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August 26, 2014

Fresh Food Producer Bodies Need to Get More Involved in Children’s Education

Simone_BarokeAnalyst Insight by Simone Baroke

Children know less and less about food. Urbanisation and the demise of smallholder farming are the key culprits. The classroom has to take over from educational summers spent at grandparents’ farms. And, although the industry is already making a rash of commendable efforts, more could be done to move fresh foods to the forefront of children’s minds, by making it, for example, an integral part of history, social science, languages and, of course, science subjects.

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?

Surveys highlighting schoolchildren’s woeful lack of knowledge in the area of food provenance surface at regular intervals. The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), a multi-stakeholder, partly industry-funded, not-for-profit organisation that disseminates nutrition information to health professionals and the general public, conducts one of these annually, and its May 2014 findings were pretty much in line with those of previous years: one quarter of 5-8-year-olds believed that bread came from animals and cheese from plants. In older children, such misconceptions, although less prevalent, were still surprisingly common. Also, 17% of primary school children in the BNF survey thought that fish fingers were made from chicken, while one in 10 believed bacon to be derived from sheep.

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August 25, 2014

Ireland's Thriving Pharmaceutical Industry

Ireland is a global leader in research, development and innovation, and with government investment and support, is likely to remain a leader for some time. The success of the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland is a result of these investments, with pharmaceutical exports from Ireland reaching US$39 billion in 2013. Ireland’s young workforce, favorable tax environment and experience working with multinational companies means the pharmaceutical industry is poised for success in the future as well.

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August 10, 2014

Closure of Window for Tax Inversion Might Not Deter Pharma Giants from Acquiring Peers

Jana DranenkaiteAnalyst Insight by Jana Dranenkaite - Industrial Research Manager

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American pharmaceutical and medical device players are proactively seeking to acquire their global competitors. However, with recent deals pending, the American government is planning to implement controversial corporate tax reform. Changing domicile to save on taxes is the primary motivator, but there are also other advantages to rebasing, so that merger and acquisition activity might therefore be more muted, but not killed in the years to come.

Encouraged by a reluctance to pay high corporate taxes in the US market, tax inversion is the hottest financial savings instrument of the moment. The recent acquisition of Shire by AbbVie, labelled as the biggest tax inversion deal ever, and seven more deals this year, are pending as the US government seeks to curb the relocation mania.

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August 9, 2014

Natural Gas – A Cleaner Energy Alternative for China

China is by far the largest country for coal consumption, accounting for roughly half of global demand. However, the country’s long reliance on the resource is creating health and environmental issues, , so alternative energy sources are attracting more and more attention. Natural gas may be the answer for China, as foreign supply increases and the country hosts the world’s largest technically recoverable shale gas reserves, which are largely untapped.  Although coal will remain China’s number one energy source in the foreseeable future, the country’s desire to solve its pollution problems greatly benefit natural gas companies both foreign and local.

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August 3, 2014

Will Turning Energy Consumption into a Game Help Us Adopt Greener Habits?

Damian ShoreAnalyst Insight by Damian Shore - Contributing Analyst

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‘Gamification’ is a term that has some environmentalists excited. They hope that apps that both monitor our energy consumption and benchmark it against our peers will nudge us towards turning down the thermostat and potentially saving the planet. There is also significant potential for utilising the so-called ‘internet of things,’ such as app-controllable thermostats, in this regard. However, the issue of privacy remains a concern for some. With entry-level prices having fallen below US$100, smartphones are becoming ubiquitious in many parts of the world, particularly among young adults. Almost a billion of these devices were sold during 2013 alone, together with 185 million tablet computers. According to think-tank the Pew Research Center, 58% of American adults had a smartphone as of January 2014 – among those aged between 18 years and 29 years, this figure rose to 83%. There is also a nascent market for autonomous wearable electronics (such as smart watches, which can also use apps), with close to a million of these devices sold worldwide during 2014.

Global Volume Sales of Smartphones, Tablet Computers and Autonomous Wearable Electronics: 2008-2013

Source: Euromonitor International from trade sources/national statistics

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Growing Popularity of Prepaid Mobile Services Reshapes US Telecommunications Market

Justinas lasinskasAnalyst Insight by Justinas Lasinskas - Industry Analyst

Telecommunication sales in the US are experiencing major changes in terms of consumer preferences, as mobile phone users shift towards prepaid services, weakening the importance of subscription-based businesses. Due to increasing post-crisis budgetary restraints, prepaid mobile services have become a desirable alternative for a lot of US consumers who are tired of taking out long-term contracts. Around three quarters of initial telecommunication service sales in the US came from contracted phones, while prepaid mobile services accounted for 19% of total sales as of 2013. Bundling prepaid telecommunication services and mobile phones together is already a popular sales strategy in the US; however, its growth potential is still high compared to penetration in Canada, where 30% of total sales come from prepaid services, and Australia (28%).

