Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Elliott and Associates Research Global Markets: JAZA bans Taiji dolphins in Japanese facilities

JAZA (Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums) have finally announced that it won't permit its members anymore to purchase dolphins from Taiji after an international body suspended its membership on ethical grounds.

During an emergency board meeting of JAZA, 99 out of 142 of its members decided to vote in favor of remaining associated with the WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and agree in the latter's condition to stop buying Taiji dolphins.

WAZA has previously suspended JAZA for its unethical procurement of dolphins from the infamous town of Taiji and has recently threatened to expel JAZA if it continues with the practice.

"JAZA board decided that JAZA will prohibit its members to acquire wild dolphins caught by drive fishing in Taiji and to take part in their export and sale. It is our wish at JAZA to remain as a member of WAZA and thereby contribute for the zoos and aquariums," JAZA said in its statement.

The board's decision to stay in the international association will keep them connected when it comes to rare animals' database collection, without which it will be difficult to get breeding partners from abroad.

Australia for Dolphins' chief executive said that they are pleased that Japan's main zoo body is choosing to stop supporting the business of dolphin hunting. It said in its statement: "This momentous decision marks the beginning of the end for dolphin hunting in Japan. The capture of live dolphins, which sell for up to USD 100,000 is the motivation for the brutal dolphin hunts in Taiji. JAZA aquariums provide up to 40% of total demand for live dolphins from Taiji. So, as of today, the market for Taiji dolphins could be nearly cut in half. Without demand, the hunts won't continue."

But its chairman, Kazutoshi Arai, was quick to clear to Elliott & Associates Research Global Markets that their decision should not be interpreted as condemning or criticizing the whaling culture of Taiji.

Despite worldwide backlash, Taiji fishermen still intends to continue with the dolphin hunts, claiming that it is already part of their local culture. Taiji's Mayor Kazutaka Sangen said, "We are hunting under the permission of the Japanese government and prefecture, and so we will continue to protect our fishermen and the methods. We will not quit."

In Japan, dolphin meat is something of a delicacy but is now gradually losing its market. The industry now is left to provide for the entertainment sector where dolphins sell for very high prices.

Around 250 dolphins are known to be among the facilities of 30 members of JAZA consisting of 63 aquariums and 89 zoos. It is estimated by Elliott & Associates Research Global Markets that almost 20 dolphins are purchased by the local aquariums from the whaling town of Taiji annually.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Elliott & Associates Research Japan Global Markets: Consumer Spending Still Down

Figures from Japan's government this week is showing weak consumption in contrast to an uptick in factory output, highlighting just how uneven the nation's slow road to recovery is.

Consumer spending has decreased by 5%, marking ten months of declining rates which is the longest the market has seen since 2009's global economy crisis. At the beginning of the year, most Japanese have already cut back on their spending, which resulted in the retail industry suffering an unexpectedly sharp decrease in the last two quarters.

Experts of Elliott & Associates Research Global Markets claim that a potential difficulty for the industrial sector is a scenario where consumer spending does not increase in a couple of months. Another challenge against the recovery is the significantly low consumer spending due to the wages that have yet to increase along with the rise in sales tax.

On the other hand, corporations seem to be doing relatively better as they appear to be profiting from a weak yen, giving their products an advantage over competitors. Factory production has increased 4%, drastically higher than predicted by economists, as companies receive more orders from foreign markets. As it is, exports are expected to at least hold the domestic economy together for a time.

A senior economist from SMBC Nikko Securities said, "Output is showing signs of an export-led recovery... This virtuous cycle of factory activity will continue to underpin Japanese output and capital spending ahead."

Originally, the Japanese government planned another tax increase for October but has since delayed implementing it by 2 years owing to the weak economic conditions. A disaster or an unexpected crisis is expected to further delay any other increase in sales tax.

Reports from Elliott & Associates Research Global Markets show doubt that the BOJ can really meet its target as it is expected to take half a year for the benefits of reduced oil prices to push market growth -- and that's not even counting if consumers will actually spend what little they have saved from the lower fuel bills.

BOJ's Haruhiko Kuroda has defended their timeframe in reaching the target because, according to him, not adopting an urgent approach is likely to undermine any effort to counter deflation.

