1. Directions : Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Following the end of the Second World War, the United Kingdom enjoyed a long period without a major recession (from 1945 - 1973) and a rapid growth in prosperity in the 1959s and 1960s. According to the OECD, the annual rate of growth (percentage change between 1960 and 1973 averaged 2.9%, although this figure was far behind the rates of other European countries such as France, West Germany and Italy. However, following the 1973 oil crisis and the 1973-1974 stock market crash, the British economy fell into recession and the government of Edward Heath was ousted by the Labour Party under Harold Wilson. Wilson formed a minority government on 4 March 1974 after the general election on 28 February ended in a hung parliament. Wilson subsequently secured a three seat majority in a second election in October that year. The UK recorded weaker growth than many other European nations in the 1970s; even after the early 1970s recession ended, the economy was still blighted by rising unemployment and double-digit inflation. In 1976, the UK was forced to request a loan of $ 2.3 billion from the International Monetary Fund. The then Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey was required to implement public spending cuts and other economic reforms in order to secure the loan. Following the Winter of Discontent, the government of James Callaghan lost a vote of no confidence. This triggered the May 1979 general electron which resulted in Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party forming a new government. A new period of neo-liberal economics began in 1979 with the election of Margaret Thatcher who won the general election on 3 May that year to return the Conservative Party to government after five years of Labour government. During the 1980s most state-owned enterprises were privatised, taxes cut and markets deregulated. GDP fell 5.9 % initially but growth subsequently returned and rose to 5% at its peak in 1988, one of the highest rates of any European nation. The UK economy had been one of the strongest economies in terms of inflation, interest rates and unemployment, all of which remained relatively low until the 2008-09 recession. Unemployment has since reached a peak of just under 2.5 million (7.8 %), the highest level since the early 1990s, although still far lower than some other European nations. However, interest rates have reduced to 0.5 % pa. During August 2008 the IMF warned that the UK economic outlook had worsened due to a twin shock : financial turmoil and rising commodity prices. Both developments harm the UK more than most developed countries, as the UK obtains revenue from exporting financial services while recording deficits in finished goods and commodities, including food. In 2007, the UK had the world's third largest current account deficit, due mainly to a large deficit in manufactured goods. During May 2008, the IMF advised the UK government to broaden the scope of fiscal policy to promote external balance. Although the UK's labour productivity per person employed¡¨ has been progressing well over the last two decades and has overtaken productivity in Germany, it still lags around 20% behind France, where workers have a 35 hour working week. the UK's labour productivity per hour worked is currently on a par with the average for the sold EU (15 countries). In 2010, the United Kingdom ranked 26th on the Human Development Index. The UK entered a recession in Q2 of 2008, according to the Office for National Statics and exited it in Q4 of 2009. The subsequently revised ONS figures show that the UK suffered six consecutive quarters of negative growth, making it the longest recession since records began. As of the end of Q4 2009, revised statistics from the Office for National Statistics demonstrate that the UK economy shrank by 7.2% from peak to trough. The Blue Book 2013 confirms that UK growth in Q2 of 2013 was 0.7 %, and that the volume of output of GDP remains 3.2% below its prerecession peak; The UK economy's recovery has thus been more lackluster than previously thought. Furthermore The Blue Book 2013 demonstrates that the UK experienced a deeper initial downturn than all of the G7 economies save for Japan, and has experienced a slower recovery than all but Italy. A report released by the Office of National Statistics on 14 May 2013 revealed that over the six-year period between 2005 and 2011, the UK dropped from 5th place to 12th place in terms of household income on an international scale ¡X the drop was partially attrib10 uted to the devaluation of sterling over this time frame. However, the report also concluded that, during this period, inflation was relatively less volatile, the UK labour market was more resilient in comparison to other recessions, and household spending and wealth in the UK remained relatively strong in comparison with other OECD countries. According to a report by Moody's Corporation, Britain's debt-to-GDP ratio continues to increase in 2013 and is expected to reach 93% at the end of the year. The UK has lost its triple. A credit rating on the basis of poor economic outlook. 2013 Economic Growth has surprised many Economists, Ministers and the OBR in the 2013 budget projected annual growth of just 0.6 %. In 2013 Q1 the economy grew by 0.4 % Q2 the economy grew by 0.7 % and Q3 the economy is predicted to have grown at 0.8%.A new period of neo-liberal economics began in United Kingdom with the election of Margaret Thatcher after five years of Labour government. Margaret Thatcher came in power in
 






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  • By: anil on 05 May 2019 01.36 am
    The author mentions in the passage that Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979.
