Global Business Development

EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 96, Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

Introduction: In this issue, each day 70 million people visit McDonald’s 40,000 restaurants worldwide. The hours we work each week vary widely by country. Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Singapore lead the Global Innovation Index this year. And governments are expected to spend $2 trillion on interest on their debt this year.

The mission of this newsletter is to use trusted global and regional information sources to update our 1,400+ readers in 20+ countries on key global and local trends that can impact the success of their businesses at home and abroad.

To receive this biweekly newsletter that is read by over 1,400 people in 20 countries, click here: https://bit.ly/geowizardsignup

First, A Few Words of Wisdom From Others For These Times

“Every problem is a gift — without problems we would not grow.”, Tony Robbins, motivational speaker and writer

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”, T.S. Eliot

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”, Lao Tzu, Chinese Taoist philosopher

Highlights in issue #96:

  • Brand Global News Section: McDonalds®, Pizza Hut® and Jim’s Beauty®

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Interesting Data and Studies

The Most Innovative Countries in the World in 2023 – Which countries are the global innovation powerhouses? In many ways, the past year has represented an inflection point in technological advancement. Almost overnight, OpenAI’s large language model ChatGPT became a household name and AI was within reach to the masses.  Yet looking under the surface, innovation is influenced by several unseen factors, from the institutional environment and high-tech exports to research talent and entrepreneurship culture. This graphic shows the most innovative countries in the world, based on the 2023 Global Innovation Index (GII) put together by the World Intellectual Property Organization.”, Visual Capitalist, November 14, 2023


The global outlook is unchanged despite weaker readings in trade, consumer confidence, and business activity. Still-elevated inflation and interest rates are acting as headwinds to economic growth. According to theInternational Monetary Fund’s (IMF) October World Economic Outlook, global growth is forecast to slow from 3.5% in 2022 to 3.0% in 2023 and 2.9% in 2024. There are mixed signals from global trade. Overall consumer confidence declined, primarily due to elevated interest rates.”, McKinsey & Co., November 20, 2023


Comparing Weekly Work Hours and Salaries in OECD CountriesThe Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is generally regarded as a collection of highly developed, high income countries. However with 38 member states from across the globe, economic prosperity can still vary widely between these nations.To illustrate this, Truman Du from Genuine Impact charts the average weekly work hours and salaries across the OECD in 2022.”, Visual Capitalist, November 18, 2023


OpenAI and the rift at the heart of Silicon Valley – The tech industry is divided over how best to develop AI, and whether it’s possible to balance safety with the pursuit of profits. OpenAI was launched as a research firm dedicated to building safe AI for the benefit of all humanity. But the drama of recent days suggests it has failed to deal with the outsized success that has flowed from its own technical advances. It has also thrown the question of how to control AI into sharp relief: was the crisis caused by a flaw in the company’s design, meaning that it has little bearing on the prospects for other attempts to balance AI safety and the pursuit of profits? Or is it a glimpse into a wider rift in the industry with serious implications for its future — and ours?”, The Financial Times, November 24, 2023

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Global Supply Chain, Energy, Commodities, Inflation & Trade Issues

The $2 Trillion Interest Bill That’s Hitting Governments – Debt-servicing costs complicate plans in many countries for more military, climate spending. Governments are expected to spend a net $2 trillion paying interest on their debt this year as higher interest rates make borrowing more expensive, up more than 10% from 2022, according to an analysis of International Monetary Fund data by research consulting firm Teal Insights and a separate analysis by Fitch Ratings. By 2027, it could top $3 trillion, according to Teal Insights.”, The Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2023

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Global & Regional Travel Updates

Business Travel Is About to Pick Up – Corporate travel may finally be back in business, unlocking higher profit margins for airlines and hotel companies and a much-needed revenue boost for the next few months, typically a slow season for leisure travel. Travel manager surveys, anecdotal evidence from airlines, hotel company earnings, and the end of the Hollywood and auto makers’ strikes all signal a long-awaited uptick after a slow postpandemic recovery. The key for investors is that there looks to be more upside ahead.”, Barron’s, November 23, 2023


China offers visa-free entry for citizens of France, Germany, ItalyChina will temporarily exempt citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia from needing visas to visit the world’s second-largest economy in a bid to give a boost to post-pandemic tourism.From Dec. 1 to Nov. 30 next year, citizens of those countries entering China for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends, or transiting for no more than 15 days, will not need a visa, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Friday.China has been taking steps in recent months – including restoring international flight routes – to revive its tourism sector following three years of strict COVID-19 measures that largely shut its borders to the outside world.”, Reuters, November 24, 2023

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Country & Regional Updates

Argentina

Argentina’s Economic Turmoil Is Getting Worse – Argentina has long been trapped in recurring cycles of deep and destructive economic contractions brought on by policies that force governments to routinely spend more than they collect through taxes and other income, economists say. President-elect Javier Milei will take office in early December with the task of reversing unsustainable spending policies that have depleted government coffers and caused inflation and interest rates to soar.”, The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2023


China

European Firms Want Clarity on China’s Data Transfer Rules Seen as Raising Costs – A European business group has called on Beijing to clarify cross-border data transfer regulations it considers too vague or too strict, as they have created challenges such as higher costs for companies doing business in China. More than 80% of the respondents want Beijing to further clarify what “important data” encompasses, while 59% and 39% would like to see clearer definitions of “personal information” and “critical information infrastructure,” respectively, according to the survey.”, Caixin Global, November 16, 2023


China’s shoppers are gloomy and picky – They want to spend on pets and sports, not makeup or perfume. Although the unemployment rate in China’s cities is only 5%, many households are not optimistic about their pay or their job prospects. According to the latest central-bank survey, more people expect their income to fall in the near future than to rise. Consumer confidence collapsed during the pandemic-related lockdowns of 2022. It has yet to recover. The gloom is making customers picky and cost-conscious.”, The Economist, November 16, 2023


European Union

New car sales in Europe pop as EVs record 36% increase and hybrids account for nearly 3 in 10 vehicles sold – The ACEA said fully electric cars made up 14.2% of sales in October, overtaking sales of diesel cars for the third time. As recently as 2015, diesel models accounted for more than 50% of cars sold in the EU, but they accounted for just 12% of sales in October. For the ten months through October, sales of fully electric cars were up 53.1%. Electrified vehicles – either fully electric models, plug-in hybrids or full hybrids – accounted for over 47% of all new passenger car registrations in the EU between January and October 2023, up from 42% in the same period last year, the ACEA said.”, Fortune magazine, November 22, 2023


India

India is seeing a massive aviation boom – New airports, hundreds of aircraft and millions of new passengers are on their way. The country’s entire aviation industry is growing at an astonishing clip. Four new airports and four new terminals have opened in the past 12 months. That gives India 149 operational civil airports, twice the number it had a decade ago. Nine additional airports have been approved and many more are planned. Domestic passenger numbers rose from 98m in 2012-13 to 202m in 2019-20. Already the third-biggest domestic aviation market by volume, India is projected to be the third-largest overall by 2026, according to the International Air Transport Association, an industry body.”, The Economist, November 23, 2023


Japan

Is Japan’s economy at a turning point? Wage and price inflation is coinciding with an exciting corporate renewal. After years of deflation or low inflation, Japan is seeing its fastest price growth in more than 30 years. Wages, long stagnant, are rising faster than at any time since the 1990s. Both increases are driven largely by global supply shocks. But they are not the only changes afoot. As Aoki predicted, gradual institutional and generational shifts are bearing fruit and changing Japan Inc from within.”, The London Economist, November 16, 2023


Mexico

The city where Mexico’s nearshoring hype is becoming reality – Optimism infects business leaders in Monterrey as manufacturers shift operations close to the US. Industrial real estate is expanding, yet at the same time vacancy rates are below 2 per cent. Developers are even building a physical symbol of the hubris: a skyscraper taller than the Empire State Building. ‘A week doesn’t go by for us without meeting Chinese, Korean, Japanese executives, looking to open offices or a plant,’ said Lorenzo Barrera Segovia, chief executive of Banco Base, a bank based in the city.”, The Financial Times, November 27, 2023


Turkey

Turkey Central Bank Hikes Rate by Double the Forecast to 40%The monetary authority delivers a bigger-than-expected hike Real rates now above zero relative to an inflation gauge. The MPC, led by Governor Hafize Gaye Erkan, signaled it would slow the pace of tightening from now. It’s lifted rates by more than 30 percentage points since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected in May, reversing years of loose fiscal and monetary policies that were blamed for enabling inflation to soar and scaring foreign investors away.”, Bloomberg, November 23, 2023


United Kingdom

UK Inflation Slows to Two-Year Low, Bolstering Rate Cut Bets – UK inflation tumbled to the lowest level in two years, firming up bets that the Bank of England will be able to cut rates as early as the middle of next year. Consumer prices rose 4.6% from a year earlier in October, down sharply from 6.7% in September and the slowest pace since 2021 as energy prices fell, the Office for National Statistics said Wednesday.”, Bloomberg, November 15, 2023


The UK Economy Continues to Beat ExpectationsThat’s mostly good news, unless you’re hoping for imminent interest rate cuts. Consumer confidence headed higher this month. It’s still negative, but it’s going in the right direction….the latest snapshot of business activity in the UK (courtesy of S&P Global/CIPS) showed expansion for the first time since July. This was led by the services sector, with manufacturing still in contraction.”, Bloomberg, November 24, 2023


United States

How will America’s economy fare in 2024? Don’t ask a forecaster – The consensus is that there is no consensus. Goldman Sachs expects growth in America to be robust, at 2.1%, around double the level that economists at ubs foresee. Some banks see inflation falling by half in 2024. Others think it will remain sticky, only dropping to around 3%, still well above the Federal Reserve’s target. Expectations for what the Fed will end up doing with interest rates range, accordingly, from basically nothing to 2.75 percentage points of rate cuts.”, The London Economist, November 23, 2023

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Brand & Franchising News

Big Jack’: McDonald’s loses legal food fight over Australian rival’s choice of burger nameCourt rules Hungry Jack’s had not infringed on trademark but had misled consumers over ‘25% more Aussie beef’ claim. McDonald’s has lost a three-year trademark battle over the sale of “Big Jack” burgers sold by its rival, Hungry Jack’s. But McDonald’s succeeded on a separate consumer law claim. The court found Hungry Jack’s had misled consumers by advertising that its Big Jack burger contained ‘25% more Aussie beef’ than its Big Mac counterpart.”, The Guardian, November 15, 2023. Compliments of Jason Gehrke, The Franchise Advisory Centre, Brisbane


McDonalds Global will acquire Carlyle Group s equity in McDonalds China business increasing its shareholding ratio to 48% – McDonald’s Global and Carlyle Group announced that McDonald’s Global agreed to acquire Carlyle’s minority stake in McDonald’s strategic cooperation companies in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. The CITIC Consortium, dominated by CITIC Capital, will maintain its controlling position. After the transaction is completed, CITIC Consortium will continue to hold 52% of the shares, and McDonald’s Global, as a minority shareholder, will increase its shareholding ratio from 20% to 48%. It is reported that since September 2019, McDonald’s China has achieved system sales growth of more than 30%.”, Caixin.com.cn, November 21, 2023. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto


The Number Of People Who Eat McDonald’s Daily Is Enough To Populate A Country – With over 40,275 restaurant locations worldwide, McDonald’s has long reigned as one of the most successful fast food chains on the planet. From South Carolina to the South of France, you can count on finding a McDonald’s no matter where you are (save a few exceptions, of course, such as Iceland and Bolivia). According to statistics from 2021, approximately 70 million people visit a McDonald’s location every day. That is more than the population of France or the United Kingdom…”, The Daily Meal, November 21, 2023


Pizza Hut set for 400 store Aussie expansion – A fast food battle is looming in Australia with Pizza Hut unveiling aggressive new expansion plans as it aims to take on Domino’s. It currently has about 10 per cent of the Australian pizza market, compared to Domino’s’ 50 per cent market share.  In June, US-based Flynn Restaurant Group bought the master licence for Pizza Hut in Australia from private equity firm Allegro Funds. There are currently 260 Pizza Hut stores in Australia…..Pizza Hut Australia CEO Phil Reed added that the company had identified 400 sites across Australian where it could open a store.”, News.com.au, November 27, 2023


Jim’s Beauty opens offering customers at home beauty treatments – Jim’s Group is renowned for having a long list of franchises, including Jim’s Mowing, Jim’s Cleaning and Jim’s Painting. . Now, Aussies in the beauty industry are being offered the chance to start their own business and join the Jim’s Beauty franchise. The mobile services can be done in the customer’s home or even the franchisee’s house and salon if the customer prefers.”, News.com.au, November 13, 2023. Compliments of Jason Gehrke, The Franchise Advisory Centre, Brisbane

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To receive this biweekly newsletter, click here : https://bit.ly/geowizardsignup

Our Mission, Information Sources & Who We Are

Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, the franchise sector, economic development and travel. We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ on the ground covering 25+ countries provides us with updates about what is actually happening in their specific countries. 

