An Agreement Reached on US and China Auto Tariffs?

After teasing automakers throughout last week and over the weekend, the U.S. and China may have reached an agreement on auto tariffs. As of Nov. 29, Supply Chain Dive reported the U.S. and China will look to equalize tariffs. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer called Chinese tariffs "egregious," citing the 40% tariff on U.S. imports and th...
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US Construction Unemployment Rates Historically Low in 22 States for October

Warmer temperatures in the east and hurricane recovery efforts are sustaining employment rates in the construction industry, where Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) said unemployment rates dropped across 45 states year-over-year (YOY). According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the not-seasonally adjusted (NSA) national construction...
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Big Production, Workforce Changes Coming to General Motors

Investors in the automotive industry will want to pay attention to the latest move by General Motors Co. after the U.S. No. 1 carmaker announced Nov. 26 its plans to transition from the traditional gas-powered vehicles to electric and autonomous vehicles. The decision will have a direct impact on the company's workforce in North America. According ...
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US Building Materials Outlook Lowered

The outlook for the U.S. building materials sector has been lowered due to a decreased demand in private construction. Moody's Investors Service downgraded its outlook from positive to stable following four years of strong growth. "We expect lower organic operating income growth in the building materials sector over the next 18 months, as growth in...
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Earn Roadmap Points and a Chance for Free Registration to Credit Congress: Elevator Speeches Contest

Only 11 days remain to submit your elevator speech for NACM's annual Elevator Speeches contest. The best speech—selected by NACM's editorial staff—will receive a free registration to NACM's Credit Congress & Expo in Aurora, Colorado, on May 19-22, 2019. Each participant also receives .1 roadmap point toward an NACM designation, regardless of wh...
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US Bankruptcy Court Approves Sears’ Decision to ‘Stay in Business, Sell Itself’

Unlike the Chapter 11 bankruptcy whirlwind that struck Toys R Us more than a year ago, Sears is finding success in its Ch. 11 filing after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the department store's plan to "stay in business and sell itself." The announcement was made about a month after Sears filed for Ch. 11 to the dismay of some credit managing bu...
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California Wildfire Recovery, Unlicensed Contractors

Future residential projects in California will likely take place farther outside of wooded areas, and more will be completed by licensed, contract workers. The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) reached out to thousands of residents affected by the California campfires and wildfires urging them to only work with licensed contractors to ensure p...
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Rising Interest Rates, Home Prices Bring Housing Affordability to 10-Year Low

Housing affordability in the U.S. continues to turn heads as the latest National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) revealed a decade-long low in the third quarter of 2018. Economists say rising interest rates and home prices as well as the ongoing labor shortages are to blame. "Builders are increasingly...
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First Blockchain Syndicated Loan a Success

During the week of Nov. 5, the first-ever loan between three countries was transmitted via blockchain. A total of $150 million in a syndicated loan for Red Eléctrica, the Spanish grid operator, was sent over a private blockchain network BBVA, which also worked with partners MUFG of Japan and BNP Paribas of France. This marks an innovation in the de...
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Chinese Exports, Imports Boom in October, Despite US Trade War

The U.S.-China trade debacle has yet to cease, but according to a CNBC report on Nov. 1, Chinese exports and imports flourished in October, reaching a trade surplus of $31.78 billion with the U.S. Despite economists' predictions of an overall $35 billion trade surplus, the country's General Administration of Customs reported it was nearly $1 billio...
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The 2018 Election Results on Public Construction Funding

The Nov. 6 election saw record voter turnouts across the country, making history in gubernatorial and Congressional elections. Results flooded in, changing the balance of power in the House of Representatives and shaking up statewide legislation. The construction industry saw changes too, primarily in terms of funding public projects. Several state...
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E-Payments Make Another Stride Forward for B2B Transactions

Another initiative to push e-payments in and paper checks out of the business-to-business (B2B) sphere emerged recently, this new method using libraries in a Business Payments Network (BPN). Visa and Billtrust announced an open buyer and supplier payments platform designed to digitize the payment chain between businesses. Most consumers have switch...
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Freight Shipments Fall in Q3, Spending Sees Increase

The effects of Hurricane Florence and tariffs on imported goods impacted 2018's Q3, seeing a 5.2% quarterly decline in freight shipments, according to the U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index. Year-over-year, freight shipments fell by 1.1%. Even with these drops, freight spend still increased by 13.5%, year-over-year. Constrained trucking capacity limit...
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Super Typhoon Yutu and Recovery Efforts in US Territories

One of the strongest storms to hit the U.S. since 1935 struck western U.S. territories Oct. 25, leaving more than 100 injured and one dead, according to KUAM News. Relief efforts continue, now with help from federal funds as a Major Disaster Declaration for Super Typhoon Yutu was confirmed Oct. 27. With such devastating damage, rebuilding efforts w...
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Somber Credit Managers’ Index Starts 4Q

After a string of solid results in NACM's Credit Managers' Index (CMI) starting this past spring, the predictive index is at its worst output since April. The October CMI reading dropped nearly two points to 54.5 from 56.4 in September. "This is not an emergency situation to be sure as these numbers are still solidly in the mid-50s, but it isn't th...
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Moody’s: US Oil Sector Debt Levels ‘Unsustainable’

The current debt levels of U.S. oilfield and drilling (OFS) companies is unsustainable over the long term. According to Moody's Investors Service, OFS companies need a "substantial improvement in cash flow." "U.S. oilfield services and drilling companies' high debt levels will continue to constrain their credit quality in 2019 and beyond," said Sre...
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Large Firms in UK Still Pay Late Despite Legislation

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in the U.K. announced this week that larger firms that do not pay their suppliers on time should be stripped of government contracts. Late payments have caused nearly 50,000 companies annually to shut down, according to The Guardian. The firms owe tens of billions of pounds, and the closures of these compani...
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Metals Market Reacts to Death of Saudi Journalist, China’s Economic Dip

The global equity market is reacting to geopolitical tensions as the price of copper fell amid the death of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the slowing demand of copper in China, according to a recent article by Reuters . Benchmark copper fell a total of 0.7%, now costing a total of $6,196 per ton. Today, Turkey's president stated the ...
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Sears Seeking Financial Help, Vendors Reacting

Sears Holdings Corp. Chairman Eddie Lampert is in the process of finding a financing partner for the company's bankruptcy filing. According to Reuters, Lampert's private equity firm, ESL Investments, has talked with investment firm, Cyrus Capital Partners LP, about sharing the financial burden of a $300 million loan. Meanwhile, some of Sears' vendo...
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Existing-Home Sales and Housing Starts Fall in September, Decreasing Consistently

Sales continue to fall for previously owned homes in the U.S., and September showed the sixth-straight monthly drop in sales, according to Bloomberg. Sales of these homes have fallen to the lowest level since 2015, and this consistent drop is the longest since 2014. Despite a lack of desire for purchasing older homes, U.S. housing starts also fell ...
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