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AVALON SOLUTIONS GROUP LAUNCHES PAYABLY

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AVALON SOLUTIONS GROUP LAUNCHES PAYABLY

FinTech Company’s mobile app saves small businesses time and money by integrating data with QuickBooks Online in real time

Avalon Solutions Group, a financial technology company specializing in small business SaaS-based payment solutions today announced the launch of Payably™, a mobile payment app that allows small businesses to receive payments on-the-go. This first-of-its-kind application provides small businesses with a platform that accepts and processes mobile payments, expedites the payment cycle, and slashes the amount of time spent on bookkeeping while syncing those transactions with QuickBooks Online data in real time. An Intuit Developer platform member, Payably is available in the QuickBooks App store, and is compatible with iOS.

“With Payably, we are revolutionizing the bookkeeping and accounting process for small businesses by providing mobile businesses an on-the-go solution that enables them to thrive in the age of mobile payments,” said Steven Shollenberger, President and CEO of Avalon Solutions Group. “The app, currently available to the 1.87 million QuickBooks Online subscribers, allows our customers to spend less time on record keeping and get back to what matters most to them — growing their businesses. We don’t mess with our customers’ work flows. Instead, our platform works seamlessly behind the scenes to integrate with their pre-existing data on QuickBooks Online.”

The Payablyapp provides three business solutions in one platform:

  1. It is a robust mobile POS allowing users to accept all forms of payment, cash, credit cards, and check payments, on a mobile iOS device, anytime, anywhere;
  2. It allows for bi-directional, real-time information transfer between the app and QuickBooks Online, eliminating the need for manual data entry of sales transactions;
  3. It automatically generates reports and provides users with the ability to track and compare critical business information, such as gross sales and gross receipts, in real time.

 To set up Payably, users simply visit the getpayably.com website and register, choosing their plan and device. Once they receive their credentials (typically within 24 hours) they can download the free app from the iOS app store, input their credentials, and sync with their existing QuickBooks Online account, in literally just minutes.  From there, users are ready to begin accepting cash and check payments, and with a merchant service account in place, can typically start accepting credit cards within 24 hours of registration.

Following payment by credit card or entered cash and checks, users can instantly generate and email payment receipts based on the customer information and the sales receipt or invoice that they just created or previously entered in QuickBooks Online. Further, payments are automatically recorded to the correct Invoice or Sales Receipt in the users’ QuickBooks Online platform. Because Payably is continually syncing customer and transactional information with QuickBooks Online; your records are always up to date.  Payably ends the nightmare of manually entering individual payment receipts for your day’s activities.  In just minutes Payably eliminates hours of additional bookkeeping, input, data entry errors, and reconciliation by syncing the information that you need most with your most reliable source of information, QuickBooks.

Additionally, customers will have access to statistics on sales, customers, and products/services in real time upon completion of each transaction. Payably also ensures state-of-the-art security by using point-to-point encryption (P2PE), as well as providing customers with a live customer support line, available during business hours.

“Payably was launched in response to the growing needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs with mobile operations,” said Robert Fifield, co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of Avalon Solutions Group. Fifield also performs the duties of Chief Information Officer for the company.“Traditionally, businesses with mobile services in fields ranging from roofing to care taking have relied on cash payments — but, with recent surveys revealing that more than 80% of consumers prefer credit cards to cash, change is inevitable. Not only does Payably make it easy to accept, process, and record mobile payments, but it does so without disrupting normal business operations in any way.”

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China’s export growth seen surging in Jan-Feb on low base: Reuters poll

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China's export growth seen surging in Jan-Feb on low base: Reuters poll 1

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s exports likely surged to a three-year high and imports also jumped in the first two months of the year, thanks to a low base, as economic activity ground to a halt last year due to draconian COVID-19 control measures, a Reuters poll showed.

Exports are expected to have risen 38.9% in January-February from a year earlier, according to a median forecast in a Reuters poll of 22 economists, up from 18.1% gain in December.

China’s customs began combining January and February data last year to smooth distortions caused by the Lunar New Year, which can fall in either month.

Separately, the head of China state planner said on Friday that China’s exports are estimated to have grown over 50% in the first two months, without specifying whether that was in yuan or dollar terms.

The strong forecasts contrast with official and private manufacturing surveys that have indicated a weakening in external demand for Chinese products.

“China’s exports are facing both positive and negative impacts currently,” analysts with China Minsheng Bank said in a note.

“The exports volume of medical supplies and transferred orders from other countries due to coronavirus-related disruptions to production will decrease, with more countries speeding up work resumption with the rollout of vaccines.”

The bank’s analysts also expected a rebound of overseas demand for Chinese goods with the reopening of global economy.

Chinese factory activity normally goes dormant during the Lunar New Year break as workers return to their home towns. This year, the government appealed to workers to avoid travelling to curb the spread of COVID-19, prompting some economists to forecast a marginal boost to production especially in the country’s coastal export-dominant provinces.

Imports likely rose 15% in the first two months versus a year ago, the poll showed, with some analysts expecting the number to have been lifted by high commodity prices.

China’s trade surplus is expected to have narrowed to $60 billion in the same period from $78.17 billion in December, according to the poll. The data will be released on Sunday.

(Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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U.S. job growth likely regained steam in February

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U.S. job growth likely regained steam in February 2

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. job growth likely accelerated in February as more services businesses reopened amid falling new COVID-19 cases, quickening vaccination rates and additional pandemic relief money from the government, putting the labor market recovery back on firmer footing and on course for further gains in the months ahead.

