BUSINESS

Many happy returns: new data reveal long-term investment trends

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DATA-GATHERING is the least sexy part of economics, which is saying something. Yet it is also among the most important. The discipline is rife with elaborate theories built on assumptions that turned out to be false once someone took the time to pull together the relevant data. Accordingly, one of the most valuable papers produced in 2017 is an epic example of data-retrieval: a piece of research that spells out the rates of return on important asset classes, for 16 advanced economies, from 1870 to 2015. It is fascinating work, a rich seam for other economists to mine, and a source of insight into some of today’s great economic debates.Rates of return both influence and are influenced by the way firms and households expect the future to unfold. They therefore find their way into all sorts o

After a bumper 2017, will 2018 be kind to the financial markets?

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AFTER a bumper year for financial markets in 2017, can 2018 be anything like as good? Much will depend on the global economy. The rally in stockmarkets stretches back almost two years, to the point when worries about an era of “secular stagnation” started to diminish.The first pieces of economic data to be published in January—the purchasing managers’ indices (PMI) for the manufacturing sector—were pretty upbeat. In the euro zone the index recorded its highest level since the survey began in 1997. China’s PMI was stronger than expected, and America’s index showed new orders at their highest level in nearly 14 years.The obvious question is whether the markets have anticipated the good news about growth, and pushed share prices to a level from which returns can only be disappointing. The cyc

As China gets tough on pollution, will its economy suffer?

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LEO YAO thought he had nothing to fear from the environment ministry. Before, when its inspectors visited his cutlery factory, he says, they generated “loud thunder, little rain”. After warning him to clean up, they would, at worst, impose a negligible fine. Not so this time. In August dozens of inspectors swarmed over his workshop in Tianjin, just east of Beijing, and ordered production to be halted. His doors remain shut today. If he wants to go on making knives and forks, he has been told that he must move to more modern facilities in a less populated area.Mr Yao’s company, which at its peak employed 80 people, is just one minor casualty in China’s sweeping campaign to reduce pollution. For years the government has vowed to go green, yet made little progress. It has flinched at reining

Is the bubble only starting?

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READY for a melt-up? Investors are generally upbeat about the prospects for equity markets this year but one intrepid fund manager thinks it is likely that American share prices could rise by 50% in the next six months to two years. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the identity of that pundit: Jeremy Grantham.Mr Grantham, one of the founders of the fund management group GMO, is best known for a cautious approach to valuations. He was one of the investors who got out of the dotcom boom well before the top. His firm’s most recent prediction for seven-year returns are for an annual loss of 2% from American largecap equities; indeed among all the asset categories, only cash and emerging market equities and bonds are expected to produce a positive real return over the seven-year period. So how c

Are America’s airports the worst in the world?

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SOME airports are known for being the antithesis of elegance. The reputation of Luton Airport in Britain was famously trashed by a television advert for Campari, a posh drink, in the 1980s. In the clip, a well-dressed man offered a drink of the stuff to a fashion model on holiday and asked, “Were you truly wafted here from paradise?” She replied in her full cockney accent, “Nah, Lu’on Airport!” Its reputation as a place to fly from has never quite recovered since. In August it was named Britain’s worst airport by Which?, a consumer group.But at least Luton’s terminals are modern and safe—and that cannot be said of others around the world. In this week’s print issue, Gulliver’s colleagues from around the globe have reviewed some of the world’s worst airports. These range from departure loun

2018 will be the year that large, incumbent companies take on big tech

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ACCORDING to Ginni Rometty, IBM’s boss, the digital revolution has two phases. In the first, Silicon Valley firms make all the running as they create new markets and eviscerate weak firms in sleepy industries. This has been the story until now. Tech firms have captured 42% of the rise in the value of America’s stockmarket since 2014 as investors forecast they will win an ever-bigger share of corporate profits. A new, terrifying phrase has entered the lexicon of business jargon: being “Amazoned”.The second phase favours the incumbents, Ms Rometty believes, and is starting about now. They summon the will to adapt, innovate to create new, digital, products and increase efficiency. The schema is plainly self-serving. IBM is itself fighting for survival against cloud-based tech rivals and most

Promasidor wins ‘Best Kept Industrial Premises Award’

BUSINESS
Food and beverage firm Promasidor Nigeria Limited (PNL) has won this year’s ‘Best Kept Industrial Premises Award’ also known as ‘Total Compliance Inspection Competition’. The award, which is organized by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), tries to address risk governance deficit in the industrial sector by rewarding best practices towards enabling and maintaining clean and safe work environments in industries. Promasidor Nigeria, clinched the award that gives special recognition to compliance and high standards in the area of health and safety after being assessed and proven certified in the following areas: external and internal premises, utilities, solid waste management, effluent treatment plant, pollution control facilities, personal protective equipment, green-life and ge

Coca-Cola Nigeria trains Internally Displaced Women to start small scale businesses

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Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited said it has provided 50 Internally Displaced (IDP) women with quality personal development and small business appreciation training as part of its 5by20 Women Economic Empowerment Initiative. At a two-day programme tagged ‘IDP Women Value Chain Integration Programme’ held at Sesor Empowerment Foundation training complex in Igbo-Efon, Lekki, Lagos, on the 18th and 19th December 2017, the women were provided with adequate training that will enable them to start their respective small-scale businesses. Speaking on the scheme, Amaka Onyemelukwe, Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria said “We believe there is no better investment than women to spur economic growth and foster sustainable development. Women are pillars of the communities we serve a