Belfast Telegraph

Keep calm, and carry on seeking new work

By David Elliot

Oh my. If you were still carrying any economic happiness from the festive period then they'll have been well and truly shot to pieces by the latest reams of economic data.

First of all the International Monetary Fund (IMF) runs around screaming with its hands in the air and shouting "we're doomed".

The reason is its report which doesn't just cut but slashes growth estimates for some of the world's biggest economies.

It cut its expectations for growth in the global economy to 3.25% in 2012 from 4% previously and, closer to home, cut its forecast for growth in the UK economy's growth to 0.6% from 1.6% for the year.

It thinks that the eurozone is set for 'mild recession' and that Germany will only grow 0.3%.

This latter estimate is probably the most worrying because if it starts to falter then that 'doomed' cry suddenly holds a bit more water.

Secondly, Greece's private creditors look likely to have to take a haircut on their loans to the beleaguered country, a move which will no doubt help the Greek economy but which could have ramifications elsewhere.

While it's easy for EU politicians to advocate such a cut, you can't help thinking the pension funds which lent Greece money and won't see all of it back are going to be having some difficult conversations with retirees in the next few months.

Thirdly, the UK government has got itself into a bit of a debt pickle of its own and is now borrowing a record £1trn. But in times of seeming crisis, Captain Mainwaring's war cry of "don't panic!" needs to be heard.

While it may seem grim, we really need to focus on the game at hand and, to bastardise a couple of well-used phrases, "don't panic and carry on".

We knew the eurozone crisis was going to impact on growth.

We knew that anyone who'd lent money to Greece wasn't going to get it all back.

And while the UK government's debt is high it's still within borrowing targets.

So, while the headlines might seem dramatic, difficult situations like this can draw the best out of businesses and economies.

While the European economy may be suffering there are other areas of the world where business is booming again and its great to see deals emerging from the trade mission to Saudi Arabia taking place right now.

It's tough out there but the business is available, it's just a matter of tracking it down.


From Belfast Telegraph