William “Bill” Edwards: Global Advisor Is Uniquely Qualified to Steer Sr. Executives Successfully Through the Complex Waters of Going Global.  With four decades of successful international business experience spanning virtually every corner of the world and many business sectors, Bill Edwards understands the global business landscape like no other.  He has been a County Master Franchisee in five countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East; the Senior VP for a franchisor operating in 15 countries and a full-service consultant taking 40 franchisors global.

For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to take your business global successfully, contact Bill Edwards at bedwards@edwardsglobal.com or +1 949 224 3896. 

www.edwardsglobal.com

And download our latest chart ranking 40+ countries as places to do business at this link:

Our latest GlobalVue™ 40 country ranking


EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 95, Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

Introduction: In this issue, as we get towards the end of another year there are lots of economic projections coming out. Look at the cost of a gallon of gas in California versus the US Midwest. Overall, global consumer confidence remains broadly stable with some exceptions. And why McDonalds® menu are better in other countries….really.

The mission of this newsletter is to use trusted global and regional information sources to update our 1,400+ readers in 20+ countries on key global and local trends that can impact the success of their businesses at home and abroad.

To receive this biweekly newsletter that is read by over 1,400 people in 20 countries, click here: https://bit.ly/geowizardsignup

First, A Few Words of Wisdom From Others For These Times

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”, Steve Jobs’

“Find the pathway to win, not the excuse to fail.”, Byron Ashley

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”, Dale Carnegie

Highlights in issue #95:

  • Brand Global News Section: Planet Fitness®, Popeyes®, and Subway®

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Interesting Data and Studies

Technology trends for 2024 and beyond – As we look forward to 2024, our technology narrative has been consumed by AI. However, we must remember that AI is only a component of a broader digital revolution that includes blockchain, quantum computing, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, robotics, 3D printing, AR/VR, and other emerging innovations. Technology revolutions create more jobs than they destroy. However, history has proven that the period following the rapid deployment of technological innovation arrests wages for unskilled workers (known as Engle’s Pause). In the short term, those who control capital often benefit from technological progress.”, Vistage, October 30, 2023


WTO Downgrades Global Trade ForecastLast month, the World Trade Organization published its updated Global Trade Outlook in which it downgraded its projection for trade growth this year to just 0.8 percent from 1.7 percent in April. The shift is a result of a number of factors – inflation, high interest rates, China’s underwhelming recovery, a high U.S. dollar and geopolitical tensions – and has affected a broad range of countries and sectors. The WTO’s outlook for 2024 remained relatively unchanged, declining only slightly from 3.3 percent to 3.2 percent. Two key variables, however, could upend this forecast: a weak Chinese economy and high inflation rates in developed economies.”, Geopolitical Futures, November 10, 2023


World’s population has passed 8 billion, says US Census Bureau – The world population growth, however, continues a long-term trend of slowing down. The human species has topped 8 billion, with longer lifespans offsetting fewer births, but world population growth continues a long-term trend of slowing down. The United Nations estimated the number was passed 10 months earlier, having declared 22 November 2022, the “Day of 8 Billion”, the Census Bureau pointed out in a statement.”, The Independent, November 10, 2023


These Five Countries Are Key Economic ‘Connectors’ in a Fragmenting World – Vietnam, Poland, Mexico, Morocco and Indonesia are benefiting from the reshuffling of supply chains in response to US-China tensions.  As a group, these countries logged $4 trillion in economic output in 2022—more than India and almost as much as Germany or Japan. Despite their very different politics and pasts, they share an opportunistic desire to seize the economic windfall to be had by positioning themselves as new links between the US and China—or China, Europe and other Asian economies. They represent 4% of global gross domestic product, yet they’ve attracted slightly over 10%, or $550 billion, of all so-called greenfield investment since 2017.”, Bloomberg, November 2, 2023


Welcome to the age of the hermit consumer – The world economy is witnessing a $600bn-a-year shift in behaviour. Before covid, the share of consumer spending devoted to services was rising steadily. As societies became richer, they sought more luxury experiences, health care and financial planning. Then in 2020 spending on services, from hotel stays to hair cuts, collapsed. With people spending more time at home, demand for goods jumped, with a rush for computer equipment and exercise bikes. Three years on, the share of spending devoted to services remains below its pre-covid level. Rich-world consumers are spending around $600bn a year less on services than you might have expected in 2019. In particular, people are less interested in leisure activities that take place outside the home, including hospitality and recreation. Money is being redirected to goods, ranging from durables like chairs and fridges, to things such as clothes, food and wine.”, The Economist, October 22, 2023

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Global Supply Chain, Energy, Commodities, Inflation & Trade Issues

Is Globalization in Decline? A New Number Contradicts the Consensus – Instead of looking at the dollar value of trade, focus on how many tons of stuff get shipped how far. Over the past 15 years, a consensus has developed that globalization has run its course and gone into decline. One popular number supporting this argument: Trade as a share of global output peaked in 2008 at the cusp of the global financial crisis and has never recovered. How can the value of trade be down, if the tonnage and distance are up? The obvious way this could happen is if the items being shipped are getting cheaper per ton. More goods are traveling greater distances than ever before. Shipping has increased for raw materials such as agricultural goods and natural resources, but ​has stagnated for manufactured goods”, The Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2023


Ole! Mexico becomes biggest U.S. importer amid tensions with China – Businesses seek cheaper suppliers closer to U.S. Clothes, iPhones and TVs made in China have long made the Asian giant the biggest supplier of foreign-made goods to American consumers. No longer. A steady increase in imports from Mexico during the past decade have made the southern border the biggest hotspot in global trade. Mexico has doubled its imports to the U.S. since 2010, and this year, it’s on track to surpass China as the nation’s biggest supplier of foreign-made goods and services. China held that unofficial title since 2008.”, Market Watch, November 7, 2023


Annual % change in consumer price index, by date of forecast

Global inflation tracker – Inflation is easing from the multi-decade highs reached in many countries following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The latest figures for most of the world’s largest economies show the wholesale food and energy prices that soared during 2022 are now falling back.”, The Financial Times, November 9, 2023


Visualizing All the World’s Carbon Emissions by Country – The greenhouse effect, essential for sustaining Earth’s life-friendly temperatures, has been intensified by burning fossil fuels. This amplification of the natural greenhouse effect has led to significant alterations to the planet’s climate system. The graphic above uses data from the Global Carbon Atlas to explore which countries contribute the most to CO₂ emissions.”, Visual Capitalist, November 8, 2023

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Global & Regional Travel Updates

International travel demand falls after onset of Israel-Hamas conflict – International flight bookings around the world have fallen since the onset of the Israel-Hamas conflict especially in the Americas as people cancel trips to the Middle East and around the world, according to travel analysis firm ForwardKeys. International flight bookings from the Americas dropped 10% in the three weeks after the Oct. 7th attack, when compared to the number of tickets issued three weeks before the attack, according to flight ticketing data from ForwardKeys.”, Reuters, November 9, 2023

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Country & Regional Updates

Canada

Bank of Canada holds rate steady, trims growth forecast as inflation risks riseBank Governor Tiff Macklem and his team kept the policy rate at 5 per cent, the highest level in more than two decades. The decision was widely expected by analysts. It marked the second straight rate announcement in which the bank has remained on the sidelines. After 10 rate hikes since March, 2022, including two over the summer, higher borrowing costs are having their intended effect. Canadian consumers are pulling back on spending, unemployment is up and economic growth has slowed to a crawl.”,  The Globe and Mail, October 26, 2023


China

It’s U.S. vs. China in an Increasingly Divided World Economy – Trade and investment flows settle into new patterns around two rival power centers—with major risks. China passed a significant milestone last fall: For the first time since its economic opening more than four decades ago, it traded more with developing countries than the U.S., Europe and Japan combined. It was one of the clearest signs yet that China and the West are going in different directions as tensions increase over trade, technology, security and other thorny issues.”, The Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2023


Foreign Firms Pull Billions in Earnings Out of China – The outflows show interest rates, U.S. tensions and a weak economy are sapping China’s investment appeal. For years, foreign companies plowed the profits they made in China back into China, using the cash to finance new hiring and investment as its giant economy expanded rapidly. Now, as growth slows and tensions between Beijing and Washington rise, they are pulling those profits out.”, The Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2023


China Is Making Too Much Stuff—and Other Countries Are Worried – Factories lack customers and are pushing exports harder, raising trade tensions. Some Chinese factories, saddled with overcapacity in a struggling economy, are trying to export their way out of trouble and stoking new trade tensions in the process. The tensions are most acute in Europe, where European Union regulators in September unveiled an antisubsidy probe, reflecting concern that China is flooding the region with low-cost electric vehicles. India is investigating whether China dumped a range of goods, from chemicals to furniture parts, into the country at unfair prices. Vietnam in September started examining whether wind towers imported from China have hurt domestic manufacturers.”, The Waal Street Journal, November 10, 2023


European Union

The EU’s plan to regain its competitive edge – Brussels is trying to devise another new strategy amid fears of being left even further behind the US and China. When the heads of cabinets of the EU’s 27 commissioners huddled in the Belgian countryside in late August for their back-to-work retreat, all were invited to talk about what they thought should be the priority for the autumn. Everyone, over and over again, kept on coming back to competitiveness, and fixing the state of the EU’s economy. The EU economy, in dollar terms, is 65 per cent of the size of the US economy. That’s down from 91 per cent in 2013. Per capita, US gross domestic product is more than twice the size of the EU’s, and the gap is increasing.”, The Financial Times, November 5, 2023


Germany

Coalition Government Agrees to Reduce Electricity Prices for Industry – The package of measures will lower the electricity tax until at least 2025 and expand and extend existing subsidy schemes for energy-intensive manufacturers. Although electricity prices in Germany have dropped significantly from the record highs seen at the height of the energy crisis, they remain much higher for many energy-intensive manufacturers compared with those faced by their international competitors.”, RANE WorldView, November 9, 2023


