Cantillon: The breeze of ‘mild reflationary tailwinds’

Davy’s Donal O’Mahony extremely bullish about the prospects for the economy

If you have been experiencing an unfamiliar sensation in your nether regions recently, it may be well be the “mild reflationary tailwinds” that have usurped the “exhausted debt-deflationary headwinds” that we have become familiar with.

So holds Donal O’Mahony, global strategist with Davy, who even by his own standards is extremely bullish about the prospects for the economy.

He believes a virtuous circle is forming, with economic activity, rising asset prices and confidence levels all feeding off each other.

If things continue along this path, then it is realistic to talk of Irish debt-to-GDP ratios of less than 80 per cent by 2020. They peaked at 123 per cent in 2013.

This in turn makes it feasible that we will regain our treasured AAA credit rating by 2018 and, indeed, he argues that by some measures we are close to this level of creditworthiness already.

It is an attractive prospect but it comes with the usual caveats about wider events beyond our control and also the recurring theme of political risk which cropped up this week in the fiscal advisory council’s report.

The council has warned of politics leading us to repeat the mistakes of the past.

O’Mahony himself references the climbdown over water charges.

Great comfort

However, he takes great comfort from the strengthened Growth and Stability Pact, the Fiscal Compact and the

Banking Union

which circumscribe policymaking and which one presumes hold our politicians in check.

“Irish sovereign creditworthiness is being protected . . . from itself,” he concludes.

Should we be reassured or just embarrassed by what passes for politics here?