Afternoon Coffee: US retail sales see biggest drop in seven months; Globality Connects with SAP Ariba; Global trade expected to shrink 9.2%

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The Commerce Department reported on Wednesday that US retail sales fell 1.1% in November, the second consecutive month of decline, according to CNBC.

November’s drop was the biggest drop in seven months, the Associated Press reported. Economists said it was likely that the COVID-19 surge and decreasing household income were likely to blame for the decline, CNBC reported. The decline adds to growing signs of a slowdown in the economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession.

November’s number could nudge the US Congress to agree on another fiscal stimulus package, CNBC said. News of this weak start to the holiday shopping season came as Federal Reserve officials are wrapping up a two-day policy meeting.

Globality Connects with SAP Ariba, a new services sourcing option for Ariba users

Globality, the AI-powered services sourcing solution, announced that its connector extensions for SAP Ariba Contracts and SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing are available on SAP App Center. According to a press release announcing the news, businesses “can source service suppliers on Globality’s Platform and create contracts or purchase requisitions automatically in the SAP Ariba Sourcing solution, helping to ensure downstream compliance.”

Globality states that its solution “transforms the sourcing of high-value, complex services by automating the demand creation, supplier identification, tendering, proposal evaluation and statement of work creation process with a self-serve, consumer-like interface.” The company reports that its AI engine “can determine the project scope in minutes,” enabling instant matching of requirements “with preferred suppliers and qualified alternatives from Globality’s highly vetted and diverse network.”

Spend Matters has been tracking the emerging category of purpose-built solutions for procuring third-party services in its Contracted Services/SOW SolutionMap. Most of the focus in the past has been, rightly so, on the SOW modules of VMS providers. But in recent years, we have been observing the arrival of new services procurement solutions, such as Globality, which is on Spend Matters 50 Providers To Watch list.

For more on Globality, read Globality Uses AI to Transform Complex Services Sourcing.

Global trade projected to shrink 9.2%, indicating sluggish globalization trend

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on economic activity around the world, further changing a trend of globalization. The World Trade Organization projects that global trade shrunk 9.2% this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In fact, since the 2009 global financial crisis, growth in international trade was sluggish — a phenomenon dubbed “slowbalization.” Ebbs and flows of trade mainly reflect changes in economic growth around the world. The outlook for 2021 remains in question as it largely will rely on if the world puts the coronavirus pandemic behind it, the WSJ said.

However, other trends might diminish globalization going forward. Some countries are more wary of national security concerns. Additionally, the reliance on global supply chains — and the disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic — have some countries wondering if they’ve become too dependent on others for essential medical supplies and medicines, the WSJ reported.

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