What really determines oil prices?

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Oil holds its constant title as the most valuable commodity in many modern societies (making it a major element in most local and offshore portfolio management accounts), not only because it is one of the highly-traded non-financial products globally, but also because products derived from petroleum like oil covers a huge percentage of the world’s energy demand.

In the U.S. alone, crude oil provides 39% of the country’s energy source, with transportation topping the list for the industries that rely mainly on oil products on their day to day operations.

Since it’s the most sought-after commodity in the market today, the price of oil constantly changes. There are several factors that determine the price of oil and dramatic changes in these figures greatly affect the economy on a global scale.

However, unlike other products, what determines oil prices defies the basic rules of supply and demand. This is because the primary determinant of this commodity’s price will depend on traders who bid, on a daily basis, on oil futures contracts through the commodities market.

Traders make their decisions every day and their behavior that decides how they bid depends on controlled factors such as access to crude oil’s future supply, demand from the top oil consumers that include the United States, and most importantly, the present supply of this commodity in terms of output.

While traders and their sentiment towards oil as a potentially valuable commodity in the future can dramatically affect its price, other factors that are geopolitical in nature can also predict how oil prices will fare in the market.

Deals among economically dominant countries in the world greatly control the price of oil through pivotal decisions that could, in one way or another, influence the sentiments of traders and financial betters who are always on alert for every possible fallout.

Unforgettable historical events that took place in the Bahamas

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The Bahamas is a major archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean and a popular destination worldwide not just as a top tourist hotspot but as a global offshore portfolio management center that serves an impressive domestic and international client base. While the world sees the Bahamas as a top destination for travel and business, there were several moments in history that placed the Atlantic nation on the international headlines.

Here are the important events that took place in the Bahamas:


Establishment of Freeport

It was in 1955 when the Bahamas made a historic move to establish a free trade area where tourism and offshore banking emerged and prospered. The mid-1950s was an important decade in the history of the Bahamas when Wallace Groves started his vision to transform Grand Bahama Island into a haven not just for travelers but also for businessmen. That’s when he established a promising city, the Freeport, as a central business and tourism hub.


Bahamian Independence

After centuries of colonial rule, Bahamas decided to finally enjoy its independence on July 10, 1973, from the British colonial rule. On that same year, the newly-independent territory became an official member of the United Nations. This was just years after Britain granted the Bahamas self-government, one of the most important historical events in the country.


Aaliyah’s tragic plane crash

One of the most known accidents that took place in the Bahamas is the death of Aaliyah, a popular American singer/actress. On August 25, 2015, the actress was onboard a plane when it suddenly crashed just minutes after takeoff from the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. The artist was not alone in the small plane, as she was also with seven others who suffered the same fate.

Owned, paid, and earned media: Building a solid marketing blueprint

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Entering the game in the digital marketing field can be challenging – unless you have with you a rich arsenal of information and strategy that you can use together to create a better, and more effective online campaign for your products or services. For instance, just knowing the differences between the three important digital strategy terms, owned, paid and earned media, can catapult your online presence to impressive heights. Here are the definitions that you should keep in mind:

 Owned Media

As the name suggests, an owned media is a web property that represents your brand and establishes your online presence. Most importantly, it’s a type of media property that you can personally control. For instance, your business website or product blog sites can be considered as an owned media, and related pages from social networking sites are extensions of your media properties.

Earned Media

The earned media is an element that helps the online audience reach and interact with your owned media. Basically, it can be defined as an online “word of mouth” campaign that helps your product or services connect with real people. These can come in the forms of mentions, viral posts and reposts, online reviews, or even just social media shared contents. This is only possible through achieving organic rankings and of course, producing and providing high-quality content.

Paid Media

Last but not the least is the paid media. Basically, you’re paying for the promotion of your content in order to direct audiences to your owned media, and eventually drive your earned media. This is an important move especially for the new players in the digital marketing field. Influential social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn provide paid advertising services to promote your brand and increase your content’s reach. Media influencers, on the other hand, can also be paid to share, mention or tweet about what you offer for an increased conversion.

