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Friday, 19 December 2008

A Welcome Break!

Comes the holiday season and the world will take a break from the doom and gloom of the economy. Am I the only one to feel that there are maybe some very slight signs of relief from the misery or am I the incorrigible optimist?

A large retail client tells me that sales are only minimally down on the same period last year, the shops are heaving with enthusiastic buyers and yesterday's GFK NOP survey of consumer confidence showed an improvement albeit from a generally low level. Inflation is declining and certainly lower prices are beginning to show up, led to some extent by lower fuel costs. Still, I can't understand why it is that diesel prices are still well over £1.00 a litre when crude prices are down to around $40 a barrrel.

Yes, I know that there is a time lag and that oil prices are in dollars and that sterling has fallen against the dollar but even so, pump prices went up immediately crude prices escalated without reference to the lag and it's about time that pump prices in the UK showed some reaction to crude costs, as they have in the USA.

Finally, a thought about borrowing. Why is it that we have been severely admonished by our leaders for over spending and over extending ourselves during the boom times, and now, when the economy is, or has been, in free fall, we are exhorted to spend rather than save, and our Government seems to think that it can climb out of the trough simply by borrowing more? Am I missing something or merely being cynical?

Have a wonderful and happy Festive season and let's have a successful, peaceful and healthy 2009.

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