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This week's barometer

18 December 2010

4:00 PM

18 December 2010

4:00 PM

Their year

— 2010 was the International Year of Biodiversity and the Nurse (both according to the UN); and the Year of the Seafarer (International Maritime Organisation), the Lung (Forum of International Respiratory Societies) and the Tiger (China).

— 2011 will be the International Year of Forests (UN) and Chemistry (UNESCO), the European Year of the Volunteer (European Commission) and the Year of the Bat (United Nations Environmental Programme), the Bible (Methodist Church), the Zinnia (National Gardens Bureau) and the Rabbit (China).

— The UN International Year of Youth began in August 2010, and will continue until July 2011.

Anniversaries of 2011

Some well-known and lesser-known anniversaries of 2011:

King James Bible                               400th    
Unification of Italy                              150th
Parliament Act                                   100th
Arrival of skiing in Japan                    100th
End of farthing as legal tender           50th
End of death penalty in Denmark      100th

Ups and downs of 2010

Some things that increased this year, with the new totals in brackets:
Average weekly household spending on…
Fuel and power               8.1% (£57.30)
Groceries                        2.9% (£52.50)
As well as…
Average pay                    2.1% (£25,948)
Business visits to UK       3%
Price of gold                    27% ($1,380/oz)

Some things that decreased this year, with new totals in brackets:

Average weekly household spending on…
Transport                                               8% (£58.40)
Clothing and footwear                           3.2% (£20.90)
As well as…

Visits of the UK to see friends/family     6%
Average house price                              0.7% (£164,700)

Ups and downs of 2011

Some things forecast to rise in 2011:
— Bank of England base rate (from 0.5% to 0.75%, according to a Reuters survey of economists)
— The UK economy (by 2.1%, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility)
— Employment (by 400,000, according to consensus forecasts)
Some things forecast to fall in 2011:
— Average house prices (by 3%, according to Savills)
— Number of cheques written (predicted by Payments Council to halve over the next six years)
— UK milk production (will fall to 12.1 billion litres, according to DairyCo)

Coming soon

Some things due to open in 2011:
— Second Tyne Tunnel, Jarrow to North Shields; A3 Hindhead Bypass, Surrey; Carlisle Western Bypass
— Museum of Liverpool. The prize exhibit will be the bedspread from John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Montreal  ‘bed-in’
— Peppa Pig World theme park, Hampshire 

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