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This is the third post in a five-part blog series focused on the energy industry.

As our world’s supply of nonrenewable resources slowly dwindles, society is being forced to consider new methods of generating energy in a continuously growing world.  A major focus has been put on turning earth’s natural products like wind, sun, and water, and additionally nuclear power, into devices of energy production.  Fifty countries agreed at the Climate Vulnerable Forum to make 100% of their energy renewable by 2050.  The construction of wind turbines, solar panels, and nuclear reactors is spearheading this dive into renewable energy while having a definite impact on business.

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This is the second post in a five-part blog series focused on the energy industry. 

Every day we face new problems arising from the environmental state of our world. Widespread pollution is a huge problem to our environment and there is an urgent need to start using renewable sources that eliminate the burning of fossil fuels. Geothermal and hydroelectric are renewable sources of energies and produce “clean” fuel sources.

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This is the first post in a five-part blog series focused on the energy industry. 

This week’s blog series will be about the Energy industry with posts about Geothermal and Hydroelectric Power; Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Energy; Oil, and Natural Gas; concluding with an outlook on the future of Energy. By the end of the week, these articles will give you an in-depth break down on the current state of the Energy industry in the United States and abroad.

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We are almost a decade away from the 2008-09 financial crisis, and economies around the world are still expanding, almost in unison. In 2017, the world saw improvements in the labor market, positive trade growth, and rising stock markets. All of this positive data came in the midst of political turmoil across the globe including unrest in the South China sea - which is an important trade route.

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With 50 million tons of waste, the Estrutural Dump in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia is the largest dump in Latin America. After operating for nearly 70 years, the expansive waste pile was shut down earlier this month by the Brazilian government due to a rising risk of water supply contamination. While the shutdown of Estrutural was long overdue, it will have a devastating effect on the tens of thousands of nearby shantytown residents who live alongside the dump and depend on it to support their livelihood.

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2017 was a busy year for the food industry with many mergers and acquisitions taking place, and this is expected to continue into 2018.  According to the Food Institute data, 587 companies completed mergers and acquisitions last year.  This is a considerable increase from the 505 mergers and acquisitions from 2016 and the 410 from 2015.  In the United States, the food industry completed deals worth a total of $42 billion throughout 2017, up from the $27.1 billion in deals from 2016.  Mergers and acquisitions have been taking place in all sectors of the food and beverage industry, with the largest being the sale of Whole Foods to Amazon for $13.7 billion.  Along with Amazon, other large companies have also been expanding into the food distribution industry, including Walmart and Target.  Other examples of recent mergers and acquisitions include the sale of Snyder’s Lance Inc. to Campbell Soup and the sale of Nestlé’s US confectionary business to Ferrero.

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Who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese sandwich, bowl of ice cream, or a freshly grilled hamburger? All of these crowd favorites and more have been continuing to take a larger chunk of change out of the consumer’s pocket due to a global rise in food prices. Food prices reached a two-year high this past June due to the climb of meat, dairy and wheat prices internationally. There has been a growing demand for meat throughout the globe with beef being the fastest-growing meat category in Asia which in turn has let the U.S. begin shipping supplies to the Chinese market for the first time in 13 years. Analysts have estimated this could open up a multi-billion-dollar market for American producers in the coming decade. Also, butter has been the fasting growing in the dairy category, even leading to a severe butter shortage in France. (To learn more about “Buttergate” check one of our past blogs here) In the realm of all things wheat, cereal prices have skyrocketed due to the record-setting harvests of corn in South America this past year.

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With the new tax reform coming into place, many American firms are expected to repatriate money from abroad, especially from the EU, with a reduced price tag. Interestingly, there is about $2.5 trillion of unremitted foreign profits accumulated over the past three decades that are expected to come back to the US. The US government expects to collect around $339 billion in the next decade in repatriation tax.

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Ice cream—the frozen dessert has become somewhat a staple of society’s diet, with countries across the globe indulging on and/or producing the dairy treat.  Ice cream is available for purchase at a wide variety of retailers—spanning from grocery stores to restaurants to street carts—and the variety is expanding each year with the additions of new flavors and consistencies like gelato.  Overall, the market is expected to be worth $97.3 billion by 2023.

