HMC Global - Daily Digest

There are many advantages from knowing your industry, by doing this you can ensure that you understand your customer, what their needs are and ultimately sell your product or service. Constantly keeping up to date can be difficult as you have to fight through all the millions of articles and reports to find what is relevant and beneficial. Here at HMC Global, we’ve made this easier - with our Daily Digest.

16 August 2017

FinTech firms continue to attract investment from start-ups, as new entities look for ways to disrupt current financial markets, while venture capitalists remain interested in investing in companies, although they have taken a more cautious approach. Latest figures show investment in Q2 2017 running at around $8.4b, around double of Q1, though still lower than Q2 2016.

Slowing economy, falling wages and rising costs fuel weakest growth in six years for UK construction industry, trade group forecasts. The number of cranes needling Britain’s city skylines is often used as crude shorthand for the health of economy.

Technology companies such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems have ramped up lobbying ahead of talks to renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement, looking to avoid any future restrictions on cloud storage and to promote an international pact to eliminate technology goods tariffs.

Unemployment in the UK fell by 57,000 in the three months to June, official figures show, bringing the jobless rate to 4.4% - its lowest since 1975. Average weekly earnings increased by 2.1% compared with a year earlier – slightly higher than last month’s 2% increase.



14 August 2017

Mainland quickens the pace of change to spur growth and competitiveness, entice global market investors. China has quickened the pace of opening up its financial market, to spur economic growth, raise financial competitiveness and actively participate in global markets.

A £86 million fund for investment in innovative healthcare technology has been announced by the government – it will include the launch of a new Digital Health Catalyst. Unveiled last week, the multi-million-pound fund will support small and medium sized enterprises to develop, test and integrate new technologies in the NHS.

Japan’s economy grew faster than expected in the second-quarter of the year as consumer spending and capital expenditure ramped up. Gross domestic product expanded at an annualised rate of 4% in the April-to-June period, government data showed, beating expectations for a 2.5% rise.

The key nuclear power players have been called in by the Government for crunch talks on plans to meet Britain’s energy demans with new small reactor technology, amid mounting fear over delays and Whitehall paralysis. Industry giants including NuScale, Rolls-Royce etc have been summoned by ministers in a bit to reignite interest in the project.


11 August 2017

The Irish government’s decision to allow craft breweries and distilleries to sell their products to their visitors on site will hurt the hospitality sector in the north it has been claimed. Last month legislation was approved to allow microbreweries to sell their products on their premises in the ROI between the hours of 10am and 6pm.

European and Asian markets follow Wall Street lower after President Trump issues another proactive warning to North Korea.

Oil prices have been mired in a 2 ½ years slump. Crude last reached $100 per barrel in 2014. After hitting a rock bottom of $27 in early 2016, global oil prices have recovered but cannot seem to break out of the range of $50 per barrel. This stagnation has led some energy companies to tighten their belts, hoping to extend their business until the price recovers.

These are tough times for nuclear power in the U.S Power plants under construction are facing serious delays, halts and cost overruns. Utilities in South Carolina abandoned a project to complete construction of two power plants in August, while the cost of the only nuclear plant now under construction ballooned to US $25 billion.



09 August 2017

Ten years ago this week the financial crisis began. Few people knew it at the time. The first milestone was French bank BNP Paribas’ decision to freeze three hedge funds that specialised in sub-prime loans, a market not previously much noticed outside the world of high finance.

Firms could face fines of up to £17m or 4% of global turnover if they fail to protect themselves from cyber-attacks, the government has warned. The crackdown is aimed at making sure essential services such as water, energy, transport and health firms are safeguarded against hacking attempts.

Political and economic uncertainty drags on demand for new projects, with firms reluctant to commit to ventures, a survey reveals. Construction activity slumped in July to its lowest level in almost a year, the latest snapshot of the sector reveals.

The frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks continues to rise globally according to research data in the Q2 Threat Intelligence Report released by NTT Security. Findings were of extreme interest and concern – cyber attacks were up 24% globally during Q2 2017. Manufacturers continue to be a key target for cybercriminals. 67% of malware attacked were delivered by phishing emails.  



07 August 2017

The NI economy has grown at a higher rate than the UK in the past quarter and over the past year official figures show. The NI Composite Economic Index (NICEI), published on Thursday shows an estimated annual growth of 2.4%, higher than the UK rate of 2%.

The goal of producing smarter factories and a vision for connected industry is not just a concept – it is now a reality, and Bosch Rexroth has long been a leading player in this field, being both a pioneer and user of Industry 4.0 technologies.

