US Federal Reserve ends QE programme

The US Federal Reserve has said that it is ending its quantitative easing (QE) stimulus programme which it began in 2008.

US Federal Reserve ends QE programmeThe Fed said it was confident the US economic recovery would continue, despite a global economic slowdown as the targets for inflation and reduction in unemployment were on track, the Fed said in a statement.

The central bank, which also said it would not raise interest rates for a “considerable time”, has gradually cut back QE since last year.

The statement suggested that although the jobs market is strengthening, it is still not back to normal- which is why interest rates are being held.

“The Committee continues to see sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing progress toward maximum employment in a context of price stability,” the Fed said.

Several analysts seized on the Fed’s comments about slack in the labour market. Previous policy statements have referred to “significant underutilization of labour resources”.

However Wednesday’s statement left out the word “significant”.

QE started in November 2008 amid the financial crisis and fears that the US, and the rest of the world, might be facing another great depression.

The Fed’s traditional ammunition, cutting interest rates, was running low – there was one more cut the following month, taking the main interest rate target down to practically zero.

So the central bank began buying financial assets and creating new money to pay for them.

In total, the Fed has added $3.7 trillion worth of assets to its holdings, about an eightfold increase.

Recent data has pointed to increase spending by consumers and businesses. However, the housing market is still struggling and pay is stagnant.

There is concern about the long-term impact of the US’s persistent low inflation, which risks undermining consumer spending as people delay purchases in the hope that prices will fall further.

October 30, 2014  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Win, Finance Business, Growing Business, Growing Businesses, Growing Economy, Uncategorized  No Comments

UK insolvency rate falls to 8 year low

The rate at which UK citizens are becoming insolvent has fallen to its lowest since before the financial crisis, according to official figures.

UK insolvency rate falls to 8 year lowIn the 12 months to September 2014, just 0.22% of the adult population became insolvent.  This is the lowest rate since the spring of 2006, according to the Insolvency Service.

The number of people going bankrupt was the lowest for 14 years, as people turned to other forms of insolvency.

For many people it is cheaper, and less damaging, to apply for either Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) or Debt Relief Orders (DROs).

The forms of personal insolvency in the UK are:

  • Bankruptcy: The traditional way of escaping overwhelming debt. Ends after one year, but you are likely to lose all your assets, including your house, to pay something to the creditors
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA): A deal between you and your creditors, overseen by an insolvency practitioner. Less stigma, less chance of losing your home, but involves paying some of your debts in one go
  • Debt Relief Orders: Introduced in April 2009, these allow people with debts of less than £15,000 and minimal assets to write off debts without a full-blown bankruptcy.

In particular, DROs have continued to prove popular, rising by 2.7% in the year to September.

DROs were introduced in 2009, and enable people with debts of less than £15,000 to be declared insolvent.

Some debt charities would like that amount raised to a higher level.

“Today’s figures show that the personal insolvency rate is at its lowest level since 2006,” said Graham Horne, the Insolvency Service’s deputy chief executive. “It is still important that people experiencing financial difficulties should seek early advice,” he added.

October 25, 2014  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Business Finance, Business Survival, Business Win, Finance Business, Uncategorized  No Comments

Singapore ranks best country for business

Singapore has been ranked the best country to do business for a ninth consecutive year, according to an annual survey by the World Bank.

Singapore ranks best country for businessNew Zealand came second and Hong Kong third in the lender’s “Doing Business” report which rates 189 nations by the ease in which firms can operate there.

The UK moved up one position to eighth while the US stayed at number seven.

Eritrea was at the bottom of the table, along with Libya, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

The World Bank ranking uses metrics such as the time taken to launch and close a business, gain construction permits and pay taxes in a country’s largest business city.

“The list remains very similar to last year’s” the report said. “Economies in the top 20 continued to improve their business regulatory environment.”

The top 10 countries were ranked as:

1. Singapore

2. New Zealand

3. Hong Kong

4. Denmark

5. South Korea

6. Norway

7. USA

8. UK

9. Finland

10. Australia

The survey, which was first published in 2004, was expanded this year to include the second largest business city in countries that have more than 100 million people.

