Signs and Symptoms

It’s been a rough couple of months, and we should talk about something fun and not political, but CRM-centric. I know! Let’s ask how the election influenced CRM. Seriously, there’s a nugget in there to get us thinking about business instead of that other stuff. Come on, it’ll be fun. I am not the only one who saw this, but isn’t it amazing how the pollsters got the election outcome exactly wrong?

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BusinessBusiness and finance

An uncertain time for business


AN AGE of uncertainty is upon us. For the past three decades or so, businesspeople have been able to steer by a few lodestars. Trade negotiators lowered and simplified trade barriers. Central bankers tried to keep inflation to a minimum. Policymakers around the world negotiated multilateral treaties on the environment. Global bodies such as NATO provided security in Europe. Today the lodestars are exploding, one after the other.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is making policy on the hoof. It turns out that the Affordable Care Act of 2010, or Obamacare, is not so bad after all. A big section of his planned wall on the border with Mexico will be a fence. In the past presidents have always arrived in the White House with a detailed set of policies. Mr Trump arrives with a tatty envelope scrawled with a few jottings on the back. Across the Atlantic, Brexit has opened a Pandora’s box: nobody knows whether Britain will leave the European single market or negotiate the equivalent of an associate membership. The Supreme Court has yet to determine how much say Parliament will have in shaping the negotiations.

One of the big promises from…Continue reading

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Business and financeFinance & EconomicsFinance and economics

Reversal of fortune

FOR MUCH of 2016, things seemed to be going well in emerging markets. A pickup in commodity prices signalled that the global economy (and China’s, in particular) was more robust than feared as the year began. In the manufacturing sector, the average level of the purchasing managers’ index in developing countries ticked up from 49 at the start of the year (indicating contraction) to 51 (expansion) by October, according to Goldman Sachs.

Signs of stability could be identified even in the economies that most worried investors in recent years—the so-called “fragile five” of Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey. All had seen their current-account deficits shrink in the past three years, making them less dependent on foreign inflows of capital.

Confidence in emerging markets had also revived among international investors. Before the American presidential election both the MSCI emerging-stockmarket index and JP Morgan’s emerging-market bond index had outperformed their developed-world equivalents this year.

But Donald Trump’s victory seems, at least temporarily, to have changed minds. On November 11th…Continue reading

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