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Global shipping volume to reach 200 billion parcels by 2025
Global parcel volume reached 87 billion in 2018, up from 74 billion parcels in 2017 Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index has revealed.


Amazon takes on FedEx and DHL with new network of independent couriers
Amazon is looking to take on delivery giants like FedEx, UPS and DHL with a new


FedEx, UPS, and DHL champion blockchain adoption in International Shipping
FedEx CIO Rob Carter called on the government at the recent Blockchain Global Revolution Conference in Toronto Canada panel discussion about implementation of mandatory blockchain standards for international shipping which will help to combat the trafficking of counterfeit items and illegal goods. As per Carter, Blockchain mandated standards would be incredibly helpful for FedEx as they would digitize the information-packed paper trail.

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Global shipping volume to reach 200 billion parcels by 2025
The annual report also discovered that despite unprecedented global trade uncertainty, the report forecasts this figure will more than double within the next six years and reach 200 billion parcels by 2025.

The Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index measures both volume and spend for business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-business and consumer consigned shipments with weight up to 31.5 kg (70 lbs.) in 13 major markets, representing 3.7 billion people

Amazon takes on FedEx and DHL with new network of independent couriers
Drivers will wear Amazon shirts and hats and the branded vans can only be used for Amazon deliveries, raising questions over how independent the entrepreneurs in the company

FedEx, UPS, and DHL champion blockchain adoption in International Shipping
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DHL Launches U.S. Online Sales Delivery Service, Jab At FedEx, UPS
The service, called Parcel Metro, would have contractors making same-day or next-day deliveries for online retailers and fulfillment centers, as described Reuters, which first reported the news.

Parcel Metro is currently available in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, and the company plans to launch the service in Dallas and Atlanta during the second quarter, with availability in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., later this year, DHL said in a statement on Thursday.

Other cities internationally could be added to that roster, Reuters said.

That Commercial Real Estate Shoe
At a whopping $5.4 billion, the Styvesant Town development on the east side of Manhattan continues to be the largest commercial real estate deal of its kind in American history.

In 2006, Tishman Speyer LP, which also controls Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building, and investment firm Black Rock bought Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village from Metlife. On Monday, Jan. 25, they handed the keys to the sprawling 80-acre Manhattan residential complex of 110 buildings and 11,227 apartments over to their banking creditors, which include Freddie Mac ( FRE - news - people ) and Fannie Mae ( FNM - news - people ), defaulting on $3 billion in loans.

In a November interview with Steve Forbes, Editorial Director and Associate Publisher of Real Capital Analytics Peter Slatin, used Stuyvesant Town- Peter Cooper Village as an example of the "suffering from fallout in values, undercut by the terrible over-leveraging of many properties" that has plagued the commercial real estate industry. Fitch ratings valued it at a mere $1.8 billion in October. That, coupled with a New York Court of Appeals ruling that rents had been improperly raised and deregulated, forced Tishman Speyer and Black Rock to ultimately surrender the massive multi-family complex.

For more than a year, worries have drifted through the financial world and the media that commercial real estate--which includes office, industrial, retail, hotels, and multi-family buildings rented out for profit--would be the next "shoe" to drop. However, many analysts and investors feel it already did--and will begin inching its way towards a slow recovery as early as this year.

"Stuyvesant was not necessarily a reflection of the bad real estate market, but rather over-ambitious assumptions, lack of risk controls and poor contingency planning," explains Burt White, managing director of research and chief investment officer of LPL Financial, further asserting that the bottom dropped out of the market months ago.

For Matt Lloyd, vice president and chief investment strategist of Advisors Asset Management (AAM), heightened coverage and anticipation of the market's de-leveraging put banks and creditors on stand by. Llloyd explains that the current state of commercial real estate is part of "a classic boom bust market pattern that always sees overbuilding and then de-leveraging," as evidenced by the recent hording of large cash deposits--about $1.28 trillion--by commercial banks.

David Joy, chief market strategist for RiverSource Investments, reaffirms this sentiment, adding that "There has been a significant degree of price deterioration in commercial real estate already, but the pace is moderating."

Joy expects the market will be close to bottom around mid-year, and expects prices will finally begin to inch higher as money slowly begins moving off the sidelines and back into the sector: "So no, we do not believe that commercial real estate is the next shoe to drop, but rather that most of the bad news is already reflected in stock prices, including bank stock prices."

Executive vice president of Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., Frank P. Liantonio, says property devaluation actually dropped down 40- 50% around the country since its 2007 highs, and whereas 2007 saw $522 billion of total investment sale trades, 2009 saw a mere 10% of that at $52 billion.

"My view for 2010 would be a continuation in the trend we saw in the second half of 2009, which is a gradual increase in the level of activity and as we progress through the year, I think we'll see that volume level increase at a quicker rate."

Lloyd sees the real estate market as a very good investment for the next six to eight years. He thinks real estate in the form of both hard real estate and real estate investment trusts will perform well though "as today's existing home sales numbers reveal, it will not be linear."

Ronald Roge, chief executive officer of R. W. Rogé & Company, Inc., suggests that for long-term investment, REITS could prove to be a safe and easy way to get involved. With REITs, an investor can buy shares on an open exchange or invest in a real estate focused mutual fund, partaking in a highly liquid way of investing in real estate. Roge likes Winthrop Realty Trust, Inc. (FUR), an unlevered way to invest, and Third Avenue Real Estate Value Fund (TAREX).

