Top 10 Largest Companies in the World 2017

  • According to Bloomberg, the Top 10 largest companies by Market Capital in 2017 are dominated by US firms.
  • Tech giants Apple and Alphabet (Google) are way ahead of the pack. 
  • Alibaba and Tencent are the only Asian representatives and have made massive strides in the short life relative to their American counterparts. 


Hedge funds investing in Asia are on track for the biggest outflows in 4 years

  • According to the latest estimates from data provider Eurekahedge Pte, hedge funds investing in Asia suffered $1.6 billion of withdrawals through November 2016.
  • Asian Hedge Funds are on track for the biggest outflows in four years, as their returns trailed the industry globally.
  • Hedge funds investing in Europe are providing even worse returns whilst North America has seen the strongest growth and inflows during the same period.


Source: Eurekahedge / Bloomberg

Solar Energy cost will be cheaper than coal within 10 years

  • Solar power is now cheaper than coal in some parts of the world. In less than a decade, it’s likely to be the lowest-cost option almost everywhere.
  • Countries from Saudi Arabia to Mexico planning auctions.



  • Since 2009, solar prices are down 62 percent, with every part of the supply chain trimming costs. That’s help cut risk premiums on bank loans, and pushed manufacturing capacity to record levels. By 2025, solar may be cheaper than using coal on average globally, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.


Where do the World’s Highest-Paid Expats Live?

  • Expats living in Switzerland earn an average salary of US$188,275 a year.
  • That’s the highest in the world and almost twice the global average, according to data published by HSBC Holdings Plc.
  • Switzerland also tops the bank’s expat career ranking for a second year.

Below are the top 13 countries with the highest average annual salary (peak pay), according to HSBC.


Source: HSBC / Bloomberg


Top 19 countries with the highest level of government debt

1. Japan — 248.1%. The country’s debt to GDP ratio is enormous. The country is in a troubling spot. Its economy is growing very slowly and now the central bank has implemented negative interest rates.

2. Greece — 178.4%. The country is continuing to suffer since the sovereign debt crisis of 2010. It is still struggling to make debt repayments after being bailed out continually by international creditors and is still in full force of a stringent austerity drive.

3. Lebanon — 139.1%. The country used to be a tourist destination, but war in Syria and domestic political turmoil have caused ructions across the economy.

4. Italy — 132.6%. The country’s proportion of debt to GDP is the second highest in the Eurozone. Italy is also at one of its most crucial crossroads in recent history as the nation goes to vote on constitutional reforms soon.

5. Portugal — 128.8%. Portugal exited its own bailout programme in the middle of 2014, and it is still trying to economically recurperate.

6. Jamaica — 124.3%. The services industry accounts for 80% of GDP, but high crime, corruption, and large-scale unemployment drag the country’s growth down.

7. Cape Verde — 119.3%. The island nation is a service-orientated economy and suffers from a poor natural-resource base. This means it has to import 82% of its food, leading to vulnerability to market fluctuations.

8. Bhutan — 115.7%. The small Asian economy is closely linked to India and depends heavily on it for financial assistance and foreign labourers for infrastructure.

9. Cyprus — 108.7%. The country has managed to reduce its GDP to debt ratio from 112% last year, as it continues to repair itself following its excessive exposure to Greece.

10. Belgium — 106.3%. The country is home some of the most powerful people in the world, thanks to Brussels, but the nation suffers from high government debt levels as it battles with restrictive labour and tax regulations, says WEF.

11. United States — 105.8%. It will be all change over the next few months when US President Barack Obama leaves office and either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump takes over. The Federal Reserve is also tipped to be on the cusp of raising interest rates soon.

12. Barbados — 103%. The tax-haven nation is the wealthiest and most developed country in the eastern Caribbean, but its growth prospects look weak due to austerity measures to combat the effects of the credit crisis eight years ago.