Over the last five years, a significant shift was noticeable in favour of prepaid services in the US. During 2008-2013, the share of total telecommunication sales held by phones offering prepaid services recorded a volume increase of 11 percentage points, compared to modest growth of 2-5 percentage points in other countries like Australia and the UK or even a decreasing share, as it was registered in most of Western Europe. Such a shift was a direct result of the economic recession, which encouraged US consumers to save money and meant long-term liabilities did not seem attractive anymore. The increase was also due to the improved positive attitude towards prepaid mobile services, which was invoked by appealing modern mobile phones, and talk, text and data usage proposals. Finally, prepaid mobile services experienced increased interest from younger members of the population (12-20-year-old), who are usually more price-sensitive users of such services; they thus tend to seek cheaper telecommunication solutions.

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July 19, 2014

China and India – the Most Promising Markets for Accountants and Auditors

Vita KrasodomskyteAnalyst Insight by Vita Krasodomskyte - Industrial Analyst

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Posting double-digit growth rates, the accounting and auditing markets in China and India are creating wide opportunities. Growing economies, dynamic business environments and constantly changing accounting and auditing standards are the main driving forces behind the growth in the reviewed market. Therefore, a number of accounting and auditing companies are opening offices in these countries in order to benefit from such strong expansion.


China’s and India’s total GDP grew by nearly 11% and 12%, respectively, in 2013 and is projected to grow at an even faster pace in the future. Such increases are much higher than in developed countries like the US or the UK, where growth is around 3-5%. Strong growth in the economies of China and India is driving the expansion of business activities, not only in local markets, but also internationally, thus impacting on the rising demand for accounting and auditing services.

Figure 1 Accounting and Auditing Market Growth

  accounting comms.png

Source:    Euromonitor International from National Statistics

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July 6, 2014

EU-Japan Free Trade Deal: Influx of Japanese Imports Could Lead to Strategic Alliances

Justinas_LiuimaAnalyst Insight by Justinas Liuima - Industrial Analyst

The European Commission has expressed a will to continue negotiations with Japan with regard to a free trade agreement (FTA). However, the deal is facing strong opposition from European car producers due to fears of a price war, driven by an influx of Japanese imports. If a free trade agreement is reached, European producers could seek strategic alliances with their Japanese counterparts. 

Fear of Japanese Imports Leads to FTA Opposition

Despite the expressed political support from the European Commission, the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA) is opposed to a free trade agreement. The EU has consistently faced a trade deficit with Japan in terms of motor vehicles, with the value of imports reaching €9.1 billion in 2013 compared to exports worth €7.8 billion.

ACEA fears that an FTA would hinder business in its home market, particularly for volume producers in Italy and France. FTA would provide better positions for Japanese producers to leverage overcapacity and flood the European market with cheaper imports. This could spark a price war in the EU, which would be disastrous for car makers in France and Italy, which are already struggling with overcapacity and low profit margins.

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June 30, 2014

The US Relaxes Restrictions on Crude Oil Exports

Giedrius RudisAnalyst Insight by Giedrius Rudis - Industrial Analyst

This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US Commerce Department has issued separate private rulings allowing two Texan companies, Pioneer Natural Resources Co and Enterprise Products Partners LP, to export a type of ultra-light oil known as condensate. Although exports of condensate will not offset the overall increase in US crude oil output, the move gives the industry hope of a further easing of the crude oil export ban.

Under current regulations, companies can only export US refined fuel like gasoline or diesel, but not crude oil. The embargo only excludes Canada. There are also certain exceptions that require a special licence to export crude oil to other countries, but as of 2013 almost all the crude oil exported from the US was destined for Canada. However, under the recent private rulings, condensate can also qualify as a refined product. Therefore, some ultra-light oil could be reclassified as fuel after it has been minimally processed, thus easing the export ban.

The willingness to relax the restrictions was likely prompted by the recent expansion of crude oil production in the US. As of March 2014, crude oil production in the country stood at 8.2 million barrels per day, up from 5.6 million barrels a day three years ago. Most of this expansion can be attributed to soaring light crude oil production. According to US Energy Information Administration estimates, this growth momentum is projected to be maintained in the coming years.

Soaring Light Crude Oil Production


Source: Euromonitor International from the US Energy Information Administration

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June 24, 2014

Machinery Production: Growing Specialisation in Asia

 Machinery Production in Asia

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Major Asian countries are all specializing in a particular segment of machinery production. In China construction machinery dominates and is expected to reach over 42% of overall machinery production value by 2017. The industry will be driven by growing domestic construction. In Japan robots, semiconductor and materials machinery will hold strong positions with over 45% of output attributed for this segment in 2017. In the meantime, modernization of Indian agriculture facilitates growing demand for agricultural machinery. Finally, metallurgy machinery will account for almost a half of machinery production in Indonesia by 2017.

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Recent Posts

Fresh Food Producer Bodies Need to Get More Involved in Children’s Education

Ireland's Thriving Pharmaceutical Industry

Closure of Window for Tax Inversion Might Not Deter Pharma Giants from Acquiring Peers

Natural Gas – A Cleaner Energy Alternative for China

Will Turning Energy Consumption into a Game Help Us Adopt Greener Habits?

Growing Popularity of Prepaid Mobile Services Reshapes US Telecommunications Market

China and India – the Most Promising Markets for Accountants and Auditors

EU-Japan Free Trade Deal: Influx of Japanese Imports Could Lead to Strategic Alliances

The US Relaxes Restrictions on Crude Oil Exports

Machinery Production: Growing Specialisation in Asia