Monthly, Yearly Input Prices See Significant Decline

To the delight of U.S. contractors, construction input prices not only dropped month-over-month (MoM) in August, but also year-over-year (YOY). According to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), MoM input prices were down more than half of a percent, while YOY input prices fell nearly 1%.MoM and YOY input prices for nonresidential construction...
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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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Challenges Lead to US Auto 'Fair' Outlook

Credit risk assessment in the U.S. automotive sector is stable. According to the latest Market Monitor from credit insurer Atradius, the sector is also facing high risks in financial conditions. The sector has a "fair" outlook due in part to tariffs and lower demand taking their toll on the credit risk outlook, which has worsened. The average payme...
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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 EconomistShort Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyGlobal 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 experie...
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Nonresidential Construction Employment ‘Just About Perfect’

Construction job growth expectations weren't achieved in August, but according to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chief Economist Anirban Basu, overall employment was "just about perfect." After the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data release, ABC released its analysis on Sept. 6, citing a 2.4% increase in construction employment year-ov...
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New Zealand Late Payments Increase

Late payments are an issue around the globe in small, medium and large businesses. According to Australasia data and analytics provider illion, late payments in New Zealand are increasing, yet that was expected due to seasonality. The most recent late payments report for the island nation shows nearly a quarter of businesses were paying invoices la...
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Construction Employment Remains Healthy

Construction unemployment isn't exactly where the industry wants it to be, but it has been worse. On Aug. 28, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) reported unemployment rose in 38 states in July 2019 compared to July 2018, based on estimates that were not seasonally adjusted. However, despite the 0.4% increase in unemployment over the past yea...
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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 rema...
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August CMI Turnaround Shows Positivity

NACM's Credit Managers' index is back on track after a hiccup in July. The combined CMI returned to levels seen earlier this year with a 1.8-point climb to 55.2 in August. Much of the improvement was seen in the favorable factors, which increased more than three points to 61.8."It looks more and more like July was an outlier in terms of the CMI dat...
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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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Justice Department Indicts 80 in BEC Scam Case

As frequently as fraud is reported, many incidents end with companies suffering heavy financial losses. Sometimes, a lack of security or employee training is to blame, but there are also times when it's truly hard to detect a fraudulent transaction. Recently, the United States experienced a win on the fraud front after 80 defendants were indicted f...
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New Home Sales See Sharp Decline

New U.S. single-family home sales are on the decline as is the median home price. The latest release from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development shows sales of new single-family homes slipped nearly 13% in July from June's revised rate. However, sales are up more than 4% from July 2018. The median sales price dipped j...
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Trump Continues to Pressure the Fed Amid US, China Trade Wars

The pressure continues for the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates, according to Reuters. President Trump on Aug. 21 said on Twitter he remains frustrated with Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell, stating the U.S. should not "count on him!"Trump also said the policies were infringing on U.S. growth and the trade deals with China.These co...
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The Fight Against Fraud Continues in US, UK

Just as businesses beef up security, fraud evolves and strikes companies when they least expect it, sending security teams back to the drawing board. The latest attacks are affecting businesses in the U.S. and U.K.On Aug. 11, Financial Times reported a rise in cyber insurance policy claims in both countries. In the U.S., companies are learning abou...
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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%, adju...
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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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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for August 12, 2019

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist—Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy: Housing Market Shift— It is hardly news that the housing market is local at its heart. At any given time, there will be hot markets and cold ones. The overall pace of housing has been slower of late, but there are still many places experiencing high demand. This may be...
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July Construction Input Prices Improve Yet Remain Worrisome

Construction input prices experienced a modest comeback in July, but results have left some builders unsettled with the year-over-year (YOY) findings. Despite the 0.8% expansion month-over-month (MoM), input prices fell more than half a percent YOY in part by notable declines in natural gas, unprocessed energy materials, crude petroleum and softwoo...
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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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