India

India is in the midst of an unusual IPO boom – Extraordinary economic growth makes even ordinary companies look good. Beginning late last year, valuations in India’s private markets collapsed as investors lost patience with loss-making startups such as oyo, a hotel chain, and Byju’s, an online-learning business. Public markets sagged, too. The first hint of a shift in mood came in April with the listing of Mankind Pharma, a manufacturer of condoms and pregnancy tests. It quickly became apparent that attractive opportunities abounded in ordinary areas of an economy experiencing extraordinary growth. A flood of listings followed. As of early November, 194 companies had gone public this year, up from 144 for all of 2022.”, The Economist, November 9, 2023


Turkey

High Court Clash Will Likely Hinder Foreign Investment – Turkey’s top appeals court filed criminal complaints against Constitutional Court judges after they issued a ruling in October calling for the release of Can Atalay, an opposition figure who was elected to the National Assembly in May, from prison on grounds of parliamentary immunity, Reuters reported on Nov. 8.  This clash between Turkey’s top courts may cause a judicial crisis and a lack of standardized interpretations of regulations. Without uniform regulations, foreign capital is unlikely to increase, despite Ankara’s efforts to increase foreign investment to boost its economy amid economic turmoil.”, RANE WorldView, November 9, 2023


United States

Houston overtakes Miami as best place for foreign businesses in annual FT-Nikkei rankingTexas cities dominate top 10 amid surge of foreign investment in auto and tech sectors. Houston has taken the top slot as the best US city for foreign multinationals to do business in the second annual ranking compiled by the Financial Times and Nikkei. It gained the top spot by offering business friendly policies, excellent logistics, affordable cost of living, and a diverse community for overseas companies. To learn more about how Houston finished on tThe FT-Nikkei Investing in America ranking showcases the top US cities for international business. The ranking measures cities across more than four dozen metrics important to foreign investors.”, The Financial Times, November 8, 2023


Vietnam

Intel Suspends Factory Expansion Amid Power Grid Limitations, Red Tape – Intel’s decision was based on concerns about Vietnam’s unreliable power grid and overbearing bureaucracy. The reasons for Intel’s suspension demonstrate that Vietnam lacks the capacity to power the many new or expanded factories and fabrication plants streaming into the country. Meanwhile, the country’s ongoing anti-graft campaign has created bureaucratic bottlenecks because officials are wary of signing off on projects. These same issues have constrained Vietnam’s efforts to upskill its workforce while drawing investment and reshoring companies from China.”, RANE WorldView, November 7, 2023

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Brand & Franchising News

Planet Fitness shares surge as company raises revenue outlook – The gym chain also boosted its revenue outlook for the year. Revenue jumped nearly 14% to $277.6 million. The company said it now expects to post 14% revenue growth for the year, up from its previous guidance of 12% and higher than analysts’ expectations of 11.6%. New and existing franchise owners received updated agreement details in mid-October that included key changes to the business structure, including: an increased franchise agreement from 10 years to 12 years to eliminate the initial $20,000 franchise fees, shortening grace periods for franchisees from 12 to six months and reequip periods extended to free up capital and reduce store spending.”, CNBC, November 7, 2023


How America fell back in love with the drive-thru – A taste for tech and dislike of face-to-face interaction among young diners has shifted eating habits. When Harry Snyder opened the first In-N-Out hamburger stand close to Route 66 in 1948, he helped to consummate the love affair between two of America’s favourite things — the car and fast food. Fast-food chains including McDonald’s and Taco Bell are building ever larger drive-thrus to accommodate the growing demand. The biggest, a Chick-fil-A due to open next year in Atlanta, Georgia, will be able to handle 75 cars at a time across four lanes.”, The Times of London, November 11, 2023


NZ Franchise Awards 2023 Results – BATTLE OF THE BRANDS – This year’s Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards were among the most hotly-contested ever, and it was fitting that there were two new names on the Supreme trophies from franchise brands that had never stood on the top step before. In their 28th year, the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards once again celebrated true excellence and achievement,­ and demonstrated the spirit of support and friendship that makes franchising such a successful business model.”, Franchise New Zealand, November 11, 2023


Cartesian Capital Plots Rapid Popeyes® Growth in China – When Popeyes made its China debut in August, it “smashed the record” for opening-day transactions with more than 1,760, said Greg Armstrong, a partner at Cartesian Capital, the global private equity firm that’s behind the launch of Popeyes in China with plans to open more than 1,700 restaurants across the country in the next decade. It’s an ambitious development push that might appear overly so, but not for Tims China, said Armstrong. That’s the Cartesian-owned exclusive operator and master franchisee of Tim Hortons in China, which is on track to have more than 1,000 Tims stores open by the end of the year and is the same group behind the Popeyes expansion. Both brands are part of Restaurant Brands International.”, Franchise Times, October 30, 2023. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto


Subway opens largest Asian store in Shanghai’s West Bund – The new eatery has a submarine-shaped design, the first of its kind in the world, reflecting the signature freshly-made sandwich that allows customers to choose different types of meat, cheese, and other toppings. Covering over 300 square meters (3,230 square feet) of space, it features an interactive menu ordering device, and decorative drawings are in place to offer a more immersive dining experience. Earlier this year, Subway reached a deal with master franchisee Shanghai Fu-Rui-Shi Corporate Development Co to open nearly 4,000 new sandwich shops across mainland China over the next 20 years.”, Shine.com, November 11, 2023.

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To receive this biweekly newsletter, click here : https://bit.ly/geowizardsignup

Our Mission, Information Sources & Who We Are

Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, the franchise sector, economic development and travel. We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ on the ground covering 25+ countries provides us with updates about what is actually happening in their specific countries. 

William “Bill” Edwards: Global Advisor Is Uniquely Qualified to Steer Sr. Executives Successfully Through the Complex Waters of Going Global.  With four decades of successful international business experience spanning virtually every corner of the world and many business sectors, Bill Edwards understands the global business landscape like no other.  He has been a County Master Franchisee in five countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East; the Senior VP for a franchisor operating in 15 countries and a full-service consultant taking 40 franchisors global.

For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to take your business global successfully, contact Bill Edwards at bedwards@edwardsglobal.com or +1 949 224 3896. 

www.edwardsglobal.com

Download our latest chart ranking 40+ countries as places to do business at this link:

Our latest GlobalVue™ 40 country ranking


EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 94, Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

Introduction: In this issue, as we get towards the end of another year there are lots of economic projections coming out. Look at the cost of a gallon of gas in California versus the US Midwest. Overall, global consumer confidence remains broadly stable with some exceptions. And why McDonalds® menu are better in other countries….really.

The mission of this newsletter is to use trusted global and regional information sources to update our 1,400+ readers in 20+ countries on key global and local trends that can impact the success of their businesses at home and abroad.

NOTE: Some of the sources that we provide links to require a paid subscription to access. We subscribe to 40 international information sources to keep our readers up to date on the world’s business.

To receive this biweekly newsletter that is read by over 1,400 people in 20 countries, click here:

First, A Few Words of Wisdom From Others

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”, Winston Churchill

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”, Peter Drucker

Highlights in issue #94:

  • Brand Global News Section: Cici’s Pizza®, McDonalds®, Pizza Express®, Popeyes®, Pret-A-Manger, Shake Shack® and Tim Hortons®

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Interesting Data and Studies

IMF Projections: The Fastest Growing Economies in 2024 – Which countries will see the most economic growth in 2024? To answer this question, we’ve visualized GDP growth forecasts from the IMF’s October 2023 World Economic Outlook. Unsurprisingly, many of these countries are located in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa—two of the world’s fastest growing regions.”, IMF and Visual Capitalist, October 24, 2023


113 Million People Will Join the Global Middle Class in 2024 – Defined by the World Data Lab as someone who spends at least $12 per day (measured in 2017 purchasing power parity), these individuals are typically rising up in developing regions like Asia and Africa. In this graphic, we’ve created a treemap diagram that shows where the new entrants to this consumer class in 2024 will originate from.”, Visual Capitalist, October 19, 2023


Global Economics Intelligence executive summary, September 2023Some leading indicators improved, though outlook still fragile; confidence stable but consumers lean toward saving; inflation and trade volumes continue downward trend. Overall, consumer confidence remained broadly stable across our surveyed countries but still leaned toward saving rather than spending—although confidence dipped in China. In Brazil, consumer confidence rose to 96.8 in August, up from 94.8 in July—the highest reading since February 2014.”, McKinsey, October 20, 2023


Global Economic Trends, 2023 – According to a report recently published by the International Monetary Fund, global economic growth will be significantly slower in 2023 and 2024 than the average annual rate over the past two decades. The IMF projects that global gross domestic product growth will be 3 percent in 2023 and 2.9 percent in 2024, lower than the average of 3.8 percent from 2000 to 2019. Meanwhile, inflation is projected to decline this year and next year due to tighter monetary policies in many countries around the world, but it will remain at an elevated level. Overall, global economic growth will be slow and uneven, as it continues its recovery from the pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and increases in global commodity prices.”, Geopolitical Futures, October 23, 2023

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Global Supply Chain, Energy, Commodities, Inflation & Trade Issues

Annual % change in consumer price index, by date of forecast

Global inflation tracker – Inflation is easing from the multi-decade highs reached in many countries following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The latest figures for most of the world’s largest economies show the wholesale food and energy prices that soared during 2022 are now falling back.”, The Financial Times, October 29, 2023


World needs 80 million more kilometres of new power lines by 2040, IEA finds – The agency said that grid investment needs to double to more than $600bn (£495bn) a year by 2030, or electrical grids could become a barrier to the deployment of renewables and electric transport options – risking climate catastrophe and frequent blackouts.  The report found that 80 million kilometres (49.7 million miles) of transmission lines will be needed by 2040 in order for countries to meet their climate goals and energy demands. This is roughly equivalent to the total number of miles of electrical grid that currently exist in the world, according to the IEA.”, Engineering & Technology, October 19, 2023

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Global & Regional Travel Updates

Saudi Arabia expects nearly 100 million tourist visits this year, minister says – Travel and tourism to contribute 6% to kingdom’s gross domestic product this year, up from 3% in 2019. The country will close the year with about 30 million international tourists, which is nearly half of its goal of 70 million overseas visitors by 2030, Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Minister Ahmed Al Khateeb told the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh this week. Saudi Arabia has also revised upwards its 2030 target for total annual tourist trips – a figure that entails both domestic and international travellers – to 150 million from 100 million, the minister said.”, The National News, October 25, 2023

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Country & Regional Updates

Australia

Australia under more mortgage stress than any other nation, IMF says – Cost of repaying loans is 15% of income and likely to be higher after this year’s rate hikes, as fund predicts GDP growth of 1.2% next year. The increased cost of borrowing has left Australia at the top of the league for debt with Canada second followed by Norway and the Netherlands.”, The Guardian, October 10, 2023. Compliments of Jason Gehrke, The Franchise Advisory Centre, Brisbane


Canada

Bank of Canada holds rate steady, trims growth forecast as inflation risks riseThe Bank of Canada held its benchmark interest rate steady on Wednesday but left the door open to further increases, as its latest forecast showed a thorny combination of weaker economic growth and more-persistent inflation. After 10 rate hikes since March, 2022, including two over the summer, higher borrowing costs are having their intended effect. Canadian consumers are pulling back on spending, unemployment is up and economic growth has slowed to a crawl.”, The Globe and Mail, October 26, 2023


