U.S. Consumer Sentiment Index

Consumer sentiment among US residents surged in March to its highest value since 2004, according to the University of Michigan. An improving job market, expectations of increased disposable income from tax cuts, and prospects for continued economic growth offset concerns about tariffs and stock market volatility triggered by the US president’s impulsive tweets and policy shifts.

Australia: Oil Stock Levels Pose a Systemic Economic Risk

Australia is running a continuous and growing deficit in total oil stocks, defying the International Energy Agency's (IEA) mandate on members to maintain 90-days of coverage and perpetuating the country’s vulnerability to swings in global oil markets. Whether global supply imbalances arise from geopolitical discord, OPEC-sanctioned supply adjustments, or other market balance factors, the fact that Australia maintains no strategic reserve and has less than a 50 day supply of oil bodes poorly for the potential cost to the economy in the event of a price spike and potential resulting shortages.

US Sanctions Against Russia

Russia's recovery from economic recession could be complicated by sanctions announced recently by US President Donald Trump, with still greater potential of painful restrictions on investors and Russian companies seeking to raise capital in Western markets. This year, the US Treasury initiated new sanctions against Russian persons and entities for activities including the alleged poisoning in the UK of former FSB Officer Skripal and his daughter as well as Moscow's alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

The Most Attractive Markets: Understanding China's Market Potential

Corporate growth strategies typically include some combination of deepening existing market penetration and new product and market development. New market entry through acquisitions, greenfield investment, joint venture or other forms are considered generally to be the most controllable ways to drive business growth. And, many emerging markets, such as Brazil, India, Argentina, with their growing middle-classes are attractive targets for these growth strategies.

OPEC Crude Oil Prices

Oil producers market more than 160 unique crude oils today, each varying from light to heavy, with different sulfur levels and other chemical attributes that affect price and market. Only a few individual crudes—particularly Brent and West Texas Intermeidate (WTI)—serve as industry benchmarks. The OPEC Reference Basket (ORB) is another common benchmark.

US Imports of Steel and Aluminium: Tariffs Perspective

On March 8, 2018, US president Donald Trump issued two proclamations to adjust US imports of aluminum and steel from all countries except Canada and Mexico, key regional allies and trade partners. President Trump asserted that a 25 percent tariff on steel “articles” and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum articles are necessary for the US to develop its domestic steel and aluminum industries and to protect and create jobs. 

Global Entrepreneurship Index 2018

Ecuador has the world's highest share of nascent entrepreneurs per capita at about 30 percent of the population. This measure is known as total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA). But, does this mean that Ecuador is more entrepreneurial than the United States, which has a TEA of only 14 percent? The answer depends on how we define “entrepreneur”.