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CNC Control for a Vertical Milling Machine

What is the best Vertical Milling Machine I can buy Today? Is a Bridgeport Milling Machine still the best?

What is the best Vertical Milling Machine I can Buy Today?  Is a Bridgeport Milling Machine still the best?

That is a very difficult question to answer.  With thousands of manufacturers building Vertical and Horizontal milling machines today it is tough to find a good one.  Many are from China, Taiwan or both.

The originator of the milling machine, Bridgeport Milling Machines, is a company often copied. They pretty much set the standard for the style and shape of the mills made today.  Many of the import milling machines are almost exact copies of the Bridgeport and even have some interchangeable parts!

Variable Speed Acra Vertical Milling Machine
Variable Speed Acra Vertical Milling Machine

So with so many vertical Mills to choose from how do you choose one? Should I buy a Used Vertical Mill or a New Vertical Milling Machine?

You first need to start with the questions:
-What kind of work are you going to be doing on this mill?
-How often are you going to use this mill?
-How often are you going to change the speeds depending on the material you are using?
-What Accessories do I need with my mill?
-How long do I intend on keeping this mill?
-What accessories do I want with my new or used Vertical Milling machine?

Let’s take these questions one at a time.
Q: What kind of work are you going to be doing on this mill? 

A: Are you doing light aluminum work or are you hogging titanium?  Depending on the materials you are going to use you will need a light duty Mill or a Heavy duty Milling machine.  Most of the light duty machines are going to be the Chinese, Taiwan or China/Taiwan meaning the head is from Taiwan and the body from China.

Brands such as: AcraBirmingham, Comet, wells, Sharp, Chevalier and Atrump are a few import machines for sale today.  They have a good reputation on the new and used milling machine market.  They are lower cost solutions to a light duty job that doesn’t need such a high quality machine to do more simple work.

Brands Such as:  BridgeportLagunTree, Gorton and some of the import machines such as AtrumpAcra, and Chevalier have a heavy duty option.

Q: How often are you going to use this mill?

A:  Some users need a vertical mill for a personal garage, Hobby Shop, Maintenance shop and other low use conditions.  Others need full production machinery to run 24/7 under heavy use conditions.  If you are not in need of a production machine than many of the import and less expensive mills are most likely a great choice for you.

X-Axis Power Feed for a Vertical Milling Machine
X-Axis Power Feed for a Vertical Milling Machine

Q: How often are you going to change the speeds depending on the material you are using?

A:  There are a few different head types available for today’s Vertical Milling Machine.

  1.  Belt or Pulley Change Head- This options requires the user to change the belt position on the pulleys to a different position allowing for a different set of speeds.  This is the most labor intensive way to change the speeds.  If you are not looking to change speeds and use often the same materials and tools on your mill than this is the most INEXPENSIVE style of mill.
  2.  Variable Speed Head-A variable speed head has a simple handle that you spin to change the speeds.  There is also a High and Low Speed Selector to choose that will open up a large range of speeds.  This is a quicker way to change the speeds than a belt pulley head and the most popular head made today.
  3. A/C Inverter Head-Being the most expensive you will not see a large amount of used milling machines on the market with this option.  It will generally cost about $1,000 more than a variable speed mill.  This option uses a pedometer to allow for speed change giving ultimate control on your head speeds with the least amount of time to change the speed.  This A/C inverter head option also allows for the user to power the mill using both 220V Single phase and 220V Three Phase power.

Q:  What accessories do I want with my new or used Vertical Milling machine?

A:  Basic options range from:
1.  Powered Table Feed on X, Y or Z axis-  This allows for auto feed as well as having rapids to quickly bring the table back to home position.
2.  Powered Draw Bar- Uses air to turn the drawbar allowing for the user to change the collets out quickly and easily.
3. DRO or Digital Readout- This is a great way to easily see the X, Y and Z axis readings without having to look at the handles.  They often have calculators built in for Milling Machine Calculations.

4.  Vise, Collets, End-mills and other work holding tools.

2 Axis Digital Readout or DRO for a Vertical Milling Machine
2 Axis Digital Readout or DRO for a Vertical Milling Machine

Are you looking for a milling machine to buy or sell?

