Tuesday, January 31, 2012

BBC News - China export and import demand dips amid global fears

The demand for Chinese exports fell in January as global economic uncertainty continued to hurt consumer confidence.
A worker at a factory in ChinaManufacturing and export sectors are key drivers of growth in China
Latest government data showed China's new export order index fell to 46.9 from 48.6 in the previous month.
The imports index also dropped to 46.9 from 49.3 in December, showing that domestic demand was slowing.
The data comes amid concerns over the impact of a global slowdown on China's economy.
Analysts said that Chinese exporters were being hurt by falling demand in key markets such as the US and Europe due to the ongoing economic problems in those economies.
"The economic situation in Europe continues to remain grim. It seems like the eurozone will not be able to avoid a recession in 2012," Stephen Joske of the Economist Intelligence Unit told the BBC.
"There is no doubt that China's exports will have a tough year ahead."
'Key thing'
China has relied on the success of its manufacturing and export sector to power economic growth in recent years.
But as growth abroad slows, China has been trying to boost demand for its products at home in an effort to rebalance its economy internally.
"The key thing really for the Chinese economy is domestic demand," the Economist Intelligence Unit's Mr Joske said.
However, encouraging domestic demand has brought some challenges along with it.
Consumer prices in China rose sharply in the first half of last year. At the same time, there were fears about the formation of asset bubbles within the country.
As a result, authorities implemented measures to contain consumer price growth and cool down the nation's property market. Analysts said these measures have started to take effect and may slow growth in short term.
"Even though demand is slowing we don't see any major economic crisis building up," Mr Joske added.
"We are likely to get one or two bad quarters, but growth for the whole year should be robust by global standards."
The data showed that China's purchasing managers index rose to 50.5 from 50.3 in December, indicating a slight expansion in the manufacturing activity.

BBC News - Eurozone unemployment hits new record

Unemployment in the eurozone hit a record high at the end of last year, the Eurostat agency has said.
The euro sculpture at the European Central Bank in FrankfurtUnemployment is at the highest rate since the euro was launched in 1999
The jobless rate in the 17 countries that use the single currency was 10.4% in December, unchanged from November's figure which was revised up from 10.3%.
Some 16.5 million people were out of work in the eurozone in December, up 751,000 on the year before.
The highest unemployment rate remains in Spain (22.9%), while the lowest is in Austria (4.1%).
Unemployment has been rising throughout 2011, as the debt crisis in the region has continued. In December 2010, the unemployment rate in the euro area was 10%.
Investment delays
Guillaume Menuet, economist at Citigroup, said he expected the number of people out of work to increase throughout 2012.
"If you think about the direction of employment expectations that you see across various business surveys, the outlook for employment doesn't look particularly enticing, simply because the uncertainty is very high.
"In many cases you find firms continuing to delay investment projects. For those that are still making profits, hiring is being frozen, and for those which are under pressure to hit results or losing money, job losses are becoming the only solution that they have," he said.
In the 27 EU countries, the unemployment rate was 9.9% in December, with 23.8 million people out of work. November's figure was also revised up from 9.8% to 9.9%.
The biggest increases over the past year were seen in Greece, Cyprus and Spain.
The largest falls took place in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Deteriorating situation
The issue of jobs and economic growth was a key area for discussion at this week's summit of EU leaders in Brussels.
On Monday, figures showed that the Spanish economy shrank by 0.3% in the last quarter of 2011. It is now widely expected that Spain will enter recession in the first quarter of this year.
Also on Monday, France cut its growth forecast for this year to 0.5% from 1% "to take into account the deterioration of the economic situation".
At the Brussels summit, 25 of the 27 member states agreed to join a fiscal treaty, aimed at much closer co-ordination of budget policy across the EU to prevent excessive debts accumulating.
The UK and the Czech Republic did not sign up to it. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he had "legal concerns" about the use of EU institutions in enforcing the treaty, while the Czechs cited "constitutional reasons" for their refusal.

