I attended a conference last week where European Central Bank (ECB) bashing was approaching fever pitch. The crux of the argument goes a little something like this:
“The ECB have lost the plot. Monetary policy has become impotent. The ECB is at the lower bound and the law of diminishing returns results only in an ever greater misallocation of resources, punishing savers and rewarding speculatio… Read the article
The world has seen negative interest rates before – Switzerland set interest rates below zero for foreigners in the 1970s in order to slow flows into the Franc. But today’s negative rate environment is far more widespread, with Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, and the Eurozone all setting negative policy rates. Lots has been written about the intended transmission mechanisms of negative r… Read the article
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… Read the article
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… Read the article
As the old adage goes, markets don’t like uncertainty. And yet in just under two months we have a UK election, about which the only degree of confidence that anybody has is that the UK will have a second successive hung parliament – the key question is whether the UK ends up hung to the left, or to the right, or we get a potentially painful outcome somewhere in between.
So we thought it worthwh… Read the article
Historically I’ve struggled with the concept of gold as an investment. Presumably if you bought gold for this purpose you would want to store it somewhere safe and insure it. However, investors in gold should account for the fact that there is a cost to sleeping well at night. Vaults and insurance don’t come for free, and that cost can be thought of as a negative yield or the demurrage of gold…. Read the article
Halloween is around the corner and that can only mean one thing… scary chart time. Every year around this time, we highlight economic variables and statistics that could give central bankers nightmares. If stuff like non-performing loans, bad forecasts and big numbers scare you then it is probably time to turn off your computer screen and forget you ever saw this blog. The following is not for … Read the article
The results of the August 2014 M&G YouGov Inflation Expectations Survey suggest that inflation expectations have moderated across the UK, most European countries and Asia. Short-term inflation expectations in the UK have fallen from 2.3% to 2.2% after an upwards bounce in the May survey. However, over a five year period, expectations remain unchanged at 3.0% for the 7th consecutive quarter. UK … Read the article
Richard recently wrote about the exceptional times in bond markets. Despite bond yields at multi-century lows and central banks across the developed world undertaking massive balance sheet expansions the global recovery remains uneven.
Whilst the macro data in the US and UK continues to point to a decent if unspectacular recovery, the same cannot be said for the Eurozone. Indeed finding data to… Read the article
Whether or not you believe that the ECB moves to full government bond purchase quantitative easing this week (and the market overwhelmingly says that it’s only a remote possibility) the fact that German bund yields at the 2 year maturity remain positive is a bit surprising. The 2 year bund currently yields 0.05%, lower than the 0.2% it started the year at, but higher than you might have expecte… Read the article