Business News

Tension US-China and Virus Causes Oils Falls

Under tension between US-China and the ongoing pandemic virus has led to a fall in oil prices by 1% although it has a positive impact on OPEC deal production. The price of oil fell varies Brent crude oil settled at %48.79 per barrel fell 46 cents or 0.9% meanwhile the US crude oil fell to $45.76 per barrel or fell 50 cents or 1.1%.

The oil prices have been under pressure due to the exclusive reports from Reuters that report the United States was prepared to impose sanctions on at least a dozen official Chinese due to their involvement in Beijing’s disqualification of the elected opposition legislator in Hong Kong.   In Hong Kong, thousands of people are rallying against Beijing’s plan to impose National Security Laws in the city that returned to China in 1997. Police use water cannons and tears to disperse those people and react to controversy internationally.

For the last years, the tension between the United States and China has weighed the price of oil.  The United States and China ties have been worsening since the coronavirus outbreak. Both of the presidents have the debate over the outbreak included the lack of transparency and accusation to cover up the virus until it creates a pandemic over the world. Washington blames Beijing and says that the pandemic could be stopped at the source and also accuses of hiding the information to the world about the virus. The clash of the superpowers country also related to human rights, Hong Kong government, and trade war, and also US’s support to Taiwan.  The increasing tension between the US and China has added more anxiety to the market.

China is one of the world’s largest importers of crude oil and supports the rising of crude prices this year. During 11 months of the year, China has imported 503.92 million tonnes or 10.98 million barrels per day. This count has risen 9.5% from the previous year.  In November, the General Administration of Customs reported that the oil import has risen from the prior month of the countries. 

China also plays an important role in the global economy. China is a country that becomes one of the fastest-growing countries. China has support for the global economy including opportunities in several aspects such as investment, international cooperation, trade, and more that support the prosperity and stability in the world.  

In the United States, gasoline consumption has fallen into the lowest rank in the Thanksgiving holiday for more than 20 years. OPIS reported that this condition happens because fewer Americans do travel during the Corona pandemic. The United States has totaled more than 16.6 million cases with more than 301.000 death cases. The United States is a country that has the highest number of coronavirus cases. Donald Trump as well as his wife,  Melania are tested positive for covid just weeks before the US election day.  Both get tested after the senior politics Aiden wound gets positive. 

Coronavirus cases surge globally and have forced a series of lockdowns in new regulations to include tight restrictions measures that regulate in Germany, United States, South Korea, and California. The coronavirus second wave is not an impossible matter and policy on lockdown and restriction can send crude oils to fall back to the lower rank fast. This is global knowledge that the market knows well.   In 2020, oil prices will fall by 40% so far. 

After OPEC+, both oil contracts were gained. OPEC+ are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies. They agree to reduce the oil production in January and continue limitation to immense existing supply curbs. The production reduces expected 7.2 million BPD or 7% from global demand in January. It has cut 500.000 BPD from the current. The existing cuts are predicted will continue until March. 

With the OPC deal agreed, now traders are looking back to the fundamentals of trading, supply, and demand. They are forced to do this as it does not look good in the short term. 

Demand for global oil has been slumped by 30% because the coronavirus pandemic has restricted the movement through the world. The decreasing rate in oil demand has led to growing oil inventories globally.  

Vaccine optimism hopefully will increase the global economic sentiment, including the price of oil. The expectation of vaccines helps to offset the fears of coronavirus cases. Vaccine euphoria has started and the vaccine program is expected to be able to awaken the market and crude oil prices.

Business News

Shoppers find home in scented candles, home scent this holiday season

Welcoming the holiday season, people hunt various gifts at shops. On the other hand, cologne and perfume are quite trendy for holiday gifts. In 2020, however, the beauty industry gets an additional boost from various kinds of scents: home aroma.

How could that happen? Shoppers buy tons of smelling-good things such as candles, diffusers, and other scented pieces since they find comfort in smaller luxuries during the virus pandemic, as said by Larissa Jensen, the advisor of president and beauty industry for the NPD Group.

According to a report, the home scent is a prominent player all year. This very makes sense since people are homebound more than ever, said Jensen.

This is such an interesting thing since people tend to skip lipstick and eyeshadow, considering physical distancing and wearing a mask are two important things nowadays – the fragrance industry has found its rare bright spot, which can turn into a lovely collaboration of beauty and fragrance industries. 

