The November 2008 trade statistics have just been released and they show that the UK had the largest nominal trade deficit on record at £8.3 billion (up from 7.6 billion in October). This represents nearly 7 per cent of GDP, the highest since 1974.
Trade gap widens despite pound’s slump Independent (14/1/09)
UK trade deficit hits a record as weak pound fails to help Telegraph (13/1/09)
Britain’s trade deficit widens to new record Guardian (13/1/09)
UK Trade, November 2008 National Statistics (13/1/09)
- Why has the UK’s trade gap widened?
- How can the concepts of income and price elasticity of demand be used in analysing the causes of the widening deficit?
- Explain how these elasticity values are likely to differ in the short and long run.
- Explain the factors that will determine whether the trade gap will widen or narrow over the coming months.
Whilst a recession has a devastating impact on many industries – not least construction and related sectors – there are some firms who will fare much better during a recession. Firms who have products whose demand is income inelastic, or which are even inferior, will feel the impact of the recession much less than those whose goods have a more income elastic demand. The two articles below consider jobs and businesses that are less likely to suffer in recessionary times.
Slump busters: jobs that beat the downturn BBC News Online (27/11/08)
Riding the recession: how some businesses are doing well in the downturn Times Online (23/11/08)
- Define the terms (i) “normal good” and (ii) “inferior good”.
- What will be the value of the income elasticity of demand for (i) a normal good and (ii) an inferior good?
- Discuss strategies that firms can adopt to minimise the impact of an economic downturn on (a) their total revenue and (b) their profitability.
According to the article linked to below, the demand for offal has risen by 15% in France since the investment bank Lehman Brothers went out of business. Over the same time period French butchers have faced a 2.6% fall in the demand for beef. So is the global financial crisis set to make offal merchants rich?
Recipes for the recession bring offal back into fashion in France Times Online (20/11/08)
Let them eat offal Guardian (20/11/08)
- Given the recession in France, as what types of good would you classify (a) offal and (b) beef?
- What values would you expect for the income elasticity of demand for (a) offal and (b) beef?
- What are the principal determinants of the demand for offal?
- Using diagrams as appropriate, explain the changes that have taken place in the market for offal in recent months.
- Discuss the extent to which the increase in demand for offal has been caused by the promotional strategies adopted by The National Federation of French Offal Merchants.