1. We are at the point of peak oil pass through: January and February 2016 saw oil prices reach their lows ($34.25 Brent January 20th and $26.21 WTI, February 11th), so this week’s inflation numbers will see some high year-on-year oil price base effects, as will February’s. This is one of the main reasons why we have been seeing significant rises in inflation in recent months.
2. The upward mar… Read the article
The IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies) Green Budget hit the headlines last week with its forecast that, over the course of this parliament, the UK tax burden is set to rise to its highest level in 30 years. The IFS has calculated that by 2020 the proportion of national income raised through taxes will increase to 37%.
I was at the presentation, and the more concerning issue for me was the rathe… Read the article
The financial world is a scary place. Debt, disinflation and deteriorating growth have plagued investors over the past year, plunging bond yields into negative territory in a number of countries. Perhaps most frighteningly, it is now eight years since the financial crisis and central banks in the developed world continue to employ an ultra-easy monetary policy stance. With government bond marke… Read the article
I wrote ahead of the UK referendum that I felt front end index-linked bonds were a good way to play the uncertainty surrounding the result, given the fact that they have crucial non-binary hedge characteristics. Since the result, breakevens (i.e. the market’s expectation of future inflation) have behaved exactly as expected, rallying. The chart below shows how nominal yields have collapsed to r… Read the article
Earlier this week Richard Woolnough wrote a blog about negative rates and tax on interest. In it he also suggested that once the ECB stops printing the €500 note and ends issuance of its existing notes at the end of 2018, the legacy notes will trade at a premium. The argument is that because the notes will remain legal tender across the Eurozone, demand for a note with the lowest storage cost… Read the article
There has been much discussion recently that by introducing negative rates central banks are effectively taxing savings. This is self-explanatory, and is one of the criticisms of how negative rates can distort economic behaviour. This however is not a new phenomenon. Let’s not forget that money has always been effectively clipped by the traditional enemy of savers – inflation. Fortunately, hol… Read the article
2015 saw global inflation risk premia collapse, led by the developed world. US, UK and European annual inflation rates spent most of the year at or around zero with numerous dips into negative territory. Short dated breakevens correspondingly fell to levels that we last saw during the financial crisis (well, to be fair, they went far lower back then, but we are still at crisis levels today), an… Read the article
There has long been a well-known ‘wedge’ in the UK index linked bond market, since the bonds pay RPI and the Bank of England targets CPI. The wedge is the difference between these two price indices, and over the long term is thought to be approximately 1%. So over the long term, and with all sorts of caveats, RPI will be around 1% higher than CPI. The reasons for the wedge are essentially that … Read the article
I blogged in 2014 with good news for cake lovers; falling soft commodity prices indicated that the cost of baking cakes was getting cheaper. Unfortunately (and in contrast to hard commodity prices, notably oil recently hitting new post global financial crisis lows), the final quarter of 2015 depicted a reversal in trend with soft commodity prices on the rise.
In September we discussed the pote… Read the article
One of the major factors that has enabled inflation to stay low despite the economic strength in major western economies has been the fall in the price of oil. Given the huge price volatility over the past 18 months it is interesting to depict the falling influence of oil on actual end inflation.
In the UK, the most direct way that changes in the oil price affect inflation is through petrol pri… Read the article