globalEDGE Blog

Greece needs to follow European rules if it wants aid from the Eurozone during its financial crisis. The country owes other Eurozone governments around $212 billion. Germany is owed the most money, totaling over sixty million euros, followed by France and Italy. However, Slovenia may be the most impacted country by the Greek debt crisis.  Bloomberg determined that Greece owes Slovenia over 3% of its total GDP. Greece is on the bubble of a potential exit from the European Union, and a potential default on its debt.

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As of late, the value of the dollar has appreciated compared to other currencies, and one currency that the effects are evident in is the euro. The fall of the euro has been increased due to the willingness of investors to move their assets out of the Eurozone, and into “safe havens” like the U.S., Denmark, and Switzerland.  The difference between the European and American monetary policies has been a catalyst for investors reallocating their portfolios, looking for bigger gains. A major difference playing a role is that euro will be further pushed down against the dollar, as the European Central Bank is holding interest rates, while the U.S. Fed Reserve is looking to raise the rates.

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Compared to figures taken in 2014, the Eurozone’s trade surplus was much wider this January.  According to the EU statistics agency, on March 18, the 19 countries that use the euro had a surplus in their trade with goods with the rest of the world of 7.9 billion euros, or $8.38 billion, which is up 100 euros from January 2014. This widening gap was said to be due to a 6% decline in imports, which likely reflects the drop in oil prices. During this time, experts noted that overall exports increased, but at a very slow rate.

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Imagine a scenario where a market is losing value (deflation), which in turn scares away investors and greatly reduces cash flow in the active market. This stems growth, as more people lose confidence in a downward spiraling market. This is a scenario that the European Central Bank (ECB) would like to avoid, as the Eurozone is currently experiencing -0.1% deflation. Perhaps the ECB’s most important response has been through quantitative easing, which has had a substantial impact on the Eurozone's economy.

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The global travel industry is a major player in the global economy, accounting for 9.5% of the world’s GDP and employing 266 million people. Many consumers also deal with the industry on a regular basis, whether traveling on business trips or for vacations. With the large size of the industry and the constant demand, the travel industry is highly competitive and constantly evolving. Recently, this competition has led to consolidation in many sectors of the industry, such as the hotel, airline, car rental, and online travel sectors. Many of the biggest companies in these sectors are buying out their smaller competitors, seeing economies of scale as a strategy to maintain their leadership role in the industry.

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What exactly is the Eurozone? It is easy to confuse the Eurozone and the European Union, but hopefully this blog post will sort out some of the discrepancies. Simply stated, the Eurozone, also called the euro area, is made up of 19 European countries that all use the euro as their currency. The European Central Bank is in charge of monetary issues for all 28 members of the European Union; however, it also plays a major role in leading the cooperation between the central banks of the Eurozone member countries. The euro has a strong international presence and plays a major role in the global financial and monetary markets.

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File under: Energy, Gas Prices, Oil

In the wake of the drastic decline in oil prices since last July, and with the current crude oil prices about half of the 2014 peak, Royal Dutch Shell PLC announced Wednesday that it would buy fellow Oil and Gas Company, BG Group, in a deal amounting to approximately $70 billion. Assuming the deal is completed, this would be the largest energy merger since Exxon and Mobil in 1998, and would create the world’s largest independent producer of liquefied natural gas. The merger comes as an effort to create cost synergies, or eliminate overlapping costs, in order to offset the effect of low oil prices.

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Multilingualism can be an incredible asset for companies that conduct business internationally, helping to bridge the cultural gap when conducting business in foreign countries. As emerging market economies grow and open new markets for businesses, an understanding of the local language can give companies a leg up over their competitors, possibly giving them the advantage needed to be successful in the market. In an article in Entrepreneur, author Ofer Shoshan lists six languages that he believes would be most helpful for English-speaking CEOs to learn in today’s globalized world, as he emphasizes the importance that multilingualism can play in business situations.

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File under: Africa, Technology, Economy

As the global crude oil price has fallen by more than 50% in recent months, Nigeria, a country that relies heavily on exporting oil and gas, has seen its currency fall accordingly and is now exploring opportunities in the technology industry. Recently, a tech boom has swept across Africa and more than 75% of venture investments in Africa have gone into the technology sector. Economists believe that technology will be the future of the African economy.

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File under: Economics, Gas Prices, Oil

Crude oil is the traditional starting point for the many plastics that are essential to modern life. Approximately three percent of worldwide oil production is used to make plastics. Due to this relationship, the cost of plastic is closely tied to the price of oil. And since June, the price of oil has been cut in half, leading to a decrease in the price of new plastic.

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