Monday, January 30, 2012

BBC News - France cuts 2012 growth forecast

France has cut its growth forecast for this year to 0.5% from 1%, Prime Minister Francois Fillon has announced.
French flag in front of oil rigFrance is the second biggest economy in the eurozone
The revision was made to "take into account the deterioration of the economic situation", he said.
It comes as European leaders meet in Brussels to discuss the eurozone crisis, and are expected to focus on growth and job creation.
On Sunday, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced plans to introduce a tax on financial transactions.
The 0.1% levy, to be introduced in August, is part of a package of measures designed to promote growth, set out by Mr Sarkozy in the run-up to April's presidential election.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund revised down its forecasts for several European countries, including France. It now expects the eurozone's second biggest economy to grow by just 0.2% this year, down from 1.4%.

BBC News - EU summit: UK and Czechs refuse to join fiscal compact

Twenty-five of the EU's 27 member states have agreed to join a fiscal treaty to enforce budget discipline.
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel says EU leaders have taken an "important step forward"

The Czech Republic and the UK refused to sign up. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said his government would act if the treaty threatened UK interests.
He still has "legal concerns" about the use of EU institutions in enforcing the fiscal treaty, he said.
The Czechs cited "constitutional reasons" for their refusal, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy said.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus, a Eurosceptic, may be reluctant to sign the treaty, analysts say.
The goal is much closer co-ordination of budget policy across the EU to prevent excessive debts accumulating.
Germany - the eurozone's biggest lender and most powerful economy - was particularly keen to get a binding treaty adopted to enforce budget rules.
The treaty will empower the European Court of Justice to monitor compliance and impose fines on rule-breakers.
The treaty also spells out the enhanced role of the European Commission in scrutinising national budgets.
The Czech Republic is not yet in the euro, but like the other new EU member states it is committed to joining.
European Union leaders also discussed ways to stimulate economic growth despite the stringent austerity budgets in many countries - and focused on how to reduce unemployment across the eurozone.
UK concerns
The UK and Denmark are the only states with explicit opt-outs from the euro.
Mr Cameron said "it's good that the new treaty is absolutely explicit and clear that it cannot encroach on the competences of the EU".Q&A: EU summit deal on debt crisisQ&A: EU summit deal on debt crisisQ&A: EU summit deal on debt crisis
"They must not take measures that in any way undermine the EU single market," he said, adding: "we'll be watching like a hawk".
He insisted that the treaty would impose "no obligations on the UK".
Mr Cameron used his veto last month to opt out of the treaty, arguing that the UK needed to keep its authority over financial services in the City of London.
The eurozone crisis dominated Monday's summit, with debt-laden Greece still at risk of defaulting.
A general strike in Belgium, paralysing transport, reminded EU leaders of public discontent with austerity as they arrived for the summit.
The talks also concentrated on reducing unemployment, which is averaging 10% across the eurozone, though youth unemployment is often much higher.
There are fears that wide-ranging budget cuts will harm enterprise and training.
The leaders discussed measures to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), many of which complain of excessive administrative costs imposed by Brussels.
In a joint statement on economic growth they noted that cutting budget deficits was "not in itself sufficient".
"We have to modernise our economies and strengthen our competitiveness to secure sustainable growth," the statement said.
The EU will help to fund schemes to get young people into work or training in member states with the highest youth unemployment levels.
They pledged to speed up measures to develop the EU single market, including:
  • agreement on a common EU patent system by July;
  • better targeting of EU funds towards SMEs;
  • national legislation to create a functioning single market in services and energy.
The European Commission says 82bn euros (£69bn; $107bn) of EU money is available for countries to spend on projects to boost jobs and growth.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

BBC News - Iran says it may halt oil sales to 'some countries'

