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Sojern Grows Asia-Pacific Presence With Expanded Office in Singapore

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Sojern Grows Asia-Pacific Presence With Expanded Office in Singapore

Explosive Growth in Digital Advertising and Local Tourism Fuels Demand for Sojern’s Smart Travel Advertising Technology

Sojern, travel’s marketing demand engine, today announced an expanded presence and hiring plans in Singapore following the company’s rapid growth in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

Sojern launched its first Singapore office in March 2015 and has since grown to more than 40 employees. In 2018, Sojern plans to expand its Singapore workforce by 25 percent to meet the growing demand of its rapidly expanding business. Because of this, Sojern has almost tripled its floorspace with its new office at Republic Plaza, one of the three tallest skyscrapers in central business district of downtown Singapore.

“We plan to continue investing in the Asia-Pacific region because we see a tremendous growth opportunity here for travel marketing,” said Russell Young, Sojern managing director of APAC. “Sojern has firmly established itself in Singapore, but we’re also serving hundreds of clients across Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other markets. APAC has a burgeoning travel industry and we anticipate further expansion in the years to come.”

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), APAC tourism will double in the coming decade reaching almost $1.2 trillion by 2026. As the industry grows, so does the demand for brands to match travellers with personalised marketing offers, whilst overcoming the challenges of precisely targeting consumers on multiple devices, channels and platforms. In the last quarter of 2017, Sojern data showed that more than 40 percent of all APAC travel searches were conducted on a mobile device, yet many still complete their bookings on desktop devices. This makes cross-device targeting and analysis ever more important for travel marketers.

Sojern’s proprietary data science methods are used by some of the most recognisable travel brands in the world to help them target the right travellers at the right time on the right channel and device to drive demand. According to Scoot Airlines, which achieved a cost per acquisition (CPA) that was 27 percent below target on its advertising spend, “It’s been wonderful partnering with Sojern and we’ve achieved much better results and CPAs since launch.” Sojern also works extensively across the hospitality sector with many leading global and regional hotel groups, including Marina Bay Sands, who has been a key partner over the last 4 years in APAC.

Company expansion in Singapore comes on the heels of explosive global growth with now nearly 500 employees across 13 global locations. In 2017, the company made Deloitte’s Fastest 500 Tech firms for the fifth year in a row and made its first acquisition: Adphorus, a Facebook Marketing Partner specialising in travel. Sojern celebrated its 10th anniversary with its 10th consecutive quarter of profitability and currently works with 93 percent of the world’s Fortune 500 travel brands.

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OPEC oil has advantage over U.S. shale during pandemic recovery

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OPEC oil has advantage over U.S. shale during pandemic recovery 1

By Jennifer Hiller

(Reuters) – The once-brash U.S. shale industry, which spent profusely in recent years to grab market share, is now focused on preserving cash, putting it at a disadvantage to low-cost OPEC producers as the global economy begins to gear up again.

Prior to the pandemic-induced downturn, OPEC countries led by Saudi Arabia restrained their production, eager to bolster prices to fund national budgets dependent on oil revenue. Shale drillers took advantage, boosting U.S. output to a record 13 million barrels a day.

But attendees of the year’s top energy conference made clear that even with a buoyant, $60-per-barrel oil price, shale will not come roaring back from the Covid-19 pandemic as it did from the 2016 downturn.

By contrast, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, has more than 7 million barrels of daily oil output sitting in reserve. This positions them to boost production much more easily than shale players for the first time in years.

The concern about free-wheeling shale companies taking advantage of OPEC’s output curbs led to a brief supply war in March 2020. Russia balked at a three-year agreement to extend production cuts, and Saudi Arabia responded by flooding the markets with oil, leading U.S. futures prices to slump to negative-$40 a barrel.

“Let’s face it. OPEC has had a very difficult time managing to accommodate the U.S. shale players and their ability to grow at low prices,” said IHS Markit analyst Raoul LeBlanc, adding that the key debate within OPEC is what oil price is just low enough to avoid a massive U.S. response.

The pandemic destroyed a fifth of global fuel demand, and numerous shale companies declared bankruptcy, while others arranged mergers to offload debt. Frustrated investors sent energy-related stocks slumping throughout 2020.

While shale executives expressed concern about reopening the wells too quickly, OPEC nations are expected to ease supply curbs at their meeting later this week, without having to look over their shoulder at shale.

“The worst thing that could happen is that U.S. producers start growing rapidly again,” said ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Ryan Lance.

The market widely expects OPEC to ease production cuts, which were the deepest ever, by around 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd), with OPEC’s leader, Saudi Arabia, ending its voluntary production cut of 1 million bpd. (Graphic: Pandemic ends U.S. oil output) climb) OPEC oil has advantage over U.S. shale during pandemic recovery 2

At CERAWeek, OPEC vs. shale is often discussed as a showdown between competing interests, but the dynamic of Texas vs. the Middle East is nearly invisible this year. Just one panel discussion in a five-day schedule focused on shale. Neither the Exxon or Chevron CEOs mentioned shale during their talks. Both companies have cut spending in the U.S. Permian Basin.

Crude on Tuesday topped $60 per barrel, up from $44.63 at the start of December, high enough to bolster U.S. producers’ earnings given recent cost cuts.

In the past, rising prices have enticed shale companies to ramp up production even after they promised prudence, and $60 oil would have once prompted companies to rush drilling rigs and frack fleets back to work. That is not happening now.

“They are not taking the bait,” LeBlanc said.

Private companies are likely to increase oilfield activity, but not enough to meaningfully boost U.S. output, said LeBlanc, adding that U.S. spending is likely to remain around $60 billion, flat with 2020, as companies prioritize shareholder returns.

