European banks have been shrinking since the financial crisis, dwindling both in terms of their market value, number of branches and staff. Their fortunes have suffered and profits fallen as a result of stricter regulations, general economic weakness and low interest rates.
It’s unlikely that they will ever be the same again. All the more so as the decline in Europe’s over-reliance on banks could present new opportunities for the region to develop much-needed alternative financing channels. Read more
About half of UK mortgages are at a floating rate, and are likely to quickly benefit from yesterday’s interest rate cut to a record low. The proportion of such loans has rapidly declined over the past four years, from more than 70 per cent in 2012.
Over 4m factory jobs were lost in the EU in the seven years to 2015, an 11 per cent drop. Nearly 4m were lost in construction. Professional services, health and education gained but overall 2m fewer people are in employment than in 2008.
Shinzo Abe launched a new ¥4.6tn ($45bn) stimulus to boost the country’s weak consumption. Real private final consumption in Japan shrank by more than 1 per cent in the three years to the first quarter 2016, compared to a rise of 5 per cent in the EU and more than 8 per cent in the US.
The share of home ownership in the US slipped below 63 per cent in the second quarter of this year for the first time since 1965. On an annual basis, US home ownership has fallen since 2006, the longest period of decline since records began.
The Federal Reserve is more optimistic about the US labour market but warned ‘business fixed investment has been soft’. Annual growth slowed from more than 12 per cent in 2012 to 2 per cent in the first quarter this year.
Italy’s unemployment rate rose to 11.6 per cent in June. Although this is a marginal rise, it is worrying for a country that is struggling to recover after multiple recessions and weak growth.
Yet there are reasons to remain optimistic. Read more
Turkey experienced a period of exceptional growth and institutional transformation in the run-up to the global financial crisis. The country invested in infrastructure, education and health in addition to adopting a number of market-oriented reforms. Data shows that in the years prior to 2008, Turkey grew at a pace similar to that of China.
Global real food prices rose by 4 per cent in June over the previous month- the fifth consecutive rise and the largest monthly increase since July 2012. But food price levels are still 25 lower than in March 2008.
The majority of EU population plans to spend the 2016 holidays at home, the largest proportion being Greeks. Foreign trips are more popular in the UK, Germany and Belgium, where more than eight in 10 people plan to travel abroad.
Seven years after the financial crisis, Italy’s property market has still not recovered. House prices in the country fell 1.2 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016, the only drop among major EU countries. In contrast, house prices in the region expanded at an average of 4 per cent over the same period.
The IMF forecasts advance nations to grow at 1.8 per cent this year, down from 2.4 per cent forecast last year. Spain is expected to grow faster than the US while UK growth is revised down to 1.7 per cent. Japan is set for almost no gain.
Satisfaction with how Britain’s government was running the country started rising in spring 2013, but declined over the past year. After the Brexit poll it reached its lowest level since David Cameron became premier six years ago.
Bad debt has piled up for years, notably in the construction sector Read more
The UK is now the second-largest economy with a female head of government, after Germany. Women-led countries produce about 15 per cent of global GDP, which will rise to 40 per cent if Hilary Clinton becomes US president.
House prices in the EU rose at an annual rate of four per cent in the first quarter of this year, but with big variations. The UK persistently shows strong price rises, while the trend was flat in France and house prices continue to shrink in Italy.
Satisfaction with US presidential candidates is at its lowest in two decades. In June, less than half of the population was satisfied with the choice of Clinton or Trump, compared with 72 per cent for Obama in 2008, say Pew data.
Latest figures showed a strong rise in US employment in June, with 287,000 extra jobs significantly above the average of 204,000 in the previous 12 months. However, the overall labour market picture is mixed. The unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 4.9 per cent, and labour force participation remains a crucial concern.
Even among those of prime working age participation rates remains low, over three percentage points lower than at the turn of the century. Read more
UK GDP growth predictions for 2017 had averaged 2.2 per cent among economic forecasters, but dropped to just 0.4 per cent after the EU referendum, with some forecasting zero growth or contraction for next year.
Professor Kenneth Rogoff says that the UK vote to leave the EU was a “Russian roulette for republics”, with an ‘absurdly low bar for exit, requiring only a simple majority’, with no supermajority, second referendum or parliamentary confirmation vote required.
Many voters did not have had a clear idea of what they were voting for or of its consequences, and many now seem to regret it. But the results did confirm the existence of a diffuse anger among the UK population. Read more