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In our “Spotlight” series, we anticipate a key future politico-economic development in a ‘What If’-format. What if…Scotland calls for another independence referendum?

We cover the Commonwealth’s business hub in Southeast Asia with our own economic indicator – the SiNGES shows the health of Singapore’s economy at a glance

Our current assessments

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UKES

United Kingdom Economy’s State

Specialising in the politico-economic risk analysis of the Commonwealth’s member states, we have created our own economic indicator for the UK economy which, otherwise, does not exist in this comprehensive form: the UKES. It consists of two components constituting the main index.

The component “expectations” runs ahead of the current situation, comprising elements such as development of inflation and interest rates, consumer- and business confidence, etc. The “state” component describes the current situation and comprises data such as industrial production, net trade, etc. The main index, then, is a smoothed combination of the two components.


+++26 February: UK economy narrowly avoids recession in December, but displays lacklustre start into 2021+++

Amidst dire news around the pandemic, a measure of relief brightened the mood over Christmas: Britain and the EU have reached a Brexit deal. The much-dreaded no deal-scenario (though very much the result for financial services) has been thus averted. Of course, loads of red tape and custom frictions have been making business not any easier between the UK and continental Europe since the beginning of the year; yet the near collapse many had feared in a no-deal scenario has not materialised. Simultaneously, Britain has found herself in a lately somewhat unaccustomed role: That of shared world leader in terms of the vaccination effort against coronavirus. No other country in the Western hemisphere has got off to such a ferocious start, and, hence, the prospects for the UK economy to emerge from the corona crisis have become the brighter. All the same, the start into the new year has been a bit lacklustre: After the positive surprise of December, Brexit friction and the ongoing effects of the national lockdown have held back economic activity, as displayed by our UKES: The state component has dropped back from its premature outbreak in late summer of last year, never backed up by expectations and thus unsustainable. So we are back in negative territory, but only very mildly so, a feature primarily down to a weak services sector over the turn of the year. Yet we remain distinctly bullish for the UK economy: The effects of national inoculation will show up in due course, while global manufacturing and, hence, exports demand is roaring back to pre-Covid levels. Anything other but a marked rise of our UKES from February onwards would leave us scratching our heads.

Sources: UK Parliament, Financial Times
Note:
The UKES is calculated to scale so that a positive reading of the state component as well as the main index signals current economic expansion. Furthermore, the UKES generates these other signals: If the expectations graph rises through that of the state component, that is a valid signal for an economic upturn in the near future (3-6 months) and vice versa for a break-down through the state graph. If the state component, additionally, plots over the main index, that signals a healthy and stable economic expansion; when it plots beneath the main index, the current economic upturn has not yet solidified or the recession is persistent, respectively.

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Our running analysis

17% of businesses' workforce were on furlough leave in Mar 2021 (approximately 5.7 million people), according to preliminary results from the Business Insights and Conditions Survey http://ow.ly/miOG50Ep7Uk

Utter nonsense.
There're hundreds of thousands of businesses in hospitality and retail with m of jobs still closed or operating well below profitability that are anything but on a 'new normal'. It's furlough schemes etc. that have been creating an impression of relative calm.

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