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Huw Thomas writes and provides his view on the last and the next 12 months for us.

wantspacegotspace.co.uk - Huw ThomasOut with the old, in with the new! In the eyes of the Chinese,’ The year of the Dragon’ becomes ‘The Year of the Snake’. So what does 2013 hold for us?

2012 brought the Queen’s Jubilee & an unprecedented sporting extravaganza in the UK with the Olympics & Paralympics(not to mention our Bradley’s magnificent exploits in ‘Le Tour’).Take a bow Mr Coe & co, Danny Boyle etc! But after the Lord Mayors Party, it’s back down to earth with a bump, as the public & private sectors intensify their quest for efficiencies, in the face of intense competition, a continuing Eurozone Crisis, global debt & the alarming new sound bite ‘Fiscal Cliff’!!

Interest rates have been at an all time low of 0.5% for 4 years now with little discernible impact on the economy. And the ‘laxative’ Quantitative Easing has had little or no effect either.

Inflation remains relatively low at 2.5-2.7% but irritatingly above the government’s target of 2%.All of which would not necessarily be a problem if the economy was growing but sustained GDP growth remains elusive. Indeed, after some modest respite from recession & ‘double dips’ at the end of 2012, most commentators are forecasting minimal growth or ‘flatlining’ for 2013 whilst others are whispering ‘triple dip’.

On the positive side, unemployment is falling, down again 0.2% in November to 7.8% albeit with huge regional variations. So why doesn’t it feel like it?Partly some suspect because of the number of temporary / part time jobs  & training contracts. Thankfully the FTSE has broken through the psychological 6000 barrier, a rise of almost 10% in 12 months, & currently at a 4 year high – good news at last for shareholders & pensions.   

In the retail sector, Jessops is the latest high street casualty, following the demise of Comet, JJB Sports,Clinton Cards, Peacocks & others, victims of reduced consumer spending, out of town retail & a burgeoning on line shopping culture. So called experts tell us city centres need to reinvent themselves…easier said than done in Cardiff Newport & Swansea, leave alone Maesteg, Merthyr & Ebbw Vale.

And the services sector, which now apparently accounts for over 50% of the UK economy is patchy, outside the economic powerhouse of London, with continued uncertainty & overcapacity.
But the Industrial sector which accounts for 10% of the UK economy, has at least experienced something of a resurgence & had an encouraging end to the year with unexpected if modest growth.

Despite all the doom & gloom however, there seems to be an increasing acceptance that we are where we are & although the next 12 months may be bumpy, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Enquiries for commercial property are on the increase & agents report being busier than last year.So with a following wind & no more bad news from the banks, 2013 could be the Snake that turned the corner!!!

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 11th January 2013 (updated 15/01/2013)

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