Sunday, August 21, 2016

Global outlook brighter as Brexit fears fade; Selfies boost make-up sales; Stanford and Cal fifth in Olympic medals

1 Global outlook brighter as Brexit fears fade (Issac John in Khaleej Times) Despite heightened political uncertainty, the global outlook has brightened a little with early evidence suggesting that the impact of Brexit on the rest of Europe would be less severe than previously estimated.

"While the full effects of Brexit have yet to be felt and the negative rhetoric of the US presidential election escalates, recent economic news has been a little more upbeat," said IHS Global Insight's World Flash for August.

IHS Markit chief economist Nariman Behravesh and IHS Global Insight senior research director Sara Johnson said in their forecast that Japan's large fiscal stimulus package would provide a temporary (although small) boost to growth.

HIS relatively bullish forecast for the world economy is in sharp contrast with the recent International Monetary Fund's observation. The IMF has cut its forecasts for global economic growth this year and next as the unexpected UK vote to leave the European Union creates a wave of uncertainty amid already-fragile business and consumer confidence.

IHS said growth in China, the world's second largest economy, is set to slow in the second half. In other large emerging markets, prospects look a little brighter-or at least a little less dark, the report said.

2 Selfies boost make-up sales (Dearbail Jordan on BBC) Some call it extreme narcissism, for others, it is just a bit of fun. For Estee Lauder, the selfie is a trend that has helped drive a rise in make-up sales. Cosmetics was the fastest growing division for the company for the full-year to 30 June, with turnover up 9%.

The owner of brands such as Clinique, MAC and Bobbi Brown, said there has been a "shift in consumer preferences". The upshot is that the snap-happy want to be camera ready at all times. That impulse helped Estee Lauder's sales to rise by 4% to a total of $11.2bn for the year.

The company said sales of products such as make-up palettes have increased because they are a favourite of the internet beauty bloggers. A big Instagram following is also advantageous. Estee Lauder is about to launch a new make-up range with designer Victoria Beckham who has 12.1 million followers, as does US model Amber Rose, who is the face of Flirt Cosmetics, which Estee Lauder is launching online.

With the global cosmetics market set to grow to $675bn by 2020, according to Research and Markets, there will be no shortage of potential new brands for Estee Lauder to target.

3 Stanford and Cal fifth in Olympic medals (Katie Dowd in San Francisco Chronicle) With their combined medal count of 48, Stanford and Cal would create the world's fifth-best athletic nation at the Rio Olympics. Thanks to the addition of three more gold medals Saturday in women's water polo, Stanford leads the Bay with an astounding 27 medals. Cal is close behind with 21, almost all in swimming events.

Here's how they stack up against the rest of the world: 1. United States 2. Great Britain 3. China 4. Russia (Cal and Stanford) 5. Germany 6. Japan 7. France 8. South Korea 9. Australia 10. Italy.

Female dominance was a huge part of the picture for Stanford in particular; 12 of their 15 Olympic medalists are women.

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