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MCQ-> Directions : Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Following the end of the Second World War, the United Kingdom enjoyed a long period without a major recession (from 1945 - 1973) and a rapid growth in prosperity in the 1959s and 1960s. According to the OECD, the annual rate of growth (percentage change between 1960 and 1973 averaged 2.9%, although this figure was far behind the rates of other European countries such as France, West Germany and Italy. However, following the 1973 oil crisis and the 1973-1974 stock market crash, the British economy fell into recession and the government of Edward Heath was ousted by the Labour Party under Harold Wilson. Wilson formed a minority government on 4 March 1974 after the general election on 28 February ended in a hung parliament. Wilson subsequently secured a three seat majority in a second election in October that year. The UK recorded weaker growth than many other European nations in the 1970s; even after the early 1970s recession ended, the economy was still blighted by rising unemployment and double-digit inflation. In 1976, the UK was forced to request a loan of $ 2.3 billion from the International Monetary Fund. The then Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey was required to implement public spending cuts and other economic reforms in order to secure the loan. Following the Winter of Discontent, the government of James Callaghan lost a vote of no confidence. This triggered the May 1979 general electron which resulted in Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party forming a new government. A new period of neo-liberal economics began in 1979 with the election of Margaret Thatcher who won the general election on 3 May that year to return the Conservative Party to government after five years of Labour government. During the 1980s most state-owned enterprises were privatised, taxes cut and markets deregulated. GDP fell 5.9 % initially but growth subsequently returned and rose to 5% at its peak in 1988, one of the highest rates of any European nation. The UK economy had been one of the strongest economies in terms of inflation, interest rates and unemployment, all of which remained relatively low until the 2008-09 recession. Unemployment has since reached a peak of just under 2.5 million (7.8 %), the highest level since the early 1990s, although still far lower than some other European nations. However, interest rates have reduced to 0.5 % pa. During August 2008 the IMF warned that the UK economic outlook had worsened due to a twin shock : financial turmoil and rising commodity prices. Both developments harm the UK more than most developed countries, as the UK obtains revenue from exporting financial services while recording deficits in finished goods and commodities, including food. In 2007, the UK had the world's third largest current account deficit, due mainly to a large deficit in manufactured goods. During May 2008, the IMF advised the UK government to broaden the scope of fiscal policy to promote external balance. Although the UK's labour productivity per person employed¡¨ has been progressing well over the last two decades and has overtaken productivity in Germany, it still lags around 20% behind France, where workers have a 35 hour working week. the UK's labour productivity per hour worked is currently on a par with the average for the sold EU (15 countries). In 2010, the United Kingdom ranked 26th on the Human Development Index. The UK entered a recession in Q2 of 2008, according to the Office for National Statics and exited it in Q4 of 2009. The subsequently revised ONS figures show that the UK suffered six consecutive quarters of negative growth, making it the longest recession since records began. As of the end of Q4 2009, revised statistics from the Office for National Statistics demonstrate that the UK economy shrank by 7.2% from peak to trough. The Blue Book 2013 confirms that UK growth in Q2 of 2013 was 0.7 %, and that the volume of output of GDP remains 3.2% below its prerecession peak; The UK economy's recovery has thus been more lackluster than previously thought. Furthermore The Blue Book 2013 demonstrates that the UK experienced a deeper initial downturn than all of the G7 economies save for Japan, and has experienced a slower recovery than all but Italy. A report released by the Office of National Statistics on 14 May 2013 revealed that over the six-year period between 2005 and 2011, the UK dropped from 5th place to 12th place in terms of household income on an international scale ¡X the drop was partially attrib10 uted to the devaluation of sterling over this time frame. However, the report also concluded that, during this period, inflation was relatively less volatile, the UK labour market was more resilient in comparison to other recessions, and household spending and wealth in the UK remained relatively strong in comparison with other OECD countries. According to a report by Moody's Corporation, Britain's debt-to-GDP ratio continues to increase in 2013 and is expected to reach 93% at the end of the year. The UK has lost its triple. A credit rating on the basis of poor economic outlook. 2013 Economic Growth has surprised many Economists, Ministers and the OBR in the 2013 budget projected annual growth of just 0.6 %. In 2013 Q1 the economy grew by 0.4 % Q2 the economy grew by 0.7 % and Q3 the economy is predicted to have grown at 0.8%.A new period of neo-liberal economics began in United Kingdom with the election of Margaret Thatcher after five years of Labour government. Margaret Thatcher came in power in
 ....
