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The housing market is an unforeseen casualty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the hot housing markets are a global phenomenon. In the United States, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and South Korea, the housing markets are seeing a surge in price growth, in some areas reaching price overvaluation of more than 20%. More specifically, global house prices are now 22.4% higher than their level immediately after the financial crisis and up 29.2% in advanced economies. The Bank of Korea even warned that real estate is “significantly overpriced” in June 2021, along with discussing the growing household debt repayment burden. In the rest of this blog, we will go over the reasons for the increased pricing, how countries and global institutions respond to them, and the actions different countries have taken to lower the costs.

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This past week, Apple unveiled their new line of products, including new iPads and iMacs. There has already been a lot of controversy in the business world about Apple's new unveilings, including a new product, AirTag, looking incredibly similar to the product Tile, and the new podcasting app on iPhones directly competing with Spotify. However, the latest software update to their products has more profound consequences for other well-known businesses, particularly Facebook.

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The usage of ethically made materials has been one of the biggest issues in the fashion industry. In particular, fast fashion brands such as H&M, Zara, Shein, and Romwe have been targets to move towards sustainable fashion and more ethical consumption. The newest issue on this front is dealing with the accusations that recently surfaced regarding the H&M Group profiting off of forced labor of the Uyghur people in the Chinese territory of Xinjiang.

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The issue of data collection is once again being posed, however this time it involves a very well-known gambling app company in Britain, Sky Bet. After fighting his gambling addiction, a man in Britain decided to pull a request for the private data that Sky Bet collected about him, revealing multiple personal information files including his banking records, mortgage details, location coordinates, and a full portrait of his different gambling habits. After he quit gambling, Sky Bet used the personal data they had of him to label him as a “win back” customer, creating targeted ads that have led to yet another controversy surrounding data collection and usage.

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The issue of data collection, monopolies, and the power that private companies have versus what the government has access to has been a constant power struggle over the past 20 years as technology has become more and more accessible. One company, in particular, has been raising fears throughout many different countries: Google. Google currently has a 90% share of the market, raising concerns about it being a monopoly. In the United States, the Department of Justice and 11 states put forward an antitrust lawsuit against Google on October 20, 2020, claiming that Google is illegally protecting its monopoly. On the other hand, Brazil has been dealing with the ramifications of its antitrust lawsuit with Google since 2018. This is an update to antitrust cases that have been going up against Google throughout these past two years. The lawsuits in Australia and Spain were covered in an earlier blog. 

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As the new year begins, many people’s resolutions may be to either re-evaluate what stock they are investing in or invest for the very first time. Now is the best time to start looking at predictions for how the stock market will look throughout 2021, and some hopeful versus risky stocks to invest in.

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The coronavirus pandemic is seeing a large and hopeful light moving forward: the vaccine. Each country is putting together different plans to face the COVID-19 pandemic head on. Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States are among the first countries to start distributing the vaccines with varying methods. Canada and the UK are both identifying priority groups and using their national healthcare to evenly distribute the vaccine to healthcare workers and to the elderly. The United States has taken a different approach, allowing every state to define its own priority groups and how they will distribute the vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccine has been highly anticipated but has created new, unforeseen problems due to distribution and transportation. A few unexpected companies have risen up to match the challenges of distribution, storage, and space requirements.

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As speculated for weeks, Salesforce recently finished the acquisition of the popular messaging app, Slack. The total cost of this purchase is $27.7 billion. This acquisition unites a giant in business software with a newcomer with the mission to replace office emailing. As of Wednesday, November 25, 2020, Slack Technologies had a value of $17 billion and a decreasing stock of -1.81%.

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5G is the next generation of wireless networks expected to change our culture fundamentally. Due to its almost zero request time, 5G will be able to download a two-hour movie onto your phone in less than 10 seconds.

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The most important thing to do in times of isolation is to still have some kind of connection. People are searching out their friends and family through video chat to check in and push towards having connections. Whether it’s FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, or another one of the hundreds of different video calling platforms, everyone seems to have a personal favorite. Video chatting is now becoming an essential part of society. And because of this, the video conferencing market is seeing an increase in consumption.

