Top Headlines June 2011

Sector Snapshot: Canadian Energy Industry

Sector Snapshot: Canadian Energy Industry

BUSINESS

  • By 2015, Canada will contribute 29% of North American regional oil supply
  • Canada’s current ranking in natural gas production is 3rd globally
  • Canada's nuclear energy industry earned approximately $5 billion in 2010

Canada is a land rich in natural resources, and is known globally as a leading producer and exporter of energy. With total energy production increasing by 81%, but energy consumption increasing by only 40% from 1980 to present, Canada has exported much of its energy to the United States. The United States relies heavily on Canadian oil, natural gas and electricity imports.

Canada’s current ranking in natural gas production is 3rd in the world, and 7th globally for crude oil production. Its major source of oil production is oil sands (36%), followed by East Coast offshore operations (7%). There are still many untapped oil and gas energy resources in Alberta, the Yukon, the north and the Northwest Territories.

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Lagarde Successful in Bid for IMF Leadership

Lagarde Successful in Bid for IMF Leadership

ECONOMY

  • Christine Lagarde poised to begin five-year term as IMF chief starting July 5
  • Developing nations criticize IMF unwillingness to pick from outside EU
  • DSK scandal leaves IMF vulnerable to credibility attacks

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has been appointed Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by its 24-member Executive Board, representing the organization’s 187 member states. July 5 will mark the beginning of her five-year term.

Lagarde had lobbied for the support of Indonesia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to reinforce her candidacy. Lagarde, the IMF’s first female chief, was endorsed by the Obama administration just hours before the Board came to their decision and was equally backed by Europe, China and Russia.

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Tourism Trend: US Hotels Going to the Dogs

Tourism Trend: US Hotels Going to the Dogs

BUSINESS

  • 62% of Americans own at least one pet; most commonly a dog
  • People who travel with pets tend to stay longer and spend more
  • Hotels are offering various perks for pets: massages, special treats and walks

More than three in five Americans, or 62%, own at least one pet, according to The Harris Poll. No real surprise there. The most common pet is a dog, which is also not surprising - “man’s best friend", after all.

But consider this: Some 91% say they consider their pet to be an equal member of the family. Dogs have become such an important part of the family that a majority (54%) of Americans consider themselves to be “pet parents” instead of “pet owners.”

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US Air Travel: Will Passengers Pay For Security Checks?

US Air Travel: Will Passengers Pay For Security Checks?

WORLD

  • TSA considering traveler option to pay for background checks
  • 70% of survey respondents would pay for a background check to minimize security issues
  • Despite concerns, airlines and travelers seem happy to try out new proposal

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now seeking alternatives to stringent security methods in response to many complaints and a decline in flight travel.

After 9/11, the US government sought new ways to ensure the safety of travelers. As safety measures have become more tedious and personal, passenger frustration has risen. Now with the introduction of body scanners and aggressive pat-downs, both the airline industry and customers are saying enough is enough. Foreign travelers are avoiding flights to the US, which hurts airlines and injures an already damaged economy. Customers feel that they are considered guilty until proven innocent. Many others perceive the strict safety measures as an invasion of privacy.

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2030: Food Prices Predicted to Double

2030: Food Prices Predicted to Double

WORLD

  • By 2050 demand for food to increase by 70%
  • Growth rate in agriculture to be reduced to less than 1% in next 10 years
  • By 2030 prices for food to grow by about 120% to 180%

In the next 20 years food prices for staple foods will be more than double the current price, Oxfam reports.

The poor, who spend about 80% of their income on food, will be greatly impacted by the high cost of food. The world is predicted to enter a food crisis, which could cause political unrest and necessitate reformation of the global food system.

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Business is Booming: Canadian Luxury Home Sales in Vancouver

Business is Booming: Canadian Luxury Home Sales in Vancouver

ECONOMY

  • Despite downturn of the housing sector, luxury home market is booming in large city centers
  • Sales of homes in Vancouver worth $2 million or more have doubled
  • Vancouver market has benefitted from a rise in buyers from Mainland China

The Canadian luxury home market is booming, despite the general downturn of the real estate sector. As the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported, national home sales were down 4.4% from March to April 2011, yet the average home price was up 8% from 2010.

Luxury home sales have risen nationwide, particularly in major metropolitan centers such as Ottawa, Calgary and Winnipeg. However, real estate broker firm, Re/Max, chiefly credited multi-million dollar transactions in Vancouver with boosting the average home price in Canada.

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Sector Snapshot: Pet Products Market in the USA

Sector Snapshot: Pet Products Market in the USA

BUSINESS

  • 62% of United States households own a pet
  • Pet industry spending forecast to rise by 5% in 2011 to reach $50 billion
  • OTC medicine and pet supplies predicted to be over $11 billion in 2011

The pet market in the United States is expected to recover and remain healthy. About 62% of United States households own a pet as of 2011, according to an American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey.

Dogs and cats were the most popular pets owned by pet owners in the United States, according to a study by the American Pet Products Association. The association reports that in 2011 about $19 billion will be spent on pet food, followed by $11 billion to be spent on pet supplies.

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Robust Tourism Growth in Latin America and Panama

Robust Tourism Growth in Latin America and Panama

BUSINESS

  • Travel study predicts online travel marketplace in Latin America to double gross billings to $5 billion in next two years
  • Mexico, Brazil and Peru a hub for international companies
  • Panama City gets a new 198-room Holiday Inn

There may be a global economic slowdown but you would not know it in Latin America, particularly in the online travel marketplace (OTAs) where a new study from travel research authority PhoCusWright predicts OTAs will double their gross billings to $5 billion in the next two years.

As OTAs thrive, the area’s growing importance to business is also reflected in stepped-up investment from the travel industry. US-based airlines - such as American, Continental and Delta - are launching new routes to compete with local airlines. Some American airlines are merging with Latin American-based lines to compete even more effectively.

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Germany and China Step-Up Bilateral Trade

Germany and China Step-Up Bilateral Trade

ECONOMY

  • Premier Wen and Chancellor Angela Merkel sign deals worth over €10 billion
  • Bilateral trade between China and Germany expected to reach €200 billion by 2015
  • China economy suffers from inflation, debt and corruption
  • Germany emerges largely unscathed by EU debt bubble

On his trinational EU tour, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, resulting in the signing of $15 billion (around €10.4 billion) worth of business deals.

Bilateral trade relations between China and Germany, the world’s second and fourth strongest economies respectively, call for a measure of cultural diplomacy especially in light of Germany’s criticism of its new partner’s repressive political policy.

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Solar Energy in the US Part III: Government, Google Finance California's Solar Energy

Solar Energy in the US Part III: Government, Google Finance California's Solar Energy

BUSINESS

  • US DOE loans $2 billion to two California solar companies
  • Government loans will create over 1,700 new jobs
  • Google invests in SolarCity, largest deal for home-based solar energy industry

The US Department of Energy has announced that it will offer $2 billion in loans to two renowned California solar companies. The DOE is offering conditional commitment loan guarantees to the tune of $1.2 billion for the Mojave Solar Project and $681.2 million to the Genesis Solar Project.

At 250 megawatts each, the combined power of both projects will double the nation's current concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) capacity.

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