“The severe drop in activity in the U.S. along with the high decline rates of shale and the pressure from investment community to maintain discipline instead of growth means in my view that shale will not get back to where it was in the U.S.,” said Occidental Petroleum CEO Vicki Hollub.

(Reporting by Jennifer Hiller; additional reporting by Laila Kearney and Devika Krishna Kumar; editing by David Gaffen and David Gregorio)

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U.S. oil industry lobby weighs support of carbon pricing – source

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U.S. oil industry lobby weighs support of carbon pricing - source 3

By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The American Petroleum Institute (API) is weighing endorsing a price on carbon emissions, a major shift after long resisting mandatory government climate policies, a source familiar with the decision making said.

The API, the main U.S. oil industry lobby group that includes most of the world’s biggest oil companies, is considering carbon pricing “among other policy solutions to reduce emissions and reach the ambitions of the Paris Agreement,” the source said, confirming a report about the policy shift by the Wall Street Journal.

The group is confronting its previous resistance to regulatory action on climate change amid a shift in industry strategy on the issue and the new U.S. presidency.

European member Total quit the group because of disagreements over API’s climate policies and support for easing drilling regulations and the Biden administration is pursuing a policy agenda that would shift the United States from fossil fuels.

A draft statement of the policy shift reviewed by the Wall Street Journal said the group does not endorse a specific carbon pricing tool such as a tax on carbon emissions or emissions trading scheme. The source said, however, that the group’s State of American Energy report released in January was supportive of a market-based carbon pricing policy.

The API did not comment on whether or when the group would formally endorse a price on carbon but said it has been working for nearly a year on an industry-wide response to climate change.

“Our efforts are focused on supporting a new U.S. contribution to the global Paris agreement,” said API spokeswoman Megan Bloomgren.

Within API, there has been a widening rift between Europe’s top energy companies https://www.reuters.com/article/us-total-api/frances-total-quits-top-u-s-oil-lobby-in-climate-split-idUSKBN29K1LM, which over the past year accelerated plans to cut emissions and build large renewable energy businesses, and their U.S. rivals Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp that have resisted growing investor pressure to diversify.

Other major industry groups like the U.S Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-business-carbonpricing/u-s-ceo-group-says-it-supports-carbon-pricing-to-fight-climate-change-idUSKBN2672W4, which includes Chevron, over the last year have endorsed market-based carbon pricing.

Chevron said it has engaged those groups and API “to support well-designed carbon pricing.”

“We support economy-wide carbon pricing as the primary policy tool to address climate change, applied across the broadest possible area to maximize environmental and economic efficiency and effectiveness,” Chevron spokesman Sean Comey said in an e-mailed statement.

BP and Shell declined to comment.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Christian Schmollinger)

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Australian economy storms ahead as COVID recovery turns ‘V-shaped’

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Australian economy storms ahead as COVID recovery turns 'V-shaped' 4

By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s economy expanded at a much faster-than-expected pace in the final quarter of last year and all signs are that 2021 has started on a firm footing too helped by massive monetary and fiscal stimulus.

The economy accelerated 3.1% in the three months to December, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed on Wednesday, higher than forecasts for a 2.5% rise and follows an upwardly revised 3.4% gain in the third quarter.

Despite the best ever back-to-back quarters of growth, annual output still shrank 1.1%, underscoring the havoc wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic and suggesting policy support will still be needed for the A$2 trillion ($1.57 trillion) economy.

The Australian dollar rose about 10 pips to a day’s high of $0.7836 after the data while bond futures nudged lower with the three-year contract implying an yield of around 0.3% compared with the official cash rate of 0.1%.

“The ‘V-shaped’ nature of the recovery is everywhere to see – economic growth, the job market, retail spending and the housing market,” said Craig James, Sydney-based chief economist at CommSec.

James expects the economy to rebound 4.2% in 2021.

Data on credit and debit card spending by major banks as well as official figures on retail sales, employment and building activity point to a strong start for this year.

Marcel Thieliant, economist at Capital Economics, expects GDP growth of 4.5% in 2021, “which implies that allowing for the slump in net migration due to the closure of the border, the economy will suffer no permanent drop in output as a result of the pandemic.”

SUPPORT STILL NEEDED

Australia’s economy has performed better than its rich-world peers thanks to very low community transmission of COVID-19 together with massive and timely fiscal and monetary stimulus.

Its economic output declined 2.5% in 2020, far smaller than a 10% drop in United Kingdom, falls of 9% in Italy, 5% in Canada and more than 3% in the United States.

“Our economic recovery plan is working, and today’s national accounts is a testament to that fact,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a news conference. “The job is not done,” he added.

“There are challenges ahead. But you wouldn’t want to be in any other country but Australia as we begin 2021.”

To help blunt the economic shock from the pandemic-driven shutdowns, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) slashed interest rates three times last year to a record low 0.1% and launched an unprecedented quantitative easing programme. The government announced a wage subsidy scheme to keep people in jobs while banks deferred payments on home loans and cut borrowing rates to help boost credit growth.

On Tuesday, the RBA re-committed to keep three-year yields at 0.1% until its employment and inflation objectives are met, which policymakers don’t expect until 2024 at the earliest.

Indeed, Wednesday’s data showed there was barely any domestic-driven inflation in the economy with the biggest price rises coming from commodity exports.

The RBA has repeatedly said the unemployment rate must fall to around 4% from above 6% now to help drive wages growth above 3% and for inflation to pop back into its 2-3% target band.

“Stimulus and support measures are still very much required,” CommSec’s James said. “Spare capacity will remain in the job market for a few more years, keeping the cash rate anchored at 0.1%.”

($1 = 1.2780 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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