels of growth and long-term prosperity. Unfortunately, the real GDP of the euro area increased only by 1.8% per year between 2001 and 2006 and by merely 0.2% per year within the 2007 -2015… 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