Buy Emerging Markets
As the dollar took a beating last year, many financial advisors encouraged their clients to diversify out of dollar-denominated assets and into emerging markets that some argue (falsely) have decoupled from the U.S. economy.

Decoupling proved to be a myth in 2008 (when stocks in developed and emerging markets went down at once) and again in 2009 (when they rebounded in unison). But that's not the only argument in favor of some emerging markets exposure.

"Emerging markets represent the bulk of humanity and industrial production, and around 50% of global GDP using purchasing power parity," said Ashmore Investment Management head of research Jerome Booth in a recent report.

Advisors Asset Management Chief Investment Strategist Matt Lloyd sees a surprising U.S. economic recovery this year that will lift the economies of emerging markets that export to the U.S. Coupling has its advantages.

Riversource Investments Chief Market Strategist David Joy prefers markets in the Pacific Rim and in South America.

"The strong performance of emerging market equities recently has skewed an unconstrained efficient frontier analysis of global equities, resulting in huge recommended allocations to emerging markets," Joy says, adding, "The results are intuitively unsettling."

He says that higher than benchmark weightings are justified in these markets but discourages investors from putting too much of their portfolio in emerging markets--15% to 20% is probably a more appropriate allocation.

Marc Lowlicht, head of Further Lane Asset Management's wealth management division, says emerging markets are typically about 50% more volatile than developed markets. Given that, those investors who can stomach more volatility can try investing up to 25% in these markets, Lowlicht says. Those who want to be more conservative should stick to the lower end of the allocation, roughly 10%.

"The past two years have shown that no economy is insulated from a major financial crisis, especially one that has a direct effect on U.S. consumption," Lowlicht says. He adds that investors should realize that various countries' markets can be highly correlated to one another. "Originally, when we started to see credit problems and the real estate bubble burst, everyone said China was insulated. This turned out not to be the case."

Raymond James & Associates Senior Vice President Ginger Snyder says her firm prefers using exchange-traded funds for emerging markets exposure. The company recently had 35% in the international and emerging markets with a focus on Brazil, South Korea, Turkey and Thailand, among other countries.

There are emerging markets ETFs that focus on regions as well as sectors. Two sector ETFs are the MSCI Emerging Markets Financials Sector Index Fund and the MSCI Emerging Markets Materials Sector Index Fund. Two regionally focused ETFs are the MSCI BRIC Index Fund and the MSCI Brazil Index Fund. Among the top holdings of the BRIC fund are: Petrobas, Gazprom and China Mobile ( CHL - news - people ).

Card Issuers Coasting
Visa posted a healthy start to fiscal 2010 with solid earnings per share and improved operating revenue, and set the bar for its rival MasterCard.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Visa ( V - news - people ) recorded profits of $763 million, or $1.02 per share, beating the Street's call for 91 cents per share.The quarterly report also suggested that more customers are carrying a Visa card and that they are using the card more than before.

Total processed transactions rose by 12% from the prior year to 10.9 billion, while the number of cards carrying the Visa brand also increased by 5%. Processed transactions passed analysts' forecast of a 10.5% boost.

Visa's strong results, reported just after Wednesday's closing bell, will loom large Thursday morning when rival MasterCard ( MA - news - people ) reports its latest quarterly earnings before the opening bell. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect MasterCard's profit to jump 32% to $2.47 per share.

Unlike banks or other lenders, the business model for Visa and MasterCard allows the pair to avoid credit risk by allowing financial institution partners to issue their branded cards. The business, which focuses on collecting fees on a transactional basis at a set rate, has helped companies like Visa and MasterCard avoid the pitfalls of many other financial sector peers. The impact of new regulations set to take effect Feb. 23 on the card issuers remains to be seen.

Aside from such risks, the gradual recovery of the economy has analysts hopeful, even though elevated unemployment will remain a downward pressure on consumer spending.

Even with the challenges, credit card metrics improved during the Dec. 31-ended quarter for other major credit card issuers, including Bank of America ( BAC - news - people ), Citigroup ( C - news - people ) and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM - news - people ), although the results were still negative.

Shares of Visa fell .6% to $83.52 Thursday , but gained 2.4% after hours when the results were announced. MasterCard shares dropped 2% to $247.58 but gained back 1% in the extended session.

Mortgage rates edge up after falling 3 weeks
Rates for 30-year mortgages have edged up after falling for three-consecutive weeks.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage this week was 5.2 percent, up from 5.14 percent a week earlier, mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday.

Rates on 30-year mortgages fell to a record low of 4.78 percent earlier this year, but then rose to nearly 5.6 percent last month after yields on long-term government debt, which are closely tied to mortgage rates, climbed.

Though the troubled U.S. housing market is beginning to stabilize, higher rates could threaten or slow down any recovery, since prospective buyers would be able to borrow less money and might decide to hold off on their purchases.

Sales of previously occupied homes rose for the third month in a row in June, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. That hasn't happened since early 2004, during the boom.

"The worst may be behind us," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist, in a statement.

Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders around the country. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.68 percent, up from 4.63 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.

Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.74 percent, down from 4.83 percent a week earlier. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages edged up to 4.77 percent from 4.76 percent.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for averaged 0.7 point for all loans in Freddie Mac's survey except for one-year adjustable rate mortgages, which averaged a fee of 0.6 percent.

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