The idea that there was a global savings glut now having gone out of fashion, some are presently arguing that what we have is an investment dearth (my own view is that these two effectively mean the same thing, since the issue is a relational one). More evidence for this investment dearth hypothesis comes today from the UK.
UK Business investment grew sluggishly in the third quarter, official figures showed, confirming survey evidence that British-based companies are cautious about capital spending even though profit levels are high.
As the FT also notes:
Just as in other European countries, companies have decided to save most of the money they have been making rather than risk investment in new opportunities to generate profit in the future. The reluctance of companies to invest when interest rates are low and the return on the existing capital stock is high has puzzled economists for some time.
Dave Altig had a piece earlier in the week about the BoE rate decision wher he tries to put a brave face on the UK data. This investment news is another little bucket of cold water for the upside optimists. I’m more or less neutral here. The monetary policy committee intimate that the weakening of investment intentions â€œmay also reflect uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the economy in the face of sluggish consumer spending and higher energy pricesâ€. Dave concludes that “Perhaps the uncertainty will lift sooner than later”, and I agree, I’m sure it will: I’m just not sure which way the resolution of the quandry will lead us.