The OECD says fighting unemployment – not cutting back inthe middle of the recession – has to be everyone’s top priority; ‘Helping the unemployed and getting economies moving again will be among the most pressing issues on the table at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh on 24-25 September 2009.’ Keynes, I think, would have agreed. Reviews of Robert Skidelsky’s new book on Keynes are out in both Business Week and the Washington Post.
ONS set out latest public spending numbers, recording a £12.8 billion deficit in August, broadly in line with Budget forecasts, as tax receipts fell sharply on the same period last year.
Meanwhile a series of surveys underlined the need for continued government action – not cut-backs – to accelerate the recovery. The Bank of England’s Lending Survey found the weakest flow of total net lending to UK businesses since 1998, as some lenders some lenders said companies used the proceeds of money raised on capital markets to pay back bank debt. In other words, creating ‘headroom to enable them to respond quickly to any future investment opportunities’ But ‘The availability of finance remains more constrained for smaller companies.’
Unemployment figures were published showed a continued rise. ONS, however, confirms retail sales for August were 2.1% higher than August last year and Markit’s survey of labour activity concludes; ‘September data from the Markit/YouGov Household Finance Index (HFI) highlighted a rise in activity at respondents’ workplaces for the first time since the start of the survey in February 2009’.
The FTSE100 posted a second weekly rise, and now stands 47% than 3 March.