MCQ-> Directions : In the following questions, choose the word/group of words which is MOST OPPOSITE in meaning to the word/group of words printed in BOLD as used in the passage. Following the end of the Second World War, the United Kingdom enjoyed a long period without a major recession (from 1945 - 1973) and a rapid growth in prosperity in the 1959s and 1960s. According to the OECD, the annual rate of growth (percentage change between 1960 and 1973 averaged 2.9%, although this figure was far behind the rates of other European countries such as France, West Germany and Italy. However, following the 1973 oil crisis and the 1973-1974 stock market crash, the British economy fell into recession and the government of Edward Heath was ousted by the Labour Party under Harold Wilson. Wilson formed a minority government on 4 March 1974 after the general election on 28 February ended in a hung parliament. Wilson subsequently secured a three seat majority in a second election in October that year. The UK recorded weaker growth than many other European nations in the 1970s; even after the early 1970s recession ended, the economy was still blighted by rising unemployment and double-digit inflation. In 1976, the UK was forced to request a loan of $ 2.3 billion from the International Monetary Fund. The then Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey was required to implement public spending cuts and other economic reforms in order to secure the loan. Following the Winter of Discontent, the government of James Callaghan lost a vote of no confidence. This triggered the May 1979 general electron which resulted in Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party forming a new government. A new period of neo-liberal economics began in 1979 with the election of Margaret Thatcher who won the general election on 3 May that year to return the Conservative Party to government after five years of Labour government. During the 1980s most state-owned enterprises were privatised, taxes cut and markets deregulated. GDP fell 5.9 % initially but growth subsequently returned and rose to 5% at its peak in 1988, one of the highest rates of any European nation. The UK economy had been one of the strongest economies in terms of inflation, interest rates and unemployment, all of which remained relatively low until the 2008-09 recession. Unemployment has since reached a peak of just under 2.5 million (7.8 %), the highest level since the early 1990s, although still far lower than some other European nations. However, interest rates have reduced to 0.5 % pa. During August 2008 the IMF warned that the UK economic outlook had worsened due to a twin shock : financial turmoil and rising commodity prices. Both developments harm the UK more than most developed countries, as the UK obtains revenue from exporting financial services while recording deficits in finished goods and commodities, including food. In 2007, the UK had the world's third largest current account deficit, due mainly to a large deficit in manufactured goods. During May 2008, the IMF advised the UK government to broaden the scope of fiscal policy to promote external balance. Although the UK's labour productivity per person employed¡¨ has been progressing well over the last two decades and has overtaken productivity in Germany, it still lags around 20% behind France, where workers have a 35 hour working week. the UK's labour productivity per hour worked is currently on a par with the average for the sold EU (15 countries). In 2010, the United Kingdom ranked 26th on the Human Development Index. The UK entered a recession in Q2 of 2008, according to the Office for National Statics and exited it in Q4 of 2009. The subsequently revised ONS figures show that the UK suffered six consecutive quarters of negative growth, making it the longest recession since records began. As of the end of Q4 2009, revised statistics from the Office for National Statistics demonstrate that the UK economy shrank by 7.2% from peak to trough. The Blue Book 2013 confirms that UK growth in Q2 of 2013 was 0.7 %, and that the volume of output of GDP remains 3.2% below its prerecession peak; The UK economy's recovery has thus been more lackluster than previously thought. Furthermore The Blue Book 2013 demonstrates that the UK experienced a deeper initial downturn than all of the G7 economies save for Japan, and has experienced a slower recovery than all but Italy. A report released by the Office of National Statistics on 14 May 2013 revealed that over the six-year period between 2005 and 2011, the UK dropped from 5th place to 12th place in terms of household income on an international scale ¡X the drop was partially attrib10 uted to the devaluation of sterling over this time frame. However, the report also concluded that, during this period, inflation was relatively less Volatile
 