Small business confidence hits lowest level since COVID-19 onset – The CFIB found in its latest business barometer from this month that more business owners are feeling less confident going into the holiday season. The 12-month small business confidence index dropped 1.5 points to 47.2, the lowest reading since April 2020 and the third lowest reading in nearly 15 years. The CFIB says an index level of around 65 normally indicates that the economy is growing at its full potential.”, Yahoo! Finance Canada, October 26, 2023


China

China’s Economy Faces Deepening Troubles in Years Ahead – The country’s growth is showing signs of emerging from a soft patch, but its long-term prospects are darkening. economists warn China’s economy remains fragile and its long-term prospects are darkening. In recent weeks, a bevy of economists have lowered their forecasts for China’s longer-term growth trajectories, even as they raised their shorter-term predictions. The International Monetary Fund this month lowered its forecast for China’s growth next year to 4.2%, down from 4.5%.”, The Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2023


The Struggle Facing Big-Box Supermarkets in China – Carrefour China, once the country’s largest foreign supermarket chain with nearly 260 stores in 2017, had less than 150 stores remaining at the end of last year. Financial trouble is also reflected in the first-half results of China’s 13 publicly traded supermarket operators, among which five reported year-on-year losses while three posted revenue declines despite making a profit, according to their earnings reports.”, Caixin Global, October 20, 2023


United Kingdom

Federation of Small Businesses finds companies regaining confidence – Martin McTague, chairman of the federation, said: ‘After the economic turmoil wrought by the cost of doing business crisis over the past year and a half, [there are] signs of stabilisation in small firms’ performance. We need to beware that stabilisation does not turn into stagnation and that intentions to invest and grow are not thwarted by economic circumstances.’”, The Times of London, October 30, 2023


United States

Gas Prices in Every U.S. StateGas prices fluctuate from state to state due to factors such as local taxes, environmental regulations, reliance on local production or imports, and the proximity of refineries. In this infographic, we use data from the American Automobile Association (AAA) to illustrate the cost of fueling a vehicle in each U.S. state.

According to the AAA, the national average price of regular unleaded gas was $3.54 per gallon as of October 25, 2023.”, Visual Capitalist, October 25, 2023


US Economy Grew at a 4.9% Pace Last Quarter, Fastest Since 2021 – Consumer spending jumped at 4% rate, also the most since 2021 Core PCE price index increased a less-than-forecast 2.4%. The economy’s main growth engine — personal spending — jumped 4%, also the most since 2021. The primary driver of that resilience is the enduring strength of the job market, which continues to fuel household demand.”, Bloomberg, October 26, 2023

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Brand & Franchising News

How Cicis Pulled Itself Out Of Restaurant Ruin – Declining sales and changing dining habits pulled it all the way down into bankruptcy in 2021, but it miraculously rose like a phoenix from the ashes. A restaurant that once seemed on the brink of death now stands as a bold testament to the power of innovation and adaptability in the change-or-die restaurant landscape. CiCi’s reinvented itself with wise innovations and marketing strategies, and the transformation was nothing short of extraordinary.”, Mashed, October 21, 2023


AI set to transform the restaurant industry – Domino’s announced it has partnered with Microsoft to use the advanced AI to streamline pizza preparation, assist with quality control, inventory management and simplify the ordering process. Customers can expect to see noticeable changes to ordering processes at restaurants that integrate AI into their systems….AI will eventually be integrated across all restaurant operations, playing a pivotal roll at the front of the house by making ordering and payment processes more efficient. He said in the back of the house, AI can be used to provide accurate forecasting, tackle food waste by predicting usage patterns and even streamline employee management and scheduling.”, Fox Business, October 20, 2023


The Reason McDonald’s International Menus Are Way Better Than The US – Thanks to the nature of the internet and social media sites like TikTok, customers in the United States are acutely aware that they’re missing out on some of McDonald’s bolder offerings. In fact, there’s an entire list of international food items we wish McDonald’s had in the U.S. It seems to be a common discussion point among McDonald’s customers over whether international McDonald’s tastes better than the chain’s domestic offerings.”, The Daily Meal, October 21, 2023


U.K. pizza franchise PizzaExpress entering the Canadian market – U.K. casual dining pizza restaurant brand, PizzaExpress, has launched its international franchise program into Canada. PizzaExpress has been serving pizza in the UK since it was founded in 1965 in London’s Soho. From urban and suburban casual dining restaurants, quick service kiosks, and express locations, all the way up to its live music venues. PizzaExpress has more than 450 locations in 12 international markets.”, Canada Franchise, October 19, 2023


Popeyes’ Journey from Cult-Favorite to the Mainstream – When RBI (Restaurant Brands International) acquired the brand on March 27, 2017, for $1.8 billion, there were about 2,600 locations in the U.S. and 25 countries globally. From acquisition to 2020, RBI posted cumulative net restaurant growth of 27 percent at Popeyes. Fast forward and Popeyes finished Q1 2023 with 4,178 restaurants globally—2,947 in the U.S. and 1,231 internationally. There were more than 200 North America debuts in 2022, featuring the loftiest figure of new franchisees and the largest percentage of freestanding single or double drive-thru locations in five years.”, QSR Magazine, October 18, 2023


Pret adds growth to menu with US venture – Pret A Manger has handed the majority of its American operation to a franchiser, creating a joint venture that will take operational control of 50 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. The deal gives Dallas Holdings exclusive rights to open new shops in the three markets, with formats including drive-through outlets and a menu with slightly different ingredients and portion sizes. The operation, which comprises 58 stores in total, will be majority-owned by Dallas, which will hold 70 per cent of the joint vehicle.”, The Times of London, October 21, 2023


Shake Shack® Malaysia: What can you expect to pay for a burger when it arrives next month – The Shake Shack branch in Malaysia is operated by SGP Group, the same group that is handling the brand in South Korea and Singapore. The ShackBurger cost in other countries: United States: USD 6.89 (about RM 32.90), South Korea: 6,900 Won (about RM 24.30) and Singapore: SGD 9.70 (about RM 33.80). If we take the pricing of both the South Korean market and the Singapore market, and we average it, we will get RM 29.05. We may see a slight increase in price due to taxes and raw material availability here. So, we can round up the price to about RM 30 for a basic ShackBurger here in Malaysia.”, Soyacincau, October 27, 2023


Tim Hortons surpasses 300 stores milestone in the GCC and India – Tim Hortons, a beacon of Canadian coffee culture, has firmly entrenched itself in the Middle East with an impressive 285 outlets and further solidified its presence in India with 22 locations. India, with its vibrant and diverse palate, has warmly embraced Tim Hortons, evident in the growing store count: Delhi NCR boasts 10 stores, Punjab has 7, Mumbai proudly hosts 3, and Bangalore has opened 2.”, The Franchise Talk, October 16, 2023


Running a franchise business like fast food is getting more expensive – Franchise fees have gone up with inflation, but the economics may get more expensive even as inflation falls, driven by technology costs and wage pressures in the labor market. Royalty fees could continue to rise. Pending changes in (US) federal labor law could upend franchise economics. CNBC, October 20, 2023


New (U.S.) Labor Rule Could Make it Easier for Franchises Like McDonald’s to Unionize – The revised joint-employer rule was announced by the National Labor Relations Board and applies to workers’ rights to join unions, bargain collectively, and protest work-related conditions under federal law. The new standard replaces a Trump-era regulation on joint-employer status, adopted in 2020, which said a business needed to have “substantial direct and immediate control” over job conditions to be considered a joint employer.  Under the new rule, a business could be considered a joint employer whether it has direct or indirect control over one or more “essential” working conditions. Those conditions could include wages, scheduling, assignment of duties, and the safety and health of workers.”, Barron’s, October 27, 2023


To receive this biweekly newsletter, click here : https://bit.ly/geowizardsignup

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Our Mission, Information Sources & Who We Are

Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, the franchise sector, economic development and travel. We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ on the ground covering 25+ countries provides us with updates about what is actually happening in their specific countries. 

William “Bill” Edwards: Global Advisor Is Uniquely Qualified to Steer Sr. Executives Successfully Through the Complex Waters of Going Global.  With four decades of successful international business experience spanning virtually every corner of the world and many business sectors, Bill Edwards understands the global business landscape like no other.  He has been a County Master Franchisee in five countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East; the Senior VP for a franchisor operating in 15 countries and a full-service consultant taking 40 franchisors global.

For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to take your business global successfully, contact Bill Edwards at bedwards@edwardsglobal.com or +1 949 224 3896. 

www.edwardsglobal.com

Download our latest chart ranking 40+ countries as places to do business at this link:

Our latest GlobalVue™ 40 country ranking


EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 93, Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

Introduction: In this issue, global trade and inflation are improving while country investment risks are not. 1 in 8 people in the USA worked at McDonalds®! No more paper passports in the future? Asian countries economies are on track to improve in 2024. India’s stock markets pass those in China which is seeing births at the lowest level since 1949.

The mission of this newsletter is to use trusted global and regional information sources to update our 1,400+ readers in 20+ countries on key global and local trends that can impact the success of their businesses at home and abroad.

NOTE: Some of the sources that we provide links to require a paid subscription to access. We subscribe to 40 international information sources to keep our readers up to date on the world’s business.

To receive this biweekly newsletter that is read by over 1,400 people in 20 countries, click here:

First, A Few Words of Wisdom From Others

“There are no such things as limits to growth, because there are no limits on the human capacity for intelligence, imagination, and wonder.’, President Ronald Regan

“Challenges make life interesting, however, overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”, Mark Twain

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”, Winston Churchill

Highlights in issue #93:

  • Brand Global News Section: Burger King®, Jack In The Box®, Mathnasium®, McDonalds® and Texas Roadhouse®

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Interesting Data and Studies

Which Countries Have the Highest Investment Risk? Given the rapid growth of emerging economies, and the opportunities this may present to investors, it raises the question: does investment exposure abroad come with risk, and how can that risk be analyzed? This graphic shows country risk around the world, based on analysis from Aswath Damodaran at New York University’s Stern School of Business. To get a clearer picture of country risk, Damodaran analyzed the following broad factors: Political risk: Type of regime, corruption, level of conflict; Legal risk: Property rights protections, contract rights; and Economic risk: Diversification of economy.”, Visual Capitalist, October 9, 2023


2023 World Population – The World Population in 2023 is 8,045,311,447 (at mid-year, according to U.N. estimates a 0.88% increase (70,206,291 people) from 2022, when the population was 7,975,105,156, a 0.83% increase (65,810,005 people) from 2021, when the world population was 7,909,295,151. During the 20th century alone, the population in the world has grown from 1.65 billion to 6 billion. In 1970, there were roughly half as many people in the world as there are now. Because of declining growth rates, it will now take over 200 years to double again.”, Worldometer, July 16, 2023

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Global Supply Chain, Energy, Commodities, Inflation & Trade Issues

Global Trade Poised to Turn a Corner – Bloomberg’s Trade Tracker shows only four out of 10 gauges sat in below-normal range in early October, compared to six in August. It’s the surest sign yet of recovery since the start of 2023, when as many as nine out of 10 indicators were deep in the red. Consumer demand, though nascent, appears to be firming up. Shipping volumes improved in key ports like Los Angeles, while early export data out of South Korea showed a rare annual increase.”, Bloomberg, October 8, 2023


