Robert Peston, economics editor

Robert Peston Economics editor

Welcome to Peston's Picks - for my latest thoughts on the big economic events around the world making us richer or poorer

Has government hurt education exports?

2 April 2014
University students

One of the UK's great global competitive strengths is in education, which contributes around £10bn a year in export earnings.

Which is useful at a time when the gap between our earnings from the rest of the world, and what we pay to the rest of the world, has been widening.

So it may be mildly concerning that the number of overseas entrants to British higher education declined in 2012-13 - which is the first numerical fall in 29 years (back in 1983-1984, there were fewer than 50,000 foreigners registered in full-time education in English universities, compared with more than 300,000 today).

Between 2010-11 and 2012-13, there was a fall of 1000 - or 1% - in the number of international entrants to full-time post-graduate programmes, compared with double-digit annual growth for years and years.

The change is statistically significant.

Read full article

Will proper pay rises soon be affordable?

1 April 2014
Homer Simpson
Have we become a nation of Homer Simpsons?

Ask any economist (ie, not me - don't ever forget I am a hack) and they'll say it is impossible to have any meaningful improvement in living standards without any improvement in productivity.

Which is why it has been slightly nerve-wracking, after all those years that we've been getting poorer, that the recent economic recovery has been accompanied by only the smallest improvements in output per hour worked or output per worker.

Read full article

UK's recovery not debt-fuelled

31 March 2014
Money
The overall indebtedness of the UK economy should fall pretty sharply in 2014

The publication of the 2013 national accounts contained a number of positives, not least of which was an upward revision to exports, and confirmation that business investment is recovering.

Or, to put it another way, although the belated escape of the UK economy from the long years of stagnation has been too dependent, many would say, on growth in consumer spending (in the traditional British way), the recovery is not as unbalanced as some have feared.

Read full article

When will the UK pay its way?

28 March 2014
Nissan vehicles for export waiting at Tyne docks in South Shields
The deficit on trade in goods remains eye-wateringly large

If the priority for the UK is to reduce its indebtedness - public and private sector debts - then today's balance of payments stats are not cheery.

They show the UK was a net borrower from the rest of the world of £65.7bn last year, up from £55.4bn in 2012.

Read full article

In Ukraine: IMF Mr Nice or Nasty?

27 March 2014
Maidan Square, Kiev
The Barricades in Maidan Square, the scene of months of protests

Is tough love from the West the right economic prescription for Ukraine, as the Russian bear consumes the Crimea and appears to be salivating over the prospect of consuming rather more of that turbulent country?

Or should the International Monetary Fund and other sovereign creditors be a little less insistent that Ukrainians should put on hairshirts as a condition of receiving vital official loans?

Read full article

The energy company blancmange

26 March 2014
Pylons in Scotland

Normally, when a company announces a price freeze and a cut in the profit margin it earns - which sounds like the declaration of a price war - the share price of that company falls.

That is what happened, for example, to the share price of Morrisons, the supermarket group, when it made just such a declaration.

Read full article

More Correspondents

  • kamal Ahmed Kamal Ahmed Business editor

    What really matters – and why - in the world of business


  • Linda Yueh Linda Yueh Chief business correspondent

    The latest on global business and the world economy


  • Peter Day Peter Day Global business correspondent

    A sideways look at the big trends upheaving the world of work


  • Nick Robinson, Political editor Nick Robinson Political editor

    The latest on what’s going on in and around politics


About Robert

Robert has won numerous awards for his journalism, including Journalist of the Year, Specialist Journalist of the Year and Scoop of the Year (twice) from the Royal Television Society, Performer of the Year from the Broadcasting Press Guild, and Broadcaster of the Year and Journalist of the Year from the Wincott Foundation.

Prior to joining the BBC, he was political editor and financial editor of the Financial Times, City Editor of the Sunday Telegraph and a columnist for the New Statesman and Sunday Times.

He broadcast and published a series of influential reports about the causes and consequences of the global financial crisis.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.