Breakingviews

Bankers get ammo but no ally in regulation tussle

May 22, 2015

Financiers unhappy with tougher regulation can cite new analysis from the BIS. The central banks’ own central bank says new standards will probably change how economies and markets work. But the BIS is firmly focussed on coping with the new paradigm, not returning to the old one.

ECB’s bank board-crashing makes sense – to a point

May 7, 2015

The euro zone’s financial stability gnomes will observe board meetings. Handled right, the ECB should glean extra insight – after all, corporate culture starts at the top. But regular sessions with board committees may reveal more about how Frankfurt’s 123 charges really operate.

Clipping Indian central bank’s wings is bad idea

March 30, 2015

The Reserve Bank of India is facing a campaign to undermine it. Subjecting its regulatory decisions to judicial review will erode its authority. Removing the bond market from its control serves little purpose. Investors can live with a bossy RBI, but not a weak one.

ECB torn between two roles in Greek bank support

March 20, 2015

The central bank’s monetary policy wing has delayed a plan by its supervisory arm to legally stop Greek banks increasing their stocks of illiquid assets. The stability-searching supervisors have the right idea. But the policy group has an even higher political responsibility.

Wobbly stock markets are in thrall to central banks

By Edward Hadas
March 11, 2015

Performance this year reflects likely monetary policy. The euro zone is set to ease: equities are strong and insiders are selling down stakes in Zalando, JCDecaux and others at a record clip. The U.S. market is weaker as tightening nears. Dollar-exposed Asian bourses struggle.

Turkey’s central bank is in a very tough spot

By Edward Hadas
March 9, 2015

Rate-setters are under pressure from President Erdogan to ease, despite a big trade deficit, high inflation and a weakening lira. The central bank is trying to square the circle, including by cutting forex deposit rates. It could all get much worse, if Erdogan pushes too hard.

Others will join hryvnia and rouble in FX sin bin

By Edward Hadas
February 6, 2015

Ukraine’s currency plunged 30 pct in a day. Russia’s is down by half since July. Both are stuck in vicious circles, where local inflation and devaluation reinforce each other. In a disinflationary world where capital is flighty, others could easily fall into the same spiral.

ECB’s Greek bank warning stays within reason

February 5, 2015

The decision to restrict Greek lenders’ liquidity unsubtly hints that Athens should tone down its anti-bailout rhetoric. The ECB may have large discretionary powers – but so far remains within its remit. As previous examples have shown, the meddling could have been worse.

Australia underscores urgency of Asian rate cuts

February 3, 2015

The Reserve Bank’s quarter-point cut, which traders dismissed as a remote possibility just days ago, shows how vital monetary easing has become across the region. From Sydney to Singapore to Seoul, policymakers risk falling behind the curve and hurting investment and growth.

Negative yields can go much more negative

By Edward Hadas
February 2, 2015

Investors now pay for the privilege of owning almost a quarter of euro zone government debt. The practice sounds strange, but monetary theory calls for it. If deflation sets in, yields could keep falling. The result might be the end of cash, or a new theory about interest rates.