There were 11 countries that were affected by this change, including China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

China advanced three places to 90th while Japan fell two spots to 29th.

Overall, the report found it is easier to do business globally in both developed and emerging economies as they adopt better practices and regulatory reforms that facilitate businesses.

Sub-Saharan African countries were among the most improved although many of them continue to occupy the bottom of the rankings.

The World Bank said 39 African nations had “reduced the complexity and cost of regulatory processes” while 36 had strengthened legal institutions.

Tajikistan in Central Asia topped the most improved countries list, but the rest of the top five were made up of Benin, Togo, the Ivory Coast and Senegal.

October 20, 2014  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Building Businesses, Business Development, Business Growth, Business Win, Global Business, Global Businesses, Growing Business, Growing Economy, Uncategorized  No Comments

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March 18, 2013  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Win, Digital Business, Global Business, Gloucestershire Businesses, Growing Business, New Business Development, Online Sales Growth, Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engines, Technological Businesses, Winning Business, Winning Websites  No Comments

Panasonic reports profits back in the black

Panasonic has reported a net profit of £421 million for the October-December period, compared with a £131 million loss a year earlier.Panasonic reports profits back in the blackPanasonic, which kept its forecast for a full-year loss unchanged, said a weak yen had improved business conditions.

The Japanese currency has dipped more than 15% against the US dollar since November last year.

A weak yen boosts profits of Japanese exporters such as Panasonic when they repatriate their foreign earnings back home. It also makes Japanese goods more affordable to foreign buyers.

The firm has said it expects to make a net loss of 510 million for the financial year to 31 March 2013.

Panasonic has seen its fortunes slide in recent years amid a slowdown in global demand and falling prices for TVs.

To make matters worse, it has also had to face strong competition from rivals, including South Korea’s Samsung which has grabbed a big share of the global TV market.

In its latest results, Panasonic said that global demand for flat-panel TVs and digital devices had weakened further.

It said its overall sales in the last quarter fell 8% on the year to £1.2 billion.

For its part, Panasonic has been trying to restructure its business. But it has previously warned that the costs related to such moves may be almost 11 times more than previously estimated.

March 12, 2013  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Profits, Business Win, Digital Business, Global Business, Growing Profits, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized  No Comments

Honda drives bigger profits

Honda has reported an increase in third quarter profits as US sales recover.
Honda drives bigger profitsHonda’s profits £538 million in the last quarter of 2012, up from £317 million a year earlier.

The firm said profits had also been boosted by a continued recovery from the floods in Thailand in 2011.

However, it cut its full-year profit forecast to 370bn yen, compared with its previous projection of 375bn yen.

It is the second time in a space of four months that the firm has lowered its full-year profit forecast. In October, Honda had cut its projection to £250 million from its earlier forecast of £313 million.

Natural disasters in Thailand and Japan in 2011 had halted production Honda’s factories and impacted its sales.

However, it has seen a steady recovery since then. Earlier this week, it reported record sales of 3.82 million vehicles for 2012, a jump of 19% from a year earlier.

But the firm is also facing some growth hurdles, not least from the continuing sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone.

The crisis has hurt region’s growth and dented sentiment resulting in a drop in consumer demand in the region’s countries.

That has, in turn, affected demand for Japanese goods in the region.

Honda’s sales to Europe dipped 87% in the October to December quarter, from a year earlier.

At the same time, the firm has also been hit by the territorial dispute between Japan and China.

The spat, which flared up in September last year, resulted in protests in China which targeted Japanese brands. That has resulted in a drop in Honda’s sales to China, the world’s biggest car market.

The carmaker said its sales to China dipped 68% in the three months to the end of December, from a year earlier.

March 6, 2013  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Exports, Business Profits, Business Win, Global Business, Growing Profits, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized  No Comments

Boeing’s sales take off to record highs

Boeing’s sales in the last quarter of 2012 reached a record £14 billion, the US plane manufacturer has said.Boeing's sales take off to record highsIts backlog of plane orders also hit an all-time high of £260 billion as the company began delivering the first of its new flagship Dreamliner 787 jets.

The firm made net income of £652 million, down 30% from a year ago, when it benefited from an unusually low tax bill.