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After a long day of rushing from work to the gym to taking their child to soccer practice, many individuals come home too exhausted to think about cooking which has created the epidemic of fast and prepackaged foods. This uptake in the use of single-use packaging has aided in creating our culture of convenience and waste. The UK alone produces about 170m tons of waste annually, and it can take some materials up to 450 years to break down and others are not biodegradable at all.

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Studying abroad is becoming increasingly more popular with students all over the world and in every field of study.  There are numerous benefits that a student can get from studying abroad including gaining knowledge of another culture, learning a new language, gain international job prospects, and meet new people.  However, international students also offer many benefits to the economies of the countries that host them.  

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This winter, Australia gave life to business extraordinaire Elon Musk’s mega-battery, changing the scope of energy production as we know it.  The battery is the size of an American football field and powers 30,000 homes in Southern Australia and was built in the Tesla founder’s guaranteed 100-day time frame. On the heels of his accomplishment, Musk has announced another mega-battery to be built, putting on full display the growing market of batteries as the future of society’s power source.

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The Downside of Brexit for Ireland 

Looking across the pond to Ireland, Americans unfamiliar with the still evolving consequences of Brexit might be inclined to see it as a net positive for the Emerald Isle. After all, it didn't Brexit, but neighbors to the north most certainly did. 

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One of the major trends in the fashion industry for 2018 will be the rise of vegan fashion, according to The Future 100 report from J. Walter Thompson Intelligence.  As social media use has risen throughout recent years, it has become easier for individuals to share opinions on various social and environmental issues with others all over the globe.  One issue that has attracted media attention is the treatment of animals in the fashion industry.  According to People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, more than a billion animals are killed every year in the leather industry.  Also, many of the chemicals used in the tanning process have a harmful effect on the environment and on the workers that handle them.  As millennials gain buying power, it is important for companies to reflect the same values as their customers, and 66% of Millennials all over the world reported that they are willing to spend more on fashion brands that provide sustainable and eco-friendly products.

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Stock markets all over the world did very well last year.  Many countries have seen their stock market indices hit record highs recently.  A stock market index is a tool used to measure a section of the stock market.  The most popular stock market indices measure some of the largest, most influential companies traded on the stock market.  Here are two links that explain how a price-weighted index and a market-value weighted index are calculated. The two most popular American stock market indices are the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is a price-weighted index, and the S&P 500, which is a market-value weighted index. 

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International investing is more appropriate than ever for Asian countries like South Korea, Japan, and India. These emerging markets are predicted to generate big gains for investors due to aspects such as their growing middle-classes, stimulative economic policies, and even the depreciation of the U.S. dollar. 

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The globalEDGE team is back in the office today!  With our arrival, we wanted to just take a blog post to highlight some of our incredible resources.  If you’re writing a paper or need to prepare a report our website has valuable statistics and general trade information for you.

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The UAE and Saudi governments have finally implemented the Value Added Tax (VAT) system on the 1st of 2018, after more than year of planning. Many business and individuals are still struggling to grasp how to handle this new tax system. The VAT was set at 5% in both countries and is expected to stay at that rate. This rate applies to almost every good or service one purchases daily, with the exception of certain specified items stated by each government.

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Late last year Russia and OPEC agreed to extend their agreement to decrease oil production until the end of 2018.  Russia, OPEC, and other major oil-producing countries agreed to reduce their oil production in 2017 in an attempt to decrease the global supply of oil and in turn increase the price of oil.  An extension was signed in advance of the previous deal ending in this coming March.  The original cut in oil production was in response to falling oil prices.  After declining for the previous few years, 2017 saw rising oil prices worldwide, due in large part to the agreement limiting oil that OPEC and other countries enacted last year.  West Texas Intermediate saw crude oil prices rise from $43.33 per barrel in 2016 to $50.56 per barrel in 2017. 

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Terrorism, a word that has been popping up all over the news in the past decade. With multiple different forms of this horrendous crime, they are affecting the world in many different ways. The economic impact of terrorism has reached an all-time high with larger security measures being implemented, more cleanups occurring and less traveling taking place due to fear which has been instilled.

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In October, the National Retail Federation announced that it expected holiday sales to increase between 3.6 and 4 percent in 2017. This would create a total spending of $678.75 billion to $682 billion, up from $655.8 billion last year. After the primary holiday shopping season concluded on December 24th, the U.S. economy slashed these estimates, resulting in a 4.9 percent yearly increase in this time period.