Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Retail falling apart

Whilst the stale politicians try to bore the populace and fellow MP's into compliance with the same endless, senseless mantras, the poor old retail sector is falling apart at the seams. The core of the problem is the ruination of Sterling making imports too expensive whilst the clever consumer refuses to pay more to allow retailers to make up the difference. Some companies, like Poundworld, are simply squeezed out of the market whilst the department stores and supermarkets are offering eye-watering discounts to steal each other's customers - the clever shopper able to get a discount on a discount. These deflationary prices do not appear in the measures of inflation which are based on retail prices that may well have gone up but few are willing to pay such ticket prices. Lovely if you have the time to be a clever shopper.

The fall of Sterling was originally caused by the incompetence of  the Brown/Blair era, having convinced themselves that the boom-bust cycle had been abolished they racked up public spending to a level that left no escape room when the bust came. Then the Coalition did a softly-softly style of austerity that didn't quite address the underlying problem of excessive State but had Brexit not happened would probably have got the spending finally in balance by now with Sterling on a strong recovery path and BOE rates above inflation (with house prices coming down a touch). 

But Brexit happened Cameron ran away and Osborne was sacked, the new PM failed dismally to correct the spending problem and the BOE didn't rush to Sterling's aid with reasonable interest rates - and poor old Sterling sank, with the aforementioned problems working their way through the retail sector. Just like Brown ignoring the entire history of boom-bust the BOE ignores what happens if you don't get ahead of the game on interest rates, at some point they then have to go up by a huge amount to save the currency!

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