Valentina Romei

Elena is a 26 year old Italian woman with a degree in child psychology who has been working in London as a nursery teacher for nearly a year. She moved to the UK after months spent looking in vain for a job in Tuscany, a region where the unemployment rate, at 7.9%, is well below the Italian average of 11.3%.

But Elena is not counted among more than 16,000 Italians that moved to the UK, according to official statistics updated for the FT by the Italian Ministry of Interior. These numbers are based on the registry of Italians living abroad (AIRE). Elena has a vague knowledge of this register but decided not to sign up for fear of losing important rights and services (including healthcare) in her home country. Read more

Valentina Romei

Chinese exports increased by 4.3 per cent in December compared to the same month last year, while imports rose by 8.3 per cent. That gave China a total of $4.16tn in combined exports and imports in 2013, a figure that the US will find difficult to match. This leaves no doubt that China, the world’s second-biggest economy, is now the world’s biggest trading nation on an annual basis.

Chinese and US trade values were similar in 2012, slightly larger for China according to their respective national data but slightly bigger for the US according to the World Trade Organisation and the International and Monetary Fund. Read more

By Valentina Romei, from the FT’s statistics team

Economic commentators have often expressed concerns that economic growth in China is unbalanced, with an investment-driven model that will not be sustainable in the future unless it is shifted toward a more consumption driven model. Read more

Valentina Romei

Just over half of the world’s female population aged 15 to 64 is in employment, compared to more than 8 out of 10 men. But the proportion of economically active women has declined over the last 20 years. This offers us little reason to celebrate today, International Women’s Day.

Despite falling female participation levels, global GDP per capita has risen by more than 30 per cent in the past 20 years, suggesting that economic wealth is not necessarily linked to increasing levels of female economic activity. Read more

Valentina Romei

Following on from 10 charts (part 1), which included the first five challenges facing the next Italian government, here are the next five as we head towards Italy’s general election.

1) Corruption

Corruption is a plight for the country that together with bureaucracy prevents an efficient allocation of resources and discourages investment. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Italy 72nd out of 182 countries evaluated in 2012, three positions lower than the previous year. The perception of corruption of Italians is particularly high for the political system, which is one of the main reasons for the country’s political instability and poor governability.

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Valentina Romei

Italian general elections on February 24 and 25 will determine the members of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate, the two houses of its parliament. This new parliament will face various structural factors behind the country’s weak performance.

Here is the first instalment of the country’s top challenges in 10 charts – another five are set to follow later in the week, so stay tuned.

1) Stagnant economy in the past decade

The Italian gross domestic product is lower than at the beginning of 2001 and the decline does not show signs of reversing. Even Spain and Greece with their deep economic contraction during the crisis are better off than at their levels at the start of the last decade thanks to their strong growth performance before 2008. Italy had sluggish growth even in the first half of the past decade and the additional output that has been created was totally wiped out with the crisis.

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