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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