Trump trade war: Record wheat output may fuel Brexit debate

BBC Monitoring

Winter is coming for many regions of New England. Winter storms this season could cause flooding and disrupt transport, but for some the economic and financial impacts could be much worse.

GlobeandReport.com has been following the ups and downs of local economies during the rising cost of heating and cooling homes this season. In many small towns, the extreme cost of buying energy in some cases meant families chose to leave for warmer climates this year.

Economist Whitney Robertson says it’s not all about the weather for the New England region.

“We need more do-it-yourself improvements in our homes, which usually translates into higher utility bills,” she says. “And especially as the mercury drops, we are all paying more attention to the fact that oil heat can be much more costly than natural gas.”

After many winters of falling energy bills, a prolonged spike in heating prices is raising concern about just how families and businesses will cope in the coming months. Robertson says small businesses particularly will be feeling the pinch from the increasing price of heating.

“Small businesses are often the ones who end up with the balance between energy costs and what they’re earning each year,” she says. “If you’re having to cut back on marketing, you may not be able to attract new clients – that will ultimately hurt a business rather than help it.”

The rising price of energy may not be the only worry affecting New England businesses. Roberston says the recent government shutdown has meant public services such as the Small Business Administration are also less likely to help small businesses get loans this year.

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