, the UK labour market was more resilient in comparison to other recessions, and household spending and wealth in the UK remained relatively strong in comparison with other OECD countries. According to a report by Moody's Corporation, Britain's debt-to-GDP ratio continues to increase in 2013 and is expected to reach 93% at the end of the year. The UK has lost its triple. A credit rating on the basis of poor economic outlook. 2013 Economic Growth has surprised many Economists, Ministers and the OBR in the 2013 budget projected annual growth of just 0.6 %. In 2013 Q1 the economy grew by 0.4 % Q2 the economy grew by 0.7 % and Q3 the economy is predicted to have grown at 0.8%.Volatile
 ....
MCQ-> Directions : In the following questions, choose the word/group of words which is MOST SIMILAR in meaning to the word / group of words printed in BOLD as used in the passage. Following the end of the Second World War, the United Kingdom enjoyed a long period without a major recession (from 1945 - 1973) and a rapid growth in prosperity in the 1959s and 1960s. According to the OECD, the annual rate of growth (percentage change between 1960 and 1973 averaged 2.9%, although this figure was far behind the rates of other European countries such as France, West Germany and Italy. However, following the 1973 oil crisis and the 1973-1974 stock market crash, the British economy fell into recession and the government of Edward Heath was ousted by the Labour Party under Harold Wilson. Wilson formed a minority government on 4 March 1974 after the general election on 28 February ended in a hung parliament. Wilson subsequently secured a three seat majority in a second election in October that year. The UK recorded weaker growth than many other European nations in the 1970s; even after the early 1970s recession ended, the economy was still blighted by rising unemployment and double-digit inflation. In 1976, the UK was forced to request a loan of $ 2.3 billion from the International Monetary Fund. The then Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey was required to implement public spending cuts and other economic reforms in order to secure the loan. Following the Winter of Discontent, the government of James Callaghan lost a vote of no confidence. This triggered the May 1979 general electron which resulted in Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party forming a new government. A new period of neo-liberal economics began in 1979 with the election of Margaret Thatcher who won the general election on 3 May that year to return the Conservative Party to government after five years of Labour government. During the 1980s most state-owned enterprises were privatised, taxes cut and markets deregulated. GDP fell 5.9 % initially but growth subsequently returned and rose to 5% at its peak in 1988, one of the highest rates of any European nation. The UK economy had been one of the strongest economies in terms of inflation, interest rates and unemployment, all of which remained relatively low until the 2008-09 recession. Unemployment has since reached a peak of just under 2.5 million (7.8 %), the highest level since the early 1990s, although still far lower than some other European nations. However, interest rates have reduced to 0.5 % pa. During August 2008 the IMF warned that the UK economic outlook had worsened due to a twin shock : financial turmoil and rising commodity prices. Both developments harm the UK more than most developed countries, as the UK obtains revenue from exporting financial services while recording deficits in finished goods and commodities, including food. In 2007, the UK had the world's third largest current account deficit, due mainly to a large deficit in manufactured goods. During May 2008, the IMF advised the UK government to Broaden
 
the scope of fiscal policy to promote external balance. Although the UK's labour productivity per person employed¡¨ has been progressing well over the last two decades and has overtaken productivity in Germany, it still lags around 20% behind France, where workers have a 35 hour working week. the UK's labour productivity per hour worked is currently on a par with the average for the sold EU (15 countries). In 2010, the United Kingdom ranked 26th on the Human Development Index. The UK entered a recession in Q2 of 2008, according to the Office for National Statics and exited it in Q4 of 2009. The subsequently revised ONS figures show that the UK suffered six consecutive quarters of negative growth, making it the longest recession since records began. As of the end of Q4 2009, revised statistics from the Office for National Statistics demonstrate that the UK economy shrank by 7.2% from peak to trough. The Blue Book 2013 confirms that UK growth in Q2 of 2013 was 0.7 %, and that the volume of output of GDP remains 3.2% below its prerecession peak; The UK economy's recovery has thus been more lackluster than previously thought. Furthermore The Blue Book 2013 demonstrates that the UK experienced a deeper initial downturn than all