Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for August 21, 2019

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Hawks and Doves at the Fed The latest Fed minutes confirm what had already been concluded. There is far from unanimity on the subject of interest rate cuts at the Fed. Two of the members of the Open Market committee dissented from the decision to make the quarter point cut (...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for August 19, 2019

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Market Reactions All sorts of issues are affecting the markets as the week begins. The rally last week was due to the latest veer in the Trump tariff policy. The investing community has started to take the threats of more and more tariff activity as "all bark and no bite." T...
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GCC Businesses Searching for Alternative Financing

Access to financing is hurting businesses within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). According to credit insurer Coface, financial conditions across the GCC are tighter now than before 2015, and bank credit conditions are forcing companies to look elsewhere for financing. Bank credit conditions in the Middle East and North Africa tightened during t...
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Dodge Momentum Index Declines in July

The Dodge Momentum Index continues to decline after peaking in July 2018. The Index, released earlier this week by Dodge Data & Analytics, slipped 4.6% in July from the revised June reading. The index measures the first report of nonresidential building projects in the planning phase, resulting in an indication of nonresidential spending for a ...
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Construction Spending Declines in June

Construction spending is on the decline in the U.S. Construction spending dropped 1.3% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.287 trillion, according to a release from the Census Bureau earlier this week. June's data is also 2.1% below the June 2018 estimate. A decrease in public works projects and wet weather are the likely culprits be...
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Existing-Home Sales Fall Short in June

Existing-home sales are on the decline following an uptick in the previous month, and sales were slower than expected. The National Association of Realtors reports sales declined 1.7% in June from May, and are down 2.2% from a year ago. "Home sales are running at a pace similar to 2015 levels—even with exceptionally low mortgage rates, a record num...
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Las Vegas Stadium Hit with Nonpayment Suit

The under-construction Las Vegas Stadium is facing another hiccup. While the project continues to power through steel work, with substantial completion just weeks away, the future home of the Oakland Raiders is facing a lawsuit. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a subcontractor filed suit claiming it's owed $2.8 million. Las Vegas Stadium ...
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Billtrust Adds to Its Payment Network

Business-to-business order-to-cash solutions firm Billtrust continued to add to its Business Payments Network (BPN) earlier this week. A month after adding Comdata to the BPN, Billtrust welcomed Priority Commercial Payments in a release on July 10. "As like-minded FinTechs focused on converting paper check to digital forms of commerce, we are well-...
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June CMI Disappoints After Small Positive Trend

The June Credit Managers' Index (CMI) is not what credit professionals would have hoped for following two straight months of improvement; however, the report is not all bad despite the 0.7-point decline. June's combined reading of 55 is still comfortably within expansion territory (score above 50). "Last month we were grasping at straws and thought...
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Capital One Enhancing B2B Footprint

Fortune 500 company Capital One is developing its business-to-business (B2B) services web. Capital One is the latest company to expand its B2B and small- and medium-sized business reach following others such as Visa, Southwest, RBS, UBS, WESCO and others. The company announced last week the acquisition of Maine-based BlueTarp Financial, which speci...
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Builder Confidence Strong Despite June Letdown

Builder confidence for newly built single-family homes is on the decline, yet overall confidence is still very high. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) slipped two points in June to a reading of 64, the first month-to-month drop since December. However, this is the fifth consecutive month in the 60s. "W...
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Bankruptcy Filings Increase in May

Bankruptcy filings are on the rise. May bankruptcy filings increased 2% year-over-year, according to this week's release from the American Bankruptcy Institute. Commercial filings jumped 3% last month compared to May 2018. Commercial Chapter 11 filings increased 7% in May to nearly 500. "High filing costs place additional debt burdens on struggling...
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Construction Spending Unchanged in April

Construction spending is on the decline year-over-year, yet it remained unchanged in April. April 2019 numbers, released by the Census Bureau earlier this week, are 1.2% behind April 2018 data; however, spending in the first third of 2019 is slightly above the same timetable in 2018. "The clear standout was the public sector, which rose 4.8% during...
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ACH Network Starts 2019 with Bang

The ACH Network is off to a strong start in 2019. The number of payments on the platform increased 5.8% in the first quarter compared to the previous year, states Nacha. The daily volume of payments also increased 7.5%. "The first quarter results show that the ACH Network is poised for another year of sustained growth," said Nacha Chief Operating O...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for May 8, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Consumers in the Cross Hairs There is no guarantee Trump will follow through with his tariff threats, but the actions can't be ruled out either. If the 25% tariff is imposed on this $40 billion worth of goods from China, the most immediately affected will be the U.S. consumer. The tariffs imposed in the past hav...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for May 6, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Trump Throws Wrench into China Trade Talks For the last few weeks, it has appeared there was real progress being made in terms of U.S.-China trade talks. Even those who have been negotiating for the U.S. have been sounding optimistic. It seemed there were still some tough last-minute details to be worked out, bu...
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West Virginia Implementing Vendor Payment Stoppage

West Virginia is in the process of implementing a two-part payment stoppage for vendors who don't pay state taxes. The Office of the State Auditor made the announcement earlier this month that the state will stop payments to vendors who owe the state money. "The number of vendors to be included in the intercept routine will gradually get larger unt...
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Construction Spending Dips in March

Construction spending is on the decline after a slight dip in March. According to the latest data from the Census Bureau, total construction spending is at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $1.28 trillion, nearly 1% below February's revised estimate. March is also nearly a percent behind the pace from March 2018. Spending for the first three mon...
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Global Strategic Intelligence Brief for May 3, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Better than Expected The latest jobs report was certainly healthy—a little better than even the optimists had thought likely. The estimate had been that 196,000 jobs would be created, but the final tally was 263,000. The rate of unemployment also fell to yet another half century low of 3.6%. The details will be ...
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Existing-Home Sales Decline in March

Existing-home sales are on the decline across the U.S. According to the latest release from the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales dropped 4.9% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million. Sales are also down more than 5% from March 2018. "It is not surprising to see a retreat after a powerful surge in sales in ...
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