MacroScope is pleased to post the following from guest blogger James Carrick. Carrick is economist at UK fund firm Legal & General Investment Management. He says here old patterns of lending are unlikely to return and that this means slow growth in developed countries.
“Despite £175 billion of quantitative easing, bank lending in the UK remains weak, threatening to restrain the economic recovery and equity market rally.
Policy makers in the developed world have been working overtime to encourage banks to lend at the ‘normal’ levels experienced during the past decade. However, these “normal” levels are no longer realistic. The factors which contributed to the secular rise in debt over the past decade are now reversing. Populations are ageing, interest rates can’t go any lower and sub-prime lending is over.
As a result, higher levels of savings (where consumers pay down debt) and lower spending will weigh on the pace of the recovery.
This is not to predict a double-dip recession. Instead we are probably in store for a more subdued period of growth next year as households can no longer borrow money they don’t have, and unemployment remains high.