The dispute between Iran and the Western economies has escalated after Tehran warned it will stop oil sales to "some countries."
Iranian oil refineryOil exports are one of the biggest sources of revenue for Iran
Rostam Qasemi, Iran's oil minister, said the curbs will be implemented soon but did not mention specific countries.
The warning comes just days after the European Union (EU) agreed to stop importing Iranian oil from 1 July.
The US and EU have been trying to target Iran's oil exports as part of sanctions against it.
"Soon we will cut exporting oil to some countries," Mr Qasemi was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.
'Arm twisting'
The EU agreed to stop importing all oil from Iran on 23 January. However, the embargo is scheduled to come into place only on 1 July, so that member states have enough time to find alternate sources of supply.
Analysts said that if Iran stopped selling oil to some EU nations on a short notice, it may create problems for the affected countries.
They said that Tehran was using this tactic in a bid to ease pressure on itself.
"I think this is a case of arm twisting. They are trying to turn around the conditions for negotiations," said Ker Chung Yang of Phillip Futures.
Mr Ker noted that despite all the rhetoric, the threat was unlikely to have any significant impact.
"I don't think this is going to work as they have a history of not following up on any extreme measures that they warn against."
'Its own market'
Oil exports are one of the biggest sources of income for Iran. The US and EU have been trying to curb those in a bid to force Iran to agree to stop its nuclear programme.
The EU currently buys about 20% of Iran's oil exports. However, Iran's oil minister said that a cut in exports to the region will not hurt Tehran.
"Iranian oil has its own market, even if we cut our exports to Europe," Mr Qasemi said.
The biggest market for Iran's exports is Asia, with China, India, Japan and South Korea currently the biggest buyers of oil. The US has been trying to convince these nations to side with it, but so far Japan is the only country that has openly voiced its support.
Meanwhile, India has made it clear that it is not looking to reduce its supplies just yet.
"It is not possible for India to take any decision to reduce the imports from Iran drastically, because among the countries which can provide the requirement of the emerging economies, Iran is an important country amongst them," India's Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters during a visit to the United States.
China, the biggest buyer of Iranian oil, is also unlikely to cut supplies, given the country's growing demand for energy.
Graphic image showing Iran's top oil export destinations

BBC News - Euro crisis hangs over latest EU summit

The eurozone crisis will dominate an EU summit on Monday, with an emphasis on growth and "smart" budget discipline.
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) and Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt in Brussels, 9 Dec 11Chancellor Merkel (left) wants the EU to nail down a binding eurozone budget pact
The EU has more than 23 million unemployed people and there are fears that wide-ranging budget cuts will harm enterprise and training.
Cuts need to be "smart" - well-targeted - to allow room for future growth, the European Commission says.
Most member states - and not the UK - are expected to sign up to a new budget treaty, or "fiscal compact".
The goal is much closer co-ordination of budget policy in the 17-nation eurozone.
Diplomatic wrangling continues over the influence of non-eurozone countries in the new institutional set-up.
The UK opted out, in a blaze of publicity last month, but did secure observer status in the discussions.
Poland is insisting that it and other countries preparing to join the euro should be fully involved in the eurozone negotiations.
Currently the draft treaty says signatories will hold summits at least twice a year. The attendance of non-euro countries is left to the discretion of the summit president, with the words "will invite when appropriate and at least once a year".
The Czech Republic may delay joining the treaty because of a split in its ruling coalition and the Republic of Ireland may decide it has to put it to a referendum.
While France may be content with a eurozone-only membership, Germany is keen to include countries like Denmark, Poland and Sweden, not yet in the euro.
Firewall bid
Greece remains a big question mark hanging over this summit. Complex negotiations with private creditors have not yet produced a deal to prevent Greece defaulting.
The European Commission says it is confident a deal will be reached within days. But Greece could run out of money as early as mid-February.
Private investors are being asked to take a 50% "haircut" (loss) on their Greek bonds in a complex bond swap, with the aim of cutting Greece's debt to 120% of gross domestic product by 2020.
A deal is crucial for the EU and International Monetary Fund to grant a long-awaited 130bn-euro (£109bn; $172bn) second bailout for Greece.
The atmosphere remained tense at the weekend with a row over a leaked German proposal to put an EU budget commissioner with veto powers in charge of Greek taxes and spending.
Greece rejected the proposal outright, but its EU partners remain alarmed by its failure to meet tough fiscal targets.
The EU is trying to put in place a bigger, more resistant "firewall" to prevent contagion spreading from Greece.
The eurozone plans to launch a 500bn-euro permanent bailout fund - the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) - in July, a year earlier than first planned. It is expected to get the final go-ahead at the summit. The UK will not contribute to it.
The existing temporary fund - the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) - is reckoned to be worth about 300bn euros and it ends next year. Some experts say it should be combined with the ESM, rather than running in parallel.
Italy alone needs to refinance more than 300bn euros of debt this year and there are many voices urging the European Central Bank to boost the firewall to at least 1tn euros.
Recession clouds make it a gloomy start to this year's EU summits. But the European Commission says 82bn euros of EU money is available for countries to spend on projects to boost jobs and growth.
EU leaders will exchange views on how best to tackle youth unemployment and support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), many of which complain of excessive administrative costs imposed by Brussels.
The euro sculpture at the European Central Bank in FrankfurtThe summit is expected to approve the European Stability Mechanism