of the G7 economies save for Japan, and has experienced a slower recovery than all but Italy. A report released by the Office of National Statistics on 14 May 2013 revealed that over the six-year period between 2005 and 2011, the UK dropped from 5th place to 12th place in terms of household income on an international scale ¡X the drop was partially attrib10 uted to the devaluation of sterling over this time frame. However, the report also concluded that, during this period, inflation was relatively less volatile, the UK labour market was more resilient in comparison to other recessions, and household spending and wealth in the UK remained relatively strong in comparison with other OECD countries. According to a report by Moody's Corporation, Britain's debt-to-GDP ratio continues to increase in 2013 and is expected to reach 93% at the end of the year. The UK has lost its triple. A credit rating on the basis of poor economic outlook. 2013 Economic Growth has surprised many Economists, Ministers and the OBR in the 2013 budget projected annual growth of just 0.6 %. In 2013 Q1 the economy grew by 0.4 % Q2 the economy grew by 0.7 % and Q3 the economy is predicted to have grown at 0.8%.bBroaden
 ....
MCQ-> Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/phrases have been printed in bold tohelp you locate them while answering some of the questions. During the last few years, a lot of hype has been heaped on the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). With their large populations and rapid growth, these countries, so the argument goes, will soon become some of the largest economies in the world and, in the case of China, the largest of all by as early as 2020. But the BRICS, as well as many other emerging-market economieshave recently experienced a sharp economic slowdown. So, is the honeymoon over? Brazil’s GDP grew by only 1% last year, and may not grow by more than 2% this year, with its potential growth barely above 3%. Russia’s economy may grow by barely 2% this year, with potential growth also at around 3%, despite oil prices being around $100 a barrel. India had a couple of years of strong growth recently (11.2% in 2010 and 7.7% in 2011) but slowed to 4% in 2012. China’s economy grew by 10% a year for the last three decades, but slowed to 7.8% last year and risks a hard landing. And South Africa grew by only 2.5% last year and may not grow faster than 2% this year. Many other previously fast-growing emerging-market economies – for example, Turkey, Argentina, Poland, Hungary, and many in Central and Eastern Europe are experiencing a similar slowdown. So, what is ailing the BRICS and other emerging markets? First, most emerging-market economies were overheating in 2010-2011, with growth above potential and inflation rising and exceeding targets. Many of them thus tightened monetary policy in 2011, with consequences for growth in 2012 that have carried over into this year. Second, the idea that emerging-market economies could fully decouple from economic weakness in advanced economies was farfetched : recession in the eurozone, near-recession in the United Kingdom and Japan in 2011-2012, and slow economic growth in the United States were always likely to affect emerging market performance negatively – via trade, financial links, and investor confidence. For example, the ongoing euro zone downturn has hurt Turkey and emergingmarket economies in Central and Eastern Europe, owing to trade links. Third, most BRICS and a few other emerging markets have moved toward a variant of state capitalism. This implies a slowdown in reforms that increase the private sector’s productivity and economic share, together with a greater economic role for state-owned enterprises (and for state-owned banks in the allocation of credit and savings), as well as resource nationalism, trade protectionism, import substitution industrialization policies, and imposition of capital controls. This approach may have worked at earlier stages of development and when the global financial crisis caused private spending to fall; but it is now distorting economic activity and depressing potential growth. Indeed, China’s slowdown reflects an economic model that is, as former Premier Wen Jiabao put it, “unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable,” and that now is adversely affecting growth in emerging Asia and in commodity-exporting emerging markets from Asia to Latin America and Africa. The risk that China will experience a hard landing in the next two years may further hurt many emerging economies. Fourth, the commodity super-cycle that helped Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and many other commodity-exporting emerging markets may be over. Indeed, a boom would be difficult to sustain, given China’s slowdown, higher investment in energysaving technologies, less emphasis on capital-and resource-oriented growth models around the world, and the delayed increase in supply that