A roof-raising trade gap in March highlighted concerns that the rise of the dollar against other currencies was weakening the economy, chipping away at the ability of American manufacturers to compete abroad while encouraging more imports to fill retailers' shelves.
After a long period of economic turmoil, manufacturers in the United States are finding reasons to be optimistic. Demand is up and companies are seeing improvements in productivity, along with increases in profits. For this upward trajectory to continue, however, industry executives and governmental representatives cannot be complacent. Production efficiency, energy costs, tax legislation and education access are integral to the success of the industry's current fiscal condition and need to be nurtured or reformed. If the current business environment is to last, there is still more work to do.
The recent robust manufacturing performance should continue in the near-term despite marginal declines in some indicators, according to the quarterly MAPI Foundation Business Outlook, a survey conducted by the MAPI Foundation, the research affiliate of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation.
Manufacturing executives like what they are seeing on their balance sheets, are increasingly confident about the U.S. economy and plan to do more hiring and operational spending in the year ahead, a new survey from PwC US reports.
It just might be time to book that vacation in Paris you've been thinking about. That is one practical conclusion to draw from a remarkable set of shifts in global currencies that started in the second half of last year and has continued in the early trading days of 2015. The seemingly inexorable rise of the dollar versus the euro and most other currencies has broad implications for the global economy this year and beyond.
The stage is set for strategic buyers. Uncertainty over macroeconomic issues may have dimmed the corporate lights on M&A plans in previous years, but 2014 is providing a more promising script. Debt financing is readily available; many corporations boast significant cash on their balance sheets; shareholders are clamoring for more than just share buybacks; and companies are scouring for targets at home and abroad with more immediacy than before. CEOs are viewing the M&A scene with more confidence than they have in a long time.