Source: The Economist
Subject: Why the Federal Reserve should keep its balance-sheet large
HOW much money should exist? The Federal Reserve must soon confront this deep question. The Fed has signalled that towards the end of 2017 it will probably begin to unwind quantitative easing (QE), the purchase of financial assets using newly created bank reserves.The central bank’s balance-sheet swelled from about $900bn on the eve of the financial crisis to about $4.5trn by 2015 as it bought mortgage-backed securities and government debt (see chart). If and when the Fed shrinks its balance-sheet, it will also retire the new money it created.
Economists such as Milton Friedman popularised the study of the quantity of money in the 1960s and 1970s. By the financial crisis, however, the subject had gone out of fashion.The interest rate, it was agreed, was what mattered for the economy. The Fed varied the supply of bank reserves, but only to keep rates in the market for interbank loans where it wanted them to be. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Exuberant U.S. markets are in some cases offsetting central banks’ shift away from low rates
Global stock markets as a whole have rallied over the past half year.
Central banks around the world are signaling a move away from ultra-easy money, but financial markets are responding as if the low-interest-rate party isn’t stopping.
A day after the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates a quarter percentage point, the People’s Bank of China raised a suite of key short-term interest rates and the Bank of England signaled that an increase in rates may not be far off. Turkey also raised a lending rate, while central banks in Japan, Norway and Indonesia held rates steady.
The events marked a striking turn from the low-interest-rate policies many central banks ushered in as recently as last year to spur markets and slow-growing economies. Low rates make it cheaper for businesses and individuals to borrow, spend and invest and tend to push up the value of asset prices like stocks. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Marcel Fratzscher, a former senior manager at the European Central Bank, is President of the think tank DIW Berlin and Professor of Macroeconomics and Finance at Humboldt University, Berlin.
MAR 7, 2017 Project Syndicate
BERLIN – Now that Germany’s current-account surplus has reached a record €270 billion ($285 billion), or close to 8.7% of GDP, the ongoing debate about its economic model has intensified. Eurozone politicians and Donald Trump’s administration in the United States are each blaming the other for the economic imbalance; and all are blaming the euro.
Trump’s administration, for its part, has attacked Germany for exporting too much, and accused it of manipulating the euro. In fact, Germany’s trade surplus has little to do with the euro; which has become a convenient scapegoat– a stand-in for other policy mistakes.
Many Germans view the latest wave of criticism as a sign that others are merely envious of their country’s success, and they have angrily refuted arguments that Germany has tried to gain an unfair competitive advantage. Germany, they point out, does not engage in price dumping or direct export promotion, and its leaders do not target the euro.
On the contrary, prior to adopting the common currency, Germany had for decades pursued a strong-Deutsche Mark policy, because it wanted to encourage domestic exporters to maintain competitiveness through innovation, rather than reliance on the exchange rate. This was the central feature of Germany’s economic model after World War II, and the main reason its long Wirtschaftswunder (“economic miracle”) could be sustained. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Janet Yellen, die Chefin der US-Notenbank Fed, hat eine Zinserhöhung Mitte März signalisiert. Eine Anhebung des US-Leitzinses sei unter gewissen Bedingungen „wahrscheinlich angemessen“.
Chicago/New York. Nur wenige Wochen nach dem Amtsantritt von US-Präsident Donald Trump steuert die Notenbank Fed auf eine Zinserhöhung zu. Notenbankchefin Janet Yellen betonte am Freitag in Chicago, eine Anhebung Mitte März sei unter gewissen Bedingungen „wahrscheinlich angemessen“. Sie nannte als Voraussetzung, dass sich der Arbeitsmarkt und die Inflation weiter in die von der Fed gewünschte Richtung bewegten. Zugleich machte sie deutlich, dass die Fed 2017 die Zinszügel voraussichtlich stärken anziehen werde als in den beiden Vorjahren, als sie jeweils nur einen Schritt nach oben wagte.
Nach mehreren Chefs regionaler Fed-Ableger hatte zuvor auch die als besonders vorsichtig geltende Direktorin Lael Brainard eine Straffung im März angedeutet. Die Märkte stellen sich nunmehr fest darauf ein, dass die Fed Mitte des Monats handelt. Die Fed hat den Leitzins im Dezember auf das aktuelle Niveau von 0,5 bis 0,75 Prozent erhöht und sich drei Schritte nach oben für 2017 vorgenommen.
Howard Davies, the first chairman of the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Authority (1997-2003), is Chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland. He was Director of the London School of Economics (2003-11) and served as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry.
MAR 1, 2017 Project Syndicate
LONDON – As US President Trump struggles to staff his administration with sympathizers who will help transpose tweets into policy, the exodus of Obama appointees from the federal government and other agencies continues. For the financial world, one of the most significant departures was that of Daniel Tarullo, the Federal Reserve governor who has led its work on financial regulation for the last seven years.
It would be a stretch to say that Tarullo has been universally popular in the banking community. He led the charge in arguing for much higher capital ratios, in the United States and elsewhere. He was a tough negotiator, with a well-tuned instinct for spotting special pleading by financial firms. But crocodile tears will be shed in Europe to mark his resignation. European banks, and even their regulators, were concerned by his enthusiastic advocacy of even tougher standards in Basel 3.5 (or Basel 4, as bankers like to call it), which would, if implemented in the form favored by the US, require further substantial capital increases for Europe’s banks in particular. In his absence, these proposals’ fate is uncertain. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
President’s appetite for stimulus comes up against budget realities and some fellow Republicans
President Trump’s stated goal for more spending on infrastructure appears out of step with GOP elected officials.
