Posted by hkarner - 4. November 2014
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Commission Cites Tensions in Ukraine, Middle East
The European Commission on Tuesday cut its growth forecasts for the eurozone and the European Union, citing the tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East along with a lack of investment.
The EU’s executive arm now also expects inflation in the eurozone to remain below the close-to 2% targeted by the European Central Bank until at least 2016. That is likely to boost expectations of stronger measures by the ECB such as large-scale purchases of government bonds and other assets.
The commission said it now expects gross domestic product in the 18-country eurozone to grow 0.8% this year, down from 1.2% growth it forecast this spring. In 2015, the eurozone economy will likely grow 1.1%, also less than the 1.7% growth seen in the spring. In 2016, growth in the currency union will rise to 1.7%, the commission said.
The forecasts for the eurozone were dragged down by lower than-expected growth in big countries, including Germany, France and Italy, the latter of which expected to fall back into recession this year. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted in Artikel | Getaggt mit: ECB, Euro, Europe, Finanzkrise, Growth, Inflation, WSJ | Leave a Comment »
Posted by hkarner - 25. Oktober 2014
Source: The Economist
Politicians and central bankers are not providing the world with the inflation it needs; some economies face damaging deflation instead
IT IS a pernicious threat, all the more so because, at its onset, it seems almost benign. After two generations of fighting against inflation, why be worried if the victory looks just a bit too complete, if the ancient enemy is so cowed as to no longer strain against the chains in which it is bound? But the stable low inflation fought for in the 1980s and 1990s and inflation hazardously close to zero are not so far apart. And as inflation drops, slipping into deflation becomes ever easier. It is in that dangerous position that the world now stands.
In America, Britain and the euro zone central banks have a 2% target for inflation. In all three, it is below that target. In Italy, Spain and Greece, which have experienced wrenching crises and recessions, it is below zero (as it also is in Sweden and Israel). Japan, which finally escaped from deflation in 2013 after more than a decade of struggle, is battling not to return. Leave out the effects of a consumption-tax increase and inflation there is barely half way to its 2% target. Even in China inflation is below 2%, compared with a 4% central government target (see chart 1).
The lowflation of being consistently below an already low target is bad in itself; the deflation it could easy lead to is even worse. There are several reasons. The belief that money made tomorrow will be worth less than money today stymies investment; the belief that goods bought tomorrow will be cheaper than goods bought today chokes consumption. Central bankers can no longer set real (that is, inflation-adjusted) interest rates low enough to restore demand. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted in Artikel | Getaggt mit: Deflation, Economist, Euro, Helicopter Money, Inflation | Leave a Comment »
Posted by hkarner - 16. Oktober 2014
John Mauldin’s Outside the Box, 15/10
By Cliff Asness, AQR Capital Management LLC
In 2010, I co-signed an open letter warning that the Fed’s experiment with an unprecedented level of loose monetary policy – in amount, and in unorthodox method – created a risk of serious inflation. Sporadically journalists and others have noted that this risk has not come to pass, particularly in consumer prices. Recently there has been an article surveying each of us as to why; seeming to relish in, when provided, our various rationales, presumably as they sounded like excuses. It seems none of the responses provided what the authors clearly wanted, a blanket admission of error. I did not comment for that article, continuing my life long attempt not to help reporters who’ve already made up their mind to make fun of me – I help them enough through my everyday actions, they don’t need more!
More articles of similar bent keep showing up. The authors seem to find it amusing that four years of CPI data wouldn’t get people to change their economic views, while ignoring that 80 years of overwhelming evidence has not dissuaded Keynesians from the belief that this time, if they could only run everything, not just most things, they’d really get it right.
Focusing my attention, as was predestined, Paul Krugman lived up to his lifelong motto of “stay classy” with a piece on the subject entitled Knaves, Fools, and Quantitative Easing. Some lesser lights of the Keynesian firmament have also jumped in (collectivists, of course, excel at sharing a meme). Responding to Krugman is as productive as smacking a skunk with a tennis racket. But, sometimes, like many unpleasant tasks, it’s necessary. I will, at least partially, make that error here, while mostly trying to deal with the original issue separate from Paul’s screeds (though one wonders if CPI inflation had risen in the last four years if Paul would be admitting his entire economic framework was wrong – ok, one doesn’t really wonder – and those things never happen to Paul anyway, just ask him). Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted in Artikel | Getaggt mit: Asness, Fed, Inflation, Krugman, Mauldin, QE, USA | Leave a Comment »
Posted by hkarner - 29. September 2014
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Weak Confidence Data Suggest ECB Measures Have So Far Failed to Convince That Economic Outlook Will Improve
Storm clouds . A decline in eurozone confidence suggests households and businesses are unlikely to raise their spending in the coming months.
