Real Assets Adviser

June 1, 2017: Vol. 4, Number 6

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OPEC Losing Control over Oil Market: The cartel finds it is not the only game in town anymore

OPEC has long been a major force influencing the price of crude. However, the kings of crude may begin to feel the effects of their reign coming to an end. Globalization, a larger OPEC group and the rise of alternative energies are all factors loosening the grip of OPEC on the crude markets. With less control over the markets, OPEC needs to create new tactics to influence prices, but new players are stepping up and contributing to the world’s supply of oil that may render their strategy ineffective.

How Drip Irrigation Can Change the World: Adoption is still low for a technology that saves water, reduces use of fertilizer and increases agricultural yield

The following question and answer session was excerpted from a podcast featuring water expert Seth Siegel, author of the New York Times bestseller Let There Be Water, interviewing Naty Barak, chief sustainability officer at Netafim, the Israeli company that in the 1950s invented drip irrigation, the most efficient use of water in agriculture, with the dripping of droplets of water at the roots of plants during regular intervals. Barak grew up in an Israeli city, but wanted to be a farmer. In time, he left the fields to become a senior executive at Netafim. Siegel and Barak discuss what its use means for solving some of the world’s most vexing problems.

Pro Athletes and Sudden Wealth: As the big payday looms, here are 10 tips for sustaining newfound wealth

Many athletes who are turning pro have been in the spotlight for their performance throughout their lives. At every turn, people have sought their attention. This is evident with the number of social media followers many athletes have. However, now that they are moving to a critically important and life-changing stage in their careers, a new spotlight is shining: the “wealth spotlight.” Now the media emphasize how much they might be paying in taxes, which charitable organizations are the recipients of their good fortune, and what they are doing “off the field” (good or bad). With that in mind, we offer the following tips for athletes (or anyone) on the verge of sudden wealth.

How to Invest in Cannabis

Commercial real estate professionals and investors are taking advantage of the opportunities being created by the legalization and growth of the cannabis market. Legalized cannabis businesses have created a new market of tenants and increased demand for properties specific to cannabis operations.

The Cloud over the CIA: Amazon has a new deal with the intelligence agency to host and keep safe its classified data

Nothing is bigger in technology these days than cloud computing, and nothing is bigger in real estate than industrial properties, many of which host the servers that create the cloud computing space. Sitting at the intersection of these two businesses is Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, whose company has warehouses across the country stuffed with products ready for shipment to consumers, as well as so-called server farms that house endless racks of servers that are the backbone of Amazon Web Services, the biggest of all the cloud computing services and the most profitable division at Amazon. It all just got sweeter for Bezos, as the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has inked a $600 million contract with Amazon to build a “private cloud” for the CIA and its vast data needs.

Between the White Lines: How much parking is enough, and how do we know if we are overbuilding?

There is a debate occurring across the United States about whether we are building too much parking. For decades, communities have mandated parking minimums as part of new developments. The concern among city planners traditionally has been that if commercial and residential developments are built without sufficient parking to serve their needs, adjacent property or the city’s parking resources will be overtaxed. If a developer builds a commercial complex without sufficient parking, for instance, where else are employees of businesses in that complex supposed to park except local streets and adjacent parking facilities? That is why cities have been so adamant through the years about requiring developers to build adequate parking. It is a property rights issue. Owners have the right to enjoy the fruits of their labor and not be burdened by an adjacent property owner who might not have built ample parking.

Big Game Hunting: The case for infrastructure investing in Africa is compelling

Investor interest in infrastructure has grown considerably over the past 20 years. As an asset class, it offers the potential for predictable long-term cash flow returns, strong counterparties and controlled risk. But, as interest in this asset class has grown, so has the competition for deals, creating pressure on yields.

Airline Investors: Ignore the negative headlines, focus on the headroom

T.S. Eliot famously wrote “April is the cruelest month,” and for the U.S. airline industry, Eliot’s words couldn’t be more true. By now, a significant swath of the world’s population has seen the April 9 video of a man, blood streaming from a busted lip, being violently dragged from a United Express flight. A day after the incident surfaced on social media, the 30-second clip had been viewed more than half a billion times in China alone.

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