Some major takeaways from the recent Facebook “breach”

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Cambridge Analytica is a political consulting firm that made headlines days ago because of its links to the U.S. presidential campaign back in 2016. According to the reports, the company allegedly illegally and unethically harvested information of Facebook profiles belonging to millions of American users and utilized the data to create a major political advantage in favor of Donald Trump.  According to investment firm LOM Financial, tech stocks went on a sell-off following the incident.

Although the highlight of the case was mostly American Internet users, it created a whole wave of criticisms and alarming questions about Facebook’s privacy policies and how users felt unsafe and violated. After days of silence, the social media’s CEO and founder, Mark Zuckerberg, admitted that there were indeed policies that allowed the misuse of the public’s data, acknowledging that the company failed their community’s trust.

Lessons will be learned, added by the CEO, but as an individual user of Facebook and other social networking platforms, or even as a policy-maker in a country where SNS are widely used, what are the takeaways from this breach?

Most experts believe that traditional frameworks should be redefined especially when it comes to the principles of privacy and sharing of information. This is because the root of the crisis can be traced back to Facebook’s policies that gave permission to the developers of third-party applications to freely access a user’s personal data since 2007. It was only in 2014 when the company decided to reduce this volume but It was already too late.

For individual users of any social networking sites, remedies can be as easy as disconnecting their private profiles to unnecessary and unused online applications that may have access to the information that they post online. It also goes without saying that carefully choosing which third-party program to give your data to should be a preventive measure.

While these steps can relatively protect you from future hacks, some users believe that completely deleting themselves from the networking site is the ultimate solution.  What do you think?

Cleanest modern industries and innovations that are saving the planet

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One of the major objectives of the Paris Agreement is to “decarbonize” the global economy by 2050 and many participating nations are slowly but effectively finding ways to reach their goals that can ultimately reduce the devastating effects of global warming.

One of the steps that countries and industries agreed to take is to lessen the emissions of regions with high-carbon economies while ensuring cost-effectiveness without compromising the quality of life.

While some industries are still yet to find these practical and environment-focused solutions, there are others that were successful in introducing ground-breaking innovations that will benefit the entire planet in the near future.

For instance, the role of food and agriculture is a big part in the global climate conversation, and many experts believe that this sector can rely on a regenerative agriculture to reduce the industry’s dependence on fossil fuels.

It’s a fact that industrial farming is a major contributor to global warming and shifting to a more organic and renewable agricultural process should not just be an option but an obligation.

Clean coal, on the other hand, has been a commercially viable candidate for the energy industry that is expected to stop carbon emissions produced by coal-fired electricity plants and power stations especially in highly-industrialized countries.

While the technology of clean coal may sound promising, this clean option is still facing some practical hurdles to be successfully put into practice.

Meanwhile, the logistics and transportation industry has caught the world’s attention in its approach in zero-emission vehicles. For instance, Tesla’s recent launch of their semi-truck is painting a new future for the trucking sector, promising a brighter tomorrow for zero-emission trucks across the globe.

The global rise of ecotourism and responsible travel

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Tourism as a whole is a 7.61 trillion-dollar industry, and ecotourism is a rapidly growing category under it. The year 2017 was designated by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, promoting different trends and movements centered on sustainability across the industry.

As the growing effects of global warming threatens the world’s most pristine travel destinations, the international travel community has realized the urgency to make their move especially after Sustainable Travel International revealed that the industry is responsible for the 5% of the global carbon emissions.


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Sustainable tourism, now termed as “ecotourism,” doesn’t have a clear definition but it focuses on an important aspect: advocating transformative and responsible travel. In addition, it can’t be categorized as just one type of travel, but it’s a form of tourism that enables participants to not only explore natural destinations but to help protect these environments.

The movement has transformed many travel companies as they shift to what is called as “experiential tourism,” which highlights experiences that help travelers understand the environment including the ecosystem that live in it.


