End of the silly season?

The economy is bracing itself for another dip

Summer is supposed to be silly season for the media. With everyone away and nothing going on, our pages are supposed to be filled with stories about cats stuck up trees, protracted transfers of sports stars and the lack of sunshine.

But the summer of 2011 has been rather more memorable. While many of us were lying on the beach, the world economy was groaning and the streets of English cities were set ablaze.

The twin blights of a US credit downgrade and a seemingly intractable crisis in the Eurozone saw stockmarket falls that have doubled some pension deficits. The prospect of a double dip recession is clearly more than just a prospective nightmare for the houmus and tzatsiki industries. And for pension investors, the symbolic downgrading of the old world’s economic superpower may signal a time to revisit historic asset allocation structures.

Used to economic chaos as we are, there are even some positive signs for the UK out there. Our credit rating is far from the speculators’ crosshairs and while growth is poor, the feeling from companies is that business is being done.

But used to economic chaos as we are, there are even some positive signs for the UK out there. Our credit rating is far from the speculators’ crosshairs and while growth is poor, the feeling from companies is that business is being done.

And Chancellor George Osborne has secured a deal that will prize around £3bn a year from the gnomes of Zurich that can go into UK coffers.
His deal with the Swiss banking authorities is not the sop to secrecy that some have said it is and should be commended.

That said, lets hope next summer is a little quieter.

John Greenwood, editor
john.greenwood@centaur.co.uk