Populists

“What could possibly go wrong?”

I well remember the questions a year ago, after I published my annual Budget Outlook, ‘Budgeting for the Great Unknown in 2018 – 2020‘.  Many readers found it difficult to believe that global interest rates could rise significantly, or that China’s economy would slow and that protectionism would rise under the influence of Populist politicians. […]

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Why everyone ignored my warnings ahead of the financial crisis

It’s 10 years since my forecast of a global financial crisis came true, as Lehman Brothers collapsed.  I had warned of this consistently here in the blog, and in the Letters column of the Financial Times. But, of course, nobody wanted to listen whilst the party was going strong.  As the FT’s world trade editor wrote […]

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Financial crises and the five stages of loss

The Financial Times has kindly printed my letter as their lead letter, arguing that the rise of the populists emphasises the risk of continuing to deny the impact of today’s ageing populations on the economy. Sir,  Martin Wolf’s sobering analysis of policymakers’ post-crisis decision to “go back to the past”, ( “Why so little has changed since […]

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Political and economic risks rise as US mid-term elections near

This is the Labor Day weekend in the USA – the traditional start of the mid-term election campaign.  And just as in September 2016, the Real Clear Politics poll shows that most voters feel their country is going in the wrong direction.  The demographic influences that I highlighted then are also becoming ever-more important with time: […]

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Trump’s trade war should set warning bells ringing for every company and investor

There should be no surprise that President Trump has launched his trade war with China.  The real surprise is that financial markets, and business leaders, are so surprised it is happening.  He was, after all, elected on a platform that called for a trade war, as I noted originally back in November 2016 – and […]

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Budgeting for the Great Unknown in 2018 – 2020

“There isn’t anybody who knows what is going to happen in the next 12 months.  We’ve never been here before.  Things are out of control.  I have never seen a situation like it.“ This comment from former UK Finance Minister, Ken Clarke, aptly summarises the uncertainty facing companies, investors and individuals as we look ahead […]

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“Business as usual” the least likely outcome for Europe

Europe is heading in to the Great Unknown, as Monday’s post highlighted.  The UK, The Netherlands and France are not the only political uncertainties that we face.  Elections are also due in Italy and in Germany.    Italian elections. After premier Renzi’s referendum defeat last year, it seems like that Italy will hold elections this year, […]

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The blog in 2016

2016 saw the Great Reckoning for the failure of stimulus policies begin to impact companies and markets. The blog’s readership has increased significantly as a a result, as shown in the chart above, with its visits now totaling nearly 500k.  Its readership includes 197 countries and over 11k cities.  Readers also remain very loyal, with […]

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Today’s New Normal world – the challenge of the 100-year life

2016 saw the start of the Great Reckoning for the failure of stimulus policies. Political and social issues are now beginning to dominate the landscape.  As we saw in the UK’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union, voters no longer see economics as the sole issue in elections.  This paradigm shift was then followed […]

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Economic policy needs to focus on impact of the 100-year life

Nearly two-thirds of people in the world’s top 25 countries feel their country is heading in the wrong direction, according to a new poll from Ipsos MORI.  As their chart shows: China, Saudi Arabia, India, Argentina, Peru, Canada and Russia are the only countries to record a positive feeling The other 18 are increasingly desperate […]

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Political risk rises as voters feel only the populists are listening

This week, the new UK premier, Theresa May, highlighted how the central banks have encouraged the populists’ rise: “We have to acknowledge some of the bad side-effects. People with assets have got richer, people without have not.” The problem, of course, goes wider than this.  The continuing failure to recover from the 2008 Financial Crisis […]

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Markets struggle with political risk as populist momentum gains

Markets have forgotten how to price political uncertainty in recent decades, as I discussed on Monday.  They have become dependent on central bank handouts, and assumed that globalisation and trade agreements are permanent features of the economic landscape.  Today, they are having to relearn, very quickly, what has been forgotten. My post a year ago […]

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China’s slowdown continues as Xi “takes the pain” of reform

“What a difference a day makes“. Dinah Washington’s famous song could well be applied, with a longer timescale, to developments in China’s economy. The shape of the above chart has changed completely since it was last featured here in January 2015, as volatility has increased in China’s economy.  It shows the relationship between bank lending and […]

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