Are Colombian Quality Emeralds a Good Investment? – A Brief Overview

In the wake of the housing market melt down and soft market scandals investments in commodities are on the upturn. Emeralds as precious gems have always held value in the market and Colombian quality emeralds can be a harvest asset for any serious investor.

Gems are, ounce for ounce, the most concentrated form wealth man has ever known. Emeralds are extraordinarily profitable, and like other gems easy to store and conceal. An emerald worth millions of dollars could be less than 4 inches long and easily fit in your hand. The price ceiling for high quality emeralds has recently doubled. It jumped from a standard $ 40,000 per carat for the highest quality emeralds to almost $ 90,000 per carat for a 9 carat cut Muzu International emerald, which recently sold at Christie's Auction House in New York. Making it understandable how a one ounce fine Colombian emerald crystal could fetch millions at the current price levels.

Because of the rarity of large cut quality emeralds future prices are only expected to go up. Many investors are buying high quality emeralds to increase and maintain the value of their portfolios. While not everyone can afford investing at those levels, there are alternatives that can prove quite lucrative. As with any investment due diligence is advised before making a commitment. With gemstones, there is a confidentiality of ownership. At present gemstone and diamond transactions are not individually reported to governmental agencies. This however is subject to change, therefore it is recommend one consult a professional tax adviser for your personal reporting requirements.

Below is a brief overview to aid one in making an informed decision when considering an investment in emeralds.

Colombian emeralds, especially those, from the Muzo mines by far command the highest value in the market. Generally speaking they are known for exquisite appearance, large crystal size and few impurities. The Itoco emerald is a perfect example of this. Most emerald dealers agree overall Colombian emeralds are the finest. A high quality Colombian emerald will fetch a 10 to 20% premium over African and Brazilian of similar size and clarity.

Although high end Zambian emeralds do not command the prices of high quality Colombian emeralds, they do have the edge over Brazilian emeralds in today's market. Zambian emeralds mostly tend to be a medium to light green with a bluish tint. Because of their bright lively color and extraordinary clarity Zambian emeralds were originally suspect to be synthetic by established dealers when first discovered in 1976. Tiffany's was first to acknowledge Zambian emeralds as authentic in 1989. Since then their popularity has increased and jewelers and dealers alike now recognize them as natural emeralds. Zambia was the first emerald producer to provide an affordable alternative in quality emeralds. For those who can not afford the top grade Colombian emeralds, the non enhanced Zambian emerald may be a good runner up. Emeralds from Zambia are trending now for several reasons.

  • Like the cutters and polishers of Colombian emeralds, the Zambian emerald craftsmen apply the accepted way oiling using only clear oils.
  • Although Zambian emeralds as a rule do not command the prices of high quality Colombian emeralds most are good jewelry quality and some exceptionally large stone bring close to premium prices.

In the early 1960's vanadium emeralds were discovered in Brazil. Being a form of beryl, but not (chromium) most dealers and gemologists refused to recognize them as emeralds and categorized them as green beryl. After three years of fighting for acceptance in 1963 GIA issued a lab report identifying vanadium-colored beryl as natural emeralds.

Five Tips for Smart Investing

Think Big:

As with most gems large high quality crystals are far more valuable than smaller ones with the same qualities.

Point of Origin:

Large high quality emeralds no matter where they are mined are a good investment, but Colombian emeralds will return a higher resale premium.

Color:

While a deep green is usually considered a good commercial grade, that does not necessarily make it a good investment grade emerald. Brightness or 'fire' is an extremely important consideration as well as color when choosing investment grade emeralds.

Inclusions:

The type of inclusions effect an emeralds value. Investment grade emeralds will not have internal fractures, carbon build ups (internal black spots) and will have a good loupe clarity. Translucent to opaque stones, although they often make for beautiful jewelry, should be strictly avoided when investing.

Clarity:

Clean emeralds over three carats often sell for more than comparable sized diamonds. When considering color and clarity its best to choose clean emeralds with a medium color over heavily included emeralds with perfect green color for optimum investment value.

Summary

Over all it is up to the individual in choosing an investment. However, being a rare commodity, high quality emeralds certainly can increase the value of ones portfolio. Although Colombian quality emeralds often are a very good investment it should be noted; this article is merely an overview and does not reflect after the fact market changes nor guarantee a return on ones investment.

Source by Wesley Ivins

Online Forex Trading – A Great Way To Make Money

For a long time, little was known about online Forex trading. Mostly wealthier individuals and companies were the only ones investing because large amounts of money are needed to invest in order to actually make a profit. Now, however, many individuals are becoming interested in the online Forex trading market because it is an easy way to make money.

A person can invest a smaller amount of money than larger companies and still make a small profit. They then choose to invest the same amount of money in addition to the profit they just made, and slowly work on building up their money so that they can invest larger sums of money.

In order to trade in the Forex market, one must open up an account for the market, and having a broker is a necessity. There are several articles available online that can help individuals figure out all of the details about how to choose a broker and what they need to consider when opening up an account.

For example, many brokers charge fees. For most, there is a fee for every single trade. This is relatively insignificant when a person is only interested in investing a small sum of money, and then letting it sit for a while. If a person only plans on making a few trades, this probably does not seem important.

