Category Archives:

inflation

Diverging fortunes of inflation expectations in the US and Europe

Inflation expectations in the US and Europe have been diverging lately and it comes as no real surprise, of course. After all, annual GDP growth in the US was running at a healthy rate of 2.6% in real terms in Q4 2018. The unemployment rate has fallen below 4%, putting upward pressure on wages, while economic sentiment indicators, such as PMIs, are in firmly expansionary territory. In stark con…

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The war of the indices: which inflation measure to use?

After a lengthy review, Britain’s House of Lords has finally said that the inflation index presently used to price inflation-linked securities, train fares or student loans should be replaced. Instead, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) should become the new benchmark, as it includes more items and has an overall higher credibility. So far, so good – except if you are an investor.

The statistics b…

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Panoramic Weekly: Patient Fed boosts markets

Goldilocks, one of investors’ favourite economic scenarios, seems to have returned in the new year after almost vanishing in 2018: a strong US jobs report and dovish comments from US Federal Reserve (Fed) chair Jerome Powell have reinstated the not-too-hot, not-too-cold environment that combines relatively low rates and good-enough economic growth – supporting risk assets. US High Yield spreads…

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Panoramic Weekly: The US vs. the world

Prices of most global corporate bonds rose over the past five trading days, as above-expectations US economic data fuelled the dollar, took US equities to new heights, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed its US growth prospects while cutting those for the Eurozone, Britain and Japan. The risk-on optimism left behind Emerging Markets (EM) sovereign debt, hit by the protracted US-…

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Japan: weakening growth and inflation, and an unpopular government

I was in Tokyo last week, seeing a mix of economists, JGB experts and clients.  I was also awesome at karaoke, dressed as an astronaut.

The last time I was in Japan, over a year ago, I came away thinking there was a decent chance that the Bank of Japan would abandon its zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) as it was damaging banks’ profits, and sending a negative signal to Japanese households and b…

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The UK’s ONS admits an error again. Is ‘The Wedge’ poised to go even higher?

The Financial Times today ran a story that the ONS has admitted errors in its measurement of the telecoms sector. It seems that the ONS has effectively been focussed on output of the telecom sector as based on turnover of the providers, and making a price assumption of the goods and services they sell. On this methodology, the ONS shows prices of telecoms were flat between 2010 and 2015, and tu…

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Mexico: a primer. Elections, inflation, the Bank of Mexico, NAFTA and gasoline

I’m just back from a fascinating research trip to Mexico City, to meet with policymakers, bankers, politicians, analysts, pension funds and regulators.  Like many emerging market economies, the Mexican economy has suffered over the past couple of years due to lower commodity prices and weak global demand for goods.  Of course, Mexico has had its own unique challenge with Donald Trump’s election…

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UK CPI continues to overshoot the target

CPI now 2.9% up from 2.6% last month, above expectations and overshooting the Bank of England forecast

UK CPI is now within a hair’s breadth of requiring a letter to the Chancellor. RPI increased to 3.9% from 3.6%, which was also above expectations. The increased fuel prices were expected this month, but August is also a high inflation month given transport price hikes that take place as people head away for their holidays, and as clothing and footwear prices are hiked with the new season’s coll…

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The 2nd largest bailout in British history and its economic effects

The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 formally freed 800,000 Africans who were then the legal property of Britain’s slave owners. What is less well known is that the same act contained a provision for the financial compensation of the owners of those slaves, by the British taxpayer, for the loss of their “property”. The compensation commission was the government body established to evaluate the cla…

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