Category Archives: News

Wine Consumption Growing Around the World

Image by Sharad Jadvani from Pixabay

According to the most recent Vinexpo/IWSR wine and spirits report, the world is expected to consume US $207 billion by the year 2022, drinking approximately 2.7 billion 9-liter cases. That represents growth in the industry of 2.15% between the years 2017 and 2022.
Due to the recent practice to “drink less but better,” value has out-paced volume in growth all over the world. This is especially true in North, South and Central America as well as in the Asia-Pacific region.


The United States is still the world’s most valuable market for wine with a value of US$34.8 billion in 2017. After the US France is rated the second most lucrative market worth about US$16 billion. China comes in at a close third with US$ 16.5 billion in sales.


Vinepress forecasts the China will overtake France as the second largest consumer of wine by the year 2020, with a value of over US$19 billion.


The top five markets for volume of sales did not seem to change in the last year with
• USA sold 318 million cases
• Italy sold 266 million
• France sold 250 million
• Germany 224 million
• China 156 million

Three Relatively Unknown Companies Entering US Market

Two Canadian companies and one from Israel are on the verge of entering the large and lucrative US market, hoping to cash in.


Pembina

Pembina Pipeline is a NYSE listed company (PBA), is an energy infrastructure company relatively unknown to most US investors. The coming months will change their profile in the US, as they are aiming to make a positive final investment decision to purchase Jordan Cove liquid natural gas (LNG) export facility along the coast of Oregon, for $10 billion.
Pembina received conditional approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) if it adheres to strict rules about reducing its environmental impact.


Canada Goose
Canada Goose manufactures high-end winter clothing, and is already a popular brand in the US, but its direct retail presence in the lower 50 is minuscule. With only 4 stores in the US (and only 11 worldwide) the company is poised to make an impact on the US retail market.
The company is planning on opening its 5th store in the US at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, the location picked because it is a key tourist destination. The store will even feature a “cold room” where customers can try the coats on in the environment they were meant to be worn in.


UroGen Pharma
Israeli-based UroGen Pharma (NASDAQ-URGN) plummeted 34% over the past 12 months, and 10% since the beginning of 2019, but investors should think of the price decline as a bargain and opportunity, and not necessarily a warning.
The company develops drugs to treat rare cancers of the urinary tract. UGN-101 is the company’s leading candidate for approval in the US, as it has built a good reputation leading up to approval by US regulators later in 2019.
Analysts say the drug should reach peak yearly sales of over $500 million. This might not seem like much compared to top selling pharmaceuticals that can make as much as $1 billion, but the company today is valued at only $800 million. Bottom line, most investors are in the dark about UroGen Pharma, but we expect that to change before 2019 ends.

Becoming a Leader: Tools and Tips

Becoming a leader in today’s world – irrespective of what industry – can be extremely challenging and competitive.  Having a mentor help navigate the system and share their experiences is a very positive way of getting started. 

This is especially true for women.  While there are mentorship programs available, often it is best conducted through an informal arrangement.  This was one of the messages given at last year’s Women Leaders in Global Health Conference, London.  According to Dr. Joanne Liu, International President at Médecins Sans Frontières:

“For me, a mentor is someone who believes in you when you don’t believe enough in yourself.  [She also said that age is not a factor..taking advice from those who are] 20 or 25 years younger [than herself, which is why she] believe[s] in the wisdom of youth.”

Another success female medical leader is Chair of the Department of Radiology at the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Professor Hedvig Hricak.  At the recent European Society of Radiology Congress (February 28-March 1, 2019), she organized a program entitled ‘Women in Focus.’  These sessions were for both women and men on what it takes to become a leader. 