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Guided by the measures set by the industry, many ecotourism companies and organizations have reached several milestones in reverting the effects of irresponsible tourism. The results of the early years of this growing movement have brought positive impact to the several travel destinations, with activities that help preserve the environment through education. Accommodations range from eco-friendly resorts, glamping, to all-out backpack camp out adventure.

Some experts believe that the immediate rise of ecotourism can be credited to the digital revolution and how it inspired millions of people around the world to help make a change not only as enthusiastic travelers but as environmentally-responsible human beings.

REPOST: Erupting volcano is suffocating Bali’s economy

Mother Nature can heavily influence a region’s economy, especially when the likes of earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions are at play. Top tourist destination Bali is one such case, as the island struggle to address the chaos caused by erupting Mount Agung. Read the full story on CNN:

HONG KONG (CNNMoney) — A volcano spewing clouds of ash has plunged one of the world’s top tourist destinations into crisis.

The Indonesian island paradise of Bali, which welcomed almost 5 million foreign visitors last year, is struggling to deal with the chaos wrought by Mount Agung in recent days.

Officials say as many as 100,000 people need to urgently leave the danger zone around the volcano, which started belching ash on Saturday. The eruptions have prompted the closure of Bali’s main airport, leaving more than 50,000 travelers stranded.

The disruption is hurting businesses ranging from international airlines to street vendors. Tourism is the biggest industry on Bali, which was ranked as the world’s best destination this year by travel site TripAdvisor.

Local authorities estimate that as many as 15,000 tourists have already canceled their vacations to Bali as a result of the disruption caused by the volcano over the past three days.

Every day Bali’s main airport is closed costs the local economy about $18 million, according to Keith Loveard, senior analyst at Jakarta-based Concord Consulting. He expects the island’s economy to take a major hit over the traditionally busy Christmas and New Year period as tourists rethink their travel plans.

“There’s a very strong chance that many would-be tourists will decide to go elsewhere,” he warned.

Tourism in Bali has suffered in the past. It declined significantly after deadly terrorist attacks In 2002 and 2005, which resulted in “a dramatic drop” in local residents’ incomes, according to Loveard. Volcanic activity in the region has also disrupted air travel to the island in previous years.

The current turmoil could hamper the Indonesian government’s goal of attracting 20 million tourists annually by 2019. Bali makes up more than 40% of all tourist arrivals into the country, according to analysts at Nomura.

Mount Agung’s eruptions have prompted the evacuation of 30,000 people.


Indonesia has been trying to cultivate alternative tourist destinations like nearby Labuan Bajo. But these could also be affected by Mount Agung’s ash clouds and by a prolonged closure of Bali’s main airport, which is a hub for other parts of the country, according to Loveard.

The crisis is already eating into the profits of airlines across the region.

Indonesia’s flag carrier Garuda is the most heavily exposed. Corrine Png, an analyst at research firm Crucial Perspective, estimates that Garuda has a 30% share of traffic at Bali’s main airport and stands to lose $300,000 for each day that it’s closed. The company’s shares sank 1.8% on Tuesday.

The disruption is costing AirAsia, the Kuala Lumpur-based budget airline, around $250,000 per day, according to Png.

Neither Garuda nor AirAsia immediately responded to request for comment on those estimates.

“The worst outcome is if Mount Agung continues to spew volcanic ash intermittently for many months,” Png said. That would result in repeated closures of the airport and significant numbers of flight cancellations.

However, the volcano chaos may not have any major implications for the Indonesian economy as a whole. Bali only accounts for 1.5% of the country’s total gross domestic product, according to Nomura.

Still, President Joko Widodo wants tourism to account for 8% of the Indonesian economy by the end of 2019, up from 4% last year.

“Mount Agung could frustrate those ambitions,” Loveard said.

