News

Risks and Returns: Managing Financial Trade-Offs for Inclusive Growth in Europe and Central Asia

Worldbank Report “Risks and Returns: Managing Financial Trade-Offs for Inclusive Growth in Europe and Central Asia” argues that striking the right balance across all dimensions of financial development (stability, efficiency, inclusion, and overall depth) is crucial for achieving and sustaining inclusive growth.

Emerging Europe and Central Asia, perhaps now more than ever, faces the urgent need for financial sector reforms. Reforms are needed not only to make the region more resilient to financial shocks but also to support efforts to strengthen income growth, particularly that of the middle- to lower-income earners, many of whom since the global financial crisis have questioned the benefits of greater economic and financial integration.

Over the last 20 years, the region has confronted two major financial crises and is currently facing major banking stresses and currency pressures, if not full-blown crises, particularly in countries directly or indirectly dependent on oil exports.

Moreover, the region now has to cope with greater policy uncertainty as Britain seeks a new relationship with the European Union (EU), the refugee crisis puts pressure on policy makers to slow migration, and many countries face new internal political dynamics.

The general sense of prolonged growth stagnation since the 2008 global financial crisis and lack of real (or perceived) improvement in standards of living of lower-income earners has led to an increasing level of dissatisfaction with the status quo, reflected in the changing regional political dynamics. Indeed, for the majority of lower- and middle-income households in Emerging ECA, real income levels have declined, or not increased appreciably, since they hit their peak in 2007.

Although improving financial sector development cannot solve all these problems, it can help support stability and inclusive growth. This, in turn, may help build a consensus for complementary policies that support inclusive sustainable growth, rather than a reflexive inward tug toward isolationism and away from the liberalization and integration policies that began during the early 1990s.

This report argues that financial development must go beyond improving the access to and pricing of credit. It should help build a broad-based and balanced financial system of both bank and non-bank markets, one that enables responsible financial inclusion of firms and individuals and enhances financial efficiency and stability.

Striking the right balance across these dimensions of financial development – stability, efficiency, inclusion, and broad depth – is crucial for finance to support inclusive and sustainable growth through improved transactions, savings mobilization, screening of projects, monitoring of firm managers, and risk management.

Finding the right balance in financial development also involves trade-offs that are often overlooked, much to the peril of policymakers. Too much credit and overly generous support for financial inclusion (even if well-meaning) have led to financial bubbles and crises. Likewise, too much financial sector repression to achieve stability has generated financial exclusion and inefficiencies with negative consequences for economic opportunities and growth.

Read the Full Report here

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European Statistics: Production in Construction Up

October 2016 compared with September 2016 Production in construction up by 0.8% in euro area Up by 0.4% in EU28.

In October 2016 compared with September 2016, seasonally adjusted production in the construction sector increased by 0.8% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.4% in the EU28, according to first estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In September 2016, production in construction fell by 0.8% in the euro area and by 0.1% in the EU28.

In October 2016 compared with October 2015, production in construction grew by 2.2% in the euro area and by 1.1% in the EU28.

Monthly comparison by construction sector and by Member State

The increase of 0.8% in production in construction in the euro area in October 2016, compared with September 2016, is due to building construction rising by 1.3%, while civil engineering fell by 1.2%.
In the EU28, the increase of 0.4% is due to building construction rising by 1.0%, while civil engineering fell by 2.4%. Among Member States for which data are available, the highest increases in production in construction were recorded in Sweden (+2.3%), France (+2.1%) and Germany (+1.7%), and the largest decreases in Slovenia (-6.8%), Hungary (-3.8%) and Slovakia (-3.5%).

Annual comparison by construction sector and by Member State

The increase of 2.2% in production in construction in the euro area in October 2016, compared with October 2015, is due to building construction rising by 2.7% and civil engineering by 0.2%.

In the EU28, the increase of 1.1% is due to building construction rising by 2.6%, while civil engineering fell by 5.0%. Among Member States for which data are available, the highest increases in production in construction were recorded in Sweden (+10.1%) and the Netherlands (+8.2%), and the largest decreases were observed in Slovakia (-22.1%), Poland (-18.0%) and Bulgaria (-14.0%).

Issued by Eurostat Office 19th December 2016

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Major Contract win for WANdisco

Software business WANdisco has secured a significant contract win with a major automotive multinational.

The group, which has a base in Sheffield, said the win had been achieved through its original equipment manufacturer sales partnership with IBM.

Under the agreement, IBM will deploy the WANdisco’s patented cloud service, WANdisco Fusion, rebranded as IBM Big Replicate, direct to the customer.

The agreement is valued at approximately $1m (£800,400) in royalties to be paid to WANdisco.

WANdisco Fusion will be used to ensure customer data is moved seamlessly between data centres and the cloud.

