UK Tax Authority ‘Too Aggressive’ on Small Businesses, Lender Platform Says

Tax authorities in the United Kingdom are cracking down on small businesses for late tax payments, sparking concerns from lenders who deem the repercussions "too aggressive." On April 15, alternative finance news publication Altfi reported HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) applied to close nearly 4,200 business in 2018 for late tax payments. This high ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 17, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Are Malls Dead? Of all the economic shifts taking place over the last few years, none seem to have such far-reaching implications as the death of the shopping mall. These shopping centers have been at the heart of economic development for years—essentially replacing the traditional main street. Now, they seem to...
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Builder Confidence Increases in April

Builder confidence for new single-family homes is at its highest level since October after a slight uptick in the April National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This month's HMI rose one point to 63 after back-to-back months of 62 in February and March. "Builders report solid demand for new single-family homes b...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 15, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Industrial Production Expected to Be Lower The Federal Reserve releases industrial production numbers this week. Most expect them to be a little lower than they have been. Last month marked the second consecutive month of decline. This would mark month No. 3. The decline has been very broad based on slowdowns in...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 12, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Fed Independence From the start, there was an opportunity for Trump to pack the Federal Reserve since there were six vacancies in a seven-person Board of Governors when he started his term. Outside of some back and forth over the fate of Janet Yellen, the choices made were all quite safe and traditional. Jerome ...
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Brexit Deadline Extended to Oct. 31

The U.K. voted to leave the EU in 2016, and in the span of nearly three years, the U.K. has not devised a plan for exit. The deadline for exiting has been extended again, this time until Oct. 31, 2019. Should Prime Minister Theresa May and parliament agree on a plan before that deadline, the exit could take place even sooner. With EU parliamentary ...
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OSHA Jobsite Inspections to Increase

Jobsite inspections on a construction project have many purposes. For credit managers, having intel on jobsite conditions can determine whether a project is on schedule, therefore, giving lenders a better idea of when to expect payment. According to U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, construction projects may soon have more eyes on jobsites ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 10, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Fed Battle to Be Waged in Senate For the last year or so, the Trump approach to the Federal Reserve has been increasingly hostile. The initial appointments made to the Fed were pretty traditional and did not run into much opposition in the Senate. These included Jerome Powell as chair, Richard Clarida as vice ch...
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Construction Employment Shows Promise in March

March proved there's always a job in construction as employment increased month-over-month (MoM) and year-over-year (YOY), according to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Based on ABC's review of Bureau of Labor Statistics' data, 16,000 net new jobs opened up in construction last month, particularly for residential and nonresidential specia...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 8, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Budget Fight Looms In October, the two-year deal struck by Congress expires. That means Congress will need to develop a new budget by that point or watch the process revert to what it was two years ago. This would bring back the sequester, which would mandate a cut in the budget of 10% for the 2019 period. That ...
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Wait Times at US-Mexico Border for Business Trade Continue to Increase

Trade ports on the U.S.-Mexico border continue to face slowdown with border delays and congestion, according to a recent article by Supply Chain Dive. Around one-fifth of trucks that typically travel to the border are able to cross it, leading to major interruptions in the local and national markets. President Donald Trump had threatened to close t...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 5, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Job Gains Back to Near Predicted Levels The economy added another 196,000 jobs in March—a slightly higher number than had been predicted, but close— and a far cry from the anemic total that set off rounds of worry and concern in February. The unemployment rate remained at 3.8%. That is on par with the lowest rat...
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Cyberthreats Target HR Department to Breach Small Business’ Security

Although cybersecurity technology has made some significant strides over the past few years, cyberattacks continue to threaten the livelihood of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). According to Beazley Breach Response (BBR) security company, cyberattacks are evolving—along with preventative security measures—some of which "trick employees int...
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Nonresidential Construction Spending Sees Some Expansion in February

Nonresidential spending in construction increased from January to February, this time rising by just over 1%, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) analysis of U.S. Census Bureau. In total, nonresidential spending amounted to $773.8 billion, a 4.8% increase over this same time from last year. Despite some of these numbers going ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 3, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Private Sector Job Gains? The official Labor Department numbers do not come out until Friday of this week, but there has been a release from ADP, the payroll company. This report is generally seen as fairly accurate, but there have been times when the data did not match up well with the official numbers. The ADP...
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UK Party Looks to Post Offices to Increase SMB Financial Services

As the number of community banks continues to drop in the United Kingdom, the Labour Party is searching for a solution in the form of post offices. In a recent report from BBC, the political party is suggesting the country transform as many as 3,600 post offices into banks in an effort to increase financial services for small businesses. According ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 1, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy It Is Not Time—Even Doves Agree Neel Kashkari has been one of the most vocal of the regional Fed presidents on the subject of rates. He has been consistently dovish and has opposed all of the rate cuts that have taken place thus far despite eventually going along with some of the decisions. He is not a voting me...
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US Construction Spending Nears Record Rate

U.S. construction spending is nearing its highest rate on record, according to the latest release from the Census Bureau. Construction spending increased 1% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.32 trillion, one of the highest rates on record (since 2002). Spending is also 1.1% above February 2018. In 2019 alone, construction spend...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 29, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Economic Slowdown Was Corporate Slowdown The latest data coming from the investment community shows that much of the problem with economic growth at the end of 2018 can be attributed to a radical slowdown in the rate of corporate profits. This slowdown was masked to some degree by the surging stock market as it ...
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Kentucky Joins 24 Other States in Banning Government-mandated PLAs

​Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin recently signed off on a House bill that will prohibit state and local government agencies from "forcing bidders to sign on to project labor agreements (PLAs) for public work projects," according to an article by  ​Construction Dive.  ​This now makes Kentucky the 25th state in the U.S. to enact a law that wil...
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