The last couple of years have seen the normally drop dead quiet month of August throw up a number of unexpected economic crises.
Last year the Euro crisis flared up suddenly in Greece and Spain and Europe’s politicians were grumpily recalled from the continents beaches to perform fire fighting duties. The previous year the U.S. Congress pushed the country to the absolute brink of default, needlessly and for political point scoring.
Thankfully so far this August has been a lot quieter.
Commodity prices are recovering from their recent historic lows — a reflection of the gradual upturn in global economic growth being led by the United States.
Japan is coming out of its lost two decades and the Eurozone is finally leaving recession. There is a chance that China may avoid a hard landing — if the authorities can deal with the bursting of a property bubble and a banking sector festooned with hidden bad debts.
The real and continued growth story is in the United States. A constant and on-going flow of economic indicators this year has pointed to a real recovery in the world’s largest economy. This is great news. It also points to a gradual end of QE in the United States, with the printing presses being mothballed and interest rates starting to rise. The U.S. dollar is entering a rare period of strength.
Elsewhere commodity economies like Australia, Canada and New Zealand will be praying the Chinese economy ticks up again and growth follows a likely growing U.S. demand for imports. Australia and Canada in particular have large intact property bubbles, the deflation of which will be anything but painless.
Back in January we published our annual white paper predicting the five key trends in the global economy in 2013. Looking back - having past the midpoint of this year - we did a pretty good job.
The U.S. economic recovery has continued as we expected, China has underpinned its slowdown with a huge infrastructural expansion, the Germany election next month has completely dominated the year in Europe and prevented any attempt at substantial economic reform, commodities prices are starting to rebound as we expected in the latter half of the year and exchange rates have remained volatile — with the Japanese yen and Australian dollar in particular gyrating wildly against the dollar.
You can read our economic predictions for 2013 and decide for yourself how accurate our predictions were for this year.