On the other hand, many investors like to jump right in, or they wind up making more trades over time, they will need to take this into consideration to make sure that they do not wind up losing money.

The online Forex market is a great way to make money, but it can also be a quick way to lose money as well. If a person makes the wrong trade or does not understand how the market works, they can quickly wind up with almost no money.

This is one of the most important reasons that individuals are encouraged to read as much as they can about this form of investing before taking the steps to open an account. There are several software programs available that are becoming increasingly popular as more individuals are choosing to jump into the market.

These programs help keep an eye on the market, and can then let individuals know when is the best time to make a trade. Most of them include data tools that are used to formulate reports about the market and can help identify market trends. Some even take things a step further by having the option to make a trade for users.

With these programs, the users have to do almost nothing. They simply install the program, set the settings, and then decide whether they are comfortable with the robot making the trades for them. It can really be that simple.

Online Forex trading continues to increase in popularity among the average joe now that the internet allows any person to trade one currency for another. The invention of the internet has opened up this opportunity to allow every individual to enjoy making money through this market, and software programs continue to make it easier than ever before.

Source by Yamileth Castillo

Equity Method Accounting Makes a Big Difference

Equity method accounting is used when an investing company owns stocks of another affiliate company. There are several different ways of accounting for this ownership, but this method is perhaps the most popular.

Equity method accounting factors in the increase or decease in profits of the invested company. These differences are usually unrealized and not actually obtained by the investing company. The increase or decease is, of course, calculated on the percentage of stocks owned and does not account for dividends paid. For example, if an investor owns 100 shares of an affiliate's stock. And if that stock increases 10%, only those 100 shares will reflect the 10% increase. The investing company will then record that increase as profit on their ledger.

Before going further, it is important to note that if a parent company owns over 50% of a subsidiary company, equity method accounting is not allowed. Consolidated companies are required to combine the financial figures into one statement for the group of entities.

This information, found through equity method accounting, can be very helpful to a company. If understood correctly, the profits or losses of affiliate companies can help forecast the total equity of the company. This total equity can show trends of upward or downward value of the investing company.

If this information is wrongly considered, the effects can leave the company high and dry. Dry, in this case, meaning out of money. If the profits found with the equity method are considered physical liquid assets, the company's operating capital will be wildly off the mark. This is why it is very important to understand that equity method accounting determines value of investments, but rarely shows finances that can be readily used.

Equity method accounting highly increases the appearance of financial standing. Including all investment gains as profit really boosts the income side of the balance sheet. A major advantage to padding this stat is the likelihood of getting loans, raising capital, or getting investors.

Just think, as a loan officer, if a company showed records of $ 100,000 in profits instead of $ 75,000. That makes a big impact on whether or not to give a loan and how much to loan out. This scenario works the same for the decision of an outside investor or joint venture opportunity.

Other factors exist as to whether or not an investing company uses equity method accounting or not. There are tax requirements for the amount of investment in the affiliate company. If the investor has significant influence or not and the percent of ownership plays a role in using this method of accounting as well.

Source by Joe Coffee

Why is Financial Planning Important?

Personal financial planning is important because it provides you with a method of organising your financial tomorrows for yourself and is unreservedly about planning for the unforeseen and empowering you to have the independence to handle unpredicted events in your life. Successful personal financial planning is therefore, extremely important for anyone who wishes to stay ahead of their finances.

Doubtless personal finance is a demanding subject to grasp and comprehend fully and for that reason an individual as a matter of course is inclined to shy away from it, building defenses in an effort to avoid having to comprehend it's effectiveness. However, with everything in life effort will equal reward in your courageous attempt to rid yourself of financial constraints. For many persons, your objectives in finance are to achieve financial freedoms. Having a well developed financial plan is central to prosperous personal financial future.

The next action of personal finance planning is to determine where you are today such as how much money you have stored up, the value of your investments and what types of investment vehicles they are. This plan will give you a blueprint directing you towards achieving your goals, what products you should be investing in, for what time period you should invest for, whilst considering your constraints such as your attitude towards risk. Blueprints such as these will provide you with some great quick start methods on how you can begin to better manage your finances beginning today.

It is a reality that one of the largest factors of personal debt is the overuse, abuse and ill-treatment of the credit card. Nevertheless, if you come upon such a position, do not despair, considering with a personal finance schedule you can substantially curtail your liability in 3 simple steps. Firstly you can refinance your credit cards by combining your commitments, or you can even renegotiate your interest rates with your existing credit card institution. In getting ready for a further economical constriction, it is crucial that you take a number of personal financial planning steps. There are the bills you must settle each month, and accordingly, is part of your compulsory personal finance planning routine. Keep in mind that you should endeavor to buy everything 'on sale' for intelligent planning. Smart personal finance planning means restricting how frequently you consume food in a restaurant, or pay out money on recreation. For that reason, by acquiring conventional approaches with your personal finance planning now, you can even so set aside crisis funds that will assist your family if times are demanding.

Once you have an precise picture of where you are today, your personal finance planning project can proceed to the next level namely deciding where you wish to be, and how to arrive there. The difficulty is that most individuals compare personal finance budgeting with sacrifices. Target your personal finance planning exploits at liberating yourself to retrain for further satisfying and more financially profitable jobs, and you will turn out to be one of the world's most productive savers in no time. Debt management strategy tip – observe your interest rates when economical uncertainty is on the skyline given interest rates are the first to respond to making debt control crucial.

