Category: Blog

Top countries leading the global shift to industrial automation

Image source: LOM Financial

 

The increasing demands of globalization and increase in productivity rely on automation as one of the most crucial components of a highly industrialized world. As a response, several nations in the world focused a majority of their resources in embracing process engineering systems, industrial automation, as well as automated manufacturing. Here are the most automated countries in the world that are leading the global shift to automation.

  1. South Korea

In the worldwide and Asian ranking, the South Korea is the top country with the highest robot density, especially in the manufacturing industry. The country has long held this position since 2010. According to statistics, they exceed the global average of robot density by eight-fold. The electrical and electronics industry cover a high percentage of the country’s robot density, and automation is also a crucial player in their automotive industry.

  1. Singapore

Another Asian superpower when it comes to automation is Singapore, winning second in the worldwide ranking. It is estimated that for every 10,000 employees, there are 488 industrial robots. In 2015, records of the country’s robot density show that they had 398, cementing their rank in the global quest for automation. Several industries benefit from this technology including healthcare, several service roles, and construction.

  1. Germany

In the European ranking, German ranks first in the most automated countries in the continent. Worldwide, the country holds the third rank with over 309 units that make up their entire automation force. In 2016, industrial robots held a share of 36% (annual supply) and 41% (operational stock) for the overall robot sales in the whole of Europe.

Trends that define the stock market behavior

Image source: LOM Financial

 

There are several factors that directly and indirectly determine the behavior of the stock market, and recognizing them early on can provide a big advantage when investing. For starters, there are two different phases that the market regularly undergoes: the primary trend and the secondary trend.

Most investors focus on the primary trend, and the two sub-trends that has the influence to drive the performance of the stock market.

Bullish Market Trend

The bullish market trend is characterized by the stock market’s stable growth. This particular period is when the “bull” or the buyer is at the driver’s seat of the market.

Several factors can work together to result in a bullish trend and these include the country’s overall political climate, economic stability and growth, and developments in both business as well as the industrial sectors.

In a bullish market, there is a steady growth because buyers are more confident to take part in the market and invest even in high-valued stocks. This will be followed by a strong demand for stocks, continuously raising and empowering the current trend.

Bearish Trend

The opposite of the Bullish market is what analysts call, the Bearish Trend. This particular trend is characterized by either a dramatic or a gradual period when the demand for stocks falls to their lowest rate.

Several factors contribute to this event such as a country’s poor economic performance, political instability, or even a stunted growth in their major industries and sectors.

In this period, buyers become pessimistic about the market’s future. During this time, investors think that selling their stocks can save their money and lower the risks.  In return, large quantities of stocks become available, but demands remain low. Thus further pulling the market down, intensifying an already depressing market performance.

Unique advantages of investing in international bonds

Image source: LOM Financial

 

The international bond market has long been considered as a major avenue where companies can easily access more affordable sources of financing and funds from global investors. In other words, instead of depending on the domestic market, they look at alternatives outside of their country where their business operates in order to get hold of that much-needed capital.

For investors who are looking at safer and bigger returns, investing in international bonds by directly playing a role in the foreign bond market has their own unique advantages. Here they are.

  1. It helps to upgrade and diversify one’s portfolio.

Diversification is one of the major benefits of investing in foreign bonds. Buying international bonds means exposing your portfolio to a totally different economy, a different interest rate, and currency value.

If you have more than one asset classes in your portfolio, you are reducing risks and at the same time, opening your opportunities for higher yields.

  1. It protects you from the weakening U.S. dollars.

There are other additional return drivers that can help boost the returns of your investment in international bonds. For instance, capital gains are always in the picture especially if the currency of that foreign market performs stronger against the U.S. dollars.

  1. It opens new doors to bigger yet safer opportunities for investing.

Instead of focusing your investment options on your home country and targeting domestic bonds, international bonds offer alternatives that will not only boost portfolio diversification and protection against a weaker home currency, it also allows you to be exposed to a bigger market with more opportunities for much greater rewards.

Most importantly, investing in international bonds gives you opportunities to invest and bank on the potential of emerging markets.

World’s leading export-driven economies

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From exporting volumes of manufactured products to provide a more diversified list of goods and services, the countries that have followed the export-oriented approach towards economic prominence have been able to compete in the international markets, generating massive contributions to their respective GDPs.

Here are some of the world’s most export-driven economies today:

 

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China and just like the latter, it’s also one of Asia’s leading export-driven economies. In 2017 alone, the country shipped over US$550 billion in total value of export goods across the globe.

According to reports, Hong Kong’s exports goods and services contribute to 219.6% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Their primary exported products include electrical machinery, parts, apparatus and appliances, and others.

 

Germany

Germany tops the list of the most powerful economies in Europe and is also a leader in European export-driven countries in terms of highest dollar export value. In 2017, the economic giant shipped around US$1.440 trillion worth of products around the world.

Germany’s exported goods, as well as its services, cover 47.3% of the country’s total GDP. German exports are delivered to its European neighbors and a portion of the overall output is also sold to Asian, North American, African, and Latin American importers.