high prices induced. The fifth, and most recent, factor is the US Federal Reserve’s signals that it might end its policy of quantitative easing earlier than expected, and its hints of an even tual exit from zero interest rates. both of which have caused turbulence in emerging economies’ financial markets. Even before the Fed’s signals, emergingmarket equities and commodities had underperformed this year, owing to China’s slowdown. Since then, emerging-market currencies and fixed-income securities (government and corporate bonds) have taken a hit. The era of cheap or zerointerest money that led to a wall of liquidity chasing high yields and assets equities, bonds, currencies, and commodities – in emerging markets is drawing to a close. Finally, while many emerging-market economies tend to run current-account surpluses, a growing number of them – including Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, and India – are running deficits. And these deficits are now being financed in riskier ways: more debt than equity; more short-term debt than longterm debt; more foreign-currency debt than local-currency debt; and more financing from fickle cross-border interbank flows. These countries share other weaknesses as well: excessive fiscal deficits, abovetarget inflation, and stability risk (reflected not only in the recent political turmoil in Brazil and Turkey, but also in South Africa’s labour strife and India’s political and electoral uncertainties). The need to finance the external deficit and to avoid excessive depreciation (and even higher inflation) calls for raising policy rates or keeping them on hold at high levels. But monetary tightening would weaken already-slow growth. Thus, emerging economies with large twin deficits and other macroeconomic fragilities may experience further downward pressure on their financial markets and growth rates. These factors explain why growth in most BRICS and many other emerging markets has slowed sharply. Some factors are cyclical, but others – state capitalism, the risk of a hard landing in China, the end of the commodity supercycle -are more structural. Thus, many emerging markets’ growth rates in the next decade may be lower than in the last – as may the outsize returns that investors realised from these economies’ financial assets (currencies, equities. bonds, and commodities). Of course, some of the better-managed emerging-market economies will continue to experitnce rapid growth and asset outperformance. But many of the BRICS, along with some other emerging economies, may hit a thick wall, with growth and financial markets taking a serious beating.Which of the following statement(s) is/are true as per the given information in the passage ? A. Brazil’s GDP grew by only 1% last year, and is expected to grow by approximately 2% this year. B. China’s economy grew by 10% a year for the last three decades but slowed to 7.8% last year. C. BRICS is a group of nations — Barzil, Russia, India China and South Africa.....
MCQ-> Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/phrases have been printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions. The past quarter of a century has seen several bursts of selling by the world’s governments, mostly but not always in benign market conditions. Those in the OECD, a rich-country club, divested plenty of stuff in the 20 years before the global financial crisis. The first privatisation wave, which built up from the mid-1980s and peaked in 2000, was largely European. The drive to cut state intervention under Margaret Thatcher in Britain soon spread to the continent. The movement gathered pace after 1991, when eastern Europe put thousands of rusting state-owned enterprises (SOEs) on the block. A second wave came in the mid-2000s, as European economies sought to cash in on buoyant markets. But activity in OECD countries slowed sharply as the financial crisis began. In fact, it reversed. Bailouts of failing banks and companies have contributed to a dramatic increase in government purchases of corporate equity during the past five years. A more lasting fea ture is the expansion of the state capitalism practised by China and other emerging economic powers. Governments have actually bought more equity than they have sold in most years since 2007, though sales far exceeded purchases in 2013. Today privatisation is once again “alive and well”, says William Megginson of the Michael Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma. According to a global tally he recently completed, 2012 was the third-best year ever, and preliminary evidence suggests that 2013 may have been better. However, the geography of sell-offs has changed, with emerging markets now to the fore. China, for instance, has been selling minority stakes in banking, energy, engineering and broadcasting; Brazil is selling airports to help finance a $20 billion investment programme. Eleven of the 20 largest IPOs between 2005 and 