This deal follows a smaller order with a major European bank that IBM closed on behalf of WANdisco through the OEM sales partnership in the third quarter.

WANdisco chief executive David Richards said: “This is an extremely important contract win for WANdisco which demonstrates our OEM partnership with IBM is capable of delivering significant value for our business.

“This agreement has been secured on the basis that WANdisco Fusion was the only solution that could ensure complete data consistency without any downtime – which continues to distinguish us from our competitors.”

WANdisco designs software that allows companies to quickly search through vast amounts of customer data. Clients include Juniper Networks, Motorola, Intel and Halliburton.

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Middle East Rail, Dubai, 7-18th March 2017

UK railway suppliers are invited to join the UK Pavilion at the Middle East Rail  onference and exhibition in Dubai to meet key players and promote your products and services.

Over $300bn of planned investment in rail and public transport infrastructure in
the MENA region presents significant opportunities for British companies.
Backed by the UAE government, Middle East Rail is the largest regional
conference and exhibition for this sector, covering the GCC States, North Africa
and Central/South Asia.

This event can be key to making in-roads in the wider region and there is a
whole host of support available from the Department for International Trade
(DIT), the British Embassy, the Railway Industry Association and Intec staff, to
maximise the value of your participation.

The UK Pavilion is significant (34 companies in 2016) and surrounds the
Network Rail Consulting Infrastructure Theatre. All UK Pavilion exhibitors
receive a free delegate pass to the conference (worth $3,600), enabling them
to network with attending government ministers, operators and stakeholders,
and also pre-book roundtable seats.

There are twenty-five £2,500 DIT grants available to qualifying SMEs, to help
UK companies with exhibition costs.

Date: 7 & 8 March 2017  Where: Dubai, UAE
This event is open to all UK companies.

For further information about the UK Pavilion
Contact Andrew Blake at Intec Export Intelligence.
E: ablake@intecuk.com T: 01444 220 987

For information about DIT 
grants
Contact Neil Walker at the Railway Industry Association
E: nwalker@riagb.org.uk T: 020 7201 0777

 

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What’s HOT and what’s NOT in International Trade

What’s HOT…!

Master Cutler heading to Dubai

Companies from the Sheffield City Region are off to Dubai! The Master Cutler, Richard Edwards has pledged to represent the region during a visit to Dubai in early May 2017.

Following a joint event of the Regional Manufacturing Forum and International Trade Forum in November, attended by over 80 companies, the Master Cutler welcomed a Director from the Arab-British Chamber to the Cutlers’ Hall to present on the opportunities in the Middle East, in the UAE, highlighting specific opportunities in a variety of sectors for UK companies.

The mission will be multi-sector, and will bring additional opportunities as it coincides with Automechanika and the Hardware & Tools Middle East exhibition.

Other opportunities in the UAE are emerging from the forthcoming Expo2020. Between October 2020 and April 2021, Dubai will host the next World Expo. Bringing together more than 180 nations and an international audience of 25 million visitors, it will be one of the greatest shows on Earth.

In preparation for the event, Procurement notices are being published and refreshed on an ongoing basis and will provide opportunities for UK companies.

To find out more and/or register your interest in the trade visit please contact Renate Halton at the International Trade Forum on r.halton@intradeforum.co.uk. Grants may be available in the region for eligible companies.

UKEF – Update

Yes, it’s ok to talk about the Autumn Statement a few months on, as the Chancellor announced additional support through UKEF. In fact, it’s good news for Exporters

  • doubling its total risk appetite to £5 billion, and increasing its capacity for support in individual markets by up to 100%; this will be supported by an improved risk management framework and the use of private insurance markets to reduce Exchequer exposure
  • increasing the number of pre-approved local currencies in which UKEF can offer support from 10 to 40, enabling more overseas buyers of UK exports to pay in their own currency

So, better equipped UKEF can support exporters so that no viable exports fail for lack of finance or insurance.

UKEF’s current maximum portfolio allows £50 billion commitment, but with only approximately £20billion exposed, there is room to get the support you need.

For the full article and to find out more about UKEF click here

Sheffield City Region Growth Hub – Export Support

More locally the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub is open for business.  If you are in Growth Mode, contact the Growth Hub on 03330 00 00 39 or email growthhub@sheffieldcityregion.org.uk to find out how their Advisors can help you in your Export journey.

NB Through DIT, grants may be available for your strategic growth in International Trade and for New Exporters.

See 5 steps to winning business overseas

 What’s NOT so hot….!

Outcome of the Effectiveness of UKTI services

 To keep myself updated I subscribe to a number of updates & newsletters from a variety of sources. So, I was surprised to see the following:

On the 1st December, the UK Parliament published a letter from lain Wright MP Chair of the Business, Energy and industrial Strategy Select Committee to Angus Brendan MacNeil MP Chair International Trade Committee on Exports and the role of UKTI, dated 23rd November 2016.

