Portugal crisis to test ECB´s strategy

July 3, 2013

Portuguese bond yields surged to more than 8 percent as a government crisis prompted investors to shun the bailed-out country, raising concerns about another flare-up in the euro zone debt saga.

Broken (record) jobless data: Euro zone unemployment stuck at all-time high

July 2, 2013

Surprise! Euro zone unemployment was stuck at record high of 12.2 percent in May, with the number of jobless quickly climbing towards 20 million. Still, as accustomed to grim job market headlines from Europe as the world has become, it is worth perusing through the Eurostat release for some of the nuances in the figures.

Letter of the Lew: Treasury comments on change of guard at troubled IRS

May 17, 2013

Here are comments from a U.S. Treasury official on Secretary Jack Lew’s meeting with incoming Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel this morning, following a scandal of political targeting that cost the previous acting commissioner his job. Treasury officials knew about the problem as early as last June, according to this report in the Wall Street Journal:

Central bank independence is a bit like marriage: Israel’s Fischer

April 18, 2013

For Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer, this week’s high-powered macroeconomics conference at the International Monetary Fund was a homecoming of sorts. After all, he was the IMF’s first deputy managing director from 1994 to 2001. The familiar nature of his surroundings may have helped inspire Fischer to use a household analogy to describe the vaunted but often ethereal principle of central bank independence.

Is Ben Bernanke becoming a closet Democrat?

March 11, 2013


Watching Ben Bernanke testify before Congress in recent years, it’s hard to shake the feeling that this is a Fed Chairman who has been largely abandoned by his own party. Hearing after hearing, Bernanke receives steady support and praise Democrats for his efforts to stimulate a fragile economic recovery – and takes constant heat from Republicans for what they perceive as the possible dangers of low interest rates.

The real sequester threat: rising political risk in the United States

March 1, 2013

Despite the Obama administration’s cataclysmic warnings about the effects of $85 billion in looming spending cuts known as the “sequester,” chances are the lights will not go out when they kick in this weekend. Still, the economic impact could be significant. The cutbacks might shave a half percentage point or more from an economy that is forecast to grow around 2 percent this year — but which only mustered a 0.1 percent increase in annualized fourth quarter GDP. This, at a time when a similar austerity-driven approach has left much of Europe mired in recession.

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.

On fiscal ledge, corporate gain may be household’s pain

January 11, 2013

It doesn’t sound sustainable but, at least in coming months, businesses look set to keep booming even as consumers come under pressure – in line with the recent trend. That’s because the economic hit from the partial deal on the fiscal cliff will hurt salaried workers disproportionately, says Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist at Mizuho.

Italian political curveball

December 10, 2012


Italy’s borrowing costs over ten years drew closer to five percent after a decision by Prime Minister Mario Monti to step down early left the country’s political future unclear, hurting riskier euro zone debt.

Geithner’s gauntlet: Social Security is a “separate process” from fiscal cliff talks

December 3, 2012

Social Security should not be part of the current negotiations over the U.S. budget – that was the message from outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner over the weekend. During a veritable tour of Sunday shows aimed at addressing negotiations surrounding the “fiscal cliff” of expiring tax cuts and spending reductions, Geithner told ABC News’ “This Week”: