Newell Palmer: Monthly Economic Notes – November 2017


Economic Overview

With the global synchronised recovery and central banks unwinding the quantitative easing measures, the global economy is now in the best form since the global financial crisis.  Looking beyond the immediate horizon, the next financial crisis could arise from:  (1) Rising inflation.  Central banks have less ammunition to deal with the next crisis as inflation, whilst under control for now, could rise in the coming years.  Inflation is a lagging indicator and there is an 18 month lag time of inflation vs. GDP.  The low global inflation we are seeing now is a result of the soft patch in the US economy in late 2015 and early 2016.  (2) Populism.  More government spending and less money printing should result in inflation and higher bond yields.  (3) Demographics.  The opening of China since the late 1970s unleashed 1 billion of people into the global workforce and this has been deflationary for wage costs.  However, with the effects of the one-child policy now coming through the system, labour is not cheap anymore.  (4) China’s growing debt.  With the ratio of financial debt to GDP at 200%, a crisis ensured in four countries that hit this level over the last 30 years – Japan, Thailand, the US and Spain.  Whilst none of this factors may give rise to a crisis in the immediate future, we need to monitor these indicators.

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