Monday , December 11 2017
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Economy

Can’t grow, won’t grow

Zero growth

While politicians and “Westminster Village” journalists trumpet the latest headline employment figures, the UK economy continues its post-2008 slump.  We know this because within the Office for National Statistics (ONS) employment report is this incongruous fact: “For August 2017 in real terms (constant 2015 prices) average regular pay (excluding bonuses) …

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IMF highlights serious banking risks

IMF bank weakness warning

The International Monetary Fund’s latest Global Financial Stability Report October 2017 has raised concerns about the profitability of nine “Global Systemically Important Banks” (i.e. the ones that are too big to fail).  Among the nine are two UK banks – Barclays and Standard Chartered – which the IMF lists as …

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Peak memory

Data storage

Central to the myth of the “fourth industrial revolution” is the idea that, unlike the planet, hyperspace is infinite.  The myth is easy enough to get away with when most of the Internet’s unthinking users spend their days staring transfixed at the screen of the latest i-phone. We’ve all heard …

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Royal Mail dispute is a harbinger of things to come

CWU/Royal Mail dispute

The UK government looks set to reap the consequences of its own stupidity in the shape of a new winter of discontent.  This is because the Communications Workers Union ballot, which resulted in an 89 percent vote for industrial action on a turnout of a staggering 73 percent of the …

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UK economic woes continue

Broke

If Chancellor Philip Hammond was hoping for some good economic news with which to kick off the Tory conference, he will have been disappointed. It was all looking so well at the end of last week when the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney was drawn into suggesting …

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Beware of Greeks bearing fake news

Greek fake news

What have Greece and the UK got in common?  In addition to being the two worst performing economies in Europe, it turns out that they also both have politicians who fiddle the data to pretend that they are doing better than is actually the case. Britain, famously, hides massive underemployment, …

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UK Banks still vulnerable

Bank failure

Ten years on from the global banking meltdown, UK banks are still vulnerable according to Martin Wolf in the Financial Times: “Senior officials argue that capital requirements have increased 10-fold. Yet this is true only if one relies on the alchemy of risk-weighting. In the UK, actual leverage has merely …

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The £27bn EV tax giveaway the media ignored

The £27bn EV tax giveaway

Given the government’s self-inflicted struggle to ‘cut the deficit’ and, ultimately to ‘balance the books,’ announcing an unfunded £27.6bn tax give away is something you might assume that they would not want to do.  Moreover, even in the so-called ‘silly season’ (when our MPs are on holiday) we might expect …

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Britain faces dangerous deflation

Deflation

In addition to his famous ‘hierarchy of needs,’ psychologist Abraham Maslow had a hammer: “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” In central banking, that hammer is the rate of interest on overnight lending …

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More than a flood disaster

Flooded oil installations

While most of the world’s media were focused on the impact of more than a metre of rain pouring down on Houston, Texas, the financial journalists had other matters on their minds.  In particular, as Harvey approached, the consensus seemed to be that the one silver lining was the inevitable …

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