No Let(ta) up for euro zone

By Mike Peacock
April 30, 2013

Fresh from winning a vote of confidence in parliament, new Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta heads to Berlin to meet Angela Merkel, pledging to shift the euro zone’s focus on austerity in favour of a drive to create jobs. He may be pushing at a partially open door. Even the German economy is struggling at the moment and the top brass in Brussels have declared either that debt-cutting has reached its limits and/or that now is the time to exercise flexibility. Letta will move on from Berlin to Brussels and Paris later in the week.

Austerity — the British test case

By Mike Peacock
April 25, 2013

First quarter UK GDP figures will show whether Britain has succumbed to an unprecedented “triple dip” recession. Economically, the difference between 0.2 percent growth or contraction doesn’t amount to much, and the first GDP reading is nearly always revised at a later date. But politically it’s huge.

Don’t call it a target: The thing about nominal GDP

March 27, 2013

Ask top Federal Reserve officials about adopting a target for non-inflation adjusted growth, or nominal GDP, and they will generally wince. Proponents of the awkwardly-named NGDP-targeting approach say it would be a more powerful weapon than the central bank’s current approach in getting the U.S.economy out of a prolonged rut.

Euro zone triptych

By Mike Peacock
February 22, 2013

Three big events today which will tell us a lot about the euro zone and its struggle to pull out of economic malaise despite the European Central Bank having removed break-up risk from the table.

Fading productivity could hurt U.S. job growth

February 8, 2013

RBC economist Tom Porcelli is such a curmudgeon these days. Still, given that he was one of the few economists that accurately predicted the possibility of a negative reading on fourth quarter GDP, maybe it’s not a bad idea to listen to what he has to say.

Ignore the noise around Britain’s GDP figures

January 24, 2013

One of two stories will probably emerge from Friday’s first reading on how the British economy fared at the end of last year.

Italian elections may yet shake euro zone

By Mike Peacock
January 15, 2013

Is Italy about to add some bite to its bark as far as the euro zone is concerned? Quite possibly. An opinion poll last night showed Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition is charging up along the rails, increasing the chances of a messy election result with the front-running centre-left unable to form a stable government.

Trade entrails

January 14, 2013

An exercise in divination using the entrails of last week’s U.S. international trade report shows signs of a move with larger implications than just the gaping deficit that caught analysts wrong-footed: the possibility of a persistent burden on the American economy caused by Japanese and German imports, like in the 80s.

Fiscal cliff could help U.S. avoid road to Japan – but probably won’t

November 12, 2012

The “fiscal cliff” is widely seen as a massive threat looming over a fragile U.S. recovery. But with a little imagination, it is not difficult to see how the combination of expiring tax cuts and spending reductions actually presents an opportunity for tilting the budget backdrop in a pro-growth direction, even if political paralysis makes this scenario rather unlikely.

Time already to switch off the sterling printing presses?

October 25, 2012

A clutch of top UK economic forecasters on Thursday swept under the rug predictions for another 50 billion pounds of gilt purchases they thought would take place starting just in a few weeks.