2013 were sales of minority stakes by SOEs, mostly in developing countries. By contrast, state-owned assets are now “the forgotten side of the balance-sheet” in many advanced economies, says Dag Detter, managing partner of Whetstone Solutions, an adviser to governments on asset restructuring. They shouldn’t be. Governments of OECD countries still oversee vast piles of assets, from banks and utilities to buildings, land and the riches beneath (see table). Selling some of these holdings could work wonders: reduce debt, finance infrastructure, boost economic efficiency. But governments often barely grasp the value locked up in them. The picture is clearest for companies or company-like entities held by central governments. According to data compiled by the OECD and published on its website, its 34 member countries had 2,111 fully or majority-owned SOEs, with 5.9m employees, at the end of 2012. Their combined value (allowing for some but not all pension-fund liabilities) is estimated at $2.2 trillion, roughly the same size as the global hedge-fund industry. Most are in network industries such as telecoms, electricity and transport. In addition, many countries have large minority stakes in listed firms. Those in which they hold a stake of between 10% and 50% have a combined market value of $890 billion and employ 2.9m people. The data are far from perfect. The quality of reporting varies widely, as do definitions of what counts as a state-owned company: most include only centralgovernment holdings. If all assets held at sub-national level, such as local water companies, were included, the total value could be more than $4 trillion. Reckons Hans Christiansen, an OECD economist. Moreover, his team has had to extrapolate because some QECD members, including America and Japan, provide patchy data. America is apparently so queasy about discussions of public ownership of -commercial assets that the Treasury takes no part in the OECD’s working group on the issue, even though it has vast holdings, from Amtrak and the 520,000-employee Postal Service to power generators and airports. The club’s efforts to calculate the value that SOEs add to, or subtract from, economies were abandoned after several countries, including America, refused to co-operate. Privatisation has begun picking up again recently in the OECD for a variety of reasons. Britain’s Conservative-led coalition is fbcused on (some would say obsessed with) reducing the public debt-to-GDP ratio. Having recently sold the Royal Mail through a public offering, it is hoping to offload other assets, including its stake in URENCO, a uranium enricher, and its student-loan portfolio. From January 8th, under a new Treasury scheme, members of the public and businesses will be allowed to buy government land and buildings on the open market. A website will shortly be set up to help potential buyers see which bits of the government’s /..337 billion-worth of holdings ($527 billion at today’s rate, accounting for 40% of developable sites round Britain) might be surplus. The government, said the chief treasury secretary, Danny Alexander, “should not act as some kind of compulsive hoarder”. Japan has different reasons to revive sell-offs, such as to finance reconstruction after its devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Eyes are once again turning to Japan Post, a giant postal-to-financial-services conglomerate whose oftpostponed partial sale could at last happen in 2015 and raise (Yen) 4 trillion ($40 billion) or more. Australia wants to sell financial, postal and aviation assets to offset the fall in revenues caused by the commodities slowdown. In almost all the countries of Europe, privatisation is likely “to surprise on the upside” as long as markets continue to mend, reckons Mr Megginson. Mr Christiansen expects to see three main areas of activity in coming years. First will be the resumption of partial sell-offs in industries such as telecoms, transport and utilities. Many residual stakes in partly privatised firms could be sold down further. France, for instance, still has hefty stakes in GDF SUEZ, Renault, Thales and Orange. The government of Francois Hollande may be ideologically opposed to privatisation, but it is hoping to reduce industrial stakes to raise funds for livelier sectors, such as broadband and health. The second area of growth should be in eastern Europe, where hundreds of large firms, including manufacturers, remain in state hands. Poland will sell down its stakes in listed firms to make up for an expected reduction in EU structural funds. And the third area is the reprivatisation of financial institutions rescued during the crisis. This process is under way: the largest privatisation in 2012 was the $18 billion offering of America’s residual stake in AIG, an insurance company.Which of the following statements is not true in the context of the given passage ?
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