(June 2013) China's rapid ascent in solar technology followed by the collapse in March, of Suntech, it's leading company in the sector, which had a peak market value of $16bn, is a salutary lesson of how public subsidies promote overcapacity and loss-making enterprises. While solar manufacturers in the US and Europe have been feeling the heat, China is also counting the cost of boom and bust. Even in industries where the labour cost content is low; import content is high and no economies of scale exist, Chinese products often undercut Western rivals by as much as a quarter to a third. A recent US study says government subsidies to produce technologically advanced products and undercut foreign manufacturers have buttressed China's trade prowess. Since 2000, the value of Chinese exports more than quadrupled. In 2009, China surpassed Germany to become the world's largest exporter. In 2010, it overtook Japan to become the second-largest manufacturer, and its foreign-exchange reserves became the largest in the world. Last year, China overtook the US to become the biggest trading nation (as measured by the sum of goods exported and imported).
(June 2013) Moves are underway to increase the “Swissness” of manufactured products in Switzerland. One sector where the Swiss-made label is being hotly debated is the watch industry. At present, at least 50% of the components of watch movements have to be Swiss but a lobby group wants to increase the rate.
(June 2013) In 2013, emerging economies will produce the majority of the world's goods and services, for the first time since the UK's industrial revolution. The world’s centre of economic gravity has changed over past centuries. However, since the mid-1980s, the pace of that shift—from the United States and Europe toward Asia— has been moving dramatically and the trend is set to continue.
(June 2013) Growth of global economic output accelerated in May 2013, regaining the momentum lost in the previous month.
(June 2013) Carl Elsener opened a cutlery workshop to deliver a soldier knife to the Swiss army in 1884; he had a revolutionary idea in mind. He was looking for a compact and sturdy knife, which offered many functions combined in a single tool. What he invented has long become a legend: the Original Swiss Army Knife. His grandson Carl Elsener III, the man who brought the Swiss army knife to global markets through his family’s Victorinox brand, died on Tuesday at the age of 90.
(May 2013) The UK economy will continue to grow throughout this year, with GDP (gross domestic product) growth expected to pick up in 2014. But while recent economic data have been more promising, clear challenges remain both at home and abroad, the UK’s leading business group warned.
(May 2013) The pace at which the United States produces $100m companies has been stable over the last 20 years despite changes in the economy. However research shows that the locations and sectors in which those companies are created are changing. While information technology is important, it is not the most important contributor in percentage terms to the $100m firms in the United States on a founding cohort basis. Instead, the largest contributors, in percentage terms, are consumer discretionary and industrials. After all, the consumer discretionary and the industrial sectors are the largest non-government segments of the US economy, so it stands to reason they produce more companies, many of which, in turn, go on to become large and successful.
(May 2013) Asia’s phenomenal growth over the past few decades has been driven by the rise of Factory Asia. However, the global financial crisis and uncertain growth prospects in the United States and the Eurozone have dampened demand for Asian exports. At the same time, rising wages threaten to erode the cost advantage that the region once had, managing supply chains has become more complex, and new technologies are transforming manufacturing. During 1980–2010, developing Asia’s real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 7.1% annually on average, compared to the world average of 2.8%. The region’s real per capita GDP (in constant 2000 US dollars) climbed from about $257.26 in 1980 to $1,420.14 in 2010. That is an increase of more than five times, compared with about 1.5 times for the world’s per capita GDP during the same period. By 2010, the region accounted for 32.3% of world GDP; including Japan, the share reached 42.1%.
(May 2013) The global economic outlook dimmed this week with reports of manufacturing slowdowns in the US and China coupled with a deepening recession in the Eurozone. German industrial giants, Siemens, BASF and Daimler either cut their earnings forecasts for 2013 or announced a restructuring.
(May 2013) Officially Irish GDP growth was 0.9% in 2012 but this was a fiction. All the reported growth resulted from tax-related accounting transactions at major US multinationals. In the real economy economic reports confirm a grim picture and despite the Irish Government's optimistic outlook for 2015 in its latest forecasts, unemployment is set to remain at crisis levels.