 

Luxembourg

Another European nation that has an export-oriented economy is Luxembourg – and their rank in the world’s leading exporters is not because of their dominance in volume but in how these exports define their GDP.

The nation is basically surrounded by economic giants Germany, Belgium, and France. In 2017, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was able to ship over US$15.7 billion worth of exported goods and services. While this is relatively a lower number compared to the previous items on this list, this country’s export products contribute to a whopping 230.6 percentage of their overall GDP.

The golden years in paradise: Top tropical destinations for retirees

Most people plan to spend their golden years doing the things that make them feel more alive. Some of them finally find the time to work on their hobbies full-time but for retirees who just love traveling, retirement gives them the freedom to live life to the fullest by exploring the places and destinations that they only used to hear and read about on magazines. Here are some of the most popular tropical travel destinations for retirees and seniors that should be on your list, too.

Vanuatu

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This island-nation located south of the Pacific is a tropical archipelago. Vanuatu is composed of 82 small islands but only 65 of them are currently inhabited. According to Islands’ 2014 ranking, Vanuatu is one of the best choices for retiring early. Additionally, seniors planning to spend their golden years in this tropical paradise only need a minimum of $3,000 a month to finance a comfortable lifestyle.

 

The Cayman Islands

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If you want to live your retirement days in a first-class lifestyle, the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean is the most favored by seniors with impressive retirement funds. The three-island nation has private and public healthcare options and offers available health emergency air transport to Miami. One of the perks of choosing the Cayman Islands is the availability of cheaper housing and reasonably priced properties.

 

The Bahamas

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The Bahamas, a major offshore investment center, is composed of 700 islands but only 30 of them are currently inhabited, with Nassau, Governor’s Harbor, Paradise Island, and Freeport as the most populated areas. The islands are inhabited by friendly locals and expats who have found their second home in this sunny paradise. Retirement in the Bahamas offers a comfortable quality of life to seniors and retirees because aside from the comforts that money can buy, the best things about this destination are free: the relaxing sound of the sea, sunny days, and fresh air.

How changes in the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies influence the global economy

Image source: CNBC

The central banking system of the United States, the Federal Reserve System (also known as the Fed) is one of the most influential central banks in the world. In other words, any changes in the roles, regulations, and responsibilities of this financial institution have direct effects on the global financial state.

The Fed’s monetary policies were designed to achieve three main objectives that primarily benefit the citizens of the state: maximizing levels of employment, price stabilization, and most importantly, moderating long-term interest rates.  Over the years, its reach has expanded as the U.S. Central Bank also focused on the supervision and regulation of banks, stabilizing the country’s financial system, and even providing financial services especially to national and foreign depository institutions.

Just like any nation’s central bank, the Fed’s implementation of specific monetary policies hold the power to control the country’s overall economy. However, given the influence of the U.S. dollar as a preeminent currency in the global market, these changes tend to cause ripples beyond the country’s economic boarder.  For this reason alone, investors and analysts always keep a close eye on every move that this central bank makes.

For instance, in the event of a global financial crisis such as the one in 2007, the FED’s response has proven to be crucial. Here, the American central bank and other leading central banks of the world focused on implementing new policies and programs to aid in the liquidity of financial institutions. Ultimately, these adjustments also helped improve the conditions of the financial markets.

Indeed, the most powerful central banks in the world, most especially the United States’ Fed, have proven to cause not just a national but a global impact on the economy. This is true nowadays that the global market has become highly sensitive to every move of the American central bankers and their future implications of the most respected global reserve currency, the U.S. dollars.

For more about monetary policies, currencies, stocks, and investing as a whole, visit LOM Financial’s official Facebook page HERE.

Big Three: The most trusted credit rating agencies in the world

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The international debt markets have relied on credit rating agencies for over a hundred years. Currently, the industry is home to more than 70 companies that allow borrowers, represented by individuals to even governments, to easily access loans from trusted institutions.

Here are the top credit rating agencies today.

  1. Standard & Poor’s (S&P)

As a business intelligence company, S&P offers credit ratings on countries, bonds, as well as other forms of investments. The agency was founded in 1957 and is based in the United States. The company and its entire services as a whole have a total market capitalization of $ 23.7 Trillion.

  1. Moody’s

Moody’s, also known as Moody’s Investors Service, is recognized as one of the top bond credit rating agencies not only in the US where it is headquartered but across the globe. The company’s main focus is on government-issued bonds as well as bonds issued by commercial entities.

It was established by John Moody in 1909 in New York City. Aside from credit ratings, its services also cover market tools, analysis, as well as financial market research.

  1. Fitch Group

Fitch Group, Inc. offers a variety of products and services in the financial industry, such as surveillance and analytical tools, credit market research as well as platforms that allow access to credit-related information.

However, Fitch Group’s most popular contribution to the industry is its credit ratings and analytics, as well as related market opinions that have helped borrowers and participants monitor credit quality and potential risks in the market. Fitch was also founded in New York in 1914 by John Knowles Fitch.

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.