Brexit is like Bitcoin: it is bound to disappoint

Brexit and Bitcoin both start with the letter “b”. Does the similarity stop here? As it turns out, no. Both these words refer to concepts that are quite alike. Of the two, Bitcoin is probably the least toxic.

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The great Fed unwind could cause market turmoil

A recent working paper published by the International Monetary Fund looks at the impact of unconventional monetary policy on an open economy, taking Canada’s case as an example.

The paper’s main finding is that unconventional monetary policy by the Canadian central bank has had expansionary effects on the Canadian economy. Continue reading

The European Union is still the best place for global talent

Continental Western Europe, and the European Union in particular, have often been criticised as stagnant bureaucracies that impede creativity and growth. The US and UK economies have been praised as the places to go for people who wanted to see their careers thrive.

It is true that the Anglo-Saxon model, with its focus on free markets, works best for entrepreneurial types – witness the absolute dominance of Silicon Valley in the world of tech, or the City of London in banking.

And yet, when it comes to developing, attracting and retaining talent, it looks like the EU — or at least Western Europe and countries associated with the EU — are still the best places.

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The ‘Brexit divorce bill’ will be the easiest to agree upon

As we are about to hear again that there has been insufficient progress in the talks between Britain and the European Union, it becomes clearer that there never can be enough progress. The Brexit that Britain seeks simply does not exist.

Tolstoy’s famous quote about unhappy families offers a very good explanation as to why: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

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Central banks have bad news for property investors

As the major central banks are slowly retreating from their policy of asset purchases, we will probably witness some of the side effects of this withdrawal.

Warren Buffett famously said that “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” The tide is going out only slowly, but we are beginning to see, at least in the UK, the damage the ultra loose monetary policy has done.

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Policymakers could have lifted inflation, if they wanted

Central banks are still worried about the danger of deflation, even though they have timidly started to lift interest rates. How else would they explain real negative rates almost everywhere in the developed economies?

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As market bubbles keep inflating, signal gets close to ‘sell’

Investors’ optimism remained at very high levels, despite the beginning of tapering of quantitative easing by the European Central Bank (ECB), tensions with North Korea and the Catalan crisis.

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UK pensions are a time bomb; Brexit might help detonate it early

As if we didn’t know already, last week we got another reminder of the economic disaster that Brexit is shaping up to be: Retail sales weakened in the UK, as price rises eat into consumers’ purchasing power.

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Time to stop painting the Europeans as the enemy

Britain’s relationship with the European Union is becoming so fraught that even one of the most moderate members of government finds it hard nowadays to use the right words when talking about it.

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Euphoria grips the markets, but can it last?

Last week was a feast of records for Wall Street: the S&P 500 recorded six consecutive highs, something not seen for two decades. The streak only ended after a jobs report that showed the first negative reading in seven years, skewed by the hurricanes that hit the U.S. in September.

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