Such inflation data only shows that the market will not likely reach the Bank of Japan's goal of 2% inflation by April. It is widely predicted that Japan will face a fiscal crisis in 5-7 years' time if the government fails to push sales tax over the 15% mark. This owes to the fact that the Japanese population continuously age, their high savings will significantly decrease, and the general public won't be able to carry the debt it's already handling.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Elliott & Associates Research Global Markets: Japan's Death Spiral and its Economic Effects

Japan's number of births has hit an all-time low for 4 years in a row, spelling a worrying issue on its already delicate economy.

In 2014, the estimated birth-rate in Japan reached a record low of a mere 1 million while the number of registered deaths reached 1.3 million. Such downward trajectory in the country even worsens the already bad situation with a shrinking and aging population.

As noted by Elliott & Associates Research Global Markets, births in Japan have seen a huge and relentless decline for decades now. Starting in 1973, there was not a year where the fertility rate in Japan hit enough numbers to support a stabilized population. Though there were some recent improvements made, they were still not enough to increase the numbers. The number of deaths that has outnumbered the number of births by the biggest margin yet poses a problem for the government to ensure the small workforce can continue to support growing number of seniors.

Experts would say Japan is in a "death spiral" because its demography has been on a bad situation for a long time now that it is virtually impossible to change its trajectory significantly.

Data shows that the so-called "death spiral" started in the 1970s and has since proceeded in a gradual but steady decline. Indeed, last year's population decline was a record low but that's already something to be expected every year for the next decades.

According to an official from Elliott & Associates Research Global Markets with knowledge of the data, the women of who are of reproductive age are declining which inevitably leads to a decline in the number of kids. To be fair, Japanese women today are having a bit more children on average than they did years ago. However, there are fewer women in the population now who could bear a child so it's still not enough to make up for the difference.

Japan's government bond market has been surprisingly strong even in such demographic issues though this cannot be counted on to continue indefinitely. There will come a time that people will realize Japan won't have enough productive citizens anymore and so won't be able to return debts (except perhaps by printing money).

The Japanese government has already issued a warning that by the year 2060, almost 40% of their population would consist of seniors. As it is, they are already having difficulties supporting the pensioners that make up one fourth of its total population now.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Elliott and Associates Renewable Energy Review: Climate Degegates Generating Tonnes of CO2

Flights and hotels for the entire 9,000 delegates from 190 countries attending the UN climate confernece…

Flights and hotels for the entire 9,000 delegates from 190 countries attending the UN climate confernece here will generate almost 29,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, according to an estimate by a group campaigning on behalf of green energy developers.

According to Project Developer Forum, the 29,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide is roughly equivalent to the emissions produced by the entire Pacific island state of Kiribati in six months.

Benny Peiser, of the climate-sceptic Global Warming Policy Foundation described the 12-day climate summit in the Peruvian capital as the “green blob’s annual ritual” and “an expensive form of mass tourism, never mind the carbon footprint”.

“More importantly, the ritual gathering isn’t going to overcome the underlying deadlock,” he said.

“The developing world will ask for a high price which will sink the deal in the US.” He said he believed any deal would not be legally-binding and that this would lead the EU to renege on its own carbon-cutting pledges.

“In short, the deal that is now in the making won’t slow CO2 emissions and won’t bind any nation. But it will be sold as a breakthrough รข€“ as all agreements have been sold in the past,” he was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

The delegates are attempting to draft a global climate deal which is due to be officially agreed at next year’s summit in Paris. The aim is to come up with an agreement that will cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to two degree centigrade above pre-industrial levels, beyond which scientists say the effects will be far more dangerous.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Elliott and Associates Renewable Energy Review Europe Tokyo Paris Asia: UN Climate Talks Call Future of Energy Majors into Question

ExxonMobil and Shell would cease to exist in their current forms in 35 years under measures UN negotiators are considering for a legally binding global climate pact to be sealed in Paris next year.

The oil and gas these companies produce, and the coal mined by groups such as Rio Tinto, would have to be phased out by 2050 in one proposal at UN climate talks in Lima this week, which aim to smooth a path to the Paris deal.

Another option would still allow such fossil fuels to be used, but only if countries could ensure “net zero emissions by 2050”.

In other words, all the warming carbon dioxide emissions produced when fossil fuels are burnt would have to be stored underground or offset by steps such as planting vast numbers of trees.

Shell declined to respond directly but pointed to a speech by chief executive Ben van Beurden arguing “we need to temper our expectations of a zero-carbon future”, because demand for energy is so strong and renewable energy sources were unlikely to be a realistic alternative to fossil fuels for many decades.