The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday will, however, also offer a reminder that as the United States enters the second year of the coronavirus pandemic the recovery remains excruciatingly slow, with millions of Americans experiencing long spells of joblessness and permanent unemployment.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Thursday offered an optimistic view of the labor market, but cautioned a return to full employment this year was “highly unlikely.”

“We will probably see more people having gone back on payrolls,” said Sung Won Sohn, a finance and economics professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. “Many will be related to service jobs, but that will not mean a rapid increase in jobs. It’s a slow progress toward eventual full recovery.”

Nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 182,000 jobs last month after rising only 49,000 in January, according to a Reuters poll of economists. Payrolls declined in December for the first time in eight months.

Economists saw no impact from the mid-February deep freeze in the densely populated South as the winter storms hit after the week during which the government surveyed establishments and businesses for the employment report.

But unseasonably cold weather last month, especially in the Northeast, and production cuts at auto assembly plants because of a global semiconductor chip shortage likely shortened the average workweek.

The labor market has been slow to respond to the drop in daily coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, which helped fuel a boost in consumer spending in January that prompted economists to sharply upgrade their gross domestic product growth estimates for the first quarter.

Historically, employment lags GDP growth by about a quarter. But economists believe the catching up started in February, a year after the economy fell into recession at the start of the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak.

A survey last week showed consumers’ perceptions of the labor market improved in February after deteriorating in January and December. In addition, a measure of manufacturing employment increased to a two-year high in February.

Though millions are unemployed, companies are struggling to find workers, which is contributing to holding back job growth. A survey on Wednesday showed employment growth in the services industry slowed last month, with businesses reporting they were “unable to fill vacant positions with qualified applicants.”

That was underscored by an NFIB survey on Thursday showing 91% of small businesses trying to hire in February reported few or no qualified applicants for their open positions.

WORKER SHORTAGE

This labor market dichotomy is because the pandemic is keeping some workers at home, fearful of accepting or returning to jobs that could expose them to the virus.

It has also disproportionately affected women who have been forced to drop out of the labor force to look after children as many schools remain closed for in-person learning. According to Census Bureau data, around 10 million mothers living with their own school-age children were not actively working in January, 1.4 million more than during the same month in 2020.

The Fed’s Beige Book report on Wednesday showed there are shortages of workers in both low-skill and skilled trade occupations. The vacancies are mainly in the high-growth industries that have fared well throughout the pandemic, such as information technology, engineering, construction, customer support, manufacturing, and accounting and finance.

“Jobseekers are more hesitant to pursue many of the in-demand roles that are required to be onsite, particularly in industries like manufacturing, which has seen double digit increases in job roles like assemblers and warehouse managers,” said Karen Fichuk, CEO of Randstad North America.

The virus has greatly altered the economic landscape and many of the services industry jobs lost will likely not return.

Though the unemployment rate has dropped below 10%, it has been understated by people misclassifying themselves as being “employed but absent from work.” It is expected to have held steady at 6.3% in February. Just over 4 million Americans had been unemployed for more than six months in January, while 3.5 million were permanently unemployed.

Given the difficulties of retraining, structural unemployment could account for a bigger share of joblessness in the near future.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Economists believe the labor market will gather steam in the spring and through summer, with vaccinations increasing daily, even though the pace of decline in COVID-19 infections has flattened recently.

A boost to hiring is also expected from President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion recovery plan, which is under consideration by Congress.

“The labor force will begin a meaningful recovery in mid-2021 as extensive vaccine distribution will push toward herd immunity, reducing health concerns and allowing for a more complete recovery of some hard-hit industries,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Dan Burns and Andrea Ricci)

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Oil prices surge as OPEC+ extends output cuts into April

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Oil prices surge as OPEC+ extends output cuts into April 3

By Sonali Paul and Koustav Samanta

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Friday, extending gains from the previous session, after OPEC and its allies agreed not to increase supply in April as they await a more substantial recovery in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Brent crude futures for May rose 60 cents, or 0.9%, to $67.34 a barrel at 0337 GMT, and was on track for a near 2% gain in the week.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 56 cents, or 0.9%, to $64.39 per barrel.

Both contracts surged more than 4% on Thursday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, together called OPEC+, extended oil output curbs into April, with small exemptions to Russia and Kazakhstan.

“It just goes to show how much of a surprise the OPEC+ discipline is,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

“What makes the gain even more impressive is that it comes against a risk-off backdrop and a higher U.S. dollar,” he said.

Oil prices usually fall when the dollar rises as a higher greenback makes oil more expensive for buyers with other currencies.

Investors were surprised that Saudi Arabia had decided to maintain its voluntary cut of 1 million barrels per day through April even after oil prices rallied over the past two months.

“An array of factors coalesced to bring the parties together, but the resultant price increase will almost certainly push the parties to change their minds when they meet again on April 1, 2021,” commodity analysts at Citigroup said in a note.

“Whatever its rationale, from a pure market balancing perspective, OPEC itself has indicated that more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil will be required in the market by end-June. That need starts by mid- to late Apr’21, as refinery demand for crude starts growing before escalating through Aug’21.”

Analysts are reviewing their price forecasts to reflect the continued supply restraint by OPEC+ as well as U.S. shale producers, who are holding back spending in order to boost returns to investors.

“Oil prices could rip higher now that a tight market is likely up through the summer. WTI crude at $75 no longer seems outlandish and Brent could easily top $80 by the summer,” OANDA analyst Edward Moya said in a note.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Koustav Samanta in Singapore; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Jane Wardell)

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