The letter indicates that they do not feel it appropriate to continue with the inquiry following the decision to leave the EU, and due to the establishment of the new International Trade Committee.

However, the letter indicates emerging findings which is noted to be of relevance for the new Committee which they might wish to consider further.

The Committee published some of the findings from contributors of nearly 100 written submissions, around six hours of oral evidence, and the time given by around 45 SME participants at a workshop as well as another EU member state.

Not huge numbers overall to be honest, and I am sure that not all agree of what has been said.

A summary of headline bullet points is published as follows:

  • The Committee heard evidence of significant flaws in UKTI’s previous operating model.
  • There appears to be an inherent tension between the value & volume export targets.
  • UKTI needs to incubate new export superstars by better supporting established exporters to move in to new markets and expand their sales.
  • Many companies place high value in face-to-face advice and are concerned that online support is often too generic and high-level.
  • We have heard strong endorsements from business for UKTI in-market support, and particularly access to trade shows and trade missions.
  • We have heard concerns about the quality of the OMIS service.
  • The Government has high social capital abroad which can open doors for business that may remain closed to third-parties.
  • Many witnesses to our inquiry found the export support landscape confusing.
  • A number of businesses highlighted specific concerns around interpreting export control requirements and international export regulations.
  • The Committee has heard evidence of mixed performance by International Trade Advisers (lTAs).
  • The UK does not appear to have a strong brand as an exporter.
  • The level of export finance support provided by UKEF appears low relative to counterparts in other countries, and awareness of UKEF also low.

If this is what is thought of the service, there is naturally an opportunity for the new International Trade Committee to follow Ian Wright MP suggestions and address the issues raised.

After all, to date the target of identifying 100 000 New Exporters and doubling exports to £1trillion by 2020 still stands as UKTI became DIT (Department for International Trade).

More details on each of the bullet points can be read in the letter here

Naturally suggestions for new services are not mentioned. What’s your view, what should a revised service offer look like?

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Sheffield City Region to host HORASIS 2017

Horasis 2017, a global economic summit designed to set the agenda for worldwide collaboration, is to be held in the Sheffield City Region.

The Sheffield City Region local enterprise partnership (LEP) was invited to bid to host the event in 2016 following the appointment of Sir Nigel Knowles as chairman.

Heads of government, ministers and influential investors will descend upon Sheffield in November next year to investigate strategies that will shape the global economy and forge new approaches to pressing social, economic and geopolitical challenges.

Horasis 2017 will also attract chief executives from around the world.

Sir Nigel said: “With everyone pulling together, and a great sense of community, we are achieving transformational change and building a thriving, super-connected and successful economy.

“The organisers of this important international conference have made this excellent decision because of the growing confidence and interest from global investors in Sheffield City Region.

“Last year more than 1,000 jobs were created here by international companies and this growth has brought in £97m in capital investment.”

Dr Frank-Jürgen Richter, chairman of Horasis, praised the Sheffield City Region as having an “international outlook which is ahead of the game in defining the issues that need to be tackled by global economies”.

“I have visited the city region and was very impressed by what I saw,” he added.

“I am certain we will learn a lot from this meeting of global leaders and I am very much looking forward to Horasis China 2017.”

Source: Matthew Ord, Insider Media, 9th November 2016

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Flybe launches new route from Doncaster Sheffield with connections to the US & Canada

A new Dublin route with Flybe from Yorkshire’s Doncaster Sheffield Airport will add extra US destinations for passengers from the region connecting via the Irish airport.

WashingtFlybe launches new route from Doncaster Sheffieldon and Connecticut will now join the existing North American cities, New York, Chicago, Boston and Toronto in Canada, which are accessible via Dublin from Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

The five times a week flight to Dublin with Flybe, which will replace the current Stobart Air service will offer all these destinations with effect from 1 November 2016 under Flybe’s codeshare agreement with Aer Lingus.

This route brings the advantage to travellers of being able to clear US immigration in Dublin Airport before connecting on to the US, saving time upon arrival into the US.

Steve Gill, chief executive of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: “This is welcome news for both business and leisure travellers, who enjoy visiting the Irish city and also to be able to extend the local option to travel to destinations in America and Canada via the onward connectivity this route offers.

“We are really pleased to see further growth and diversity in the routes offered by Flybe since their launch earlier this year. Dusseldorf, Chambery and now Dublin have been added to the original roster, making it 11 destinations available with Flybe from us.

Vincent Hodder, chief revenue officer at Flybe, added: “Today’s news further strengthens our ‘One Stop to the World’ offering for our Doncaster Sheffield Airport customers who can now travel with us to Dublin and benefit from the convenient, seamless onward connections available from there onwards to the US and Canada with our codeshare partner, Aer Lingus.”

