UK wage puzzle demonstrates breakdown of old laws

November 11, 2015

The textbook tradeoff between lower unemployment and higher inflation isn’t happening. Britain’s jobless rate is at its lowest since 2008 yet wage growth is actually slowing. Workers aren’t suffering now, but they must hope unemployment and inflation don’t start rising together.

Hefty ECB rate cut might do more harm than good

November 10, 2015

Some European Central Bank policymakers want to push the floor for policy rates deeper into negative territory. This may depress the euro and bond yields for a while. But Nordic evidence of the price banks pay when rates are so low suggests an outsized cut may be self-defeating.

Enjoy UK’s economic idyll while it lasts

January 21, 2015

Britain seems to have reached the sunny uplands. Earnings are rising faster than prices, unemployment is falling and policy rate rises are off the agenda. But persistent disinflation casts a dark shadow. If prices stop rising, wage increases may also disappear.

Bitcoin is latest victim of disinflation

By Edward Hadas
January 16, 2015

The would-be currency is down 33 pct this year. Bitcoin is a collectible like a painting so psychology matters, and that’s against it in the current climate. Free transactions could end too. The tech may have value, but bitcoin will struggle to regain lost confidence.

Falling prices show ECB failed at its only mandate

January 7, 2015

Euro zone inflation is now negative. Sinking oil prices played a part, but market expectations were falling well before. The European Central Bank has long been seen as doing too little, too late. No wonder investors have lost faith in the bank’s ability to fulfill its mission.

Inflation could make a surprise comeback

By Edward Hadas
December 24, 2014

Price and wage increases look like endangered economic species. Falling commodity prices make it hard to imagine a comeback. But many policymakers would welcome a return of mild inflation. They might eventually get more than they want.

Cheap oil worsens Asian debtors’ lowflation woes

November 28, 2014

Sliding energy prices could make already-low Asian inflation vanish. That’s bad news for heavily indebted economies like China, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. If prices and wages don’t rise, borrowers will curb spending. Slowing GDP growth could stumble.

Remember the UK housing bubble?

November 26, 2014

Not long ago an overheating housing market was seen by many as the big UK danger. Now mortgage approvals are dropping and house inflation is easing – even though mortgages are getting cheaper. Tighter home-loan regulation is a factor. Workers’ low earnings are the main restraint.

Cheap oil is no tonic for sluggish Asian economies

October 17, 2014

Less expensive petrol and diesel mean smaller subsidy bills and healthier budgets in India and Indonesia. For others in the region, though, falling crude prices are a worrying sign of stalling global growth. Asia has too much debt to welcome disinflation.

Weaker euro won’t do much to stoke inflation

October 16, 2014

The ECB not-so-secretly hopes a cheaper currency will boost euro zone inflation. Good luck. The fall in dollar-denominated commodity prices is deflationary. And with demand weak, firms will struggle to pass on higher import prices. Only a huge euro slump would bring real relief.