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.

A week before emerging-market turmoil, a prescient exchange on just how much the Fed cares

January 30, 2014

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The last seven days has been a glaring example of fallout from the cross-border carry trade. That’s the sort of trade, well known in currency markets, where investors borrow funds in low-rate countries and invest them in higher-rate ones. Some $4 trillion is estimated to have flooded into emerging markets since the 2008 financial crisis to profit off the ultra accommodate policies of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Bank of Japan, European Central Bank and the Bank of England. Now that central banks in developed economies are looking to reverse course and eventually raise rates, that carry trade is unraveling fast, resulting in the brutal sell-off in emerging markets such as Turkey and Argentina over the last week.

Why are US corporate profits so high? Because wages are so low

January 24, 2014

U.S. businesses have never had it so good.

Corporate cash piles have never been bigger, either in dollar terms or as a share of the economy.

from Rahul Karunakar:

A December taper: a chance to regain lost face?

December 18, 2013

Dear Fed,

You should taper in December and regain lost  face.

Signed,

A growing but vocal minority of economists

 

Even if the latest Reuters poll consensus still shows the Federal Reserve will wait until March before trimming its monthly bond purchases, the clamor to do that in December - or rather later today - is rising.

Corporate responsibility: it’s time to start investing those record profits and cash piles

December 3, 2013

Corporate profits and cash piles have never been higher. But it’s not just an economic imperative that firms get spending and investing, it’s their social and moral responsibility to do so.

Auto-pilot QE and the Federal Reserve’s taper dilemma

November 26, 2013

 It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

When the U.S. Federal Reserve launched its third round of quantitative easing, or QE3, it was hailed as an “open-ended” policy that would last as long as needed. Most important for investors, the pace of the bond buying – which started at a somewhat arbitrary $85 billion per month – would be “data dependent.” Especially throughout the spring, officials stressed they were serious about adjusting the dial on QE3 depending on changes in the labor market and broader economy. But as the unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent last month from 8.1 percent when the program was launched in September, 2012, the bond-buying has effectively been on auto-pilot for 14 straight months.

United on banking union?

By Mike Peacock
November 11, 2013

Reuters reported over the weekend that Angela Merkel’s Conservatives and the centre-left SPD had agreed that a body attached to European finance ministers, not the European Commission, to decide when to close failing banks.

Moments difficiles

By Mike Peacock
November 8, 2013

Breaking news is S&P’s downgrade of France’s credit rating to AA from AA+ putting it two notches below Germany. Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici has rushed out to declare French debt is among the safest and most liquid in the euro zone, which is true.

The limits of Federal Reserve forward guidance on interest rates

November 4, 2013

The ‘taper tantrum’ of May and June, as the mid-year spike in interest rates became known, appears to have humbled Federal Reserve officials into having a second look at their convictions about the power of forward guidance on interest rate policy.

Romer, taking aim at Fed, advocates ‘regime change’ and a shift to nominal GDP

October 28, 2013

By Alister Bull

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Christina Romer, former chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and a strong advocate for Janet Yellen to take over from Ben Bernanke as the next chair of the Federal Reserve, slammed the Fed in a lecture last week that accused the U.S. central bank of being too meek and of fighting the wrong battle by being fixated on asset bubbles.