Government spending throughout 2021 was a boon to the business sector. Jobs returned, production rose, and many countries ended the year on a positive note. But growth – and years of low interest rates – has raised the specter of inflation, or rising prices. Now all eyes are on central banks, especially in the United Stated, to see how they’ll respond. As the NY Times reports:
Federal Reserve policymakers have moved into inflation-fighting mode saying they would cut back more quickly on their pandemic-era stimulus at a moment of rising prices and strong economic growth. This move will cap a challenging year with a policy shift that could usher in higher interest rates in 2022.
The world first heard about cases of a novel coronavirus on December 31st, 2019. In just two short months, the World Health Organization had declared a global pandemic. The impact on the world economy was instantaneous, as the World Economic Forum explains:
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit global trade and investment at an unprecedented speed and scale. Multinational companies faced an initial supply shock, then a demand shock as more and more countries ordered people to stay at home. Governments, businesses and individual consumers suddenly struggled to procure basic products and materials, and were forced to confront the fragility of the modern supply chain.
Now, as we approach summer, supply chains still don’t feel completely secure. Economic forecasts look pretty gloomy as nations emerging from lockdown attempt to kickstart their economies. The stock market, however, has provided some surprises amid the crisis.
According to Donald Trump, “trade wars are easy to win.” However, as usual, reality appears to contradict Trump’s claims. In the current dispute between the U.S. and China, it doesn’t look like a winner will emerge any time soon. As CNN notes:
The Trump administration made good on its threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports from 10% to 25%, marking a sharp rise in tensions between the world’s two largest economies. After months of talks aimed at ending a year-long dispute that has already hurt global growth and rattled stock markets around the world, the latest US salvo risks triggering a new wave of tit-for-tat responses.
Every company’s goal is to make a profit. But how they go about that is different. Different industries, different business models, different approaches – There’s no simple recipe for success. And there’s no simple, single way to measure whether a company is performing well.
Instead, we look at many different factors when we measure company performance. We’ve also got a lot of different expressions in English for discussing the topic. And many of these English expressions are what we call “collocations.”
What’s a collocation? Well, it’s just a natural combination of words. Ever heard the expressions “turn a profit” or “boost the bottom line?” We don’t say “grow a profit” or “up the bottom line.” Those simply aren’t natural collocations. And if you say something like that, you won’t sound natural.
So studying collocations is a great way to sound more natural with your vocabulary. You can learn combinations of words, rather than single words on their own. As you listen to the dialog today, try to pick out some of these collocations, and we’ll discuss them later in the debrief.
In the dialog, we’ll rejoin a meeting at a private equity firm. Three colleagues, Maria, Claudia, and Taylor, are talking about some of the companies they’ve invested in. They’ll use lots of great collocations as they discuss the performance of these companies.
1. What does Claudia think about SmartMoney?
2. What does Taylor think they should do before selling off SmartMoney?
3. What has Claudia been focusing on with Byron Industries?
Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for talking about company performance.
The economy is in a state of constant change. Companies grow, and companies shrink. New companies are born, and old ones disappear. And you don’t have to be an investor to get excited about the boom and bust of markets and the story of how company’s respond. But if you are an investor, your whole retirement might depend on whether companies make the right moves at the right time.
This makes company performance a popular topic around the business table, or at the pub. And when we talk about company performance, we often use special expressions called collocations. An English collocation is a combination of words that are commonly used together, such as “company performance” or “state of change.”
Native speakers use these collocations automatically. In fact, our brains store these groups of words together, as if they were one word. You can learn to remember and use these collocations too. Studying collocations is a great way to learn vocabulary and sound more natural. So, as you listen to the dialog, try to pick out some of these collocations and we’ll discuss them later in the debrief.
In the dialog, we’ll hear Maria, Claudia, and Taylor, who work at a private equity firm. Basically, it’s their job to invest in the right companies for maximum profit. The three are discussing the performance of several companies they’ve chosen to invest in.
1. Why does Claudia feel positive about Ranger Gold’s performance?
2. What is Taylor worried will happen if Ranger Gold builds a new mine?
3. What does Maria think Intuition Software needs to do to remain profitable?