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As reported by the global news, we are being faced with many different challenges. A global pandemic and fear of the unknown is prevalent. To prevent further spread of this disease, many countries have called for total quarantines. More than 25 countries have gone into some kind of quarantine, ranging from full quarantine to simply social distancing. During these stressful and uncertain times, something unexpected happened; shelters are running out of animals as people seek out animals to keep them company in quarantine. Specifically, people are looking into fostering pets for the time of quarantine.

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Among the panic of the COVID-19 a very peculiar phenomenon is happening around the world: Panic Buying. Spain has called for calm, Europe is urging its people to buy rationally, and the United States is working through getting more supplies on its shelves. Panic buying is creating shortages of items around the world and is affecting the supply chains of many different products. But what exactly is panic buying and how is it affecting the markets and companies working within a specific industry?

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Tomorrow is one of the biggest consumer holidays after Christmas: Valentine’s Day. It is celebrated in eight countries: the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, and Italy. And it’s not just for those in relationships anymore; many people are purchasing gifts for their friends, family, and pets. So, with all these purchases, the economy goes into a small boom.

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An underground controversy right now is the tariff laws surrounding cherries. The cherry market is seeing a trend that many other states and countries are dealing with, specifically in dried cherries that are used for canning and juice. The decision made on this product could affect how the United States deals with foreign imports on a global scale.

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The United States and China have been in a trade war since July of 2018 when U.S. President, Donald Trump, imposed large taxes on imported Chinese products. President Trump declared a 15% tax on many American goods, and Beijing has fought back with 5-25% taxes on American goods. These taxes have created tension between the two country's markets, making it harder for businesses to sell in either country. But due to new agreements, this trade war may be coming to an end.

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Commercial Space Travel has been a dream for years. Most science fiction media would tell you that it’s all aliens and fantasy—but it has become the dream of many humans to walk on the moon. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), while usually in the spotlight when talking about space travel, is not the top organization researching private flight.

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The state of our environment has become a hot button topic as many companies are turning to environmental sustainability. Each year there are approximately 14 billion pounds of trash dumped into the ocean. While many small non-profit organizations are setting out to try and fix this problem, it does not seem to be getting substantially better. China has 6 rivers in the “Plastic Ocean Input top 20”, 3 of which are in the top 4. This means these rivers are the top polluted rivers due to the ocean’s pollution. Other countries in the top 20 affected are Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Philippines, Nigeria, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Taiwan. Now large companies are trying to fix this problem by creating new products that integrate this ocean plastic waste into their new products. And it may actually be working.

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On October 14, 2019, the United Kingdom’s Parliament was reinstated after a 5-week suspension. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is persistent in wanting the UK to secede from the European Union. During the Parliament disbandment, the Prime Minister was able to secure a deal, The Withdrawl Agreement Bill, with the European Union. Prime Minister Johnson wanted to put it through Parliament quickly and finally go through with Brexit. Parliament voted and approved the Bill, securing Brexit to go through in a week. But, Prime Minister Johnson told the House of Commons to vote on the Bill in a matter of hours. The House of Commons refused. Due to this refusal, the Bill now looks as though it won’t pass, so Prime Minister Johnson is calling for a general vote to re-elect Parliament. Prime Minister Johnson’s plan is to win a majority in Parliament and pass Brexit without a deal. With this Brexit scare seeming even more realistic every day, many companies around the world are making plans on what they will do when the UK finally secedes from the EU.

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The iPhone 11 was recently released at another staggering retail price of between $699 and $1099. The iPhone 11 is claimed to be the most advanced phone that Apple has made, using their signature face-reading technology and increased camera power to draw in their customers. While there is still a strong demand for the newest phone by Apple, there is a new phone company that is making waves in the cell phone market.

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This year Halloween doesn’t just have everyone scared from horror movies and ghosts, but also the newest Brexit deadline. The United Kingdom is projected to leave the European Union in just over a month, and they still have no planned deal for a quiet exit. With Boris Johnson suspending Parliament, the question stands of how a “No Deal Brexit” will hurt other countries and Globalization.