In summary therefore, and to address the issue around why is financial planning important, if professions are becoming more unstable, then personal finance planning is becoming more significant than ever, and the earlier you start to get your finances in order, the better.

Source by Jonathan Grigson

Real Estate Investment Trust Versus RELPs: An Overview

Many people are sometimes confused about the difference between REITs and RELPs. RELPs, or Real Estate Limited Partnerships are a kind of syndication that possess many of a REIT's benefits.

These benefits include (potentially) financial rewards, investment security (potentially, once again) and, ideally, tax savings. The General Partner is the party responsible for the strategy, execution and day-to-day operations of the RELP, and whose responsibilities are comparable to those of a trustee of a REIT. The General Partner enjoys all decision-making responsibilities for the investment, and also assumes liability for it.

The other partners in the group are Limited Partners. These are the investors, and their status as limited partners means their financial obligation is limited to whatever amount they chose to invest at first – they do not have to worry about anything else. Just like with REITs, the Real Estate Limited Partnership investor is spared management responsibilities, and is relieved of liability for principal debt. And, just like a REIT, in many cases RELPs allow cash investments of any size.

Unlike Real Estate Investment Trusts, however, which offer long-term investment in a diversified portfolio of properties, and are also extremely easy to cash in, a RELP) is often used for projects that last for shorter terms. Also unlike REITs, RELPs often do not distribute cash until the end of the investment, and properties usually do not immediately generate revenue (which is one way REITs generate regular distributions. And if Limited Partnership vehicles did create revenue, the cashflow would probably be put to best use funding the projects' construction or redevelopment.

Once the development or renovation is complete, however, the value of the property will often be significantly higher than that of the initial investment. RELPs generally provide higher yields over the short term, and unlike REITs, RELP investments are generally not redeemable before a predetermined "liquidity event". In most cases any profit would be disbursed to the Limited Partners.

In summary, the main difference between Limited Partnerships and Investment Trusts is that the former are short-term investment vehicles with no payouts during the term of the scheme. However, both are considered to be a high-growth form of investment, and experience little if any of the ups and towns commonly found in the stock market.

This was just a short comparison between REITs and RELPs. Group-owned real estate investing is a big subject, and I look forward to exploring it with you in a future article.

Source by Bob Kawasaki

Technology Industry Risk in the BRIC – Where Should Your Firm Invest in 2013?

Without a doubt the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) – four of the world's largest emerging economies, have massive economic and investment potential, especially within the technology industry. According to Euromonitor International if the BRIC countries are able to maintain their current growth rate, the combined economies of these four global powerhouses could be worth more in US dollar terms than the G6 (Germany, France, Italy, Japan, UK and the US) by 2041. Both the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Personal Disposable Income (PDI) have developed exponentially among the BRIC nations over the last decade. This growth has fueled numerous Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) across each country making Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) a formidable business venture for any major corporations. PPP deals can often be complex, financially demanding and extremely time consuming with projects lasting several years. However, under the right economic conditions and proper business strategy, they can offer significant benefits to the private business sector, the consumer and national governments. Each country may pose a different risk and the success of these projects would largely depend on the country's ability to handle such risks and minimize interruptions to the projects. Our paper examinees the comparative risk, opportunity, overall economic climate, comparative industry market potential and structure within each BRIC countries and ultimately making a recommendation on which country to invest within the technology sector.

Brazil

According to data compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Brazil is currently at a score of a "BBB" in its overall country risk assessment. This is otherwise known as an "investment grade status. Based on this assessment, Brazil is considered to be a low-moderate risk country to invest in depending on agency rating. Brazil is abundant in natural resources like quartz, diamonds, chromium, iron ore , phosphates, petroleum, mica, graphite, titanium, copper, gold, oil, bauxite, zinc, tin, and mercury. According to Bloomberg Media "Its natural riches have since propelled this nation of 200 million people to the top tiers of global markets . Brazil's economy has ascended the ranks of the world's largest, from 16th in 1980 to 6th today. "Brazil's large government debt and economic deficits in the 1990's facilitated private investment in various industries. The Brazilian Privatization Program from 1990-2002 led to privatization of 33 companies, an estimate 105 Billion in national revenue and increment in the investment opportunities, particularly within the technology driven telecommunications industries which represented 31% of this movement.

Reports regarding Brazil's economic future have varied widely. Despite unstable performance results across Brazil's five regions reported this year, the economic outlook for Brazil is fairly positive. The Wall Street Journal recently reported Standard & Poor's downward revision in Brazil's outlook to "negative" from "stable." According to the Economist Intelligence Unit "long-term growth forecast anticipates more rapid average annual GDP growth over the next 19 years (3.8% ) than over the past 25 (2.8%). Improvements in infrastructure and education, trade expansion, a broader presence of multinational business, a reduction in the debt-service burden and the development of Brazil's huge oil reserves will mitigate slower labor force growth and help to sustain labor productivity growth at 2.7%. "

The current political focus In Brazil is rapidly shifting to next year's general election. President, Dilma Rousseff (of the leftist Partido dos Trabalhadores) who became the first female president in the nation's history in 2010, announced her bid for another four-year term this past February. President Rousseff remains extremely popular despite corruption scandals, weak economic growth and a resurgence of inflation, particularly due to the fact that unemployment remained low at 5.8% when compared to historical trends. With respect to political risk Brazil is moderately stable in comparison to other BRIC nations. "Campaigning for the October 2014 elections in Brazil has already begun, President Dilma Rousseff's popularity has helped reduce the scope for sensitive reforms and contaminating the policy environment", according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.6 Furthermore, President Rousseff was ranked by Forbes Magazine as the # 2 most powerful woman in the world. Many International investors are attracted to Brazil because of its stable political and economic environment; however they do face very high levels of bureaucracy, taxes, crime and corruption that typically are far greater than in their home markets.

