Is the US economy suffering from “fear of Donald Trump”?
by Roger Bootle
I pity the poor reader trying to get a sense of what is happening to the world economy – and hence to prospects for their incomes, jobs, businesses and investments – by following the gyrations of the economic data reported in the media. Up one minute, down the next.
Not long ago, the bad news was flowing predominantly from China. Then, as I wrote here a few weeks ago, it subsequently seemed that the Chinese economy had stabilised. But last week another bogeyman appeared – or, more accurately, reappeared. It was reported that the US economy grew in the first quarter of this year at a rate of only 0.5pc annualised, a sharp slowdown on the figure for the final quarter of 2015, namely 1.4pc annualised. That figure was itself pretty lacklustre, but this recent number was straightforwardly grim. Are we facing a marked US slowdown, or even a recession?