Negative talk about whether negative rates really work on the rise

May 31, 2016

Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), addresses the media during the ECB's monthly news conference in Frankfurt, September 4, 2014. The ECB cut interest rates to a fresh record low on Thursday and launched a new scheme to push money into the flagging euro zone economy. In a series of measures underscoring growing concern about the currency bloc's health, the ECB cut its main refinancing rate to 0.05 percent from 0.15 percent previously and drove the overnight deposit rate deeper into negative territory, now charging banks 0.20 percent to park funds with it. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS HEADSHOT) - RTR44XMB

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.

Breakout for the U.S. housing market?

May 27, 2016

When steering through an economic recovery that has been defined by fits and starts and lackluster performance, what everyone searches for are clear signs of a break from that trend.

Worries abound about future recession Made in Japan

May 20, 2016

A woman looks at items at a discount drug store at a shopping district in Tokyo March 26, 2015. Japan's annual core consumer inflation ground to a halt in February when excluding the effect of last year's tax hike, the first time it has stopped rising in nearly two years, keeping the central bank under pressure to expand monetary stimulus further. Picture taken March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino  - RTR4V28D

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 growth outlook turning for the better, but on more of the same — Fathom Consulting

May 10, 2016

A farmer walks through a field near a replica of the Eiffel Tower at the Tianducheng development in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province August 1, 2013. Tianducheng, developed by Zhejiang Guangsha Co. Ltd., started constructing in 2007 and was known as a knockoff of Paris with a scaled-replica of the Eiffel Tower, standing 108 metres, and Parisian houses. Although designed to accommodate at least ten thousand people, Tianducheng remains sparsely populated and is now considered as a "ghost town", according to local media. REUTERS/Aly Song (CHINA - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT BUSINESS REAL ESTATE TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX1275Z

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.

U.S. job market at a crossroads?

May 5, 2016

A pigeon flies over Times Square in New York City November 15, 2006. Plagued by dirt and noise, a recruitment center shared by several branches of the U.S. armed forces has installed a sound system in New York's neon-bedecked "Crossroads of the World" intended to scare off the winged marauders by playing the sounds of predatory birds.   REUTERS/Lucas Jackson    ( UNITED STATES) - RTR1JDDH

The U.S. job market seems to be at a crossroads: just as wage inflation starts to show flickers of life, hiring growth appears to have lost a bit of momentum.

British first quarter growth probably not as bad as reported

April 27, 2016

A man walks up steps in the City of LondonBritish 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. Q1 GDP could be even more disappointing than recent years

April 26, 2016

U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies at the House Financial Services Committee in Washington February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron - RTX26D37

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.

Scotland in the euro zone? Gordon Brown outlines another Brexit scenario

April 22, 2016

Gordon Brown has added one more to the already lengthy list of Brexit scenarios: an independent Scotland that could be forced to join the euro zone.

MORNING BID EUROPE-Panama fallout continues; Greek deal on hold

April 11, 2016

The “Panama Papers” revelations continue to seep into domestic politics in various countries. Seeking to take back the initiative after being on the defensive over his late father’s financial activities, British PM David Cameron will today announce legislation making companies criminally liable if employees aid tax evasion. Some commentators suspect pro-Brexit backers and media are playing the whole business up to damage Cameron and his standing as the main face of the “remain” camp. Elsewhere, after the departure of the Icelandic prime minister, Maltese premier Joseph Muscat is feeling the heat after the leaked papers showed two of his political allies had offshore accounts. Several thousand people took to the streets in Malta’s capital on Sunday to demand his resignation. Muscat says he is looking into the allegations before he takes any further steps.

Schaeuble vs Draghi

April 10, 2016

schaeubledraghi.jpgIt’s no secret that Wolfgang Schaeuble has a dim view of how the ECB has conducted monetary policy. For years he has been sending out warnings about Mario Draghi’s cocktail of low interest rates, bond purchases and generous liquidity for banks. Euro zone inflation may be in negative territory, but for Schaeuble, the ECB’s extraordinary measures are unjustified. He has said repeatedly that they risk creating new financial bubbles. Still, until the past few days, Schaeuble’s criticisms were mostly polite and indirect. Now, suddenly, the gloves appear to be off.