Angela Merkel has been making much of Germany’s predominant role in the EU’s trade relationship with China – the oft-touted ‘special relationship’. The EU overtook Japan as China’s main source of imports back in 2011, and Germany is the biggest contributor to that. But Europe’s elevated status is not due to its own export growth; rather, it is due to Japan’s continuing performance slide.
Source: IMF/Haver Analytics
The latest data from the FT/Economist Business Barometer, the quarterly global business sentiment survey, was published last week and the business-friendliness section again made for interesting reading.
France’s “business friendliness” has plummeted since the last barometer survey, which was conducted before before the election of François Hollande as president. For the first time, more of the business executives surveyed by the EIU rated the country’s ”unfriendly” than “friendly” to business. Read more
Whilst the slowdown in China’s headline rate of growth has been extensively covered, what deserves more careful attention is its regional component.
This chart shows the economic growth rate in Q1 2012 of the various Chinese regions and their relative importance, sourced from China’s National Bureau of Statistics.
The growth of smaller regions was more volatile and was generally faster than for larger regional economies. Tianjin – a metropolis in northern China along the coast that boasts the highest GDP per capita in the country – had an impressive double digit growth, but its impact on the national number was fairly limited as it accounts for just above 2 percent of national production. Read more
With more than a year’s worth of of data from our exclusive business sentiment poll, the FT/Economist Global Business Barometer, now available, some interesting longitudinal patterns are becoming apparent for the first time.
Most notable among them is the steady erosion over the past year in executives’ perceptions of the “business friendliness” three of the world’s biggest developing economies, India, China and Brazil.
Today’s EU foreign ministers meeting to discuss the possible relaxing of sanctions against Myanmar is the latest sign of diplomatic relations easing between the desperately poor south east Asian state and the west.
As relations improve, and investors and businesses eye up opportunities, its worth remembering just how poor Myanmar is compared to its neighbours. Read more
Markets promptly react to flash releases of economic indicators and large sums of money are lost or made based on zero-point-something percentage points of GDP growth. But, in the excitement of new economic data, it is worth remembering how data is subject to frequent and quite substantial revisions.
Notoriously, in 2010 Japan’s most watched economic indicator was drastically revised downwards, slicing off a full 3.5 percentage points from the annualised growth rate first reported for the third quarter of 2009, prompting soul searching about the quality of Japanese economic data. But revisions occur across many countries and not only after the flash releases.
An OECD database of the various edition of the monthly publication of the Main Economic Indicators (MEI) shows how widespread the issue is. Read more
Amid rising diplomatic tensions with Iran this year, the west has been ramping up its efforts to choke off Iran’s oil exports, the country’s main source of foreign revenues.
A new military spending forecast from analysts at IHS Jane’s Defence suggests that China’s defence spending will accelerate substantially in the next three years.
This interactive graphic examines defence spending and gross domestic product growth in the region – as well as showing contextual numbers for the US – the world’s biggest spender on defence. Read more