Wednesday 13 December 2017

Hamish McRae: Europe merely a sideshow to global slowdown

A protester carries
a sign saying
'Hands up, this is a
rescue', during a
demonstration
against the bailout
in Madrid at the
weekend.
A protester carries a sign saying 'Hands up, this is a rescue', during a demonstration against the bailout in Madrid at the weekend.

Hamish McRae

We have all become so focused on the catastrophe of the Spanish banks -- for understandable reasons -- that we are in danger of missing something even bigger: that the evidence of a global slowdown has been piling up. This is happening irrespective of the eurozone's plight, though, of course, the slowdown in Europe contributes to it.

So the key questions are to what extent the world economy is self-correcting and to what extent policies will, or indeed can, be shifted to encourage more growth.

The evidence first. Two things stood out. One was that the oil price has been falling for the longest period for 13 years on the back of a growing awareness that demand is falling in the two biggest markets, the US and China. The fact that the oil price has fallen some 15pc this year is hugely helpful to inflation everywhere.

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