For an economy that isn’t in recession, the U.S. is facing one of the bleakest fiscal outlooks since World War II. One question that President Donald Trump will soon have to decide: How much is he willing to embrace even wider deficits?
The answer will determine whether Mr. Trump’s domestic agenda lives up to markets’ bold expectations, and his own.
Before Mr. Trump does anything, growing budget deficits are already on a course to push federal debt to record levels as a share of gross domestic product. That will make it extremely difficult to make good on promises to cut taxes and boost spending without spilling more red ink.
Unlike past periods, deficits are swelling not because of an economic downturn or a short-term boost in discretionary spending, but because of the costs of caring for an aging population. Medicare and Social Security are the biggest projected drivers of spending. Ten years ago, some 6,700 Americans turned 65 every day. The number is now 9,800 Americans, and it will rise to 11,700 by 2026. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
„Das Letzte, was wir im Augenblick brauchen, ist eine Lockerung der Regulierung“, sagt EZB-Chef Mario Draghi, Banken fürchten Wettbewerbsverzerrung
Frankfurt/Berlin – Eine mögliche Deregulierung der US-Finanzmärkte unter Präsident Donald Trump sorgt in Europa für Unruhe. „Das Letzte, was wir im Augenblick brauchen, ist eine Lockerung der Regulierung“, sagte EZB-Präsident Mario Draghi am Montag in Brüssel. In Deutschland warnten Banker und Ökonomen vor Nachteilen, sollte Trump starke Korrekturen an den US-Bankenregeln („Dodd-Frank-Act“) vornehmen. Dann wären „transatlantische Wettbewerbsverzerrungen aufgrund unterschiedlicher Regulierungen vor allem zu Lasten Europas nicht auszuschließen“, sagte Michael Kemmer, Hauptgeschäftsführer des deutschen Privatbankenverbands BdB.
Eine Überprüfung der nach der Finanzkrise erlassenen Regeln sei durchaus sinnvoll. Aber wertvolle Errungenschaften wie eine international abgestimmte Regulierung sollten „nicht einfach über den Haufen geworfen werden“.
Finanzmärkte nicht stabil
Aus Sicht von Gustav Horn, dem Direktor des gewerkschaftsnahen Forschungsinstitut IMK, vernachlässigt Trump die von unzureichend beaufsichtigten Finanzmärkten ausgehenden Risiken: „Dies kann durch die weltweite Verknüpfung der Märkte letztlich auch die europäischen und deutschen Steuerzahler viel Geld kosten, wenn die Risiken relevant werden.“ Der neue US-Präsident scheine zu glauben, dass die Finanzmärkte stabil seien – doch das sei nicht der Fall. Trump will den Dodd-Frank-Act nach offiziellem Bekunden nicht abschaffen, aber überprüfen lassen. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Anatole Kaletsky is Chief Economist and Co-Chairman of Gavekal Dragonomics. A former columnist at the Times of London, the International New York Times and the Financial Times, he is the author of Capitalism 4.0, The Birth of a New Economy, which anticipated many of the post-crisis transformations of the global economy. His 1985 book, Costs of Default, became an influential primer for Latin American and Asian governments negotiating debt defaults and restructurings with banks and the IMF.
JAN 30, 2017 Project Syndicate
LONDON – Economic pundits traditionally offer their (traditionally inaccurate) New Year predictions at the beginning of January. But global conditions this year are anything but traditional, so it seemed appropriate to wait until US President Donald Trump settled into the White House to weigh in on some of the main surprises that might shake up the world economy and financial markets on his watch. Judging by current market movements and conditions, the world could be caught off guard by three potentially transformative developments.
For starters, Trump’s economic policies are likely to produce much higher US interest rates and inflation than financial markets expect. Trump’s election has almost certainly ended the 35-year trend of disinflation and declining rates that began in 1981, and that has been the dominant influence on economic conditions and asset prices worldwide. But investors and policymakers don’t believe it yet. The US Federal Reserve Board’s published forecasts suggest only three quarter-point rate hikes this year, and futures markets have priced in just two such moves. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Joseph E. Stiglitz, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 and the John Bates Clark Medal in 1979, is University Professor at Columbia University, Co-Chair of the High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress at the OECD, and Chief Economist of the Roosevelt Institute. A former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and chair of the US president’s Council of Economic Advisers under Bill Clinton, in 2000 he founded the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, a think tank on international development based at Columbia University. His most recent book is The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe.
JAN 10, 2017 Project Syndicate
NEW YORK – On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. I would hate to say “I told you so,” but his election should not have come as a surprise. As I explained in my 2002 book Globalization and its Discontents, the policies we have used to manage globalization have sown the seeds of widespread disaffection. Ironically, a candidate from the same party that has pushed the hardest for international financial and trade integration won by promising to undo both.
Of course, there is no going back. China and India are now integrated into the global economy, and technological innovation is reducing the number of manufacturing jobs worldwide. Trump cannot recreate the well-paying manufacturing jobs of past decades; he can only push for advanced manufacturing, which requires higher skill sets and employs fewer people. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Europe seems on course for modest growth in 2017—unless Brexit proves to be the start of something bigger
As populist politicians like France’s Marine Le Pen gain ground in European Nations, a breakup of the eurozone appears more likely.
For Europe in 2017, the big question is whether fragile economic growth and unprecedented central-bank stimulus will be overtaken by populist politics.
European equities could have a strong year if the antieuro populist candidates that have gained traction over 2016 fail to win elections, as polling suggests. But if populist candidates triumph in coming votes, the prospect of a eurozone breakup could return to markets. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »