Around this time last year, as another white male took the reins at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the Fed’s archaic and opaque system of choosing its regional presidents started to come under fire. At first the criticism was over the way the system appeared to favor insiders. Patrick Harker, at the time the new Philadelphia Fed President, had sat on the regional Fed board that was tasked with filling that position. Later that summer the Dallas Fed would name Robert Kaplan, who is also white, as its president despite the fact that he was a director at the executive search firm that that regional Fed board hired to find candidates. When the Minneapolis Fed named Neel Kashkari its president later in 2015, groups like the Fed Up Coalition pointed out that while he was the only non-white regional president, he, like Harker and Kaplan, had former ties to Goldman Sachs.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen may still be hedging her bets on when interest rates will rise next, but with the one notable exception of weak hiring in May, many of the economic data in recent weeks suggest the next hike could still come sooner rather than later.
Negative interest rates as a monetary policy tool will probably be around a while yet, but a backlash questioning their long-run benefits for Europe and just how low they can go before they do real harm appears to be growing.
Asia’s second-largest economy may have expanded a lot quicker than expected in the first three months of the year, but past experience suggests an economic contraction isn’t far off if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe moves ahead with a second sales tax hike in April 2017.
China’s growth outlook has turned ever so slightly for the better, according to one of the more pessimistic independent forecasters of the world’s second largest economy up until now, but because they think Beijing is about to do a lot more of the same.
British economic growth slowed to 0.4 percent at the start of the year, a preliminary release showed as expected on Wednesday, but the real picture may well be better.
U.S. first quarter economic growth, if there is any, is set to be disappointing once again, with private forecasters providing the most pessimistic first-take view for the start to the year since the recovery from financial crisis began.