Japan’s Two-Year Growth Streak Comes to an End

Japan’s impressive streak of eight consecutive quarters of growth came to an end this month, as the third-largest global economy reported that its gross domestic product decreased at an annualized rate of 0.6 percent during the first quarter of the year.

 

Wednesday’s release of this data ends what had been the longest period of growth for Japan since the late 1980s. Expert economists point to lackluster performances by a myriad of different industries, rather than just one collapse. A combination of flat spending on investment partnered with weak consumption of private goods contributed to the contraction, which was worse than what financial analysts had predicted.

 

Net exports also decreased, possibly in small part to escalating trade tensions in the global economy. The strength of the Japanese yen against the United States dollar also makes exports including venerable Japanese automobiles and consumer electronics more expensive to global customers. The stability of the yen makes it a safe bet for foreign investors, however, this might be negated if the trade wars come to fruition.

 

Despite the weaker than expected growth, most experts do not expect Japan to slide into a recession. Most predictors demonstrate that the country will rebound with modest growth in the second quarter. The country faces an uphill in growing its economy because of factors including lower than desired inflation, an aging population requiring government subsidies, and lack of females in the workforce.

Stream Energy’s Philanthropic Footprint in Texas

The news that Stream Energy had launched its charity foundation, Stream Cares, came as no surprise as the Dallas-based firm has proven its affinity for charitable causes. And the energy firm does not just write checks but also commits time to philanthropic causes.

While it is the norm for many modern firms to be involved in corporate social responsibility, Stream Energy’s involvement in such causes is ingrained in its business model. The company’s business model relies on independent associates to market energy, wireless, and home services. The associates earn a commission based on their sales. The company has many associates, who are actively involved in philanthropic causes. Add that to the company’s effort, and you establish why the energy firm is the most talked about in Texas regarding philanthropy.

When Hurricane Harvey touched down in Southern Texas destroying homes, property, and displacing residents, Stream Energy made efforts to help heal and rebuild the affected areas. The company donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross. In addition, the firm collaborated with Red Cross, accepting donations on behalf of the non-profit. What’s more, the firm announced it would be lenient towards its customers in the affected areas, regarding payment of utility bills.

Statistics indicate that there is a 24 percent rise in homelessness in Dallas. What a better way to alleviate the suffering of the homeless than affording them memorable experiences? Stream Energy, its associates, and Hope Supply Co. have collaborated to sponsor annual Splash for Hope. The event saw over a thousand North Texas homeless children access monetary assistance, essential supplies, and partake in a fun day. Hope and Stream have had such partnerships for over four years.

Dallas-area veterans and their families have benefitted from Stream and its associates. Through the Operation Once in a Lifetime program, the company sponsored the veterans and their families to sumptuous lunch. The firm also catered to their transportations costs. The American Girl Doll experience shortly came after the lunch. The experience sought to pamper 10 young girls belonging to the veterans.

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United Kingdom Economic Growth Downgraded

The year 2017 final financial figures are in and officials say the GDP of the UK economy grew by a paltry 0.4% in the last three months of the fourth quarter. Previously, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) had stated that they believed the economy would have grown at a rate of 0.5% The revised decreased rate of growth was largely attributed to a lower gain in the production industries. Overall the national economy grew at a rate of 1.7% for the year. This figure is the lowest since 2012.

Experts attribute the shutdown of the Forties pipeline system for most of December 2017 as a major contributor to the revised decrease in economic prosperity. Other factors include a stifled business investment scene, a perceived construction recession, stagnate wage growth, and concerns over rising inflation. A slowdown in household spending, as well as higher prices on consumer goods, was attributed to the inflation worries. The 1.4% year-on-year rate of growth in the last quarter of the year lands the UK as the slowest growing economy among the world’s wealthiest countries, behind both Italy and Japan.

The Bank of England is encouraged by future growth forecasts and has raised their prediction of economic output to increase to 1.8% overall for the upcoming year. Assuming this growth comes to fruition, the Bank has indicated that interest rate hikes could accelerate given this economic trajectory.