Declining interest rates have led to unexpected savings on interest costs for governments. Reduction over the period 2015-2017 are expected to be sizable in Italy but smaller in France and the UK , as old debt at higher yields matures.
Daycare provision is subsided heavily in South Korea and Portugal but it is a burden in most anglophone countries. In the UK the cost is more than a third of dual-earner net family income, or about three times the EU average.
Protectionist pledges by the US president-elect -particularly against China- might mean inter-Asia trade grows. About 60 per cent of goods exported by Asian countries now stay withing the region, up from 50 per cent in the early 2000s.
India last week scrapped all Rs500 ($7.50) and Rs 1,000 notes in a move designed to crack down on the black market. However, those notes are widely used in a country where family-run shops account for nearly all grocery sales.
The share of GDP taken by wages has been declining for most advanced countries, stoking claims that workers are not getting their fair share from growth. In the US and Japan it fell to 60 per cent in 2014 from 64 per cent in 2000.
The lowest 10 per cent of US earners need to work longer than in other advanced nations to escape poverty. A single person needs to work about 20 hours a week in the UK, Italy, France and Japan, but more than 44 hours in the US.
Tokyo is still the world’s largest city with about 38m people, but Delhi, whose population has more than double over the past 20 years, could challenge it. Shanghai has passed Mumbai and New York to take third place.
Ethiopia’s economy has been expanding at an average annual rate of 10 per cent in the 12 years to 2016 and growth is expected to remain strong in the years ahead, supported by higher agricultural production, and large public sector and foreign direct investments. Read more
Nine out of ten of the universities with the largest number of Nobel laureates are in the US, with University of Cambridge (UK) being the only exception. Harvard University has produced the most Nobel laureates, most of them in physics and chemistry, since the first prize was awarded in 1901.
Investment in Europe, both public and private, dropped dramatically following the international financial crisis, and in its aftermath growth has been weak in some countries and non-existent in others. The lack of investment growth is particularly worrying in peripheral countries where it hampers the chances of future economic and productivity growth, as well as limiting employment expansion.
Just how steep was the drop? Read more
The upcoming Italian referendum includes reforms on cutting the number of senators from 315 to 100 and streamlining the lawmaking. Italy’s parliament, with 945 deputies and senators, is larger than that of most countries.
The IMF revised down the world economic growth forecast for this and next year but confirmed strong growth forecasts for the Asean nations. Indonesia is expected to expand at 5.3 per cent next year, higher than the regional average, which means continuing a long period of fast and stable growth.
Vietnam’s textile, fabrics and clothing exports rose strongly after it joined the WTO in 2007. Last year Vietnam was the world’s eighth largest exporter, reaching a global export share just 1 percentage point below that of China.
People aged over 55 account for 38 per cent of tourists staying overnight in EU countries. The share is even higher in France but Italy and the UK have slightly younger tourists. Most of Malta’s tourists are under 35.
About two-thirds of Indians are satisfied with the direction of the country, up from less than a third in 2013. An even higher proportion is happy about the state of the Indian economy and has favourable view of Narendra Modi, the prime minister.
There are large differences among EU countries in the use of financial products. About eight in 10 adults in Denmark and France own a credit card compared with fewer than one in three in Italy and Portugal, according to data from Eurobarometer.
On Wednesday, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras told Reuters that the country could beat expectations and report an expansion in 2016.
The consensus among economists is that the Greek economy will expand in 2017, and in their latest Economic Outlook the OECD also stated that “growth is projected to turn positive in the second half of 2016”. Positive trends are already visible, yet it might be too soon to call this the beginning of a recovery. Read more
Support for Italy’s populist Five Star Movement rose over the past year and neared that of the centre-left party of premier Matteo Renzi. But the paralysis that followed the election of Virginia Raggi as Rome’s mayor reversed the trend.