Tag Archives: money printing

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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Central banks enabled populism; they will soon pay the price

It is becoming increasingly difficult for central banks to surprise the markets with good news. No matter how dovish they are, investors expect them to be even more dovish still. This financial repression has facilitated the rise of populist politicians, who threaten to bring the end of central banks’ independence.

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Zombies will prevent interest rates from rising too high

For those who are afraid of zombies, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has some bad news: they’re on the rise. What’s more, many people may be working for zombies.

But on the flip side, zombies may spook central banks enough that they don’t raise interest rates too high.

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The end of money printing is not the end of the world

How afraid should investors be of the end of quantitative easing? Judging by recent comments, but also by the markets’ reaction until now, not too afraid.

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Low interest rates threaten financial stability

When the bank of central banks warns about financial stability, you have to take notice — even if the warning comes in the Bank for International Settlements usually dry, academic style.

The BIS recently published a paper about the effect of prolonged interest rates on financial stability, and it makes worrying reading. (However, as most people are on holidays in August, unless they are reading it on the beach it will largely go unnoticed).

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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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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 real reason the Fed is hiking interest rates is scary

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.

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Europe’s year of change depends on its voters

Beyond the depressing, backward-looking policies that the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as US president seem to have brought, there is a ray of hope.

People elsewhere in Europe, seeing the first ugly consequences of populism, might find enough motivation to go to the polls in elections just to try to keep populists out of government. I am talking about the decent people who are tired of politicians but aren’t seduced by the populists’ siren calls.

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