Curious timing for Fed self-doubt on monetary policy

August 30, 2013

If there was ever a time to be worried about whether the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying stimulus is having a positive effect on the economy, the last few months were probably not it. Everyone expected government spending cuts and tax increases to push the economic recovery off the proverbial cliff, while the outlook for overseas economies has very quickly gone from rosy to flashing red. But the American expansion has remained the fastest-moving among industrialized laggards, with second quarter gross domestic product revised up sharply to 2.5 percent.

U.S. GDP revisions, inflation slippage tighten Fed’s policy bind

August 1, 2013

Richard Leong contributed to this post

John Kenneth Galbraith apparently joked that economic forecasting was invented to make astrology look respectable. You were warned here first that it would be especially so in the case of the first snapshot (advanced reading) of U.S. second quarter gross domestic product from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Spain on the way back … to stagnation

By Mike Peacock
July 30, 2013

Spain heads the rest of the euro zone pack with second quarter GDP figures at a time when we’re seeing glimmers of hope, with surveys suggesting the currency area could resume growth in the third quarter.

Regarding second quarter GDP, beware the benchmark revisions!

July 17, 2013

If there ever was a time to discount estimates of an advance GDP report, now is the time, says Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities. That’s because the first snapshot of U.S. Q2 GDP growth, due out on July 31, will occur alongside the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ (BEA) comprehensive benchmark revisions.

Mervyn King’s economic ray of light may be too bright

May 15, 2013

In his valedictory Quarterly Inflation Report, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King shone a ray of light on the British economy, saying it should grow 0.5 percent in the current quarter.

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.