Annual % change in consumer price index

Global inflation trackerInflation is easing from the multi-decade highs reached in many countries following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The latest figures for most of the world’s largest economies show the wholesale food and energy prices that soared during 2022 are now falling back.”, The Financial Times, October 11, 2023


3 stunning charts show how the world of gas-guzzling has changed—and hasn’t—since the trauma of the 1973 oil embargoFifty years ago, a secret deal among Arab governments triggered one of the most traumatic economic crises to afflict the United States and other big oil importers. Fifty years on, markets have changed. But oil continues to be the world’s dominant energy source. On one hand, crude oil use has grown dramatically. Global supply has risen from less than 60 million barrels per day in 1973 to nearly 94 million barrels per day in 2022. On the other hand, OPEC’s importance – and oil’s share of the global energy mix – has declined.”, Fortune, October 12, 2023

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Global & Regional Travel Updates

The Future of International Travel Is Passport-Free – Biometric technology is replacing the need for passports at the world’s most modern airports. Travelers at some of the best airports in the world no longer need to show passports, thanks to new technology that is making airport immigration smoother than ever. From travelers’ perspectives, an overwhelming majority are in favor of using biometrics to ease airport processes. According to a November 2022 survey from aviation trade group IATA, “75% of passengers want to use biometric data instead of passports and boarding passes.”, Conde Nast Traveler, October 16, 2023


Despite Record Passenger Volumes, North American Airports Earn Higher Marks for Traveler SatisfactionOverall customer satisfaction with North American airports increases 3 points to 780 this year, despite record passenger volume, crowded terminals and a barrage of delays and cancellations. Top-performing airports in the study all saw substantial gains in terminal facilities; food and beverage and retail service; and baggage claim. There is a direct correlation between overall passenger satisfaction and spending at the airport.”, J. D. Power, September 20, 2023

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Country & Regional Updates

Asia

“Asia’s Economic Outlook – Growth prospects may improve next year – Amid China’s weaker-than-expected economic performance, the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office cut its 2023 growth forecast for the region to 4.3 percent from July’s projection of 4.6 percent. Given that China is by far the largest economy in the grouping – which comprises the 10 states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as China, Japan and South Korea – it is natural that its downturn will affect the others’ economic growth prospects.  Still, the long-term outlook for the grouping is far from bleak. In China, manufacturing investment is holding up and consumer spending is starting to rise – two factors that will support regional growth.”, Geopolitical Futures, October 13, 2023


India, Indonesia Risk Biggest Fallout From Geopolitical Shocks High energy costs, surging dollar, global tensions test Asia Malaysia may be a beneficiary due to status as energy exporter. A triumvirate of high oil prices, a surging dollar and geopolitical instability are set to weigh on India and Indonesia among Asia’s emerging markets, while energy exporter Malaysia may prove a rare beneficiary.”, Bloomberg, October 15, 2023


Canada

Most small (Canadian) businesses optimistic about future despite economic uncertainty – Still, the top priority for most businesses is to cut costs wherever possible. According to a Scotiabank survey of nearly 1,700 Canadian small businesses with revenue between $50,000 and $5 million, two thirds (66 per cent) say they are very or extremely optimistic about the future of their business. The positive sentiment is even higher in Atlantic provinces (83 per cent) and in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (82 per cent).”, Yahoo Finance, October 12, 2023


China

Births in China slide 10% to hit their lowest on record – China had just 9.56 million births in 2022, according to a report published by the National Health Commission. It was the lowest figure since records began in 1949. The high costs of childcare and education, growing unemployment and job insecurity as well as gender discrimination have all helped to deter many young couples from having more than one child or even having children at all. Last year, the country’s population also fell for the first time in six decades, dropping to 1.41 billion people.”, Reuters, October 12, 2023


China’s real estate struggles could threaten global economic growth –   At its peak, China’s residential property sector was thought to contribute an estimated 25%-30% of the country’s GDP. Its ongoing struggles present a challenge to economic growth in China that will ripple out to other nations — as China has been the largest single source of growth for the world economy in recent decades. Property developers face severe funding constraints, preventing them from completing pre-sold homes … real estate investment and housing prices continue to decline, putting pressure on local governments’ revenues from land sales and threatening already fragile public finances.”, Axios, October 11, 2023


Germany

German Housing Crisis Deepens on Record Building CancellationsMonthly Ifo survey shows deteriorating conditons for builders Business confidence also slumps to all-time low in September. In September, 21.4% of residential builders said they were affected by construction projects being called off, according to a survey by the Munich-based Ifo Institute. That was the highest level since records began in 1991 and worse than August’s 20.7%.”, Bloomberg, October 16, 2023


India

India’s Booming Stock Market Is Leaving China in the Dust – The South Asian nation’s market has been a quiet outperformer for a decade. Now foreign investors are starting to pay attention.  The MSCI India index has gained more than 7% this year, pulled higher by a rally in the shares of banks and automakers. The MSCI China index has lost almost 11% of its value, while a wider emerging-market index is down 2%. India’s stock market has outperformed China’s for the past three years, partly the result of China’s strict effort to combat Covid-19, which caused economic pain that the country hasn’t fully recovered from.”, The Wall Street Journal, October 9, 2023


Turkey

Turkey’s republic enters its second century – Legacies of Kemal Atatürk era resonate in the age of strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Preparations are in full swing in Turkey for the 100th anniversary of the modern republic, proclaimed on October 29 1923. The republic was founded on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a hero in the eyes of millions of Turks for having led the nation to independence and embarking on an extensive, rapid modernisation of state and society. Yet Atatürk’s legacy is by no means uncontested.”, The Financial Times, October 14, 2023


United Kingdom

UK economy grows 0.2% in August despite drag from higher interest rates –  Britain’s economy has outperformed analysts’ expectations this year, dodging a much-touted recession, but GDP is growing at a historically slow rate, leading to fears that the country is in the early stages of a prolonged period of stagnant economic activity. Services businesses, which generate about £2 in every £3 of Britain’s GDP, were the main contributors to the economy’s summer turnaround, providing growth in the sector of 0.4 per cent. Construction output, plagued by a reduction in house building in response to the Bank of England raising interest rates aggressively, contracted 0.5 per cent in August. Industrial production was also weaker as it was drawn into a weak global manufacturing cycle.”, The Times of London, October 12, 2023


United States

A (US) Recession Is No Longer the ConsensusIn WSJ survey, economists lower recession probability below 50% and say Fed is finished raising interest rates. Economists are turning optimistic on the U.S. economy. They now think it will skirt a recession, the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates and inflation will continue to ease. In the latest quarterly survey by The Wall Street Journal, business and academic economists lowered the probability of a recession within the next year, from 54% on average in July to a more optimistic 48%. That is the first time they have put the probability below 50% since the middle of last year.”, The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2023


(US) Profits Are Making a Comeback – Despite challenges including rising labor costs and high interest rates, U.S. corporate earnings are on an upswing. Industry estimates indicate that members of the S&P 500 will report earnings per share were 1.3% higher than a year earlier—a nice improvement from the second quarter’s decline of 2.8%. Finally, analysts reckon that profit growth in the fourth quarter will be substantially better, with estimates pointing to S&P 500 earnings up 10.8% from a year earlier.”, The Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2023

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Brand & Franchising News

Turkish Burger King Operator Seeks to Sell Shares in Istanbul IPO – TAB Gida operates about 1,500 fast food restaurants in Turkey, Northern Cyprus, North Macedonia and Georgia, including more than 700 Burger King outlets. Its other operations include Arby’s, Popeyes, Sbarro and Subway, as well as a number of domestic brands. Its revenue jumped 125% in 2022 to 8.62 billion liras, while net income was 361.8 million liras, according to the company prospectus.”, Bloomberg, October 13, 2023


The Rise, Fall, And Resurgence Of Jack In The Box – Emerging from a small San Diego drive-in chain in the 1940s, Jack in the Box evolved into one of the most visible and lucrative of the fast-food brands. Jack in the Box helped popularize the drive-through. After many ups and downs over the decades, It’s in the middle of a big expansion plan.”, Mashed, October 16, 2023


Mathnasium Announces Renewed Franchise Agreement in Vietnam, Set to Double in Size – Mathnasium Learning Centers announces they have renewed the master franchise agreement in Vietnam with Mr. Phan Tan Nghia for an additional ten years. The renewed agreement confirms a commitment to open an additional 25 centers. Mr. Nghia originally joined Mathnasium in 2013 and has since grown his portfolio to 28 locations across Vietnam. He’s grown his Mathnasium Center’s student-base per center to the highest level in the Mathnasium system.”, Franchising.com, October 4, 2023


1 out of 8 Americans have worked at the Golden Arches, McDonald’s says – McDonald’s, with its more than 13,000 locations in the U.S. alone, is known for being the first job many teens have, with many folks keeping the Golden Arches as their place of employment well into adulthood. McDonald’s confirmed to TODAY.com that it surveyed a representative sample of American adults and found that 1 in 8 (just over, actually, at 13.7%) reported that they currently or formerly worked at a McDonald’s restaurant. According to the U.S. Census, the population in 2022 was more than 333,287,000 people, meaning that walking among us are more than 41,000,000 current or past McDonald’s employees.”, Today.com. October 11, 2023


Texas Roadhouse Is America’s Most Beloved Sit-Down Restaurant Chain – Market research company Savanta just released a new report on the most beloved restaurant brands among diners in the US in 2023. The report was based on insights collected from more than 72,000 people through Savanta’s marketing intelligence platform, BrandVue Eating Out. Fast-food chains Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, and McDonald’s ended up receiving the first, second, and third highest brand love scores in the ranking, respectively. Meanwhile, Texas Roadhouse received the fourth-highest score, making it the highest-ranked sit-down chain in the new report.”, Eat This, Not That!, October 12, 2023


Wagamama owner backs £700m takeover by Apollo – The restaurant operator behind the Wagamama chain has agreed to a £700 million takeover bid from the private equity firm Apollo Global Management after coming under intense pressure from activist investors. TRG has about 380 restaurants and pubs, a concessions business and a 20 per cent stake in a joint venture operating seven Wagamama noodle bars in America. It also has about 60 franchises around the world.”, The Times of London, October 13, 2023

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To receive this biweekly newsletter, click here : https://bit.ly/geowizardsignup

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Our Mission, Information Sources & Who We Are

Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, the franchise sector, economic development and travel. We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ on the ground covering 25+ countries provides us with updates about what is actually happening in their specific countries. 

William “Bill” Edwards: Global Advisor Is Uniquely Qualified to Steer Sr. Executives Successfully Through the Complex Waters of Going Global.  With four decades of successful international business experience spanning virtually every corner of the world and many business sectors, Bill Edwards understands the global business landscape like no other.  He has been a County Master Franchisee in five countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East; the Senior VP for a franchisor operating in 15 countries and a full-service consultant taking 40 franchisors global.

For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to take your business global successfully, contact Bill Edwards at bedwards@edwardsglobal.com or +1 949 224 3896. 

www.edwardsglobal.com

Download our latest chart ranking 40+ countries as places to do business at this link:

Our latest GlobalVue™ 40 country ranking


EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 92, Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

Introduction: In this issue, Japan’s stock market soars, the European Union will need US LNG for decades, McDonalds® raises its franchisee royalty rate for the first time in 30 years, Singapore’s Changi airport to go passport free, Indonesia bans sales on social media, and Eurozone country’s inflation is at a 2 year low.