ExxonMobil pointed to similar arguments on the company’s website.

Critics have accused conventional energy companies of complacency in the face of the risks to their business model from a future climate deal. Lord Browne, the former boss of BP, said last month that they were ignoring the “existential threat” climate change posed to the industry.

Meanwhile, the BANK  of England is assessing the risks fossil fuel companies might pose to FINANCIAL  stability if the world’s proven coal, oil and gas reserves turned out to be “unburnable”.

But the idea being discussed in Lima of “full decarbonisation by 2050” has raised eyebrows among energy industry and business analysts.

“It’s a deeply, deeply challenging target,” said Brad Page, chief executive of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, which promotes the still small number of projects that can trap and store carbon dioxide from leading emissions sources, such as power stations and industrial plants.

No country has ever consistently driven down its carbon pollution at the pace required to meet such a goal, said Jonathan Grant, director of climate change at PwC, the professional services group.

“You can understand why countries are proposing it, but that doesn’t make it any more feasible,” he said.

Still, the proposals underscore the influence of an extensive assessment issued in stages over the past 15 months by scientists in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading global warming authority.

In a departure from previous studies, the 26-year-old panel’s latest report says emissions will have to fall to near zero eventually if the world were to avoid more than 2C of warming from pre-industrial times, a threshold the IPCC says it could be risky to breach.

 “It’s really exciting to see countries grappling with the honest picture of the magnitude of the challenge,” said Dr Chris Field, a co-chair of the IPCC report.

The 2050 decarbonisation options for the Paris deal “are consistent with the 2C target”, he said.

The proposals are in a 23-page paper being discussed in Lima. The paper contains a number of other possible components of the Paris agreement, which is due to be negotiated in more detail next year.

Under other options being considered, oil exports from developing countries to wealthy nations would be taxed and wealthy countries would have to compensate people suffering from the worst impacts of climate change, such as those forced to migrate from low-lying islands because of rising sea levels.

A plan to make rich countries devote 1 per cent of gross domestic product a year from 2020 to help poorer people deal with global warming is also included.

These options are unlikely to make it into the final agreement, but more than 48 countries want a long-term plan for phasing out emissions included in the Paris treaty, according to the Track 0 campaign group, which lobbies for action on climate change.

“This will be the big battle in Paris,” said Liz Gallagher of E3G, an environmental think-tank.

She said a goal for the complete elimination of emissions was unlikely, because it would make activities such as flying impossible, but a long-term net-zero emissions target was feasible.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Elliott & Associates Research Consulting Global Markets: What it Involves

David Frigstad, Chariman of Frost and Sullivan, says that “corporate growth is driven by globalization, free market economies, and increased global competition.” As such, his company focuses on developing innovative strategies for their clients through Customer Research, Market Consulting, Growth Workshops, Market Research among other services. Research obviously plays a vital role in enhancing business growth. Like Frigstad’s firm, many other companies provide research consulting as a crucial part of a modern dynamic company.

What is research consulting?

Research consulting or Research-Based Consulting involves a more personalized engaged method of applying an extensive body of research, data-driven insights and best practices to a company’s specific business challenges. Firms providing research consulting as a service employ their experts and analysts to leverage their world-class research and proprietary data for any particular company’s objectives. They can readily design and tailor recommendations based on their portfolio of frameworks and methodologies.

Invariably, research consultants strive to remain independent of any technology bias or vendor influence in order to provide an external viewpoint that may challenge conventional wisdom in any business or industry sector.

Insights derived by expert research consultants are tailored according to a company’s role in any business or industry and the critical initiatives undertaken to fulfill that role. Research independence is essential to remove the common mistakes and biases that often make business decisions either fall short of their goals or are made in accordance to the interests of other companies or any external institution.

Some of the specific methods utilized in research consulting include the following:

• Visioning Sessions

This involves focusing on a company’s critical goals with analysts and consultants during highly customized interactions. Effectively accessing both the technologies and the trends that will affect a company’s future state is the primary objective of any business concern. This step also includes defining appropriate success metrics and share best practices from companies that are blazing the trail. The consultant’s research-based insights can validate planning, gain stakeholder confidence, and impel organizational improvement.

• Business Cases

These consulting sessions involve rigorous investment strategies to determine the total economic impact of a company’s business. By comparing the organizational effects of technology options, the consultant enables a company to validate input and determine strategic goals. A company can develop a robust business case that demonstrates the value of technology change in relation to cost, benefit, risk, and future flexibility.

