Thursday, April 15, 2010

Economy News: Corruption ranking among countries

Transparency International, a German organization, ranked the corruption perception of every country. According to the survey, again the nordic countries are at the top ten of the less corrupted countries, with Denmark at the highest place, followed by Finland,New Zeland, Singapore and Sweden, with Somalia and Myanmar being the most corrupt ones.

Using a composite index, with 14 polls and surveys from 12 independendent organizations, Transparency International gathered the opinions of business people and country analysts. Only 180 of the world 193 recognized countries are included, due the absence of reliable data from others countries, such as North Korea.

The score range from 10 (totally clean) to zero (totally corrupt). A score of 5 is what Transparency International considers the border line between countries with and without a serious corruption problem.

Countries that have significantly improved their rating since the 2006 index were Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominica, Italy, Macedonia, Namibia, Romania, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, and Swaziland. Some of the countries that have a significantly worse rating since 2006 include Austria, Bahrain, Belize, Bhutan, Jordan, Laos, Macao, Malta, Mauritius, Oman, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand.

Country 2007
CPI Score
1. Denmark 9.4

Finland 9.4

New Zealand 9.4
4. Singapore 9.3

Sweden 9.3
6. Iceland 9.2
7. Netherlands 9.0

Switzerland 9.0
9. Canada 8.7

Norway 8.7
11. Australia 8.6
12. Luxembourg 8.4

United Kingdom 8.4
14. Hong Kong 8.3
15. Austria 8.1
16. Germany 7.8
17. Ireland 7.5

Japan 7.5
19. France 7.3
20. USA 7.2
21. Belgium 7.1
22. Chile 7.0
23. Barbados 6.9
24. St. Lucia 6.8
25. Spain 6.7

Uruguay 6.7
27. Slovenia 6.6
28. Estonia 6.5

Portugal 6.5
30. Israel 6.1

St. Vincent and the Grenadines 6.1
32. Qatar 6.0
33. Malta 5.8
34. Macao 5.7

Taiwan 5.7

United Arab Emirates 5.7
37. Dominica 5.6
38. Botswana 5.4
39. Cyprus 5.3

Hungary 5.3
41. Czech Republic 5.2

Italy 5.2
43. Malaysia 5.1

South Africa 5.1

South Korea 5.1
46. Bahrain 5.0

Bhutan 5.0

Costa Rica 5.0
49. Cape Verde 4.9

Slovakia 4.9
51. Latvia 4.8

Lithuania 4.8
53. Jordan 4.7

Mauritius 4.7

Oman 4.7
56. Greece 4.6
57. Namibia 4.5

Samoa 4.5

Seychelles 4.5
60. Kuwait 4.3
61. Cuba 4.2

Poland 4.2

Tunisia 4.2
64. Bulgaria 4.1

Croatia 4.1

Turkey 4.1
67. El Salvador 4.0
68. Colombia 3.8
69. Ghana 3.7

Romania 3.7
71. Senegal 3.6
72. Brazil 3.5

China 3.5

India 3.5

Mexico 3.5

Morocco 3.5

Peru 3.5

Suriname 3.5
79. Georgia 3.4

Grenada 3.4

Saudi Arabia 3.4

Serbia 3.4

Trinidad and Tobago 3.4
84. Bosnia and Herzegovina 3.3

FYR Macedonia 3.3

Gabon 3.3

Jamaica 3.3

Kiribati 3.3

Lesotho 3.3

Maldives 3.3

Montenegro 3.3

Swaziland 3.3

Thailand 3.3
94. Madagascar 3.2

Panama 3.2

Sri Lanka 3.2

Tanzania 3.2
98. Vanuatu 3.1
99. Algeria 3.0

Armenia 3.0

Belize 3.0

Dominican Republic 3.0

Lebanon 3.0

Mongolia 3.0
105. Albania 2.9

Argentina 2.9

Bolivia 2.9

Burkina Faso 2.9

Djibouti 2.9

Egypt 2.9
111. Eritrea 2.8

Guatemala 2.8

Moldova 2.8

Mozambique 2.8

Rwanda 2.8

Solomon Islands 2.8

Uganda 2.8
118. Benin 2.7

Malawi 2.7

Mali 2.7

Sao Tome and Principe 2.7

Ukraine 2.7
123. Comoros 2.6

Guyana 2.6

Mauritania 2.6

Nicaragua 2.6

Niger 2.6

Timor-Leste 2.6

Viet Nam 2.6

Zambia 2.6
131. Burundi 2.5

Honduras 2.5

Iran 2.5

Libya 2.5

Nepal 2.5

Philippines 2.5

Yemen 2.5
138. Cameroon 2.4

Ethiophia 2.4

Pakistan 2.4

Paraguay 2.4

Syria 2.4
143. Gambia 2.3

Indonesia 2.3

Russia 2.3

Togo 2.3
147. Angola 2.2

Guinea-Bissau 2.2

Nigeria 2.2
150. Azerbaijan 2.1

Belarus 2.1

Congo, Republic 2.1

Côte d´Ivoire 2.1

Ecuador 2.1

Kazakhstan 2.1

Kenya 2.1

Kyrgyzstan 2.1

Liberia 2.1

Sierra Leone 2.1

Tajikistan 2.1

Zimbabwe 2.1
162. Bangladesh 2.0

Cambodia 2.0

Central African Republic 2.0

Papua New Guinea 2.0

Turkmenistan 2.0

Venezuela 2.0
168. Congo, Democratic Republic of 1.9

Equatorial Guinea 1.9

Guinea 1.9

Laos 1.9
172. Afghanistan 1.8

Chad 1.8

Sudan 1.8
175. Tonga 1.7

Uzbekistan 1.7
177. Haiti 1.6
178. Iraq 1.5
179. Myanmar 1.4

Somalia 1.4

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Economy News: How Americans Are Drastically Reducing Their Debt

I found this interesting article at Digg:

As the economy emerges from the downturn, consumers are likely to spend the next several years drastically reducing their debt -- at least if historical example, which shows that the debt-reduction process following a severe financial crisis takes six to seven years on average, is any indicator.

