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Feb 29, 2012
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Painful savings rebalancing ahead for U.S. economy

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By Martin Hutchinson

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Up to now, Americans have not suffered much for their lack of thrift. Until 2008, higher asset prices kept wealth up while the household savings rate declined, as Barry Bosworth points out in his Brookings Institution study “The decline in saving – a threat to America’s prosperity.” Since then, higher household savings have been offset by large government budget deficits. A painful “anti-Keynesian” rebalancing lies ahead, with much lower consumption by households and government.

Feb 9, 2012
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Harsh IMF approach courts disaster in Romania

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By Martin Hutchinson and Christopher Swann

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The IMF is courting disaster in Romania. The fund’s draconian conditions led Bucharest to cut public sector wages by 25 percent, far more than elsewhere. Now Romania’s prime minister Emil Boc has resigned and anti-reform forces have been emboldened. Excessive IMF rigour could do lasting harm.

Jan 27, 2012
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U.S. private sector emerges from government shadow

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By Martin Hutchinson

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The U.S. private sector is emerging from government’s shadow. Headline annualized GDP growth of 2.8 percent in Friday’s fourth-quarter data looks more anemic when inventory growth is netted out. But overall in 2011, as government has retreated private enterprise has regained strength.

Jan 25, 2012
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Fed doubles risk of being whipsawed by market

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By Martin Hutchinson

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The U.S. Federal Reserve could be setting itself up for an uncomfortable surprise. It extended its commitment to keep interest rates near zero from about 18 months to three years on Wednesday. Job creation, the departure of Chairman Ben Bernanke or rising inflation could force a damaging reversal before then – or lead the Fed to drag its feet to avoid one.

Jan 6, 2012
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U.S. recovery now not jobless, only homeless

By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The U.S. recovery is no longer jobless – only homeless. Despite the 200,000 jobs added last month and another drop in unemployment, job creation is still slower than in recent recoveries. That’s partly because the weak housing market means few new construction jobs. Still, President Barack Obama can breathe easier.

Dec 30, 2011
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1912ers would find the world strangely familiar

By Martin Hutchinson and Edward Hadas
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

After a century-long nap, I awoke in 2012. The world is changed, but not utterly.

Dec 29, 2011
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German economy ploughing ahead if euro holds

By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The Bundesbank’s forecast of a German economy growing a paltry 0.6 percent in 2012 may be pessimistic. If the euro zone stays in place, its troubles may redound to Berlin’s advantage. The euro will stay weak, while Germany will enjoy a finance cost advantage over its neighbours. Next year may thus see German exports surging and economic growth resilient.

Dec 29, 2011
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New Fed governors may bring new policy solutions

By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s new Federal Reserve governors may bring new policy solutions. He may have laid a clever election-year trap by nominating the party-balanced pair of Jeremy Stein and Jerome Powell to the central bank’s vacant posts. Both are well qualified. Moreover, Stein’s views on financial regulation may even help watchdogs like the Fed to prevent future MF Globals from emerging.

Dec 16, 2011
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EEA could be right place for UK in Europe

By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

David Cameron’s veto of the new EU fiscal arrangements should reopen the debate on the UK’s relationship with the EU. Euro zone membership is politically inconceivable but unless the tone of the debate changes it is likely to be treated by other members as a pariah or even a traitor. There is an alternative – the European Economic Area.

Dec 14, 2011
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Bernanke birthday brings holiday from new stimulus

By Martin Hutchison
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

To celebrate Chairman Ben Bernanke’s birthday on Tuesday, the Fed gave the world no new stimulus. With U.S. unemployment down in November to 8.6 percent and fourth-quarter growth forecasts revised upwards, the central bank’s latest statement zeroed in on global problems, particularly in Europe. More notably, it didn’t introduce a “QE3” program of further Treasury bond purchases. Under such conditions, and with money supply strong, Bernanke’s gift of low rates to markets may expire by the time he turns 59 in December 2012.

    • About Martin

      "Martin Hutchinson is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist and writes about emerging markets, particularly in Latin America, and monetary and macroeconomic issues. He is a former merchant/investment banker with 27 years of experience."
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