(May 2013) Fears that Britain faces years more of weak growth were raised by a leading Bank of England official when he warned that adjustment to the post-crisis world was only two-thirds to three-quarters complete. Speaking in Cardiff on Friday, Paul Fisher said there had been nothing to compare with the recent sluggish performance of the economy since modern quarterly growth data was first produced in 1955. On Thursday, Britain's return to growth was confirmed with an unchanged second estimate of GDP showing the economy grew 0.3% in the first three months of the year.
(May 2013) Stephen King, group chief economist of HSBC writes in his new book, 'When the money runs out,' "I count myself as one of the last of the so-called baby-boomer generation. In the first four decades of my life real British incomes per head almost tripled. As I approach my 50th birthday, something seems to have gone horribly wrong. Over the past decade, those incomes have risen just 4 per cent. The economic dynamism which provided the backdrop to my formative years has gone, replaced by what increasingly appears to be an enduring – and distinctly unappealing – era of stagnation."
(May 2013) The solar photovoltaic (PV) market is poised to rise from the ashes of its 2011 crisis and grow to $155bn in 2018, as market forces engineer a turnaround to a healthy 10.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The sun set on Suntech, the aggressive Chinese market leader in March when it filed for bankruptcy, amidst fraud allegations. Meanwhile, a study commissioned by the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy estimated that up to 242,000 EU jobs could be sacrificed by punitive duties imposed by the EU on China, over three years. Karel De Gucht, EU trade commissioner, is targeting trade that was valued at €21bn in Chinese solar products exported to Europe in 2011. De Gucht has recommended that such products face duties averaging 47% after deciding that Chinese manufacturers illegally dumped their products, or sold them below cost, in Europe.
(May 2013) France and Germany have agreed joint steps to speed up the adoption of legislation to fight tax evasion in the European Union and the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA is seen as a model. Tax-related issues are top of the agenda when EU leaders meet in Brussels today Wednesday. Herman Van Rompuy, European Council president, said last month that a trillion euros - - the size of the Spanish GDP, the Eurozone's fourth-largest economy - - are lost in tax evasion and tax avoidance every year.
(May 2013) Soon India will have a fifth of the world's working-age population. It needs to make 100m new, good jobs fast, or it risks squandering a once-in-a-generation demographic advantage.
(May 2013) Apple in its fiscal year 2012 accounts revealed an effective corporate tax rate on foreign income of 2% - - see page 61 of the Securities and Exchange Commissions 10- filing. On Monday, the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations revealed the story behind Apple's massive tax avoidance and while Apple claims to be the biggest US corporate taxpayer, it is also "among America's largest tax avoiders," said Senator John McCain, the panel's senior Republican. A report from the subcommittee says: "Apple told the Subcommittee that, for many years, Ireland has provided Apple affiliates with a special tax rate that is substantially below its already relatively low statutory rate of 12 percent. Apple told the Subcommittee that it had obtained this special rate through negotiations with the Irish government."
(May 2013) The International Monetary Fund has said Cyprus, a Eurozone member, has a realistic chance of posting some growth again in two years. But it warned that the country's current austerity program had to be followed through. In a staff report, the IMF said it expected the Cypriot economy to expand by a modest 1.1% in 2015 after plunging 8.7% this year and a further 3.9% in 2014. It also forecast that unemployment in the country would reach 15.5% this year and peak at 16.9% next year.
(May 2013) Shinzo Abe's plans for structural reform are welcome. But in a region sensitive to Japanese nationalism, revitalising the country's military will demand delicacy, say The Economist's correspondents.
(May 2013) The Eurozone’s GDP dipped for the sixth straight quarter, falling by 0.2% in the first quarter of 2013. The economy contracted in nine of the single currency's 17 countries, including France, which fell into recession for the second time in four years. Germany, grew by just 0.1%. Meanwhile, the UK unemployment rate was at 7.8% in the first three months of the year. The jobless rose by 15,000 compared with the previous quarter, to 2.52m. In Ireland, a paper published by the ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute), said in a paper that Irish GNP (gross national product) and the Current Account surplus have been overstated because of the rise in large mainly US companies transferring headquarters to Ireland while having most of their operations overseas. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration on Friday cleared the way for broader natural-gas exports by approving a $10bn facility in Texas, a milestone in the US transition into a major supplier of energy for world markets.
(May 2013) Siemens, Europe's biggest industrial group, says it would make sense to build solar power plants in sunny countries in Europe rather than in cloudy ones. And wind turbines should be built in windy places.