Afternoon Coffee: Economy’s Solid 2018 in GDP Likely to Weaken; Proactis Nets $26.5 Million in Funding

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According to GDP figures released Thursday, the U.S. economy last year had a solid performance that lagged toward the end, tamping down expectations for this year, the Associated Press reports.

It summed up the 2018 economy like this:

“The nation’s gross domestic product, the broadest gauge of economic health, expanded at a 2.6% annual rate in the October-December period, the government said Thursday. That was down from a 3.4% rate in the July-September period and a sizzling 4.2% pace from April through June. During those months, the economy benefited from tax cuts and from higher government spending, the gains from which are thought to be fading.”

Many analysts are forecasting that growth this year will slow to around 2.2% and will weaken further in 2020, the AP reports.

Proactis to Focus on SMEs, Liquidity

Proactis, a UK-based procurement software company that focuses on global spend management and e-commerce, on Thursday announced that it received about $26.5 million from HSBC UK to help it market new technology.

The company said its proprietary solution targets small- to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and is meant to deliver “frictionless cash flow” between businesses.

“It both accelerates and incentivizes payments, helping SMEs in particular to invest in growth through improved liquidity,” Proactis said.

Anthony Persse, financial solutions director at Proactis, said in the release: “There is a disconnect in the current payment culture that benefits neither buyers nor suppliers. It stymies investment as well as working capital.”

For larger businesses, it can help manage the supply chain, easing working capital and aiding supplier relationships, the firm said.

Wayne Shadlock, global relationship director at HSBC UK, said in the release: “We have a keen understanding of the benefits of accelerating payments through the supply chain, and the new technology is both scalable and unique to Proactis.”

Trump Win China May Help Farmers

The World Trade Organization ruled that China gave its farmers too much in subsidies, a decision that’s a win for the Trump administration, Bloomberg News reports.

It may level the playing field for U.S. farmers, but Bloomberg reports that an appeal by China to the WTO could complicate things:

“China may still be able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat if it appeals the case to the WTO appellate body, which could soon be paralyzed due to the Trump administration’s block on nominees.”

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