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Monthly Archives: April 2009

I am away on business for the next 10 days and will resume my blog on 5th May.

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Pull the other leg, Mr Chancellor

Yesterday saw the arrival of the Budget we had all been waiting for. How was Alistair Darling, the chancellor, going to deal with an economy which is in severe recession and contend with government finances which have been so severely overstretched?   There was a bit of tinkering here and there with slight increases in taxes on alcohol, tobacco and … Continue reading

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RPI moves into negative territory

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) actually fell to -0.4% in March, compared with a figure of zero growth in February. This is the first time that this figure has been negative since 1960. There was a large downward pressure on the index from housing with the main contributions being house depreciation and mortgage interest payments, both of which are excluded … Continue reading

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Warning of protectionist dangers from World Trade Organisation

In a recent report by Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), he noted the likely depth of the current recession and its impact on world trade. He said that in such circumstances “a large premium must be attached to avoiding policies that restrict world trade”. Although he could not see any immediate descent into high intensity protectionism … Continue reading

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The End is in Sight

So says a survey published this morning by the Ernst & Young Item Club. In its Spring Forecast it expects GDP to fall by 3.5% this year but by only 0.1% next year. It claims that the economy is no longer in “free fall” and that a recovery next spring is the most likely scenario.   Professor Peter Spencer, Chief … Continue reading

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Eurozone output down by nearly one-fifth in the last year

Industrial output in the 16 countries of the eurozone area fell by 2.3% in February compared to the previous month. Overall, this meant that when February’s output was compared with a year earlier it had fallen by 18.4%.   There has been a general cutback in industrial output as the recession has worsened and demand fallen. However, the fall in … Continue reading

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Deflation – coming to a country near you!

  US consumer prices fell in March by 0.1% on the previous month, and 0.4% on the same month a year ago. This is the first time that deflation has been seen in the US since 1955.   Deflation is of particular concern because it can persuade consumers not to buy now, but to wait for a bargain as prices … Continue reading

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The VAT cut is working

The temporary cut in VAT from 17.5% to 15%, put in place by the Chancellor on 1st December 2008, “is working”, according to a report by The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The CEBR had initially called for a 5% reduction in VAT.   Many have argued that because the cut was so small it would have little … Continue reading

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Oil price falls as demand forecast slashed

Yesterday, the price of Brent crude oil fell 8 cents to $52.06 whilst US crude fell 60 cents to $49.45. This was in response to a new forecast of world demand published by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The price of oil has been in the $47-54 range for the last month, after falling to a low of $32.40 in … Continue reading

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Food price inflation hitting poorest households the hardest

Yesterday, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), published its BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index for March 2009. This showed that on a year-on-year basis, the price of food in our shops rose by 9.0%, whilst the prices of non-food goods fell by -1.5%, giving an overall rise in the index of 2.0%. When taken on a month-by-month basis, food rose by 0.1% … Continue reading

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