Tag Archives: central banks

Watch commercial banks’ interest rates for clues on the future

While all eyes are on what central banks will do with interest rates, consumers and investors alike should really worry about what commercial banks will do.

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European assets: overbought or oversold?

Will 2022 be the year when the tide goes out in Europe’s financial markets? Many commentators now say it will, and point to the large sums of cash that have gone into stocks, bonds and other financial assets in the past.

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Four reasons why the stockmarket rally is not over

Those who worry that the extraordinary stock market rally will come to an end in 2022 may be worrying too soon: equities could still power ahead, and particularly so in Europe.

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Housing wealth soars while productivity lags

A century ago, the roaring ’20s were a time of hedonistic excess. After the horror of World War I, people wanted to rebuild, but also to forget. Wealth increased, and so did prices.

While we like to think we are smarter, or at least more knowledgeable than 100 years ago, there are worrying similarities between the two periods. If anything, the excesses this time around are much greater.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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