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December 2011: That Was the Year That Was

That Was The Year That Was - Now Hit Replay

In the closing days of the year, the Eurozone finally shoved a stick in the ground in an effort to make a stand but that was immediately dismissed by some screen-savants as a short-term measure that might “get us to Christmas” and our commentators agreed about its short term nature.

So the stick might swiftly turn to straw and the ground to shifting sands and more to the point, the contagion in the form of belt tightening and reduced access to funds will increase the chances of further slow down in China and a general squeezing of supply in the growth engines of emerging markets.

But the region will continue to provide a glimmer of hope and where there is light there is a way. Alexandra Tracy, marking a decade for Asia’s very own Sustainable Investment body, ASrIA says there is a steady move to cleaning up the way we do business and that has to be good for investors and she doubts there will be a return to a war footing despite the grumblings in the Middle East, which has to be a good thing for everyone. Mark Konyn, in control and firmly holding the key to his next move, admonishes the Eurozone for its inertia and agrees that it will get worse before it gets better. Philip Bowring, once editor of the revered and now long gone Far Eastern Economic Review, takes a long view that recognises the shifting economic sands are moving east but resists the China euphoria and cautions that the emerging markets will suffer at the hands of this downturn too.

Our nun on the forecourt of St Paul’s Cathedral quite naturally puts her faith in God and calls on Him to sort out the world’s financial mess, but given that the scene has moved from a couple of usurer’s tables at the church steps to streets lined with faceless glass buildings replete with floors of trading screens and computer programmes, I think he might defer to Laurel and Hardy - “That’s another fine mess you got us into Ollie….”

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