Cotton prices in China fell 23 per cent year on year in August to a six-year low, a result of reduced demand and government policy measures. Read more

The average wealth of US lawmakers was estimated to be more than a million dollars in 2013. Senators are wealthier, with an average net worth of $2.7m, while house members have $840,000 on average

A pregnant ladyIf you’re pregnant, try to avoid financial crises – they’re bad for your unborn baby’s health. That’s the conclusion of a research paper to be presented at the annual congress of the European Economic Association in Mannheim this week.

Arna Vardardottir, assistant professor in the economics department at Copenhagen Business School, used detailed data from Iceland’s National Birth Register to investigate what happened to babies who were in the womb in the first week of October 2008 when all three of Iceland’s banks suddenly collapsed, taking the economy with them. Read more

European demand for Scottish seafood has fallen, due to trade disruption in Calais caused by the migrant crisis. Lengthy delays last month at the Channel tunnel and ferry terminals as thousands of migrants attempted to gain access to the UK through the French port, hit exporters of perishable goods with produce ruined before delivery. Read more

European Union orange prices have increased 13 per cent year on year since March as the forecast harvest is set to be down 14 per cent from last season, to 5.7m tonnes. Read more

Boko Haram’s deadly attacks have menaced Nigeria for the last five years, with hundreds of deadly attacks claiming nearly 13,000 lives. Read more

Marriage rates have fallen universally across the developed world since the 1970s; by a third in the US and almost halving in the UK. The rate in Sweden already, low in the 1970s, has fallen only slightly.

Valentina Romei

The economy of Poland proved its resilience after the financial crisis – it was the only country in the European Union that didn’t see a contraction in GDP following the events of 2008. The latest growth estimates, for the second quarter of this year, showed Poland grew at 3.6 per cent on an annual basis, the third fastest in Europe after the Czech Republic and Romania.

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The value of Chinese imports was 8 per cent lower in July this year compared to July 2014, but much of that decline resulted from falling commodity prices. In July, China imported 30.7m tonnes of oil, a record high.

The weaker euro, down almost 20 per cent over the year, is paying off for German factories. In the year to June goods exports were almost 6 per cent higher than the year to June 2014

FT Baseline

How do standard of play and level of competition vary across Europe’s top leagues, and can this tell us which provides the best football?
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Valentina Romei

During this period, inflation and unemployment rates were low, investments grew at an annual average of 12 per cent- the fastest in Europe- and the country’s budget balance was in surplus. Labour productivity was growing at a faster rate than most European countries, including peripheral economies such as Spain and Portugal. Greece was a promising place to do business, with credible monetary policies, contained increases in labour costs, social peace, decreasing restrictions on trade and a favourable tax regime. Read more

Valentina Romei

Italy leads the ranking of the Unesco world heritage sites with 45 cultural and 4 natural sites, followed by China, Spain and France.

Italy has been leading the ranking for many years, as a large part of her sites were listed in the last century including the whole historic centres of Florence, Siena, Naples, Urbino and Venice. China is a relatively new entry as 25 out of its 48 sites have been listed since 2000 including the silk roads last year and the Kaiping Diaolou and villages, multi – storeyed defensive village houses built since Ming times, listed in 2007. Considering the higher number of Chinese sites being listed recently, China is likely to overtake Italy in the very near future. Read more

Valentina Romei

US labour underutilisation-closely monitored by the Fed- continues to improve and is now close to 2000 levels. It includes unemployed people, those working part-time because they could not find a full-time employment and people who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job.

US egg prices have risen over 80 per cent year-on-year to the end of July as avian flu sweeps across the Midwest and Pacific northwest regions resulting in a cull of millions of egg-laying hens.

More than 49m egg-laying hens and turkeys in 15 states have been wiped out — well over 12 per cent of the country’s flock of almost 300m laying hens — by the outbreak which started in December. Read more

Keith Fray

Markets expect an interest rate rise in the US and UK in the coming months. The Federal Reserve and the Bank of England see faster wage growth as a precondition for a rate rise. While earnings growth has been accelerating in the UK it remains flat in the US

Valentina Romei

The most popular water park in the world is in Guangzhou, China. In 2013 its visitors numbers surpass those of Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida. However four of the worlds top-ten water parks are located in the US city.

Valentina Romei

Finland’s economy has been contracting uninterruptedly since the start of 2012, excluding a brief mild expansion in the last quarter of 2013. No other Northern European country has had such a poor performance in the last three years.

Finland’s GDP in the first quarter this year was 3.4 per cent smaller than at the start of 2012. Over the same period Sweden expanded by 5.6 per cent and Norway by 4.1 per cent. Read more

The UK unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio has fallen to 2.5, the lowest since 2008 before the financial crisis. With fewer available workers to fill jobs, wage growth has begun to pick up

Valentina Romei

Spain’s GDP per capita is set to overtake that of Italy later this year, according to Oxford Economics. Spanish output per head was around 70 per cent of the Italian level during the 1980s, but the gap has been narrowing due to sluggish Italian economic growth. The speed of convergence has increased since the global financial crisis.

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