Keith Fray

Prospects for economic growth in big eastern European economies that are EU members have not been affected by the political problems in Russia and the Ukraine, according to Consensus Economics. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania are all set to grow by more than 2.5 per cent this year.

Only 63 of the 188 countries for which the IMF draws up forecasts are set to grow by more than 4 per cent this year. Of those, 36 are in Africa and 19 are in Asia. In Europe, only Montenegro, set to grow 4.7 per cent, meets this criterion.

Keith Fray

Australia’s trade ties are dominated by Asian countries, which account for more than 80 per cent of merchandise exports. Fifty years ago a third of exports went to Europe, with a quarter to the UK alone. The product mix has shifted from agricultural produce to minerals and fuel.

More than 8,000 US oil and gas jobs have been lost since the start of the year, yet production remains near record highs. Oil production per rig at the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale fields is up by 32 per cent and 27 per cent respectively this year.

Valentina Romei

Finland’s economy has been contracting uninterruptedly since the start of 2012, excluding a brief mild expansion in the last quarter of 2013. No other Northern European country has had such a poor performance in the last three years.

Finland’s GDP in the first quarter this year was 3.4 per cent smaller than at the start of 2012. Over the same period Sweden expanded by 5.6 per cent and Norway by 4.1 per cent. Read more

FT Baseline

FT sprint cyclist ratingsThe winner of the Tour de France is typically the fastest climber up the winding paths of the Alps and the Pyrenees, but when the peloton flies down the Champs-Élysées on its final day, the focus shifts to an altogether different type of beast: the sprinter.

Where the elite climbers do battle in high-altitude bouts of cat-and-mouse, the sprinter’s primary weapons are leg-speed, impeccable timing and an almost reckless desire to cross the line first. But who is the best of the fast men? Read more

The UK unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio has fallen to 2.5, the lowest since 2008 before the financial crisis. With fewer available workers to fill jobs, wage growth has begun to pick up

Valentina Romei

Spain’s GDP per capita is set to overtake that of Italy later this year, according to Oxford Economics. Spanish output per head was around 70 per cent of the Italian level during the 1980s, but the gap has been narrowing due to sluggish Italian economic growth. The speed of convergence has increased since the global financial crisis.

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Valentina Romei

Nearly three-quarters of the US population is in favour of ending the country’s trade embargo of Cuba, up from two thirds just six months ago. Back in 2009 only half of the population was in favour and many were undecided.

Martin Stabe

Global banks have paid $162.2bn in fines and legal settlements with US regulators since the financial crisis, data compiled by FT reporters shows.

Update, July 22, 2015: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have handed down a $770m penalty against Citigroup for deceptively marketing and billing consumers for identify theft protection products. Read more

Valentina Romei

Between 2009/10 and 2014/15 spending by England’s local authorities was cut by a fifth — more than twice the rate of spending cuts to the rest of the UK public sector. Our Local Cuts Checker database brings together a myriad of data to allow readers to explore the impact of those cuts in their areas.

US housing starts and housing permits issued returned to levels not seen since before the financial crisis; housing starts rose 27 per cent and permits were up 30 per cent compared to June 2014.

Valentina Romei

More than half of the US population is very concerned with cyber-attacks on governments, banks or corporations, more than the population of any of the 40 countries surveyed by Pew Research, in China the number is only one in ten.

Valentina Romei

 

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Global dual-Sim smartphone sales are set to rise 19 per cent this year and reach half a billion units in 2016. Dual-Sim phones are most popular in India and China, where consumers are more cost-conscious. Apple does not currently offer a dual-SIM phone.

Valentina Romei

Employment in China is set to fall this year for the first time in 50 years, according to estimates from the Conference Board. Employment in the 1980s grew at 3 per cent per year on average, but since 2009 the rate has fallen to 0.4 per cent on average.

Valentina Romei

At the start of 2015, nine states- the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea- had nearly 16 thousand nuclear weapons. Russian and US nuclear arsenals account for more than 90 per cent of global inventories. Read more

Keith Fray

London dominates the UK economy to an extent not seen on other large EU nations, accounting for over a fifth of UK GDP, compared with Berlin’s 5 per cent of German national income.

Valentina Romei

The IMF this week updated its outlook for growth in 2015; world output has been revised down by 0.7 % points, with Russia, Brazil and the Middle East seeing the largest downward revisions from last years forecast. Spain is now expected to grow by 3.1 per cent, more than double the rate that was predicted previously.