Sterling Machinery Exchange, A member of MDNA, has dozens of new and used mills in stock available for inspection underpower.  This allows for the consumer to see all the different brands and options all in one place.  They ship worldwide and have been in business since 1954. Call to speak with a helpful milling machine sales person today!  626-444-0311 This article was Written by: Adam Mattes, V.P. Sterling Machinery Exchange

You can also contact any of MDNA’s machinery dealers, located around the world, by using the Find Members>Search tool on

Written By: Adam Mattes, V.P. Sterling Machinery Exchange


MDNA launches new webinar series -“Lunch & Learn”


MDNA is excited to introduce a new webinar series called “Lunch & Learn!” 

MDNA is very proud of the educational opportunities that we have made available through: Convention programming, WWTP, B.O.S.S. and articles within our news publications.

With this new member benefit, you can take advantage of the expanded educational offerings in both industry relevant and general business topics through the use of these online webinars.

AMEA has successfully implemented and used webinars for continuing education for years and even though these webinars have been open to all within the MDNA family they have predominantly been geared toward the Appraiser side of the business. While some of the topics dealing with specialty machines will overlap, the MDNA webinars will also delve into business topics to include marketing and sales. Topics will be determined by feedback from members –so the topics are endless!

We look forward to having you participate in one of the new  “Lunch & Learn” webinars found under Calendar of Events on

If you have a topic you would like us to consider just email

Weekend With The Pros, MDNA

Weekend With The Pros 2015 Leaves a Lasting Impression

MDNA’s popular Weekend With The Pros was held October 15th -18th 2015, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The event kicked off on Thursday with a B.O.S.S. seminar. Participants reported leaving with many good implementable takeaways.  The B.O.S.S. was moderated by Joe Lundvick, MDNA First Vice President, of Perfection Machinery Sales Inc.  Attendee Steve Beck of Automatics & Machinery Co. Inc., commented that “Joe did an outstanding job of facilitating the event and provided some very good take home information.  We need to have this annually or every other year.”

Friday included an eye opening tour of Falk Corp. where attendees saw, among other impressive machines, one of, if not the largest Gear Shaper and Vertical Boring Mills in North America.  Friday also packed a lot of fun and networking with tours of Miller Brewing and the Harley Davidson Museum.  The day concluded with a Milwaukee/Minneapolis Chapter Meeting and networking dinner.  These events would not have been possible without the support of two great Premier Vendors and great sponsors, Bidspotter and Direct Capitol.

Saturday was a world wind day packed full of educational tours starting with breakfast at Premier Vendor, Bentley World Packaging.  Tom and his team opened their doors and our eyes into their world of specialty packaging, from custom packaging for any type of shipment, to all of the requirements needed for national or international shipping of machines from locations around the country.

Ever pitch a machine from your inventory and have a potential customer respond with hesitation because they are looking for a more automated way of doing things?  Our next stop was Acieta.  They are a leader in automation technology, with over 4,000 robotic system installs throughout North America.  Attendees saw several examples of how partnering with Acieta can give them the expertise to bring used machinery and robotics together to present a lower cost and increased production automation solution to customers.

Our tour ‘lunch stop’ was at the Wisconsin Branch of MDNA member Concept Machine Tool.  This was another great example of a key benefit of MDNA membership.  No other organization could get access for 3 bus loads of people into a first class facility like Concept.  Here attendees did not just tour a warehouse full of machines.  Bob Jurack, General Manager, and his team, made sure that attendees also received a first class education on Measuring-Inspection Equipment.  And we learned that in addition to Concept Machine Tool being one of the largest full service machine tool distributors in the mid-west that through their Measuring Equipment Division, Concept is a great partner for dealers to work with for their precision manufacturing customer needs. They are experts in offering CMM, precision measuring, optical comparators, microscopy scopes, gages and surface testers, calibration and more.  While at this tour stop attendees were treated to a great lunch courtesy of Alternative Machine Tool, LLC.

Our fourth stop of the day was at a manufacturer called Weldall Manufacturing Inc., the large weldments and large fabrication experts.  And by large I mean really, really, large.  To see how large all you have to do is checkout our photos.  Oh wait, we were prohibited from taking photos because of the type of work and the customers that Weldall services.  In fact our tour access was very rare and took special permission that was granted because of the efforts of one special MDNA member.  JR Kramer of Wisconsin Metalworking knew the value of a tour at a place like this and went over and above to help get us in the door.