And according to an analysis of data collected by, the popular online money management site, a significant number of Americans are indeed paying down their debt and ratcheting up their savings.

Mint derived the data from its more than 2 million users, and found that from February 2009 to February 2010, Mint users trimmed their debt by 14.3 percent and raised their cash savings by 3.2 percent. Their average liquidity (cash minus credit-card debt) also rose, from $6,298 to $7,460, a 18.4 percent change.

In the same period, the users' investment assets (defined as their brokerage accounts, 401ks and IRAs), grew by a third, from $71,051 to $94,555.

Mint's sample may not be representative of the country, but it's corroborated by other data, including the Fed's, which showed a 5.6 percent decline in overall consumer borrowing in February. Credit-card borrowing in particular contracted during the month, falling 13.1 percent.

Check out's snazzy infographic representing the savings data:


News: China's economy grows nearly 12 percent

China is stepping into an economic recovery, thanks to the industry and construction:

"The momentum of national economic recovery has further expanded, which has laid a good foundation for reaching the targets set for the whole year," spokesman Li Xiaochao said.

The growth was fueled by industrial growth -- 22 percent for heavy industry and 14 percent for light industry -- and a nearly 18 percent expansion in consumer retail sales.

Another thing fueling that growth is the nation's voracious appetite for real estate -- investments in fixed assets are up nearly 26 percent this quarter. "Investment in fixed assets increased rapidly and that in real estate continued to accelerate," the National Bureau of Statistics noted in its announcement.

Many fear behind China's explosive growth, a property price bubble is growing. China's State Council on Wednesday warned about inflation and vowed to curb escalating property prices.

Check the video for further information

China's economy grows CNN

Related posts:

China oil demand 12.8% growth

Economy Lesson: Taxes Discourage Production, by Henry Hazlitt

There is a still further factor which makes it improbable that the wealth created by government spending will fully compensate for the wealth destroyed by the taxes imposed to pay for that spending. It is not a simple question, as so often supposed, of taking something out of the nation’s right-hand pocket to put into its left-hand pocket. The government spenders tell us, for example, that if the national income is $1,500 billion then federal taxes of $360 billion a year would mean that only 24 percent of the national income is being transferred from private purposes to public purposes.[1] This is to talk as if the country were the same sort of unit of pooled resources as a huge corporation, and as if all that were involved were a mere bookkeeping transaction. The government spenders forget that they are taking the money from A in order to pay it to B. Or rather, they know this very well but while they dilate upon all the benefits of the process to B, and all the wonderful things he will have which he would not have had if the money had not been transferred to him, they forget the effects of the transaction on A. B is seen; A is forgotten.

In our modern world there is never the same percentage of income tax levied on everybody. The great burden of income taxes is imposed on a minor percentage of the nation’s income; and these income taxes have to be supplemented by taxes of other kinds. These taxes inevitably affect the actions and incentives of those from whom they are taken. When a corporation loses a hundred cents of every dollar it loses, and is permitted to keep only fifty-two cents of every dollar it gains, and when it cannot adequately offset its years of losses against its years of gains, its policies are affected. It does not expand its operations, or it expands only those attended with a minimum of risk. People who recognize this situation are deterred from starting new enterprises. Thus old employers do not give more employment, or not as much more as they might have; and others decide not to become employers at all. Improved machinery and better-equipped factories come into existence much more slowly than they otherwise would. The result in the long run is that consumers are prevented from getting better and cheaper products to the extent that they otherwise would, and that real wages are held down, compared with what they might have been.

There is a similar effect when personal incomes are taxed 50, 60 or 70 percent. People begin to ask themselves why they should work six, eight or nine months of the entire year for the government, and only six, four or three months for themselves and their families. If they lose the whole dollar when they lose, but can keep only a fraction of it when they win, they decide that it is foolish to take risks with their capital. In addition, the capital available for risk-taking itself shrinks enormously. It is being taxed away before it can be accumulated. In brief, capital to provide new private jobs is first prevented from coming into existence, and the part that does come into existence is then discouraged from starting new enterprises. The government spenders create the very problem of unemployment that they profess to solve.

A certain amount of taxes is of course indispensable to carry on essential government functions. Reasonable taxes for this purpose need not hurt production much. The kind of government services then supplied in return, which among other things safeguard production itself, more than compensate for this. But the larger the percentage of the national income taken by taxes the greater the deterrent to private production and employment. When the total tax burden grows beyond a bearable size, the problem of devising taxes that will not discourage and disrupt production becomes insoluble.

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Economy News: Access to business loans from banks is about to get easier at the United States

Good news from the United States: Business access to bank loans is improving:

Business access to bank loans is poised to improve as lenders get losses under control and upgrade their economic outlook, while borrowers strengthen their financial condition. The result will be a virtuous circle: easier credit stimulating economic activity, which feeds back to still easier credit. This can’t go on forever, of course. But the self reinforcing dynamic has at least a year to run.

First, let’s get the bad news out of the way: Bank losses remain huge. The industry racked up a whopping $187 billion in losses last year, amounting to 2.9% of loans outstanding—greater than any time since 1934. About the best that can be said is that the rate at which losses are increasing slowed during the course of the year, and a plateau seems to be taking shape.

Read more at: Kiplinger

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