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Is economic recovery really on the horizon?

This week in the UK there’s been talk that maybe, just maybe, we are seeing the beginnings of recovery.

Nobody likes to use the term ‘green shoots’ any more, but that didn’t stop John Major of all people using the exact phrase this week, and adding that the economy had now passed its ‘darkest moment’ of the recession. 

The Beeb’s Stephanie Flanders this morning acknowledged on Radio 4 that there were some ‘positive signs’ out there – although pointedly refused to employ the ‘green shoots’ bit.

Mervyn King was also talking positively this week for the first time in a long time about the UK economy starting to show early signs of recovery.

So what’s lead to these broadly similar points of view from respected thinkers and commentators on the prospect of some kind of autumn bounce?

A study with manufacturers this week showed many expect to increase production over the next three months.
Employment figures have also baffled economists by falling. Experts say unemployment diminishing suggests growth – somewhere – in the economy.

The stock market has also been buoyed over the past fortnight – although as any Footsie watcher will know the FTSE does seem to have a mind of its own and whether we can rely on this as a successful indicator of things getting better is a matter for debate.

There’s no doubt Mario Draghi’s ECB bond buying scheme has helped here too, and if the Eurozone’s debt firestorm can be damped down successfully then that’s an important building block for future growth everywhere else, enabling confidence and growth in markets across the world to return.

We all know that many businesses, large and small, have been stockpiling cash for fears of where the economy was headed. So maybe we are seeing some of this cash at last being spent as confidence increases, bit by bit.

Whatever happens this autumn though, businesses need to carry on in the spirit of the famous war time slogan: keep calm and carry on!

In fairness though, that’s what many have been doing for quite some time now.

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