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The latest Deloitte survey of UK Chief Financial Officers highlights the opportunities and risks facing British business in 2017. To read the report in full visit:
CFOs have become markedly more positive on the outlook for their businesses. Optimism among the UK’s largest businesses rebounded to the highest level in 18 months in the fourth quarter.
For the last Monday Briefing of 2016 we have pulled together our favourite funny news stories from the Briefing through the year. As ever credit goes to my colleague, Alex Cole, who tracks down each week’s news stories and is the indefatigable inventor of the play on words that concludes each week’s Briefing. The Monday Briefing will return in the New Year. In the meantime the Economics Team – Ian, Alex, Debo, Jemma and Anthea – send our very best wishes to you for Christmas and the New Year.
With Christmas approaching here is our seasonal offering of six thought-provoking articles to occupy the quiet time during the holidays. All are available free and on-line.
The continuing problems faced by Italian banks, some of the oldest in the world, is a reminder of Italy’s long banking history. This History Today article describes how the Italian Medici family built their banking empire in the fifteenth century; “not merely the most profitable organisation in Europe, but the richest commercial house there has been anywhere.”
Our Christmas Quiz offers an eclectic test of knowledge of economics and business. The answers, and a brief explanation of the factors at work, are at the end of this note.
- Which of the following countries is likely to show the fastest growth of the seven major industrialised nations this year?
Increasing specialisation in production has been a major driver of human welfare in modern times.
The late eighteenth century pioneer of modern economics, Adam Smith, called it the division of labour. Smith argued that splitting production into a series of tasks, each performed by a specialist, whether a worker or a company, would raise productivity and growth.
Before the US election many commentators thought a victory for Donald Trump would be a Brexit-like moment, fuelling uncertainty and hitting equities, business confidence and growth.
So far those predictions have proved wide of the mark. The S&P500 equity index has risen 2.0% since 8th November and the dollar is up 3.4%.
Donald Trump’s policies are as unconventional as his campaign rhetoric. On the face of it Mr Trump may be about to upend the Washington consensus on immigration, government debt, free trade and America’s role in the world. Going through Mr Trump’s policies over the last couple of weeks has left me amazed at the scale of his ambitions.
So far the effects of Brexit on UK growth have been muted. Most activity data published since the referendum have come in on the high side of expectations. The pace of growth slowed a bit in wake of the referendum, but not much, and less than most had feared.
Advances in science and technology are widely seen as holding the secret to the economic success of nations. Breakthroughs in natural sciences and inventions such as the steam engine, electricity and the internet have transformed human welfare. From Archimedes to Berners-Lee, society celebrates great inventors and scientists.