Breakingviews

Review: Ben Bernanke and a global monetary plague

By Edward Chancellor
August 28, 2015

Ever since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Federal Reserve has engaged in financial experimentation that has delivered the weakest rebound on record while spreading deleterious effects around the globe that author Brendan Brown, in a forthcoming book, likens to a plague.

Oil price slide complicates life for central banks

August 4, 2015

Brent is back down at $50 a barrel. Bond prices show this is eroding investor confidence that inflation will pick up. Central banks usually ignore the temporary impact of commodity price swings, but can’t afford to be complacent with inflation and policy rates already so low.

Hugo Dixon: The optimist’s guide to Greece

By Hugo Dixon
July 27, 2015

There are so many ways things could go wrong in Greece that it’s easy to miss how things could also go right. The good scenario involves the ECB buying up Greek bonds, the lifting of capital controls and a deal on debt relief – all by year-end.

Rob Cox: The world’s hardest central bank job

July 16, 2015

It’s not Yellen’s, Draghi’s or Kuroda’s. Russian central bank chief Elvira Nabiullina faces a unique bouquet of challenges. On top of a weak oil price and ruble, nettlesome inflation and Western sanctions, there’s Vladimir Putin. Under the circumstances, she deserves a medal.

Hugo Dixon: Greek deal leaves bitter aftertaste

By Hugo Dixon
July 13, 2015

Berlin was right to point out that Athens had lost Europe’s trust. But by pushing the Greeks so hard, Germany is also losing Europe’s trust. The summit’s eventual outcome is reasonably fair if tough. But both leaders, Merkel and Tsipras, need to work hard to rebuild trust.

Tsipras U-turn only lowers short-term Grexit risks

July 10, 2015

Greece’s latest bailout plan accepts most of what its July 5 referendum rejected. Creditors will have to actively want a Greek exit from the single currency for it to happen now. Yet fresh austerity, capital controls and Athens’ weak reform record mean the truce may not last.

Hugo Dixon: Greeks choose between bad and terrible

By Hugo Dixon
July 2, 2015

Voting “Yes” in Sunday’s referendum would mean Greece suffers at least two years of recession. Voting “No” would bring financial havoc in the short run followed by the return of the drachma, hyperinflation and deep-seated economic depression. The right answer is “Yes”.

Edward Hadas: Central banks can save the world

By Edward Hadas
June 10, 2015

The monetary authorities made a hash of things last decade, as they did in the 1920s, 1930s and 1960s. They still have a three-fold problem. Central banks fundamentally misunderstand financial markets, debt and currencies. With new ideas, their record could improve.

UK blithely signs up to Germany’s worst idea

June 10, 2015

Chancellor George Osborne is to enshrine budget surpluses in state legislation. For a nation with low interest rates and sagging productivity, aping German deficit-phobia is nuts. But plain thinking wins votes because the public has learned to mistrust the wisdom of economists.

For bonds, crowds are more dangerous than Draghi

June 4, 2015

The ECB chief’s relaxed attitude to volatility is fuelling gyrations in euro zone debt markets. But Mario Draghi is only stating the obvious. Supposedly risk-free assets have become some of the most perilous. The biggest hazard for investors is being part of too big a herd.