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Changing nutritional preferences and the restructuring of society are leading to new consumer trends in Colombia—and creating opportunities for expat entrepreneurs in the health-food market. BioPlaza is a chain of four outlets in Bogotá—three of them franchised—that is seeking to exploit this demand and is now looking for franchisees. The man behind it is Alex von Loebell, 49, who came to Colombia from Germany, where he had studied marketing and advertising, and worked in the media.
Central America has often drawn investments from other countries due to its vast untapped resources and its significant location. France tried to build a canal there, America actually did and now it’s the turn of China to try. China has been looking for alternative trans-oceanic routes and now there are talks of a 170-mile, $40 billion deal to build a canal across Central America being in the works. If this project comes to pass it will connect the Pacific (Brito) with the Caribbean (Bluefields) and will take five years to complete.
There’s always room for wealth creation. Despite the world’s economic woes, the number of people with $30 million or more in net assets rose by 5% globally last year. And according to the Frank Knight Wealth Report 2013, over the next 10 years there’ll be a 50% rise in the number of people breaking that barrier.
Europe isn’t ridiculously cheap right now. But it is a heck of a lot cheaper than wading into U.S. blue chips at current levels. It is also packed full of high-quality companies with global reach…and a lot of these businesses are going at fair prices.
Have you been to a shopping mall recently? Well, one thing you are sure to find there is a frozen yogurt kiosk or self-serve location. And, as I travel around Latin America looking at franchise businesses, I can tell you that the same is happening here. From Santiago de Chile to Mexico City, this quick-service segment is exploding. The reason? It’s the healthy option dessert and consumers are becoming increasingly health-conscious.
I’ve spent my fair share of time in airports over the years, and if there’s anything I’ve learned from that experience, it’s that I wish I hadn’t spent my fair share of time in airports over the years.
During the decade since I first published my popular Passport Book, now in its 10th edition, rarely have I seen so many countries at one time willing to trade official access for foreign cash.
There has been a lot of hand-wringing lately over the slowdown in official Chinese GDP growth,” writes IL Finance Editor, Chris Hunter
I was about 11 or 12 years old, listening to my mom—a travel agent at the time—talking to a co-worker about finding a way to get a client to Minneapolis.
It was early afternoon, and I was on a chartered bus about 50 miles outside Vienna. The cellphones of my traveling companions starting buzzing…and one of the Austrian bankers began to translate the breaking news coming over the radio.
Elderly Americans may long ago have heard the quaint expression “sound as a dollar.” It was a prideful phrase that referred to the strength of the American currency, and you certainly don’t hear it any more.
As other nations relax bank secrecy, the island nation of Singapore has embraced it. If you are looking for strong banking and business laws in a highly-regulated environment and ultra-secure storage, look no further.
Figures released by the IMF reveal that the three least-affordable cities to buy a home in are Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzen in Mainland China. And the fourth least-affordable city is Hong Kong!
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 undersea, mega-thrust earthquake became the greatest ever to hit Japan. Minutes later another unforeseen event struck: a giant tsunami.
Even taking into account its many recent international difficulties, Switzerland remains as one of the best all-around asset and financial havens in the world.
The Burmese story is pretty simple. There’s an economy of 60 million people that were shut off from the rest of the world and now the doors have opened. But what exactly will you find if you walk through them?
Something big is happening in the world’s second-largest economy. Something so big, in fact, that it could prove to be the most powerful economic trend of the next decade: China’s blue collars are turning white.
The case for owning farmland as a strategy to safely grow or preserve your nest egg has never been stronger. Increasing populations and wealth in emerging economies is the primary driver
There has been so much nonsense written about gold following April sell-off that it is hard to know where to begin to set record straight. But what most of the gold bashing has missed—and missed completely—is the nature of that move.
I believe an ownership stake in oil and gas in the ground will prove to be one of the best investments of the next decade. Buying these assets “on sale” will lead to even bigger profits.
You’ve probably heard the old joke that the best way to make $10 million in the wine industry is to start with $20 million. But these days in Argentina, nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike other winemaking nations, Argentina is now exporting almost all the wine it can produce. Brazil, the United States, Canada and England are favorite destinations…
Although GDP slowed to a crawl of just 0.9% last year (hardly too enticing), it is difficult to find a Brazilian who even notices. More Brazilians have jobs than ever before. Wages are rising.
Mongolia is the world’s most sparsely populated country, largely made up of steppe, mountains and a big piece of the Gobi desert. It’s also the world’s fastest-growing economy, thanks to vast underground riches; gold, copper, coal, tin, uranium and tungsten.
