UK: Deloitte Monday Briefing: Summer Holiday Reading List

Last Updated: 1 August 2014
Article by Ian Stewart

Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017
  • Our summer reading list offers an eclectic and stimulating alternative to the latest poolside reading. All are available free and online.
  • You can save these articles on your iPad's reading list by opening the links on Safari and tapping on the share arrow next to the address bar. To print these articles please use the print icons on the webpages to ensure the whole article comes out.
  • 1973 was a year of shortages for Americans. With the imposition of the Arab oil embargo, gasoline, electricity and even onions were reported to be in short supply. This article in Priceonomics describes how, in such an environment, Americans reacted to rumours of a shortage of toilet paper (3 pages):
  • For the second year we've included Warren Buffett's annual letter to shareholders in our summer reading list. The letter exudes a folksy, American optimism ("Charlie and I have always considered a bet on ever-rising US prosperity to be very close to a sure thing...America's best days lie ahead). Buffett renders it all in plain English in a masterpiece of effective corporate communication. What's more he does it without the clutter of photos, charts and pointless imagery that accompanies so much writing. Anyone who hopes to prosper through investing in the market should read Buffett's tips on how to make money (p17-21). If only all corporate writing were this good (21 pages):
  • The rise of new, drug-resistant strains of bacteria has created a growing demand for stronger antibiotics. But, despite major advances in developing drugs against cancer and HIV, no new type of antibiotic has been created since the 1980s. In this New York Times article, Eduardo Porter explains how the economics of drug design makes pharmaceutical companies less interested in developing antibiotics (5 pages):
  • A recent study by two Oxford academics estimated that almost half of all occupations in the US could be automated in the next few decades. The authors found that the risk of losing your job to technology drops sharply as educational attainment rises. Yet as the numbers going into higher education have surged so have the challenges facing universities. Costs have risen faster than inflation, public subsidies are shrinking and technology is creating new, cheaper ways of learning. This Economist article looks at how these forces are shaping the world of higher education (6 pages):


UK's FTSE 100 ended the week up 0.5%.

Here are some recent news stories that caught our eye as reflecting key economic themes:


  • The UK economy grew 0.8% in the second quarter to return to the size it was before the financial crisis
  • The IMF downgraded its US growth forecast to 1.8% this year and upgraded its UK growth forecast to 3.2%
  • Facebook became the fifth largest technology firm in the S&P 500, ahead of Oracle, Intel and Amazon, after its shares rose 6.5% in response to better-than-expected earnings in the second quarter
  • Germany's closely watched Ifo Business Climate Index hit an eight-month low in July
  • UK retail sales grew at the fastest quarterly pace in 10 years in the second quarter
  • Spain reported a year-on-year rise in employment for the first time in six years in the second quarter
  • British Sky Broadcasting has agreed to pay Ł7.3bn to buy Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland
  • Royal Bank of Scotland has almost doubled its first-half profits this year
  • Visa cut its sales estimate for this quarter due to lower-than-expected cross-border transactions in Russia and Ukraine
  • Russia's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.5 percentage points to 8%
  • South Korea's government announced a $40bn fiscal stimulus package to boost its economy
  • Japan reported a trade deficit for the 24th consecutive month in April
  • In a speech in Glasgow, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, said that "interest rates will need to start to rise" in the coming months
  • 80% of the S&P 500 companies that have reported second quarter earnings so far have met or exceeded market expectations
  • Investors withdrew $2.4bn from high-yield bond funds in the week ending 23rd July, the largest weekly withdrawal in almost a year, in anticipation of an end to the US Fed's QE programme this year
  • Morgan Stanley has made a $275m settlement with US authorities over allegations it misled investors in the sale of mortgage-backed equities before the financial crisis
  • India's cabinet approved plans to raise the limit on foreign direct investment in insurance companies from 26% to 49%
  • With the rise in demand for private jets in China, Gulfstream has customised the cabins of its Chinese aircrafts to make space for a rice cooker while Airbus offers a round table for playing mah-jong – champagne on rice

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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