For many of us, we started the new financial year of 2017 in some very interesting conditions with the backdrop of an election, Trump in the US, Brexit (and I've even heard the term Frexit) we are facing different times from those of the structured recession and quantitative easing.
As a generalism, times are as positive for the interim market as I have seen them with buoyant activity levels although a little more pace in decision making wouldn't go amiss! Businesses are scrutinising every detail, and despite the uncertainty of the global environment, business confidence in my experience remains quite positive. So what do we face for the coming months?
Well, the global economy is still growing driven principally by the developing economies but even Europe and the US are positive. The main impact here in the UK I feel stems from the depreciation of the £ (Sterling) by some 20%. This is starting to impact upon inflation and I think we can see a steady but gradual increase for the rest of the year. Hence interest rates are incredibly low and there is only one way ahead. But the Bank of England while being unlikely to hit its 2% target for the foreseeable future, will hopefully let the headline rate start to recover once the effect of the £'s depreciation has come through.
After the strong start to the end of last year, I do think with inflation and uncertainty we will see consumer spending reduce and this will be exacerbated by the lack of capital growth in property which is always an underpinning part of positivity in the UK market. Of course, Brexit is looming and my view is simple - the politicians will focus on some headline points but there is little time for us to negotiate everything covered by GATT, GATS etc - it will be a nasty and unpleasant divorce - plan for that now.
So in sum, a lot of uncertainty (I haven't even mentioned North Korea) but business confidence is still there despite Brexit and the general election. It is a good time for our talent pools of deep sector experience and it has been some time since there was this level of uncertainty, growth and hence demand. Have a great summer!