The Great Debate UK
Birthdays are a good time to look back. The first anniversary of the global stock market rally -- the lows were hit on March 9, 2009 -- certainly brings back memories. It's easy to see why the MSCI World Index is 71 percent higher now than then.
Then there was a steep recession, now there is GDP growth. Then it was realistic to worry about such horrors as rapid deflation, serial banking crises and a competitive protectionism. All of those menaces have now receded. And stock market investors can be cheered to see companies sufficiently in control of their short-term destiny for most of them to meet or beat analyst expectations of reported profits.
But this birthday celebration is no better than bittersweet. The stock market rally has spluttered somewhat. While the UK's commodity-heavy FTSE 100 index is hitting new highs, most others have made almost no progress for five months. That stalling reflects both an unexpectedly tepid economic recovery and serious worries about whether there will be much to celebrate on future birthdays of the 2009 stock market trough.
Too many of the wounds of the financial crisis remain unhealed. Central banks are still extraordinarily generous and unemployment rates remains unacceptably high. The world remains too leveraged for its own good. And while the financial system is no longer in crisis, its newfound ebullience is itself a cause for worry.
-David Kuo is director at the Motley Fool. The opinions expressed are his own.-
The day of reckoning is looming ever closer.
Political leaders are jockeying for position with ad-hoc appearances here and a flesh-pressing engagements there to curry favour with voters ahead of the general election. How long will it be before we get our first baby-kissing photo opportunity?
But as yet, none of the main parties has told the electorate exactly how bad things are with the UK economy. Instead, they pussyfoot around difficult economic issues in the hope that if they don’t say anything, then maybe we won’t ask.
-Jane Foley is research director at Forex.com. The opinions expressed are her own.-
The UK may have clawed its way out of technical recession, but over the course of last week data releases highlighted a sharp drop in retail sales and a surge in the claimant count, a spike higher in the inflation rate and record public sector borrowing.
-Mark Bolsom is the Head of the UK Trading Desk at Travelex, the world’s largest non-bank FX payments specialist. The opinions expressed are his own.-
As expected, Gross Domestic Product figures released today confirmed that the UK has finally emerged from recession. According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK economy grew by 0.1 percent during the last 3 months of 2009, bringing to an end 6 consecutive quarters of contraction.
from The Great Debate:
-James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own-
As we say goodbye to a decade so abysmal it never even earned a nickname, it is time to take bets on how the coming 10 years will shape up in economics and financial markets.
Welcome, then, to the Teenies, a word that will describe the decade as well as the small returns in financial markets and the shrinking financial sector it will bring.
- Don Drummond is Chief Economist at TD Bank Financial Group. The opinions expressed are his own. -
The Great Recession is over in North America. But repair will be a slow work in progress and great risks remain. Many of these risks are centred on policy matters. The recession shook our understanding of some policy matters to the core, leaving more questions than answers.
from UK News:
So how was it for you?
Chancellor Alistair Darling threw the dice in his pre-budget report in an attempt to bolster Labour's chances of winning the general election in 2010.
From hitting bankers with a one-off bonus tax to lowering bingo duty, Darling played to the Labour heartlands, while hoping to win back voters who have been telling pollsters that they are done with Gordon Brown.
Alistair Darling is facing the most difficult set of economic circumstances for any chancellor since the 1940s, with the projected substantial fiscal deficits for 2009 – 2010 and 2010 – 2011 likely to be revised upwards from 175 billion pounds to well in excess of 200 billion pounds. He must perform a delicate balancing act to secure the confidence of the global financial markets while protecting any fragile economic recovery and boosting public confidence.
British economist and author John Kay theorizes that Britain is mired in its worst recession on record in part because government support has not been evenly distributed across sectors.
- Glenda Stone is chief executive and founder of Aurora, a recruitment advertising and market intelligence company, and co-chairs the UK Women’s Enterprise Taskforce established by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The opinions expressed are her own.-
A theory once proposed by Estée Lauder Companies chairman, Leonard Lauder, was that in times of economic downfall women purchase more lipstick.