Source: Laurence Kilgannon, Insider Media, 21st October 2016

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£28bn growth plan to be unveiled

A £28bn plan designed to underpin the economic growth of the Sheffield City Region, creating 70,000 jobs and 6,000 businesses, will be unveiled today (19 October 2016) at MIPIM UK.

The Integrated Infrastructure Plan – known as IIP – will outline how improvements being made to infrastructure across the region’s nine districts will be sped up.

Major projects identified as priorities include the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District; Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the surrounding area; maximising the benefits of HS2 in the region; and regeneration in town and city centres.

A team of private and public sector leaders and senior officers from Sheffield City Region will present the proposal at the country’s largest and most influential property and development showcase.

Ros Jones, mayor of Doncaster and chair of the Combined Authority Infrastructure Executive Board, said: “Our region is a great place to do business and we already have a track record of delivering new infrastructure projects that bring economic growth, job creation and new housing.

“Schemes like Great Yorkshire Way, which opened earlier this year, linking Doncaster Sheffield Airport to the motorway network, demonstrate that putting the right infrastructure in place can have a huge impact.

“This plan is a visionary way forward and is designed to help the region achieve its ambitious key targets. I am very proud to have been involved with it and will be working hard with all our partners to ensure its success.”

Martin McKervey, a partner at international law firm Nabarro, chairman of the Sheffield City Region’s Infrastructure Development Group and a private sector board member of the Sheffield City Region LEP, added: “Delivering this plan will help make SCR ready for investors, and play a key part in the Northern Powerhouse.

“Thanks to devolution, and the funding it will bring, the plan can underpin our path as we take greater control over our future economic prosperity.

“It’s an exciting time for the Sheffield City Region and we can look ahead confident that we have a robust and pragmatic plan for achieving economic growth and jobs.”

Source: Matthew Ord, Insider Media, 19th October 2016

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Growth to accelerate at Award-Winning Family Business

Growth to accelerate at award-winning family business

Growth is set to accelerate at a Queen’s Award-winning family business with the benefits of relocating to larger premises earlier this year already being felt, new accounts covering the period leading up to the move have revealed.

Pricecheck is a second generation family owned business, established in 1978 by the parents of Mark Lythe and Debbie Harrison, who now run the company as joint managing directors.

A supplier of international branded consumer goods, Pricecheck works predominately in the health and beauty sector, dealing with discounted clearance stock.

In February this year, Pricecheck relocated to larger premises in Beighton (pictured) where it has sufficient space to accommodate the rapid growth experienced by the business.

In accounts for the year to 30 April 2016, Pricecheck said it had already experienced a 25 per cent uplift in turnover from the first six months of operation at Old Colliery Way. The company’s workforce also topped 100 for the first time at the end of August.

Despite the distraction and costs associated with the relocation, Pricecheck maintained its growth through 2015/16, increasing sales from £40.5m to £43.6m and net profit after tax by 4.6 per cent to £816,424.

In 2015, Pricecheck scooped a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade, reflecting the growth of its overseas activity since developing a dedicated export strategy in 2009.

The company today supplies retailers in more than 70 countries and export sales made up £14.3m of its total turnover in 2015/16.

Relocating to larger premises is designed to support plans to double turnover to £80m, and increase staff numbers to 150, over the next five years.

A spokesman for the business said: “The new building and larger team are expected to drive sales beyond £50m in the current year and our new product categories of food, confectionary, soft drinks and pet care have been particularly successful.”

Source: Laurence Kilgannon, Insider Media, 12th October 2016

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University agrees International Engineering Exchange

The University of Sheffield has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nanjing University to contribute to a three-way exchange programme that also involves Ohio State University in the US.

The three universities will hold summer programmes to support undergraduate engineering students to work together to innovate, create and commercialise their inventions.

The students will work on technological solutions in order to help improve the lives of those with medical conditions.

Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Sheffield, said: “I am delighted that the University of Sheffield is able to use its strength in engineering and enterprise education in such positive manner to work internationally with other similar-minded universities. Innovation and entrepreneurial skills are truly critical to the economies of the UK, China and the US.”

Professor Zhang Yibin, chancellor of Nanjing University, added: “This three way exchange builds on the long-term relationship Nanjing University has with Sheffield and the ongoing program with Ohio State, so it integrates current bilateral partnerships into a new stage.

“In China, Nanjing University is one of the four national demonstration bases for innovation and entrepreneurship of higher education. I believe it very necessary to have more international partners in training global leaders with innovation and entrepreneurial abilities.”

The University of Sheffield’s research partners and clients include: Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Source: Karishma Patel, Insider Media, 29th September 2016

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