Thursday, January 26, 2012

BBC News - Davos 2012: Working to prevent a 'lost generation'

Preventing a "lost generation" of workers unable to get jobs is one of the world economy's biggest problems, according to delegates at the World Economic Forum.
Seeking work in New York at a job fairWorkers in New York look for a job - a situation replicated all over the world
One university professor said the US, the world's largest economy, is experiencing an "unemployment crisis".
Countries in the West are experiencing high levels of youth unemployment.
"People will accept austerity if we also talk about growth," Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said.
The region is struggling with a sovereign debt crisis, which has badly affected economic growth as governments have implemented tough spending cuts.
Data this month showed unemployment in the eurozone was at a record high in November, at 10.3%. There were 16.3 million people in the bloc out of work.
Spain, for example, has the highest unemployment rate in Europe, at 22.9%.
"It is also very important that we remember people are willing to make sacrifices, but not be sacrificed," Mrs Thorning-Schmidt said during a session on rebuilding Europe.
The WEF's annual gathering is being held in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
More than 2,600 delegates - including world leaders, economists and business chiefs - are attending the conference.
'Not debt crisis'
In another session at Davos, Professor Peter Diamond, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, painted a stark picture. The US unemployment rate is now under 9%.
"The US is having an unemployment crisis and a debt problem, and the problem with Washington is that they are acting as if we have a debt crisis and an unemployment problem.
"And that is unfortunate," he added.
In the UK, data this month showed the number of young people looking for work at a new record of 1.043 million, taking the unemployment rate for 16-24 year-olds to 22.3%.
Another panellist, the International Labour Organization's Juan Somavia, said: "There is no understanding of the problems that young people have beyond finding jobs."
Mexican example
Meanwhile, in another session, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, whose country is currently president of the G20 richest nations, talked about the importance of strong international institutions to tackle economic crises.
For Mexico, the support of the US Treasury under President Bill Clinton was crucial during the economic crisis his country suffered in the late Nineties.
"It is necessary to import credibility," he told the audience at Davos. "That is where the G20 comes in."
Pointing to the situation currently facing Spain and Italy - which have faced very high borrowing rates in recent months - Mr Calderon said: "It is necessary to create a firewall to prevent the spread of panic to countries that are solvent but lack liquidity."
"The firewall, more than a source of money, is a source of confidence. The more confidence you create the less money you need. The opposite is also true."
He said it was imperitive to strengthen international institutions, whether that be the G20 or, in Europe's case, financial rescue facilities such as its rescue fund.
Speaking of the so-called "lost decade" in the 1980s, when Latin America underwent a painful debt crisis, Mr Calderon said his country had learnt that any economic adjustment programme to bring down the debt must also be accompanied by social programmes.
He said that during the middle of the crisis, Mexico had increased help to poor people through its Opportunidades policy, which concentrated on health, education and nutrition, to try to combat poverty.
Stronger international institutions would also be crucial in efforts to restart economic growth.
The G20, for example, needed to ensure financial markets are regulated to prevent a new economic crisis, he added.

