Inventories, Sales Up in December

The Department of Commerce reported that US business inventories were up better than expected in December, while sales rose by their biggest percentage since 2011. The announcement said that inventories went up by 0.4 percent, while November’s figure had to be re-stated as 0.8 percent in place of the previously announced 0.7 percent.

Business inventories are a crucial factor in the determination of the gross domestic product, or GDP.

Retail inventories were also up by 0.1 percent in December and not the 0 which had been predicted before the report was disseminated. November’s inventories climbed by 0.9 percent. Without cars the retail inventories were 0.4 percent and not the predicted 0.2 percent. This is the figure that is used to calculate GDP. November’s rise was 0.5 percent.

Inventory investment factored in a whole percentage point to the 1.9 percent annualized growth rate for the economy in the fourth quarter of 2016. That was the second quarterly contribution to the growth of GDP in a row. Since the second quarter of 2015 inventories had been holding down the growth rate of GDP.

December’s business sales climbed by 2.0 percent, the largest since March of 2011, and came right after a 0.3 percent growth in sales of November. One way to look at the sales pace versus inventory is by the measure of how long it would take to clear the shelves. With December’s sales pace it would take 1.35 months for businesses to clear the shelves, while at November’s pace it would take 1.38 months.

US Government Stimulating Nigerian Power Sector with $1 Billion

The United States government is investing about $1 billion in the power sector of Nigeria, said the coordinator of the program to light up Africa, Andrew Herscowitz. The plan, known as Power Africa, was announced at a media conference in Abuja, Nigeria last week. Herscowitz added that the US government has already committed several billion…

Daniel Taub Interviewed on CNN

While the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was in England visiting the recently appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, Daniel Taub, former ambassador to the United Kingdom, discussed current events with CNN international news Anchor Christiane Amanpour. Amanpour’s opening question addressed the issue of settlements, and US President Trump’s recent statement…

AirAsia X Awarded License to Fly to USA

The Federal Aviation Administration awarded AirAsia X, the Malaysia-based budget airline, a license to fly to the United States. It is the first such airline to achieve this status. AirAsia X CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranum said, ““It is an extraordinary achievement. Our expansion so far only focused on Asia, Australia and the Middle East. We…

Illinois Law Will Help Beneficiaries Recover Life Insurance Benefits

Illinois, with the backing of the state treasurer, is looking to enact a law which will help ensure that insurance companies pay out benefits of life insurance policies which until now have not been distributed. The new legislation will compel companies to look at the last 20 years of payment history to check that all…

Where They are Today: Maxwell School Alumni

It’s always interesting to see where the movers and shakers today got their education. There are many fine institutions that are teaching students about public policy, public affairs and international relations. One such school, The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, has an extensive alumni directory where they are continually updating…

Reaching Higher with the Harlem Children’s Zone

The Harlem Children’s Zone is a non-profit organization worth knowing about. They offer free support to families living within a 97 block of Harlem. They offer parenting workshops, a pre-school program, three charter schools, a health program and much more. As they describe it, they are “aimed at doing nothing less than breaking the cycle…

Optimism Index Has Most Growth in 36 Years

December was a great month of optimism among America’s small businesses as it soared its greatest amount since 1980. The presidential election is partly responsible for the surge, according to observers. Washington-based National Federation of Independent Business’s index climbed by 7.4 points in December, arriving at its highest since 2004, at 105.8. Seven of its…

Mass Store Closures Expected in the Coming Year

As consumers continue to make the switch from brick and mortar shopping to on-line, old fashioned stores who can’t compete, will be forced to close, analysts say. “If you are weaker player, it’s going to be a very tough 2017 for you, ” said RJ Hottovy, a consumer equity strategist for Morningstar. Consumers are heading…

Business Orders Exceed Predictions in November

Analysts are hopeful that the economy is rebounding steadily as corporate investment is stabilizing, signaled by a better than expected uptick in business equipment orders. November’s figures for non-defense capital goods, not including aircraft, climbed by 0.9 percent, the highest since August, and higher than was forecast. A Bloomberg survey predicted 0.4 percent growth. “There’s…