There’s something strange going on in Brazil. You might call it a “schizophrenic economy.” Brazil is an economy of two halves. From the outside looking in, it’s a former star player plagued by socialist leaders with no understanding of free-market principles. But from the inside looking out, it’s a booming emerging market with record low jobless numbers, a strong currency, and high interest rates to keep the economy from overheating.
Spare a thought for the citizens of Belgium. Their beer is great and their waffles tasty but they also suffer from the highest effective personal tax rate in the world. That’s according to a survey by KPMG. The auditing firm looked at income tax rates and other deductions like social security to calculate their results.
It had to happen sometime. After a decade of outperforming U.S. stocks, Brazil has started lagging behind the States. Now, I have recommended Brazil a number of times in these pages. So in true IL fashion, I hopped on a flight to São Paulo to put “boots on the ground.”
Elderly Americans may long ago have heard the quaint expression “sound as a dollar.” It was a prideful phrase that referred to the strength of the American currency, and you certainly don’t hear it any more. The sound dollar began disappearing with Woodrow Wilson and the 1912 Federal Reserve Act.
Norway is uniquely placed to protect wealth. It is outside the euro zone, has low public debt, ultra-low unemployment, and a strong and stable currency. It also has the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund…with a staggering $664 billion under management. Think of Norway as the Saudi Arabia of Europe.
I’m thinking of a Latin American bank that truly stands apart. Unlike, say, Citigroup or Bank of America, this bank doesn’t offer loans or checking accounts to the general public. It doesn’t receive deposits from the public, either. Instead, it finances trade in Latin America, mainly by funding the sale of commodities and agricultural products to Asia.
Banksters…fat cats…one-percenters… there’s no shortage of put-downs for bankers these days. But not all bankers are evil. And not all banks are created equal. One bank that stands apart is Panama-headquartered Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior S.A.—or Bladex, as it is more commonly known.
It’s often overlooked, but dividends make up the lion’s share of stock-market returns. According to one study, dividend income made up 35% of the total returns of the S&P 500 between 1926 and 2009. There are two important reasons why this trend is set to accelerate. First, record low bond yields mean that dividend income is more sought-after than ever.
One of the best ways to create cash flow right now is through stock dividends—especially through stocks with exposure to the emerging markets. Cash flow is the amount of money your portfolio “pays you” each year. And by buying a diversified basket of dividendpaying stocks, it can be surprisingly stable.
If you want to see real economic growth, get a taxi through Hanoi at rush hour. Every day, millions of residents of the Vietnamese capital weave their way through the city on newly-bought Chinese and Japanese motorbikes and scooters. Twenty years ago, bicycles were the main form of transport.
The euro may implode at any moment. The euro zone is deep in recession. The slow-motion debt crisis there trundles on. We still don’t know what will trigger a full-scale meltdown. All we know is that there’s now a good chance it will happen.
The best time to buy stocks and other assets is when investors are running scared. I’ve been banging this drum all year—especially when it comes to Europe. I believe the crisis there is about to throw up a genuinely once-in-a-lifetime buying opportunity for contrarian investors.
You won’t read about it in the mainstream media. But we are approaching what could be one of the greatest buying opportunities of a generation—in European stocks. This may sound strange at ﬁrst. Even deluded. Economies in the euro zone are tanking, along with stock-market prices.
I don’t blame the bond skeptics. When most people think of bonds, they think of Treasury bonds—those issued by the U.S. Federal government. Treasury bonds offer yields that are below the official rate of inflation.
Let me warn you up front: You probably won’t like today’s recommendation. It has nothing to do with the stock market. Today, I am going to recommend that you dip your toe into a different market—and buy bonds. I bet not one in 100 readers of this magazine gives the bond market as much attention as he gives to the stock market. And it’s fashionable these days to talk about all bonds as “bad” investments.
The spring sunlight glints off the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountains. When I left Marbella on Spain’s Costa del Sol, 90 minutes from here on a modern highway, it was a balmy 75 degrees Fahrenheit. I haven’t seen a cloud since. At 2,200 feet above sea level, in Granada’s historic center, it’s 63 degrees, and sunglasses and short sleeves are the order of the day.
A Boulevard St-Germain landmark, Café de Flore is one of Paris’s most hallowed literary cafés. I adore art deco elegance, but it isn’t somewhere I’d frequent regularly. Not after seeing the prices—$6.86 for a cafe crème, $8.45 for hot chocolate, $11.22 for a small beer. If it’s the hangout of the next Simone de Beauvoir or Picasso, I’d be astonished.