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Tue, Jun 15th - 7:16AM

Slower Rate Of Expansion May Continue

The OECD Composite Leading Indicators for April suggest that there is a slowing down of expansion in most OECD countries. The OECD area CLI increased by 0.4 to in April 2010, following from the 0.5 in March. The increase has slowed now for the nine consecutive months.

The growth cycle outlook suggests that potential peaks have appeared in Brazil and in China, France and Italy. The Major Five Asian economies (China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Korea) also display signs of a potential peak. The continuity is also there in Japan, US and Germany and is expected to be maintained though at a slower pace. Brazil's recent peaks were in October 2004 and May 2008 the most recent trough was in April 2009. The most recent trough in China was in February 2009 and their most recent peak was in December 2007.

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Tue, Jun 15th - 7:15AM

Global Peace Index 2010

The world is less peaceful than last year is the sad news from the Institute for Economics and Peace Global Peace Index (GPI) 2010. The GPI monitors domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society and militarisation in 149 countries. It recorded increases in several indicators including the likelihood of demonstrations and perceptions of criminality. Some indicators seemed to link with the recent global economic downturn.

It is the fourth edition of the GPI and it has increased to rank 149 independent states. An international panel selected 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators to make up the index. The experts included academics, business people, philanthropists and leading international pacifists. The country most at peace was New Zealand followed by Iceland and Japan in third. Iraq was the most war torn country followed by Somalia and Afghanistan.

The GPI results were correlated with several economic and societal indicators to contribute an understanding of what factors help to create and sustain peace in the world. The GPI is collated and calculated by the Economist Intelligence Unit who co-operated in writing the report.

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Tue, Jun 15th - 7:14AM

Growth Could Be Faster

IMF say that the recovery is taking place more quickly than expected but it is uneven. With the right co-ordination it could be faster and more even with growth of 2.5% or 30 million jobs globally.

Threats include fiscal debts in some countries, possible asset 'bubbles' in emerging economies and the danger that consolidation in some parts of the world could have effects on others.

World leaders will discuss policy options at the coming world leaders summit in Canada. Ministers have already agreed on a number of reforms following the global crisis - greater transparency, stronger capital and liquidity standards, fair and substantial contribution, supervision of hedge funds and credit rating agencies and a single set of global accounting standards.

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Tue, Jun 15th - 7:14AM

Ageing In Europe

Ageing in the context of EU statistics is the increase over time of the percentage share of the over 65 age group in the total population of a given area. It is increasing in the EU because of two factors. The first is that the number of people over 65 is growing and the second is because the number of children in age group 0-14 year is getting smaller. This is a general picture though and there are considerable variations in the types of area and NUTS3 areas.

The release from Eurostat tells us that rural areas are losing their young people faster than urban areas. It presents the populaton changes in 1158 NUTS3 areas of 26 member states (not UK) between 2001-2006. It takes the level of rurality of NUTS3 into account for three age groups - 0-14, 15-64, 65 and over. The changes mean variations in the population's composition.

The total population of EU27 has increased by 1.9% or 8,217,047 people with an increase of 9,708,045 people in the EU15 offset by a decrease in the new member states of 1,490,998 people or -1.4%. The 0-14 age group has decreased by 4.4%, the 15-64 age group increased by 1.9% and the over 65s by 8.9% or 5,961,157 people. A contrast can be seen between the 'old' and 'new' member states. In the new member states the 0-14 age group shrank by 14% and the over 65s increased by 5.3%. The over 65s in the EU15 increeased by 9.8%.

The types of area (TOA) analysis also show remarkable results. Ageing continues at a more pronounced rate in predominantly urban areas (46%), except in Spain and remained the same in Ireland and Sweden. Only 16.5% of the increase can be attributed to rural areas in EU27 where 21.4% of the population live. The combined effect of the two factors influencing population change mean that Germany, Greece and Latvia show a rapidly ageing population while France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, where over 20% of the population in rural areas is over 65, show smaller and even negative growth. In Bulgaria there has been a 5% population loss overall with a 10% loss in predominantly rural areas. It is also significant that in there areas the percentage of children fell by up to 17%. Also in Bulgaria where the number of over 65s fell by 4% they were not replaced by numbers from the working population.

The highest population gains at NUTS3 level were in Spain and Ireland with Guadalajara in Spain, an intermediate area, gaining 24.5% in population. At the other extreme Bulgaria and Germany decreased the most in population. The population of Kardzhali in Bulgaria, a predominantly rural area, decreased by 21%. The German areas were exclusively in the former East Germany. Barnim in Germany, an intermediate area, saw the highest increase in people aged 65 and over with an increase of 33.3% with Neubrandenburg on 33.2% and Potsdam on 32.9%. Vratsa, a predominantly rural area in Bulgaria, saw an decrease of 15.9% in the same age group. The highest increase in the over 65 age group was in Germany and the growth was not limited to the east but covered large areas of the west as well.

There were contrasts between east and west Germany and between north and south Italy. Only Berlin in eastern Germany grew in population size. Areas of northern Italy grew while the population of the south of Italy decreased.

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Tue, Jun 15th - 7:12AM

European Retail Trade In April

The volume of retail trade in both the euro area and the EU27 decreased by 1.2% in April 2010 compared with March 2010. The retail sales index for April 2010 compared with April 2009 was 1.5% in the euro area and 1.6% in the EU27.

The food sector in the euro area fell by 1.1% and 1.4% in the EU27 over the month to April 2010 and the non-food sector by 1.1% and 1.2% respectively. Total retail trade fell in 14 countries and rose in 5 given the data available. The biggest falls were in Poland -8.7%, Denmark -8.6%, Slovakia -3.6% and Spain -2.1%. The highest risers were Belgium with 1.8% and Germany with 1%.

Over the last year from April 2009 to April 2010 the food sector fell by 1.8% in the euro area and 2.7% in the EU27 and non-food fell by 1.1% in the euro area but rose slightly by 0.1% in the EU27. Given the national data available, among the member states, the index fell in 15 countries and rose in 4. Bulgaria and Lithuania both fell 11.7%, Denmark -8.3% and Latvia fell 7.7%. Malta's index rose by 8.7% abd Belgium's by 0.7%. Statistics from Eurostat.

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Tue, Jun 15th - 7:11AM

Industrial Producer Prices Rise In April

The euro area industrial producer price index rose by 0.9% in April 2010 compared with March. The EU27 rose by 1%. Prices increased by 0.6% in the euro area and by 0.8% in the EU27. Over the year to April 2010 industrial producer prices in the euro area went up by 2.8% and by 3.7% in he EU27.

Looking at the monthly statistics in sectors, total industry excluding energy increased by 0.5% in the euro area and 0.6% in the EU27. Energy prices rose by 1.9% and 1.7% respectively. Durables increased by 1% and 2%, non-durables by 0.1% and 0.2% respectively. Capital goods stayed to same in the euro area but increased by 0.2% in the EU27 and intermediate goods increased by 1.3% in both groups. Annual results show that total excluding energy increased by 1% and 1.1%. Energy prices rose by 7.7% and 10.2% respectively. Durables gained by 0.4% in the euro area and 0.7% in the EU27 and non-durables declined by 0.4% and 0.1% resoectively. Capital goods fell by 0.1% in the euro area but rose by 0.1% in the EU27. Intermediate goods increased by 2.7% in the euro area and 2.6% in the EU27.

The were only two states in which decreases were seen namely Latvia and Slovakia both decreasing by 4.5%. Increases were recorded in all other states including Greece 9.1%, UK 8.5% and Malta on 16.7%.

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