Tag Archives: central banks

Consumer price inflation or house price inflation? UK has to choose

The perfect storm is brewing for UK inflation. Boris Johnson and his government will not admit it, but their choice of a hard Brexit will exacerbate price rises, on top of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This could put the Bank of England in the unenviable position of having to choose which bubble to burst: consumer prices, or house prices.

Continue reading

ECB pays lip service to worries about inflating a housing bubble

The European Central Bank (ECB) raised its inflation target last week, at the same time going to great lengths to try to persuade people that it did not.

In the process, the central bank also stated that it will find a way to deal with an issue that is increasingly pressing: that of runaway house price inflation.

Continue reading

Investors fear inflation but run to it

Recent capital flows highlight a paradox: investors are afraid of inflation, but seem to have increased their allocation to just the assets that would do worst out of it.

Continue reading

Inflation is not transitory after all

“Transitory” is the preferred word to describe inflation these days. Central bankers love it, because it means they can continue their easy money policies. Investors love it, because it means the markets’ party goes on.

Continue reading

How to make renting attractive in the UK

Central banks have been busy saving the West from its own excesses since the great financial crisis of 2007, but in the process, they have made housing unaffordable for young people, particularly in the UK.

House prices have surged in many UK cities, with record low interest rates and money printing making homes more affordable for “investors” and less so for those who actually need them as places to live in, as opposed to assets to speculate on.

Despite record low mortgages and various subsidies, homeownership is increasingly unaffordable for a rising number of people.

The consequence is deepening inequality, which makes the UK look more like a feudal, rather than modern, society.

One of the ways to tackle the so-called “housing crisis” would be to make renting an option perhaps as good, if not better, than buying a property.

Here are four ways in which the UK government could go about making renting a truly affordable option for young people in the UK – and a few of the reasons why it will never do it.

Continue reading

To fight inflation, wealth needs to be taxed more

Even though the vaccines have the potential to reduce the Covid-19 pandemic to manageable levels, the scars will be felt for years to come.

Beyond the tragedy of the loss of human life, deepening inequality is perhaps the worst consequence of the pandemic. Governments around the world will seek to take steps to reduce it, fearing civil unrest.

Continue reading

House prices are becoming red hot, and this is scary

House price growth is accelerating in the UK and the rest of Europe, but it is far from healthy growth. The consequences of lax rules on lending to house buyers could be devastating.

Continue reading

Beyond the Covid-19 crisis, forecasts may be too optimistic

The Covid-19 crisis is one year old, and already, on the economic front at least, optimism is gaining ground.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic growth projections, released last week, point to a strong rebound: the world economy is forecast to expand by 6% this year, led by emerging and developing Asia, which is expected to grow by 8.6%.

Continue reading

Will digital currencies encourage debt default by stealth?

Central banks are getting closer and closer to issuing digital currencies, but this attempt to fend off the threat of cryptocurrencies raises many questions about the future of the economy.

One consequence of central bank digital currencies, which for the moment is not discussed as much as it should be, is that they could serve as “Trojan horses” for negative interest rates – and these in turn could amount to debt default by stealth.

Continue reading

Emerging markets face three major headwinds

Emerging market assets have enjoyed robust performance despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with investors attracted by their higher yields and faster economic growth prospects in these countries.

But three headwinds could cut short their growth spurt: rising interest rates, environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and the retreat of globalisation.

These headwinds are converging at a very delicate time for global markets, and at least two of them could persist for a long time.

Continue reading