A packed meeting at the National Liberal Club heard economist, Andrew Smith, give a wide-ranging economics update. The brief was to provide some ideas about the economic prospects for the UK and EU at the start of a year in which a possible UK EU referendum, the slowdown in China and the plummeting price of oil all pose major uncertainties on top of some serious geopolitical uncertainties. The meeting was sponsored by the Federal Trust and attracted an audience from politics and academia as well as the usual business members of the Industry Forum.
On China, Andrew made the points that the equity bubble has burst but this does not necessarily have implications for the real economy. Furthermore, China’s growth slowdown is roughly in line with the Chinese Government’s plan and it is not clear how it will affect other developed economies. On oil Andrew said that normally the reduction of the oil price should be good news for oil consuming economies but is putting producers under severe financial strain.
Andrew reviewed the economic and associated political problems of the EU and looked in some detail at the UK economy. From a complex analysis, two particular conclusions stand out, namely that the UK needs trade with the rest of the EU rather more than they need us and that BREXIT would lead to at least two years of economic uncertainty for the UK.
If you would like to receive a copy of Andrew’s slides please email email@example.com They will be sent on the condition that they are for personal use and not for quotation or publication. Further briefings are available for Industry Forum members.