Speaking of JR Kraemer, he Chuck Radtke and the entire team at Wisconsin Metalworking Machinery opened their doors for the last tour stop and in addition to demonstrating three machines under power and showing off their more than 50,000 square feet of machinery the WMM team hosted a German fest style party complete with pig roast German beer and all the trimmings for us.

A special thanks goes to the Milwaukee/Minneapolis Chapter Leadership team of Brad Wilson and Scott Buth of Alternative Machine Tool, LLC, who were responsible for creating this great weekend full of activities and tours.

As stated many times before, these events could not be put on without the generous support of tour hosts and sponsors and we encourage all who attended this fabulous weekend to reach out and thank all who contributed.  Please take a moment and read the names of all the companies that made WWTP in Milwaukee great!

Well done once again on Weekend With The Pros. Just like the other two I attended, the itinerary was well done and interesting. Fun activities, with lots of freedom to schmooze simultaneously. Networking was great. Everything was excellently organized, and the stuffed animals were unforgettable. I know I got a lot out of the weekend. Often I don’t know exactly what the most important effect of an event like this will be, but I’m sure down the line something good will happen because of it. You know it will always be interesting when such a colorful group like used machinery dealers get together. Looking forward to the next one. – Noah Graff, Graff-Pinkert & Co. Sales

 *Check out the MDNA Facebook page and the MDNA Fall News edition for more images to come!


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Special Thank You to the Following Tour Hosts and Sponsors
Wismet-Logo-HI-RES (4) bentley_logo
AMEA Color Logo weldall
alternative-machine-tool-logo concept
Smith Machinery logo (002) bidspotter-sponsor-slider
 direct captital logo  yoder logo
 sommin  naab logo  FL SALES TOP LOGO1
 SIM_Logo-1-page-001 (002)  Print
MWI Logo (002) low res acieta


What is the true state of manufacturing in the United States?

By Alan Kelsky Monday, September 28, 2015 via MultiBriefs manufacturing

Experts in manufacturing hold differing opinions about how well the sector is doing since the Great Recession. In fact, the same sources tend to be schizophrenic about the manufacturing sector’s progress.

For example, CNBC ran a story on June 10 entitled, “Is there a renaissance in US manufacturing? Numbers don’t add up.”The numbers cited include that since 2007, when the Great Recession began, the manufacturing sector has not recovered and is down 3.2 percent in output and “2 million jobs have been lost.”

Two weeks later, CNBC reported a different story — “The manufacturing renaissance in America’s heartland” — based on a release from the National Association of Manufacturers’ Outlook Third Quarter Survey. This report was about how well the country is doing in the manufacturing sector.

Making sense of it all

So, are you as confused as I am? Perhaps the arguments presented by both sides are close to those of the Information Technology and Information Foundation (ITIF) and the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

You see, in March, the CRS rendered a report to Congress called, “U.S. Manufacturing in International Perspective.” In August, The ITIF released a scathing report called, “A Critique of CRS’s ‘U.S. Manufacturing in International Perspective.’

The ITIF report soundly criticized the CSR report as “overly rosy.” In fact, the ITIF report strongly indicated that the U.S. manufacturing industry is deeply in trouble and most likely needs more help than ever.

The ITIF report notes that the U.S. economy is inextricably bound to the manufacturing sector. The study authors, Adams B. Nager and Robert D. Atkinson, also inform readers that Congress looked to CRS in order to identify the need for policies and programs to nurture the industry.

The CRS, according to the ITIF is wrong in its overall finding that the manufacturing sector is healthy and the government, through legislation or program advances, will not have a positive impact on this important economic sector.

“Thus, CRS endorses an agenda of inaction,” the ITIF report states. “The CRS report mistakenly suggests that U.S. manufacturing is healthy while dismissing the need for supportive manufacturing policies. However, as we demonstrate in this response, the CRS report consistently errs on the side of ‘all is well’ when in fact actual U.S. manufacturing performance is declining significantly.”

