Merchandise exports from developed countries fell last year

There was a fall in the merchandise exports of developed nations of 2.75% in 2012, according to figures just released by UNCTAD. However, this was offset by a rise of 3.6% amongst developing countries, although much of that increase occurred in petroleum and gas exporting countries. In fact, developing countries that are primarily exporters of commodities other than fuels saw … 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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It’s only business investment which can save the economy

This is the substance of an economic forecast just released by the Ernst & Young ITEM Club. Whilst acknowledging that the UK may have been saved from a double dip recession by a ‘loose’ monetary policy, the ITEM Club believes that UK GDP growth will be a dismal 0.4% this year, before rising to 1.5% in 2013 and 2.6% in … Continue reading

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Surprising rebound in UK manufacturing

Good news for the UK manufacturing sector. Output expanded in January at the fastest rate since March 2011. There was an increase in new orders together with a stabilisation in employment. Also, average input prices fell for the third month running causing an easing in the cost pressures which had been facing the sector. These findings are from the Markit/CIPS … Continue reading

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International trade growth grinding to a halt

Merchandise trade growth slowed strongly in most major economies in the third quarter of 2011, according to figures just published by the OECD. Total imports of G7 and BRICS countries contracted by 1% in the third quarter, compared to 4.2% growth in the previous quarter. Total export growth slowed to 1%, compared to 4.6% in the previous quarter. Merchandise trade … Continue reading

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Large companies are swimming in cash, while consumers are drowning in debt

So says the Quarterly Economic forecast produced by the Ernst & Young Item Club. They forecast that UK GDP growth will be only 1.8% this year, but will rise to 2.3% in 2012 and 2.7% in 2013. Where will the growth come from? They believe that there will be a “major revival” in business spending and forecast that business investment … Continue reading

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UK car production up by nearly thirty per cent

There was a sharp rise in car production last year, with 1.27 million cars being produced, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This was a rise of 27.8% on 2009. This is a major improvement for the industry, although output is not yet back up to the level it was before the recession. When we add … Continue reading

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UK trade deficit narrows slightly

The UK’s deficit on trade in goods and services was reduced to £4.6bn in September, compared with a deficit of £4.9bn in August according to the Office for National Statistics. In July, the deficit recorded was the highest for five years, so at least we have two months of figures moving in the right direction. When we look at the … Continue reading

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The truth about global exports

When we try to explain Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage we invariably use a two country, two product example. Two hundred years ago, when Ricardo first put forward his theory of international specialisation and trade, it was really that simple. We produced something wholly within our country and sold it to their country. They produced something different, completely within their … Continue reading

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Record UK trade gap

The deficit on trade in goods widened to £8.7bn in July, which is the biggest monthly figure since this current series of measurement began in 1998. This deficit compares with one of £7.5bn in June according to figures published yesterday by the Office of National Statistics. The UK’s balance of trade on goods and services also widened from £3.6bn in … Continue reading

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