Right now it’s the best of times for mobile payment companies, with new ideas and startups cropping up what seems like daily.When and if Apple announces NFC-equipped iPhones, it might become the worst of times.
One of the big iPhone rumors (don’t worry, it’s not a stylus) is whether or not Apple will go “all in” on the payments game. It’s set itself up pretty well with its Passbook app, which is designed to store all kinds of information from plane tickets to loyalty cards, but not optimized to let consumers actually complete the act of paying for something. It’s a cautious, “wait and see” approach that is actually quite smart of Apple — it can sit back and watch while startups like mine cage-match it out to become the top mobile payment network. And as Apple often does, it can choose to arrive at the cage-match with a stun gun.
This year’s rumored weapon of choice: NFC. Let’s look at a world where the next iPhone has NFC, and one where it does not. What will happen to the rest of the mobile payment ecosystem? Scenario 1: iPhone with NFC Headline: Here’s How The New iPhone Will Kill Every Mobile Payment Provider The immediate scene: Apple CEO Tim Cook unveils the new NFC-equipped iPhone. If there were TV crews capturing mobile payment CEOs throughout the US as this moment happened, it would be like a night at the Oscars where no one had remembered to prepare a phony reaction for when they lost.
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Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand
Activists have also proactively published social media content in multiple languages using the hashtags #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and #WhatsHappeningInThailand to boost coverage of events on the ground.
How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?
– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability
A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.
The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.
Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.
In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.
While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.
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