globalEDGE Blog

On Monday, Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, went to South Korea for a two-day visit with its president, Park Geun-hye. On that day, the duo signed seven agreements dealing with various economic issues, discussed investments and political issues, and improved their bilateral relations. The two countries have vastly improved their relationship, elevating their relationship to a "Special Strategic Partnership". By improving both political and economic ties between the countries and opening up special business deals, Modi's visit is one that could prove vastly beneficial to both countries and potentially the global economy.

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A group of five of the world's largest banks are due to pay a large fine after manipulating the world foreign-exchange market. These fines were brought to the banks by U.K., U.S., and Swedish regulators late last year after finding out that currency traders were using chat rooms to manipulate exchange rates. Included in these banks are JPMorgan, Barclays, Citigroup, UBS, and RBS. Many of the banks have come forward with guilty pleas, which has been unheard of in past litigations against such institutions, as most of the time banks settle litigation without any admission of fault.

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Ukraine’s economy has contracted ten of the last eleven quarters in an economic downturn that stretches back to 2012. In the first quarter of 2015 the economy contracted 18% compared to the same period last year, while Gross Domestic Product fell 7% in the same period. The underlying causes of this recession are both a downturn in the domestic market, as well as a struggle to sever its economic dependence on Russia and orient itself more towards the west, specifically the European Union.

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Oil prices dipped on Monday due to the rising value of the dollar and the potential for an oversupply of oil. Global conditions and the turmoil in the Middle East caused oil barrel prices to rise, especially due to the gains that Islamic State militants made in Iraq after seizing the provincial capital of Ramadi. In addition, the dollar continued to rise against other major currencies, thus making raw materials less affordable to holders of the euro and other currencies.

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Following a shockingly strong win for the Conservative Party in the recent United Kingdom elections, re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron promised an "in-out referendum" on the future of the U.K.'s membership within the European Union before the end of 2017. The referendum has its roots in the understandably unpopular red tape and bureaucracy that affects British business prospects within the E.U., especially with regard to the trade bloc's employment laws and health and safety issues. In spite of this, Cameron's announcement was met by fairly strong opposition within a study surveying a grouping of Britain's most influential business leaders.

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File under: France, Energy, Global Economy

Three-quarters of France’s electricity comes from nuclear power, which is a higher proportion than any other country in the world. In France alone, 220,000 people are hired to work in the energy industry. Because of this, French nuclear companies have been seen as leaders at the forefront of developing and operating uranium fueled reactors around the world. But recently, it was discovered that new power plants intended to showcase the energy industry’s latest technology are now extremely behind schedule and over budget. Problems at one site have raised doubts that it will even be completed.

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With business becoming more and more global every day, small and medium sized companies are being pushed to start exporting if they want to stay competitive. This poses a challenge for these businesses however, as exporting has become more complex. For this reason, the U.S. Department of Commerce has made available its 11th edition of A Basic Guide to Exporting; this edition has been tailored to fit small and medium size businesses' needs for exporting in today's world.

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Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, many large central banks have used quantitative easing in order to help stimulate their respective economies. Quantitative easing is the act of buying financial assets from lower level banks, thus increasing the price of the assets and increasing reserves in the economy. This has remained a common practice in central banks, and these banks have even increased the rates of easing since this year. However, economists are uncertain of how much easing has actually helped the global economy, and are wondering if it is time for a change in monetary policy practices.

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Greece has been in constant negotiations with other European countries and institutions over Greece’s debt load, which if not resolved, can lead to another financial crisis. The European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are both creditors to Greece, and Greece is expected to repay the IMF nearly 750 million Euros on Tuesday, but the remainder of the debt repayments total nearly 12 billion Euros for the rest of the year. While Athens has authorized its treasury to make the loan payment to the IMF, Greece will continue having trouble making the upcoming payments unless the creditors agree to give more aid as a part of the 240 billion euro bailout program.

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Since the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was founded in 2014, there have been many discussions around this multilateral development bank concerning its purposes and functions. Despite the skepticism, AIIB, once launched, will accelerate Asia’s infrastructure development and international trade. This blog will briefly explain the impacts of the high-speed Silk Road, one of such projects that AIIB has announced recently.

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