The mission of this newsletter is to use trusted global and regional information sources to update our 1,400+ readers in 20+ countries on key global and local trends that can impact the success of their businesses at home and abroad.

NOTE: Some of the sources that we provide links to require a paid subscription to access. We subscribe to 40 international information sources to keep our readers up to date on the world’s business.

To receive this biweekly newsletter that is read by over 1,400 people in 20 countries, click here:

First, A Few Words of Wisdom From Others

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” – Robert H. Schuller

“Out of difficulties grow miracles.” – Jean de La Bruyère

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

Highlights in issue #92:

The $109 Trillion Global Stock Market in One Chart

The Lack Of Travelers To The U.S. Is Hurting American Retailers

Top EU energy official says US gas will be needed for decades

McDonald’s Is Raising (US) Royalty Fees on New Franchises for the First Time in 30 Years

Four Small States That Show Leadership

A breakout year for Japanese stocks

Brand Global News Section: Coffee Berry®, Guzman y Gomez®, KFC®, McDonalds®, Starbucks®, Subway® and Tim Hortons®

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Interesting Data and Studies

The $109 Trillion Global Stock Market in One Chart – Over the last several decades, the growth in money supply and ultra-low interest rates have underpinned rising asset values across economies. With the world’s deepest capital markets, the U.S. makes up 42.5% of global equity market capitalization, outpacing the next closest economy, the European Union by a significant margin.”, Visual Capitalist, September 27, 2023


The Furious Race for the Future of Coffee – Starbucks is making a big push in China. Other chains are pushing even harder. It turns out that selling foamy brown water at an 80% markup is really profitable. Back in 2013, the chief financial officer of what was then called Dunkin’ Donuts dubbed beverages ‘the holy grail of profitability.’, The Wall Street Journal. September 22, 2023


The Latest On Returning To Offices – As corporate and urban centers around the world continue to resume a more familiar pace, leaders seek the “right” balance between in-person and remote work, as well as between mandates and persuasion. A recent WTW survey reports that leaders expect more than half of their employees (55%) to work either fully remotely or hybrid in three years, compared with 15% before the pandemic. Effective leaders take six actions as employees return to offices.”, Forbes, September 29, 2023

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Global Supply Chain, Energy, Commodities, Inflation & Trade Issues

Eurozone inflation hits 2-year low as US price pressures ease – Data helps steady bond markets and signals prospect of end to interest rate rises on both sides of Atlantic. The last time inflation was lower was in October 2021. US data also bolstered hopes that the biggest surge in consumer prices for a generation is fading fast. ‘The main takeaway is that the tightening cycle is coming to an end,’ said Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principal Asset Management.”, The Financial Times, September 29, 2023


Top EU energy official says US gas will be needed for decades – Europe will have to rely on US fossil fuels for decades to come as it races to diversify from Russian natural gas and scale up its renewables sector to boost energy security, the EU’s top energy official has said.  ‘We will need some fossil molecules in the system over the coming couple of decades. And in that context, there will be a need for American energy,’ said Jørgensen, director-general for energy in the European Commission, in an interview in New York.”, The Financial Times, September 24, 2023


Annual % change in consumer price index

Global inflation trackerInflation is easing from the multi-decade highs reached in many countries following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The latest figures for most of the world’s largest economies show the wholesale food and energy prices that soared during 2022 are now falling back.”, The Financial Times, September 29, 2023

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Global & Regional Travel Updates

The Lack Of Travelers To The U.S. Is Hurting American Retailers – Due to the global pandemic, the United States saw a drop in international visitors. While travel has been picking up, one industry that isn’t recovering as quickly is the retail industry. In 2023, overseas travel is only nearly 75 percent recovered, which is estimated to cost retailers over $6 billion.”, Forbes, September 29, 2023


This Airport Is About to Go Passport Free – Soon you’ll only need your face to travel through Singapore’s Changi Airport. Starting sometime in the first half of 2024, you won’t need to show your passport if you’re traveling through Singapore. All you’ll need to pass through security and immigration is your face—the airport is switching to biometric technology and facial recognition technology instead of having agents physically check travel documents to move travelers through the airport more quickly.”, AFAR, September 27, 2023


More direct China-US flights on the horizon, but return to 2019 traffic far more distant – Direct flights between two countries set to increase in October, a fraction of pre-pandemic routings. Both Chinese and US airlines will expand their schedules, but politics and structural demand shifts may blunt enthusiasm for total resumption. Frequency of flights will increase in October, when US airlines expand their list of direct routes.  The US Department of Transportation announced in August that the number of Chinese passenger flights permitted to fly to the US would increase by six in October, up to 24 per week. ‘However, it is important to note that this is still significantly less than the pre-Covid-19 period when there were more than 300 round trips per week,’ said Herman Tse, valuations manager at Cirium Ascend consultancy.”, South China Morning Post, September 25, 2023

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Country & Regional Updates

Asia

Asia faces one of worst economic outlooks in half a century, World Bank warnsSluggish post-pandemic recovery, China’s property crisis and US trade policies expected to hinder growth next year. The gloomier 2024 forecasts from the bank underline the mounting concern over China’s slowdown and how it will spill into Asia. China’s policymakers have already set one of the lowest growth targets in decades for 2023, of about 5 per cent. It also downgraded its 2024 forecast for gross domestic product growth for developing economies in east Asia and the Pacific, which includes China, to 4.5 per cent, from a prediction in April of 4.8 per cent and trailing the 5 per cent rate expected this year.”, The Financial Times, October 1, 2023


Estonia, New Zealand, Qatar and Singapore

Four Small States That Show Leadership – While most geopolitical commentators focus on the new duo-polar world with the rise of China or even a multi-polar world of many eastern and western players, the influence of smaller countries is often overlooked. It’s clear there’s an important – even critical – role to play for sophisticated nations to punch above their weight on the regional and world stage, despite the small size of their populations and the power of their much larger neighbours. Four examples show just how it isn’t size but strategy that makes a country successful.”, Forbes, October, 2, 2023


China

China hopes Golden Week holiday will deliver economic boost – Surge in consumer spending could spill over into fourth quarter and help ailing property sector. Economists will be watching in particular whether Chinese consumers will use the eight-day break, which combines the October 1 National Day and the mid-Autumn festival holidays, to spend not only on restaurants and outings but also on bigger ticket items, particularly property.”, The Financial Times, September 29, 2023


Chinese consumers much more inclined to buy from foreign brands than last year – With borders opening and Chinese travelling and seeing the world again – either in person or vicariously through their network’s social media, consumers are reminded of many great attributes of foreign countries, lifestyles and brands that has been absent in propaganda. This appeal is reflected in PWCs Global Consumer Insights Survey which polled 18,155 global participants over the past two years, of whom more than 1,276 consumers were from Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. There has been a slight improvement in the perception of foreign brands, with 30% having a preference to buy foreign brands in 2023 versus 28% last year. However the biggest shift is the 15% who are ‘much more’ inclined to buy foreign brands, almost double the 8% last year.”, China Skinny, September 22, 2023. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto


AmCham report: US firms upbeat on China business prospects – American companies remain generally optimistic about business prospects in China, according to the latest 2023 China Business Report by AmCham Shanghai. It revealed that the end of the pandemic has brought stability to revenue expectations, with an increasing number of companies planning to ramp up their investments in China this year compared with 2022. The report, based on the results of AmCham Shanghai’s 2023 China Business Survey, indicated that 52 percent of companies expect greater revenue in 2023 than in the previous year, among which retail firms are the most optimistic, with 74 percent anticipating higher revenues. This positive outlook emphasizes the resilience and potential of China’s market.”, Shine.cn, September 27, 2023. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto


Germany

German Economy to Shrink 0.6% in 2023 Before Wages Drive ReboundPurchasing power to fuel 1.3% growth next year, institutes say Inflation expected to slow to 2.6% in 2024, 1.9% in 2025. Germany’s economy is on course for its first full year of contraction since the pandemic, new forecasts showed, though rebounding consumption should spur a recovery in 2024.”, Bloomberg, September 28, 2023


India

India’s dream of green energy runs into the reality of coal – The fossil fuel accounts for around three-quarters of power generation and demand is expected to grow, despite an ambitious renewables plan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid out an ambitious target to build 500 gigawatts of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030. India has also announced billions in subsidies to manufacture clean-energy technology and wants to become a leading green hydrogen exporter. Yet India’s energy transition is complicated by intractable problems, from the difficulty of acquiring land for solar and wind farms to deep financial distress in its power system, which slows new investment. While demand is surging, millions still lack access to reliable electricity. Authorities see the expansion of polluting industries like steel and cement as essential to creating jobs and economic growth.”, The Financial Times, September 24, 2023


Indonesia

Indonesia bans purchases on social media, in a blow to TikTok’s e-commerce ambitions – Indonesia’s ministry of trade said Tuesday it is working to further regulate e-commerce, adding that the country does not allow transactions on social media platforms. ‘One of the things that is regulated is that the government only allows social media to be used to facilitate promotions, not for transactions,’ the ministry said in an official release. This means that users in Indonesia cannot buy or sell products and services on TikTok and Facebook.”, CNBC, September 27, 2023


Japan

A breakout year for Japanese stocks – After a series of false dawns, investors sense a long-awaited shift in the Tokyo market. But everything has come together this year, despite the very clear consensus that 2023 would be similarly drab. The Topix and Nikkei 225 are both up more than 20 per cent so far this year. That drops in to single figures in dollar terms but this remains a breakout year.”, The Financial Times, September 29, 2023


Singapore

Singapore’s population grows 5% as foreign workers return post-pandemicThere were 5.9 million people in Singapore as of June, up from 5.6 million in June last year. Of these, 61% were Singaporeans, 9% were permanent residents and 30% were foreigners working or studying in the country. The bulk of the population increase came from foreign employment, with 162,000 foreign workers coming to Singapore from June 2022 to June this year. The National Population and Talent Division said the largest increase came from workers in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors as contractors hired more workers for projects that were delayed by the pandemic.”, Reuters, September 29, 2023


Singapore is now the world’s freest economy, displacing Hong Kong after 53 years – For the first time since the Economic Freedom of the World Index started in 1970, Hong Kong has slipped from its number one position to second place — and its score is about to drop even further. New regulatory barriers to entry, increasing cost of business, and limits on employing foreign labor dented Hong Kong’s ranking, the report stated.”, CNBC, September 21, 2023


United Kingdom

UK GDP: Economy grew faster than Germany and France after Covid – Gross domestic product is now estimated to be 1.8 per cent larger compared with the final months of 2019, just before the pandemic swept through the country, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The revised figures mean that the economy has added about an extra £10 billion in output since the final quarter of 2019. Under its initial estimates, the statistics agency thought the economy was 0.2 per cent below its pre-pandemic levels. The Times of London, September 29, 2023


United States

US GDP growth unrevised at 2.1% in second quarter as economy shows resilienceThe U.S. economy maintained a fairly solid pace of growth in the second quarter and activity appears to have accelerated this quarter, but a looming government shutdown and an ongoing strike by auto workers are dimming the outlook for the rest of 2023. Inflation also remains elevated and tight labor market conditions continue to prevail, with the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rising slightly last week, the reports showed on Thursday.”, Reuters, September 28, 2023


