The Fed’s taper and the question of the “tag-along” $5 billion

June 12, 2014

By Ann Saphir

Federal Reserve policymakers are expected next week to trim their monthly purchases of bonds by another $10 billion, putting them on track to end the massive program by October or December. So – which will it be, October or December? Some Fed officials are pushing for an answer, and soon.

Scrambling to flesh out skeleton Fed board

April 25, 2014

“It’s about time” was the general reaction when on Thursday the Senate Banking Committee scheduled a vote on Barack Obama’s nominees for the Federal Reserve board. Not that Stanley Fischer, Lael Brainard and Jerome Powell (a sitting governor who needs re-confirmation) have been waiting all that long; it was January that the U.S. president nominated them as central bank governors, and only a month ago that the trio testified to the committee. The urgency and even anxiety had more to do with the fact that only four members currently sit on the Fed’s seven-member board and one of those, Jeremy Stein, is retiring in a month. The 100-year old Fed has never had only three governors, and the thought of the policy and administrative headaches that would bring was starting to stress people out. After all, the Fed under freshly-minted chair Janet Yellen is in the midst of its most difficult policy reversal ever.

Deconstructing UK job numbers

April 16, 2014

On the face of it, the good news for the British government keeps on coming. Britain’s economy grew surprisingly fast last year and inflation fell below the Bank of England’s target for the first time in over four years in January. The government this month even got a nod from the International Monetary Fund which only last year criticized its austerity programme.

Is it time for the ECB to do more?

March 31, 2014

From financial forecasters to the International Monetary Fund, calls for the European Central Bank to do more to support the euro zone recovery are growing louder.

The much-anticipated “capex” boom? It’s already happening, and stocks don’t care

March 21, 2014

It’s a familiar narrative: companies will finally start investing the trillions of dollars of cash they’re sitting on, unleashing a capital expenditure boom that will drive the global economy and lift stock markets this year.

Oh là là, quelle surprise for the French economy

February 14, 2014

French economic growth unexpectedly picked up to 0.3 percent in the final three months of last year, welcome news and a rare positive shock for some particularly gloomy forecasters who were looking for shrinkage or no growth at all.

Firing up Brazil’s economy

February 13, 2014

A hot, dry spell in southeastern Brazil has pushed up energy prices, stretched government finances and raised the threat of water rationing in its largest city, Sao Paulo, just months before it hosts one of the world’s largest sport events, the soccer World Cup.

Japan-style deflation in Europe getting harder to dismiss

February 13, 2014

To most people, the idea of falling prices sounds like a good thing. But it poses serious economic and financial risks – just ask the Japanese, who only now finally have the upper hand in a 20-year battle to drag their economy out of deflation.

Another false start for the U.S. economy?

February 4, 2014

Since the global financial crisis ripped the floor out from underneath developed world economies, the world’s biggest one has had several false starts nailing the floorboards back in.

Euro zone inflation falls again; economists base ECB rate cut calls on deja vu

February 4, 2014

Euro zone inflation has dipped again and some forecasters are hedging their bets on the policy response by saying the European Central Bank could either cut rates this week or sometime in the next two months.