Brazil's economy is slowly recuperating from the 2011-12 downturns, but Brazil's potential growth rate is much lower than in 2004-10, when it grew by 4.5% annually. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit "The financial services sector will grow above the overall rate, but it will lose some dynamism as credit growth slows. Credit has more than doubled since 2003 in GDP terms, to 53% as of February 2013."

"With respect to financial risk, the Brazilian financial system is exposed to the effects of volatile international markets, especially for commodities and capital. Over the past decade, Brazil's financial sectors assets have doubled particularly due to expansion of the securities and derivatives markets, and heavy investments from home and abroad.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit "With an estimated population of 195m and GDP of US $ 2.3trn in 2012, Brazil has the largest financial services market in Latin America. However, income and wealth remain highly concentrated. A continued trend towards formalization of businesses and the labor force will support financial deepening. Rising incomes will lift demand for financial services, but Brazil's labor-market dynamics are becoming less favorable than in the previous decade. "

Some economists have suggested that Brazil may become a victim of its own success. The gross public debt ratio remains high forcing the government's borrowing requirement to also stay high. According to Dimitri Demekas assistant director in the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets department "Rapid credit expansion in recent years has supported domestic economic growth and broader financial inclusion, but could also create vulnerabilities." Nevertheless a series of additional infrastructure improvements, it's growing population, abundant natural resources and anticipated investments from the forthcoming 2014 world Cup and 2016 Olympics promise to keep Brazil at the top of global financial strategies for the years to come.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, using the average industry risk rating for the technology sector in 2013, Brazil scores a 43.5. In order to examine the risk vs. return, we pair this with the Economic Intelligence Units business environment score. Given on a scale of 1-10, we multiply this by 10 for purposes of comparison throughout this paper; we get 66.9 for Brazil, representing an excellent opportunity within the technology sector.

Russia

According to data compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Russia currently is scores a "C" value, (54 points) in its overall risk assessment. Based on this assessment, Russia is considered to be a moderately risky country to invest in. Some of those risks include the "opaque and corrupt administration, over-reliance on commodities production and the ill-functioning judiciary."

With respect to political risk, Russia scored a "C" value (55 points) according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. President Vladimir Putin has seen various protests during his many terms, however; the country is not booming as it was in the decades immediately following the Cold War. It is evident that the government is intervening more in the economy now, causing more of a further disconnect for the working middle class. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, "there are signs that disillusionment is spreading among ordinary Russians". With the country potentially lacking political stability, investors and other countries will not want to continue to do business with Russia.

With respect to financial risk, Russia scored a value of "C" (58 points), according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Russia lacks heavy involvement from the government in the banking sector; therefore, it has been difficult to achieve any sort of reform for the baking industry. Furthermore, there is uncertainty in the position of the banking sector and its regulation and supervision by the government. When investors and business partners can not trust the country's central bank, it creates many issues for the country. Access to external financial and a weakened ruble, certainly do not attract companies to conduct business in Russia.

Just like the rest of the world, Russia suffered from the economic crisis that had a ripple effect on the entire global marketplace. GDP decreased by 7.8% during 2009, which affected the country in many ways. Russia saw a decline in the external demand for various commodities. While the economy and GDP fluctuated during the years following, Russia was still not seen as a favorable country to invest in partly because of the large uncertainty towards the political sector as well as the lack of confidence in the government nor financial stability.

Russia scored a 52.475 average risk on the Technology sector while the country scored a 58.6 on business environment. This combination of higher risk and lower opportunity makes Russia the least favorable country of the BRIC for technology investment based on the current economic and risk factors.

India

The Economist Business Intelligence unit "estimates that real GDP growth (on an expenditure basis) slowed to 3.4% in fiscal year 2012/13." The Business Intelligence unit believes that India's economy has bottomed out. The country is currently at a low point in their economic cycle with the slowest growth in ten years having taken place in the 12 months preceding March 2013. This however is good news for future investments in the country as recent economic reforms, lower interest rates and wholesale price inflation are expected to cause a real GDP growth of 6.2% in fiscal year ending 2014.

From this point on through 2030, India is predicted to be a hot bed for economic growth, making this an excellent target for global investment. India is forecasted to grow at an average of 6.4% from 2012-2030, making the country the fastest growing large economy in the world during this time. However with this growth, India will face some new challenges that could be a cause for concern.India is depending more on external investments as it continues to open its economy. This could be a risk factor for the country as it has previously been a closed economy and has enjoyed the protections from the economic downturn of 2008-2009 because of this. With the new global investments, this protection from outside influences will no longer be as strong. There is also some concern that foreign investments have recently slowed after a strong 2012 due to investors waiting to see how political uncertainty plays out.

