(January 2012) Daily News Digest - - Thurs Jan 26, 2012: Key Irish and international news at a glance; Europe needs to move forward with structural political reforms if it is to resolve its sovereign debt crisis and put to rest doubts about its unity and viability, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an address to participants in the opening plenary session of the World Economic Forum’s 42nd Annual Meeting. In her speech, Merkel called for structural reforms that would allow for genuine labour mobility in Europe so that people can move to where jobs are and be able to take their pension rights and insurance with them.. .The China Daily reports that from this year, nearly 220,000 civil servants and personnel at public institutions in Beijing are no longer entitled to publicly funded free medical care. The news service said: "Most interviewed civil servants approved such a reform, believing it can help avoid financial disaster" - - only if Ireland could have such rational civil servants!
(January 2012) Daily News Digest - - Wed Jan 25, 2012: Key Irish and international news at a glance; The Annual World Economic Forum (WEF) opens in Davos, Switzerland today. According to Klaus Schwab, the founder and organiser of Davos and a business policy professor by profession, this year's meeting will focus on how to develop a new world model as "capitalism in its current form, has no place in the world around us."/"The danger for the world is that the political leadership is overwhelmed," Schwab said on Tuesday evening as he welcomed delegates. "Maybe what we have here is a kind of burnout," added Schwab who founded the forum 42 years ago. A survey of 1,258 bosses by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, timed to coincide with the forum for the global business elite, found 48% expect economic decline and only 15% growth this year.
(January 2012) Total new registrations of passenger cars in the European Union fell almost 2% in 2011 - - the fourth consecutive year of declines. Meanwhile, the US market is recovering from a deep crisis that in 2009 saw the bankruptcy of General Motors which had been founded in 1908 and in 1932, surpassed its older rival, Ford Motor Co., to become the world's largest car maker -- a title it would hold for 77 years. In 2010, US unit sales of light vehicles (LV) rose 11% and 10% in 2011. While the 2011 sales volume is still down 25% (or more than 4m units) on the 2005 level -- an indication of the scale of the recent crisis - - economists see it as signal of an enormous backlog demand.
(January 2012) China reported this week that its economy slowed in the fourth quarter of 2011 but it remains in rude health as it begins its lunar new year - - a Year of the Dragon -- on Monday. Germany will grow by a meagre 0.7% this year, Economics Minister Philipp Rösler told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday, as he reversed the German government's October growth prediction of 1.0% for this year. Despite the slowdown in economic expansion, Rösler insisted that, "there can be no talk of a recession." "Germany is and remains an anchor for stability and growth in Europe," the minister said, as he presented the twice-yearly government forecasts. The EU-ECB-IMF troika said that Ireland faced "considerable challenges" as domestic demand remained subdued, unemployment was high, and growth in its main trading partners was slowing.. .“Everything is under control, go back to your cabins,” was the order from a crew member of the stricken Costa Concordia cruise liner that was listing and taking in water off the coast of Italy on the night of Friday, January 13, 2012, according to amateur video recorded shortly before passengers were evacuated.
(January 2012) If the UK is to end its over-reliance on financial services a renaissance in manufacturing needs to take place and ministers who want to re-balance the economy could learn much from the German approach to industry, the British Trade Union Congress (TUC) said in a report this week. Germany is today Europe's indispensible nation, which isn't everyone's cup of tea but is a far cry from 2003 when Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn of the Ifo economics institute at the University of Munich, had a book titled 'Ist Deutschland noch zu retten?' (Can Germany Be Saved?) published - - its blurb read: “Taxes keep rising, the pension and health insurance systems are ailing. More and more companies are going bankrupt or are leaving the country. Unemployment has reached alarming levels. Germany is outperformed by its neighbours. Its growth rates are in the cellar, and it can’t keep up with Austria, the Netherlands, Britain or France. Germany has become the sick man of Europe.“
US, Germany, Japan and China are leaders in business innovation; Germany excels at adding new ideas to products
(January 2012) The USA, Germany, Japan and China are leaders where business innovation can flourish, according to a global poll of business executives in 22 countries. Germany is viewed as excelling at adding new ideas to products and its strengths in “mid-tech” engineering sectors such as machine tools and cars have made it the most self-confident large economy in business innovation. Executives in Israel, United Arab Emirates, Sweden and Singapore reported the highest levels of satisfaction with their country’s innovation environment, while Japan, Russia, Poland and France reported the lowest satisfaction levels.
(January 2012) Daily News Digest - - Thurs Jan 19, 2012: Key Irish and international news at a glance; Discovery Channel News asks: How do you turn over a 952-foot cruise ship that’s capsized on a rocky shoreline? Marine engineers around the world are speculating on the best way to refloat the Costa Concordia, an operation that will begin as soon as authorities account for all the missing passengers...Der Spiegel says Hungary is almost broke and has lurched to the right so sharply that the EU has launched legal action in defense of democracy. But the problem is far more widespread: Nationalists and populists are gaining ground across Eastern Europe.
Total debt has grown across the world’s 10 largest advanced economies since the 2008–09 financial crisis
(January 2012) The deleveraging process of cutting debt has only just begun in most developed countries. Based on data up to Q2 2011, total debt has actually grown across the world’s 10 largest advanced economies since the 2008–09 financial crisis, due mainly to rising government debt. Only 3 countries in a sample of 10 - - the United States, Australia, and South Korea -- have seen the ratio of total debt to GDP (gross domestic product) decline. The aggregate indebtedness of the UK has risen from an already large and arguably unsustainable 487% of GDP (public and private) in the second quarter of 2008 to an even bigger 507% of GDP in the middle of 2011. Only Japan, struggling with high debt for 20 years, is more indebted - - with a debt to GDP ratio of 512%.
(January 2012) Continuing uncertainty about the ongoing European sovereign debt crisis and the impact of fiscal consolidation across the single currency area will weigh on the German economy in 2012. These factors will not only curb exports but also reduce investment. By contrast, there should be moderate growth stimuli from private consumption. Nevertheless, Germany is likely to slide into a (technical) recession in the first half of the year. Progress in managing the debt crisis could then breathe new life into the economy - - net exports in particular - - in the second half. In the full year, 2012 is likely to see flat GDP (gross domestic product) growth. The German government cut its full-year 2012 GDP forecast to 0.7% today.
Ageing: Employment rate for older people in Europe rises; Germany begins transition to retirement age of 67 - - Part 4
(January 2012) Ageing: 2012 has been designated by the European Union as the 'European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations,' to create better opportunities for older workers and to contribute to combating the social exclusion of older people. The good news from Europe is that despite evidence of the impact of ageing in particular in the big economies of Germany and Italy and in Eastern Europe, the employment rate for persons aged 60-64 increased from 23% in 2000 to 31% in 2010…and from 50% to 61% for those aged 55-59. Meanwhile in Germany, the start of the transition to a retirement age of 67 at the beginning of the year has begun following the agreement on a major reform in the previous decade. France last year faced down public protests to raise the retirement age to 62.