Author profile

Richard Woolnough

Years in the bond markets: 28

Specialist subjects: Government and corporate bonds

Likes: Running, cycling

Heroes: Mohammed Ali, Winston Churchill

15.10.28 blog RW1

The real data – the Phillips curve is alive and well

One of the first rules of economics is that the equilibrium market price is generated by relative supply and demand. Limited supply or excess demand should result in an increase in price. One of the questions that has arisen in the post financial crisis world is why have wages not increased despite unemployment heading towards historically low levels? Given the improvement in data such as headl…

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2015-09 blog RW

We are there – nothing to fear

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) are due to meet on Thursday and most economists expect a dovish set of minutes to accompany the announcement of no change in the BoE base rate. Additionally, the minutes will likely emphasise the risks of a persistent undershoot in UK inflation given the continued fall in commodity prices and waning global demand. Despite these risks, the MP…

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The inherent monetary policy lag

Timing the Fed Rate Hike

The graph below shows US unemployment alongside the Fed rate over a period of 45 years. From this you can observe the broad relationship between the two, specifically the time delays between Fed rate hikes and the upturn in employment which has historically followed. This time the Fed have delayed the rate hike for a number of reasons, but if history is anything to go by, we can perhaps use thi…

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The US unemployment report: challenging the payroll consensus

The US unemployment report for April highlighted the continuation of the economic recovery. The market is now in the habit of viewing a job creation number of anything less than 200,000 as a weak result for the labour market and anything more than 300,000 as a strong result. Anything in between and the conclusion amongst economists is this: the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is on hold, e…

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15.04.16 blog RW

Greece, the currency vigilantes and the Expulso solution

It has been a while since we have discussed the economics of the single currency, but once again the issue of its suitability for all its members is at the forefront of economic concerns, as Greece faces some difficult decisions.

The financial crisis has taught us a number of lessons: fiscal policy works, monetary policy works, better regulation is beneficial for the financial sector, confidenc…

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Operation normalise

The Fed has basically used three major themes in response to the financial crisis from a monetary point of view:

  1. Lower short term rates
  2. Quantitative easing
  3. Operation twist – an attempt to flatten the yield curve

The Fed has communicated that it now expects the first move in normalising rates as the economy recovers will be to increase short term rates. Personally I think there are other alter…

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The zero bound debate – are negative rates a tightening of policy?

Matt’s and James’s recent blogs outlined some of the issues markets face when rates go negative. This is obviously no longer just a theoretical debate, but has real investment implications. Why do investors accept sub-zero rates when they can hold cash ?

To recap using Swiss Francs for example, it makes sense for a saver from a purely economic view not to deposit a Swiss Franc note into a negat…

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UK QE and asset prices

Conservative QE and the zero bound.

It has been a while since we talked about QE, but we covered this substantially in the past (see for example ‘Sub Zero?’,  ‘QE – quite extraordinary‘ and ‘Quantitative easing – walking on custard‘). It now appears, at least for the time being, to be a part of monetary history in the UK, and more recently the US. However, it is being reapplied in Japan and about to do a grand tour of Europe. Our…

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US Jobless claims as a percentage of the labour force is now at multi-decade lows

I blogged last year about the state of the US labour market and given the recent release of September’s initial jobless claims data, this seems like a good time to revisit these ideas.

US Initial Jobless Claims is an unemployment indicator which tracks the number of people who have filed jobless claims for the first time, representing the flow of people receiving unemployment benefits.  The Sep…

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The lesson the Japanese economy has for the developed world

One of the most commonly reported themes in financial markets today is the fear of disinflation/deflation, and how monetary authorities need to take economic action to avoid becoming the “next Japan”. In February I commented on the fact that the fear of disinflation and deflation is not as logically straight forward as you may think. I think the common assumption that developed economies do not…

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