Fourth Time’s a Charm

Angela Merkel took a big step toward securing a fourth term as Germany’s chancellor after her party, the conservatives, and its center-left rivals agreed recently on the terms of a renewed governing alliance. After a week of talks covering areas such as taxation and immigration, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats (SPD), said they had enough of a basis to begin formal and detailed negotiations. The agreement makes a new government under Ms. Merkel more likely by the end of March, approximately six months after last year’s indecisive election. Nevertheless, the effort could still fail, which would likely lead to another round of elections in the spring. The fate of Me

Italy Looks to Lure UK Asset Management Firms

The city of Milan is stepping up its efforts to become a part of London’s asset management industry after Brexit is complete. A recent plan has been derived for a delegation from the Italian government to meet with UK companies in the next couple of weeks. Milan, the financial hub of Italy, hopes that up to 1,500 asset management and investment banking jobs will move from London to Italy. The initial attempts by the Italian Finance Ministry to entice fund managers in 2016 were unsuccessful after prime minister Matteo Renzi’s failure to finalize and pass through constitutional reforms. These reforms were to deregulate the financial industry, making it more appealing to foreign fund managers.L

GDP Growth Germany 2017

Germany’s economy posted fastest growth in six years in 2017, as GDP grew 2.2%. The World Bank estimates that Europe economy grew 2.4% in 2017, comparable to the 2.3% projection of the US. With a boost of low interest rates, low unemployment, a weak euro, positive economic growth trends and rising wages propelling the economy, economists believe for Germany’s positive growth to continue. Some additional numbers from the report revealed a 5.2% increase in imports and 4.7% increase in exports. The overall budget surplus has reached 1.2% of GDP, and Germany’s increased investment spending is reflected through figures such as the 3.5% increase on plant and machinery. For now, the political arran

U.S. Consumer Prices On the Rise

A rise in consumer prices in December and growth in retail sales exceeded expectations. With 2017 ending on a good note, and inflation numbers steady, U.S. economic growth continues. Forecasts for Q4 growth were adjusted 0.4% in December from the prior month. Analysts are expecting a 2.7% annual growth rate for gross domestic product in the final three months of 2017, up from its previous 2.3% estimate. According to the U.S. Labor Department, signs of rising inflation as well as strong growth in the core prices of goods (excluding food and energy), fueled CPI growth. The CPI, or consumer-price index rose just 0.1% from November 2017. “Recently, we’ve seen stronger gains in core inflation an

Chinese Centralization and Control

China’s new leadership appointments over the last six months are likely to move China in the direction of additional economic and controlling centralization. Success over the last five years has given the government enough confidence to scale up micromanaging efforts at the sector level. The financial sector in particular will witness a more comprehensive set of regulations within insurers, wealth-management companies, and online financial-service providers. In the past, highly popular asset managers were often able to achieve status without a regulatory license. In the next year even small incremental services will be difficult to launch without government approval. Transaction-wise, all on

Creating A Comfortable Work Experience

Businesses are now designing office spaces that increase the amount of square footage per employee when shared work settings are taken into account. Many companies are expanding the selection of alternative places to get work done such as coffee rooms, cafes, and kitchen areas. Firms are also taking into consideration informal living room spaces, reading areas, and quiet zones. Workplace efficiency is still important, however it is now also about having an office space that is successful at providing a comfortable and collective work experience for all employees” said Keith Knutsson of Integrale Advisors. The amount of space at assigned workstations has not increased. However, there has been

Growth Opportunities for the World of Automation

Where the word automation increasingly penetrates individuals’ vocabulary, the fear of it follows soon after. Recent worldwide research reports estimate a task replacement rate in excess of 50% in the current workforce. While these research reports appear drastic to an outside view, it is important to consider the parameters and categorization of such and separate the technical from the practical. Current estimates for complete automation of jobs globally is limited to 5%. In other words, while a majority of jobs will witness a reformation in the workplace, the commonly depicted dystopian overhaul is not anticipated. Despite limited reform in this new environment where AI will increase produ

Increased Demand For Durable Goods

Orders for long-lasting factory goods increased in November, one of the many recent signs of improving demand this year for U.S. manufactured products. Durable goods are products designed to last at least three years, such as cars or computers. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, orders for these goods increased 1.3% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $241.36 billion in November. The increase was led by orders for motor vehicles, military equipment, and airplanes. Order numbers for October were revised to a 0.4% decrease from a previous estimate of a 0.8% drop. Through the beginning of 2017, demand for durable products was up 5.4%, compared to the same period a year earlier

Will London Remain the European Financial Capital?

London is currently the financial center of Europe. However, with recent Brexit negotiations, this is now under threat. Amidst all this, the Bank of England is aiming to retain its status as one of Europe’s most powerful banks. In December, the Bank of England said it will give commercial banks and big European investment an easy way to stay in London once Britain quits the European Union. It will offer them the same terms that big U.S. and Swiss banks get. It warned, however, that this setup will require deep cooperation between EU and U.K. regulators. Brexit will affect the financial industry. The financial sectors is a big source of exports to Europe, representing 90% of Britain’s trade s

Global Equities Enjoy A Steady Run

Global stocks last year enjoyed their best yearly performance since the 2007-2008 crisis recovery. This come as accelerating economic growth across the world helped power several major markets. The FTSE All-World index rose 22% in 2017. The S&P 500 benchmark gained 19% in the past 12 months, its sixth best annual performance over the past two decades. Analysts are predicting another good year for the U.S. equity market, forecasting the first double-digit growth in earnings since 2011. The biggest factor behind the stock market rally has been the accelerating growth in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Global growth continues to be driven by industrial activity and investment. The UK’s FTSE 100 has

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