There Has Been Much Talk In The Press Of The Economy Heading For A Recession Next Year, Which Against A Background Of A Meltdo

1737 words - 7 pages

Why is the UK Economy heading for recession?

In recent years, there has been increasing talk of the economy heading
for a recession in the next few years, which against a background of a
meltdown in the emerging markets and slumping business confidence is
understandable. The recent collapse of the Russian rouble appears to
have provided an additional twist to the crisis, bringing renewed
pressure to other emerging countries and triggering a major sell off
in the world of equity markets. On balance I think the economy is
heading for a bumpy rather than hard landing, but for many businesses
it will still mean difficult times ahead.

Every now and again the world economy goes through a major slowdown.
It did so in 1975 again in 1982 and most recently in 1991. It would be
wrong to call these periods recessions since in all cases the world
continued to grow. Even in 1982 the world economy managed to grow by
1%, although this is much slower than the 3-3.5% average growth rate
seen over the last 20 years. The fact that the world continues to grow
does not mean that individual economies can't have recessions. Indeed,
in each of these periods the UK and most other parts of the developed
world had recessions. For the UK the recessions of the early 1980's
and 1990's were particularly painful.

The world continued to grow partly due to the fact that not all of the
developed world goes into recession at the same time. Germany for
example was coming to the end of the powerful post-unification boom
when the UK was in recession in the early 1990's. Germany and Europe
did not go into recession until 1993 two years after the year of
slowest world growth. The other reason that the world has not gone
into an outright recession in the past is that the developing
economies have continued to grow. When economies are growing at 7-8% a
year in normal times, a world slowdown merely trims these growth rates
back. In the early 1990's it was the Asian economies in particular
that continued to grow strongly when the rest of the world was
struggling.

The current world slowdown is different in many respects from its
predecessors. Those were often triggered off by external shocks, such
as the OPEC oil price hikes of the early and late 1970's and then the
Gulf War in the early 1990's. But those shocks were usually
accompanied by tight economic policies in the developed world. In the
early 1980's and the early 1990's both the US and UK authorities had
raised interest rates to choke off overly strong economies and rising
inflationary pressures. This time the slowdown has been triggered not
by a one off shock but by a crisis in the developing world, aggravated
by a renewed slump in the Japanese economy. It is likely that the
Japanese economy will shrink by 2% or more this year, while in
countries like Korea...

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