Data suggested that fragrance sales drop up to 17 percent from January to September without any sign of an increase in both beauty retailers and department stores. On the other hand, home fragrance sales climb up to 13 percent. Meanwhile, gift sets with home scents in them, such as lotion and candle in a hamper, rise to 22 percent, as reported by the NPD Group. The ups and downs of those different industries took place during the same period.

Jensen also stated that fragrance is always considered as a little engine that helps in many ways. Even though the drop can be surprising, its recovery is even more remarkable.

Even though the sales of fragrance were declining a little, it rebounds somewhat faster than other categories in the beauty section. The fragrance section that includes candles to perfumes gained a lot during the global crisis, even after a little drop during six months in a row. While makeup sales declined by 31 percent in the third quarter from time to time, the fragrance section grows stronger by a one percent rise in sales during the last three months. 

An interesting fact suggested that fragrance gift sets are not just as a piece to give to loved ones or friends. Shoppers love the packages even before seeing what’s inside – packages are a better deal. Consumers take that as a value now, especially if they should lose a job and couldn’t make income during the virus pandemic.

Even Jensen also contributed to the trend of home scents. She has tons of candles and burns them day and night. She believed that burning home scents make the house feel cozier and brighter. People need to escape while the year didn’t allow anyone to do so. Thus, using a home scent is an excellent way to escape without going out of the house.

Ulta Beauty brand reported its result for the third quarter. The company showed that the graphic of bath and fragrance sales were on top of the game, even with double-digit growth. Nonetheless, other categories didn’t perform as well as the previous categories. On the other hand, sales at stores open and online during the last 14 months as well as the quarter faced the downhill nearly 9 percent throughout the year.

Meanwhile, the shares of Ulta Beauty on Friday closed by 3.45 percent, crawling down its value. Still, the company’s shares stick up to 10 percent throughout the year.

The L Brands that owns Bath & Body Works has enjoyed a bounce from fragrance. The CEO, Andrew Meslow, said that the fragrance trend has been accentuated during the timeframe of the virus pandemic, as he quoted in an investor conference. Other than buying hand sanitizers and more soaps, shoppers love to personalize their houses since they have to stay at home more than ever. When you are at home for too long, you may not feel at home anymore. Thus, the presence of home scents is such a personal trend. The best part is that people use fragrance for houses, schools, or even offices.

Jensen of NPD also reported that customers are willing to spend more money on retailers’ websites to purchase colognes and perfumes in the past few months. The most preferred smells include something with lots of fragrance oils but lasts longer, even though those kinds cost more. Jensen believes that shoppers love purchasing scents because they have a close relationship to emotions, since everybody may have a different perspective about it. On the other hand, scents bring back memories. Shoppers probably buy more fragrances to remember how nice the time was before the virus pandemic.

Business News Smartphone Technology

LG Electronics Smartphone Products

In a press release on Monday, LG Electronics declare that they reorganized their mobile phone division to increase their outsourcing division. This reorganization is done for low to mid-end smartphones that they produce. The aim of this action is of course to compete with their Chinese rivals, and also to cut costs.

LG Electronics Give Up the Manufacture

Their communication business reported several shocking news, that they experienced operating loss for 22 consecutive quarters. This results in the making of new management called ODM or original design manufacture, as delivered by their spokeswoman.

This means, the LG products will handle the manufacture and the design of the smartphones, while LG Electronics will only just put their label on each product. And it is not only the manufacturer, they also reshuffle their production position and its research positions. The spokeswoman says these positions were reshuffled to others’ division. The goal for having more simple management is to focus on their production of high-end smartphones and in-house R and D. While the low-end and mid-end smartphones will be handled by the ODM.

LG might not be number one in the smartphone market globally, they are ranked as number 3 in the global market by Strategy Analytics in the first quarter of 2013. They used to be included in the top seven smartphone brands, but in 2014 they lost from Chinese smartphone companies like Xiaomi, Huawei, Vivo, and also Oppo.

LG Electronics competes with Chinese competitors, they’re not competing with Samsung or Apple. That is why they try to add more value to their lower-end smartphone models. The analyst at Counterpoint also said that LG tries to use the Chinese firms’ original design manufacturers to compete with the Chinese companies.

He also added that marketing ability is needed to compete with the Chinese firms, and though LG Electronics source their own products, without marketing, they won’t make it. LG also said last year, in October that they will expand their ODM to produce more mid-range smartphones from the lower-end smartphone.