Gems of the tropics: Top islands for year-round luxury travel

To travel is sometimes costly, often a bit daunting, and always tiring. But the memories and experiences you will be creating along the way are more than enough to compensate for travel’s inherent costliness and inconvenience. However, with luxury vacation, all the aforesaid dilemmas may not be a problem at all. Wealthy, fun-loving individuals can enjoy top tourist destinations without needing to worry about logistics, comfort, or even quality selection of food as everything will be taken care of. Below are four of the world’s most luxurious destinations every luxury traveler must visit:


  1. Maldives

The Maldives is a very well-known tropical country for picturesque and scenic seascapes peppered with the finest hotels in the middle of the Indian Ocean. If this place is on your travel bucket list, staying at Six Senses Laamu resort might be the best accommodation for your perfect holiday escape.

Set in a remote and exquisite island of Laamu, an epitome of barefoot luxury, Six Senses hotel is a combination of over-water and on-land stunning villas that are placed around the palm-fringed paradise. If you want to experience what it’s like to be in a rustic yet luxurious island, the resort offers a wide range of exciting land and water activities like surfing, diving & snorkeling, private picnics, and amazing excursion adventures.


  1. Palawan

Spectacular karst scenery, pristine beaches, enchanting lagoons, hidden lakes, magnificent reefs, and crystal clear waters are some of the characteristics of Palawan, probably the Philippines’ most picturesque island. In fact, it was named as the World’s Best Island for two years in a row by Conde Nast Traveler. For those looking for a luxury island getaway while having a taste of extreme adventures, Busuanga Bay Lodge is your key to realizing that dream.

This Caribbean-inspired hotel has 41 units in total including its modern guest rooms, private rooms, and breathtaking villas which have panoramic views of the mountains and the oceanfront. Within the hotel, you can enjoy such luxury experience at their in-house wine cellar, fitness center, pavilion restaurant that serves the best quality salads and fresh seafood. Yearning for an outdoor adventure? BBL has a lot to offer–experience Busuanga-Coron island tour: fishing excursions, kayaking, jet skiing, wreck diving, island hopping, beach bumming, buffet luncheons, and more.


  1. Tahiti

If you’re a fan of diving and snorkeling, then you should visit the alluring French paradise of Tahiti. Because of its relaxing black and white sand beaches, splendid over-water bungalows, and the opportunity to experience the local Polynesian culture, Tahiti receives a great number of foreign tourists each year and thus, one of the most exclusive destinations in the world which you don’t want to miss out.

When it comes to selecting accommodation in this Pacific archipelago, Le Meridien can be a perfect choice to spend your holiday. The resort provides visitors with world-class water sports, traditional Tahitian cuisine, and luxurious huts built over cerulean lagoons.


  1. Bahamas

An archipelago of 700 islands and over 2,000 coral cays, the Bahamas is largely considered as the best and most unique diving destination in the Caribbean. One of their famous tourist attractions is the Bahamas Cave System, where you can dive into the crystal clear waters and witness spectacular preserved features underneath the sea.

Nearby is the Grand Lucayan resort, located at the beachfront of Freeport, Grand Bahama. It has more than 500 spacious guestrooms, huge infinity pools and restaurants that serve Bahamian cuisines. The resort is truly a one-stop-spot, as it offers a variety of exciting indoor and outdoor activities such cave diving, horseback riding, dolphin encounters, casino games, and more.

REPOST: Why Oil-Rich Gulf Arab Countries Are Turning to Renewables

The growing concern over depleting hydrocarbon resources is forcing oil-dependent nations to rethink their economic policies and diversify into other sources of income, and that includes renewables. Bloomberg has the full report:

Visitors look at screens displaying images of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Solar Park on March 20, 2017, at the solar plant in Dubai. Photographer: STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images


Solar power is getting so cheap that even Gulf Arab states awash in crude oil are embracing the renewable resource. Their motive is as much to keep selling fossil fuels as it is to rein in their carbon emissions.

With almost 30 percent of the world’s oil reserves and some of the lowest costs of production, Arab countries in the Persian Gulf will probably rely for years to come on crude exports as a pillar of their prosperity. But improvements in solar technology mean it will be cost effective to exploit the region’s abundant sunshine instead of burning their oil and natural gas to run power plants. That could allow them to export more and boost their haul of petrodollars.

Why would oil-rich countries shift to renewables?

