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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Least developed countries being badly hit by world downturn

The world financial and economic crisis has reversed recent growth trends in the world’s poorest nations, according to a report just issued this morning by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The Fourth United Nations LDC Conference, held last year in Istanbul, resulted in a Programme of Action that sets a target of having at least half … Continue reading

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World trade is being hit by the slowdown in global growth

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has just slashed its forecasts for world trade expansion for this year to 2.5% from their previous forecast of 3.7% made in Arpil. Similarly their forecasts for 2013 have been reduced to 4.5% from 5.6%. “In an increasingly interdependent world, economic shocks in one region can quickly spread to others. Recently announced measures to reinforce … Continue reading

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Gas from shale could create 35,000 jobs in UK – but should it?

The UK was a net exporter of gas until 8 years ago, thanks to our supplies from the North Sea. Now we are spending £5.2bn per year on imports as North Sea supplies dwindle. Obtaining gas from shale is somewhat controversial, and involves ‘fracking’, or hydraulic fracturing, which enables gas to be obtained from deep below the surface. A new … Continue reading

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Chinese manufacturing continues to contract

It is now 11 months in a row that China has seen a contraction in this major sector. The Flash China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) produced by the bank HSBC, and eagerly awaited in economic circles, shows that the nine-month low of 47.6 in August, reached 47.8 mid way through September. The cause for concern is that any figure … Continue reading

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Inflation falling, but will it continue?

There was a fall in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in August, when it fell to 2.5% from 2.6% in July, according to the Office of National Statistics. At the same time the Retail Prices Index (RPI), which includes housing costs such as rent and mortgages, fell to 2.9% from 3.2% in July. The fall in inflation had been aided … Continue reading

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Employment divide in Spain

Unemployment in Spain is rising faster in rural areas than in urban centres and is fuelling social unrest, according to the latest statistics produced by ILO’s International Institute for Labour Studies (IILS). The study shows that unemployment in rural areas jumped from just over 8 per cent in 2007 to more than 26 per cent in 2012, while in urban … Continue reading

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Downside risks for the world economy are growing again

Well at least something is growing! But this gloomy prognosis comes not from me, although I agree with it, but from the Trade and Development Report 2012, which was published last week by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The Report highlights the immediate problem of the developed countries as the ability to return to a normal … Continue reading

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We were too busy watching the Olympics to go shopping

There was a surprise fall in retail sales in August as we turned into a nation of couch potatoes and just watched events unfold in London. According to the British Retail Consortium, retail sales fell by 0.4% on a like-for-like basis from the same month in 2011. The only good note was that there was a slight increase in spending … Continue reading

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