• Maturity Assessments

Working through the perspective of a firm’s present strategy, management and performance, a research consultant assesses the strength of an organization’s capabilities. This allows a business to compare vital disciplines, such as technology, measurement, and culture in relation to best practices. After determining any gaps in maturity levels, the consultant recommends closing such gaps and moving forward.

• Vendor Selection

Research consulting offers this consulting engagement to dramatically increase the successful selection of tools and technologies that closely align with a firm’s organization’s requirements. Throughout the vendor selection process, guidance is provided based on evaluation of the strength of a vendor’s present solution, future product strategy, and market share.

• Organizational Design

This requires enhancing a company’s organizational structure, skills, and alignment through capability assessments. This consulting service helps identify crucial strengths and weaknesses within the organization and apply best practices to enhance design and transition plans.

• Strategic Road Maps

In order to support and sustain long-term success, research consulting provides strategic road maps that are founded on objective research. These road maps reflect real-time data collection from companies encountering parallel challenges, to help appreciate the achievements, prioritizations, tradeoffs, and risks encountered. Recommendations at crucial periods are provided, including the creation of a start-to-finish road map before the implementation.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Elliott and Associates Corporate Advisory Tips and Review: Communication Tips for Global Virtual Teams

One of my designers lives in Turkmenistan. Every day, he wakes up to email and assignments to create beautiful front-end designs from our commercial team in New York and San Francisco. When he’s done, he sends them to a developer in Ukraine to implement. Throughout the day they work on various projects, and when they go to bed our design and development teams in New York take over. The system runs smoothly and it means that my team happily works around the clock — without any one person actually working around the clock.

People often ask me about how I managed to build this global engineering team at RebelMouse, and before that at Huffington Post, relaying their outsourcing horror stories and wondering how I got around them.

A lot of it comes down to being really intentional about how our globally dispersed team communicates. We can’t take remote team members out for a beer to show our appreciation, so we use other methods. In my 15 years managing remote teams, I have learned to:

1.       Live and breathe your email and make sure the team does too. Currently my team is spread across more than 20 countries. Instant messaging relies on everyone being there at the same time. Email, on the other hand can be totally asynchronous as it fits our time zone difference and odd working hours in general. The only way I’ve found that works is when everyone on the team keeps their inboxes open and checks emails as their absolute highest priority. Without that we operate blindly to each other since there is no tapping someone on the shoulder as there would be in an office.

2.       Give the benefit of the doubt. My team has huge cultural and language differences (although everyone does have a working knowledge of English as the basic way we communicate). We all were raised with different ways of approaching projects, handling conflict resolution etc. It’s essential we forgive each other constantly for odd grammar, odd behavior and instead try to make the beauty of building something together lift us above any confusion.

3.       Overcommunicate. Especially as part of a startup, it’s sometimes hard to understand where we are going and what we are building. Asking questions all the time helps. I want people to always be inquisitive while also working on the little pieces of concrete stuff that we definitely know. If a question doesn’t get answered because of email overload, I like people to ask again or bump up the thread so that we make sure everyone is on the same page.

4.       Be intentionally positive. It’s way too easy for things to sound negative in an email. Without tone, body language or anything else, it’s extra important to make sure emails don’t turn into hurt feelings. Sarcasm and deadpan humor can come across the wrong way (especially because humor doesn’t always translate across cultures). But being friendly and approachable – even if it means using lots of emoticons – is always welcome. I try to encourage my team to be overtly friendly in their emails, even if it means they sound less “businesslike.”

5.       Offer suggestions, not critiques. When you disagree with someone in person, you can often discuss the issue until you’re both on the same page. That’s much harder to do from halfway across the world, when a brief “I don’t get it” can steer the conversation into a dead end. I always tell people to make sure to move the conversation forward: if you don’t like someone else’s idea, can you suggest an alternative instead of simply sharing your dislike? If there’s anything you do like about their proposal, make sure to include that. In general, I’ve found when I have something positive to say, I send it immediately and when I have something negative I sometimes give myself some time to mull it over. I am usually glad I did.

As the one assigning the work, you can also prevent communication frustration by making sure everyone has multiple tasks in their queues. That way, if one thing gets stuck in a communication bottleneck, remote employees can move on to the second or third task on their list while they wait for a response on the first task. This keeps everyone moving full speed ahead – no matter where they are in the world.