|Source: Met Office|
As anyone resident in the UK would be able to testify, the weather over the period of the year formerly known as summer has been a little...shall we say...inclement?
Chelsea Flower Show week aside, it has been a seemingly endless series of storms caused by a system of low pressure. This has had the inverse effect on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, however, with the pressure moving higher and higher. This culminated yesterday with the release of an extremely poor figure for growth in the UK economy, indicating that the economy had shrunk by 0.7% over the period to the end of June.
Is this that surprising, though? The weather must surely have been a contributory factor. Consider building projects, for example. It is, after all, extremely difficult to get concrete to set in the rain. Retailers, too, have had a difficult summer, with shops full of flip flops and swimming costumes, rather than umbrellas and sou’westers.
Other evidence, too, is painting a contradictory picture, with employment actually rising over the period. I suspect, then, that the figures reflect more a deferral of activity that will be resumed once the weather improves.
It would be unwise, however, to think that this would have had no effect on corporate profits. It would be equally unwise to think that this has not increased the pressure on Mr Osborne to consider alternatives to his existing policies.