China and US Enter Second Day of Trade Talks

China and the U.S. have entered the second day of trade talks with hopes to smooth over an uncertainty left behind the potential tariffs on imported goods. As of Aug. 23, both economies have proposed tariffs on imported goods worth about $16 billion. This will make the total value of Chinese goods affected by the Trump administration $100 billion, ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for August 23, 2018

Short Items of Interest—US Economy Near Universal Call for Higher Rates So much for the reaction to Trump's displeasure with the Federal Reserve. In the last few weeks he has become vocal about his opposition to the Fed's stated intent to hike rates. He would not be the first president to object to the Fed playing its traditional role of party poop...
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Simulation Tech Enhances Decision-Making Process for Infrastructure Projects

In some way, shape or form, artificial intelligence (AI) is making a name for itself in the business community. The construction industry is no exception as recently seen in the United Kingdom, where a $4.5 million investment will fund a software company's latest technological endeavor to create real-world simulations of infrastructure projects. St...
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‘Good Hires’ Are Hard to Find in Canadian IT Departments

A company is only as good as its employees, and if they don't have the proper skills to do their job, business becomes much more complicated. According to new research, a vast majority of Canadian corporate hiring managers in the technology sector said they are having trouble making "the right hire," specifically finding employees who have the skil...
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Late Payments Bring Summertime Blues to UK

Just as accountants experience a busy time of year during tax season, small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME) credit managers in the United Kingdom are finding their summers cut short to spend more time hunting down late payments. In fact, 60% of U.K. SMBs are exchanging summer holidays for more workdays dedicated to the task, according to Online P...
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Small Business Optimism Reaches New High During July

Small businesses can breathe a sigh of relief moving forward as this past month saw a rise in expansion and higher nominal sales, according to the National Federation of Independent Business' (NFIB) July Small Business Optimism Index. The index reached a near-record high of 107.9, just one-tenth of a point shy of the highest record ever recorded, w...
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Nonresidential Spending Predicted to Grow in 2019

Nonresidential construction spending is expected to take a step back in 2019 compared to 2018; however, overall nonresidential building is still predicted to grow. At the start of the year, economists from different firms polled by The American Institute of Architects (AIA), said views have changed for the better, according to the recently released...
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Samsung Invests Big Money in AI Amid Smartphone Security Issues

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the wave of the future and Samsung knows it. The South Korean conglomerate announced Aug. 8 that it plans to invest more than $22 billion (25 trillion Korean won) over a three-year period to expand AI and additional technological research. In an effort to fuel growth through 2020, Samsung states it will also funnel t...
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Shipment Delays Possible After Apple Supplier Suffers Computer Virus Outbreak

Technology is a blessing and a curse, and at the moment, it is more of the latter for Apple. On Aug. 3, one of Apple's suppliers suffered a computer virus outbreak, which CNBC reports may lead to shipment delays on behalf of the supplier. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) manufactures the chip processors used in Apple iPhones. According...
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China Retaliates With US Tariffs

The trade and tariff wars continue between the U.S. and China, this time with China threatening new tariffs. China announced Aug. 3 it will impose a retaliatory tariff on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods, according to a recent Reuters article.  The tariffs will affect liquefied natural gas (LNG) and select aircraft, with China threatening to ad...
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Construction Spending Sees Yearly Climb, Despite MoM Dip

After steadily increasing over the past year, construction spending in June 2018 set the industry back a step month-over-month (MoM), yet maintained decent figures year-over-year (YOY). On August 1, MarketWatch reported about a 1% drop in June construction spending but more than a 6% climb since last year. Revised calculations revealed a MoM increa...
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July 2018’s CMI Forecasts Negative Outlooks in Long Term

The Credit Managers' Index (CMI) for July showcases an overall drop in both the service and manufacturing sectors, setting the CMI back to a point that has not been this low since January of this year. While the current economic environment has boasted a speedy quarterly growth of 4.1%, an unemployment rate between 3.8% and 4%, and an expansion of ...
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B2B ACH Network Increases in 2018 2Q

The ACH Network continues to grow following another solid performance in the second quarter of 2018. ACH debit and credit transactions increased by 6.2% compared to the second quarter of 2017, according to NACHA—The Electronic Payments Association. That is equivalent to 5.7 billion more transactions. "The ACH Network provides substantial value to e...
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Auto Suppliers Question Motive Behind Tesla’s Refund Request

Suppliers for Tesla Inc. are scratching their heads after the electric car company sent an unusual memo to some of its suppliers last week asking for a partial cash refund to boost profitability. According to Bloomberg, less than 10 suppliers received the memo, which Morningstar Analyst David Whiston described as "troubling" in an interview with th...
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Think Before You Click: Avoiding Email Scams

Think twice before you open that unrecognizable email because it may cost you. Earlier this month, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) updated its data on business email compromise (BEC) scams, which have increased steadily around the globe in less than two years. In a public service announcement on July 12, the FBI stated the scams are ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for July 23, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Industrial Policy for the U.S.? Many nations in the world have been major advocates of what has been termed industrial policy, but the U.S. has long resisted that idea. There are many ways this kind of policy has been set, but the motivation is usually similar. The government is tempted to favor certain business...
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UK Councils Not Following 30-Day Payment Rule

Local authorities in the United Kingdom, known as councils, are facing backlash from construction associations after freedom of information (FOI) requests revealed about 90% of councils were not enforcing construction firms to pay supply chains within 30 days as required by legislation. Under "Miscellaneous Provisions" in Chapter Nine of the Public...
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Santander Bank Eases Customers Into Digitized Banking and Loan Payments

Santander Bank announced July 18 it will begin using nCino technology to speed up business lending operations. This new integration will be available to customers as the year progresses, adding more features gradually; using nCino is estimated to cut loan-decision time by 40%. The operating system nCino uses clouds to create omnichannel access for ...
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Safety Net Protects Canadian Automakers From Possible Retaliatory US Tariffs

Canadian suppliers worried about retaliatory tariffs from the U.S. can breathe a sigh of relief, at least those working in the automotive industry. Tariffs on U.S. steel imports have raised costs across the sector; however, according to Reuters, Canadian government customs provisions are in place that could "reduce or refund import duties" to compa...
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US Import Prices Down, Not Sustainable for Future

The price of U.S. imports saw the largest drop in two years as of June—but this drop is not likely to last after tariffs on foreign goods are imposed. Import prices jumped by 0.9% in May, while June saw a sharp decrease of 0.4%, a dip that comes close only to the drop in February 2016, according to the Labor Department. Imported food saw a signific...
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