Hricak explained:

“Many people aspire to be leaders and sometimes really don’t know which way to go and how to take that path.  So it really starts with leadership but it has a combination of academia, administration, as well as industry and government and then the second one is about understanding people, listening, and understanding differences.  This part looks at the generation of differences and respecting everyone’s opinion and understanding where other people are coming from.  There’s also a session which is mostly for women on women in challenging environments.  So often we take for granted what we have and we have to be reminded – just like ECR has celebrated Africa or Pakistan – that so many luxuries that we take for granted are not really available to all over the world. And lastly we all need mentors.  Children, parents, teachers, you always have mentors and then you start working and suddenly you’re on your own.  The last one is dedicated to mentorship.”

In an article in Business2Community, Larry Kim gave his opinion on what qualities make a leader.  He touched on 7 qualities people have that they may not even know they have which are crucial to great leadership.  These are: empathy, optimism, forgiveness, altruism, eloquence, discernment and modesty.  These attributes are not traditionally associated with leaders but in Kim’s experience they can be very useful for those who want to lead and mentor others.

There are many  different routes to becoming a great leader in one’s industry but it seems they all have one common denominator: staying open to new ideas, to advice and to change.

US News’ Most Powerful Countries List Released

Every year the US News and World Reports ranks the world’s most powerful countries. The study assesses the political and economic influences and alliances, plus the military strength it wields and the quality of its international leadership.
The ranking was done together with the University of Pennsylvania, which questioned over 20,000 people about 80 countries and the global role they play. The result was “2019 Best Countries.”
We will just give you a brief summary of the top ten.

  1. South Korea: In 2018 this successful Asian country was ranked 11th last year. It is the world’s seventh largest exporter, and 11th largest economy.
  2. Saudi Arabia: Described as “the giant of the Middle East” by US News, this country has huge oil reserves which it sells across the globe. The country’s reputation was severely tarnished by ongoing human rights issues, and especially the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.
  3. Israel: US News says: “For its relatively small size, the country has played a large role in global affairs.”
  4. Japan: With the world’s third largest economy, this Asian powerhouse nation is “one of the world’s most literate and technically advanced nations.”
  5. France: One of the oldest countries in the world, US News says that France’s reach “extends around the globe through science, politics, economics and perhaps above all, culture.”
  6. United Kingdom: Struggling now with Brexit, nevertheless US News notes that the UK “exerts considerable international economic, political, scientific and cultural influence” on the world despite “new questions and anxieties about the country’s role on the global stage.”
  7. Germany: With the most people of all the EU countries, Germany also has a highly skilled labor force.
  8. China: This Asian powerhouse nation is the world’s most populated, and it wields the second biggest economy. Unfortunately, millions still live under the poverty line, but the country has seen fast economic growth which has the potential to continue.
  9. Russia: The world’s largest country in square miles, Russia stretches from Europe to Asia and borders over a dozen different countries. It power is invested in its legacy from the Soviet Union, huge coal and oil reserves, and a great emphasis on military strength.
  10. USA: Described by US News as the “world’s most dominant economic and military power.” This western power has exerted its influence culturally through the popularity of its books, films, music and television shows. However, the report also pointed out that some policy decisions made by the current president “have raised questions around the world, including from the country’s closest allies, about the nation’s future course on the global stage.”

Polar Vortex Costs US $1 Billion

The Polar Vortex . Courtesy
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA

The last week in January 2019 sent the US Midwest into a deep freeze that cost lives and about $1 billion.


At least one dozen people were reported killed by below zero temperatures which in some place reached record lows from Minnesota, Illinois to the northeastern USA. Thousands of planes were grounded or delayed, other forms of transportation, such as trains, were disrupted, and schools sere shuttered in Wisconsin and Minnesota. There were also several power and water outages reported.


Supply chains were disrupted as rail and barge transportation was halted or slowed. Retail shops and restaurants also suffered losses as most people sheltered indoors.


The $1 billion estimated price tag is still considerably less than the damage caused by the polar vortex of 2014, which came to about $5 billion.


Not everyone lost during the freeze. Stores selling winter items did a brisk business along with online sales and drive-through restaurants.


Chicago reported a bone-chilling minus-30 degrees Celsius, and Minneapolis recorded minus-32. Wind-chills factors made some places feel like minus-70 degrees.