Factors leading to the ITIF conclusions

As mentioned earlier, the manufacturing sector has 2 million fewer employees than before the Great Recession.

According to CRS, using data from The Conference Board to measure job loss, there has been a 12 percent employment loss in manufacturing from 2003 to 2013. Had that number been taken from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) the number is almost 50 percent larger at 17 percent. The ITIF seems to be accusing the CRS of cherry-picking numbers.

Moreover, ITIF is critical of the time period chosen by CRS. This criticism is due to leaving out the period from 2000 to 2003. At that time, U.S. manufacturing employment shrunk by 16 percent, caused by a recession. So, the actual loss of manufacturing jobs, if the alternative time period is used is more like 30 percent.

When an economic sector loses 30 percent of its jobs, the industry is likely in decline. Nevertheless, apologists for the U.S. economy tend to blame the job losses on increased productivity gains. Statistics say “it ain’t so.”

Using jobs and value-added growth by the manufacturing sector, ITIF claims that the productivity gain is imaginary — and the U.S. manufacturing job loss is due to a lack of competition and not an increase in productivity.


Manufacturing sector participants should read the reports by the CRS and ITIF. Read both with a pen and pencil to make notations and compare data. Then you can make an informed decision as to which data you believe.

Beware, though, the adage is true: “Statistics don’t lie, but liars use statistics.”


About the Author

Alan Kelsky

Alan Kelsky is a freelance writer with a master’s degree in business administration from Xavier University with a specialty in healthcare management. Alan was formerly a hospital CEO with an active emergency room and was the CEO of an urgent care center in Pompano, Florida. He is also formerly the owner of Electric Control Services. His company worked with manufacturers and commercial building owners by offering energy audits, energy efficiency technology sales, installation and follow-up monitoring.


HGR Industrial Surplus to Dedicate Nickel Plate Station in Euclid on October 1: Renovated Former Site of GM Fisher Body Plant in Euclid Gets a $10 million Face Lift

HGR Industrial Surplus (MDNA member firm) will celebrate the dedication of Nickel Plate Station, the gI_121942_HGR_LOGO_W_TEXTformer site of the GM Fisher Body Plant (Source: November 14, 2015 – Crain’s Cleveland Business) and longtime home of HGR Industrial Surplus, Inc. HGR’s ownership group expects to spend $10-12 million on structural renovations and updates during the coming year. To celebrate, HGR will hold a dedication ceremony on Oct. 1 from 11 a.m. until noon.

At the ceremony, an exhibit will be unveiled that shows the history of the site, parts of which HGR has leased since 1998. The dedication is scheduled to coincide with a daylong customer appreciation sale offering discounts of up to 50 percent, as well as drawings for prizes and a free lunch for shoppers.

The Euclid High School Robotics Team will be recognized for its interscholastic achievements. HGR will also unveil a manufacturing resource center to be located inside of its customer lounge. This information center will offer various resources about science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education and manufacturing opportunities.

Company officials also will recognize local leaders for their efforts to keep HGR in the community. According to President and CEO Brian Krueger, -

“We are privileged to have the opportunity to remain in Northeast Ohio. We pride ourselves on the role that HGR plays in extracting the last measure of usefulness out of valuable industrial and manufacturing equipment, while at the same time helping to promote commerce, manufacturing, education and the arts in Northeast Ohio. Nothing thrills us more, though, than the satisfaction of being part of the movement to retain jobs here in Euclid.”

Purchased by HGR last year, the nearly one-million-square-foot plant at 20001 Euclid Ave. is being dubbed Nickel Plate Station in honor of the Nickel Plate Road railway line that steamed through Euclid beginning in 1881, just north of the farmland on which the current building now sits, to connect New York, Chicago and St. Louis.

The site then served as a manufacturing plant for landing gear and rocket shells during World War II and housed governmental surplus goods and offices after the war. By 1948, the Fisher Body Division of General Motors purchased the location to manufacture the bodies for delivery trucks and station wagons. It continued production of vehicles, such as the El Camino, Toronado and Riviera through 1970. Five years later, the plant was retooled as a sewing center, where interior trim and upholstery for autos were made, and by 1992 it closed, after six years of being used to manufacture boat seats.