Bitcoin’s value has jumped to record high, following a month of turmoil. The virtual currency reached $3,434.02 per coin in Monday trade, according to the Coindesk Bitcoin Price Index. It had never crossed the $3,000 mark until the weekend. The surge followed the creation of a spin-off crypto-currency, Bitcoin Cash, last week.

The US economy saw strong jobs growth in July, helped by a wave of hiring in the hospitality industry. The Bureau of Labour Statistics said 209,000 jobs were created in July, which was more than expected. The unemployment rate edged lower to 4.3% matching May’s figure which was the lowest since 2001.



04 August 2017

Britain’s £60bn life sciences sector is in line for a major boost this summer as the Government prepares to fire back up its industrial strategy. Life sciences, which employs more than 220,000 people in the UK, is expected to be the first to benefit from the launch of a sector report under the industrial strategy.

UK interest rates may have to go up by more than the market expects in the future, Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent has told the BBC. He said the drop in sterling following the Brexit vote had fueled inflation. Mr Broadbent said there was a ‘’trade off between stabilizing inflation and keeping the economy going.’’ 

The market size for global defibrillator market was estimated at USD 12.1 billion in 2016, which is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of more than 6.8% during the forecast period. Increasing demand of defibrillators due to supportive legislation policies by the government of developed countries is a major driver responsible for growth.

UK taxpayer-owned bank reports first half-yearly profit for three years with full-year loss likely as it outlines plan to ensure passporting rights continue. Royal Bank of Scotland is in discussions about using Amsterdam as its post-Brexit EU hub and has revealed it is being investigated for potential breaches of money laundering rules.




02 August 2017

Kainos, the Belfast-based IT firm, has been awarded a £3.1m grant by Invest NI to support research and development. The money will be used for the development of mobile software in the firm’s healthcare division. Kainos has a software platform called Evolve which is used for the storage of patient records and has the integration of healthcare data.

British Gas will increase electricity prices by 12.5% from 15 September, its own Centrica has said, in a move that will affect 3.1 million customers. Gas prices are unchanged, but the average annual dual-fuel bill for a typical household on a standard tarrif will rise by £76 to £1,120, up by 7.3%.

The pharmaceutical and life science industry leads in AI adoption, according to a research, Amplifying Human Potential – Towards Purposeful AI, conducted by Infosys. However, this leadership position was not gained overnight. It was earned over several years, in which this sector has adopted AI to conduct clinical trials, perform drug analysis and fast-track product launches.

The British manufacturing sector bounced back from a slowdown to post a much stronger than expected expansion, according to a closely watched indicator which adds a further puzzling divergence from government measures of production.



31 July 2017

Survey suggest UK property market hampered by Brexit as banks tighten lending. The pace of growth in Britain’s construction industry slowed over the second quarter as investment was delayed by uncertainty over Brexit.


According to the Telegraph, smart machines are about to usher in the age of Industry 4.0. Robots have been taking our jobs since the 1960s. So why are politicians and business leaders only now becoming so worried about robots causing mass unemployment.


Almost 100 industry and local government leaders from across the North have been brought together to give their insight into the future of the region’s energy industry. Andy Koss, has been leading a series of workshops with business leaders.

Contributing well over a quarter of GDP, the UK’s engineering sector has aptly been described as the ‘core of our society,’ but it faces a serious skills shortage that Brexit could exacerbate.



28 July 2017

Confidence in the traditional financial services industry has failed to recover since the global crash ten years ago, according to a survey of active UK investors. It reveals that 55% trust the industry less than before the crisis.

Asset managers in London oversee funds worth €1.2 trillion in the EU – more than their peers in France, Germany and Italy combined. Britain-based investment firms’ long-standing ability to manage billions of euros of assets elsewhere in Europe could be threatened by Brexit.

According to the BBC small firms are being ‘crippled’ by the continuing impact of last month’s NotPetya cyber attack on Dutch delivery firm TNT. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) says it has ‘serious concerns’ over the effects of the 28 June attack.

British car industry’s ambition to reach an all-time high production figure of 2 million by 2020 is now in jeopardy from a variety of factors, including the impact of Brexit.



26 July 2017

According to the Telegraph, a shortage of industrial space is threatening to curb British manufacturing after UK businesses experienced a post-Brexit vote boom brought about by weakened pound

The BBC brings us the news that an agreement gives US farmers access to the world’s biggest rice consumer, with China importing about 5 million tonnes last year. It follows trade talks that resulted in little progress on other issues.

Greece could be close to returning to sustainable economic growth at last after almost a decade of devasting recession and crises, economists believe. The country’s government is getting closer to restoring a degree of financial stability through the last rounds of talks.

