Outlook: No sympathy
Wednesday 12 May 1999
Still, it would be easier to feel sympathy for plucky manufacturers struggling with the burden of a strong pound if they had shown themselves able to take advantage of the weak pound between September 1992 and mid-1996. In fact, manufacturing output grew by just 7 per cent in those four years, despite a surging economy.
Over the same period, the level of manufacturing productivity in the UK rose 6 per cent - only a third of the increase achieved by French and German manufacturers, who were then labouring under their own strong exchange rate. With that record, the claim by the ever-vocal manufacturing lobby that everything would be hunky-dory if only the Bank of England could bring the pound down has to be treated with scepticism. There is nothing in Britain's recent economic history to support the view that industry's problems would be solved by the panacea of depreciation. The behaviour of sterling in the past three years is a brief aberration in a long history of currency - and manufacturing - decline.
The Monetary Policy Committee signalled last week that if the pound does stay high it might cut interest rates again. The nine experts will certainly continue to come under pressure from business organisations and those unions staging a circus of protests on Threadneedle Street.
But if the high exchange rate does provide a rationale for lower interest rates, it is not because industry is still in the doldrums. Rather, the strong pound is a reflection of the strength of the rest of the British economy. The strength of the pound might yet allow borrowing costs to fall further, but that will be no thanks to manufacturing.
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 It's not just the savagery of Isis that is shocking – its weaponry is too
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Sir Paul McCartney makes his stance on Scottish independence known
PM sets out tough new anti-terror measures in response to heightened threat
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...
£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...