India benefits from a relatively healthy debt to GDP ratio with the sovereign risk of the country falling between 45 and 48 for the 12 months preceding June 2013. The country has low non-performing loan (NPL) ratio's and enjoys a Banking Sector risk of 49 -51 during this same time. Though if the country adhered to international criteria for defining NPL's, this number would be higher. The currency is trending upward from 44-47 in the last 12 months due to economic reforms following India's fiscal and trade deficits as well as high inflation.

In addition to India's new need for capital infusion, the country has suffered political scandals revolving around corruption in the last three years. The country has also lost several key western allies as speculation rises that Congress will call elections early before their term ends in 2014.1 This political risk makes investment in the short term unadvisable until the political fallout surrounding the election can be determined.

Though India as a country has a lower risk ranking and an excellent forecast for economic growth, the technology sector will have to navigate some new terrain in order to continue growth. India's Technology sector risk averages 52.6, likely due to the saturation of India's IT services within the US. As India's service providers look for ways to add value and take advantage of cloud computing technology offerings, they must also look for customers outside of the US, which is not an easy task, especially considering that 9% of the 55 Asian companies in the list of the top 500 Global firms utilize outsourcing as a strategy. When weighted against the countries adjusted business environment rating of 60.4, India becomes the third rank in BRIC investment targets.

China

China's economy is the second largest and an important source of revenue for most multinational firms. China's growth has held up better than Brazil and India and the economy's expansion is expected to be 7.8% in 2014. Tightening labor markets and supportive government policy are expected to sustain rapid income growth in the next two years.

Although major political reforms are not expected, significant fiscal changes may be unveiled in late 2013 and in the meantime, authorities have tightened monetary policy. While economic growth rates are trending downward, real GDP growth in 2013 is still expected to be 8.5%.

The degree of government interference in the economy remains a worrying factor although the private sector is increasingly important. China's domestic demand of goods is expected to grow faster than its export markets. Although government has lowered man trade barriers in order to encourage more imports, still access to some sectors remains difficult.

China's leaders want continuing sustainable economic growth as well as enduring political control. The past emphasis on economic development is now being altered in favor of social priorities. Another challenge facing the government is to rebalance the economy, which is dependent on high levels of investment spending. Income growth will gradually boost the contribution of domestic consumption to economic expansion, but difficult reforms (particularly in the financial sector) will be required if household spending is to be fully unleashed.

China's business environment will become more favorable in the future, with its scores for most categories in the Economist Intelligence Unit's business environment rankings model improving. The biggest improvements are in categories that will benefit from the government's efforts to reform the financial sector and open the capital account but a number of other categories continue to score poorly by global and regional standards. Risks to China's political stability, continue to drag down the political environment score. The only category for which the country's score worsens is macroeconomic conditions. Its economy's massive size and rapid growth means that China boasts one of world's highest scores for market opportunities.

Although they are going through economic and social changes that threaten political stability, their security risk is fairly low and the overall risk of doing business in China is moderate to high. Popular discontent has been on a rise due to the rising costs of living, income disparity, urban unemployment, land seizures and corruption. Major reforms to address these issues look unlikely as the Chinese Communist Party will remain in power for the foreseeable future. They lack national standards and regulatory consistency is weak, enforcement is poor and political interference makes the legal and regulatory risks high. For this reason, foreign-invested enterprises avoid taking disputes to domestic courts if they can go to international arbitration instead.

Progress on the financial sector reform has begun to accelerate, China's banking and capital markets are immature but foreign-invested enterprises have generally good access to loans.

Infrastructure is improving fast and reaching advanced standards in some parts of the country. Mobile telecommunications are widespread. Internet penetration is high for a developing nation. Air transport networks are well developed and the logistics industry is growing rapidly.

China has an excellent outlook when comparing risk and opportunities. By weighing average technology industry risk of 44.9 against the adjusted business environment rating of 64.4, China becomes an excellent option as shown on the bubble chart found by following the link at the end of this article. With large disposable incomes, China also has massive growth potential.

Conclusion

Based on the research relating to the economic opportunity in the BRIC countries as well as the political and economic risk of entering each country, Brazil shows the strongest potential currently for firms looking to invest in the technology industry. Though there is excellent growth projected in India, 6.2% average through 2030, the technology sector is saturated. US companies are bringing Information outsourcing services back with on shoring, while Asian companies predominantly keep their information services in house. This combined with the near term political uncertainty makes India a higher risk investment. There are still opportunities in India no doubt; however this was not the most opportune BRIC country to target.Russia was the least favorable country based on business opportunity and risk factors; therefore we can also eliminate investment in Russia. China meanwhile has excellent opportunity and risk ratings as well as a large and growing economy. China does not, however, have excellent systems in place to protect patents. In fact, China has the worst policies and enforcement of any of the BRIC counties as it pertains to technology, making any investment in technology a difficult decision.

