Ben Lobel, Copywriter at DailyFX
- New tool charts global commodity trading over the last decade
- The UK has reduced its oil imports by over 75 million barrels in five years
- African countries lead the way in reducing their oil imports
The world is slowly reducing its reliance on oil and a new online tool from Daily FX has revealed the nations that are leading the movement.
Many of these are from Africa, including five of the ten countries that are decreasing their oil imports at the quickest rate. Morocco takes top spot after reporting a staggering 99.99% fall in the number of barrels it imported between 2013 and 2018.
It’s followed in the list by three other countries from the continent, with Kenya, Burundi and Gambia all reducing their imports by over 99%.
In the UK, oil imports dropped by more than fifth (21%) over the five years.
While the country remains the 12th biggest global importer of oil, including petroleum oils, it has taken great strides towards reducing its dependency on such environmentally-harmful fuels.
During the studied time period, the UK had the eighth-best rate in Europe for reducing such imports, with its intake dropping by 76.9 million barrels (from 359 million to just over 280 million).
In financial terms, this meant the UK spent $13.74 billion (£10.63 billion) less on oil. In 2013, the country spent over $40 billion on the commodity (£30.9 billion), but this fell to $26 billion (£20 billion) five years later.
Malta (93%) and the Republic of Moldova (92%) experienced the most significant decreases across the continent.
Internationally, the 10 countries that have reduced their reliance on oil the most are:
- Morocco (>99%)
- Kenya (>99%)
- Burundi (>99%)
- Gambia (>99%)
- Seychelles (>99%)
- Malta (93%)
- Republic of Moldova (92%)
- Estonia (86%)
- Botswana (84%)
- Israel (83%)
Globally, the money spent on oil imports fell by 28% but still remained above the $1 trillion (£773 billion) mark. From over $1.6 trillion in 2013, it dropped to under $1.2 trillion in 2018. The world’s 17 biggest importers account for over $1 trillion of this (86% of the total value), with the remaining 81 countries in the research making up the remaining $0.2 trillion.
The tool shows that China has recently overtaken the USA as the world’s biggest importer of oil. The Asian giant imported nearly 3.4 billion barrels in 2018, which was over 240 million more than the USA. China tops the list having increased its oil imports by 64% since 2013 – nearly six times the rate of its rival (11%).
Israel is the only country to drop out of the top 10. The country was the seventh biggest importer in 2013, but has fallen down the rankings thanks to its impressive 83% reduction.
Taking its place in the top 10 is Singapore, which increased its imports of oil by 18% over the time period. In 2013, the city-state imported 320 million barrels, and this rose to 376 million in 2018.
The top 10 global importers of oil (2018) are:
- China – 3.38 billion barrels
- USA – 3.14 billion barrels
- India – 1.65 billion barrels
- Japan – 1.09 billion barrels
- The Republic of Korea – 1.09 billion barrels
- Germany – 622 million barrels
- Netherlands – 506 million barrels
- Italy – 460 million barrels
- France – 397 million barrels
- Singapore – 376 million barrels
Daily FX’s unique tool allows traders to spot developments in the flow of commodities and the growth of both supply and demand while comparing the changes to critical economic indicators.
John Kicklighter, Chief Currency Strategist at Daily FX, said: “The world is changing and so is the way that it uses energy. Renewable and environmentally-friendly fuel options are the future, and while the end of crude oil is still far off, there will be considerable changes in the world’s top importers and exporters. Our new tool helps track those changes.
“While some of the larger countries have increased their appetite, it is interesting from an investor’s perspective to see the UK exploring alternative energy sources and reducing its dependence on oil.”
‘Global Commodities’ takes the form of a re-imagined 3D globe where the heights of countries rise and fall to show the import and export levels of a range of commodities over the last decade. The data visualisation allows users to switch views from a single commodity or market and show information relevant to that commodity or market’s performance.
To learn more about Global Commodities and view the tool, visit: https://www.dailyfx.com/research/global-commodities
THE END OF YEAR TAX CHECKS THAT COULD SAVE YOU THOUSANDS
Charlie Reading, Founder and MD of Efficient Portfolio
After HMRC’s tax return deadline at the end of January, it can be tempting to drop your guard, believing that your new tax bill is a long way away.
It’s true, you’ve got a whole year until the next bill is due. What most don’t consider, however, is that there is a range of checks that you can do reduce that bill significantly.
Astute investors make use of their tax-free allowances every year and save thousands of pounds in the process. With such massive savings on the line, it’s a strategy to certainly consider.
With that, here are some easy checks and tips from Charlie Reading, Founder and Managing Director of Efficient Portfolio chartered financial planners, that could start you on your way to a much leaner tax bill:
1. Maximise Your ISA Allowances
Good returns, flexibility, diversity and tax efficiency should be key components in your financial strategy, and the ISA helps to deliver all of these. Historically, ISAs have been at the cornerstone of tax-efficient saving and are often referred to as one of the essential steps in your strategy, as they can help your wealth grow without you being penalised by heavy tax charges. They are an incredibly useful way of saving, and, as such, it is generally encouraged that people take advantage of their benefits. However, the ISA allowance is offered on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis, so if you fail to maximise it, you can’t make up the funds later on.
