Keith Fray

 

Ed Milliband, leader of the UK Labour party, has the lowest voter satisfaction rating this close to an election of any opposition leader in the past 40 years, according to Ipsos Mori. In this period, Margaret Thatcher had the lowest rating of those who became prime minister.

 

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Keith Fray

Estimates of Chinese gross domestic product, released this morning, showed that the rate of growth has sunk to its lowest since the financal crisis. Double-digit expansion may be a thing of the past, but China’s economy is now four times larger than it was at the turn of the century. Measuring China’s GDP using purchasing power parity, the International Monetary Fund estimates that China’s economy will be bigger than the US’s by the end of the year.

Keith Fray

As the Financial Times this week examines China’s expansion in Europe, China made an economic leap forward: new data now forecasts that China will officially overtake the US this year to become the world’s largest economy.

Measuring gross domestic product using purchasing power parity (PPPs) the International Monetary Fund now estimates China’s GDP at $17.6tn, against the US’s $17.4tn.

PPPs are an attempt – far from perfect – to account for varying price levels between countries, particularly in goods and services not open to international competition. PPPs make a big difference. According to the IMF, China’s GDP this year measured in simple dollars, making no adjustment for relative prices, is $10.4tn. Read more

Keith Fray

The UK economy has finally recovered. Today’s estimate by the Office for National Statistics of gross domestic product for the second quarter takes output (adjusted for inflation) to a new high, above the level of the first quarter of 2008*.

Hurrah. But, although welcome, this is nothing to celebrate. The government will not be ordering church bells to be rung. That the sum total of everything produced in the economy is only now returning to the levels of six years ago is astonishing. To give some context, the recession and recovery have lasted about nine months longer than the second world war. Read more

Keith Fray

Sachin Tendulkar, India’s greatest batsman, is to retire from all forms of cricket, after playing two more international matches (Tests) to take his total to 200.

This is the most Tests played by anyone, and over 30 more than the next two cricketers in line – former Australian skippers Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh.

Cricket fans – in common with baseball nuts – love lists. And Tendulkar sits at the top of most. Read more

Keith Fray

How important is the economy in deciding the result of US presidential elections? Is it really the case that, as in the often-repeated phrase from Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid!”? If so then a look at history may be useful.

A lot of commentary in this campaign has concerned the unemployment rate, usually reiterating that the only president since the 1930s to win re-election with unemployment above 7% was Ronald Reagan in 1984. The argument is usually made that, with unemployment around 8%, President Obama faces a huge task to win. Read more