You might have gathered - if you've read my previous posts - that I'm quite fond of a quote or two. And the economic news this week has reminded me of another old favourite line from Oscar Wilde: "Whenever people agree with me, I always feel I must be wrong". 

I have to confess, when I wrote at the start of the year of my personal frustrations with the kitchen work we're having done (and its escalating costs and supply chain woes), I hesistated before mentioning the dreaded word "stagflation". At the time, I reflected that had you even mentioned this in the Autumn - when the Prime Minister was robustly rejecting any concerns of spiralling inflation and lower growth - that you might have been thought a prophet of doom, or catastrophist. Well, if it had seemed a bold claim in January, it now feels the whole world is joining in the 'stagflation' chorus. I find it quite enlightening to ask the Google 'trends' tool to display how frequently a word is appearing in use over time, and the current chart for the usage of the term "stagflation" over a ten-year period shows an alarming ramp upwards in the past month or so.

So, do I feel smug or vindicated? Not at all. I don't claim to have any special insight into this, but it is interesting how my personal anecdote was just a small reflection of the brewing combination of factors that were feeding into this particularly bleak concoction. And, of course, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated and made the challenging situation even worse (although, of course, bleakest of all for the poor people of Ukraine).

I have no reason to think the current outlook is any better or worse than the view presented by the Bank this week, but I would add one further thought. Taking a view of the whole economy is like watching a tide coming in and out, but the every day practicalities of business are much more akin to riding the waves. The best companies are robust, and have reserves both financially and strategically to be able to continue to grow even when facing the strongest headwinds. But there will be those who are not prepared for the gathering storm. And contrary to the unfair public perception of an insolvency practitioner, whilst I suspect I may have a busy year ahead, I can't take much pleasure for those who are going to find the waves too much to bear.