A Look back at 2015

WEEKLY COMMENT 17-12-2015

By Barry Edwards

A Look back at 2015

This year has been full of unexpected events both political and economic in the UK and worldwide. The Conservative win in the May general election and the massive shift to the left by the election of Jeremy Corbin as leader of the Labour party were both unexpected and have changed the political scene in the UK in ways that are yet to play out. The EU referendum is now dominating the media and the result could be very close when the time comes to vote. read more

Bank Stability

WEEKLY COMMENT 10-12-2015

By Barry Edwards

Bank Stability

 

The Bank of England (BofE) published their stress test report on the large UK banks which found that all of them were adequately capitalised for conditions in the current financial climate. Most large banks around the world have gone through a substantial recapitalisation process after the financial crisis and their financial stability is now mainly considered fit for purpose by the central banks that are responsible for their activities. read more

The Syria Debate

WEEKLY COMMENT 3-12-2015

By Barry Edwards

The Syria Debate

The UK government has achieved its majority in the House of Commons to extend the bombing that is currently taking place in Iraq into Syria as expected. The long debate was full of reasons for and against the support for military action which included many valid points supporting the decisions made by the 157 members of parliament that wished to speak in the debate.

If you did not hear the entire speech given by Hillary Benn at the end of the debate, I recommend you click on the link below and listen. It was one of the most inspiring speeches you are likely to hear and made a big difference to the outcome of the vote. read more

Autumn Statement

WEEKLY COMMENT 26-11-2015

By Barry Edwards

Autumn Statement

There was very little that surprised anybody about the autumn statement except the abolition of the reduction of the tax credits. Politically the announcement was a face saving exercise and the pure luck that the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) managed to forecast an improvement in government finances of £27 billion got the Chancellor out of a big hole. The tinkering in many areas actually made this spending review a tax burden on business overall. read more

ESPAS

WEEKLY COMMENT 19-11-2015

By Barry Edwards

ESPAS

 

The European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) is an inter-institutional EU project which has published a paper called’ Global Trends to 2030: Can the EU Meet the Challenges Ahead? As the title suggests it analyses every aspect of the EU and presents a detailed proposal for consideration by the main decision making organisations of the union as the basis for planning the next 15 years of progress.

The main principle behind the recommendations is that if the EU is going to compete effectively with the USA and Asia, especially China, it must improve the economic and political infrastructure to achieve that ambition. ESPAS believes the EU should speed up the establishment of the continent- wide market in all the main sectors, manufacturing, energy, communications and financial services if it is going to have any chance of meeting that challenge. read more

The Eurosceptics Paradigm

WEEKLY COMMENT 12-11-2015

By Barry Edwards

The Eurosceptics Paradigm

David Cameron finally set out the terms that his government wants to negotiate with the EU for the UK to stay a member. All of the points have been discussed at length by commentators and the reaction was as expected depending on which side of the argument you support. The case for remaining within the EU is fairly straightforward assuming that the bulk of the demands are agreed. What would happen if the electorate voted ‘no’ is the discussion that has attracted most comment since the announcement. read more

BofE Inflation Report

WEEKLY COMMENT 5-11-2015

By Barry Edwards

BofE Inflation Report

 

The Bank of England (BofE) inflation report was published on Thursday this week as the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) announced no change to interest rates as expected. The report confirms that prospects for the UK economy are slightly below those anticipated in the August report which is in line with most predictions from economists generally. You can read the report if you click on the link below, it has 50 pages and the summary is 2 pages; read more

The EU and the Eurozone

WEEKLY COMMENT 29-10-2015

By Barry Edwards

The EU and the Eurozone

The debate about the European referendum in the UK has finally centred on the question of how the EU and the Eurozone coexist. The core of the problem is that the Eurozone is committed to financial cohesion because of the Euro while those countries that have their own currency do not wish to adopt all the proposals that are being put forward by the European Commission. This is a subject that is discussed by the bureaucracy in Brussels but has not been addressed by the media or the individual governments at all. read more

Marketplace Lending

WEEKLY COMMENT 22-10-2015

By Barry Edwards

Marketplace Lending

This week two established crowdfunding companies announced that they are expanding into continental Europe. Funding Circle have acquired Zencap previously owned by Rocket Internet, which is a German investment company specialising in technology businesses, to extend their European coverage to Germany, Spain and The Netherlands.

Kabbage, an American company, is linking with ING, a Dutch bank, to develop a partnership in Spain lending up to €100,000 to SME’s. You can read the full details in the press releases in the links below; read more

The Brexit Debate

WEEKLY COMMENT 15-10-2015

By Barry Edwards

The Brexit Debate

There have been various events that have occurred over the last week that have some relevance to the EU referendum debate, referred to as ‘Brexit’ by the media. Although each event is not specifically about ‘Brexit’ the decisions made do influence how people may decide to vote when the referendum finally happens.

This week the Scottish National Party (SNP) had their annual conference where the leader dismissed the likelihood of another independence referendum until there was a definite sign that those who voted ‘no’ have changed their minds. At this time, there is no sign that there has been a swing but the media immediately picked up on the point that if the UK votes to leave the EU, the SNP may hold another referendum since they would recommend staying in the EU. read more

World Economic Outlook

WEEKLY COMMENT 8-10-2015

By Barry Edwards

World Economic Outlook

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) have published their quarterly October 2015 World Economic Outlook entitled ‘adjusting to lower commodity prices’ which is forecasting lower world trade growth than predicted three months ago. The brief summary is below;

“Global growth for 2015 is projected at 3.1 percent, 0.3 percentage point lower than in 2014, and 0.2 percentage point below the forecasts in the July 2015 World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update. Prospects across the main countries and regions remain uneven. Relative to last year, the recovery in advanced economies is expected to pick up slightly, while activity in emerging market and developing economies is projected to slow for the fifth year in a row, primarily reflecting weaker prospects for some large emerging market economies and oil-exporting countries. In an environment of declining commodity prices, reduced capital flows to emerging markets and pressure on their currencies, and increasing financial market volatility, downside risks to the outlook have risen, particularly for emerging market and developing economies.” read more

EU Capital Markets Union

WEEKLY COMMENT 1-10-2015

By Barry Edwards

EU Capital Markets Union

The EU published on the 30th of September 2015 the paper entitled ‘Capital Markets Union’ which explains their plans to unify and coordinate all 28 member countries’ capital markets rules and regulation to improve and enhance the access and management of finance for business. It is a comprehensive plan to help expand the range of funding methods for infrastructure projects and companies, especially small and medium sized businesses (SME’s), and to improve the availability of financial products for investment by funds and private citizens. If you click on the link below, you can read the full report, it has 30 pages; read more