The world is experiencing a period of rising inflation. A rebound in oil prices has helped after dragging down UK consumer price inflation into negative territory briefly in the second half of 2015. Improving wage rates in China, which in the past had been an exporter of global disinflation, have also contributed.
Keeping his promise to position all major announcements in the autumn so there is sufficient time to implement any changes, the Chancellor tinkered rather than tackled in Wednesday’s Budget. But he also hinted at wider reforms to come.
The UK’s family businesses are a crucial part of the nation’s economic backbone. They employ nearly 12 million people, contribute £125 billion in taxes and generate a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product. Yet for many, long-term survival boils down to a problem that has little to do with business acumen: how to ensure close relatives get on with each other.
The machinations of central banks were once conducted in near-anonymity and of interest only to a small band of finance specialists. Now they are both political and highly public. With ultra-low interest rates representative of the “new normal”, what are the chances of a return to the low-key status quo that endured for so long?
UK commercial property values increased by 2.4% over the first six months of 2016, according to the IPD All Property Index. Yet these gains were eradicated in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum — the index fell by 2.8% in July alone.
With the EU referendum and the election of Donald Trump, 2016 has been an interesting year. Neither result was predicted by the experts or pollsters who get paid so well to know ‘what people think’. And, in both cases, the victors made campaign commitments that were outright nonsense.
The period since the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU) reminds us of the Phoney War. Although we have a new prime minister, little has changed, other than sterling’s precipitous decline.