Economics

Even before the dispute with Russia began battering their economy, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fled their country looking for a better life elsewhere. Ukrainians are now the largest group of migrants from non-European Union countries applying for residence in the bloc.

Eurostat said on Wednesday that the number of Ukrainians issued with EU residence permits rose by 48 per cent in 2013. Most Ukrainians moved to Poland looking for work. In total 236,691 permits were granted to Ukrainians, which means that the country has overtaken the US as the most common source country for migrants to the EU — India has also overtaken the US to take second place. 

 

More people lived in urban than rural areas for the first time ever in 2007. This year it is estimated that 54 per cent of the world’s population live in cities and by 2050 it is predicted to hit 66 per cent, a mirror image of the two-thirds living in rural areas at the mid-point of the twentieth century. This is expected to come about as development fuels mass internal migration in Africa and Asia. The UN makes no effort to standardise individual countries definitions of urban: population numbers, density and the proportion not working in agriculture and other are all used by different statistical offices.

The price of salad is about to jump after prices for olive oil, lettuce and tomatoes have soared following a lengthy drought in Spain. 

So the UK economy grew 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014, leaving output on this preliminary estimate at just about the previous peak set in Q1 2008, over six years ago. For an economy that produces almost £400bn a quarter in gross domestic product, exceeding the previous peak by £752m is really small beer, as our first chart below the break shows.

 

Keith Fray

The UK economy has finally recovered. Today’s estimate by the Office for National Statistics of gross domestic product for the second quarter takes output (adjusted for inflation) to a new high, above the level of the first quarter of 2008*.

Hurrah. But, although welcome, this is nothing to celebrate. The government will not be ordering church bells to be rung. That the sum total of everything produced in the economy is only now returning to the levels of six years ago is astonishing. To give some context, the recession and recovery have lasted about nine months longer than the second world war. 

Does knowing more about finance lead to making better investment decisions?

It might if you believe a working paper from the US National Bureau of Economic Research, published yesterday. By matching records from an unnamed company’s pension scheme and responses to a survey asking some basic questions about finance, they “find that risk-adjusted annual expected returns are 130 basis points higher for the most financially knowledgeable employees.” The questions used in the survey can be found in the quiz below.