Sheetal Patel, Former Economist with Morgan Stanley, New York, United States
The Financial Sector
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The financial crisis triggered a global slump in commodity prices. One commodity that bucked that trend was cocoa. In June 2008, the price of this key ingredient of chocolate reached a record high. However prices failed to trickle down to the small-scale producers of cocoa.
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Francette Picard, unemployed, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and
Claude Bruno, dishwasher, New Jersey, United States
The economic crisis has seen rising numbers of unemployed among migrant workers. Many have been forced to reduce the amount of money they normally send back home. This has a knock-on effect on relatives, often thousands of miles away, who survive on those remittances. Global remittance flows are expected to fall by 7–10 percent this year, according to the World Bank.
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The financial services sector was at the center of the global economic crisis. More than 325,000 people lost their jobs in the year and half following August 2007, according to the International Labour Organization.
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The financial crisis has hit export-dependent countries through the collapse in global trade. The International Monetary Fund projects a decline in world trade of as much as 12 percent in 2009. The slump in demand in one corner of the world translates into job losses or fewer working hours in another.
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With the global economy in recession, the auto sector was thrown into turmoil. Amid falling demand, Japanese car manufacturers—some of the largest in the world—quickly reduced output and looked for new ways to save on costs.
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Fueled by cheap and easy credit, in the last two decades, house prices in Spain nearly tripled. Following the economic crisis, Spanish banks put the brakes on access to this credit and risk spreads widened. In the last two years, house prices have plunged, with sales falling over 50 percent.
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