Inflation Surprises – what’s driving the current increases in market- and survey-based indicators of inflation expectations?

(blog originally posted on www.bruegel.org)

Euro area consumer price inflation, as measured by the HICP, continues to undershoot the ECB’s target of “close to, but below 2%”, currently at -0.1% in March. While it is still too early to tell if the ECB QE programme launched on March 9 will manage to bring back inflation towards the target in the medium term, a look at market- and survey-based inf…

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15.04.16 blog RW

Greece, the currency vigilantes and the Expulso solution

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…

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What are index-linked corporate bonds telling us at the moment?

When in past years I have fielded calls from bankers faintly like Chad ‘Ace’ Jefferson III (A Brave New World: Zero Yield Corporate Bonds) requesting any potential interest in new index-linked corporate bond issues, I have often begun my feedback by pointing to an old maxim. This well-known dogma posits that an index-linked corporate bond should price 25 basis points or so wider than a comparab…

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Explaining the collapse in global inflation rates – step forward China

We’ve been worried for years about the prospect of a sharp slowdown in China and the knock on implications for those countries and companies that have grown reliant on a strong China over the last decade, namely commodity exporters, some emerging markets, and particularly emerging market commodity exporters (eg see If China’s economy rebalances and growth slows, as it surely must, then who’s sc…

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b3kLK_frame_25

Competition winners for Richard Koo’s book: 10 copies of The Escape from Balance Sheet Recession and the QE Trap

Richard Koo popped by our office a few weeks ago to discuss his most recent book The Escape from Balance Sheet recession and the QE Trap.  You can see the interview here.  We asked who was the Japanese prime minister in 1997 who oversaw arguably Japan’s biggest policy error post the collapse of Japan’s debt fuelled bubble, and the answer was Ryutaro Hashimoto.

It is perhaps a little harsh to im…

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Tweet inflation survey March 15

The M&G YouGov Inflation Expectations Survey – Q1 2015

Economic policy hawks love inflation expectation surveys. As do bond fund managers, who like to keep a close eye on inflation to ensure that fixed income returns aren’t being eroded away. Provided that inflation expectations are close to target, we tend to argue expectations are well anchored and thus central bankers can rest easy. However, the monetary policy actions undertaken by many central…

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The improvement in the US jobs market is quantitatively huge – but qualitatively mediocre

The condition of the US labour market is one of the hot topics in the ongoing “will they / won’t they” Fed rate hiking debate, and as Bloomberg’s Economic Surprises screen shows, this sector is the only area of the economy outperforming expectations of late.

Labour market indicators continue to impress, with employment indicators strong on many measures. Initial Jobless Claims have dropped to …

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Krafty work – 3G and Berkshire Hathaway continue to play the arbitrage theme

Almost two years ago to the day we wrote about a return of animal spirits, the LBO of Heinz by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G, and the significant role debt had to play in the transaction. Yesterday Heinz announced that it is to merge with Kraft Foods to create the fifth largest food and beverage company in the world. The transaction will see Berkshire Hathaway and 3G invest an additional $10bn in t…

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b3kLK_frame_25

An interview with Richard Koo: The Escape from Balance Sheet Recession and the QE Trap

For years the Western world mocked Japan’s attempts to recover from its spectacular debt-fuelled boom and bust, blaming the Bank of Japan for doing far too little and far too late, and lamenting Japanese fiscal stimulus as extreme recklessness, where the only achievement has been to propel Japan’s debt levels into the stratosphere.

Now, seven years after much of the developed world’s own debt …

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2015-03 blog

Falling consumer and oil prices may not provide the boost to growth many are expecting

The spectre of deflation currently haunts central bankers around the world, though many of us would question whether the true effects of falling prices are being felt in the real economy and more importantly in consumers’ wallets.

According to the results of the M&G YouGov Inflation Expectations Survey over the past two years, European consumers often believe that inflation in one and five year…

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