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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Trade continues to grow in G7 countries

Export volumes of merchandise trade were up 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2009, whilst import volumes grew by 3.1%, according to new figures from the OECD. The biggest increases were in the US and Japan where export volumes rose by 6.4% and 6.1% respectively, and import volumes rose by 3.4% and 3.0% respectively. However, when we compare these figures … Continue reading

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Record borrowing to be followed by record spending cuts?

Public sector net borrowing reached a total of £163.4bn in 2009-2010 which was about £3bn lower than forecast by the Chancellor in the April Budget, but was significantly higher than the £96.5bn of borrowing in the previous financial year. This was the largest borrowing figure since the Second World War and is the equivalent to 11.6% of GDP. National debt, … Continue reading

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How bad are the UK growth figures?

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose by only 0.2% in the first quarter of this year, compared with an increase of 0.4% in the previous quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics on Friday. This was lower than most economists expected. The first reason why it may not be as bad as feared, is that the initial estimate for the … Continue reading

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Unemployment reaches 2.5 million

The latest unemployment figures take a bit of unravelling. The headline figure for the three months to February, using the Labour Force Survey measure, was up by 43,000 over the quarter to reach 2.5m. This is the highest figure since 1994. This gave an unemployment rate of 8.0% which was up 0.1% on the previous quarter. This is bad news. … Continue reading

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What are the implications of the rise in prices last month?

So, inflation is still on the rise. The government’s target measure of CPI rose from 3.0% in February to 3.4% in March. This was mainly due to the cost of gas and petrol prices and a spike in food prices. A weak level of sterling is coupling with very high prices for oil and other commodities, and on top of … Continue reading

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Could there be a jobless recovery within the OECD?

“The recovery is underway but it will not be strong enough to bring the millions of new unemployed back to work” according to OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurria, in a meeting with G20 labour ministers in Washington yesterday.  According to Gurria the major policy challenge is to balance two apparently contradictory needs: to tackle unacceptably high unemployment and simultaneously reduce unsustainably … Continue reading

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New open data site from the World Bank

This is big news for all you information junkies out there who need access to lots of up-to-date figures. The World Bank has just launched an open data site with more than 2,000 financial, business, health, economic and human development statistics. Until now, most of this has been available only to paying subscribers. Now the site and indicators are also … Continue reading

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Can economic growth in Africa be fuelled by rapid increases in population?

I have just read an interesting blog by Wolfgang Fengler on one of the World Bank’s websites. He notes the fact that Africa’s population is rising rapidly and will soon pass the one billion mark. In fact the UN’s projections expect this to rise to 1.7 billion by 2050, although this is based on declining fertility, and Fengler believes that … Continue reading

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500,000 public sector jobs at risk

Once we’ve decided to which political party we are going to say “squeeze me I’m yours”, we are then going to be well and truly squeezed. And those in the public sector are going to be squeezed more than most. This prospect has led the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) to say that more than half a million … Continue reading

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Huge fine imposed by Office of Fair Trading

It has just been announced today that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has imposed £225m in fines on a group of tobacco manufacturers and retailers over their retail pricing practices. This covers a period from 2001-2003 in which the OFT concluded that “each manufacturer had a series of individual arrangements with each retailer whereby the retail price of a … Continue reading

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