It must be a strange experience, being a central banker these days. Ever since the financial crisis of more than a decade ago, central banks have had to reconcile two opposing goals — both of them self-imposed.
If Brexit does go ahead (and probably even if it does not), the European Union is ready to chip away at Britain’s dominance in the financial sector. At least, that’s what a recent speech by François Villeroy de Galhau, the governor of the Bank of France, suggests.
The news that the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is suing European banks in London for manipulating Libor should worry central bankers everywhere.
It’s all hush-hush, with details coming from reports in newspapers, rather than made public officially. The Financial Times reported that the FDIC is suing Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Rabobank and UBS, as well as the British Bankers’ Association, accusing them of fraudulent misrepresentation.
Lloyds said it doesn’t believe the claim has any merit, while the others did not comment, according to the report.
Some people wonder why the Federal Reserve is in such a hurry to raise interest rates, pointing out that growth in the world’s first economy is hesitant at best. Inflation, of course, is an issue — even the stripped-down official version of inflation, “core” as they like to call it, is rising.
If you’re like me, you’ve certainly wondered why economic growth has been so sluggish after the worst post-war recession — the Great Recession, or Great Financial Crisis as some have callednthe 2007-2009 crisis. Normally, the economy should have surged, after such a deep slump.
Instead, we’re proud of economic growth figures around 2% in Britain and the US and cheer when the eurozone posts a meager GDP advance of above 1% almost a decade after the crisis.
Another trick to keep UK house prices rising is taking center stage: the extra-large mortgage. It’s the mortgage lasting half a lifetime, or more, which allows you to buy a home even if, under normal circumstances, you would not afford it.
The news that Wells Fargo, the US bank that is the world’s biggest lender by market value, targets millennials with its mortgage loans is seen as a sign that we’ve finally gotten over the crisis that nearly brought down the world economy in 2007-2009.
The Financial Times reported that the head of the bank’s home finance business said he was keen to lend more to first-time buyers, who, the paper said, have so far “put off settling down.”
But what is good for America is not necessarily good for the world. While in the US there has been some deleveraging and restructuring that allows the housing market to re-start from a cleaner basis, it is not the case in the rest of the world.
By Sourajit Aiyer
This article was originally published by Foreign Policy News USA.
Can the Chinese economic engine really be hit? It is undergoing a transformational change currently, from investment-driven to a consumption-driven one, but that would still enable it to run at a decent speed.
Here are three distinct themes that can severely hit the Chinese engine in the years to come:
Ahead of the Chancellor’s Budget set to be published on March 16, there is a lot of speculation that he may announce other measures to cool down the buy-to-let property market. I don’t think he will need to: the market will cool down pretty rapidly once the regulatory changes that are coming for banks are understood by buyers. Admittedly, that will take a while. This article is for those who want to stay ahead of the game.
The issue of the runaway Swedish housing price bubble has been well known for a while, and the problem just keeps growing bigger. At this point, however, any attempt to tackle it could make things worse.