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Monthly Archives: June 2011

I am away this week and will resume blogging on 4th July

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Higher food prices are here to stay

This is according to a new report by the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2011-2020 says that a good harvest in the coming months should push commodity prices down from the extreme levels seen earlier this year. However, the Outlook states that over the coming decade real prices for cereals could average as … Continue reading

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Development aid increased in 2010 but set to slow over the next three years

Aid flows from OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor countries totalled $129 billion in 2010, the highest level ever, and an increase of 6.5% over 2009. This represents about 0.32% of the combined gross national income (GNI) of DAC member countries. This means that some countries are still not meeting the targets set by the Gleneagles agreement, as can be … Continue reading

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Is the global recovery running out of steam?

Composite leading indicators (CLIs) designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity relative to trend, point to a mild loss of growth momentum in most major economies for April 2011, according to figures recently published by the OECD.  A notable exception is the United States which continues expanding relative to trend, albeit more moderately than in last month’s assessment. The … Continue reading

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What are the implications of the high rate of UK inflation?

The latest figures show that CPI inflation in May remained at 4.5% as can be seen in the graphic below. At the same time RPI annual inflation was 5.2% and RPIX annual inflation, which excludes mortgage interest payments, was 5.3%. The UK CPI figure of 4.5% is well above the current EU average of 3.2%. Because high inflation has reduced … Continue reading

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Slump in UK retail sales

There was a surprising fall of 1.4% in retail sales in May. There had been a rise of 1.1% in April, but the Office for National Statistics put that down to a combination of the royal wedding and the number of Bank holidays added to the fine weather. But, the fall during May was the steepest since January 2010, and … Continue reading

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Will Greece bring the eurozone down?

There is a crisis in Europe at the moment as a result of the possibility of Greece defaulting on its debts. The euro has fallen in value and stock markets have dropped around the world during the last few days. Even the Chinese have expressed concern, because Europe is such an important market for them. Greece is a basket case, … Continue reading

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New free trade area to be set up in Southern Africa

Three of Africa’s key trade blocs are currently in talks concerning a merger. These blocs are the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the East African Community (EAC), and are currently negotiating to form the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFRA). According to the World Bank, trade amongst countries in sub-Saharan Africa … Continue reading

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Is Opec falling apart?

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries is a cartel of 12 oil producing countries and has been in operation for the past fifty years. Yesterday its members met in Vienna, ostensibly to agree to raise production levels in order to put supply more in line with current demand levels, and so lower prices. However, there appears to have been something … Continue reading

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Global economies facing different challenges according to World Bank

The World Bank has just published its June 2011 edition of Global Economic Prospects. In this it projects that as developing countries reach full capacity, growth will slow from 7.3 percent in 2010 to around 6.3 percent each year from 2011-2013. High-income countries will see growth slow from 2.7 percent in 2010 to 2.2 percent in 2011 before picking up … Continue reading

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