The History of LG Electronics

This South Korean multinational electronics firm is based in Seoul, South Korea. The global sale of this company in 2014 reached US$55.91 billion, which makes it one of the fourth-largest corporations in South Korea. LG Electronics run four different business units, includes Mobile Communications, Home Entertainment, Vehicle Components, as well as Air Solutions, and Home Appliances.

This company employs more than 80,000 people with 128 operations worldwide and is known as the world’s second-largest company that manufactures LCD television.

In 2018, LG started to stop their smartphone production in South Korea. They then moved the production to Vietnam to cut costs and to be able to compete with other smartphone manufacturers. The employees will be relocated to the home appliances business site, while the whole laborers who work for their company will be fully from Vietnam.

Their Products

LG hopes that they can offer maximum solutions and understands their customers well. It is hoped they can help their buyers have better lives with their ceaseless innovation. LG gives new experiences with their products so that the customers achieve a better life. Their slogan also changes several times to meet the modern era. LG says “Life’s Good” and they also believe in “Innovation for a Better Life”.

LG Electronics also helps business owners by providing several services, like Commercial Display for business owners to have stunning digital signage both for outdoor band indoor displays. They also provide IT solutions that bring you various cloud computing and computer monitors service that will increase productivity, security, and daily operations.

Solar panels for residential or business from LG offer reliability, high performance, as well as consistently with more than 20 years of warranty.

LG also provides you residential and commercial air conditioning systems and the residential design industry.

One of the business units in LG is its mobile devices, which includes tablet devices and smartphones. LG released several series of smartphones and one of them is LG G Flex, a curved smartphone in 2013, and the announced in Europe, Asia, and also North America. Their latest smartphone is the G7 ThinQ series that was announced in a media briefing in 2018. This manufacturer also released their tablet computers with several competitive features like LG’s Knock Code that allows you to unlock your device with taps, or the Q Pair feature that will let you sync the table with smartphones. Text messages and phone calls even come up in real-time on your tablet.

And like other smartphone manufacturers, LG Electronics also has its own SmartWatch that was announced in 2014. Their smartwatch brings an Android-based system that became the first smartwatch that had a newer feature like WiFi.

Business News

A New Additional Tax is Regulated Only for Millionaires in Argentina

Argentina has passed a regulation about a new tax for the richest people. The additional tax is proposed to pay medical supplies and aid in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. The regulation itself was passed by senators only in a process with a total of 42 voters while 26 others rejected it. Currently, the tax is namely the millionaire’s tax.

With the tax, those people with assets valued more than 200 million pesos or around USD 2.5 million must pay it. Currently, the number of millionaires that is estimated with that number of assets is around 12,000 people. 

Bad Effects of Pandemic in Argentina

Based on the latest report, Argentina has about 1.5 million cases of Coronavirus infection. Meanwhile, the number of deaths is almost 40,000 cases. It is really not a good thing. Even the country has been on the fifth rank of countries in the world that report a million cases to confirm in October. Ironically, the population of the country itself is only 45 million people, making Argentina the smallest country to surpass the number.

It makes the government must be concerned about the situation even more. After doing many attempts to press the cases, one of the solutions is improving the treatment quality of the patients. Sure, quality improvement seems to possibly happen if there are not enough budgets to cover.

It is also getting worse after the government enacts total isolations and lockdowns that cause the economic condition of the country is getting pressed. The number of unemployment as well as poverty is significantly increased. Additionally, the government’s loan is raised. Ironically, even before the pandemic, Argentina indeed has some monetary problems. The country has passed through an economic recession since 2018.

“Quareternal” in Argentina

In the country itself, currently, there is a term “Quareternal” or the eternal quarantine. Sure, this term is a joke to describe the condition of Argentineans during the pandemic. Yes, the lockdown regulation is really tight. As information, Argentina is the second country with the longest lockdown duration for more than 5 months.

But the joke turns into sadness after the lockdown done from March affects their conditions economically, socially, and psychologically. The metropolitan area of Buenos Aires is a place where 40% of the population is living in. At the same time, the area is the heart of the economy of the country. Sadly, this is also the place with the most severe cases of the virus. So, there is no other choice except to totally close the location.

There are some rules related to lockdown in Argentina. People, particularly in the metropolitan area of Argentina can only go outside to buy foods and basic needs and to access the closest public services. Sure, it means that other things outside the matters above are forbidden including recreations and entertainment.

Furthermore, public transportation services are available only for essential workers or those people with special permission. Others who drive cars without permissions will lose their driving licenses. Outdoor sports and exercises are completely stopped. Fortunately, starting in June, they are starting to allow although only in particular hours.

