The round-up of the stories that a budding Student Lawyer should be aware of this week. Sign up here to get these updates in your inbox every week.
Article by Beth Zheng (LLB Law student at the University of Durham)
Amongst a vast majority of businesses suffering due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, one company which has managed to succeed amidst this economic crisis has been Amazon. Naturally, as a result of lockdown restrictions, people were spending more money online which Amazon could provide through their quick online services. Thus, by the end of Q2, the company had reported soaring profits, even with an additional $4billion spent due to Covid costs. The company’s success can be partially attributed to one factor: the management and strategy of the business. Jeff Bezos has consistently focused on the business’ strategy on a long-term basis, always aiming to anticipate new developments within the market.
One notable development was launched in 2013 by Bezos called ‘Amazon Prime Air’. This essentially is a drone delivery service promising delivery within 30 minutes of ordering a package which weighs under 2.25kg. Further, the package must be delivered within a 10 mile radius of an Amazon centre participating in the initiative. Following this announcement, Amazon was granted permission by the US Federal Aviation Administration to test prototypes within the US. Within the UK, the first Prime Air parcel was successfully delivered on 7th December 2016 in Cambridge. Yet even with approval and successful deliveries, the service has not yet been launched in full swing.
In June 2019, a drone used to deliver packages was unveiled and promoted by Jeff Wilke, Amazon executive, who emphasised the drone’s advanced technology through reducing its noise reduction, as well as the machine’s ability to identify and avoid obstacles such as animals and people. As an autonomous drone, Amazon has ensured priority of safety, efficiency and stability. Recently, it has been reported that Amazon is now preparing to offer this delivery service throughout the UK, with fleets of drones ready to be rolled out. This news follows reports that the team working on the Prime Air service had doubled in number, resulting in 60 staff now working in the Cambridge team.
As coronavirus remains a threat to global economies, technologies such as Amazon Prime Air will be fundamental to delivering medicines and essential products such as PPE. Aside from its efficiency, the drone delivery service also has environmental benefits, resulting in lower emissions.
Article by Advaita Kapoor (LLB Student at Hidayatullah National Law University)
OPEC, the most powerful oil producer in the world, producing almost 40% of the world oil, and exporter of 60% of the total petroleum traded internationally, is predicted to hit an all-time low.
The year 2020 has resulted in being a catastrophic year, especially for the oil industry. From the beginning of the year, OPEC oil prices have plunged, firstly due to the tension between Russia and Saudi Arabia and subsequently as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis.
The organization has witnessed a drastic fall in the demand projection which has sent oil below $16 a barrel. OPEC was forecasting a rise in consumption to 101 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2020 as compared to 99.7 million bpd in 2019, only to see the daily crude consumption drop as much as a third i.e. drop by 8.95 million bpd, to its astonishment. The worldwide lockdown that was imposed by governments due to the spread of novel coronavirus ensued an extravagant reduction in the demand for oil as the air and road transport were halted and minimized to the least. The commercial, as well as household demand for oil, reduced. There is an understandable apprehension among the OPEC members regarding recovery due to the demand having driven down and the rising competition from non-OPEC oil producers at the same time.
However, this crisis has not driven the hopes of OPEC down. After having dealt numerous economic slowdowns and crises in the past, OPEC is optimistic that the demand will soar in 2021 by 7 million bpd, though it might remain below 2019 level. It is projected that 2021 will not bring any other economic turmoil and OPEC believes to reach 29.8 million bpd. This year’s turnout of demand for crude is expected to cap at 23.8 million bpd. Global cooperation with other oil producers, such as Russia and its allies, as well within the members of OPEC will be extremely essential in times to come to maximize falling revenues.
Article by Camilla Uppal (LLB Graduate from University of Kent)
The price of gold passed $2,000 last week, marking the precious metal’s highest ever traded price.
Gold is seen as a “safe haven” asset meaning people tend to buy it when there is economic and financial stress taking place in the wider economy. When company share prices are falling rapidly, gold often becomes a favoured investment choice.
However, the surge in gold’s price comes at a time that share prices have been recovering from their lows in March 2020. So what could be the explanation for this unprecedented peak in the price of gold?
The answer could lie in inflation. Central banks have been printing money to support their economies during the pandemic. As more money is in circulation, it effectively becomes less valuable which contributes towards inflation. This could be the reason that gold is now seen as a more attractive asset and why the price is now rising.
Similarly, governments have taken on large amounts of debt leading to the government bonds becoming less valuable (lower yield). Again, this could be a contributing factor for gold appearing more attractive as an asset.
The recent collapse of oil prices can also be attributed to the popularity of gold in comparison to other asset classes. In reality it is likely to be a combination of these factors which have resulted in the price of gold soaring.
Market strategist Margaret Yang says she sees potential for bullion to continue rising in the coming weeks and months: “The mid-to-long-term prospect of gold and other precious metals remains bullish against the backdrop of low interest rate environment and fiscal and monetary stimulus.”
Peter McGuire from XM.com said he sees gold reaching “$2,200 by Christmas” with silver, platinum and palladium also set to see strong gains.