Nearly 126,000 people are currently employed across the United Kingdom’s renewable energy industry, according to new figures from the country’s Renewable Energy Association, but employment growth is slowing.



24 July 2017

The world’s first full-scale floating wind farm has started to take shape off the north-east coast of Scotland, according to BBC News. The revolutionary technology will allow wind power to be harvested in waters too deep for the current conventional bottom-standing turbines.

Belfast is one of the world’s top 50 cities for female entrepreneurship according to a new report from Dell. The 2017 Women Entrepreneur Cities Index (WE Cities Index) has assessed cities throughout the world on a wide range of assessment criteria.

The UK and US economies will expand more slowly in 2017 than previously predicted, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It said ‘’weaker- than-expected-activity’’ in the first three months of the year meant the UK would grow by 1.7% compared with an earlier 2% forecast

A lobby group for the UK finance industry claims the sector could add £43 billion to the UK economy by 2025 if industry, regulators and the government pull together to work on a ‘’roadmap for change.’’ PwC and lobby group The CityUK published a blueprint for transforming the UK’s financial sector post-Brexit on Thursday.



21 July 2017

Published by the Irish Times, the NI economy has grown at a higher rate than the UK in the past quarter and over the past year official figures show. The NI Composite Economic Index (NICEI), published on Thursday shows an estimated annual growth of 2.4 % higher than the UK rate of 2%.

The Telegraph published the growth in Britain’s aerospace industry – the world’s second largest, will be hurt by failure to secure a good Brexit deal. The prospect of Britain crashing out of the EU in 2019 having not negotiated an exit deal with the EU was labelled as ‘’chaos, the worst possible outcome’’ by trade body ADS.

According to the Financial Times, Brexit could provide a ‘’once-in-a-generation’’ opportunity to reform Britain’s financial services industry, a report for the Trades Union Congress has said. The report carried out by The Financial Inclusion Centre on behalf of the TUC, found a number of issues affecting Britain’s financial services sector.

The Irish Times have shared that the US banking group Citigroup confirmed to staff on Thursday that it plans to extend its operations in Dublin, where it employs about 2,500 people, as the UK banking giant prepares itself for the fallout from Brexit.



20 July 2017

Brought to us by Sync NI - GolfNow, a US-based technology company that first set up shop in Belfast in September 2014, is expanding its presence in Northern Ireland’s capital city with a move to new state-of-the-art offices in City Quays.

European Pharmaceutical Review shares how Veep’s Rik Van Mol explains how streamlining the clinical process will not only improve the speed but also the quality of the data. The life sciences industry is moving toward a unified clinical model by streamlining clinical systems and processes.  

According to the West Virginia Morning ‘the power sector is moving toward more use of natural gas. Even the Ohio Valley, where coal has long been king, the switch to gas is under way, with big implications for the region’s economy and environment.’

Despite growing uncertainty in the run up to the general election last month, recent data published from a leading  UK independent job board, CV-Library , suggests that engineering companies remained confident in Q2 2017.



19 July 2017

Brought to us by Financial Times, this summer numerous China investors will travel to a facility in Cambridge. There presence is ‘’what fund managers say is rising demand for opportunities in agriculture as financiers seek to capitalise on trends.’’

Fantastic news for a British start up, who help UK leading retailers better manage their digital marketplace, are expected to enter the US market and double in size by next year.

According to an EY survey the amount of tech-related foreign direct investment (FDI) into Northern Ireland remains low compared to the rest of the UK. However, the region ranks first when it comes to the number of FDI jobs created, a new study shows.

China may be the world’s biggest polluter, however, it is also leading on renewable energy. Beijing is investing hundreds of billions of dollars in creating millions of jobs in clean power. Additionally, they have built vast solar and wind farms, helping to duel the growth of major industries. 



18 July 2017

The UK’s inflation rate dropped to 2.6% in June, from 2.9% in May. The fall in rate has not happened since October of last year. Those have said the recent spike in inflation is likely to be temporary but this one-off effect will draw some comfort. However, the cost of living squeeze continues. 

An industry body has warned about the ‘’major risk’’ to performance of Britain’s £28bn food and drink sector, thanks to Post-Brexit trade tariffs. Manufacturers are already under pressure by higher import costs linked to sterling’s weakness. 

The Commercial Drone Industry is accelerating rapidly. With drone solutions, the integration of AI into hardware, data pipelines and analysis tools provides customers with more value and data more easily.  

The UK aerospace sector has enjoyed a windfall of £10.5bn so fa this year after the industry globally delivered 524 aircraft to its customers. In May along, there were 118 aircraft deliveries worldwide the second largest on record behind 2016.


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