The High Cost of Cheap Gas
June 25, 2015 - In the first half of this decade oil prices remained quite stable. In contrast, since June of 2014 costs per barrel have fallen more than 50% from their highs. There are a myriad of reasons for this, but a common theme is that we are in a slowing global economy, which in-turn creates a lower demand. We also saw OPEC keep production at high levels despite lower demand amidst already high surpluses of crude. This policy has proven to keep negative pressure on pricing.
Now, to the average consumer lower oil prices should be a good thing. Consumers get cheaper gas, and in theory cheaper goods and services! Well, the problem is that those goods and services often don’t get any cheaper. The savings from fuel prices don’t trickle down very far. For starters, consumer goods are typically distributed by diesel equipment and diesel prices haven’t decreased as much as unleaded gas. Some consumers might see a boost in household discretionary budgets, but for every action there is always an opposite reaction.
Hot Dog Auctions
June 15, 2015 - Auctions play a big role in the age-old industry of hot dog sales in New York City. Every five years, the parks department holds an auction for food cart permits, which earns more than $4.5 million per year, from the collective pushcart bidders. A vendor’s winning bid then becomes a flat “rent-like” fee that they pay annually to the Parks Department for the permit. They are further required to sign five-year contracts and then are expected to increase their flat fee by 5%, annually during that contact period.
In 2013’s auction, the highest bid went to the location just outside the Central Park Zoo and was for an astounding $289,000. Central Park itself seems to be prime real-estate for frankfurters, as all 20 of the permits for the area exceed $100,000 each.
Drone Use Coming to Fruition!
June 2, 2015 - In 2014, Blackbird blogged about the use of drones and their possible impact on the various industries we serve. Since then, much has changed legally regarding the future of drone activity. In the six months since the previous blog, the FAA has gone from stating that it is illegal to fly drones, to setting up regulations making it soon possible for certain drones to be flown.
The Washington Post reported that “thousands of businesses could receive clearance to fly drones two years from now under proposed rules that the FAA unveiled, a landmark step that will make automated flight more commonplace”.
Lending to the Energy Industry
May 26, 2015 - The Wall Street Journal recently reported that tens of millions of dollars have “gone up in smoke” on loans made to the energy industry by Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and UBS. Loans issued to oil and gas companies have looked increasingly unappetizing, making it difficult for the banks to sell them on the market.
Cycling is the New Golf?
May 14, 2015 - We recently posted a blog discussing the downward trend in people playing golf in today’s economy. In that blog we mentioned that The New York Times claimed that high-end business deals are trending away from being made on the golf, and toward being on high-end bicycles.
Golf Course Closures
April 30, 2015 - On April 16th, Blackbird Asset Services completed an auction in Buffalo, New York for the maintenance and other turf equipment of Westwood Country Club. Westwood was founded in 1921 and closed to make way for a new planned community development.
March 31, 2015 - Yesterday we tried valiantly to begin the set up process for our auction sale of golf course maintenance equipment at Westwood Country Club in Buffalo NY. OK, we know that Buffalo has a bad rap for weather, and whether or not you like winter weather this one has been brutal.
Unclaimed Baggage Auctions
March 19, 2015 - According to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association on any given day, more than 87,000 flights are in the skies in the United States. In 2014 there were 1.8 million lost luggage incidents which factors out to be 3.09 bags per 1,000 passengers. Although only 2% of luggage mishandled by airlines is forever lost or unclaimed, what happens to these bags once they are finally recovered?
More Construction Employment Leads to Equipment Sales
February 26, 2015 - Between October 2013 and October 2014 construction jobs increased in 37 states while construction employment increased in 28 states from just September – October 2014 alone. Officials from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) noted that “the sectors recovery is erratic and remains vulnerable to factors like growing labor shortages, new regulatory burdens and stagnant public sector demand… these year-over-year changes show that construction is doing well in most of the country”.
More About Drones
November 25, 2014 - On March 3rd, we blogged about drones and how they could potentially be used to transport materials to and from jobsites in the future. A recent article on the Equipment World website discusses how drones are ALREADY impacting the industry. http://www.equipmentworld.com/drones/