globalEDGE Blog

In the face of major economic sanctions from many countries around the world, especially the United States and other Western nations, Russia has been actively looking to avoid economic isolation. As a result of this, it has turned to many large nations in the East to set up economic agreements. One country that is willing to open its doors is China. After over ten years of talks on the subject, Russia and China are finally coming close to signing what has been called a "Holy Grail" for Russia and especially Moscow; a deal where Russia will send natural gas to China.

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Following six long years of recession, which reduced Greece's economy by a quarter of its size and rose unemployment to 28%, Greece is finally expected to stabilize and begin its economic comeback in 2014. A poll of 35 economists and strategists suggested an expected growth rate of 0.3% for the Greek economy, while analysts at the International Monetary Fund and European Union proposed a slightly more optimistic 0.6% rate.

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With organizations and supply chains becoming more and more global, international travel for business professionals is increasing. The perks are growing your resume and seeing the world, but traveling across time zones on a regular basis tends to throw a person’s body out of whack. There have been many studies as to how one can minimize these effects, and the studies show the importance of getting on a precise schedule while traveling.

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Japanese consumers rushed to local retailers on March 31 to purchase large numbers of goods. Even online retailers, such as “Aksul”, had their systems overloaded by the high volumes of transactions of basic goods such as toilet paper and instant rice. Why were the Japanese people in such a hurry to purchase these products? This is due to the sales tax hike from 5 to 8 percent, which was implemented the day after, April 1.

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File under: Small Business, Exporting

Exporting has become a major source of growth for businesses of all sizes, but especially for small businesses.  In the United States, a large percentage of the labor force is made up of small business employees.  Export growth can enable these companies to grow in size, which creates a need for more workers.  Exporting also allows businesses to diversify their customer bases, which can protect companies in times of regional or country-specific economic contraction.

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On Thursday, Greece held its first bond sale since 2010, raising $4.2 billion as investors flocked to secure bonds from the hard hit country. Greece, which stopped issuing bonds in 2010 amid their country’s economic crisis, has hailed this bond sale as a sign that the country is recovering and heading in the right direction. Investors seemed to agree with this outlook, as their high demand reduced the return rates on the bonds to 4.95%, lower than the Greek government had first anticipated. The optimism around the bond sale has encouraged some that Greece is finally beginning to emerge from the financial crisis, although it must be remembered that this is only a small step in the recovery.

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $354 billion last year, making it the second largest African economy behind South Africa. This past Sunday, for the first time in a decade, Nigeria’s statistician-general announced a revision in its GDP from 42.4 trillion naira to 80.2 trillion naira.  How could an economy grow so much in just one night?

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Organic food is increasingly becoming an active topic in international trade due to the increase in people’s living standards worldwide, improved transportation, and urbanization. In developing countries, we see that people consume more organic food now as a result of higher income, and this increases the national demand of meat products, which leads to a large inflow of live-stock feed to developing countries. However, in developed countries, organic food is not necessarily associated with high income populations, but rather with people with diversified diets who wish to eat naturally developed food.

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Recent tremors in emerging markets have investors worried about whether or not their money is in the right place. There is a riskier alternative for investors, that being investment in frontier markets. Frontier markets are markets that are neither developed nor emerging, and with this definition, frontier markets include twenty-three of the twenty-five fastest-growing economies over the last ten years. However, most of these countries do not have stock markets nor are they listed in the MSCI frontier market index, and this is due to the countries' stocks being unable to meet size qualifications and accessibility standards.

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As Russia prepares to make Crimea part of Russia, other countries have watched from afar and have developed plans to impose economic sanctions on Russia. Government officials from the United States have already signed an order enabling economic sanctions against sectors of the Russian economy. Leaders from the European Union are also considering their options as they meet in Brussels to discuss economic sanctions against Russia. With economic sanctions on Russia looming, the impact on Russia and the global economy remains to be seen.

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