Afternoon Coffee: U.S. Trade Deficit at 10-Year High; Payment Provider Nvoicepay Snapped Up

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U.S. Commerce Department data showed Wednesday that the U.S. trade deficit widened in 2018 to $621 billion, its highest in a decade, according to Bloomberg by way of Industry Week.

"The merchandise-trade deficit with China — the principal target of Trump’s trade war — hit a record $419.2 billion in 2018," according to the article. "The merchandise deficits with Mexico and the European Union also hit records."

Speaking of the E.U., the OECD said today that "the global economy is unlikely to receive a big boost from a trade agreement between the U.S. and China, since it would likely leave much uncertainty over future economic relations between the two," and goes on to reserve its most worrisome outlook for the Eurozone — the body is "urging policymakers there to work together on stimulus measures," according to the WSJ (paywall).

Fleetcor Announced It Will Buy Nvoicepay

According to the announcement, Fleetcor, a commercial payment (primarily card) solutions provider, “has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Nvoicepay, Inc., a leader in full AP automation for businesses.” Nvoicepay is described as a provider that “delivers automated accounts payable solutions to over 400 business clients, providing a simple UI that allows customers to electronically pay all of their suppliers."

Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch, in his take just after the news broke, noted that "quick analysis of the transaction suggests it represents another case example of card companies seeking to build out total payment solutions, getting closer and closer to accounts payable to influence a larger share of payment flows and direct them their way."

Read Busch's initial analysis in full here.

U.S. Automotive Market Not Doing So Hot?

Our sister site MetalMiner's Automotive Monthly Metals Index (MMI) was just released, and although the index of metals used in the auto sector rose a point this month, the underlying story by MetalMiner Editor Fouad Egbaria paints an uncertain picture for the auto industry in the longer term.

"The overall industry is starting off slower due in part to weather, the U.S. government shutdown and concern over tax refunds,” U.S. Head of Sales Reid Bigland said in a statement. “We still see a strong, stable economy and anticipate any lost winter sales will be made up in the spring."

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