Asset prices in The Monday Briefing

Christmas quiz


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Our Christmas quiz covers an eclectic mix of topics, many related to economics and business. The answers and a brief explanation of the factors at work are below each question.

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Posted on 06/12/2021

Interest rate rises, slowly does it

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A year, to paraphrase Harold Wilson, is an eternity in economics. This time last year inflation was on its back and Central Banks were fretting about the risk of deflation. Now Central Banks have the opposite problem, with supply shortages and energy prices propelling inflation to uncomfortably high levels. As with so many trends, good and bad, America leads. Last week financial markets were shaken by news that US inflation had risen to 6.2%, the highest level in 30 years.

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Posted on 15/11/2021

From neo-liberalism to neo-statism

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Last week’s UK Budget was one of the most consequential of recent decades. The small state, low tax approach of successive Conservative chancellors has gone into reverse. This is a policy choice, not something forced on the government by the demands of the pandemic. The government has made a decision to opt for a bigger state funded by raising taxes’ share of GDP to the highest levels since the post-war Atlee government.

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Posted on 01/11/2021

Liquidity and change drive M&A

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The return of risk appetite to the boardroom, boosted by vaccine rollouts and strong growth over the summer, has led to a surge in global mergers and acquisitions activity. Around $4tn of deals have been announced since the start of the year, putting 2021 on track to break the previous record set shortly before the financial crisis (strong though these numbers are, the volume of activity, if adjusted for growth in equity values, is below the previous peak).

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Posted on 11/10/2021

Inflation: Please, not back to the 1970s

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In the wake of a blisteringly fast economic recovery have come bottlenecks, supply shortages and inflation. Over the summer the US Federal Reserve’s favoured measure of inflation hit the highest levels in almost 30 years. Unexpected though it is, today’s inflation surge is widely seen as temporary.

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Posted on 20/09/2021

Rising inflation – don’t panic

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The V-shaped recovery from the pandemic has brought with it supply shortages and rising prices. From semiconductors to McDonalds milkshakes, stories of shortages abound.

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Posted on 31/08/2021

Whatever happened to the antiques market


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There may still be a few readers of the Monday Briefing who were early adopters, back in 2008. If so they may recall my enthusiasm for antique furniture as, “a functional, proven asset at a low price”. Prices may have looked low then, but in the ensuing 13 years they have, by and large, fallen still further. In a world where the value of equities, bonds, commodities and houses have soared the value of antique furniture has slumped. This week’s briefing looks at what’s behind this decline.

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Posted on 23/08/2021

The rise and rise of house prices


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Economic shocks tend to hold back house prices. But one of this pandemic’s peculiarities has been how it has supported housing markets. Despite bringing about the sharpest downturn in almost a century, the pandemic has fuelled a housing boom in the developed world.

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Posted on 09/08/2021

Summer quiz


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Our summer quiz offers an eclectic test of knowledge, of pandemic-related developments, many in economics and business. The answers and a brief explanation of the factors at work are at the end of the quiz.

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Posted on 02/08/2021

Summer reading list


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You may not have been able to get to your preferred holiday haunt this year, but we hope that our summer reading list will offer a distraction wherever you spend your summer break. The eight articles are available free online, although some websites restrict the number of articles that can be accessed without charge each month.

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Posted on 26/07/2021