Chart of the week

This square foot is yours for $194

We often see reports of the world’s most expensive cities. But what about the most expensive bits of the most expensive cities?

A new list compiled by property company Jones Lang LaSalle brings us a view of the priciest places to work in some very pricey cities. 

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook caused a bit of a stir this week, given the gloomy outlook for emerging economies.

But within the Fund’s number crunching a few things were a little overlooked. Such as the rather drastic revisions to some GDP forecasts from the previous April outlook. Look away Libya, hello Turkmenistan. Even some major EMs got a significant downward shift. Chart of the week takes a look at the difference 6 months can make. 

Cast your mind back, if you can, to Black Wednesday in 1992, when the UK lost billions trying to prop up the pound before being forced to withdraw from the banded exchange rate system known as the ERM.

It seems the lesson of (not) using reserves to prop up your currency in a crisis has been heeded by EM policy makers. The EM currency carnage of August may have been a big shock but it didn’t spark panic spending of forex reserves by central banks. When it comes to exchange rates, after all the talk of currency wars, there seems to be a new mantra of “what will be, will be”. 

Chinese trade balance rose 8 per cent in August from 2012, up to $28.5bn from $17.8bn in July. The improvement was due to higher than expected exports, as demand picked up in Asia and parts of the developed world.

But trade data can be very volatile. Looking at a rolling 12 months, the growth in trade surplus is slowing. And although you would expect China to run a trade surplus with most, if not all, trading partners – China is the world’s biggest exporter, after all – there are some strange statistical puzzles in the data. Chart of the week takes a closer look. 

Turkish house prices are on a seemingly endless rise. The latest figure, for May 2013, shows an increase of 12.2 per cent annually.

Turkey is used to double digit house price growth rates. Since the Central Bank of Turkey started producing its house price index in 2010, growth rates have almost always been in double digits, and rising. But economic growth has slowed from 8 per cent plus to around 2 per cent. Chart of the week takes a look at what is driving the market. 

Yum Brands may be the leading company in the Chinese fast food market with over 5700 outlets, but recently it has seen a sharp decline in sales in the country.

Although Yum has suffered from headline-grabbing food scares (bird flu and banned antibiotics), are there bigger structural shifts afoot in Chinese fast food? Chart of the week takes a look. 

What’s the world’s most popular tipple?

It’s likely you won’t even have heard of it, let alone tried it. The world’s biggest-selling brands of spirits come from emerging markets – but they face increasing international competition, according to new research. 

China wants the car, and carmakers want China. But will Chinese cities spoil the party?

Forget any China slowdown – authorities are looking to curb car ownership because of fears over pollution and overcrowding. As carmakers have been enjoying double digit growth, should they worry? Chart of the week takes a look. 

It’s hard to quantify an authoritarian crackdown. How do you measure curbs on free speech? And when a protest movement has many facets and disparate aims, they can be even harder to gauge, let alone put in numbers.

However, when it comes to the internet, there is one source that shows how keen authorities in different countries are on stifling criticism and controlling the debate. And if anyone had been paying attention back in 2012, the current protests in Turkey might have been less of a surprise. Chart of the week takes a look. 

What’s in a star anyway? China’s economy hotel chains are booming, gaining ground at the expense of star-rated hotels.

They are pushing out 2- and 3-star hotels; but at the top of the market 5-star properties are still growing fast, creating a polarised market. Chart of the week takes a look at the numbers, which show a sector undergoing dramatic shifts. 

Nothing stimulates chatter about the rise of China like a big US-targeted M&A deal, and last week we had one of the biggest to date. The deal struck by the Chinese meat processor Shuanghui to buy US pork producer Smithfield Foods for just shy of $5bn will – if completed – be the biggest ever Chinese takeover of a US company. But what’s the overall picture when it comes to China-US M&A? Chart of the week takes a look. 

From the ‘hopeless’ to the ‘hopeful’ continent, a decade of strong growth has changed perceptions of sub-Saharan African economies – not least among international investors, who have rushed to recent Eurobond offerings from the likes of Zambia and Rwanda. Rubbing against the optimism though are criticisms that the growth achieved has been far from inclusive, with human development lagging behind. Chart of the week takes a look. 

Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional (national front) coalition that was returned to power in this month’s election faces some serious economic problems, notably the country’s poor export performance.

Exports have shrunk in the last two months in response to weakening global demand that has also hit other Asian exporters. But unlike its rivals, Malaysia faces a more deep-rooted export challenge – a serious decline in the export role of its manufacturers that has been partly masked by increases in commodity exports. Chart of the week takes a look. 

Complaining about the effect of Japan’s monetary easing on the value of the yen is virtually de rigeur among the country’s trading partners. But Chart of the week shows that the most vocal critics of Japan are not necessarily those with the most to shout about. 

If a mark of being a developed country is innovation, then look out: China is certainly throwing ideas about.

The number of patent applications from China has overtaken those from the US, a remarkable catch-up over the last few years. But does this mean China will soon be exporting ideas in the way it has exported manufactured goods? Chart of the week takes a look.