The BoE is in a difficult spot. Lower trend growth and a weaker pound mean that if it doesn't hike rates, inflation could remain above target. But if it raises rates too fast, the economy could be hurt should downside risks materialise.
US wage inflation remains subdued. Many believe this is due to workers' fears about automation and offshoring. Yet US consumers believe jobs are 'easy to get' and companies struggle to find labour. This contrasts with Germany in 2004 when the EU expanded eastwards. So second-round effects from low oil prices and ageing demographics appear more plausible explanations.
Developing countries face more favourable demographic prospects than the ageing developed markets. But it takes more than favourable age structure to boost growth. To reap the demographic dividend, many developing countries need much better conditions for employment and investment.
Just like cars, it costs more to maintain an older person than a younger one. Government borrowing could rise by 3% of GDP over the next 20 years as a result of ageing. To offset this, the UK government has squeezed the rest of the public sector in an attempt to balance the books. This seems politically unsustainable. Is the government about to reverse course by ending public sector pay caps?
In 1979, Pink Floyd cried "Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!”. Ironically, this marked a turning point. The contribution to US wage growth from educational attainment appears to have peaked since the early 80s. This is just another brick in the wall in our argument of weaker US trend growth.
We are fast approaching the Chinese leadership reshuffle in late 2017. Attention could turn from the current period of relative calm and stability to the medium-term challenges lying ahead. In this context, we are likely to encounter three myths about China’s growth slowdown.