13. Spain — 99%. Spain, like many eurozone countries, is trying to raise productivity across the country to boost its economy.

14. Singapore — 98.2%. The country is one of the richest in the world and it has managed to reduce its GDP to debt ratio from 103.8% last year. Meanwhile, the government is now trying to find new ways to grow the economy and raise productivity.

15. France – 96.8%. France’s government debt to GDP ratio has widened this year as it struggles with weak productivity and wages.

16. Ireland – 95.2%. The country has reduced its GDP to debt ratio from 122.8% last year, as it continues its success in refinancing a large amount of banking-related debt.

17. Jordan — 91.7%. WEF says “addressing macroeconomic challenges will be key to freeing up public funding for competitiveness-enhancing investment” as it geopolitically suffers from being close to Syria and Iraq.

18. Gambia — 91.6%. WEF points out that the West African country does not just suffer from high levels of government debt versus its GDP, access to financing and onerous foreign currency regulations make doing business in the country difficult.

19. Canada — 91.5%. While Canada is behind the US in the overall competitive country ranking by WEF, it has a lower debt to GDP ratio while the US “lags behind Canada in the quality of institutions, macroeconomic environment, and health and primary education.”



48% of UK Directors are optimistic about the UK economy and 56% about their business over the next 12 months

The September Policy Voice survey (from the Institute of Directors, IoD) addressed the topics of taxation, public sector procurement, economic confidence, and business ethics. Below are some of the survey highlights:

  • 27% would consider increasing investment if the Annual Investment Allowance were raised
  • 83% find it hard to navigate the current process of tendering for UK public contracts
  • 63% of public sector contract opportunities are identified by referrals
  • Only 8% have tendered for a public sector contract in an EU member state in the last 12 months
  • 48% are optimistic about the UK economy and 56% about their business over the next 12 months
  • 3 key business concerns: UK economic conditions (45%), government regulation (40%), skills shortages (38%).




Source: September 2016 Policy Voice Survey, IoD

More than 70% of UK Directors believe a banking crisis in the Euro zone and a breakdown in social cohesion in the UK will impact their organisations negatively in the next 12 months

The July Policy Voice survey addressed the topics of taxation, pay rises, the state of the economy and migrant entrepreneurs. Below are some of the survey highlights:

  • 80% think we should abolish import tariffs in return for others abolishing similar duties on UK exports
  • 78% agree to delay beyond 2020 eliminating fiscal deficit as a result of Brexit
  • 43% are cautious about the outlook for the overall economy, but 46% are optimistic about the outlook for their primary organisation over next year
  • 49% see no change in business investment outlook while 24% are looking to increase and 25% to decrease
  • If revenues fall, IoD members’ first actions would be: seek out new customers (62%), reduce regular running costs (57%)


Source: July 2016 Policy Voice Survey, IoD

71% of UK Directors will keep their UK Operations intact despite Brexit

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union will have far-reaching consequences for UK businesses. The Institute of Directors (IoD) conducted a snap survey on the impact of Brexit immediately after the result came in. Below are some of the survey highlights:

  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of IoD members think the result is negative for their business, against 23% who think it is positive (only 9% say it makes no difference).
  • A third (32%) say hiring will continue at the same pace, a quarter (24%) will put a freeze on recruitment, and 5% will make redundancies. 
  • Although 7 in 10 will keep all UK operations here, 1 in 5 (22%) are considering moving some outside of the UK; only 1% will bring operations back. 
  • Over a third (36%) will now cut investment in their business, against 1 in 10 (9%) who will increase investment. Just under half (44%) say it will not change their investment plans. 
  • The priority now is to protect the economy from the negative reaction in financial markets, with three-quarters (74%) ranking this first, second is securing a new trade arrangement with EU.
  • Half (51%) think getting a good deal should be prioritised over wrapping it up speedily.

IoD June EU Referendum Snapshot

Source: EU referendum snap Policy Voice Survey, IoD