Martin Stabe

With more than a year’s worth of of data from our exclusive business sentiment poll, the FT/Economist Global Business Barometer, now available, some interesting longitudinal patterns are becoming apparent for the first time.

Most notable among them is the steady erosion over the past year in executives’ perceptions of the “business friendliness” three of the world’s biggest developing economies, India, China and Brazil.

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Martin Stabe

What we’re reading today in the world of statistics, open data and data journalism:

We like a good political choropleth around here, and Sunday’s European election extravaganza did not disappoint in the psephological cartography department.

A good map of the Greek results can be found at, Le Monde has the obligatory map of the French presidential election par département, and Michael Neutze’s site Wahlatlas covered the results in the German state of Schleswig-HolsteinRead more

Facebook is going public, but what is it really worth? This interactive calculator is a basic two-step discounted cash flow model to help illustrate how variations in key assumptions can change the potential market value and share price of an IPO.

Enter your projections for Facebook’s sales growth, ebitda margin, and capex-to-sales ratio to see how these key assumptions affect the potential market value of the social networking firm’s offering.

Martin Stabe

The Business Bellwether, run jointly by the Financial Times and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, canvassed the views of company secretaries from the FTSE 350 on a wide range of issues.

The latest generation to enter the UK labour market is doing no better than those that came before, while living standards among people of retirement age are much higher than their forebears’, this interactive graphic of new FT research shows.

This chart shows the median disposable income of UK households, grouped by the age of the head of the household in ten-year cohorts. It is based on data from the Family Expenditure Survey and the Family Resources Survey that have been collected since the 1960s. These datasets, which underpin the government’s official poverty and inequality figures, containing household income information on over 730,000 households collected between 1961 and 2009-10.

Martin Stabe

The retail sales indices published by the UK’s Office for National Statistics estimate retail sales values and volumes in Great Britain.

The January 2012 figures, published today, show a 4.4 per cent in sales values and a 2 per cent increase in sales volumes over January 2011. Read more

Carried out four times a year for the FT and The Economist by the Economist Intelligence Unit and based on interviews with more than 1,700 business executives around the world, the FT-Economist Global Business Barometer highlights the change in business sentiment and differences between regions and sectors.

The proposals for reducing the number of Scottish MPs in Westminster by seven seats, put out to consultation today by the Scottish Boundary Commission, does the Government no favours.

The FT’s initial analysis of the Boundary Commission for Scotland proposal (which can also be seen on our interactive map) suggests both Coalition parties are likely to lose out, with the only Scottish Tory and three of the 11 current Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs likely to lose their seats as a result of the boundary changes.

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The release this morning of data detailing every Whitehall payment above £25,000 is a step towards the culture of public transparency that the previous Government intended to create when it passed the Freedom of Information Act a decade ago.

Rather than waiting for requests under the FOI regime, the coalition Government has committed to releasing this basic spending information proactively, in a format that allows scrutiny by anyone with the necessary time, software and skills.

This morning’s data release will be repeated each month, and from January, local government bodies will have to release similar datasets accounting for all transactions above £500.

Some of the frustrations with analysing public data to which journalists have become accustomed were absent. There were no files released as locked PDF documents that are difficult to import into database software, for example.

While each department’s monthly spending was released as a separate spreadsheet document, these were formatted in a consistent structure across departments, thanks to detailed Treasury guidance on how to release the data.

Nevertheless, analysing the data still posed significant technical challenges.

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