Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Some Good News Stories in a Time of Recession.

With headlines daily telling us of all the bad news is it little wonder that we can fail to see the positives about what has happened in the world? We know that the media tend to focus on the negative, after all bad news sells best. So are there actually some positives in this climate called recession? Let’s take a look at some good stories.

  • Market valuations are attractive. Share valuations in general are seen to be at either normal historical levels or at very attractive levels. We’ve all heard from people such as Warren Buffett about buying when others are selling. Of course not everyone will have the spare cash to spend at this time but if you do it’s a great opportunity.

  • Banks return to old values. It used to be that banks stood for prudence, risk management, control and transparency. Having deviated from the old values we all understood of banks they are once again returning to the principles which will, at the end of the day, leave the banking system stronger.

  • Spending and saving has a reality check. In the last couple of decades many Western countries have experienced a huge increase in indebtedness coupled with a dramatic drop in saving rates. This has been brought on by the mindset of wanting everything now rather than having to wait, and a perceived view that increases in house and share prices would offset the failure to save.

  • In the short term this will be a painful adjustment for some but over time this will be a major positive. Personal finances will become more stable and controllable. “A deeper, potentially positive, meaning to the decline in consumer spending is that people are now moving back to more prudent, income-based lifestyles” said Dan Richards, a US based adviser.

  • A synchronized global response by central bankers. In sharp contrast to historical responses from the central banks of the past there has been a coordinated and cooperative response to the world economic situation. There appears to be a resolute commitment from all parties to do whatever it takes to keep the financial system afloat and to provide the stimulus to get economic growth restarted.

  • A drop in interest rates as our own OCR drops to a record low of 3.5%. Obviously good news for those with mortgages but not so good for investors. The catch here is that many borrowers have placed their mortgages on fixed rates and now a rush to break these terms has kept banks busy. Breaking fixed rates can be very expensive but if you do the sums it may be beneficial to do so.

    Did you know that the following businesses all started in a recession? Yes, that’s right spanning the Great Depression which started with Black Tuesday October 1929, the hard times in the 50s and the more recent recession post 9/11 these companies started in business: HP, Sports Illustrated, Burger King Corp and Wikipedia Foundation.


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