Up until 5th April 2020, you can contribute up to £20,000 into an ISA, and a further £20,000 from 6th April 2020, thereby sheltering up to £40,000 per person, as long as you’re over 18.
2. Top Up Your Pension While You Still Can
At the time of writing, the highest level of State Pension you can receive is £129.20 a week, which is frankly a paltry sum to live on. That’s why saving for the future is so important. It might seem wise to enjoy life now and worry about retirement later, but you’d only be damaging your future quality of life.
Pensions are a highly tax-efficient way of saving and now offer a great deal of flexibility in retirement, as when you retire you can gain access to 25% of your pension pot as a tax-free lump sum, with the remainder taxed at your marginal rate.
The current pension annual allowance is set at £40,000, so if saving for your future is a priority, it is worth investigating which pension is right for you, sooner rather than later.
3. Protect Your Estate from Tax
Inheritance Tax (IHT) is a concern for people from all walks of life. If you are hoping to leave a legacy to your loved ones, the last thing you would want is for that legacy to be taxed at 40% and lost to the Government.
One simple way of combatting this is to consider using your annual IHT allowance. During your life, you are allowed to give away £3,000 per year without incurring any IHT charges upon your death. There are of course downsides to this, in that you lose all access and control over the money, but it may be a tax-efficient strategy to consider.
4. Don’t Overpay Your Capital Gains Tax
The final tax consideration at this time of year is Capital Gains Tax, which is also given on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis and is currently set at £12,000. The issue of Capital Gains Tax is most acute if you hold investments which have grown above your tax-free allowance.
To ensure you make the most of your Capital Gains Allowance, it is generally recommended to sell down a portion of your portfolio to realise the growth made, but only enough to maximise your allowance, is the most prudent strategy.
These funds can then be used to fund any outstanding allowance on your ISA, for example. The advantage of doing so is that by placing your money from a taxable to non-taxable environment you have the potential for further growth, and you benefit in the longer term by potentially reducing a future bill.
There’s plenty of time left before the taxman comes knocking once again, but there’s no better time than the present to start looking into how you can save you and your business thousands of pounds simply through tax allowances you might not have previously been aware of.
HOW TECHNOLOGY IS FUTUREPROOFING STOCK MARKET TRADING
Tony Shaw, Executive Director, London Office and Head Sales UK & Ireland at the Swiss Stock Exchange
Markets are shifting, there’s no doubt. Amid all the disruption and volatility from the past year, the Swiss Stock Exchange asked traders about what they expected in 2020 and beyond in our industry survey. The findings point to a rise in digital to help traders content with external forces.
First and foremost, traders are enthusiastic about what digital assets can offer.
Two thirds of traders polled said they’d had a marked rise in interest from their clients for digital assets and crypto-products. Given the interest, traders are increasingly bullish about the potential of these products – so much so that 80% have predicted an increase in overall demand in the long term. Market users believe these assets will help generate cost synergies and streamlining trading and settlement processes by creating efficiencies and ultimately reducing costs.
Our 2019 results reflect what traders have told us when it comes to digital assets and products. Last year, we saw significantly higher trading volumes from products with crypto currencies as underlyings. Overall volumes grew by +8.5% over 2018, but the increase in crypto products alone was +17%, reaching CHF 518.2 million ($534.54 m). There was a year-on-year increase in the number of transactions, as well (+21%): 19,636 trades in total.
The potential digital assets hold is clear – evidenced by the building of the SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), a fully integrated issuance, trading, settlement and custody infrastructure for digital assets.
According to traders, artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to bring further benefits to market operations.
Two thirds of our survey respondents anticipate AI will create more opportunities for the traditional equities business, while a similar number expect it to reduce the cost of trading. Innovation in AI is already – and will continue to be – a key driver in making our industry more effective at withstanding future risks and challenges both within and beyond the market itself.
In Europe, there is growing momentum behind calls for shorter trading hours – this trend was reflected in our survey as well.
Industry groups such as the Investment Association are advocating for stock market trading hours to be cut from 8.5 to 6.5 hours to open the industry to working parents and women who cannot commit to such long workdays. We found traders were largely supportive of this, with many saying that it could even facilitate operational benefits. The roll of AI is clear here in improving efficiency while minimising time wastage: 36% of traders said the introduction of shorter trading hours would prompt greater market liquidity.
Beyond the market itself, geopolitics continue to shape wider market sentiment.
It comes as no surprise that four fifths of traders said their strategies have been – to some extent – influenced by Donald Trump’s tweets. Interestingly, only 39% of those polled viewed Brexit as an influencing factor in trading activity, while three quarters believe the US election will drive trading activity in 2020 and 65% acknowledged trade wars would also have an impact.
More broadly, traders are split on the state of the global economy – 58% are bracing for a global recession while 42% predict stable macro-economic conditions over the next three years. What seems clear is that whatever happens in the wider economy, traders are making headway with new technologies that can improve their strategy, efficiency, and overall market health.
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