There are signs that the 40 per cent fall in oil prices might not deliver the expected stimulus. Chris Giles assesses the outlook for the global economy while FT reporters look at the prospects for key exporters and importers.

 Read more

Simon Greaves

Europe’s producers of pears are leaving crops to rot because of retaliation by Russia, the biggest buyer of European pears, against sanctions.

Many growers say it is cheaper not to harvest any but the most perfect fruit in a year when, according to Mintec, the commodities research and data group, overall production in Europe is estimated at 2.27m tonnes, down 2 per cent year-on-year from high output levels of 2013. Read more

In the aftermath of the financial crisis the world saw an increase in the number of street protests. Many inspired by perceived connections between the political elite and business interests; Occupy Wall Street and Los Indignados in the west to the Arab Spring and the protests against Victor Yanukovich in Ukraine. A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research presents evidence on their power.

Daron Acemoglu, Tarek Hassan and Ahmed Tahoun examines the correlation between street protests in Egypt and the stock market returns for firms connected to former president Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP), the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military. Read more

Sally Gainsbury

The amount the NHS spends per patient will fall by at least £98 by 2020 under funding pledges made by each of the main political parties, figures based on NHS England’s internal calculations reveal.

The figures show that despite the current “ring fence” which protects the NHS budget in England from inflation, spending measured on health officials’ preferred measure – estimated patient numbers, which take account of the fact that as people age, they get sicker – has already dropped by £50 per patient since 2009. Read more

Manufacturing and technology giants Samsung, Hyundai, SK and LG are examples of chaebol – multinational Korean conglomerates with labyrinthine ownership structures, often controlled by the founding family. Use our interactive graphic to explore the relationships between companies in each chaebol Read more

The US went to the polls yesterday for the congressional midterms and the Republicans swept to victory and took control of the senate. Turnout tends to be much lower when there’s no presidential election to accompany the congressional vote, on average about 13 percentage points. Exit polls revealed that minority and younger voters were much more likely to stay home this year than they were in 2012.

Simon Greaves

Russia’s ban on importing EU agricultural products will cause the loss of more than 300,000 tonnes of apples grown in Poland, a quantity more than the whole crop of the Netherlands or the UK, and risks causing a European glut of the fruit.

Poland’s apple and pear growers face substantial losses due the Russian embargo on farm imports from EU nations and other western countries which this year imposed sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis. Read more

By John Burn-Murdoch and Gavin Jackson

In the latest instalment of The Baseline, our weekly feature on sports statistics, we looked ahead to the ATP Tour Finals, the climax of the men’s tennis season.

The tournament is played on a hard court surface, which goes some way to nullifying the relative advantages afforded to big serving and big returning players by grass and clay courts respectively. But where exactly does hard court fall between those two extremes, and what can this tell us about its impact on the playing styles of grass and clay specialists? Read more

Emily Cadman

Are you a wealth accumulator, making good progress or burdened by debt? New research from think-tank the Smith Institute attempts to put a human face on all those distributional graphs of wealth inequality.

The report, published on Wednesday, calculates that property ownership in the UK, having risen dramatically in the last century, has peaked at 67 per cent of households and is likely to fall to 60 per cent by 2025. Read more

US broadband map

FT analysis of new Census Bureau data shows the scale of the task facing the Obama administration Read more

After a 13-year long war, UK forces and the US marines ended operations in Afghanistan on Sunday: in total 453 UK citizens lost their lives in the conflict and over 21,000 Afghanis are estimated to have died. The operational cost to the government is thought to be around £19bn. Read more

Martin Stabe

The European Central Bank on Sunday released the long-awaited results of its stress test.

The test, conducted on 130 euro area lenders, requires banks to have common equity tier one ratios of more than 5.5 per cent even under a “adverse scenario” of falling economic output, rising unemployment and declining house prices.

The stress test found 25 banks had capital shortfalls under the adverse scenario applied to banks’ balance sheets as of the end of 2013. However, that number fell to 13 once capital raised by the banks in 2014 was taken into account.

This sortable table shows a summary of the results of the stress test, including any shortfall after net capital raised since December 2013 is taken into account. Read more

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. Read more


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.

Emily Cadman

What to do about British manufacturing? There is hardly a politician in the country who hasn’t called for the sector to get a boost. But the Office for National Statistics is set to stress today that popular perceptions manufacturing is disappearing from the UK are wide of the mark.

New analysis, to be presented by ONS chief economist Joe Grice at a conference on the changing shape of manufacturing, will focus on the sector’s move up the value chain despite an unquestioned reduction in employee numbers. Read more

Keith Fray

Estimates of Chinese gross domestic product, released this morning, showed that the rate of growth has sunk to its lowest since the financal crisis. Double-digit expansion may be a thing of the past, but China’s economy is now four times larger than it was at the turn of the century. Measuring China’s GDP using purchasing power parity, the International Monetary Fund estimates that China’s economy will be bigger than the US’s by the end of the year.

The world’s population is changing in ways that could barely be imagined a generation ago, and at a pace that is faster than any in recorded history. Not only are we all living longer, but in the richest countries – and in many newly middle class nations – people are having too few babies to keep population stable. By 2050, according to UN projections, those aged over 65 will outnumber children aged 5 and under, for the first time in human history. Read more

More than half of children born in Britain in 2013 had a mother above the age of 30. For the first time since the government began keeping track. The mean age has been rising since a record low in the mid-1970s, after it fell from 29 just before the second world war. The average used by the Office for National Statistics is standardised to take account of the changes in the age distribution of the whole and allows the trends over time to be understood.

A hundred years ago just four countries allowed women to vote: New Zealand, Australia, Finland and Norway. Two world wars accelerated the process, leading to big jumps in the number of countries that granted women the right to vote. Although the breakup of empires following world war one and two also led to big increases in the number of countries. By the year 2000, 147 countries allowed women to vote alongside men.


More migrants die crossing the Mediterranean than any other border in the world. In total the Mediterranean accounts for 75 per cent of the world’s migrant deaths. So far this year the Italian navy’s Mare Nostrum rescue operation has saved 100,000 migrant who tried to make the crossing but it is set to be replaced by a smaller and EU-managed force known as Triton.

  Read more