Negative Prices for Energy in Europe Reveal Infrastructure Gaps

If energy prices are a reliable indicator, then power grids even in green-friendly Europe are not yet ready for a comprehensive transition to renewable energy. Due to lagging investment and development of storage technologies for renewable power, unseasonably sunny and windy periods across Europe continue to lead to imbalances in power supply and demand that result a bizarre phenomenon: negative energy prices.

United States: Moving Toward Economic Recession in 2019?

One could argue that in a world subject to the inevitability of business cycles, the United States is overdue for a recession. During the 60 year period from 1950 to 2010, the US economy experienced 10 recessions, averaging one recession every six years. In contrast, the longest period of uninterrupted economic growth was just shy of 10 years. The US is now in the midst of nine years of economic growth with the last "Great Recession", which ended in 2009, a fading memory for some. Will 2019 bring recession to the US?

Epidemic Readiness Still Out of Reach

While in some ways technology has changed so much about the world today, it has not been able to erase the vulnerability of diverse populations globally to pandemics, outbreaks, and epidemics that costs lives and undercuts economic growth.

Is NATO the Financial Burden of the US?

In July, after the NATO summit in Brussels, US President Donald Trump tweeted that "the United States is spending far more on NATO than any other country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable." But, is the US spending more on NATO than other members? And, if so, is the US spending level unfair relative to that which the US—and the other 28 members—have agreed? Let's look at the data.

Pedestrians Beware: SUVs are Popular and Deadly

The surge in popularity of sport utlity vehicles in the US has come at a cost, with SUVs overtaking sedans in fatal pedestrian accidents. Experts attribute the higher profile of the front of SUVs—the collision point in most pedestrian collisions—as leading to a higher death rate compared to lower profile sedans. 

Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep Across Five OECD Countries

Famous intellects and innovators including the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Nicola Tesla are known not only for their contributions to the world but for doing so on very few hours of sleep per night. We may like to think we could all achieve similar success if we slept less and worked more yet the reality of the human mind and body suggests that insufficient sleep has adverse and far-reaching consequences on our health and well-being and, ultimately, the global economy. The findings of a recent study by RAND Corporation covering 62,000 individuals across five OECD countries show that insufficient sleep has far reaching economic consequences.

Haitian Public Forcing New Approach to Fuel Price Reform

The Government of Haiti on July 6 imposed price hikes for a variety of fuels, sparking violent protests across the country that cost lives, destroyed property, shut down air traffic, and even caused embassies, business, schools, and other entities to restrict transit and activity in the country. The government increased gasoline prices by 38 percent, kerosene by 51 percent, and diesel by 47 percent.

US Health Agency Research Supports Vaccinating Against Flu

Tens of thousands of Americans have died from the flu during the last five flu seasons, despite US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research findings that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by 40-60 percent and saves thousands of lives each flu season. A variety of factors contributed to the estimated 30.9 million illnesses, 14.5 million medical visits, 600,000 hospitalizations in the US related to flu during the 2016-2017 flu season.

Shrinking Populations: A Challenge for Pension Systems

Just as governments struggle to simultaneously address obesity and hunger, the world’s population continues to grow ... and shrink. The United Nations estimates that between 2015 and 2050 49 countries will experience population declines even as the total world population reaches 9.77 billion. Moreover, in all but two countries the ratio of old population to working-age population will increase by 2050, and an estimated 135 countries will experience fertility rates below replacement rates.

US Suicide Rate



Suicide in the US is now considered a major public health issue. In 2016, 45,000 Americans took their own lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 53 percent increase since just 2000.

The Global Burden of Non-Communicable Disease

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill about 40 million people annually. Comprising chronic lung diseases, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, NCDs are the result of a characteristic Western, predominantly urban lifestyle and negative environmental factors. Almost three-quarters of global NCD deaths arise from low or middle income countries, where the incidence of NCDs is on the rise. - World Economic Forum

One Belt One Road: An Investment Perspective for Participating Economies

Last year the government of China formally adopted the One Belt One Road Initiative to improve the transport and trading links between China and Eurasian and African countries. A modern day version of the Silk Road network of trade routes between East and West circa 207 BCE, One Belt One Road (aka Belt and Road Initiative or just BRI) will be the largest investment initiative in history. BRI will span more than 68 countries and including an estimated $8 trillion of investment in transportation networks, energy production, and telecommunications infrastructure.

Public Order and Safety Spending Worldwide

Personal safety, as a basic human need, is encapsulated globally in national legislation and international accords, all with the aim of maintaining public order and safety. While definitions of law and order may vary by country—and with it the tasks assigned to security forces—the source of funding is nearly universally taxpayers. Every taxpayer thereby has the right to know whether these public expenditures are effective. In today’s viz we explore the efficiency of public safety expenditures global by comparing expenditures with crime levels.

