Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Maybe this time we can finally believe the hype

David Elliott, Business Editor
David Elliott, Business Editor

Don't believe the hype, as popular American combo Public Enemy once sang. Had they been talking about their own country's current budget dilemma then that phrase would seem a little out of place, especially given the potential for financial meltdown if an agreement wasn't reached.

But before we started dissing, as Public Enemy's Flavour Flav might say, such an analysis of the situation, let's take a trip to Wall Street and see what the markets have been up to.

In situations such as this where the headlines spell out the end of the world, the movement of bond and stock markets tend to give a more rational and probably more informed opinion on what's going on.

That's because those people in charge of billions of dollars (or pounds) of investments tend to have an inside track on the thinking of everything they're invested in, and that includes government.

Reason dicates that faced with the standoff in the US government, stock markets would have headed south faster than you could say "sell".

In reality they looked at the headlines with the same amount of interest a spoilt and well-fed cat might look at a budget brand of cat food; that is barely raising a whisker of acknowledgement.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average only briefly broke below the big 15,000 level, pretty much flatlining during the whole furore.

But when it started to look as if a deal might be reached, as was revealed last night, the market headed north quicker than you could shout "buy".

Much ado about nothing?

Perhaps, but the headlines did make us sit back and consider how much we in Northern Ireland rely on the US.

It's one of our biggest trading partners, one of our biggest inward investors and the nation we believe we have our own "special relationship" with.

And for those reasons anything that impacts the US economy will have a direct impact on us, although luckily this time we were right not to believe the hype.

Instead we could believe the markets and vie for more export trade and more inward investment in an effort to feed of what appears to be a stateside economy that is firmly heading north.

That is the type of hype we're looking for.

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