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Recovery and summer are in the air, but doom mongers still lurk

The GDP growth figures announced last week for the second quarter of this year have sent most people away on their holidays in a cheerier mood than last year. The recent weather has certainly helped. But gloomy clouds may hover over the exclusive settings of Tuscan villas and beach

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No free lunch. Defaults today mean less jam tomorrow

Potential defaults in the Euro zone have been in the news again. In Portugal, the ruling coalition parties and the main opposition Socialists have been unable to agree on a European Union-led bailout plan after days of talks. Yields on the country’s 10 year bonds have approached 7 per

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Ignore the IMF: There’s no reason for its ludicrous forecasts to change sentiment

The economics department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is up to its old tricks again – changing its mind. Just three months ago, the team cut its forecast for UK GDP growth in 2013 to 0.7 per cent from 1 per cent, sparking charges that George

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You wait for one bus then three come at once: Andy Murray and economic recessions

So Andy Murray becomes the first Briton to win the men’s singles for 77 years. When might we expect the next celebration? We can look at the typical ‘waiting time’, to give the concept a name, between victories from players from the same country. For example, Roger Federer won

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Always Look on the Bright Side

The American economic recovery carries on apace, with a net rise in employment of almost half a million over the past three months. The Office for National Statistics has decided that the UK never had a double dip recession, and the texture of the economic news has

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Banging up bankers is the wrong punishment – it won’t change behaviour

The behaviour of the banking sector in the run up to the crash is still very much in the public eye. But this is nothing new. Readers of a certain age may recall Bernie Cornfeld, and his company Investors Overseas Services (IOS). It failed dramatically in the

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Car crash on the Office for National Statistics website… Is it cos I is Welsh?

The website of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recently been re-designed. A perfectly functional, low tech website has been transformed into a really cool delivery platform. It looks great. The only drawback is that it is very difficult to find any useful data on it. The ONS

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Quality counts: Marshall-Lerner and the trade balance

The balance of trade does not attract much attention these days. Maybe it should. The UK has run a deficit in traded goods every single year since 1983. In recent years, this has soared, to over £60 billion a year since 2004, exceeding 5 per cent of GDP. Fortunately,

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The rapid rise of the food bank can’t just be blamed on government austerity

FOOD banks are a rapidly growing phenomenon in the UK. A few years ago, they barely existed, but an estimated half a million people now make use of them every week. On the face of it, it seems that poverty has sadly become endemic since the financial

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Trouble at Co-op Bank raises questions about fitness of the mutual model

IT’S not all fun and games at the Co-op Bank. Just over a month ago, the bank was serious about acquiring 632 branches from Lloyds. Now its debt has been downgraded six notches to junk status, and veteran HSBC banker Niall Booker has been brought in as

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