BBC News - Davos 2012: Africa leaders urge co-operation

Some of Africa's leaders have urged closer co-operation within the continent on energy and infrastructure projects to help its growth prospects.
Guinea President Alpha CondeGuinea's president said Africa's leaders needed to change the perception of their continent
Speaking at Davos, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma urged massive investment in infrastructure to promote trade within Africa.
Guinea's President Alpha Conde said there should be pan-African ministers for energy, infrastructure and trade.
He said he hoped the new ministries could be agreed by the African Union.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi agreed on the need for closer co-operation on infrastructure projects and said the planning and coordination body of the African Union, Nepad, was already working on this.
But he urged caution, warning it would and should be a long process.
"It took 50 years for the Europeans to come up with a single currency and it appears they went too fast for some of its members," Mr Zenawi said.
The leaders were taking part in a session called Africa: From Transition to Transformation, at the annual gathering of economic, business and political leaders at the ski resort of Davos in Switzerland.
Mr Zuma said infrastructure was at the heart of one of the key issues for the continent, namely how Africa leads itself.
"Africans must trade amongst themselves," he said.
"Intra-Africa trade is negligible," Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga pointed out. "Europe trades more with itself that with the rest of the world."
The chair of the session, the former UK prime minister Gordon Brown, said the continent needed billions of dollars of investment in infrastructure, but red tape and cross-border problems were getting in the way.
Mr Zuma said those issues, or bottlenecks, were being addressed.
"How we open up borders for the free flow of people, or workers, as well as goods - that is being discussed as well as infrastructure," he said.
'New Africa'
Speaking at his first visit to the World Economic Forum, Guinea's Mr Conde, who described himself as the country's first democratic president after ten years of dictatorship, said: "If we want to move ahead we have to help ourselves. If we do that we can agree on producing our own energy, breaking down barriers to trade.
"The African leaders have to change our attitudes... not have money in banks abroad... to develop our own resources for our own people."
"We have alot of faults, we are a bit selfish, fight for power rather than our people.
"I am here to show there is a new Africa... that we can be the continent of the 21st century."
For some of the leaders, the Indian economy, which developed rapidly thanks to developing its manufacturing sector, was a model African countries could follow.
"We are where India was in the early Nineties, we have the same size of population," said Ethiopia's Mr Zenawi. "That is our ambition, based on the growth of the past few years. It is not an idle ambition."
He said although the Millennium Development Goals - on relieving poverty and disease in the world's poorest nations - concentrated on advances in primary education, that would not be enough to create the skills necessary to transform economies.
"Africa is a natural destination for manufacturing," he said, adding that he hoped companies who relocated to Asia for cheap, efficient labour, would relocate to Africa, given the necessary investment in education and infrastructure.
However tackling the problem of corruption was still a "major issue", said Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.
"The first thing to fight against corruption is transparency," he said, adding that his country was now publishing all mining contracts as part of a new mining code.
"The best guarantee for an investor is transparency."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

BBC News - Fed not to raise US interest rates until late 2014

The Federal Reserve has said it does not now expect to raise interest rates in the US until late 2014.

Euro v US Dollar

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The surprise move sent the dollar sharply lower in markets, and caused US government borrowing costs to fall.
In its regular policy statement, the central bank said it saw "significant downside risks" to the economy, and said inflation had fallen back to a level in line with its mandate.
Rates remain in a target range of zero to 0.25%.
However, some members of the Fed's policy-setting committee, which has just finished a regular two-day meeting, think rates should rise more quickly.
Along with its usual economic forecasts, the Fed decided to publishthe interest rate forecasts of individual committee members for the first time.
It revealed that three of the committee's 17 members think rates should rise by the end of this year already, and six members foresee this by the end of 2013.
By the end of 2014, six members expect rates to still be at their historic low, while one member expects them to have risen to 2.75%.
Inflation target
The Fed did not announce any new quantitative easing measures - pumping newly created money into the financial system by buying up US government debt and other assets.
However, it repeated a concern expressed in previous statements that the US economy faced "significant downside risks" and that it "expects to maintain a highly accommodative stance for monetary policy".
The Fed cut its growth forecast for the current year slightly, to a range of 2.2-2.7%, from 2.5-2.9% previously.
However, it forecast unemployment would fall to 8.2% - an improvement on its previous 8.5% forecast.
Unlike in previous statements, the Fed also no longer said it was monitoring inflation closely, reinforcing the impression that price rises were no longer a major concern.
The Fed also formalised its inflation target at 2% - similar to the Bank of England's. Previously the central bank did not set itself a formal target, but pointed to a range of 1.7% to 2% as an informal target.
Core inflation - a measure of long-term inflation trends - has fallen back towards 2% in recent months. Consumer prices inflation hit a high of 3.9% last September.
However, the Fed's new inflation target is based on the broader personal consumption expenditure (PCE) index.
Dollar falls
The interest rate announcement caught markets by surprise. They had been expecting rates to start rising from mid-2014, instead of the late 2014 forecast by the Fed.
The dollar fell, as the lower expected interest rates made the currency a slightly less attractive place to keep cash.
The euro rose one-and a-quarter cents to $1.31 following the release of the statement, which came at the end of a regular two-day meeting of the Fed's policy-setting committee. The pound rose just under a cent to $1.564.
Meanwhile, the US government's implied cost of borrowing in markets for 10 years fell from 2.06% to 1.94%, as traders priced in the lower medium-term interest rate expectations.
Shares also rallied on the news, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had been down for the day, rallying about 0.8% following the announcement.
The Fed first began stating its expectations about how long it expected interest rates to remain at their historic low back in August last year, as a way of lowering longer-term interest rates and thereby stimulating the economy.
Until now, it had been promising to hold rates down until mid-2013.

