How confident are you feeling about the economy?

ended 23. September 2021

At midday today, the Bank of England is expected to leave interest rates at their current level of 0.1%, despite the fact inflation has started to soar. With gas bills set to rise sharply, the furlough scheme coming to an end, and all manner of pandemic-induced issues hitting supply chains, the economy is just too delicate right now. Against this backdrop, we have just one question for you:

How confident are you feeling about the economy right now, and why?

Please keep your response to a paragraph MAX. Soundbites, not War and Peace!

10 responses from the Newspage community

"The economy at the moment is a fragile beast. The threat of rising gas prices, food shortages and a rise in covid infections as we return to normal has the potential to hit us hard. Will people become more reclusive as money becomes tighter and Covid hits the headlines again? I expect to see a real slowdown in consumer spending, with people keeping the purse strings tight as Christmas approaches."
"It would have been lunacy to raise interest rates with so many storm clouds on the horizon. The end of the £20 universal credit top-up and utility bills about to go through the roof are going to hit household budgets hard. However, I don't see the end of furlough as the cliff edge that many do. At a time when there are real labour shortages in parts of the economy, propping up zombie jobs that don't need doing while so many vacancies are unfilled isn't particularly helpful."
"The economy is as fragile as it's ever been, and with the furlough scheme also coming to an end imminently, unemployment could rise sharply. But with a massive labour shortage, I am hopeful this shouldn't happen. Holding interest rates, for now, is probably the best bet but we are all very aware they will be raised at some point in the near future but hopefully not until we return to new normal."
We certainly are in stormy waters and I'm fairly convinced that not all passengers have faith in the Captain of our ship and his crew, however Britain is not alone in dealing with widespread uncertainty following the pandemic, volatile energy costs and food insecurity. I am fairly confident that Boris is more Lord Nelson than Captain Smith of the Titanic, and truly hope that our Government keeps on track with the green-recovery and development of circular economies.
Given all the headwinds that the UK economy is facing right now; the end of numerous stimulus packages, gas price rises, supply chain issues, labour market issues, I think it's coping relatively well compared to how things could have panned out. The next few months will be the real test of how well the ship has been piloted through these stormy seas though...
"In the aftermath of the Credit Crunch, the MPC 'looked through' above-target inflation for many months, including a peak of over 5% in 2011. With the economy facing significant headwinds as it recovers from Covid-19, it seems unlikely the MPC will do anything other than ignore inflation and keep interest rates low."
"Don't let the doom-mongers fool you. There is always uncertainty in the economy but the average Brit is in a very good place right now financially. The latest Household Savings rate is 19.9%, which is significantly higher than the historic long-term figure which has oscillated between 5%-15% since records began in the 1960s. Average earnings are up 8.3% and unemployment is 4.7%, which is still very low historically. The vaccine program has worked and Britain is again opening up to the world. On average, the British economy is in rude health."
In terms of confidence about the economy I feel as confident as a Bernard Matthews turkey. If the Bank of England raised base rate today it would be tantamount to vandalism. What with Brexit Covid & the furlough scheme coming to an end and all the ensuing problems they bring I think it’s safe to say that the Conservative party are doing an absolutely terrible job however they are the people in charge and we have to defer to their idiotic thinking. Still…good news about the blue passports…
It's one thing after another isn't it? Am I feeling confident about the economy right now? No, but do I think we will pull through, yes! And this may be a devastating case of sticking my head in the sand and hoping for the best but as Martin Luther King Jr. once said "We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope."
First and foremost, we caution against succumbing to fear or panic in the face of inflation (and short term thinking in general). As usual, careful planning remains our best guide. Not all inflation is bad. In fact, a bit of inflation goes hand in hand with economic growth (the OECD reckons UK GDP will rise by 7.2% this year and 5.5% next year, following a 9.8% contraction in 2020 – the worst for 300 years). This in turn gives reasonable interest rates for lenders and borrowers alike. A 2% annual inflation rate is typically considered a desirable norm for greasing the wheels of commerce, without destroying the working relationship between currencies and costs. While inflation has its purposes, it’s concerning if it goes on a rampage. When it has done in the past, uncertainty has spiked as well, wreaking havoc on commerce, the economy, job markets, real estate and financial markets. (Deflation – the opposite of inflation – can also upset the economy if prices drop too precipitously.) Investors who were around in the 1970s may remember the last time we experienced red-hot inflation, and what it felt like in the UK when it spiked to over 20% in 1975, and coined the term The Great Inflation in the US. The New York Times described it as an era when, “Prices of real assets like houses, gold and oil soared. Average mortgage rates exceeded 17 percent, and interest rates on bank certificates of deposit approached 12 percent. It was hard to know whether a 5 percent pay raise was cause for celebration or despair.” Younger investors have heard of, but never experienced such steep inflation for such an extended time. Despite occasional alarm bells, inflation has mostly continued to hit the snooze button, at under 4% for most of the past two decades. At least so far...