HGR Industrial Surplus is one of the country’s largest resellers of used and surplus industrial equipment. Located in the former GM Fisher Auto Body Plant, HGR has more than half a million square feet of office and showroom space with at least 15,000 items in inventory that range from mop buckets to vertical mills to Motoman and Fanuc manufacturing robots.

For Press Related Questions Contact:
University of Central Arkansas Center for Research in Economics

Arkansas shows how regulations can stymie manufacturing growth

By Alan Kelsky via MultiBriefs 

In 2004, Arkansas’ manufacturing industry was ranked 34th in the United States. A decade later, it was still stuck at 34th. As the state’s Economic Development Commission tries to woo new business with promises of a skilled workforce and business-friendly environment, folks who have studied manufacturing in Arkansas disagree.

When the United Stated Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) looks at the country’s economy, it looks at regions. Arkansas and eight other states make up a BLS region. For more than a decade, Arkansas has lagged behind its regional counterparts in manufacturing growth.

The United States Department of Commerce reports that Arkansas’ manufacturing industry has grown at a dismal rate, consistently lower than 1 percent annually since 2002. Also, the manufacturing industry in Arkansas has lost 3 percent of its workforce each year. These two numbers place Arkansas last in the region for manufacturing growth.

University of Central Arkansas Center for Research in Economics
University of Central Arkansas Center for Research in Economics

One reason thought to be a major contributing factor is that Arkansas has the lowest productivity per manufacturing employee than any other state in the region. The chart above also shows each state’s output per manufacturing employee. It also shows manufacturing employees in Arkansas are the lowest paid of the nine states in the group.

However, low productivity is the symptom caused by too much regulation within Arkansas’ manufacturing industry. In the Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of North America report, we learn that since 2005 the regulatory burden — measured by government size — has increased steadily in Arkansas each year. The only states that are more burdensome due to government size are Mississippi and Alabama.

Productivity is lower when strict regulations lessen a manufacturer’s choice for production processes. This occurs when government at the state level passes and enforces licensing laws, strict emissions standards and a number of other regulations for manufacturing.

A complex regulatory milieu is also a key to marketplace uncertainty, especially when government requirements for manufacturers keep coming. With uncertainty comes a hesitation in investing new money in manufacturing, as companies want assurances that whatever they invest is compliant with existing and future planned rules, regulations and laws.

This situation is vexing to manufacturers, who need to improve productivity by buying new and better equipment and machines to help make workers more productive.

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University published a study in May 2014 by Antony Davies, a senior scholar at George Mason University and associate professor of economics at Duquesne University. Davies came to the conclusion that less-regulated industries perform better. A table of findings from his work is below.


Another reason cited by the Arkansas Center for Research in Economics at the University of Central Arkansas is that high corporate taxes negatively affect worker productivity. Compared to other states’ performance in this area, Arkansas has the third-highest tax burden, followed by Mississippi and Tennessee. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco did research and concluded that states with lower corporate taxes “see faster economic and employment growth.”

About the Author

Alan Kelsky

Alan Kelsky is a freelance writer with a master’s degree in business administration from Xavier University with a specialty in healthcare management. Alan was formerly a hospital CEO with an active emergency room and was the CEO of an urgent care center in Pompano, Florida. He is also formerly the owner of Electric Control Services. His company worked with manufacturers and commercial building owners by offering energy audits, energy efficiency technology sales, installation and follow-up monitoring.


Email Spoofing Alert, Best Practices and Security

E-mail spoofing is the forgery of an e-mail header so that the message appears to have originated from someone or somewhere other than the actual source.
Security recommendations include:

If you have an IT Department: There is an “SPF” or Sender Policy Framework record in place for the MDNA.ORG domain.  An SPF record isa DNS record that defines which servers on the EMAIL-SPOOFINGinternet are authorized to send messages on the behalf of a particular domain.  Currently, the SPF records define the servers from McAfee / MX Logic, the external e-mail security system being used for MDNA.ORG, as the authorized servers.

In order for SPF to work properly, your company IT department needs to tune their e-mail security systems so that SPF record validation is enabled for all incoming e-mail from the MDNA.ORG domain.

