The best economic charts you'll see for weeks

The best economic charts you'll see for weeks

Ever wondered what inflation was like in the dark ages, or what the price of gold was in medieval times? Wonder no longer.

Jim Reid of Deutsche Bank has helpfully collected together a whole load of magical historical statistics in his latest assessment of the markets.The overriding point is that, economically-speaking at least, we’re living in unprecedented times. So are we? You be the judge (and you can click on the charts for a bigger version):

The Bank of England’s main interest rate going back to 1694. Yes:it really currently as low as it has ever been since the Bank was set up.

The equivalent figure for the Dutch central bank. Again: we’re at the lowest level in history.

Here’s the interest rate on the benchmark US Treasury bond going back to 1790. Again, these rates – as set by the market rather than a central bank, are at the lowest level in recorded history. And I’d humbly add that my own research suggests that this stands all the way back to the late 17th Century as well as the late 18th Century.

This is the biggest budget deficit in peacetime. And the same also goes for the UK.

Deficits from around the world. It doesn’t look particularly good anywhere – though note the country with the dotted line which was the only one in positive territory before the crisis: Spain.

Behold on the left: inflation since 1209. Nuff said. Although as with any long-range statistical series it’s worth remembering that the further back the data goes the less reliable it will be (based as it is more on scraps of price data rather than a statistically significant survey)

On the right hand side: gold prices going all the way back to the 13th Century. You can see the effect of the glut of gold discovered in the New world in the 16th century which weighs on the price – and then the recent spikes in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

This article is also available on the Sky News website.