Much ink has been spilled over the past several months over when the Bank of England will eventually raise interest rates from a record low of 0.5 percent, and if they’ll do it before the Federal Reserve does. The pound is trading near a five-year high against a basket of currencies as a result.
BoE Governor Mark Carney and other Monetary Policy Committee members have tried to remind the public and businesses at every chance they are given that a rate rise is still a way off – likely at least a year – and that when it’s time for the central bank to lift rates, it will do so gradually.
With Wall Street grappling to hold on to its record highs, a lot is riding on good news from the U.S. economy, no matter how high the Federal Reserve has set the bar for backing off its clear plan to end its monetary stimulus program this year.
After two huge upsets in a row on the important U.S. economic data releases since Christmas — December non-farm payrolls and the January ISM manufacturing report, forecasters are lining up again for an improvement in hiring.
Unemployment in the euro zone is stuck at 12 percent, an already high rate that masks eye-popping rates in many of its struggling member economies.
But in a press conference lasting one hour, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi mentioned the problem of high unemployment only a few times – satisfied with the central bank’s usual stance of imploring euro zone governments to implement structural reforms to their labour markets, on a case by case basis.
Stock markets have moved in almost one direction since their trough in March 2009 – up – but economic growth and job creation have bounced around.
LONDON/NEW YORK, Jan 6 (Reuters) – Service industry growth
slowed sharply in China as 2013 drew to a close but picked up
across most of Europe, while U.S. firms hired more workers
despite slower growth in activity last month.
The surveys released on Monday underscored a still uneven
pace of global economic growth and suggested an onslaught of
central bank stimulus is unlikely to dry up anytime soon.
LONDON, Jan 6 (Reuters) – Service industry growth slowed
sharply in China as 2013 drew to a close but picked up across
most of Europe, suggesting still very uneven global economic
performance even as most signs point to a strengthening U.S.
Taken together with business surveys on manufacturing
published late last week, the data suggest that an onslaught of
global central bank stimulus has had some impact but is not
likely to halt any time soon.
European shares will be the best performers next year, according to the latest Reuters poll of more than 350 strategists, analysts and fund managers. Frankfurt’s DAX is already up nearly 20 percent this year and is forecast to rally another 10 percent in 2014.
But the experts in foreign exchange that Reuters surveys each month are also saying that the euro, just above $1.37, and not far off a two-year high against the dollar, will fall.
The collective talk about its inevitable drop is beginning to sound much like the drum-beat of opinion lasting more than half a decade that said the yen would fall while it stubbornly marched in the other direction.
What is most striking about the latest round, at least when you listen to those who ought to know, is how nothing much except the price has changed.
LONDON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who has steered the U.S. economy through the worst financial crisis and recession in many generations, has received a glowing review from economists for his overall performance two months before he steps down.
Architect of some of the most aggressive monetary policies ever conducted by a central bank, Bernanke scored 8 out of 10, countering the criticism he has faced for failing to spot trouble brewing in advance.