The Top 10 Strongest Nation Brands
Even the strongest nations have been put through the wringer this year. As countries struggle to cope with the impacts of COVID-19, the value of a stable and strong nation brand has become increasingly more apparent.
This might be why Brand Finance’s annual Nation Brands report—which ranks the strongest nation brands across the globe—looks a little bit different this year.
Each year, Brand Finance measures the value and strength of nation brands. Using a number of metrics and data, nations are given a score out of 100. Here’s a look at the top 10 strongest nations, and how they scored:
|2||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||83|
|4||🇺🇸 United States||82.8|
Since 2015, Singapore has held first place as the strongest nation brand because of its world-class education, low crime, and prosperous economy.
However, Germany stole the top spot this year, which makes sense given Chancellor Merkel’s well-received response to COVID.
The Soft Power Index
This year, Brand Finance also added a new metric to the index, which measured a nation’s “soft power,” or its international reputation and influence.
|1||🇺🇸 United States||67.1|
|3||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||61.8|
Germany ranked second on the soft power index, while Singapore didn’t even make the top 10 list. This could be another reason why Germany was able to surmount Singapore as the strongest nation brand in this year’s edition of the report.
Which Industry Boasts the Most Billionaire Wealth?
After the coronavirus-related market crash in early 2020, billionaires across every sector saw a double-digit increase in wealth.
It’s a Billionaires World
During the pandemic, billionaire wealth has shot up an average of 27% across various industries. Concurrently, the middle and working class have struggled, U.S. unemployment reached record highs, and millions of Americans are worried about facing eviction or foreclosure in the near future.
Tech and Healthcare Pull Ahead of the Pack
The industries that historically promote wealth creation for billionaires have undergone a number of changes in recent times.
Technology and healthcare have surged ahead of the pack, as companies in these industries possess qualities that have made innovation a huge value and growth driver. Innovative factors include AI, big data analytics, and a digital and cloud footprint.
|Industry||Wealth Per Industry ($ Billions)||Growth Rates between April-July 2020|
|Consumer & retail||$300.1||26%|
|Entertainment & media||$204.1||20.7%|
The pandemic enabled those well equipped to pivot towards the new environment and business landscape, while those without these advancements were forced to haphazardly adjust.
As a result, billionaires in these two industries have reaped great rewards. Between April-July 2020 they generated $164.8 billion and $145.7 billion in wealth between technology and healthcare respectively.
The graphic shows the two leading industries building a considerable spread between them and those lagging behind. As these innovative technologies take the mainstream, it may suggest the other industries will have the chance to catch up.
In real estate for instance, the wave of innovation is least prevalent according to the original report, yet disruption and innovation are already on their way. Consider two stocks in Zillow and Redfin: the first operates in residential real estate services exclusively through web and mobile, while the latter is a digital real estate brokerage that has the potential to undercut real estate agents.
Could these industry wealth results in a post-pandemic world look very different?
Tesla Bears: A Short Short Story
Tesla has gained infamy for the sheer depth of short seller activity on its stock. After years of 20% of shares short, the 2020 rally has led to capitulation for Tesla bears.
Tesla Bears: A Short Short Story
Short selling is often said to be the Wild West of financial markets. Where there’s a short seller, there can be whipsawing asset prices just around the corner. Tesla is no exception.
In some cases billions of dollars pour behind these short ideas—conducted by some of the world’s most sophisticated investors.
The efficient market hypothesis suggests short selling is a necessary evil that helps the market reflect on all the information of a given security and obtain its true market value. Yet most market participants are anything but receptive to short sellers.
The market—which tends to be long, often panics when a short seller enters the arena and takes the opposite stance. What typically follows is an avalanche of legal and regulatory action from corporate lawyers to the SEC.
In the case of Tesla, short sellers couldn’t have gotten it more wrong – at least for now. Some market commentators call it the most unprofitable short witnessed. The data shows that approximately 20% of Tesla shares have been held short since 2016. This year a reported $27 billion has been lost betting against Tesla.
|Date||Shares Sold Short||Dollar Volume Sold Short|
|October 30th, 2020||47,800,000||$19 billion|
|October 15th, 2020||52,960,000||$22 billion|
|September 30th, 2020||57,130,000||$25 billion|
|September 15th, 2020||59,040,000||$24 billion|
|August 31st, 2020||54,890,000||$20 billion|
|August 14th, 2020||12,310,000||$5 billion|
Tesla’s short thesis is often anchored around a few compelling narratives. The first is that Tesla’s present day fundamentals are poor—a $530 billion company delivered 139,300 vehicles in Q3’20 and turned a $331 million profit. That’s after government subsidy programs.
The second, the electric vehicle market is expected to be competitive with many players, and short sellers make the point Tesla is currently priced as the sole-winner in this space.
We don’t know how the future EV market will transpire, but with Tesla shares up 600% year-to-date, and with the company set to join the S&P 500, some bears look to be calling it quits.
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