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Economy Expanding and Debt - Economics Weekly
Economy Expanding and Debt
Global Economics Weekly Brief
There is no doubt that the UK economy is expanding at a decent lick. What’s more, the recovery is better balanced than it has been and we have growth without much inflation. But niggles remain about its sustainability. Households are running down their savings to fund consumption and the UK spent more than it earned last year. Challenges after challenges keep coming every month/year!
The UK Government debt is £1.4 trillion and the UK Domestic/personal debt is £5 billion plus and both increasing rapidly!
Seeking sustainability. The Office for National Statistics confirmed that the UK grew by 0.7% in the final quarter of 2013 and by 1.7% over the year as a whole. Net trade and investment both expanded, along with consumption. However, the household saving ratio fell to 5.0% compared with 6.1% a year earlier and the current account deficit – the gap between what the UK earns and spends – reached 4.4% of national income in 2013. The future is not bright!
Open all hours. Wallets and internet browsers were open in February as UK consumers continued to give the recovery momentum. Retail sales (ex. fuel) rose 1.8%m/m, reversing January's post-Christmas fall. Supermarkets and food stores saw a 2.1%m/m jump in sales, but despite the housing market revival, sales of household goods fell. The amount we spent online was up 12.4%y/y, with 22p of every £1 spent "in" department stores coming from the internet. Maybe there is something about being open all hours. Open all hours on line increases personal debt daily!
House! Mortgage lending in February was an eye-watering 43% higher than year earlier. According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the government’s Help to Buy scheme is lowering the share of the purchase price that buyers have to put down as a deposit. Loan to value (LTV) ratios are creeping up as is the number of higher LTV products on the market. Whereas first time buyers had been leading the way, house movers have now joined the party, too. Boom and bust again, when will people learn? Greed is still a major issue!
Monitoring the temperature. The Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee (FPC) is keeping a close watch on housing. The FPC can take steps to cool the market if it fears risks to financial stability. At its recent meeting, the FPC noted that while a number of housing market indicators remain below long-run averages, it is vigilant to emerging vulnerabilities and said it will take further proportionate and graduated action if warranted. Yes, boom and bust is here again!
Inflation: nothing to see here. Prices rose by 1.7%y/y in February, down from 1.9% in January and comfortably below the 2% target. Petrol and diesel were the biggest contributors to the fall, which left inflation fractionally ahead of wage rises. The news will cheer the Monetary Policy Committee. It thinks that unemployment can fall further before price pressures start to build. There was good news for business, too, with the rising value of sterling helping producers’ input costs fall by 5.7%y/y. Many jobs are only part-time/zero contract hours!
Austerity and growth. The US economy grew by an annualised 2.6% in the final quarter of last year, down from 4.1% in Q3. Consumers, exports and business investment all expanded. But government was a drag on performance. October’s shutdown contributed to a 13.8% fall in federal government output. Austerity has cut public sector output by almost 8% since its 2009 peak. Over the same period total GDP has risen by nearly 11%.
US confidence rebounds. US consumer confidence bounced back strongly in March to its highest level in six years. However, housing hasn’t yet shaken off the winter blues. New home sales fell 3.3%m/m in February, partly due to higher interest rates. According to Freddie Mac, a mortgage provider, rates on 30-year loans are up 0.75%y/y. That’s not yet fully fed through to house prices. Case Shiller reported y/y price growth of 13.2% in January, although the rate of inflation is moderating, with a third m/m fall in a row, if only of 0.1%. More unemployment on its way again!
Signs of recovery. The euro zone Purchasing Managers’ Index came in at 53.2 in March, marginally below February’s 32-month high. Manufacturing and services expanded again as new orders growth accelerated. Hiring ticked-up as confidence over future demand strengthened. France returned to growth for the first time since last October. Germany and peripheral countries continued to expand, suggesting an acceleration of GDP growth in Q1. Taken altogether it is a reassuring picture. But further moderation in price growth suggests that deflationary pressures remain a concern. Yet there are still 26 million people looking for jobs!
National Debt Up as UK Sinks deeper in to the Red! The UK government borrowed nearly £14 million `every hour` last month plunging Britain ever deeper into the red. The UK national debt hit nearly £1.4 trillion or 88% of national income and around £50,000 for every household in the country. The United Kingdom National Debt is the total quantity of money borrowed by the Government of the United Kingdom at any one time through the issue of securities by the British Treasury and other government agencies.
As of Q1 2014 UK government debt amounted to £1,377 billion, or 88.1% of total GDP, at which time the annual cost of servicing the public debt amounted to around £43bn, or roughly 3% of GDP. This is roughly the same size as the British defence budget. It was forecast to rise to 96% of total GDP in 2015, further rising to 99% of GDP in 2016. At the end of December 2013, public sector net debt in the UK was £1,254.3 billion or 75.7% of GDP.
Due to the Government's significant budget deficit, the national debt is increasing by approximately £107 billion per annum, or around £2 billion each week. Due to austerity measures currently being imposed however, the budget deficit is expected to be eliminated in the financial year 2018/19! Will it? The national debt is rapidly increasing month-on-month, when will it stop?
On 23 February 2013 Moody's downgraded UK credit rating from AAA to Aa1.
Further information: List of sovereign states by public debt
Global public debt as a percent of GDP (2009/2010)
In 2011 Britain's volume of debt was ranked 18th internationally according to the CIA World Factbook. Many other countries had larger debt burdens. For example, Japan had a National debt of around 194% of GDP, whilst that of Italy was more than 100%. The National debt of the United States reached 100% of GDP in November 2011.
Ø 2011 United Kingdom budget
Ø Economic history of the United Kingdom
Ø Economy of the United Kingdom
Ø Eurozone crisis
Ø The National Fund
Ø UK Debt Management Office
* Europe as a very serious issue with rapid unemployment especially with the youth in `every` country that impacts daily!
European Youth Unemployment = 24% and rising rapidly
UK Youth Unemployment = 20% and rising rapidly
400,000 Graduates came on to the market last year in Europe
960,000 = Under 25`s are unemployed in the UK
Only one in ten school leaves takes up an apprenticeship in the UK
European Youth Unemployment to rise by another 10% + over the next 10 years
85 Richest People have Half of World`s Wealth! Wealthiest `85 people` have as much as poorest `3.5 billion people` globally! The 85 richest people on the planet have accumulated as much wealth between them as half of the world`s population, political and financial leaders have been warned ahead of their annual gathering in the Swiss resort of Davos. Their wealth is estimated as $18.5 trillion cash with investments in companies hidden away in tax havens around the world. The power of these 85 people on the world leaders is staggering! While 70% of people globally live in countries where the gap between rich and poor has grown rapidly over the last few years. Where will it end? What do you believe will happen globally because of the wider gap of the poor becoming more poor and the rich getting richer?
Five of Six Economic Recovery Indicators Retreat
Watch 2014 globally very closely!
THE GLOBAL ECONOMY - Institute for Fiscal Studies - click on the connection on the left.
* `10-Step Double-Dip Recession Survival Guide` - click on the connection below for comprehensive information.
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Economy Expanding and Debt!
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