With the prospect of Britain leaving the European Union now very real, the pro and anti-EU camps have started to ramp up the rhetoric about the benefits and costs of belonging to the 27-member club. One the one side, many eminent business leaders from Richard Branson to Richard Lambert worry about the cost to the UK economy
Central bankers have had a hard time of it over the past few years. After many were a bit slow off the mark back in 2007 and 2008, when the crisis first broke, we have since seen some imaginative policy responses. These include offering banks secure long-term funding, buying up private sector mortgages, and even acting as the implicit backstop for governments.
With the US fiscal cliff averted – or at least postponed – and further encouraging signs from China and some other emerging markets, 2013 has got off to a reasonable start.
Mark Carney is a canny fellow. No sooner had he been announced as the next Governor of the Bank of England, he stood up to discuss the need for central bankers to be radical in the way they approach the world.
After a relatively quiet period, market jitters about the fate of the euro area returned this week. The trigger was the announcement from Italy that technocratic Prime Minister Mario Monti – installed after Berlusconi resigned last November – would resign after Berlusconi’s PDL party withdrew its support from Monti’s government.
Every time European policymakers take steps toward safeguarding the future of the single currency, something soon crops up that cast doubt on their plans. Earlier this year we saw the Germans lead two other countries into a u-turn on the treatment of ‘legacy’ bank funding – essentially, reversing an earlier agreement from all countries to let Spain and Ireland transfer (some of) the bank bailout costs to the pan-European fund designed to help
The announcement that Mark Carney will be the next Governor of the Bank of England came as something of a shock. The head of the Bank of Canada had previously ruled himself out of the role in August, but such was the Chancellor’s desire to get his man that he crossed the Atlantic himself to persuade him to apply for the job.
As I was trying to explain quantitative easing – again – to an analyst this morning, a rather odd thought occurred to me. The fallout from the Chancellor’s smash-and-grab on the Bank of England’s quantitative easing (QE) program has continued, with many economists pointing out that the Treasury has now damaged the independence and credibility of the Old Lady.
During the past week, I attended a couple of investor meetings to provide an economist’s view on what was going on, and on what 2013 might hold. The first was in London; the second was up north, away from the noise and rush of the capital. The second was also a chance to see how people outside London were coping with the grim economic environment.
After a brief run of relatively good news, things have taken a turn for the worse again. Despite UK unemployment falling on the survey measure, more people signed onto the claimant count in October, taking the overall level to its highest since July. Retail sales fell sharply in October as well, raising fears that
Is the establishment masking a giant paedophile ring and why are the press so quick to turn on the victims such as Steve Messham?
If the polls are right, most of the rest of the world should be pretty happy this morning. While President Obama was re-elected comfortably under the US electoral college system, the popular vote seems to have been more evenly split, with as little as 2 percentage points separating the two candidates.