A new report published today by Oxford Economics reveals that lending through Funding Circle, the global small business loans platform, unlocked 75,000 jobs in the United States and Europe in 2017.
Launched in 2010, Funding Circle facilitates lending from a wide range of investors to small businesses in the US, UK, Germany and the Netherlands. In 2017 investors lent $2.3 billion to small businesses across all four markets, contributing $5.2 billion to the global economy (measured in Gross Value Added). For every £1 ($1.34) lent through the platform, an additional £2 ($2.68) was contributed to GDP across its four markets. In addition, the activity supported by these loans generated $1.8 billion in annual tax revenues in the United States and Europe.
A detailed look at the US:
Lending through the platform supported a contribution of $2 billion to the American economy in 2017 (measured in Gross Value Added).
The report also found that these loans had a significant impact on the US labor market, with almost 28,000 jobs found to be powered by lending through Funding Circle in 2017.
This economic activity and employment supported $170 million in annual tax revenues.
The report demonstrates the online lending model’s ability to stimulate economic growth by expanding access to financing for America’s 30 million small businesses1. Through its platform Funding Circle connects business owners with the capital they need at competitive and transparent pricing, contributing to the growth of the small business lending market. This year Funding Circle is set to hire 400 people, bringing the total number of employees to 1,200 worldwide.
Samir Desai, Funding Circle co-founder and CEO, said: “It has become evident that small businesses are underserved in every country we operate. From butchers and bakers, to IT consultants and accountants, these are the businesses that are creating jobs, boosting productivity and driving our economies forward. The economic impact that these businesses have had as a result of accessing finance through Funding Circle is hugely rewarding to see.”
Ian Mulheirn, Director of Economic Consultancy, Oxford Economics, said: “The report highlights the growing importance of Funding Circle to small businesses in the wake of the financial crisis, which impaired traditional banks’ willingness and ability to lend. As a result, small businesses have shown an increased appetite for other forms of finance, with online lending at the forefront of these options. Funding Circle is having a significant impact on employment across its four markets and boosting the economy on an impressive scale.”
Bernardo Martinez, Funding Circle U.S. Managing Director, said: “Business owners tell us every day just how much impact their Funding Circle loans have made, not only on each individual business but in their broader communities. It’s gratifying to see just how significant this impact really is, and we look forward to expanding it further as we connect even more American businesses to financing.”
Japan’s jobless rate seen up in January due to COVID-19 emergency measures – Reuters poll
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s jobless rate is expected to have edged up in January as service industry businesses suffered renewed restrictions on movement to fight spread of the coronavirus in some areas, including Tokyo, a Reuters poll of economists showed on Friday.
While industrial production activity picked up in Japan, emergency curbs rolled out last month such as asking restaurants to close early and suspending the national travel campaign hurt the jobs market, analysts said.
The nation’s unemployment rate likely rose 3.0% in January, up from 2.9% in December, the poll of 15 economists found.
The jobs-to-applicants ratio, a gauge of the availability of jobs, was seen at 1.06 in January, unchanged from December, but stayed near September’s seven-year low of 1.03, the poll showed.
“As the impact from the coronavirus pandemic prolongs, it is hard for firms, especially the service sector, to expect their business profits to improve,” said Yusuke Shimoda, senior economist at Japan Research Institute.
“So, their willingness to hire employees appear to be subdued and it is difficult to see the jobs market recovering soon.”
Some analysts also said the government’s steps to support employment and existing labour shortages will likely prevent the jobless rate from worsening sharply.
The government will announce the labour market data at 8:30 a.m. Japan time on Tuesday (2330 GMT Monday).
Analysts expect the economy to contract in the current quarter due to the emergency measures to counter the spread of the disease.
(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
China’s economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 – central bank adviser
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s gross domestic product (GDP) could expand 8-9% in 2021 as it continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, Liu Shijin, a policy adviser to the People’s Bank of China, said on Friday.
This speed of recovery would not mean China has returned to a “high-growth” period, said Liu, as it would be from a low base in 2020, when China’s economy grew 2.3%.
Analysts from HSBC this week forecast that China would grow 8.5% this year, leading the global economic recovery from the pandemic.
If 2020 and 2021’s average GDP growth is around 5%, this would be a “not bad” outcome, said Liu, speaking at an online conference.
China is set to release a government work report on March 5 which typically includes a GDP growth target for the year.
Last year’s report did not include one due to uncertainties caused by the coronavirus. Reuters previously reported that 2021’s report will also not set a target.
(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Muyu Xu; Editing by Sam Holmes and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)
Japan’s January factory output rises for first time in three months, retail sales drop
By Daniel Leussink
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s industrial output rose for the first time in three months in January thanks to a pickup in global demand, in a welcome sign for an economy still looking to shake off the drag of the coronavirus pandemic.
But retail sales, a key gauge of consumer spending, posted their second straight month of declines in January as emergency measures taken in response to the pandemic hit consumption.
Official data released on Friday showed factory output advanced 4.2% in January, boosted by sharp rises in production of electronic parts and general-purpose machinery, as well as a smaller increase in car output.
“Manufacturers will continue to increase output over the near term as long as there won’t be any big shock,” said Taro Saito, executive research fellow at NLI Research Institute.
While economic growth will likely be negative in the first quarter, the strength in manufacturing would offset the negative impact of a state of emergency at home, which is mainly affecting the services sector, he said.
The rise in output, which followed a 1.0% fall the previous month, was largely in line with a 4.0% gain forecast in a Reuters poll of economists. Manufacturers surveyed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) expect output to grow 2.1% in February, followed by a 6.1% decline in March.
The government kept its assessment of industrial production unchanged, saying it was picking up.
Factory output fell in November and December as a rebound in car production ended on sagging global demand, but since then strong demand for tech-making equipment and electronic goods has helped turn the tide.
Still, some analysts worry that Japan’s economic recovery will remain hobbled by weaker conditions at home and as lockdown measures taken around the world to contain the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in Europe, weigh.
The government also released data on Friday showing retail sales fell 2.4% in January compared with the same month a year earlier, in a sign households tightened their purse strings as the coronavirus staged a resurgence.
The fall, which was in line with a 2.6% drop seen by economists in a Reuters poll, was largely due to sharp contractions in general merchandise and fabrics apparel spending. It followed a 0.2% fall in December.
Compared to a month earlier, retail sales in January fell 0.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the third straight month of declines. But the pace of decline was slower than in the previous two months.
“We think consumer spending will only fall around 1% quarter-on-quarter this quarter,” said Tom Learmouth, Japan economist at Capital Economics.
“We expect it to rise fairly strongly over the coming quarters as the recovery resumes and is soon given a shot in the arm by vaccines,” he added.
(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Sam Holmes and Richard Pullin)
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