Category Archives: Views

Covid-19: Darkest or brightest hour for the European Union?

The reports of the death of the European Union have been greatly exaggerated – to quote Mark Twain — a few times already in the bloc’s tumultuous life.

This time, however, the European Central Bank (ECB) cannot be the only one to do “whatever it takes” to save the eurozone – and implicitly the wider EU — from the economic consequences of the Covid-19 crisis.

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When panic selling is over, stocks could benefit more than bonds

The panic buying of essential items around the globe – from food to, fittingly, toilet paper – sparked by the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has been mirrored by panic selling in capital markets. It’s almost as if investors were taking cash out of stocks and bonds to buy whatever food, hand sanitiser and toilet paper they could get their hands on.

Pessimism in global financial markets has reached heights not seen since the dark days of the great financial crisis of 2007-2009, which this current crisis threatens to overtake in depth and significance. But, as news about rapid tests for COVID-19 and resilience to deal with the virus begin to multiply, could investors hope for a bottom in the capital markets’ selloff?

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A recession would threaten central banks’ independence

Central banks are again under the limelight. With Mark Carney’s departure as governor of the Bank of England next month, Boris Johnson could try to seize the opportunity to curtail the central bank’s independence.

This should not come as a surprise. Already, Johnson’s soulmate from across the ocean, Donald Trump, has been making noises about the Federal Reserve being too independent (or rather: insubordinate) for his liking.

So, if these two authoritarian populists go for central banks, what are their chances of bringing them under their rule?

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Boris Johnson is about to reap what he sowed

By Michael Brett

So Boris, as he likes to be called, hopes he can reassemble a disjointed Britain.  Under his benign leadership families that were torn apart by violently differing views on EU membership can be restored to harmony and domestic bliss.

The 29 million-odd people WHO DID NOT VOTE TO LEAVE THE EU in the 2016 referendum are to be dragged out willy-nilly to satisfy the 17.4 million who voted to leave. This is widely hailed as democracy.

Brexit rules the waves (which, incidentally, can only be used in future to transport goods at the cost of a hell of a lot more paperwork, restriction and delay). We will be poorer in the future than we would have been as EU members. Even the would-be leavers are forced to concede this.

How on earth did we land in this situation?

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Wiley’s European customers should read this

How seriously is Wiley taking its European customers? The NYSE-listed provider of professional education services doesn’t seem to be aware of basic consumer rights legislation in Europe and the UK.

European customers should expect the final price they pay for Wiley’s products to be higher than advertised, even when offered a discount.

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The Fed wants you to believe in it

Caught in the middle of the Brexit saga, European investors can be forgiven if they glossed over a speech by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell that could turn out to be the starting point of a very risky period for the global economy.

It’s no secret that President Donald Trump would want the Fed to cut interest rates and debase the dollar. Earlier this year, he called the Fed “crazy” and Powell himself, “clueless.”

Of course, Powell did not immediately show that these repeated attacks influenced his policy. However, in a speech he gave last week he reiterated his fondness for a very risky idea on how to ease monetary policy even further.

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Winners and losers from a Trump dollar intervention

Just as it was beginning to look like the bond market’s luck was finally running out, President Trump made some remarks that all but guarantee that the bond rally will go on for a little while longer.

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Negative bond yields equal negative investor confidence

Last week, investors yet again favoured bonds over any other asset class, despite central banks cooing dovish everywhere.

The Fed is cutting rates? No worries, buy bonds. The European Central Bank prepares to push rates even further into negative territory? Bonds are the ticket. The Bank of England gets the printing press ready again? Oh yes, some bonds would be great.

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