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1. Blockchain Technology will gain traction

Blockchain, the driver behind bitcoin, is a technology that uses a common ledger of information that updates simultaneously with every transaction on a public network of thousands of computers. Benefits of blockchain are that there is no singular controlling entity that can manipulate data and that there is no single point of failure except that of human error. In 2019, it is expected that we see blockchain technology used in areas outside of digital currency. Walmart has adopted blockchain to keep track of its produce supply chain, executives believe that it will help find where food-borne illnesses originated. JP Morgan has also found a practical use for blockchain technology. It has begun a trial project that uses blockchain technology to expedite overseas payment transfers. Blockchain has the potential to make business easier and more credible in many areas.

2. E-Commerce will replace running errands

 Once bought on errand runs to CVS or Kroger’s, consumable goods are being bought online to be delivered. Large corporations have seen this shift and are trying to accommodate the demand as best as they can. Only servicing 1% of consumable goods in 2013, E-Commerce could account for nearly 10% of the total consumable goods in 2019. Asian countries are leading the charge of the shift, Kantar Worldpanel, an international company dealing in consumer knowledge, said. While online consumables are only 2% in the United States, it is as high as 15% in South Korea.

3. 5G wireless technology will make its debut

In a race against intel to be the leader in 5G internet service, one that could be 20 to 100x faster than 4G, Qualcomm has just released it’s the first chip that can process 5G. Infrastructure for 5G technology is already underway, cell towers are already under construction. In 2019, before we see phones that pick up 5G speeds on their own, we will see mobile hotspots that are capable of maintaining 5G speeds. Verizon and AT&T have both completed prototypes with plans to release them to the market. Although 5G phones are expected be released in 2019, companies like Apple are waiting for all the kinks to be worked out for a solid release in 2020.

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Jamaica is a small island country in the Caribbean Sea, about half the size of the American state, New Jersey.  Since its origin, the country has functioned through an agricultural emphasis.  Settled by the Spanish and English in its early discovery, Jamaica was used as a slave island that farmed staple crops to accommodate world trade.  Even after gaining independence in 1962, the country’s economy remained agricultural as a consequence of the past slavery.

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The London Inter-bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is an interest rate benchmark that is used to set the interest rate on hundreds of trillions of dollars in debt around the world. The LIBOR rates are set via a consensus mechanism whereby the world’s leading banks submit the interest rate at which they believe they could borrow funds from another bank. The LIBOR rate is set for seven different maturities, ranging from one week to one year, with the most commonly quoted rate being the three-month U.S. dollar rate, which is known as the “current LIBOR rate”.

This consensus mechanism, which relied on honest responses from major banks, created major issues in the mid to late 2000s. In 2008, the LIBOR rate surged compared to less frequently used borrowing rates, which in turn sparked investor concern over a worsening global economy. A subsequent investigation into the surge determined that member banks were colluding to manipulate interest rates so that traders these banks could cash in on derivative positions that used the LIBOR rate as the underlying. Investigators furthered determined that this fraud had been occurring since at least 2005 and potentially as far back as 1991.

In the fallout of this scandal, regulators in the US and UK levied approximately $9 billion in fines on the banks involved and several individual traders were sent to prison. Additionally, supervision of LIBOR was transferred to UK regulators, however, this supervision is expected to expire at the end of 2021 at which time the global finance industry is expected to adopt a new benchmark.

Currently, the secured overnight financing rate (SOFR), a new borrowing benchmark designed by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, is the leading candidate to replace LIBOR. The SOFR has been under scrutiny recently on account of its volatility. One of the key components of the SOFR is the ‘Repo Rate’, which is the rate that the central bank lends money overnight to commercial banks. The repo rate tends to be volatile around the end of months, quarters, and years, which is, in turn, creating volatility in the SOFR.

Low volatility was one of the biggest strengths of the LIBOR and if the SOFR continues to show volatility at period ends it may never take center stage as the most widely recognized debt benchmark in the world.

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The beauty industry is constantly changing, adapting to new consumer wants and developing innovative products. Demands in the industry are very volatile, affected by many factors on a daily basis. Below are some current trends:

Green Beauty: There has been a big emphasis on sustainability, both the packaging aspect and the ingredients used. Customers are demanding environment-friendly and recyclable packagings.  In addition, product ingredients have been in the spotlight as well. L'Oréal, a French personal care company, aims to reduce water as an ingredient used by 60% in the near future. The British-Dutch company, Unilever, has the same goal of lowering water-usage. In the upcoming years, expect to see more "dry" and solid products.

Inclusiveness: In the past several years, the beauty industry has moved towards more diversity and inclusiveness, both in marketing and the product itself. Advertisements are featuring people of all ethnicity, skin tones, and age. Makeup products like foundations are constantly expanding their shade range and undertones. Companies have also incorporated male makeup artists and celebrities in their campaigns in addition to developing male personal care items.

Customization: In today's data-driven world, companies have begun to analyze the individual needs of customers and creating products tailored to individual concerns and needs. Many new startups are allowing users to customize beauty products like shampoos, masks, and even skincare. With a few clicks of a mouse, customers become the designer of their own products.

Some of these trends have always been a part of the industry, and others are just being introduced to the world. Regardless of their history, these trends will all leave their footsteps and impact the industry in meaningful ways. Companies should be on the lookout for potential trends and be equipped with innovative thinkers and marketers.

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As climate change increasingly becomes a bigger issue, investors and companies are looking for ways to minimize their environmental impact with regards to greenhouse-gas emissions. Investors such as Aviva Investors and Aegon Asset Management are encouraging restaurants and food companies to reduce their carbon footprint and redefine their supply chain to be more environmentally friendly. Especially in the United States, this is a controversial period for this issue. Analysts are expecting climate change to be a key issue in the United States 2020 presidential election. It will be a tough negotiating point between all parties involved.

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Did you know that Venezuela’s inflation rate has reached a peak of 254%? Or that Andorra’s literacy rate for ages 15 and above is 100%? The Interactive Rankings page on globalEDGE is a tool that ranks countries or states according to the economy, trade and investment, energy, health, and government sectors. It has countless data on useful information that can be beneficial for students, professors, and professionals. Check out the links below to find out which country has the highest unemployment rate and which states have the highest high school graduation rates in the United States.

Unemployment Rate Rankings

High School Graduation Rankings

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Transportation has long been one of the most essential and transformative processes in society.  Today, e-commerce, fast-paced business environments, and a focus on improving logistics thrust transportation into the spotlight as a necessary day-to-day operation and the main form in which these actions are carried out is automation.  Cars have a wide variety of human uses, from picking up children from school, to moving perishable goods across land, to clearing snowy roads efficiently.  Because of this, the automotive industry continues to be one of the largest and most talked about markets on Earth.

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This past week, the Midwest United States was swept by a deadly winter storm. With wind chills, some areas' temperature reached a staggering negative 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Extreme weather, like this storm, impedes many industries and processes, creating inconveniences and delays. In response to weather, many factors change including demand, production, and delivery. As a result, the supply chains of numerous companies have been impacted in a negative way.