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A quarterly publication setting out the Crédit Agricole scenario for the economy, interest rates and currencies in the main economic regions, ie, the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Has the "classic" recovery cycle, whereby growth picks up on the strength of a virtuous circle and investment acts as an accelerator, gone belly up? Despite reduced financial constraints, businesses are watching and waiting and are loath to invest. Global growth is feeling the pain, as is potential growth. Meanwhile, alone at the helm, central banks have fired off all their ammunition.
In the 23 June referendum, a majority of the UK electorate voted in favour of leaving the European Union. Close to 52% of voters opted for a Brexit in a very clear-cut result, especially as the participation rate was a high 72.2%. Apart from the UK, obviously, the economic damage to the rest of the world, at this stage, seems relatively absorbable. Persistent financial uncertainty and volatility are not, however, conducive to investment, which is a source of lasting growth. Conversely, the political fallout is enormous and multifarious. The vote shows us the sad spectacle of where political opportunism and recklessness can lead. It also teaches us that ‘it isn't conceivable because it would be catastrophic' is not a strong political argument.
In the industrialised world, inflation is struggling to pick up. Growth is holding its own but is not accelerating. Monetary policies designed to stimulate economies have reached some of their limitations. Risks are piling up – diffuse and varied. But we do not want our scenario to cause anxiety, even if predicting "the end of the world as we know it" would be the easy strategy.
Our scenario is not exaggeratedly pessimistic – it is just realistic. It observes a new world, one that is politically chaotic and geopolitically worrying. There is no powerful global locomotive able to pull the carriages on which the last few passengers can finally embark. One aggravating factor is that the monetary fireman has been abandoned by his fiscal colleague and is desperately alone in his cab.
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