Tag Archives: central banks

Argentina shows the bad side of quantitative easing

This past week, there has been a frenzy of selling of emerging markets assets. The outflows from both stocks and debt in emerging markets reached their highest level since December 2016.

This amounted to $3.7 billion withdrawn from emerging market equities and bonds, according to data analysed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. These outflows have helped push our old friend, the Bull/Bear indicator developed by BofA Merrill Lynch, to 4.8 — its lowest level since January 2017.

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‘Schizophrenic’ capital flows? No, they’re perfectly rational

The year-to-date capital flows seem to show a dramatic change in the way investors perceive risk in the stock markets. Emerging market equities, Japan and the financial sector seem to have turned from risky assets into “safe havens”.

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Forget Brexit, debt is what is killing the British economy

The International Monetary Fund is worried. Yes, it’s true that it always is, but this time we should be, too — or at least, those of us living in Britain.

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Consumer price inflation still refuses to surge; here is why

The snow has melted and it’s time to make plans for the future again. And like every spring, those plans are likely to include what has become known as “reflation” — inflation increasing again to a level where it can eat away at the mountain of debt the world’s big economies have to deal with.

Will consumer price inflation, rather than inflation in asset prices like property and securities, finally take off? There have been two interesting points of view last week on this issue.

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A ‘Powell put’ is not guaranteed for the markets

Everybody is waiting for Jay Powell, the new Fed Chair, to set out his vision this week. The main question is: will there be a “Powell Put” just as there has been a Greenspan put, a Bernanke put and a Yellen put?

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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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Libor manipulation suit could open the floodgates

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.

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As Brexit bites, there is little the Bank of England can do

The Bank of England will publish its inflation report next Thursday, and this time it will get even more attention than usual.

Brexit is being felt in prices more and more now, with the cost of grocery bills jumping and prices for essentials going up. The phenomenon of “shrinkflation” is in full swing as well; many products are mysteriously losing weight, but maintain their price.

No matter how much it would like to help (or to meet its inflation target), the Bank of England cannot do anything to prevent prices from rising. In fact, to be more accurate, it could, but it will not. The central bank could raise interest rates, stopping the pound’s depreciation — but if it does this, the housing market would crash.

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Home price inflation keeps going, deepening inequality

The financial repression that central banks started after the global financial crisis of 2007-2009 does not seem to be close to an end. The central banks argue that inflation has not come back to their target of around 2%, but their definition of inflation is flawed.

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The Fed is behind the curve, and happy to stay there

There is a widespread view that the Federal Reserve will have to raise interest rates at a steady pace this year, because it cannot afford to fall behind the curve.

I would argue that it has already fallen behind the curve and has no choice but to remain there. And it is not the only one in this situation. All major central banks are playing the same game; they have no choice.

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