Friday, January 8, 2016

UK exports drop to lowest since July; Volkswagen sales fall first time in 11 years; Dropping five types of self-defeating behavior

1 UK exports drop to lowest since July (Phillip Inman in The Guardian) Britain’s trade gap remained alarmingly high in November after exports fell to their lowest value since July. The deficit in goods and services narrowed to £3.2bn compared with £3.5bn in the previous month, but this was only after a drop in oil imports and a £2.4bn fall in the value of “unspecified goods”, mainly gold, brought into the country.

The persistently high level of the UK trade deficit leaves George Osborne with a headache and will likely renew calls for further action to boost exports. The chancellor warned on Thursday about a “dangerous cocktail” of economic risks which meant 2016 was likely to be one of the toughest years since the financial crisis.

The UK’s export performance will be a key indicator to watch in 2016. Exports are set to remain under pressure from weak demand flowing from slower growth in emerging markets, particularly China. Yet stronger economic growth in the US and the eurozone should provide some support.”

Exports fell by £500m, or 1.2%, to £42.2bn. The Office for National Statistics said this decrease comprised a £200m decline in the export of services and a £300m drop in the export of goods, specifically finished manufactures.

Total imports fell by £800m to £45.4bn over the same period, largely as a result of a sharp decline of £500m in the import of fuels, mainly oil, and the drop in unspecified goods.

2 Volkswagen sales fall first time in 11 years (BBC) German carmaker Volkswagen has posted its first drop in VW brand sales in 11 years as the company continues to cope with its emissions scandal. Sales of VW brand cars fell 4.8% in 2015 to 5.82 million cars from 6.12 million a year earlier.

Falling demand in China and US added to the losses as orders fell in December. VW has promised it will have a fix in the coming weeks for the millions of US cars with defeat devices that disguised emission levels in diesel cars.

Sales began declining after the scandal came to light in September. Deliveries fell 5.3% in October, 2.4% in November and 7.9% in December compared with those months the previous year. The underperformance at VW's largest division by sales and revenue pulled down annual group deliveries by 2% to 9.93 million cars, the first drop in 13 years, VW said.

However, speaking on Wednesday, Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess said he was "optimistic" the company would find a solution soon. Regulators appear been less confident. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which uncovered the scandal, said that VW had not yet "not produced an acceptable way forward".

In 2015, a record 17.47 million cars were sold, according to Autodata. The car data firm has been keeping records since 1980. General Motors, one of the biggest US car firms, had an 8% increase in sales. Mercedes-Benz USA had its most successful year since entering the country, with sales rising 3.8%.

3 Dropping five types of self-defeating behavior (Kim Thompson in San Francisco Chronicle) Without getting too philosophical, most things in your career that need changing boil down to a one word answer – choices. Outside of the economy and things you can’t control, most of what happens in your career is generally due to the choices you make, such as habits and beliefs that tend to be repeated day after day.

Here are five types of self-defeating behavior to loose in 2016:

• Stop blaming others for your problems. When you are playing the blame game, you give others more control and make them responsible for your problems. If your boss is difficult to communicate with, change the way you react to them or take ownership for working things out.

• Self-defeating beliefs. Many times, job candidates have a conclusion in mind before they start. Take networking, for example. Even though you might be uncomfortable meeting new people that doesn’t mean you will not have a good time or meet that one person who could help change your career with a job lead.

• Setting unrealistic expectations. Making goals for the New Year is great and gives you a plan to pursue, however when you set your goals too high, you end up disappointed when you can’t reach them. Instead of seeking a promotion two levels above your experience, why not aim for one step at a time to learn and grow before aiming too high?

• Refusing to empathize. Your ability to relate and understand another person’s point of view will often determine how fast your career will grow. When you refuse to show empathy to your boss, co-workers or potential employers, you end up sabotaging your success.

• Misunderstanding delegation. Ineffective delegation of tasks can be self-defeating because it keeps you from being perceived as a leader ready for the next career step. Delegation is a balancing act; under-delegating can keep you running after everyone doing their work while taking you off of your goals. Over-delegating can create a loss of connection with others and send a leaderless perception.

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