Though China has a large economy and favorable economic and risk indicators, based on China's higher comparable risk to that of Brazil's and the lower business environment rating as compared Brazil, there is a higher likelihood of success investing in Brazil in 2013. Brazil maintains the highest measure of business opportunity as weighed against risk of any of the BRIC countries as illustrated in the bubble chart found by following the Bubble Chart link at the end of this article. The growth projected in Brazil, low risk in comparison to other BRIC countries and the stabilizing political environment, we feel confident in recommending an investment in Brazil's growing technology industry. There will be bureaucratic processes to navigate, however the potential for excellent growth in technology and with minimal risk related in comparison to other BRIC countries make this an excellent investment target.

Source by Marsh

Tips to Let You Know Where and How to Obtain Sulfuric Acid

H2SO4 is a very dangerous chemical and that is why it is quite difficult to look for a place that sells it. Unlike everyday commodities that you can just readily buy anywhere, sulfuric acid presents a lot of problems when not handled properly that is why you need to know about the legal restrictions that go together with the purchasing of the acid.

Selling sulfuric acid is controlled by the UN, specifically the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988. The acid is listed as one of the chemicals frequently used in illegal manufacturing for psychotropic substances and narcotic drugs. That is why knowing how to buy sulfuric acid would prove to be quite a difficult task. Also, in the United States, production and sales of the chemical is carefully and strictly monitored by the DEA.

Amidst all of these restrictions, sulfuric acid is a very important chemical. Totally banning the use of the acid would cripple a lot of industries, including the agriculture industry, the industrial industry, among others. Not to mention laboratories which use the acid in its researches and the automobile industry that uses the chemical for testing and analysis of car batteries. However, even with these uses, you still can not purchase the acid easily, especially in its pure form.

Usually, what are being sold in the market with a much lighter restrictions are just products that have some sulfuric acid content. In its pure form, it is very difficult to purchase it. Sometime in 2007, there were some online shops that sell ninety-eight percent solution of the acid. But with all of the scare of terrorism and given the potentials of the chemical as an ingredient in making explosives, it is now difficult to find a shop that legitimately sells the acid in its pure form.

But as the saying goes, if there is a will, there's a way. Sulphuric acid can still be extracted from products that make use of the acid. In this way, you can still get the acid in its pure form without having to worry about law complications. Below is a list of sources where you could get the acid:

1. Battery acid contains the chemical. You can extract the acid from these batteries if you just know how. You can go to a battery shop and ask if you could about acid / lead batteries.

2. Drain opener liquids that you can purchase from the hardware also contain the acid. Depending on the brand, the level of concentration also varies. These kinds of drain opener liquids come in plastic containers that are placed in a heavy plastic sack.

3. Most photo chemicals contain forty-eight percent concentrations. However, it is much more expensive than the drain opener liquids.

4. You can also go to an industrial chemist and ask if you can buy some of the chemical. You can also approach a pharmaceutical chemist. Both of them use the chemical in their work. They might have some to spare you.

5. Lastly, and the most convenient option but is equally as difficult, is finding a legitimate sulphuric acid retailer. These people are legally approved and could help you with your problems without running in conflict with the law. The catch, however, is these retailers are not actually easy to find.

As much as you need to use sulfuric acid and as much as you hate how regulations have made it difficult for you to buy the chemical straight without having to undergo all of those tiring chemistry processes just to extract the acid, you need to understand that these regulations are made to keep people's lives safe because at the end of the day you need to remember that the chemical is very dangerous and hazardous to people's lives.

Source by Jo Alelsto

Easy Short Term Loans For Small Businesses

Let's assume you have just started a new venture and plan to expand in the later stage. The scope of expenses is not just One Dimensional, and therefore cash flow becomes essential. The financial situation these days is a bit dicey, and starting the business venture needs money. Arranging the money from loans is possible, but it is also necessary to evaluate the reasons for securing the line of credit. The credit line should match your requirements.

Since, you are eager to acquire funds for a smaller period, one option you can consider applying is the easy Short Term loans. This credit line is convenient to obtain and can be utilised as a working capital. At least, it provides a set amount of cash that can be repaid in form of instalments. The funding at best seems perfect to tackle the small business expenses.

Banks and financial institutions offer these loans through a much traditional and hard defined approach. However, it is easy to secure Short Term loans from private lenders. The easy accessibility with instant approval is perhaps one of the reasons for these loans being popular among the entrepreneurs.

Short Term Loans for New Age Businesses

Short term loans follow an ideal approach for small businesses, who struggle to cover their basic expenses in the midst of a financial doldrums. The cash line of credit is quick, and this reduces the stress much to an extent. There is also no hurry of repaying the loan. With quick cash credit available, entrepreneurs will make decisions on procuring raw materials, arranging transportation of finished goods, clearing dues, paying rent, expanding the product line etc.

In case your business is struggling with poor credit issues, opting for a Long terms loans can certainly help in improving the credit score. As the repayment tenure spans over a period of few month, by keeping up with the payments, it will increase the score. With a much improved credit score, you now have a chance to access new loans at more favorable terms.

Higher Interest Rates are a matter of concern

The most important aspect that you look at while approaching broker is the rate of interest and the APR. And in the case of shorts term loans, the interest rate is charged on the principle amount. As the loan amount is being utilized for commercial purposes, you can expect high rate of interest. But then, it also comes down to how much amount you are looking to borrow as well as the repayment tenure? There are times, when it becomes tough to keep up with the payments, and this certainly affects your business to a serious extent. Moreover with the funding easily accessible, small business owners get in to habit of deriving the loans on a regular basis. This in turn affects the profit and the businesses end up spending more than what they actually earn.