Businesses and consumers across the 18 countries that share the euro were more downbeat about their prospects in September than at any time since the end of 2013, likely reflecting disappointment with the pace of the eurozone’s economic recovery and the conflict in Ukraine.
The decline in confidence also indicates that new stimulus measures announced by the European Central Bank in early September have so far failed to convince households and business leaders that the economic outlook will improve.
Indeed, businesses reported they expect their selling prices to be weaker than they did before the measures were announced, while consumers also lowered their expectations for inflation. The ECB’s measures are intended to end a period of very low inflation.
The European Commission Monday said its Economic Sentiment Indicator—a measure of consumer and business confidence—fell to 99.9 in September from 100.6 in August. Economists had expected a decline to 100.0.
That brought the ESI below its long-term average, going back to 1990, for the first time since November 2013. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted in Artikel | Getaggt mit: ECB, Euro, Europe, Finanzkrise, Growth, Inflation, Recovery, WSJ | Leave a Comment »
Posted by hkarner - 29. September 2014
By John Mauldin September 28, 2014
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar…
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
– T. S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”
“What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. This is not to say that there will no longer be events to fill the pages of Foreign Affair’s yearly summaries of international relations, for the victory of liberalism has occurred primarily in the realm of ideas or consciousness and is as yet incomplete in the real or material world. But there are powerful reasons for believing that it is the ideal that will govern the material world in the long run.
– Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted in Artikel | Getaggt mit: Central Banks, Debt, ECB, Fukuyama, Inflation, Japan, Mauldin, Monetary System | Leave a Comment »
Posted by hkarner - 26. September 2014
Head of Germany’s central bank Jens Weidmann in his office: “I don’t think much of speculating.”
An extended period of calm on the bond markets has led many to conclude the euro crisis is over. But German central bank head Jens Weidmann says in an interview that the coast still isn’t clear and that there is still great need for reforms.
SPIEGEL: Mr. Weidmann, you are notorious for being a tough critic of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. But the euro crisis seems to be over, largely thanks to ECB intervention. Has he not been proven right?
Weidmann: It’s not about being right or a personal confrontation. When it comes to extremely important monetary policy decisions, the ECB Governing Council does its utmost to find the correct path. And the decisions are so difficult because the crisis is not yet behind us, even if the current calm on the financial markets might suggest as much.
SPIEGEL: Yet Spain, once wracked by the euro-zone crisis, can today borrow money more cheaply than ever before in the history of the monetary union. Do you not think that is a consequence of Mario Draghi’s 2012 pledge to save the euro “whatever it takes”? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted in Artikel | Getaggt mit: Deflation, ECB, ESM, Euro, Finanzkrise, Germany, Inflation, Spiegel, Weidmann | Leave a Comment »
Posted by hkarner - 21. September 2014
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Amount Borrowed Was Less Than Expected, Raising Doubts About the Program’s Impact on Economy
FRANKFURT—The European Central Bank’s first offering of cheap, four-year loans to eurozone banks failed to generate as much interest as expected, raising pressure on the ECB to find other ways of stimulating the region’s weak economy and boosting inflation from its worrisomely low levels.
The eurozone’s central bank announced the loan program—otherwise known as targeted longer-term refinancing operations—in June as part of a package of stimulus measures, which also included interest-rate cuts.
“The takeup in the first [loan offering] is disappointing and will raise further doubts about the feasibility of the ECB’s intention to increase its balance sheet by around €1 trillion,” said ING analyst Martin van Vliet.
The ECB said Thursday that 255 eurozone banks borrowed €82.6 billion ($106.9 billion) in four-year loans from a new program aimed at lowering the cost of borrowing and therefore spurring lending to businesses. The hope is that this would stimulate demand for goods and services and, in turn, raise annual inflation. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted in Artikel | Getaggt mit: Banken, ECB, Inflation, LTRO, WSJ | Leave a Comment »
Posted by hkarner - 7. September 2014
Source: The Wall Street Journal: SIMON NIXON
“We think we should state things as they are,” Mario Draghi said Thursday in response to a question about whether central bankers should sometimes avoid telling the truth in case they make things worse. But was the European Central Bank chief really being as straight as he claimed?
Mr. Draghi was trying to explain why the ECB had just felt it necessary to spring on the market a surprise rate cut and announce a major asset purchase program when its own staff forecasts showed no change in the ECB’s 2015 and 2016 inflation forecasts. The reason, he said, was that there were signs inflation expectations had weakened over the summer, raising the risk that the euro zone could slip into outright deflation. The new package of measures, he insisted, would boost the supply of credit, helping the economy to grow and re-establishing confidence in the ECB’s ability to hit its inflation target.
