A U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate hike in September is almost certain according to many forecasters and investors, but the decision to tighten policy for the first time in nearly a decade is not as clear-cut as it may appear.
The U.S. and British central banks are scrambling to be the first of the majors to raise interest rates after a long period of unprecedented monetary generosity. It won’t happen immediately but both Janet Yellen, who chairs the U.S. Federal Reserve, and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney say there will be a hike this year (Yellen) or around the end of the year (Carney). Might this be a bit of a rush? Not everything in the world economy is as sanguine as the U.S. and British economies purport to be.
After years of defying gravity and outperforming the rest of Europe, Britain’s job market looks like it might be slowing down.
As the U.S. Federal Reserve edges closer to its first interest hike in nearly a decade, its critics are lining up into one of two camps: either the Fed is hopelessly behind the curve, and will have to grapple with runaway inflation very soon; or the Fed seems overzealous in wanting to get interest rates back to what it would call a normal level and instead should wait until late this year or next before hiking.
Slightly more than a year ago, the European Central Bank launched, with as much fanfare as can be expected from a central bank, a new incentive programme for commercial banks to lend to euro zone businesses, which they had been doing less and less of over the previous few years.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff is fighting for political survival less than a year after being re-elected. Several reasons have been pointed exhaustively to explain how things got so bad in such a short period of time: chief among them are the burgeoning corruption scandal at state-run Petrobras and stubbornly high inflation, out of sync with the rest of the world.
British wage growth will outstrip the Bank of England’s forecast this year but that doesn’t mean the first rate hike will come sooner.
While Greece has been trapped in the clutches of an economic and sovereign debt crisis for half a decade, it has only been over the last month that the risk of leaving the euro has risen so dangerously high.
About a year ago, the European Central Bank singled out a recovery in bank loans to private businesses as crucial to a lasting economic recovery – and even more crucially for the ECB, a rise in inflation which it targets at 2 percent.