In 1957, Morton Grodzins first used the term “tipping point” to describe societal changes. In physics, the tipping point is the point at which an object that was balanced tips over after additional weight has been added to it. In society, it’s the point at which a quick and dramatic shift in behavior occurs. Electric cars are still a small percentage of the global market, accounting for just over 2 million of the 2 billion cars on the roads in 2016, but the market is changing. Morgan Stanley predicted in a recent report that electric vehicles could account for 50% to 60% of global light vehicle sales by 2040. Are we approaching the tipping point for electric cars? What does that mean for energy markets?
The political shocks of the past eighteen months have had some unexpected consequences. In Europe, Brexit has pushed debate about free trade agreements on to the front pages of the national newspapers. Never before have non-tariff barriers, customs unions, and country-of-origin checks been so widely discussed.
A couple of years ago McKinsey highlighted how productivity in the mining industry has declined by 30% in the last decade. It seemed counterintuitive - as technology has improved vastly in the last decade and has driven productivity improvements in most industries. So, what was the deal with mining?
A smart city integrates information to manage the city's assets and community services, including schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, and law enforcement. Imagine a city where a man has a heart attack in the street and automated emergency services send a drone equipped with a defibrillator to arrive long before an ambulance can navigate through city traffic. Smart cities can save lives, and the only way cities can become truly smart is through data and analytics.
Now that almost all grain-growing regions have experienced high production, grain companies are naturally thinking about how to store and transport this huge harvest of grains. The grains market is very competitive, with countries such as Australia, Canada, Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and Argentina all vying for a piece of the pie.
The global LNG markets are not for the faint of heart. We recently discussed the potential impact from the opening of the China markets to US LNG, a situation that while initially appearing promising for US LNG producers, was unlikely to have a lasting and significant impact given the United States’ locational disadvantage when compared to other suppliers, particularly those in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions. However, things do change quickly in the global LNG markets.
Many commodities companies use solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (AX) for accounting, financial management, and other business functions. Some commodities companies even consider using these systems to manage trading and risk.
If this last statement describes your organization, you might be on the verge of making a huge mistake.
In 2006, Clive Humby declared, “Data is the new oil!" at the ANA Senior marketer’s summit. Over ten years later, that analogy is even more accurate. As with oil, people are always searching for new and better sources of data, technology is evolving to find new and more efficient ways to use data, and collecting and refining massive amounts of data requires specialized processes and technology.
Metal prices have been on an upward trend, with the recent WorldBank data showing that prices have increased for four consecutive quarters. Iron ore has been the biggest driver of this upward trend, posting gains of more than 20% for two consecutive quarters. While this is good news for mining companies, they are not celebrating, yet. While some such as BHP Billiton are expecting iron ore prices to fall, others such as Rio Tinto are expecting the prices to remain more stable. Future prices will primarily depend on demand from China, and with record high iron ore stockpiles, coupled with supply-side constraints in zinc and copper – it’s anyone’s guess which way the prices will move. It’s no wonder mining companies are cautious about uncertainty in the metals market.
Over the last century, the global population has quadrupled, from 1.8 billion people in 1915 to 7.3 billion today – and it’s still growing. This growth has caused an increase in demand for food, which is expected to grow 70 percent by 2050. Farmers worldwide will need to increase crop production to feed this growing population. For some countries, this will be easier than for others.