Taiwan: Trade Profile Shaped by Bilateral Trade with China

Taiwan, an island off the southwestern coast of China, is the most populous state and largest economy that is not a member of the United Nations. Today, Taiwan is home to 23.7 million people, a population comparable to that of Xinjiang, Beijing, and Shanghai. Despite a recent economic slowdown, Taiwan's GDP per capita stands at $25,000, nearly triple that of China. In terms of PPP, Taiwan ranks 77th in the world; China ranks 108th. 

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Index

Consumer sentiment among US residents surged in March to its highest value since 2004, according to the University of Michigan. An improving job market, expectations of increased disposable income from tax cuts, and prospects for continued economic growth offset concerns about tariffs and stock market volatility triggered by the US president’s impulsive tweets and policy shifts.

Australia: Oil Stock Levels Pose a Systemic Economic Risk

Australia is running a continuous and growing deficit in total oil stocks, defying the International Energy Agency's (IEA) mandate on members to maintain 90-days of coverage and perpetuating the country’s vulnerability to swings in global oil markets. Whether global supply imbalances arise from geopolitical discord, OPEC-sanctioned supply adjustments, or other market balance factors, the fact that Australia maintains no strategic reserve and has less than a 50 day supply of oil bodes poorly for the potential cost to the economy in the event of a price spike and potential resulting shortages.

US Sanctions Against Russia

Russia's recovery from economic recession could be complicated by sanctions announced recently by US President Donald Trump, with still greater potential of painful restrictions on investors and Russian companies seeking to raise capital in Western markets. This year, the US Treasury initiated new sanctions against Russian persons and entities for activities including the alleged poisoning in the UK of former FSB Officer Skripal and his daughter as well as Moscow's alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

The Most Attractive Markets: Understanding China's Market Potential

Corporate growth strategies typically include some combination of deepening existing market penetration and new product and market development. New market entry through acquisitions, greenfield investment, joint venture or other forms are considered generally to be the most controllable ways to drive business growth. And, many emerging markets, such as Brazil, India, Argentina, with their growing middle-classes are attractive targets for these growth strategies.

OPEC Crude Oil Prices

Oil producers market more than 160 unique crude oils today, each varying from light to heavy, with different sulfur levels and other chemical attributes that affect price and market. Only a few individual crudes—particularly Brent and West Texas Intermeidate (WTI)—serve as industry benchmarks. The OPEC Reference Basket (ORB) is another common benchmark.

US Imports of Steel and Aluminium: Tariffs Perspective

On March 8, 2018, US president Donald Trump issued two proclamations to adjust US imports of aluminum and steel from all countries except Canada and Mexico, key regional allies and trade partners. President Trump asserted that a 25 percent tariff on steel “articles” and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum articles are necessary for the US to develop its domestic steel and aluminum industries and to protect and create jobs. 

Global Entrepreneurship Index 2018

Ecuador has the world's highest share of nascent entrepreneurs per capita at about 30 percent of the population. This measure is known as total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA). But, does this mean that Ecuador is more entrepreneurial than the United States, which has a TEA of only 14 percent? The answer depends on how we define “entrepreneur”.

Household Debt in the US

The household debt balance in the United States reached a new all-time high of $13.2 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the latest report from the Center for Microeconomic Data of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. US household debt has risen continuously since 2013, now constituting 67 percent of US GDP and exceeding the 2008 pre-crisis level by nearly $475 billion.

Top 100 Countries by Game Revenues

According to the American Time Use Survey, Americans spend an average of 15 minutes daily playing games. That’s more time than Americans spend walking, grocery shopping, or managing their finances.

South Korea a Welcoming Locale for the 2018 Winter Olympics

The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games XXIII in the Republic of Korea will kick off tomorrow, February 9th, 2018. The fact that the Olympic Committee selected South Korea to host along with the rapidly growing number of international tourist arrivals to the country in recent years suggests that South Korea is a safe and hospitable destination. But, what does the data tell us?

The World's Nuclear Forces


Nine countries in the world are nuclear-capable: China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. As of January 2017, these nuclear powers possessed approximately 14,935 nuclear weapons, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Cholera Outbreak in Yemen



Back in early 2016, Yemen ranked third globally for the number of reported cases of cholera, a disease all too common in developing countries with poor access to reliable water and sanitation facilities. Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that, with proper treatment, can be cured in 99 percent of cases; without treatment, it can kill within hours. By October 2016, the disease moved into the headlines in war-torn Yemen as the first wave of one of the worst cholera outbreaks in modern history began.