Not all loans are meant to serve your needs and easy short terms loans are no different. Yes, it is good for entrepreneurs who are starting out, who need access to easy funds on a regular basis. But then the loans have drawbacks too and all the factors must be assessed, before making any decision on accessing the loans.

Source by Angela Albert

Terminal Wealth Dispersion, Life Expectancy and Individual Retirement Accounts

Terminal wealth dispersion is the technical term that describes the variability of the future value of investment portfolios. This inevitable variability means that no one knows what the value of their investment portfolio will be when they reach retirement age or at any time during their retirement. And the uncertainty of individual's life expectancies compounds this problem.

Hedging against the risks associated with these two factors places an onerous burden on individuals. Although this hedging could result in a very comfortable retirement, if one can afford the hedge and their timing is right, the potential downside risk is so great that it may be deemed unacceptable by many individuals. So one has to ask "Do individuals really prefer to forgo a sure but modest retirement income and play the odds with their retirement savings in hopes of being very well off in retirement?"

With individual accounts, individuals lose the benefit of the pooling of risks. The two risks that force individuals to over-save are investment risk and the risk of living beyond the average life expectancy. In both cases the outcomes, terminal wealth and life span, are highly variable. When the risks are pooled for a large number of individuals over many overlapping life spans, the average outcomes are highly predictable, which is what makes traditional pension plans work so well.

Traditional pension plans exist, for all intents and purposes, in perpetuity. This being the case, they can build reserves during good times in the financial markets and weather the bad times, thus enabling them to make consistent payouts to retirees regardless of the timing of their retirement. Unfortunately, individuals do not get to choose their holding periods or the years of their retirement and must take whatever comes along, and what comes along might be good or it might be bad. Thus individuals must set savings goals that are sufficiently high to hedge against the risk of the average return of an investment portfolio over its holding period falling well short of that which would be expected very long term.

The relatively short duration of individual's holding periods leave them very susceptible to the effects of market cycles, which are notoriously unpredictable in amplitude and frequency. Being broadly diversified mitigates this risk but does not eliminate it, as it's entirely possible for a worldwide bear market to occur during one's holding period. Then at the end of the holding period for wealth accumulation, a second holding period begins, which will be the term of retirement, and this second holding period carries the same risks as the first, but at a time in life when there is no source of income to make up for portfolio under-performance.

The other component of risk that individuals must hedge is the risk represented by the uncertainty of one's life span, which means that individuals must aim even higher when setting their savings goals. The managers of large pension plans can depend on retirees living on average for only the average life expectancy of employees who reach retirement age. The average life expectancy for someone who reaches the age of 66 is currently 82 years, and 66 is currently the age when workers are eligible for full Social Security benefits, which makes it a reasonable baseline. Based on those assumptions, the average term of retirement would be 18 years and pension plans should only have to be funded to the extent necessary to cover the cost of this average term of retirement.

Individuals, however, do not know how long they're going to live, so they must over-save to ensure that they do not run out of money before they run out of time. This need to over-save is independent of the first need, thus the need to over-save is compounded, ie, an individual needs to save enough to cover the cost of living well beyond the average life expectancy and the targeted amount of savings at retirement age must be great enough to ensure with a reasonably high level of certainty that the actual amount on hand at retirement is at least the bare minimum necessary to get by on.

A popular estimate of the term of retirement for which individuals must plan is 30 years. Saving enough to cover the cost of a 30-year retirement is a much greater burden than saving for an 18-year retirement, but planning on a shorter retirement exposes individuals to tremendous risk. It also exposes taxpayers to tremendous risk, as individuals who outlive their savings will undoubtedly require some form of public assistance to make ends meet and are likely to become wards of the state when they become physically incapable of caring for themselves.

An individual who bases their retirement saving on living to the age of 96 but only lives to be 82 will have forgone a lot of pleasures in life, such as travel, fine dining and better vehicles, that they could otherwise have enjoyed. But many individuals just do not have the level of income required to support the saving rate necessary to amass the wealth required to hedge against the downside of terminal wealth dispersion and the possibility of living well past the average life expectancy. For them it's not a matter of forgone consumption, it's a matter of going through life with the knowledge that they are likely to spend their golden years living in abject poverty and that that will be their reward for 40 or 50 years of hard work. And it gets worse!

Some economists now believe that within 15 years or so, given the current rate of health care inflation, 100% of Social Security benefits will be spent on medical expenses: Medicare Parts B and D premiums, copayments, uncovered expenses and medigap insurance premiums. If that becomes the case, anyone without substantial savings or a defined benefit pension will be looking for public assistance the day after they retire. Although this is probably a worse case scenario, there is a general consensus that individuals retiring today will need to set aside approximately $ 180,000 for medical expenses not covered by basic Medicare.

With the situation already at this state, adding private Social Security accounts to the mix would be like throwing gas on a fire, as individual Social Security accounts carry the same risks as other individual retirement accounts. Those who have tried to kill Social Security since its inception find private accounts very appealing. But, not so coincidentally, most of them seem to be in the enviable position of not needing Social Security to support their retirement. More recently, younger workers, too, have come to oppose Social Security, but not for the same reason as the traditional opponents. Young workers may be crushed by the growing burden of Social Security and may never receive any benefits from the system. Those who oppose Social Security simply because it's a social program should be expending their efforts on reforming it rather than killing it.