50% of U.S. Small Business Say Interest Rates Have Hurt Their Businesses – Further, 66% of the poll respondents in this group believe economic issues will persist even if the Federal Reserve doesn’t raise rates further. In fact, 38% of those struggling say that the interest rate must be reduced by at least 3 points before they envision rebounding again. These are just a few findings emerging from a poll of 7,396 randomly selected small-business owners surveyed from August 5 to September 18, 2023.”, Franchising.com, September 22, 2023


Why America Has a Long-Term Labor Crisis, In 6 Charts – Participation hasn’t fully recovered from pandemic-era losses, though there have been signs of growth for prime-age workers—those between ages 25 and 54. The overall participation rate is expected to drop to 60.4% in 2032, according to the Labor Department, mainly because of baby boomer retirements. Wages reflect supply and demand. They shot up during the pandemic recovery and have recently outpaced inflation, which gives workers more spending power. Long-term labor shortages could lead to a faster pace of wage growth for the foreseeable future.”, The Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2023


Vietnam

Boosting Vietnam’s manufacturing sector: From low cost to high productivity – In the past decade, manufacturing in Vietnam has been at the epicenter of the country’s high growth. This sector contributed more than 20 percent to the country’s GDP1 and has been an anchor in Vietnam’s trade balance, helping to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). It played a significant role in the remarkable resilience that Vietnam’s economy demonstrated in the face of global upheaval, which maintained a positive GDP growth rate of 2.6 percent in 2021, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and sustained an 8 percent growth rate in 2022.”, McKinsey & Co., September 25, 2023

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Brand & Franchising News

After KFC store went cashless, what are the other fast food giants in Australia planning? A spokesperson from McDonald’s told 9News that the global burger brand had ‘no plans to go cashless at this stage’. Competing chicken brand Red Rooster said they had “no intention of going cashless in the near future,” despite the move by KFC. Domino’s told 9News that going cashless was ‘not currently something we are looking at doing’”. 9News, September 27, 2023


Coffee Berry, a Greek coffee chain, debuts in Saudi Arabia – Greece’s renowned coffee chain, Coffee Berry, has made its inaugural entry into the Saudi Arabian market by unveiling its first store at the Hayat Mall in Riyadh. This significant move marks Coffee Berry’s fourth international venture, showcasing its growing global presence. In 2022, Coffee Berry, headquartered in Athens and boasting an impressive 210-store count, inked a franchise agreement that paved the way for its Saudi Arabian expansion. The company’s strategic vision includes the establishment of a network comprising a minimum of 20 outlets across the kingdom within the coming years.”, Franchise Talk, September 25, 2023


Burritos on the bourse: Guzman y Gomez boss preparing to say hola to ASX – Burrito chain Guzman y Gomez could make its debut on the Australian stock exchange as early as next year, founder Steven Marks says, even as the hunt for his own replacement continues. Australia’s fastest-growing Mexican food franchise sold $759 million worth of burritos, tacos, bowls and more in the 2023 financial year, a 32 per cent rise from the year before. Underlying earnings jumped 56 per cent to $32 million.”, Brisbane Times, September 11, 2023. Compliments of Jason Gehrke, Franchise Advisory Centre, Brisbane


McDonald’s Is Raising (US) Royalty Fees on New Franchises for the First Time in 30 Years – The change, to 5% from 4%, applies in limited scenarios, McDonald’s said, including when an operator opens a new restaurant or purchases one the company owns. The move is aimed to help McDonald’s maintain its competitive edge, the company said, as many other franchise businesses have royalties that exceed 5%. Indeed, the royalty rate is currently at 5% across McDonald’s markets other than the U.S. and Canada, the company said in an internal memo reviewed by Barron’s.”, Barron’s, September 22, 2023


A moment of dependable zen on a helter-skelter day’: Grace Dent on the joy of (UK) chain restaurants – They may never dazzle, but your favourite fast food chain never really burns its bridges. Come as you are, come dishevelled, hungover, heartbroken, alone or with a rabble. We’re not going on a culinary journey; rather, this is a culinary cul-de-sac where you’ve been doing a three-point turn for the past 20 years. In fact, I’m fairly sure that, at a moment’s notice, I could step in for the 2pm-10pm shift at Wagamama, say, because I’ve been eating its yaki udon since about 1995; my order rarely deviates and my love never dwindles.”, The Guardian, September 29, 2023


Subway Is Forcing Franchisees To Accept Mobile App Discounts – According to Subway franchisees, all Subway locations will be required to accept all mobile app discounts as of December 28, 2023. In correspondence with Restaurant Business, franchise operators stated that Subway corporate announced the hard deadline to franchisees on September 26. Unfortunately, food costs and ongoing inflation have had more than a few franchisees opt out of accepting coupons that they couldn’t afford to honor.”, The Tasting Table, October 1, 2023


Tim Hortons Launches New UK Franchise Model To Fuel Expansion Plans Since launching its first UK location in 2017, Canadian coffee and donut chain Tim Hortons has become an increasingly familiar name across British towns and cities over recent years. The brand first opened its doors and started serving its signature coffees and baked goods to British customers from its first unit this side of the pond in Glasgow, and now has 75 locations in the UK, all of which are currently company-owned. With its eyes now firmly on rapid UK growth, Tim Hortons this week announced the launch of a franchise model following what it calls a five year ‘test and learn phase’”, Forbes, September 19, 2023

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Our Mission, Information Sources & Who We Are

Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, the franchise sector, economic development and travel. We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ on the ground covering 25+ countries provides us with updates about what is actually happening in their specific countries. 

William “Bill” Edwards: Global Advisor Is Uniquely Qualified to Steer Sr. Executives Successfully Through the Complex Waters of Going Global.  With four decades of successful international business experience spanning virtually every corner of the world and many business sectors, Bill Edwards understands the global business landscape like no other.  He has been a County Master Franchisee in five countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East; the Senior VP for a franchisor operating in 15 countries and a full-service consultant taking 40 franchisors global.

For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to take your business global successfully, contact Bill Edwards at bedwards@edwardsglobal.com or +1 949 224 3896. 

www.edwardsglobal.com

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EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 91, Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

Introduction: In this issue, problems brewing for Europe’s coffee supply, China seems to be turning a corner if the data is real, the French government is selling fuel at a loss (?), rice supply is having a bad year, Germany’s EVs are having trouble competing, the Middle East is an ATM, Japan is old, the UK is inactive, Mexico’s airlines appear safe again and the USA continues to have lots of job openings.

The mission of this newsletter is to use trusted global and regional information sources to update our 1,400+ readers in 20+ countries on key global and local trends that can impact the success of their businesses at home and abroad.

NOTE: Some of the sources that we provide links to require a paid subscription to access. We subscribe to 40 international information sources to keep our readers up to date on the world’s business.

To receive this biweekly newsletter that is read by over 1,400 people in 20 countries, click here:

First, A Few Words of Wisdom From Others

“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.” – Chris Grosser

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

Highlights in issue #91:

  • Brand Global News Section: Chick-fil-A®, Church’s Chicken®, Paradies Lagardère and Twisted by Wetzel’s®,

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Interesting Data and Studies

Visualizing Costco’s Global Presence – Costco is a membership-based retail chain founded in 1983 in Seattle, Washington. Best known for its unique warehouse stores and high-quality products, Costco offers everything from electronics to groceries. Since its founding, Costco has become a major retailer in the U.S., while also greatly expanding its international presence. As of August 2023, the company has 859 locations globally, with a split of 69% domestic (591 stores) and 31% international (268 stores).”, Visual Capitalist, September 8, 2023


Why aren’t more people being sacked? – How inflation has fallen without mass job casualties. If central bankers are to defeat inflation, they must cool the labour market. For two years rich-world wage growth has added to corporate costs, sending prices relentlessly upwards. But as they began raising interest rates to slow the economy, policymakers hoped for an even rosier outcome. They wanted to achieve a “soft landing”, which involves both bringing down inflation, and doing so without mass job losses. It is a lot to ask of a tool as blunt as monetary policy. Are they succeeding? And so far the evidence suggests that—against widespread expectations—labour markets from San Francisco to Sydney are co-operating.”, The Economist, September 17, 2023

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Global Supply Chain, Energy, Commodities, Inflation & Trade Issues

Peak Oil Demand ‘Wilting Under Scrutiny,’ Aramco CEO Says – Nasser sees 2030 crude usage of 110 million barrels per day – CEO’s pared-back forecast still outstrips IEA projections. Last week, OPEC projected global oil markets would face a supply shortfall of more than 3 million barrels a day next quarter — potentially the biggest deficit in more than a decade. The IEA’s (International Energy Agency) prediction that oil consumption will peak this decade and grow at a slower rate in the near term as the energy transition gathers pace has been proven to be unrealistic, Nasser said Monday.”, Bloomberg, September 18, 2023


Shipping giant Maersk is seeing tentative signs of a bounce back in global tradeConsumers in the U.S. and Europe have been key drivers in the demand uptick, Vincent Clerc (CEO of shipping titan Maersk) told CNBC’s Silvia Amaro, and those markets have continued to ‘surprise on the upside.’ The upcoming pickup would be fueled by consumption, he said, rather than the “inventory correction” which has featured heavily in 2023. ‘Barring any negative surprises, we would hope for a slow pickup as we get into 2024, a pickup that will not be a boom like what we have known in the past few years, but certainly … a demand that is a bit more in line with with what we see in terms of consumption, and not so much an inventory correction.’”, CNBC, September 15, 2023


Rice Crisis in the Philippines Sounds a Global Inflation Alarm – Indonesia agrees on first deal with Cambodia in over a decade Malaysia implements purchase limit, starts enforcement checks. Rice inflation in the Southeast Asian nation increased at the fastest pace in almost five years in August, reviving memories of a 2018 shock that led to the end of a two-decade-old limit on imports. India’s restrictions have upended the market and prompted worried nations to secure supply as they try and contain the rising cost of rice, which is a vital part of the diets of billions of people across Asia and Africa.”, Bloomberg, September 8, 2023


“What ‘Friend-Shoring’ Means for the Future of Trade – Over the past few years, the world has experienced an escalating series of trade disruptions: the US-China trade war, the Covid-19 pandemic and its supply chain disruptions, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions and export controls that followed. Their cumulative impact has called into question the vision of a globalized economy. In response, some US officials pushed “friend-shoring” — a happy-sounding name for a policy that would lead to a world divided between free-market democracies and countries that align with the authoritarian regimes of China or Russia. It’s a world in which supply chains could be more robust and less subject to economic blackmail. It’s also likely a world that’s poorer and less productive.