Electricity use in Gulf Arab nations has surged by 6 percent a year on average since 2000, driven by expanding populations and growth in energy-intensive industries, Ada Perniceni, a Dubai-based partner at consultant A.T. Kearney, said in a May report. Governments are seeking more efficient ways of satisfying this rising demand, and the increasing afford ability of renewables is making solar and wind power a bigger part of the region’s energy mix.

By the end of 2020, the Middle East and North Africa are forecast to have 24.1 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity –- almost six times the 4.2 gigawatts installed as of last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The additions will require $27.4 billion of investment, BNEF said in May.

The risk that oil prices may fall adds to the pressure on Gulf Arab producers to maximize their earnings by exporting more of their crude instead of burning it. Saudi Arabia’s use of electricity and desalinated water is so high that the country burns crude to meet half of its domestic power and water demand, according to A.T. Kearney’s Perniceni. If the kingdom doesn’t curb demand or invest in alternative energy sources, local needs could absorb most of its hydrocarbon production within 10 to 20 years, she said.

The shift toward renewables by the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council would also help diversify their economies. Saudi Arabia is seeking to curb its reliance on crude exports under its Vision 2030 strategic plan, on which Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has staked his personal prestige.

Continue reading HERE.

Powering up the future: Renewable energy rapidly taking off

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For obvious reasons, electrical power has become an essential part of the human civilization, from boosting economic activities to enhancing man’s overall quality of life. However, electricity is traditionally generated using fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas—the very reason why such commodities are among the most traded in the world. They have, however, often been associated with severe air pollution and global warming. The growing demand for energy and the ballooning concern over the planet’s deteriorating health have led to major developments in green tech, particularly in the field of renewable power. Such alternative power sources have existed for decades, but only in recent years have they been gaining significant attention and higher investment.

Geothermal power

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Geothermal power production requires high upfront investment costs. However, in most countries, it is one of the main sources of energy. It is tapped by over 20 countries around the world, such as the United States, China, and the Philippines. In Iceland, more than a quarter of the country’s energy needs are met by its five major geothermal power plants.

The United States has significant geothermal resources with a great growth potential, particularly in western states like California and Nevada. The United States ranks high among countries with most geothermal heat pump installations. According to the GEA (Geothermal Energy Association) annual production report for 2016, the U.S. geothermal market had about 3.7 GW of installed nameplate capacity and 2.723 GW of net capacity with two additional plant expansions in Nevada.


Solar Power

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Solar power is one of the most widely used renewable sources of energy. Its extremely low carbon footprint, zero emissions, and longevity make for a healthier environment. Large-scale solar farms are currently being constructed in countries like India and China.

In India, the Kamuthi Solar Power Project has a capacity of 648 MWs covering an area of 10 square kilometers and their Kurnool Mega Solar Park with an estimated 1,000 MW once finished. China, meanwhile, is being recognized as one of the leading producers and developers of large-scale solar projects. In contrast to the usual landscape or portrait orientation of solar panels, the country is building a 250-acre solar power plant shaped like a giant Panda that will be stretched up to 1,500 acres when completed. The plant is set to produce 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of solar energy in the next 25 years according to China Merchants New Energy Group.



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Energy derived from moving water has been harnessed by humans for centuries. When turbines came to existence, hydropower has become one of the most popular sources of clean energy, and is particularly beneficial in many nations that are well-endowed with water resources. The hydropower industry constantly improves on its ecological profile by using modified and enhanced technologies.

Nowadays, several companies are investing billions of dollars on hydropower projects due to the growing population as well as the increasing electricity demands globally. Earlier this year, some of the successful hydropower projects have begun supplying electricity to the public such as:

The 2,070-MW Lauca hydropower project constructed in Angola, the first of six generator turbines with a cost estimate of US$4.5 billion. The Tata Power Company located in Georgia has finally completed its 187-MW Shuakhevi hydropower project with a price tag of more than US$420 million.


Given the fact that there are still millions of people living without electricity, many countries could potentially take advantage of their natural resources to produce a renewable and sustainable energy that are both economically viable and environmentally beneficial.