City Watch: Global growth prospects are worrying investors, says Mark Marshall

ONCE again investors were last week seeking the comparative safety of US, German and UK Government bonds as persistent worries about the outlook for global growth re-emerged in the face of the eurozone debt crisis.

Latest growth figures from China were not as bad as some had predicted, although weak enough to encourage talk about further fiscal easing in the coming months.

Despite this China’s still managed to grow at 7.6%, a rate EU policy makers can only dream about.

By comparison, a relatively poor start to the US second quarter earnings season, underlined the impact slow growth in Europe is having on the rest of the world.

While EU policy makers consistently fail to find any lasting solution to the euro question, despite some 20 summits, last week’s European Central Bank rate cut and the bailout of the Spanish banks shows that policy makers are at least responding to events if not yet anticipating them.

The latest forecast from the influential Ernst & Young Item Group, predicts an “Indian Summer” as the economy picks up in the second half no doubt boosted by the Olympics, but with the overall outlook of zero growth in 2012. While inflation has cut real wages by 7.5% over the last four years they say the squeeze is nearly over, as falling inflation will lift real wages and support stronger growth in consumer spending.

Last week’s debacle over security at the Olympics has led to downgrades for G4S which last week admitted it was unlikely to fulfil the terms of its security personnel contract, leading to estimates of a �35million to �50m on the contract. The reputational cost could lead to the departure of the chief executive and other senior management.

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: : Mark Marshall is a stockbroker with Charles Stanley & Company in Ipswich

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