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April, 2008 Issue Prepared by the UNECE Statistical Division, the UNECE Facts and Figures articles are based on data from the UNECE Statistical Database. For more information contact email@example.com.
Food prices soar since mid-2007
28 April 2008
In the second half of 2007, inflation gathered momentum in most UNECE countries. Annual inflation turned out higher than forecast in the Euro area and the United States and in many other countries. By January 2008, year-on-year consumer price growth rates were in two digits for a third or fourth consecutive month in many emerging European economies and in some eastern EU member countries. Turkey, where inflation decelerated in the course of 2007, was one of the exceptions.
Escalating food prices were an important factor behind the acceleration of inflation. In January 2008, food prices were 20-30 per cent higher than in January 2007 in a number of UNECE countries. Some countries resorted to price controls on staple foods: for instance, under an agreement concluded between Russian food producers and major retail chains, prices of milk, eggs, vegetable oil, bread and kefir (a fermented milk drink) were frozen from 24 October 2007 to 31 January 2008 (the freeze was recently extended for another three months). This helped to contain the average rise in food prices included in the official consumer basket at 16 per cent (year-on-year) in January 2008.
Source:UNECE data base and national statistics
Marital violence leads to more homicide victims among women
14 April 2008
Lethal violence is known as a predominantly male phenomenon on both the perpetrator and victim count. In the UNECE countries, where the homicide incidence currently ranges from 1 to more than 10 persons per 100’000 population, on average three out of four homicide victims were males in the last several years.
But marital homicide, which accounts for 3 to 30 per cent of total homicides in our sample of countries (with a median value of 11 per cent), stands somewhat apart: in these cases the highest toll is paid by women, as our chart attests. In 2004-2006, in half of the countries under consideration, eight out of ten victims of marital homicide were women, and in the rest, the proportion was from above six to above seven out of ten.
It is worth noting, however, that over the last several years the incidences of marital homicide have been gradually declining in the UNECE region, with the homicide rate for women declining faster than that for men.
Source:UNECE, compiled from national statistics.
* For Croatia, data refer to 2006 only, and for Switzerland, to the average of 2002-2004.
Obesity: can we still talk about ‘a continental divide’?
7 April 2008
It is generally accepted that a sedentary lifestyle and unbalanced diet, among others, can lead to more people being affected by obesity. Knowing that obesity puts an individual at an increased risk for many diseases and health problems (including hypertension - high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and others), the pressure to take preventive actions at the individual and public levels is growing.
As our chart attests, the proportion of obese adults remains alarmingly high in some UNECE countries: in the United States, one third of the adult population is considered to be obese, and in the United Kingdom almost a quarter is classified as such. The difference between these countries and western continental Europe remains rather striking.
Two patterns also emerge when considering male and female obesity. In western continental Europe, men are more frequently obese than women, with the exception of Austria, whereas in the United States, the United Kingdom and eastern Europe the share of obese women is higher than that of obese men. The greatest differences between obesity frequency in men and women are found in Lithuania, Moldova, Sweden and the United Kingdom. In most other countries in the chart, the obesity seems to be as frequent among men as among women.
Source:UNECE Gender Statistics Database (www.unece.org/stats/data).
Obesity is measured by body mass index, defined as a person’s weight (in kg) divided by height squared (in m): kg/m2. An adult (aged 15 years and older) is considered obese if BMI exceeds 30 kg/ m2.
* Data refer to 2003.
GDP growth in UNECE countries remained steady through September 2007
1 April 2008
GDP data for the third quarter of 2007 were recently released by many UNECE countries. For most of them, the figures indicate steady real GDP growth in the course of the first nine months of 2007. However, available preliminary estimates for the fourth quarter suggest a slowdown in a number of countries and the outlook is much more uncertain for 2008.
The quarterly year-on-year real GDP change varied, reflecting the heterogeneity of the region. The emerging CIS and south-east European economies, backed by increasing consumer spending, expanding investment activity and strong external demand, reported year-on-year growth rates in the range of 5 to 15 per cent. Similar growth was also reported for a number of the east European EU member states, led in the third quarter by Lithuania (trade and agriculture contributed the most in the latter).
Year-on-year growth in the range of 2.2-3.3 per cent was registered in the third quarter in the three largest EU economies (Germany, France and the United Kingdom). In the United States, the real GDP growth accelerated in the third quarter, reflecting primarily a rise in exports. Similar short-term trends were observed for the EFTA countries - Norway and Switzerland.
Source:UNECE Statistical database () , Eurostat and national statistics.
*Not seasonally adjusted.