Wednesday, 8 June 2011


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Lakshman Achuthan from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (the world's most reliable forecasting organization) sees an imminent global slowdown

It's been an unusually long time since I posted.  Between travelling, writing and work commitments I've frequently been tempted to 'put my oar in' but, frankly, I don't know that anything I might have said would have added much to the message I've been spouting in these columns for what seems like far, far too long.  

Despite any number of reasons to expect markets and the economy to sputter, a mere six weeks ago I continued to look like a Cassandra, and all in the garden appeared rosy.

That's begun to change.

From job growth to industrial production, from house prices to retail sales, the evidence is now unequivocal: a major global slowdown, if not an outright recession, is fast bearing down upon us.  

Economic data, from the US and China especially, have deteriorated sharply and in their wake I do expect some countries - particularly those who have embraced 'austerity' - to slip into full-blown recession by the end of this year.  

Whether we in the UK escape by the skin of our teeth may lie in the hands of Bank of England Governor Mervyn King.  'Merv the swerve' has the option of firing up the printing presses for a new round of Quantitative Easing, a ruse which would likely cap interest rates and buoy UK stock prices, boosting bank profits & bonuses (and by extension house prices in Knightsbridge and Notting Hill), in a move which could thus postpone the inevitable a little longer - especially if Ben Bernanke follows suit at the Federal Reserve.

I'll be back over the next couple of weeks to spread yet more joy about our long term prospects, update my last post (looking good) and offer some thoughts on what markets and your money should do next.  As I write on the morning of June 8th, stocks are under heavy pressure and, although I anticipate an imminent dead-cat bounce, there's little doubt that this particular moggie is well and truly deceased.