But this explanation didn’t give the complete picture. Policymakers and analysts are rightly skeptical that the new measures will have a significant impact on credit creation, which is being held back as much by lack of demand and structural factors in some economies as lack of supply. The real objective of the latest ECB action – and pervious measures announced in July – is to weaken the euro. The ECB has been under intense pressure – notably from France and Italy – to drive down the euro to ease the pressure on European manufacturers. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted in Artikel | Getaggt mit: Draghi, ECB, Euro, Inflation, Nixon, WSJ | Leave a Comment »
Posted by hkarner - 2. September 2014
Source: The Wall Street Journal By SIMON NIXON
ECB Chief’s Views Likely to Put Him on Collision Course With Berlin
Mario Draghi will have a chance to clarify his position this week.
What was Mario Draghi up to? Even 10 days after the European Central Bank chief’s speech at the annual central bankers’ jamboree at Jackson Hole, nobody is quite sure—not the markets, nor policy makers in Berlin, Brussels, Paris, nor even many of his colleagues.
To most observers, his call for governments to allow fiscal policy to play a greater role in pulling the currency bloc out of its slump came out of a clear blue sky. Like most central bankers, Mr. Draghi has tended to avoid commenting on fiscal policy beyond emphasizing the need to maintain the credibility of the euro zone’s fiscal rules. Yet here he was apparently calling time on the euro zone’s austerity policies.
To add to the puzzle, no data had emerged over the summer to trigger such a dramatic change of tone. Certainly, second-quarter growth was weaker than expected and growth forecasts for this year and next are being pared back. Headline inflation also fell to just 0.3% in July, but this largely reflected falling oil prices, which should boost consumer spending; importantly, core inflation actually rose to 0.9%. The euro has fallen 5% since the start of the summer on a trade-weighted basis, providing a further boost. Most economists expect the ECB to downgrade its inflation forecast next week, but not by much.
Yet perhaps Mr. Draghi’s U-turn should not have come as such a surprise. Over the summer, he appears to have become increasingly disillusioned with the institutional setup of the euro zone, which he clearly thinks isn’t adequate to meet the economic challenges it faces.
In July, he made a hard-hitting speech calling for Brussels to be given new powers to oversee structural reforms in member states. That was an implicit acknowledgment that he fears political institutions in some countries may be simply too weak to overcome vested interests. This latest call for governments to coordinate their fiscal policies to boost aggregate euro-zone demand fits a similar pattern. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted in Artikel | Getaggt mit: Draghi, ECB, Euro, Finanzkrise, Inflation, Nixon, WSJ | Leave a Comment »
Posted by hkarner - 1. September 2014
Source: Project Syndicate
Nouriel Roubini, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business and Chairman of Roubini Global Economics, was Senior Economist for International Affairs in the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton Administration. He has worked for the International Monetary Fund, the US Federal Reserve, and the World Bank.
NEW YORK – Two years ago, Shinzo Abe’s election as Japan’s prime minister led to the advent of “Abenomics,” a three-part plan to rescue the economy from a treadmill of stagnation and deflation. Abenomics’ three components – or “arrows” – comprise massive monetary stimulus in the form of quantitative and qualitative easing (QQE), including more credit for the private sector; a short-term fiscal stimulus, followed by consolidation to reduce deficits and make public debt sustainable; and structural reforms to strengthen the supply side and potential growth.
It now appears – based on European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s recent Jackson Hole speech – that the ECB has a similar plan in store for the eurozone. The first element of “Draghinomics” is an acceleration of the structural reforms needed to boost the eurozone’s potential output growth. Progress on such vital reforms has been disappointing, with more effort made in some countries (Spain and Ireland, for example) and less in others (Italy and France, to cite just two).
But Draghi now recognizes that the eurozone’s slow, uneven, and anemic recovery reflects not only structural problems, but also cyclical factors that depend more on aggregate demand than on aggregate supply constraints. Thus, measures to increase demand are also necessary.
Here, then, is Draghinomics’ second arrow: to reduce the drag on growth from fiscal consolidation while maintaining lower deficits and greater debt sustainability. There is some flexibility in how fast the fiscal target can be achieved, especially now that a lot of front-loaded austerity has occurred and markets are less nervous about the sustainability of public debt. Moreover, while the eurozone periphery may need more consolidation, parts of the core – say, Germany – could pursue a temporary fiscal expansion (lower taxes and more public investment) to stimulate domestic demand and growth. And a eurozone-wide infrastructure-investment program could boost demand while reducing supply-side bottlenecks. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted in Artikel | Getaggt mit: Abenomics, Draghi, ECB, Euro, Finanzkrise, Growth, Inflation, Japan, Project Syndicate, QE, Roubini | Leave a Comment »