Deficits, debt in The Monday Briefing

Is there a borrowing bubble?

Graph-in-grass

A boom in low quality mortgage lending in America triggered the Global Financial Crisis. It was a crisis of indebtedness which, courtesy of low interest rates, quantitative easing, government spending and bank bailouts, was resolved by the accumulation of even more debt.

Continue reading

Posted on 28/01/2019

Who made money in 2018?

Graph

Last year was a tough one for investors, with global equity markets falling 10% overall. For UK investors most major asset classes – equities, bonds and residential property – either fell in value or saw only small gains.

Continue reading

Posted on 07/01/2019

Recessions always start out as downturns

Deloitte-uk-global-economy-recession

Slowing growth in Europe and emerging markets and October’s equity sell off have got economists pondering when the next recession might strike.

Continue reading

Posted on 12/11/2018

Downs and ups in equity investing

Funds

It ended on a high note last week, but overall October was a rotten month for equities. The world equity market has just had its worst month since 2012, with the benchmark MSCI world index down 7% in October. This fall has more than reversed earlier gains, leaving the global index down 3% so far this year.

Continue reading

Posted on 05/11/2018

Austerity may be dead, but what about government debt?

Pound

The financial crisis, recession and a slow recovery played havoc with the UK’s public finances, leaving the government with the largest ever peacetime budget deficit.

Continue reading

Posted on 22/10/2018

What happened over the summer?

What_happened_summer_2018

 

The summer months tend to be pretty thin for media coverage of economics and finance. Like the rest of us, journalists take their holidays in July and August. Yet economics is no respecter of holidays and events and data have continued to pile up.

Continue reading

Posted on 03/09/2018

Turkish lessons

Turkey_crisis

Emerging market economies have been the main losers from US protectionism and higher US interest rates.

 

Capital has flooded out of emerging economies to the US to benefit from rising interest rates. This has meant less liquidity and has sent some emerging economy currencies through the floor. Emerging market governments or businesses which borrowed in dollars, and many have, are having to cope with rising financing costs and a heavier local currency debt burden.

Continue reading

Posted on 28/08/2018

Italian lessons

Colosseum_Rome_Italy
A week ago, we seemed to be on the verge of a second euro crisis with a populist mood threatening to sweep Italy out of the single currency. By the end of the week a coalition government was in place, the markets had cheered up and the newspapers were worrying about other things.

Continue reading

Posted on 04/06/2018

300 years of public spending

Public spending
The changing size of the state tells the story of modern nations and the ideas that shape them.

Until the late nineteenth century the civilian state scarcely existed. In 1692, when comprehensive records for what was to become the UK started, civil spending by government came to a modern equivalent of around £90 million. A country that was about to acquire a vast empire was governed with a budget equivalent to that of today’s Food Standards Agency.

Continue reading

Posted on 29/05/2018

Rising wealth, sluggish wages

The City_London
In the last decade Britain and the US have experienced an unusual combination of soaring asset prices and sluggish wage growth.

Between 2006 and 2016, the total value of assets held by UK households rose by 59% while average incomes increased by just 24%.

Continue reading

Posted on 21/05/2018