20 April 2009

Green shoots look like so much hot air to me

Now that we're not seeing a banking collapse every couple of weeks as was happening last autumn, thoughts have began to turn to recovery. Business Minister Shriti Vadera was first to see the "green shoots" in January.

And now almost everyone seems to be in on the act: Barack Obama, his economic adviser Larry Summers, Gordon Brown and a whole welter of smaller-scale politicians and advisers.

But what the hell is this new-found confidence based on?

Some dodgy banking results, a share mini-rally which may have stopped in its tracks already and one month's figures on house prices.

The best we can probably say is that the economy is not contracting as fast as it was last year. And that's the best case scenario.

The worst case scenario? I'll leave that to Willem Buiter in the FT.

Meanwhile, we are coolly informed by the Treasury that the banking bailout may have cost the UK taxpayer £60 billion pounds.

If that's "green shoots" I'm the recently deceased JG Ballard.

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