An Unexpected Economic Drop off in November

The service sector in the U.S. saw a slowdown in November, an unexpected turn—especially given the usual health of holiday shopping, according to a recent article in Reuters. Most of the slowdown came from concerns related to trade tensions and worker shortage. This off-kilter behavior appeared in The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) index, ...
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Pending Home Sales Drop in October

Pending home sales fell during the month of October, according to the National Association of Realtors. The overall index for pending home sales dipped by nearly 2%. Contracts to purchase previously owned homes in the U.S. also fell in October. The pending index provides a forward look into the health of real estate and construction of new resident...
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Brexit Vote Delayed—Yes, Again

A Brexit decision has been delayed yet again, further stalling the inevitable futures of the global supply chain. In a Saturday vote, the U.K. parliament voted 322-306 to delay Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal, according to Supply Chain Dive. Parliament has now asked the EU for an extension until Jan. 31, 2020, but no decision has yet bee...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for October 18, 2019

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist — Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Manufacturing "Fragility" The latest industrial production numbers showed a fairly steep decline in the manufacturing sector—the biggest part of the measurement. The utilities held their own and there was a small decline in the mining sector (oil and gas) as well. The over...
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September Construction Input Prices Fall

Contractors wrapped up September with reports of falling construction input prices. According to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), input prices dropped more than half of a percent last month, decreasing nearly three times as much year-over-year (YOY). ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said in the report "a weakening global economy, sturdy U...
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October Tariffs on Chinese Goods Cancelled

Trade talks between China and the U.S. continued, leading to the U.S. calling off the Oct. 15 tariff increases, according to the Associated Press. The tariffs would have increased from 25% to 30% on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports. The cancellation came with compromise and negotiation. In exchange for the tariff cancellation, China has a...
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US China Trade Negotiations Continue, US Tariffs Called Into Question

The U.S. and China continue to negotiate amid the trade wars. According to a recent article in Bloomberg, China remains open to reaching a compromise and partial trade deal with the U.S. The main cause for concern stems from weakening any potential damage a trade war will cause on the health of the global economy. Negotiators will meet in Washingto...
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Federal and Central Bank Currency May be on the Way

With the advent of FedNow, the U.S. Federal Reserve tossed around the idea of issuing a digital currency Oct. 2, according to a recent article in Reuters. Philadelphia Federal Reserve bank president Patrick Harker said during a community banking conference the implementation of a digital currency "is inevitable," but he does not want the U.S. to be...
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Moody's and Fitch Downgrade Hong Kong's Ratings

The protests in Hong Kong continue, and the political unrest in the region has begun to have an impact on the health of its economy. According to a recent article by Reuters, Moody's knocked down Hong Kong's rating from stable to negative. Moody's made this decision as it deemed the risk from the protests has caused "an erosion in the strength of H...
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Amazon and Wayfair May Raise Prices to Offset Chinese Tariffs

The repercussions of the Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods may begin to manifest at Amazon and Wayfair: these companies may no longer be able to absorb the tariff costs, according to research by Bank of America given to Supply Chain Dive. With the 15% tariff that went into place Sept. 8, Amazon may raise its prices by as much as 2.6% and Wayfair by as ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 9, 2019

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Global Debt Is Rising Concern In the years since the financial crisis that led to the recession, there had been an assumption this miserable experience would convince those in the business and financial community to be more cautious about debt. It was also assumed this exper...
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Construction Confidence Dips in June, Optimism Moving Forward

Construction contractors lost confidence during the month of June, according to the June 2019 Construction Confidence Index released by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). This lack of confidence stems primarily from nonresidential construction. Despite the dip in sales, profits and staffing levels in June, the levels in the survey still rem...
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Ports Close Ahead of Tropical Storm Dorian

Hurricane season continues, with ports and businesses taking note of the weather patterns affecting projects and shipment deliveries. Tropical Storm Dorian remains a threat for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with all maritime ports in the area set for Port Condition Zulu as of Aug. 28, according to a recent article in Supply Chain Dive. G...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for August 23, 2019

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy China Retaliates As expected, the Chinese have reacted to the U.S. tariff threats and imposed their own tariffs on another $75 billion worth of U.S. goods. The U.S. has indicated it will impose tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports into the U.S. The announced tari...
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Housing Starts Fall During July

U.S. housing starts fell during the month of July, making this the third consecutive month of falling starts, according to a recent article by Reuters. The biggest decline was seen in multi-family units. Despite these shortcomings, permits reached a seven-month high, offering some hope in the housing market. In total, housing starts dropped 4%, adj...
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US to Impose 10% Tariff on List Four Chinese Goods

The U.S. announced Aug. 1 it will impose a 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods beginning Sept. 1. This leaves businesses with just under a month to prepare, although negotiations are set to continue. The tariffs will impact list four goods. President Trump said he will meet with negotiators again in early September, according to Supply Chai...
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West Coast Imports Decline in June, Tariffs a Suspect to Blame

West Coast imports declined in the month of June, which may be tied to recent trade wars and tariffs. Notably, the Port of Long Beach saw a 13% decline year-over-year (YOY) in June, along with the Port of Oakland and the Northwest Seaport Alliance which saw a 6% drop YOY in June, according to Supply Chain Dive. These numbers have been offset by a 3...
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Chinese Tariffs Discourage US Fashion Companies

A recent report by the U.S. Fashion Industry Association revealed the U.S.-China trade war has pushed U.S. companies to reduce how much they source from China. Up by more than 15% from 2018, 83% said they plan on reducing their sourcing from China. The companies also cited U.S. protectionism and rising production costs as some of the main strains o...
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US Proposes Tariffs on EU Imports, Mostly Food

The U.S. proposed tariffs on goods from the European Union, totaling $4 billion, according to a recent article by Supply Chain Dive. Many of the items on the list are food-related—cheese, olives, meats, pasta and whiskey—but some metals and chemicals made the list as well. Most of the controversy surrounding these tariffs stems from a dispute over ...
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Construction Spending Saw a Decline in May

Construction spending fell during the month of May, according to a recent report by Wells Fargo. Construction expenditures dropped by 0.8%, and residential spending is still much weaker compared to public spending. Residential spending fell 0.6%, and nonresidential spending fell by almost 1%⁠—the first time nonresidential has dipped in about a year...
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