Grass getting flattened by fighting FX elephants

August 27, 2015

Young male elephants lock tusks in battle on the plains at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Amboseli national park, southern KenyaThe ongoing race to the bottom for currencies this year is hurtling towards a zero-sum result.

Interest rates hikes are not done and dusted

July 20, 2015

U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chair Yellen talks with Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, during the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Istanbul

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.

A short tale of two central banks and (roughly) one inflation rate

May 19, 2015

Euro zone inflation rose to zero in April from -0.1 percent and in Britain it fell to -0.1 percent from zero, the first negative reading since the 1960s.

Monetary policy: New T-shirt needed?

May 1, 2015

San Francisco Fed President John Williams  believes deeply that monetary policy is data-dependent, so much so that he has printed the mantra on T-shirts that he is giving away coast to coast. On Friday at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., however, he didn’t discuss the current state of U.S. economic data or the stance of monetary policy. Instead, he focused on why forcing the Fed to follow a strict monetary policy rule to make interest rate decisions would be, well, a problem (http://reut.rs/1bmCfvB). It’s a view that a number of his colleagues, including Fed Chair Janet Yellen, have publicly embraced. Monetary policy — it’s independent. Sounds like something you could put on a T-shirt.

Déjà vu? Fed may struggle to hike if U.S. optimism fades for H2

April 28, 2015

RTR4VVNE.jpgThe U.S. Federal Reserve may find it even more tough to raise interest rates as the year wears on if dwindling expectations for growth are any guide.

BOC to hold this year? Probably not say nearly half the primary dealers

April 15, 2015

Bank of Canada Governor Poloz speaks during a Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce event in central LondonThe Bank of Canada will almost certainly hold policy steady on Wednesday but nearly half of the banks who do business directly with it predict at least one more rate cut this year.

Surprise monetary policy moves may become new norm in India

April 14, 2015

File photo of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan during a news conference in Mumbai

For all the measures India’s central bank has taken to increase transparency in policy making, predicting rate moves by Governor Raghuram Rajan is still difficult.

Currency concerns everywhere

By Mike Peacock
March 24, 2015

A bureau de change operator counts U.S. currency notes in Abuja

Currency concerns in the central banking world have come to the fore again.

Sweden cut interest rates further into negative territory out of the blue last week, fearing its strong currency will engender deflation. The Swiss National Bank said it would aim to weaken what it sees as a “significantly overvalued” franc. And the Bank of England flagged the risk that sterling could strengthen further and leave inflation below target for longer.

Patient: Fed may drop the word, not the idea

March 18, 2015

RTR4R4RY.jpgFed Chair Janet Yellen may signal later today that she is no longer patient about when to consider raising rates but any eventual hike is likely to come after June, judging by how many key economic reports so far this year have undercut expectations.

Prescient Yellen saw limits of zero Fed interest rates back in 2009

March 4, 2015

yellen.jpgDespite the Federal Reserve’s trillions of dollars in newly printed money, workers’ wages and overall U.S. inflation have failed to take off since the recession. Longer-term borrowing costs, from 10-year Treasury yields to 30-year home mortgages, have also compressed without any real signs of reversing. While this has perplexed many economists, transcripts of the U.S. central bank’s crisis-fighting meetings in 2009 show that Janet Yellen, then the head of the San Francisco Fed, was prescient in warning colleagues of these very problems.