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economic growth

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Robert Gordon’s “The Rise and Fall of American Growth”. An interview, and win a copy of his book.

Professor Robert Gordon of North-Western University was in town this week to give speeches at Prospect Magazine (which is ace by the way) and the LSE.  His latest book, “The Rise and Fall of American Growth” was released earlier this year, and is a tremendously powerful antidote to the wave of techno-optimism we might feel when we see shiny electric cars and gadgets coming out of Silicon Valley…

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A look at the Swiss economy a year after the currency peg break

A year ago today the Swiss National Bank (SNB) unexpectedly discontinued its CHF peg against the euro, causing huge moves in the FX markets. On the anniversary of the peg removal I thought it would be interesting to see how the Swiss economy has developed over the past twelve months.

Swiss economy robust, but not immune during 2015

The Swiss economy actually proved to be quite resilient in 2015…

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The Euro, confidence and consumption will drive European GDP

It has been difficult to filter through the noise of the Greece situation these past few months. But when you stop and have a look at the economic backdrop, things don’t look as bad as some of the alarming headlines might have you believe. Some significant economic headwinds have turned into tailwinds, which will likely drive European growth for the next 18 months.

1. The Euro

In April, the Eu…

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An interview with Diane Coyle: GDP A Brief but Affectionate History. And win a copy of the book.

One of my favourite economic reads of 2014 was Diane Coyle’s book about an economic statistic – GDP. Whilst monarchs had been trying to take inventories of the national wealth since the Doomsday Book and earlier (so they could tax it!), the idea that you should rigorously measure economic activity is under one hundred years old. But the concept of Gross Domestic Product has now become central …

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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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An interview with Ed Conway: The Summit, the story of Bretton Woods. And win a signed copy of the book.

Last week, Sky’s Ed Conway came in to talk about his brilliant book “The Summit”, the story behind the Bretton Woods conference that tried to organise the structure of the global economy in the aftermath of the Second World War, and enshrined the dominance of the US dollar as the world’s currency.

The conference took place as the war was still raging, both in Europe in the weeks after D-Day, a…

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Two devils in the US inflation detail

US inflation has been surprisingly low for a few months after a peak in May 2014. According to the latest data released in September, core CPI (i.e. excluding food & energy) stands at just 1.7% with much of this weakness caused by declining goods prices. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the average price of imports, excluding fuel, has not increased in six months. A stronger…

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It’s the regulation, stupid: the ECB’s ABS purchase programme

The ECB is finally joining the Quantitative Easing (QE) party. Un-sterilised asset purchases have been a major policy tool in most of the developed world over the past few years but next month (as the Fed ends theirs, incidentally) the ECB will make its first foray into QE proper by embarking on an asset backed security (ABS) purchase programme.

Through this programme, focused on “simple, trans…

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“Global greying” could mean getting used to ultra-low bond yields

The developed world is going through an unprecedented demographic change – “global greying”. This change is having a massive impact on asset prices and resources as populations around the world get older and live longer. It is also having an impact on the effectiveness of monetary policy. We would typically expect older populations to be less sensitive to interest rate changes as they are large…

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Race to the Bottom: Eurozone Inflation Rates

In principle, the European Central Bank (ECB) is well in line with its price stability objective, which it defines as a “year-on-year increase in the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) for the euro area of below 2%”. Nonetheless, July inflation numbers released last week bring the currency union as a whole dangerously close to deflationary territory. The aggregate HICP annual rate of ch…

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