India and Russia Could Have a Rupee-Ruble Trade Agreement Early Next Week

Russia and India could bring back a payment arrangement from the Cold War-era that would allow Indian exporters to keep doing business with Russia without the use of US dollars (the primary international trade currency), CNBC reported.A Sakthivel, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) told the news outlet that "the India...
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Material Prices Spike for Nonresidential Construction in Recent Analysis

Prices for new nonresidential construction rose more than 21% from February 2021 to February 2022, according to an Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) analysis of government data. (The association noted that more recent price announcements made after the February data was collected suggest contractors are experiencing even worse cost pr...
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Oil Prices Dropping Quickly Despite Ongoing Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Oil prices fell below $100 barrel Wednesday, down from the 14-year-high of $130 per barrel it sat at just last week. However, gas prices remain mostly unchanged. The national average price for regular gas dropped by just two pennies from Monday to $4.31 a gallon on Wednesday, according to AAA. "It bears reminding that the cost of oil accounts for a...
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U.S. Economy is Strong Despite Geopolitical Uncertainty, Wells Fargo Says

The conflict in Ukraine is pushing already record-breaking inflation higher and adding to market volatility. However, the U.S. economy has shown strong signs of being able to weather the storm, according to the most recent Wells Fargo Weekly Commentary."U.S. financial exposure to Russia appears to be rather limited," Wells Fargo says. "… ...
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Infrastructure Agenda Outlined During State of the Union Speech

President Joe Biden addressed plans for how the $1.2 trillion infrastructure budget, signed into law last November, would be used. The spending will be spread out over the next five to 10 years, according to the White House."America used to have the best roads, bridges and airports on Earth," Biden said during the State of the Union speech. "Now ou...
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Russian Sanctions Coming from All Directions

Governments around the world are rolling out their own versions of Russian sanctions over conflict with Ukraine, as the two countries teeter on the brink of war. President Joe Biden officially called Russia's decision to deploy troops in eastern Ukraine "the beginning of a Russian invasion.""We will not allow Russia to claim the pretense ...
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Fight Against Inflation Proves to be Complicated

Inflation rose to 7.5% last month, exceeding the 40-year-high record set in December. Typically, the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates to offset inflation. However, nothing about current inflation levels is typical."There's a confluence of factors …," David Wessel, the director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Br...
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Protests Along U.S. and Canadian Border May Result in Multi-Million Dollar Loss

Protests along Ambassador Bridge, the busiest international crossing on the U.S. and Canadian border, could lead to shipping delays and more inflation, according to Morning in America. The fallout from these protests could land a major impact to the U.S. supply chain in particular.Both governments have indicated the automotive industry and agricult...
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The U.S. is One Step Closer to a Digital Dollar

The Federal Reserve has been working to develop a U.S. version of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) that could be used in place of the paper dollar. The Boston Fed and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) released the initial findings from research on a U.S. digital dollar last week.According to the report, the CBDC designed by the ...
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US Calls for China to Meet Trade Deal Commitment

U.S. officials are calling for China to meet its commitment to purchase $200 billion in additional U.S goods and services during 2020 and 2021, according to multiple news reports. The agreement was set in place under "Phase 1" of the trade deal signed by former President Donald Trump.The U.S. government will release its full-year trade data tomorro...
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Oil Prices Are Increasing, But Supply Is Not

Oil prices are hovering near $90 a barrel on average, its highest seen since 2014. The sudden cost increase is likely due to political tensions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and a supply shortage. Normally, prices this high would call for OPEC to significantly increase oil exports. However, during a meeting this morning, OPEC and...
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Bottlenecks Extend to Multiple Ports Within the U.S.

Bottlenecks along the busiest ports of the West Coast are expanding to the Eastern side of the country, including South Carolina, New York and Georgia, according to news reports.The twin ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles handle about 40% of the U.S.'s inbound containers; and after receiving record amounts of imports in 2021, delays continue to pe...
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Businesses Are Transitioning Away from Checks to Digital Payments, Report Shows

Paper checks continue to be the most popular form of business-to-business (B2B) payment. However, more companies are looking to make the transition toward digital payments than ever before, according to a recent report from the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).Fewer paper checks are being processed today than reported in 2015, and ACH ...
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Looting of LA County Railcars Exacerbate Supply Chain Woes

Supply-chain disruptions are widespread. Railcar thefts in Los Angeles County increased by 160% over the past year and 356% from last October compared with October 2020, according to news reports."This increased criminal activity over the past 12 months accounts for approximately $5 million in claims, losses and damages to Union Pacific," wrote Adr...
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What China’s Slowing Economy Means for The Rest of The World

China's economy grew only 4% in the final quarter of 2021, the slowest pace seen since the second quarter of 2020, the New York Times reports. The stall in economic growth is likely due to a drop in property sales, slowed demand and Covid-forced shutdowns. Experts predict other economies will also lose momentum in the near future. "The snapshot of ...
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China Cuts Interest Rate for the First Time in Nearly Two Years

China's central bank cut its interest rate on 700-billion-yuan ($110.19 billion) worth of one-year medium-term lending facility (MLF) loans to some financial institutions by 10 basis points from 2.95% to 2.85%, according to news reports.While prices have remained stable for China, policymakers are likely to shift their focus toward boosting growth,...
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Global Growth Expected to Slow and Hurt Developing Economies

The global economy had a strong initial rebound following the start of the pandemic. However, as the Omicron variant continues to rapidly spread, the economy is entering a slowdown phase, the World Bank reports."Global growth is expected to decelerate markedly from 5.5 percent in 2021 to 4.1 percent in 2022 and 3.2 percent in 2023 as pent-up demand...
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Nonresidential Construction Employment Expands As Construction Industry Unemployment Ticks Higher

The construction industry recovered 92.1% of the jobs lost during earlier pandemic stages and added 22,000 new jobs in December, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.Nonresidential construction employment added 27,000 jobs in December: 12,900 in nonresidential specialty trade 10,400 in heavy and civil engineering 3,700 in nonresidentia...
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Supply-Chain Woes Fading, New Indictor Shows

A new barometer from the New York Federal Reserve, called the Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI), indicates supply-chain issues may be peaking and could start to moderate. The Fed's new gauge uses different factors to track supply-chain snags, including the Baltic Dry Index, which tracks the cost of shipping materials, and the Harper I...
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Retail Sales Grew at Rapid Pace Despite Supply Chain and Omicron

This holiday season, sales rose at the fastest pace in 17 years, according to the Business Mirror. Despite inflation, shortages and the new Covid-19 strain, US holiday sales grew 8.5%, the news outlet reported.According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, clothing sales rose 47%, jewelry 32% and electronics 16%. "I feel really good about how the seas...
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