The figures pre-date the grounding of the 787 worldwide earlier this year by air regulators over a battery fault.

Boeing did not add to its existing comments on the investigation into the fault, repeating that it was co-operating fully with the US Federal Aviation Authority.

However, in a possible sign of confidence, Boeing said that its forecasts for revenues and profits this year were not being adjusted to reflect any impact from the suspension of Dreamliner flights.

Its revenues in the fourth quarter were up 14% from a year ago, driven almost entirely by a 32% increase at its commercial planes division.

For 2012 as a whole, revenues rose 19% to £54.4 billion, while net income was down a fraction at £2.6 billion. Boeing’s after-tax profits were dragged down by the reversion of its effective tax rate from a favourable 27% of earnings in 2011 to a more normal 34% last year.

“In a year of considerable achievement. Boeing was the commercial aviation market leader for both orders and deliveries, with more than 600 airplanes delivered, including the first Charleston-built 787 Dreamliners,” said chief executive Jim McNerney.

“Our first order of business for 2013 is to resolve the battery issue on the 787 and return the airplanes safely to service with our customers.”

March 1, 2013  Tags: , , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Growth, Business Sales, Business Win, Flying Businesses, Global Business, Growing Business, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized  No Comments

William Hill’s business boosted by website growth

William Hill- Britain’s largest bookmaker said it expected to report operating profits for the full year of £330 million, up from £276 million the previous year.William Hill's business boosted by website growthIts profit from online activities was up 36% from the previous year.

The company is trying to boost its online presence by buying the Australian arm of online bookmarker Sportingbet and an option on Sportingbet’s Spanish business for £454 million.

“Performance was robust in retail and profits continued to grow strongly in online, with sporting results going in our favour in both channels,” said chief executive Ralph Topping.

The company is currently considering whether to buy out the 29% stake in William Hill Online held by Playtech.

“The company’s progress has been reflected in a share price which has risen 62% over the last year.”

William Hill shares rose 4% in early trading in London.

Shares in William Hill have risen following a trading update that showed more growth from its online business.

February 26, 2013  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Growth, Business Win, Global Business, Growing Sales, Online Sales Growth, Uncategorized, Winning Websites  No Comments

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February 22, 2013  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Win, Connected Business, Digital Business, Ecommerce Business, Global Business, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Websites  No Comments

German business confidence reaches pre crisis high

Business confidence about the German economy has surged to its highest level since before the eurozone crisis.German business confidence reaches pre crisis highThe ZEW sentiment index rose to a surprise 31.5 in January, a 32-month high, up from 6.9 in December.

Positive index levels indicate that more analysts are optimistic about the economic outlook than pessimistic.

The investor sentiment index, produced by the Mannheim-based think tank ZEW, had registered a negative reading for 14 of the 18 months prior to December.

The negative sentiment reflected widespread concern that the German economy would be dragged into recession by the economic woes of its southern European export markets, stress in the eurozone banking system, and widespread uncertainty over the future of the single currency.

The index tracks the percentage of optimistic investors minus the percentage of pessimistic investors, and can swing between a theoretical maximum of 100 and minimum of -100.

A separate index compiled by ZEW from the survey of 272 financial analysts and investors in Germany, reflecting their assessment of the current state of the German economy – as opposed to their expectations about the future – rose fractionally from 5.7 to 7.1, still well below the 80-to-90 levels it was registering just 18 months ago.

“The financial market experts seem to expect that the positive sentiment on the financial markets may soon result in companies realising investments that had been postponed earlier on,” said ZEW president Prof Wolfgang Franz.

“However, the economic situation of important trade partners is rightly considered to still be weak. This suggests that the German economy will further grow at a moderate level in 2013.”

The survey also found that sentiment about the UK, Japanese and the broader eurozone economies improved strongly during the month, while expectations about the US economy remained largely positive.

Among the industrial sectors, investors were most enthusiastic about the prospects for information technology, construction, services and pharmaceuticals.

The survey suggested that serious worries remain over the banking, insurance and car industries, but that expectations were not as bleak as a month earlier.

February 19, 2013  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Business Growth, Business Win, Global Businesses, Growing Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Businesses  No Comments