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One of the most afflicted industries from the pandemic was entertainment.  The prevention of travel and crowded environments, as well as the cancellation of many global sporting events, had a significant impact on the gambling industry. Brick-and-mortar gambling companies experienced decimated levels of revenue in 2020 due to lockdown restrictions.  However, these events gave way to the rapid growth of the online gambling market—an emerging trend that is here to stay.

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Tulum, located in Quintana Roo, Mexico, is known for its modern bohemian-style atmosphere, its beautiful beaches and cenotes, and its eco-friendly nature. Just a decade ago, Tulum was relatively untouched and undeveloped, but it is now one of the fastest-growing destinations in the world for both vacations and residency. A big reason for this is the developers’ strict commitment to preserving Tulum’s natural beauty by building highly sustainable and environmentally friendly infrastructures. These efforts have attracted some of the world’s best architecture firms and novel real estate investors alike.

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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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As technology continues to advance and phase itself into many aspects of our lives, the discussion of digital currencies being used by central governments has been brought to the table time and time again. With countries like China already deciding to implement a digital currency through their central government, pressure has been brought on to other large forces of the global financial sector as to whether or not they will do the same.

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Live stream selling is a newer form of e-commerce that is changing the way consumers around the globe shop. This new way of shopping allows businesses of any size to demonstrate and display their products to a much larger audience than traditional shopping. As restrictions continue because of the pandemic, many consumers are turning to live stream selling as a way to stay connected and receive a more authentic way of shopping that can be done from anywhere. Consumers have continued to look for an interactive and personalized experience throughout the pandemic. Businesses can provide this experience through live stream services such as TaoBao or Tmall, and even Instagram, Facebook, or Amazon.

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The Risk Comparator tab within each Economic Classification page on globalEDGE has been updated to reflect the most recently available 2021 data.  With the onset of the pandemic starting after the source, The Economist, provided its ratings last year, this year's ratings will show the impact that COVID-19 has had on countries and on the different classifications of markets in terms of their country, political, currency, sovereign, banking sector, and economic structure risk.  Explore the individual links below to gain a better understanding of market trends and to see how exactly specific countries have faired in managing risk during the course of the past year.

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has had an extremely busy year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the IMF to respond to situations faster than ever before, and with new and innovative responses. The IMF is made up of 190 countries, including the United States, China, and the U.K., which are all original members. In the early weeks of the pandemic, the IMF saw more than 100 countries request their financial assistance, which led to the approval of $8.7 billion in emergency financing.

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The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway that connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.  Built in Egypt between 1865 and 1869, it serves as a way of expediting transportation between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans.  The closest alternative would be to travel around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, which would require an additional 7,000 km, which estimates out to about 8-10 additional travel days.  The Suez Canal is responsible for 13% of the world’s maritime trade, with an emphasis on the transportation of oil and natural gas.  It is reported that around one million barrels are transported through the canal daily.

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On March 27, 2021, foreign ministers from China and Iran signed a cooperation agreement that is expected to massively stimulate Iran’s economy, as well as deepen China’s presence in the middle east in general. The agreement promises around $400 billion of Chinese investments to be made in multiple Iranian economic sectors like banking, telecommunications, ports, railways, and health care and information technology. In exchange, China will receive a heavily discounted supply of Iranian oil for the next 25 years. Iran’s main contributors to these oil exports will likely be the government-owned National Petrochemical Company and National Iranian Oil Company.