Timing & trends

G-7 Ministers Set to Meet on Reopening International Travel

Transport and health ministers of the G-7 countries are due to meet virtually on Thursday to discuss ways to restart international travel, according to people familiar with the matter.

The meeting is being organized by the U.K., which holds the presidency of the Group of Seven nations this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified ahead of any official statement. It’s aimed at moving closer to a consensus on how to ease border restrictions.

While some countries, notably members of the European Union, have used so-called vaccine passports to successfully resume cross-border travel, others including the U.S. have held back on implementing app-based technology over concerns ranging from politics to privacy or fairness between people who have and haven’t received the shots. Another sticking point has been whether to recognize vaccines in countries where they haven’t been approved.

Airlines for Europe, the industry lobby group, called on the G-7 to promote the EU’s approach as a global standard. Citizens within the bloc are able to move between countries without Covid-19 tests if they can show they’ve been fully inoculated or have recovered from the disease. Travelers present a digital or paper-based bar code, and the EU and U.K. have granted reciprocal recognition…read more.

10% of early-stage startups working on blockchain: GSER 2021

With venture capital funding seemingly prioritizing emerging technology, the blockchain industry experiences a significant influx of capital from corporate backers.

According to the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2021 published on Wednesday, blockchain-based businesses account for 10% of startups worldwide.

The figure is part of a more significant trend that has seen emerging technology become a fast-growing sub-sector in terms of early-stage funding.

The report divides startups into growing, matured and declining sub-sectors. Unsurprisingly, blockchain technology is in the first group, where the average growth rate is 107%, along with agriculture technology (agtech) and new food, advanced manufacturing and robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, and fintech…read more.

Dishwashing robots are ‘better for the environment,’ Dishcraft CEO says

With climate change pushing companies to evaluate their sustainability practices, one startup wants to help food-service operators make washing dishes more environmentally friendly — by using robots and artificial intelligence (AI).

“When you automate, you can create much better efficiencies,” Linda Pouliot, CEO and co-founder of Dishcraft, told Yahoo Finance (video above). “We use only a quarter of the water and a tenth of the power that a traditional dish room would use. And so, it’s better for the environment. And it’s certainly better for the dining experience. And it’s also better for the operator.”

The Bay Area-based startup has received over $45 million in funding so far. Pouliot said that the service works “very much like a linen service.” Dishcraft delivers sanitized dishes each day to kitchens and picks up used ones, which are brought to a centralized hub where they are washed by robotic dishwashers…read more.

 

Energy commodities have been the best-performing asset against inflation, research finds.

One of the best ways to fight inflation is just to follow the trend.

That’s the conclusion of a research paper written by researchers at hedge fund giant Man Group led by Henry Neville, as well as famed Duke University finance professor Campbell Harvey. Man Group EMG, it should be noted, makes its money from managing trend-following funds.

The paper was released in May but cited in a blog post by Kevin Muir, who authors the Macro Tourist blog.

The best performing asset class during eight U.S. inflationary regimes was energy commodities — the Arab oil embargo period makes an outsize impact — but from there, trend strategies produced gains of up to 25% a year…read more.

Mapped: The World’s Fastest Growing eCommerce Markets

While the overall retail industry struggled amidst the global pandemic, eCommerce sales managed to reach unprecedented heights. In 2020, retail eCommerce sales grew by 27.6%, reaching a total of $4.28 trillion worldwide.

In 2020, Latin America’s eCommerce market saw the most growth of any region, surpassing Asia-Pacific’s growth for the first time since 2010.

The pandemic played a big role in Latin America’s growth. The region’s two major economic hubs Buenos Aires, Argentina and São Paulo, Brazil had to endure strict pandemic-induced lockdowns, which ultimately led to significant growth of the eCommerce market.

Restrictions in Buenos Aires were on and off from late March until early November 2020, and after restrictions were lifted, citizens were encouraged to practice “intelligent” social distancing and be more cautious when socializing.

At the country level, Argentina was the fastest growing eCommerce market in 2020, with a 79% increase in online sales compared to 2019—almost double the worldwide country average…read more.