Basic Safe Practices

Never click unfamiliar links or download unfamiliar attachments. This may seem like a no-brainer, but all it takes is one employee in a company seeing a message from their boss or someone else in the company to open an attachment or click a funny Google Docs link to expose the entire corporate network. Many of us think we’re above being tricked that way, but it happens all the time. Pay attention to the messages you get, don’t click links in email (go to your bank’s, cable company’s, or other website directly and log in to find what they want you to see), and don’t download email attachments you’re not explicitly expecting. Keep your computer’s anti-malware up to date.

Turn up your spam filters, and use tools like Priority Inbox. Setting your spam filters a little stronger may—depending on your mail provider—make the difference between a message that fails its SPF check landing in spam versus your inbox. bandovetinh Similarly, if you can use services like Gmail’s Priority Inbox or Apple’s VIP, you essentially let the mail server figure out the important people for you. If an important person is spoofed, you’ll still get it, though.

Learn to read message headers, and trace IP addresses.  When a suspicious email comes in, you can open the headers, look at the IP address of the sender, and see if it matches up with previous emails from the same person. You can even do a reverse lookup on the sender’s IP to see where it is—which may or may not be informative, but if you get an email from your friend across town that originated in Russia (and they’re not traveling), you know something’s up.

Weekly Economic Commentary image



Weekly Economic Commentary

By John J. Canally, Jr., CFA Chief Economic Strategist, LPL Financial  

Last week, global equity markets, including in the U.S., were driven lower by a variety of fears, most notably the weakness in China’s economy and financial markets, as well as the Chinese government’s response (or lack thereof). As a new trading week (August 24 – 28, 2015) begins, the S&P 500 is in the midst of its first 10% pullback since late 2011, triggering talk of recession signals. The latest reading on the Conference Board’s monthly Leading Economic Index (LEI) — released last week for July 2015 — helps to provide some timely guidance in this area.

The LEI is one of our “Five Forecasters” (see our Midyear Outlook 2015: Some Assembly Required for further discussion) and provides a valuable guidepost each month as to where we are in the economic expansion. As noted in our Outlook 2015: In Transit, when the economy has not been in recession, the S&P 500 has been positive 82% of the time and provided low double-digit returns. When the economy has been in recession, the S&P 500 has been positive just 50% of the time, with average returns in the low single digits. The latest reading on the LEI, based on data from July 2015, revealed that the LEI had climbed 4.1% since July 2014. The LEI is designed to predict the probable path of the economy 6 – 12 months in the future. Since 1960, a span of 667 months (or 55 years and 7 months), the LEI’s year-over-year increase has been at least 4.1% in 333 months. Not surprisingly, the U.S. economy was not in recession in any of those 333 months. Thus, it is highly unlikely that the economy was in recession in July 2015, despite the impact of the weakening Chinese economy, the stronger…

Read the Full Report here: WEC_082415

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Market participants and the financial media have recently been hyper focused on the sell-off in Chinese equity prices, the sluggish pace of the Chinese economy, and the implications of both for global growth. The results thus far suggest that global growth in 2015 is indeed accelerating versus 2014. We last wrote about global growth in mid-July 2015 (“Gauging Global Growth: An Update for 2015 & 2016”), noting that the market continues to expect that global gross domestic product (GDP) growth will accelerate in 2015, 2016, and 2017, aided by lower oil prices and stimulus from two of the three leading central banks in the world. Since then, the United States (23% of global GDP), China (13%), the United Kingdom (4%), South Korea (2%), Indonesia (1%), Sweden (1%), and Singapore (less than 1%) have reported Q2 GDP. Together, those countries account for nearly 45% of global GDP. Second quarter 2015 GDP in four of the seven nations beat or matched consensus expectations (China, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, and Sweden), while five of the seven countries reported results that either were in-line with or accelerated versus the prior period (China, the United States, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, and Sweden).

This week (August 9 – 15, 2015), another six countries are scheduled to report Q2 GDP figures, including the Eurozone (24% of global GDP), Japan (6%), Russia (2%), Poland (1%), Thailand (less than 1%), and Malaysia (less than 1%). Together, these nations — a nice mix of both developed (Eurozone and Japan) and emerging market (Russia, Thailand, Poland, and Malaysia) countries — account for 35% of global GDP, which means by… Read the full Report here: Economic Commentary 08102015

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