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What a year this has been. Let’s hope next Year is better..

By Jeremy Ferguson
This article is published on: 22nd December 2022

At the beginning of this year the World started to ‘wobble’, set off by the Invasion of Ukraine, and rising murmurs about the likelihood of increased inflation, and with that the threat of rising interest rates.

Share prices in companies around the world quickly started to fall, shortly followed by the never-ending spiral of doom and gloom in the news, creating a continuously depressing stream of information showing the Worlds financial markets were taking a downturn. This all came as a bit more of a shock because of the unprecedented period of cheap money, and constantly increasing share prices everyone had become used to over the last ten years.

After the lockdowns I always maintained you couldn’t just stop the world turning without it eventually to have some sort of effect. It just took a while for it to come out in the wash – and now it has. A lot of the delay between stopping economies working, (and a noticeable effect), was the false security provided by what amounted to the printing and the subsequent handing out of money in many countries, to name but one of many factors that occurred during those crazy times.

Eventually, after the factories were closed and businesses shut, supply chain issues came to light. The backlog of empty production lines had to be dealt with. That, coupled with an imbalance between limited supply and a sudden surge in demand, rising transport costs, plus the knock-on effect of the War in Ukraine, have all resulted in inflation going through the roof.

interest rates

Traditionally the central banks around the globe try and control inflation with interest rates, and at the moment they are raising them at one of the fastest rates ever seen in a bid to try and stem the current surge in inflation. The worry for next year will be whether they may slow things too much, as these things tend to have a time lag. We can only wait and see. Higher interest rates are not all bad news, as savers normally benefit from interest on their bank deposits, but this isn’t happening significantly to date. When they are being offered, my experience is that the bank will only allow relatively small amounts to be deposited in these savings accounts offering higher rates.

On top of everything already mentioned, other factors also came to a head this year – the UK started to feel a Brexit effect which has weakened overseas investor confidence and taken its toll on trade. Liz Truss’s infamous UK mini-budget caused UK Government Bonds to fall in value like crazy, and what is usually considered a safe haven for many clients and pension funds, took a drastic downturn.

Recessions normally have an effect on employment, but at the moment this looks ok. Interestingly however, if you look at the US, there are an estimated 4m people off work at the moment due to long covid, so figures there are certainly distorted.
So as you will already have gathered, 2022 really hasn’t been a great year!

Living in Spain is such a privilege for many of us. The doom and gloom out there at the moment seems so much more acceptable when you wake up to beautiful weather almost all of the time. The cost of living has risen, but in general terms Spain is still a lot cheaper to live in than the UK.

They say it’s important to count your blessings, and if the fact we live here is one of them, then I for one am looking forward to 2023.

If you fancy an overview of your finances, even if it’s just to reconfirm your plans are all well founded in light of the ever-changing world, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Article by Jeremy Ferguson

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