Defence moves into cyberspace

Companies such as Boeing, Grumman, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, which make much or all of their revenues from defence, are rapidly building capabilities in cyberspace, buying software companies that can degrade or destroy a computer network, or protect it from such attacks. “The internet is turning the defence industry on its head, just as it …

Rising Chinese labour costs alter global manufacturing landscape

As the US Senate confirmed its legislation to impose tariffs on Chinese goods, in response to China’s failure to allow its currency to appreciate, a new study by consulting group BCG shows that rising Chinese labour costs are already changing the economics of global manufacturing and could create three million jobs in the USA by 2020. 

Non-food retailing down in the UK

Disposable income is down as the costs of food, fuel, and utilities increase, and a range of non-food retailers, from Mothercare to Tesco are struggling as cash-strapped consumers are more careful in their spending. Profits warnings were issued by Mothercare and SuperGroup and Tesco has had its worst UK sales performance for 20 years, although global …

UK Industry trends:

Petrol, driving, and car maintenance down 0-5%. Bicycle sales up. Doughnuts, sausage rolls and other baked goods up, around 5%. Ted Baker (the high-end fashion company) reports six month sales up 17% on the same period last year. Asda, the low-end retailer, increased the dividend paid to its US parent company by £50m (from £100m …

Interim decision confirms foreign airlines must pay EU tax on carbon pollution

The final decision is expected in early 2012. Such preliminary decision have historically generally been confirmed by the final court ruling. This is good news for action on climate change, though slow. Airlines currently account for about three percent of global carbon emissions, but that share is growing fast. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/36556726-f005-11e0-bc9d-00144feab49a.html

Manufacturing and mid-sized companies are unexpected sources of growth

New research shows that just seven percent of companies, mid-sized, created half of all new jobs since 2002. These fast growers are spread across all sectors and industries, and Government is looking at whether anything can be done to help them grow faster. At the same time, with the global manufacturing sector in the worst …

Airlines face difficult times

Air travel is closely related to economic growth, and Europe’s ‘flag’ carriers have had a disappointing summer. The IMF has cut its forecasts for global economic growth in 2012-2013 to just over 1%. European flag airlines are so far responding not by cutting capacity but by cancelling growth plans. Low cost airlines, however, and US …

Volatility and Stability

Industrial metals such as copper, zinc and platinum had until recently escaped the volatility of the metals market — whatever the financial markets might do, these metals were connected to a real world of real demand: real contracts for electrical wiring, galvanised steel and catalytic converters in car exhausts. Yesterday, however, on the assumption of …

Tiered pricing as “emerging market” equals “growth market”

Pharma companies are becoming more adept at selling drugs for different prices in different countries. “Since 2001 the situation has evolved massively. When we first started, investors didn’t think emerging markets were important. Now there’s an enormous amount of thinking and experimentation by companies, largely as a result of emerging markets being seen as growth …