Putin, Piketty and Draghi hit Davos in spirit only

January 23, 2015

Political and financial leaders attending the World Economic Forum’s 45th annual meeting are buzzing about rampant inequality, the ECB’s quantitative easing and Russia’s conflict with Ukraine. All that’s missing from the Alpine retreat are the three provocateurs of the debates.

European court opinion gives QE a helping hand

January 14, 2015

The European Court of Justice advocate general has blessed the principle of ECB government bond-buying, with few conditions attached. That provides cover for the central bank’s quantitative easing plans – and will do little to soothe German opposition to ECB policies.

Bernanke’s inaction, even if temporary, is welcome

August 29, 2011

Stock investors may have been briefly underwhelmed, but Ben Bernanke was right not to promise new easing in his speech in Jackson Hole on Friday.

Bernanke’s Asian defence is an implausible yarn

October 15, 2012

The Fed chief claims money-printing by advanced nations is not the “dominant” force behind surging capital flows to emerging economies, and that they benefit from stronger demand in the West. Evidence suggests his first claim is wrong, while the second is impossible to verify.

Buoyant markets too sanguine on end-of-QE threat

May 22, 2013

The bursting of the gold bubble is just the harbinger. Other asset classes are vulnerable to the U.S. central bank dialling down its money-printing programme. Safe-haven bonds are already easing. Commodities look next in line. Stocks are the best bet but they too may suffer.

Carney in doesn’t mean pound down as QE heads out

June 10, 2013

The Bank of England’s new governor probably won’t be Mr. Easy Money. Even if he wants more quantitative easing and a cheaper currency, he’ll need to persuade a recalcitrant Monetary Policy Committee. And QE is going out of fashion. The pound looks a good bet as the UK picks up.

QE’s surprising beneficiaries: taxpayers

November 14, 2013

That’s according to McKinsey, which reckons low interest rates saved western governments $1.6 trillion. Totting up winners and losers is hard, as we can’t know how economies would have fared otherwise. At least the study helps debunk the idea that money-printing only aids the rich.