globalEDGE Blog

File under: Internet, Global Economy

In this day and age, the internet is an integral part of everyday life. Many people are dependent on the internet for both their social and work lives. Put simply, many people could not live without the internet. This being said, over 60% of the world’s population (roughly 4 billion people) do not access the internet in any way, shape, or form on a regular basis. The leading technology companies (Google, Facebook, etc.) recognize that bringing these 4 billion people “out of the dark” would not only provide immeasurable social benefits, but would also present billions of dollars in untapped revenue for these companies.

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File under: Technology, Australia, Labor

Information Communications Technology (ICT) spending in Australia is forecasted to grow to $49,452.6 million by 2016, according to new research from International Data Corporation. While the market is growing exponentially, Australia is currently facing a shortage of skilled workers in its ICT sector. As I dug deeper into the labor force issue, I found that the future outlook for the Australian ICT industry does not seem as positive as the growth forecast indicates.

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Saudi Arabia has set a date for the opening of its stock market to foreign investors. The nation’s Capital Market Authority recently announced that the country’s only stock exchange, Tadawul, will allow direct international purchases of its market shares starting June 15 of this year.

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The thriftily lending of Spain’s commercial and investment banks to those who borrowed excessive capital from international markets to lend to developers at rates they could not repay caused the Spanish economy to tumble in 2011. Basel III, a voluntary framework on bank capital adequacy, stress testing, and market liquidity risk, seemed to be the regulatory answer by the financial services industry. It was adopted by all of Spain’s largest lenders and local governments. Their main mission: stabilize the credit markets enough for foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Spanish economy.

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It has been big news in the world economy that The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is trying to implement a single economic community called the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). What does this mean for ASEAN and the entire world economy? The AEC is expected to lead to a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development, and a region fully integrated into the global economy.

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Since last year, prices of oil have decreased by over fifty percent and have festered at some of their lowest rates in many years. This has occurred due to several factors, including decreasing global demand for oil and an increasing supply. Lately, however, demand for crude oil is on the rise and overall output has been growing in major oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Libya. It is yet to be seen if these events will continue as an industry trend for this year, but a potential change in oil prices could certainly occur.

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Since early 2014, the U.S. Central Bank has been in the process of easing the economy into a rising interest rates program. In an effort to contract the economy while it’s still recovering, the main goal of this initiative is to gently maneuver the United States into a more stable fiscal state, and out of the transitional zone it is currently in. The Federal Funds Rate (FFR) has been flat at a historic rock bottom 0.25% for about six years now, following the financial crisis of 2008. Economic analysts and investors alike are dubious about the unprecedented situation in which the Fed will try to raise rates from such a low point, partially playing it by ear.

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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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