Growth, Meritocracy, Apple(s) and Mangoes? – Let’s talk about that…

I wasn’t really sure which article to choose so I put them all in this post…

Growth – 

UK economy records fastest growth since 2007

The UK’s economy grew by 2.6% last year, the fastest pace since 2007 and up from 1.7% in 2013, official figures have shown. That was a slowdown from 0.7% growth recorded in the previous three months. Economists were mixed over whether the loss of momentum in the final quarter might be temporary or prolonged.

“The dominant services sector remains buoyant while the contraction has taken place in industries like construction, mining and energy supply, which can be erratic,” he said. – This is probably due to the implications of globalisation which resulted in the shift towards a more tertiary sector domination and thus de-industrialisation.

The services sector grew by 0.8% in the quarter, but construction contracted by 1.8%. Manufacturing grew by just 0.1%, its worst performance since the start of 2013.

Tuesday figures mean the UK was among the best-performing of the all the major economies in 2014. The IMF forecasts UK growth of 2.7% in 2015. However, Samuel Tombs, of consultancy Capital Economics, has predicted growth of 3%.

“With the recent halving of oil prices providing a timely boost to households’ discretionary spending power, credit still becoming cheaper and pay growth on an improving trend… the best days of the UK’s recovery may still lie ahead,” he said.

How significant do you think is the slowdown in the British economy, given that the dominant service sector is still booming, but construction is shrinking and manufacturing almost back to flat-lining? – Read the article to find out

Meritocracy – 

This article is probably less relevant to the course material, but in line with a discussion we had about inheritance and meritocracy in an earlier lesson, thus quite interesting. It basically offers a different angle to the argument based on statistical evidence.

“…More than ever before, America’s elite is producing children who not only get ahead, but deserve to do so: they meet the standards of meritocracy better than their peers, and are thus worthy of the status they inherit.”

Apple – 

US technology giant Apple has reported the biggest quarterly profit ever made by a public company.

Apple reported a net profit of $18bn (£11.8bn) in its fiscal first quarter, which tops the $15.9bn made by ExxonMobil in the second quarter of 2012, according to Standard and Poor’s.

Apple’s impressive results represent a significant shift towards the massive untapped potential of China.

With a strong line-up of devices entering the final quarter, it was able to reap the fruits of its deal with the world’s biggest mobile network, China Mobile.

Currency woes

Apple’s revenue grew to $74.6bn in 2014 – a 30% increase from a year earlier.

However, on a conference call to discuss earnings, Mr Cook complained of “fierce foreign exchange volatility”, which added Apple to a growing list of US firms who have been hurt by the strong dollar abroad.

Apple said that currency fluctuations shaved 4% from its first-quarter revenue.


Ban on Indian mango imports to EU to be lifted. “Today’s decision demonstrates the marked improvements India has made to its export system and it is important that these standards are maintained so that trade can continue and UK plant health remains protected,” – Increase in quality of the mangoes due to the protectionist measures and thus a potential increase in consumer surplus when the ban is lifted.

Even though India sells only a fraction of its mangoes abroad, Europe is a significant market for the industry. PRofits were more than halved after prices came down. Exports fell from $307.4m between April and November in 2013, to $291.4m in the same period last year.

However, imports of four other products – aubergines, bitter gourds, snake gourds and patra leaves – remain suspended subject to sustained improvements in plant pest control.


World Commodities Map

An interesting image to preview next week’s patterns of trade. – Every Country’s Highest Valued Exports