China’s central bank, known as the Peoples Bank of China, or PBOC, is cracking down on the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin, as part of their latest attempt to stem China’s capital outflow amidst the decline of the Yuan. The Chinese Yuan is currently under immense pressure due in part to the slowdown of growth in the Chinese economy and increasing uncertainty about its future prospects. The currency depreciated 6.6% against the US Dollar in 2016, and in order to prevent a further decline, the PBOC was forced to sell around $26 billion foreign exchange reserves. This selloff, coupled with the comparative rise of the US Dollar caused China’s reserves to fall to a six year low of $3.011 trillion.
In December 2016 Nigeria once again became Africa’s top oil producer, producing just over 1.75 million barrels of oil per day. Before December, Angola had been Africa’s largest oil producer. Both countries are members of OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and in late 2016 OPEC agreed to cut their total oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day starting in January 2017 to keep oil prices at a stable point. Up to this time, however, Nigeria continued to increase their own production of oil. This is because Nigeria was exempted from cutting their oil production in the OPEC agreement. Many Nigerian oil facilities were attacked by militant groups upset with the current distribution of the profits the government makes off of their oil exports. Because of this Nigeria’s oil production has already decreased in 2016.
Do you ever wonder how, or to what extent, your online activity is being tracked? While browsing the internet, ads often pop up on the sides of webpages that are suspiciously similar to recent searches or website visits; this happens because internet activity is tracked and gathered through cookies placed by first or third-party trackers. Third-party trackers first appeared in 1998, and their presence has been steadily increasing ever since. Are cookies placed by trackers something we should be worrying about?
Sarah Singer, assistant director at the International Business Center at Michigan State University and manager of globalEDGE, was recently interviewed by Open to Export to discuss how globalEDGE can assist in market research for exporters. Highlighted in the discussion were especially useful resources for exporters on globalEDGE, such as our risk comparator tool, country trade statistics, and country indices. Sarah also offered advice for exporters who want to research potential new markets, and how globalEDGE can be an important tool for this research.
A link to the interview is available here: http://opentoexport.com/article/market-research-focus-globaledge/
Have you visited the globalEDGE Business Beat recently? In last week's segments, Tomas Hult discussed a wide range of topics, including the refugee crisis and its impact on Turkey, Israel's relationship with the United States, and the current dynamics between the United States and Cuba. The Business Beat is hosted by Dr. Tomas Hult of the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University, and consists of brief audio segments that drive into current topics impacting the international business world. You can view past segments by date or by specific speaker on our page featuring the Business Beats.
As winter vacations come to a close, the global workforce is underway again, and there are several questions business and corporate travelers have regarding their upcoming costs of travel and stay. Among the many factors, the future of international business travel remains uncertain due to the prolonged set back in the Chinese economy, the United Kingdom’s monumental vote to depart from the European Union, the controversial U.S. Presidential election, and increased security concerns across the globe. However, despite the uncertainties, global demand for air travel remains at a record high.
Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are a type of investment vehicle which invests in real estate through property and mortgages, and similar to stocks, they can be traded on major exchanges. In the U.S., there are three major kinds of real estate investment trusts (REITs). Equity based REITs own and invest in properties, and are responsible for the value of their assets, and account for the majority of REITs. Mortgage REITs invest in and own property mortgages, and tend to either loan money to real estate owners for mortgages, or purchase mortgage-backed securities. Hybrid REITs are the third kind of REITs, and invest in both properties and mortgages.
As many of us know, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) played a significant role in the US elections, with president-elect Donald Trump clearly stating that he will renegotiate the agreement with Canada and Mexico in order to stop the outflow of middle-class jobs. Changes in NAFTA would transform the auto industry in the US since it allows automakers, as well as other suppliers, to move production to Mexico without facing any tariffs and take advantage of the lower labor costs.
According to Eurostat, Eurozone inflation hit 1.1% last month, which is a sharp increase compared to November’s rate of 0.6% It is believed that this jump can be attributed to increased costs of energy, food, alcohol, and tobacco. This inflation rate is the highest that the Eurozone has seen in over three years; in September 2013, the rate was also 1.1%.
Russia has been pushing to incorporate nuclear technology in medicine. This process, known as nuclear medicine, involves the use of radioactive substances producing dangerous radiations to gamma rays, beta particles, and alpha particles. Although it may be risky and unsafe, Russia’s increasing participation in the “international market for the production of medical isotopes” has brought tremendous success to the country in the means for fighting cancer.