If Social Security had been managed like a pension plan rather than the ilconceived system it is, with today's workers paying for yesterday's workers' retirement, its current situation would not be so dire. Indeed, it might very well be a fully funded, functional system. CalPERS and other large public employee retirement plans have operated successfully for decades, with success being defined as being able to meet their obligations, not having an adverse effect on the financial markets, no scandalous events attributable to malfeasance by the plans' sponsors and being free of influence from elected officials. There's no reason that Social Security can not also be managed in such a manner. It would literally take an act of Congress to do this, but the hardest part for Congress would be letting the system run without their interfering with its operation.

Passing off the burden of retirement to individuals was a great deal for corporations but it's a very poor deal for most individuals, and extending individual accounts to include the Social Security system would only make a bad situation worse. It's not a poor deal for all individuals because there will be some who can afford to save a substantial portion of their income and whose holding periods will coincide with bull markets, thus putting their wealth in the upper range of their terminal wealth dispersion, and who also live a long, healthy life. They will be the ones who benefit from over-saving and living beyond the average life expectancy, but they may end up forfeiting a portion of their wealth in the form of taxes to support the less fortunate. I do not believe that is what the public expects from a well-conceived system.

Source by Mike Kennedy

Sports and Hobbies in Portugal

Called The Beautiful Game, the Portuguese are ardent futebol fans. From club matches to the national team, everyone has a favorite player and team that they follow with great devotion.

Futebol

The game requires speed, dexterity, endurance and strategy. Portugal's Cristiano Renaldo is arguably the best player in the world and José Marinho is widely recognized as a gifted manager.

For pro players, making the national team is the pinnacle of success. Many professional footballers play internationally for other teams; for example Renaldo plays for Real Madrid. As qualifying for the quadrennial World Cup approaches, players are named for the national team. Below the national team is club play. Premeira Liga, with 14 teams, is the premier league and the Segunda Liga fields 22 teams.

Every town and region has a host of amateur leagues, as well as college and school teams ranging from five-a-side to full teams. Naturally you can find a group of kids (or adults) kicking the ball around wherever there's a bit of open space.

Futsal

Futsal, 5-a-side indoor football, is played on a hard surface. There are several leagues divided into divisions. 1a Divis ã o is the top league .

All the rest

  • Athletics: Portugal has a number of top long-distance runners and has done well at recent Olympic Games in London and Beijing; there are also a number of top cross-country runners from Portugal
  • Canoeing: Portugal has many top Olympians in this sport; kayaking and canoeing are popular sports for tourists and locals alike
  • Cycling: Volta a Portugal is the annual professional long-distance race; cycling tours and mountain bike trails are widely available in all regions
  • Martial arts: Jogo do Pau is a traditional stick fighting martial art dating from the Middle Ages (fencing and judo are also popular)
  • Motorsports: Rallying, motorcycle racing and A1 Grand Prix are popular spectator sports with some races (Rally Madeira and Lisboa-Dakar) receiving international attention
  • Bullfights: Portuguese bullfights differ in style from the Spanish customs, notably the bull is not killed in the ring; running with the bulls, as in Pamplona, ​​Spain, is popular in the Azores
  • Golf: the Algarve has great courses and many of Portugal's top pros play in the region
  • Airsoft: known as paint ball in the US, the game is popular around the country
  • Watersports: surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing are all popular, especially in the Algarve
  • Portugal is considered to have some of the best waves in Europe, most notably around the central coastal town of Peniche. Recently, the largest wave ever surfed was recorded in Nazaré, about 30 minutes north of Peniche.

Hobbies

Textiles

Portugal's traditional needlework and fiber arts began in nunneries and as cottage industries. The fine linens, rugs, lacework provided a livelihood for many families and grew to be celebrated for craftsmanship. Portuguese textiles are well known the world over.

  • Embroidery: Portuguese embroidery is highly sought after with its intricate stiches and rich colors; styles vary by region, with the best known examples coming from Madeira and Castelo Branco; white embroidery (white thread on white cloth) is also popular with modern needle workers
  • Rug making / tapestry: Arraiolos in southern Portugal is famous for its pure wool carpets; designs are similar in motif and style to Persian rugs; Portalegre is well known for its finely detailed tapestry with as many as 25,000 stitches per square meter
  • Knitting: Portuguese knitting is popular with knitters everywhere; also known as continental knitting
  • Crocheting / lacemaking: fine thread crochet lace and bobbin lace making developed as another way to make ends meet in poorer families; well known styles include secret, love secret and Loulé lace
  • Weaving: the region of Serra da Estrela is well known for its thick, dense waterproof blankets (mantas); 100% wool, the blankets are dye and chemical free

Folk dancing

Traditional Portuguese folk dances, typically slower-paced than those of their Spanish neighbors, reflect the courtship and marriage customs of their native regions. Well-known dances include: fandango, vira, corrinhdo, chula and viranda. To dance well, time, practice, stamina and instruction are needed.

Source by James E Harrison