Special topics in The Monday Briefing

The fourth energy transition – the lessons and limits of history

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The world is moving into its fourth great energy transition, from fossil fuels to renewables. Previous transitions have marked new epochs. Fire gave hominids energy-rich food, with profound consequences for human evolution. Agriculture and animal power paved the way for settled societies and great cities. The industrial age, powered by fossil fuels, transformed the human condition – and created unimagined environmental damage.

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Posted on 01/06/2021

The coming infrastructure boom… and why it might not happen

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The saying “Never make predictions, especially about the future” is attributed to individuals as varied as the physicist Niels Bohr and the baseball player Yogi Berra.

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Posted on 24/05/2021

Watch out for ‘moreflation’

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Sentiment in financial markets changes quickly. The big worry for most of the last year has been about collapsing growth and falling prices. Now markets are fretting about inflation. Such fears were behind the sharp sell-off in US equities in the early part of last week.

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Posted on 17/05/2021

It’s time to value the environment

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Through the vast majority of human existence homo sapiens held little power over nature. Efforts by our ancestors to ’tame’ nature were modest and had little lasting effect. In perhaps 200,000 years of human existence it has been only in the last 250 or so years, since the industrial revolution, that human activity has impinged on nature. Industrialisation, economic activity and a rising population have taken a toll.

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Posted on 10/05/2021

Cars: bust, boom, upheaval

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In late 2019 we wrote a Briefing arguing that the car industry is a bellwether of the global economy and of globalisation. A few months later the sector faced the most destructive downturn since the financial crisis.

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Posted on 04/05/2021

China, the too-much investment economy

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The emergence of a novel respiratory disease in late 2019 in Hubei province marked the start of what was to become a global pandemic. While the first recorded cases were in China, China has suffered a remarkably low death rate and has avoided the deep recessions that have befallen the rest of the world.

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Posted on 26/04/2021

Global outlook brightens, but…

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The world is emerging from a deep recession, and the recovery is coming faster than expected. With more than 800m vaccines administered globally, activity holding up despite lockdowns and additional fiscal stimulus coming, economists have been upgrading their GDP forecasts.

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Posted on 19/04/2021

CFO optimism reaches record levels

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Our latest UK Chief Financial Officers Survey, released overnight, shines light on the plans of Britain’s largest corporates as the economy reopens. The full report is available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/finance/articles/deloitte-cfo-survey.html 

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Posted on 12/04/2021

Vaccinations and future waves – are we out of the woods?

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In the UK things are looking up on the health and economic fronts. COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths have fallen sharply from their January peaks. For two consecutive weeks, the number of deaths from all causes in England and Wales has been below the five-year average. On 28 March zero COVID-19 deaths were reported in London.

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Posted on 06/04/2021

How fiscal policy can save the planet

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Join Deloitte CEO Richard Houston and me as we examine economic and business prospects beyond the pandemic in our Spring webinar tomorrow, Tuesday, 30 March, 14:30–15:30 BST. To register please visit:
https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1440317&tp_key=533939db50  

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Posted on 29/03/2021