AD = C + I + G + X – M


Readers Question: what does AD stand for in economic terms? AD = Aggregate Demand – the total planned expenditure in an economy. Aggregate Demand is composed of various factors C, I, G, X – M C= Consumer spending I = Investment (Gross Fixed Capital Formation) G= Government Spending X= Exports M= Imports AD places a …

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UK debt held by foreign investors

One of the most common questions asked is, who owns UK National Debt?

Often  people assume that UK government debt is owned by foreign investors. However, foreign investors only hold about 25-30% of UK government debt. The rest is held by the UK private sector (pension funds, insurance companies e.t.c). Recently, the Bank of England has also been purchasing Gilts under the Asset Purchase Scheme.

In the past few years, the proportion of UK government debt held by overseas investors has been about 30%.

A different, but similar, concept is external debt. This is the total amount of UK debt (both private sector and public sector) held by overseas agents.

UK Debt Held By Overseas Investors 2005-09


Source: UK DMO | Blog who does the UK owe money to?

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The Euro and deflation

A look at the effects of how an over-valuation of the exchange rate can cause deflation. Readers Question: does an appreciation in the exchange rate cause deflation? An appreciation does tend to reduce inflationary pressures. This is because after after an appreciation in the exchange rate: Price of imports will fall, causing a fall in …

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How is the economy affected by recovery of the underground economy?

Readers Question What if the black money parked in Swiss bank is recovered. Will it destabilize the current economy? ‘Black money’ I assume you mean money gained by illegal methods and money that will be frozen until someone can prove they legally own it. Recovering frozen money One scenario – If there is a large …

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Readers Questions II

You are welcome to ask questions on Economics. I will post the answer on this blog, for everyone to benefit from. I shall try to answer the economics question and / or point to other resources but please bear in mind. The replies will be guidance and not for duplication. Your essays should always be …

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Keynesian Approach to AD and Real GDP

Readers Question: What are the effects of a decrease in foreign incomes on UK exports, how will this effect the equilibrium level of income and the balance of trade?

Quite a few readers have asked this question. Unfortunately, A Level economics no longer uses the Keynesian 45 degree line approach to solving problems such as this. The last time I used this Keynesian model was quite a long time ago, so I am a bit reluctant to answer this kind of question. Nevertheless I will try offer some ideas.

Firstly, it is useful to understand what is happening from a simple perspective, then we can try to use the Keynesian model.

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UK House Price Crash 2007?

Readers Question: Critically evaluate the argument for and against the likelihood of an imminent house price correction in UK ?

House prices in the UK have risen much faster than inflation; in the past 6 years average house prices in the UK have more than doubled. This has caused many to speculate that house prices are overvalued and are likely to fall, in the near future, to more realistic levels.

These are the arguments in favour of house prices falls.

House prices have risen faster than average incomes.

This has made it more difficult for first time buyers, especially the younger generation to get on the property ladder. With falling demand for new houses, it is only a matter of time before this is reflected in lower prices.

Rising Interest Rates.

Interest rates have increased 5 times in the past 18 months. This rise in interest rates increases the cost of mortgage payments. Therefore, more people will struggle to make mortgage payments and therefore make renting more attracting than buying. It is also worth noting interest rates have a delayed effect; this means it takes upto 18 months for interest rate increases to have an effect on the economy. Therefore, even if interest rates don’t increase anymore, there will be more people affected by interest rate rises (e.g. those negotiating new fixed rate deals, will see a big increase in cost)


If house price rises have been caused by the fundamentals of supply and demand, there is unlikely to be any correction. However, some experts believe the booming housing market has created a ‘bubble effect’; this means that speculators and foreign investors have been buying houses to try and make capital gains. If the market turns, then these speculators will seek to leave the market and cash in their capital gains. This could make a small correction much bigger. – Falling house prices lead to a fall in confidence and discourage many others from buying.

UK investors may also be alarmed by the experience of the US housing market which has already gone from boom to bust.

Prices overvalued

Evidence suggests that house prices are already starting to fall in some parts of the country. Demand is falling from many areas of the economy. Bovis, the new house builder predicted prices would fall by 3% this year. link – Times

A study by PwC suggested house prices are overvalued by 10% – link BBC. This follows reports from the International monetary Fund IMF, which also states UK house prices are fundamentally overvalued.

However, it is notoriously difficult to decide whether house prices are overvalued or not. For example, back in 2003, many commentators argued house prices were already overvalued. The UK housing market has often defied Market predictions

Credit Crisis

The run on Northern Rock, was due to problems in global credit markets. These problems will have an increasing effect on the UK Housing Market. Basically, US mortgage lenders were too willing to lend risky amounts to sub prime lenders. When the housing market faltered there was a rise in mortgage defaults as people couldn’t pay back their repayments. Therefore, many US mortgage companies went bankrupt. This has made other financial institutions much more wary of offering support for mortgage lending. To summarise it is increasingly difficult to get mortgages, especially risky unconventional mortgages. Therefore, this will make it more difficult for first time buyers to get a mortgage; demand will fall further.

However, UK mortgage lending is generally much stricter than US. At the moment, there is not a significant problem of mortgage defaults. With interest rates unlikely to rise in 2008, affordability is unlikely to deteriorate.

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Is A Strong Canadian Dollar A Good Thing?

Q. Is A Strong Canadian Dollar A Good Thing? This is an interesting question. The effects of an appreciation are good for some aspects of the Canadian economy, but, create problems for Canadian exporters. The real winners are Canadian consumers who are able to buy US goods at a much cheaper price. US border towns …

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