12 February 2009
Take a Deep Breath
The question on everyone’s mind is, ‘Are we really in a recession? Or aren’t we?’
We read or hear about huge staff lay-offs around the world, massive drops in corporate profits (or historic losses), banks falling like dominoes. Presidents, Prime Ministers and politicians openly talk of disasters, crises and even use the dreaded ‘D’ word. Depression.
Yet, when we go about our daily business, the restaurants appear full, the shops appear to be fairly busy (mostly), cars still clog the motorway, and expensive boats of all sizes still cruise the harbour.
‘What recession?’ you may well ask.
The news tells us that interest rates have been slashed (even if these haven’t flowed through to our mortgages yet — see my earlier column), and around the world emergency measures are being taken. Mortgagee sales and company liquidations seem to flood the daily papers and it all seems rather depressing.
Then ask yourself a simple question: have you been personally affected?
Are we perhaps the victims of a con-job by politicians who are playing the ‘crisis’ theme because it makes us easier to govern and control? Certainly that’s one possible suggestion from President Obama’s recent fireside chat. He is seen to appeal direct to the American public to send a message to their local congressman to pass his ‘new and improved’ bailout package.
I think it is a mixture of both good and bad. Yes, there is a deepening recession which will get worse before it gets better and yes, I think the politicians are hyping it up to their advantage.
But I sense that the recession will be shorter and shallower then we are being led to believe. In my opinion, it is more likely that we will soon enter a long flat stage, perhaps next year — which, by the way, given the alternative, is fine by me.
I can tell this from my mentoring and consulting clients — who tell me of their successes or failures. Many are still upbeat and enthusiastic, seeing new opportunities ahead rather than collapse and doom.
This, among other things, gives me an insight and some perspective on what is happening in the market right now, rather than waiting for stale statistics to tell us when it’s far too late. Furthermore I keep in very close contact with valuers and solicitors who confirm that conveyancy and enquires have picked up and are much more positive compared to a few months ago.
The worldwide printing presses keep rolling — producing unimaginable amounts of money …