Roddy Graham's Blog: 17 October 2008 - Hold onto your hats
17 October 2008
Roddy Graham is chairman of the ICFM and commercial director of Leasedrive Velo
You don't know which way to turn - one day the markets are up, the next they are down.
First, the financial markets. Last week saw an end-of-week revival on the world's stock markets as 'Super Gordon' came to the global financial rescue. Even Bush Baby followed his lead.
Apparently armed with more mobiles than you get through in a decade and more contacts in his black book than Hugh Hefner, Brown is being hailed a hero around the globe.
He was even invited by the French to participate at a Euro finance ministers' meeting last week to give attendees the benefits of his experience. He's now trying to orchestrate a global financial summit as the markets dive once more on fears of recession compounded by rumours of a slowing Chinese economy.
Second, the oil markets. US oil prices are now dropping to $70 a barrel, half of what they were at their record high earlier in the year. Asda has dropped its price of unleaded to 99 pence a litre, saving a driver an average £10 per fill-up.
Third, the used car markets. After used car values had dropped by unprecedented levels (in some cases a full year's depreciation in the space of several months) news comes in from a couple of auction houses that prices have seen a slight rise in September. How long that will be sustained will be a matter of conjecture, especially as finance on used car purchases has all but frozen up.
Whichever way you turn, the markets are topsy-turvy and the one key element lacking is confidence. After all, that's why governments are injecting such huge amounts of taxpayers' money into bolstering up the financial system by part-nationalising banks.
In my opinion, there are two further problems. As I have said before, there are too many people willingly talking themselves into a recession. So substitute a 'positive attitude' for 'confidence'.
Next, there seems to be a 'head in the sand' mentality about those working the money markets. Why are they suddenly shocked about talk of a recession? We've all known it's been coming for some time. What we don't know is how deep it will be, and for how long it will last. Again, positive attitudes can do a lot to shorten the time and the severity.
Meanwhile, hold on to your seatbelts, the ride will continue to be bumpy!