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El Niño is coming. What are the effects on GDP, commodity prices and inflation?

Whilst economic forecasters are currently concerned about falling oil prices and the implications for global growth, weather forecasters worry about the impact an El Niño weather event could have on global weather patterns. In August, America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said there is a 90% chance that the current Niño event will continue through the remainder of the…

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M&G Panoramic Outlook: Jim Leaviss’ views for the second half of 2015

Deflation. Liquidity. Greece. These are the words of 2015 if you are a bond investor. The year started off with a bang, or rather a break, when the Swiss National Bank (SNB) announced the surprise abandonment of the peg with the euro. This was only a mere week before the European Central Bank (ECB) embarked upon an historic quantitative easing programme. Deflation took hold in Europe, governmen…

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The M&G YouGov Inflation Expectations Survey – Q2 2015

A wide range of household decisions – like whether to buy a house, take out a car loan or ask for a pay rise – are affected by expectations about future inflation. Central bankers believe that by closely monitoring inflation expectations they can deepen their understanding about the economic behaviour of consumers. Surveys like the M&G YouGov Inflation Expectations Survey are extremely interest…

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The greater the income share of the rich, the lower the savings rate

If you want to generate economic growth then encourage the rich to spend

In 1714, an Englishman called Bernard Mandeville published his poem entitled “The Fable of the Bees: or Private Vices, Public Benefits”. The satire was about a hive of prosperous bees that were living a life of luxury. One day, some of the bees began to grumble that their lifestyle lacked virtue and the bees subsequently turn away from greed and extravagance. This leads to a rapid loss of prosp…

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Emerging market debt: notes from my recent trip to the IMF Annual Meetings

Last week I attended the IMF’s Annual Meetings in Washington D.C, where I had a series of very interesting meetings with government officials and other world financial leaders. The underlying theme behind most of the discussions was that emerging market countries continue their adjustment into a new phase characterized by less abundant liquidity and lower commodity prices. This adjustment proce…

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Do Central Banks tell us too much for our own good?

I read in The Times last week that the Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (a panel of economists and Bank of England alumni) thinks that the Bank of England should announce a freeze on UK rates for an extended period of time. The Federal Reserve also had this policy (now replaced by even more explicit guidance about the unemployment rate and inflation levels), as did the Bank of Canada. In the pa…

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