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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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NACM’s March CMI Shows ‘Unnerving’ Results

When NACM's Credit Managers' Index (CMI) drops, so does the confidence of many credit managers. This was the case in March when the service sector stunted the growth in the overall score, hinting at further unpredictability in coming months. The CMI was unable to hold onto February's growth, but instead, reeled back to a score previously seen earli...
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West Coast Imports Fall In February

Ports on the West Coast of the U.S. saw the "busiest seven months in history," according to  Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka, which then ended in February. A recent article by  ​Supply Chain Dive ​ indicates much of the sudden dip in imports is due to 2018's global trade chaos, citing primarily the U.S.-China trade wars...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 22, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Employment Data Remains Strong By almost any measure, the job market has been staying strong. There was another week of reduced jobless claims, which tends to offset the fears regarding the slower than expected job growth reported last week. The job market is still better defined by the shortages that persist th...
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Existing-Home Sales Jump in February

Existing-home sales are back on track following a down start to 2019. Sales in February recorded their best month-over-month gain since December 2015, states the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Total existing-home sales were up 11.8% from January. "A powerful combination of lower mortgage rates, more inventory, rising income and higher cons...
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Global Economic Growth Continues to Decline, No Recession in Sight

With the first quarter of 2019 nearly completed, the global economic outlook for the rest of the year looks bleak, yet a recession is not on its way, according to Fitch Ratings. Much of the slowdown in growth comes from the eurozone and China and from the U.S.-China trade wars. The global growth forecast continues to decline, with Fitch downgrading...
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Grounding Boeing’s 737 Max to Have Little Impact on Airlines’ Credit

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump grounded all of Boeing's 737 Max (Max) aircraft after a fatal crash in Ethiopia—the second Max crash in the past six months. Today, credit professionals at Fitch Ratings say this decision won't have "a new-term negative effect" on airlines' credit but could potentially cause problems over time. According to Fi...
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Gains in Construction Input Prices Unlikely in Coming Months

The first two months of 2019 proved kind to the construction industry, where input prices increased monthly and annually. However, if the predictions of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chief Economist Anirban Basu are true, the sector will experience different results in the coming months. Construction input prices have dwindled over the ...
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Public Construction Spending Up, Private Spending Down

According to the Commerce Department, construction spending rose by 1.3%, the largest increase since last April. Following December 2018's 0.8% drop, most of the spending comes from companies investing in public projects. Looking at spending on a year-over-year basis, there was a 0.3% increase. With much of the spending in public projects, investme...
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Ongoing Accounting, Auditing Scandals Bring Forth New UK Regulator

Accounting scandals are becoming a real problem in the United Kingdom, and its government is looking to do something about it. The country's Financial Reporting Council's (FRC) inability to properly regulate accounting and audit firms has led to the creation of the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA), according to The Wall Street Journ...
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