The Monday Briefing

Car wars


Last week, the Biden administration announced that the US would impose 100% tariffs on imports of Chinese electric vehicles (EVs). In terms of trade policy, a 100% tariff is shock and awe stuff. It is a landmark decision in the competition to dominate the global EV market.

At first glance, this looks like an empty gesture. Vanishingly few Chinese EVs are sold in the US because the vehicles are already subject to 25% duties. The US market is dominated by home-grown producers like Tesla and imports from South Korea, Germany, Japan and Mexico. But this is about the future, not the present shape, of the US car market.

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Posted on 20/05/2024

The UK exits recession

Shorter  milder UK recession in prospect

The UK economy returned to growth in the first three months of the year, having slipped into a technical recession in the second half of 2023. GDP growth of 0.6% on the previous quarter represents the strongest expansion for two years, and the joint fastest in the G7 alongside Canada.

While we shouldn’t place too much weight on one data release – GDP numbers are choppy and often heavily revised – first quarter growth was remarkably strong and the rebound was broad-based. This looks like a plausible recovery.

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Posted on 14/05/2024

The debt mountain


Western growth rates have slowed appreciably since the turn of the century. Given the scale of the shocks the West has endured, it is perhaps surprising that there has been any growth at all. First came the financial crisis of 2009-10, then the pandemic and then, in 2022, the energy crisis that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Posted on 07/05/2024

The real estate work out


Join me this Wednesday, 1 May, at 13:00 BST for our spring economics webinar assessing the state of the UK and global economies. To register please visit:

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Posted on 29/04/2024

Understanding geopolitical risk


It might seem strange that last Friday’s Israeli missile strike against Iran was greeted with relief in the West, but the attack was at the low end of the range of possible responses. In a world of elevated geopolitical risk the limited nature of the Israeli strike was, in the jargon, ‘de-escalatory’.

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Posted on 22/04/2024

Climate setbacks, climate progress


In 2015 the Paris Agreement set a goal to limit the increase in global temperatures to well below 2°C, ideally 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels. In January, for the first time, the average global temperature breached this 1.5°C benchmark over a 12-month period. The Paris accord is based on average temperatures over a much longer period, so the January record does not break the target. Nevertheless, it is a stark warning of the challenges ahead in seeking to meet it.

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Posted on 15/04/2024

Turning the corner

The second energy transition

Optimism among the Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) of the UK’s largest businesses is on a rising trend. The latest Deloitte CFO survey, conducted between 12–25 March, shows sentiment among the CFOs of large UK businesses rising for the third consecutive quarter. Sentiment is well above the average since the survey started 16 years ago and at levels that preceded periods of good growth in 2010, 2014 and 2021.

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Posted on 08/04/2024

Deloitte Monday Briefing (on a Tuesday): Spring in the economy


The last couple of years have been hard for the UK economy. Growth has ground to a halt and consumer spending power has come under heavy pressure. The economy dipped into recession in the second half of last year. The general narrative about the UK remains downbeat, with a focus on weak growth and poor productivity. We think this underplays some of the more recent developments.

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Posted on 02/04/2024

Lost: 700,000 workers

A recession radar

Alone among rich countries, the UK has seen an exodus of people from the labour market, since the pandemic. In the last four years the proportion of the population of working age who are not working has risen by 1.4 percentage points to 21.9%. Roughly 700,000 people have been lost to the UK job market.

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Posted on 25/03/2024

Asset returns, a ten-year view


Earlier this year a reader suggested we look at how assets have performed over the last decade. We have taken the idea up and examined the gains and losses an investor would have made on a range of assets.

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Posted on 18/03/2024

Growth optimism, fiscal hangover

Getting back to low inflation

Britain’s recession is over, inflation is beaten and interest rates are heading down. That, in a nutshell, was the upbeat message from last week’s UK Budget. But delve into the Budget numbers and a more daunting picture emerges.

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Posted on 11/03/2024