The age group that is prone to virus transmission in Argentina is kids. For this matter also, kids are not allowed to go outside. In some cases, it is okay for them to accompany their parents to buy basic needs. Beyond that, they must stay at home without exceptions. 

The Allocations of Fund from the New Tax

Those situations lead the government to make a new regulation related to the tax. Focusing on the rich people to pay more tax is considered the best solution as well as it is a fair thing for all. Those millionaires must pay progressive rates up to 3.5% for the wealth in Argentina and up to 5.25 % for the wealth abroad. The President of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez expects to collect up to 300 million pesos from the tax.

However, not all people agree with the new tax regulation. The opposition group worries that the tax will cause trust damages for the investors. Besides, it is possible also that the tax will no longer run in the future. It is only done once after it is regulated. 

The AFP News Agency reports that from the money collected, about 20% will be used for medical supplies, 20% is for small and medium enterprises assistance, 20% is for students’ scholarships, and the rest of 25% is for natural gas ventures. It is not known yet whether the new regulation will be successful or not. However, the government is confident enough that it will give positive effects on the Argentineans during the pandemic.

Business News

Uber and Other Platform Companies to Push Over the Status of Gig Workers

The status of gig workers in the US has been quite controversial so far. Platforms like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and others are basically new things in the world. Therefore, the rights of the workers may not be completely stated in US law. Meanwhile, the November’s election leads to some of the gig companies to fight for the rights of their workers. Uber is one of them.

There is a story shared by Jason Schaal, one of the Uber drivers living in Minneapolis. Last month, when he was just sitting at home and checking his phone, there was a message from Uber, the platform where he works. The subject line of the message said, “Make your voice heard.” The rest of the message said that the US Department of Labor was evaluating some rules. One of them is regarding the determination of the independent status of gig workers. Schaal and other workers in Uber were asked to comment on the plan of employees monitoring software

Schaal has many reasons to choose to be a gig worker as his job. As information, he doesn’t only work in Uber but also in other platforms; they are Lyft, Instacart, and Shipt. He said that the main reason why he prefers the job is because of the flexibility. He is able to balance other jobs. And even if they just want to have a holiday, it is also easier to do. Sure, money is also an important point here. Schaal and his fellow workers can gain extra money from this job. That’s why; many people are currently interested in being a gig worker whether full-time or part-time.

The message from Uber came around 12 days before the ride-hailing company’s victory in California. Aside from the national election in the country, a similar election will also be conducted independently by the company. The independent election is mainly with a purpose to change the workers’ status to be independent contractors, not employees. This way, they can get some other benefits including health insurance. However, the realization seems to still be difficult based on some factors; internally and externally. If most of the workers agree with the new status to give, Uber will push it nationally along with other gig platforms.

A Possibility to Win

The most important question is, is there a big possibility to win? By seeing the tendency in the California vote, it shows that there is a possibility to win. It is possible that the demands from the gig companies to win over the current law and other regulations.

Some factors are behind this for sure. First of all, the demand to change the workers’ status is a good and fair thing. At least, it is not only for the benefits of the company but also the welfare of the workers. Support from people, in general, are mostly in their hands. Second, Uber and other similar companies are currently not small companies. They have money to influence the economic development of the nation. 

Interestingly, Uber is not the only company that conducts a vote to get support from its workers. Previously, some other companies including and Lyft have done the same thing although with different actions. The main purpose is to approach the labor union as well as some relevant parties like the state regulators, governors, and state officials. When California functions well in this matter, it can be a good sample of how the gig workers must be treated nationally. 

Further Actions

On Wednesday, some platform companies; Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Doordash, and Postmates launched a coalition from Washington DC, namely the Alliance of Apps-Based Workers. The purpose of the alliance is to keep the independence of the workers. It refers to a part of Proposition 22 about how to educate the officials about how the independent workers should be as well as to promote state policies that support on-demands economy development. The alliance is also established to prompt the congress to think more ambitiously in modernizing the law mainly related to labor.

Additionally, Lyft has launched a political action committee to work on the law of the independent contractors in Illinois and New York. Even the company has established an Illinois PAC in June and donated around USD 1.2 million to achieve the purpose. Based on the gig workers in the state, the company has sent a letter, bought digital advertisements, and donated to 50 official candidates for the campaigns to support them in the November election. Even to make it look more dramatic, most of the PAC webs are empty. There is only a sentence, “We’re fighting for Illinois workers and their right to independence.”