The Economic Outlook for the Next Few Years Is …

By Chris Skinner via

I was lucky enough to be invited to a conference of the great and the good managing one of the large economies of Europe the other day.

It was in a fine location, with lots of dignitaries, media coverage, security guards and German shepherds. On that last point, the dogs, not guys herding sheep.

Anyways, I enjoyed it, but it was all very formal. All the men were wearing suits and ties and I’ve grown so accustomed to my FinTech uniform these days that, for me, dressing up is wearing a button-up shirt and a jacket with my jeans. Felt a little bit out of place, but hey, at least I didn’t look like the old men in the audience in general.

It was interesting, as the audience did compromise many banks and bankers, which is why I was on the agenda. They wanted to talk about FinTech. But they also had sessions on the world economic outlook, emerging markets, risk and the specifics related to the Eurozone.

The first session focused open the global economy and, because it was held under The Chatham House Rule, I am unable to tell you who discussed this! I can tell you it was a panel of very esteemed economists and, suffice to say, they had a lot of detailed charts and dialogue about numbers and stuff. There was also a lot of agreement that the outlook is a little bit bleak. Although the collective noun for a group of economists is a confusion, this group was not that confused. In fact, they all seemed to be in agreement that the outlook is uncertain; there are huge concerns about trade tensions and a new Cold War between America and China; Brexit is bringing Europe down but then so is contraction in the German, French and Italian economies; and that here is a synchronised movement towards a global slowdown.

It won’t be a meltdown (although I forecast there will be one soon), but a slowdown. As Nouriel Roubini, a former adviser to the White House, recently wrote in The Guardianthis will be because central banks are on the case:

Though there is a cloud over the global economy, the silver lining is that it has made the major central banks more dovish, starting with the Fed and the People’s Bank of China, and quickly followed by the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and others.

Click here to read more on Iris.