The World Is Struggling to Make Enough Diesel – Crude production cuts have been detrimental to diesel supply – Refineries have sought to satisfy demand surge for other fuels. While oil futures are rocketing — on Friday they were just below $95 a barrel in London — the rally pales in comparison with the surge in diesel. US prices jumped above $140 to the highest ever for this time of year on Thursday. Europe’s equivalent soared 60% since summer.”, Bloomberg, September 17, 2023


Coffee Storm Is Brewing: Proving a Latte’s Sustainable Journey From Farms – How do you trace a journey of beans from millions of farms around the world all the way to cappuccinos and lattes sipped in cafes from Vienna to Rome? That’s the conundrum the coffee industry faces as it scrambles to get ready for Europe’s ground-breaking sustainability rules. Coffee is grown in about 70 countries, with five of them — including Brazil and Vietnam — making up about 85% of the world’s output. The rest comes from some 9.6 million growers in smaller producers, who often lack the resources to meet sustainability standards, according to Ethos.”, Bloomberg, September 15, 2023


Annual % change in consumer price index

Global inflation trackerInflation is easing from the multi-decade highs reached in many countries following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The latest figures for most of the world’s largest economies show the wholesale food and energy prices that soared during 2022 are now falling back.”, The Financial Times, September 14, 2023

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Global & Regional Travel Updates

US raises Mexico air safety rating in boost for country’s airlines US raises Mexico air safety rating in boost for country’s airlines. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Thursday it has upgraded Mexico’s air safety rating, a move that will allow Mexican carriers to expand U.S. routes and add new service. Mexico was downgraded by the U.S. regulator in May 2021 after the agency found the country did not meet safety standards. The downgrade was a major blow to Mexico carriers, as U.S. airlines were able to scoop up market share.”, Reuters, September 14, 2023

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Country & Regional Updates

China

China May Dodge Deflation, After All – But it will probably be a near miss, and economic data still hints at a bottom rather than a strong rebound. After a grim June and July, China’s main August economic data, released Friday, contained clear hints of improvement. The news from the critical housing sector, which is mired in a protracted slump, was less encouraging: Price falls accelerated in lower-tier cities. But growth in retail sales accelerated to 4.6% from a year earlier, from just 2.5% in July. Unemployment ticked down marginally.”, The Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2023


China expects ‘golden week’ holiday journeys to beat pre-pandemic figures – China Railway said it had recorded a record single day’s sales, with 22.9 million tickets being bought in one day. Airline tickets are also selling well as the National Day holiday coincides with Mid-Autumn Festival. That is roughly double the 72 million trips made during the same holiday last year and well above the 138 million trips made in 2019 before the Covid pandemic.”, South China Morning Post, September 17, 2023


Beijing “Has Plenty Of Dry Powder” – Can Manage Economic Stresses: U.S-China Business Forum. China’s economy is facing two sources of stress at the same time – cyclical and structural, yet the government ‘has plenty of dry powder’ and is ‘able to manage this situation,’ U.S.-China Business Council President Craig Allen said in a recent interview in New York. Authorities recognize ‘the problems that they face and are working on those problems in an incremental manner — (through) incremental stimulus and incremental reform,’ Allen said. ‘But it’s slow and steady and not as dramatic as many people would like to see.’”, Forbes, September 13, 2023


Egypt

Egypt Inflation Soars as Higher Food Costs Add to Currency Angst – Egyptian inflation soared to a fresh record, with consumer costs now increasingly at the mercy of whether authorities will allow the pound to weaken again. Price growth in urban parts of the country accelerated to an annual 37.4% in August from 36.5% the previous month, according to figures released Sunday by the state-run CAPMAS statistics agency. On a monthly basis, inflation was 1.6%, compared with 1.9% in July. A 71.4% increase in the cost of food and beverages, the largest single component of the inflation basket, was a major contributor to last month’s price pickup.”, Bloomberg, September 9, 2023


France

France to Allow Selling Fuel at Loss to Curb Inflation – Prime Minister Borne announces plan in Le Parisien Newspaper. The French government plans to allow gas stations to sell fuel at a loss, overriding a law from 1963, as it struggles to find new ways of containing inflation without adding to vast sums of public money already spent. Such a move would in theory allow greater competition between distributors, who could cut prices below costs and aim to make up lost margin with sales of other products and services.”, Bloomberg, September 17, 2023


France’s Carrefour puts up ‘shrinkflation’ warning signs – French supermarket Carrefour has put stickers on its shelves this week warning shoppers of “shrinkflation” – where packet contents are getting smaller while prices are not. Lipton Iced Tea, Lindt chocolate and Viennetta ice cream are among the products being named and shamed. Shoppers are being told if bottles are smaller or pack contents lighter. Carrefour has identified 26 products that have shrunk, without a price reduction to match, made by food giants including Nestle, PepsiCo and Unilever.”, BBC News, September 14, 2023


Germany

VW Lays Off Workers at Key EV Factory Over Cratering Demand – Volkswagen is having a tough time selling enough mostly made-in-Germany electric cars to challenge Tesla Inc.’s global dominance. Lackluster economic growth as well as higher energy, living and borrowing costs in Europe have weighed on demand for its ID fleet of EVs.”, Bloomberg, September 14, 2023


India

Apple to Sell Made-in-India iPhones on Launch Day for First Time – Devices from India to debut at same time as China-made ones IPhone 15 marks a milestone for India’s electronics ambitions. It would also underscore India’s growing production prowess and reflect a significant departure from Apple’s previous strategy of selling mostly Chinese-made new devices to frenzied customers across the world.”, Bloomberg, September 12, 2023


Japan

One in 10 Japanese Now Aged Over 80, Population Report Shows – Japan’s persistently low birthrate and long lifespans have made it the oldest country in the world in terms of the proportion of people aged over 65, which this year hit a record of 29.1%. Ballooning social security spending has added to Japan’s massive debt and the shortage of young people has left many industries short of labor — not least carers for the elderly.”, Bloomberg, September 17, 2023


The Middle East

The Middle East Becomes the World’s ATM – Flush with cash from an energy boom, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies have a moment on the world’s financial stage. Middle East monarchies eager for global influence are having a moment on the world’s financial stage. They are flush with cash from an energy boom at the very time traditional Western financiers—hampered by rising interest rates—have retreated from deal making and private investing.  The region’s sovereign-wealth funds have become the en vogue ATM for private equity, venture capital and real-estate funds struggling to raise money elsewhere.”, The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2023


Saudi Arabia

Why Saudi Arabia is the Future Frontier for Global Entrepreneurs – The Saudi horizon is vast, and it’s gleaming with golden opportunities for the discerning entrepreneur. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is a clarion call for diversification. The nation is proactively steering away from its oil-dependent past, investing heavily in entertainment, tourism, technology and sports sectors. For budding entrepreneurs, this evolution translates into a broader spectrum of business avenues, a more varied market and an ever-evolving consumer base. Recent years have witnessed a startup explosion, with young Saudis taking the entrepreneurial plunge, driven by passion and the promise of a supportive ecosystem. But perhaps the most heartening aspect of this entrepreneurial surge is the rise of female founders and business leaders.”, Entrepreneur, September 7, 2023


Sweden

Sweden is the No. 1 country for affordability, safety and overall quality of life – To rank the 87 countries listed, U.S. News and World Report, WPP and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania surveyed more than 17,000 people worldwide. According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Sweden is, on average, 20.9% lower than in the United States, while renting is 57.5% lower. Sweden’s people boast one of the longest life expectancies, with an average age of 82.8 years, according to the CIA World Factbook.”, CNBC, September 17, 2023


United Kingdom

Remote working to require ‘total rewiring of UK – The shift means people drove 19 billion fewer miles last year as the pandemic continued to redraw how Britons live. Last year cars travelled a total of 244 billion miles, according to the Department for Transport. While this is higher than the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, it remains 7 per cent lower than the 263 billion miles driven in 2019. It is the lowest non-pandemic year for almost a decade. Data also shows a shift from traffic peaks before 9am on weekdays, to later in the day and at weekends. Bloom said the changes brought in by the pandemic had now been “baked in”, and companies that tried to force a return to the office full-time would struggle to recruit and retain workers.”, The Times of London, September 13, 2023


Why Britain has a unique problem with economic inactivity – A series of policy blunders is to blame. In contrast to most other rich countries, benefits for those of working age were rather stingy. Meanwhile, rates of labour-force participation were admirably high. The inactivity rate—the proportion of working-age people not working or actively seeking a job—was among the lowest internationally and on a downward path from the mid-1990s until 2019.’, The Economist, September 14, 2023


United States

The U.S. economy is chugging along while the rest of the world falls behindDriving the division among the world’s most powerful economies: a slowdown in trade that is hurting some much more than others. At the losing end are “extroverted” economies that have traditionally recorded trade surpluses and are now seeing their growth lag behind those of the U.S. and India, for instance, vast markets that have historically relied more on domestic demand for growth relative to their peers. “Global trade will be less global” in the future, with exchanges occurring more within regional blocs, said Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank. It will also shift away from goods and toward services, he added, providing a boost to economies like the U.S. and India that specialize in IT and other services at the expense of manufacturing powerhouses like Germany and China.”, The Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2023


Leisure and Hospitality Job Openings Remain Disproportionately High – Job openings for the leisure and hospitality segment of the U.S. economy remain disproportionately high compared to other industries, which could slow the travel industry’s growth as the country considers its future following its post-pandemic recovery period. While employment in this country is at its lowest level since March 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that employment in leisure and hospitality is 1.7 percent lower now than it was in February of 2020, before the pandemic. That’s a lack of 290,000 people, but the disparity deepens when you consider the number of hotels and resorts in the U.S. continues to grow at a fast pace.”, Travel Pulse, September 12, 2023

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Brand & Franchising News

6 Shifting Consumer Trends Affecting Quick-Service Restaurants – According to industry data, food spending is expected to rebound through 2024 and into 2025. Consumers’ preferences are shifting like never before, due to a variety of societal and economic dynamics. How can quick-service restaurants adjust to maintain—and potentially increase—foot traffic during these transformative times?  The good news is that consumers aren’t trading out of foodservice; however, many are trading down within the segment. According to industry data, food spending is expected to rebound through 2024 and into 2025 as the country moves into a recovery phase following a mild recession.”, QSR Magazine, September 15, 2023


Chick-fil-A to re-enter UK market – Chick-fil-A, the American fast-food brand, is renewing its attempt to enter the UK market, four years after its debut pop-up closed amid a row over its ties to anti-gay beliefs. The first restaurants will open in early 2025, the first permanent outlets outside North America. The 55-year-old family-owned business runs more than 2,800 restaurants across the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. It is aiming to open five restaurants in the UK in the first two years of launch, creating between 80 and 120 jobs per branch.”, The Times of London, September 15, 2023


Paradies Lagardère Swoops On Airport Dining Specialist Tastes On The Fly – The French parent company of North American travel retailer Paradies Lagardère has signed an agreement to acquire airport restaurateur Tastes on the Fly. Tastes on the Fly operates about 25 concepts across five major airports, including San Francisco, Denver, New York’s JFK, Boston, and Vancouver in Canada. Added to Paradies’ existing portfolio, Tastes on the Fly’s addition takes the number of F&B brands to more than 100, ranging from full-service to fast-casual and quick-serve.”, Forbes, September 7, 2023


Southlake man couldn’t get job at Church’s Chicken years ago. Now he owns 140 locations – Aslam Khan’s life story is often described as rags to riches. Which he finds ironic because he was actually wearing a suit and tie when he was turned away from his first job interview with Church’s Chicken nearly four decades ago. He thinks it might have been because he was overdressed. It was for a fast-food restaurant, after all, he said. Now, at 69, he is the largest franchisee in the organization of the fast-food restaurant with his company, Falcon Holdings, operating over 140 stores.”, Star Telegram, September 14, 2023


How Twisted by Wetzel’s is planning to disrupt the snack category – The streetside restaurant concept is bigger than a traditional Wetzel’s and features a broader, more creative menu. In the spring, Wetzel’s Pretzels opened a new concept called Twisted by Wetzel’s that is quite different from anything the company has done in its nearly-30-year history. The company describes Twisted as a ‘street concept that takes Wetzel’s fun-loving brand and timeless menu and elevates it to a whole new level.’”, Nation’s Restaurant News, September 15, 2023

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Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, the franchise sector, economic development and travel. We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ on the ground covering 25+ countries provides us with updates about what is actually happening in their specific countries. 

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