BBC News - 'Cloaking' a 3-D object from all angles demonstrated

Researchers have "cloaked" a three-dimensional object, making it invisible from all angles, for the first time.
Diagrams showing 'cloaking' effect (Courtesy A Alu)Microwaves can be seen being blocked and scattered without (l), and "reconstructed" (r) with the cloak
However, the demonstration works only for waves in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum.
It uses a shell of what are known as plasmonic materials; they present a "photo negative" of the object being cloaked, effectively cancelling it out.
The idea, outlined in New Journal of Physics, could find first application in high-resolution microscopes.
Most of the high-profile invisibility cloaking efforts have focused on the engineering of "metamaterials" - modifying materials to have properties that cannot be found in nature.
The modifications allow metamaterials to guide and channel light in unusual ways - specifically, to make the light rays arrive as if they had not passed over or been reflected by a cloaked object.
Previous efforts that have made 3-D objects disappear have relied upon a "carpet cloak" idea, in which the object to be cloaked is overlaid with a "carpet" of metamaterial that bends light so as to make the object invisible.
Now, Andrea Alu and colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin have pulled off the trick in "free space", making an 18cm-long cylinder invisible to incoming microwave light.
Negative effects
Light of all types can be described in terms of electric and magnetic fields, and what gives an object its appearance is the way its constituent atoms absorb, transmit or reflect those fields.
Prior metamaterial approaches sidestep these effects simply by channelling light around an object, using carefully designed structures that bounce light in prescribed way, like a pinball machine.
By contrast, plasmonic materials can be designed to have effects on the fields that are precisely opposed to those of the object.
"What we do is different; we realise a shell that scatters [light] by itself, but the interesting point is that if you combine the shell with the object inside, the two counter out and the object becomes completely invisible," Prof Alu told BBC News.
The plasmonic material shell is, in essence, a photo-negative of the object being cloaked.
As a result, the cloak has to be tailored to work for a given object. If one were to swap different objects within the same cloak, they would not be as effectively hidden.
But the success with the cylinder suggests further work with different wavelengths of light is worth pursuing: "It's a real object standing in our lab, and it basically disappears," Prof Alu said.
However, the idea is unlikely to work at the visible light part of the spectrum.
Prof Alu explained that the approach could be applied to the tips of scanning microscopes - the most high-resolution microscopes science has - to yield an improved view of even smaller wavelengths of light.
Ortwin Hess, professor of metamaterials at Imperial College London, said the work was a "very nice verification that this approach works".
"There are some limits on where these things can be applied, but nevertheless it's really, really interesting and fundamental indeed," he told BBC News.
Prof Hess explained that for future applications, plasmonic materials could be combined with the structured metamaterials idea already in development elsewhere. Light can be channelled where it needs to go, or its effects undone, as need be.
Cloaking in visible light, hiding more complex shapes and materials - that is, a cloak of Harry Potter qualities - remains distant, but Prof Alu pointed out that the steps in the meantime will be put to use.
"There is still a lot of work to do," he said. "Our goal was just to show this plasmonic technique can reduce scattering from an object in free space.
"But if I had to bet in five years what kind of cloaking technique might be used for applications, for practical purposes, then I would say plasmonic cloaking is a good bet."
Pentacene molecule STM image (IBM)The approach could sharpen up images of the tiniest objects we can hope to see directly