UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from MacroScope:

Slowing growth, MPC splits? That’s so 2008

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Sixties nostalgia was all the rage in the late 90s, and towards the end of the last decade we looked back only 20 years or so for a massive 80s revival in electronic pop and fashion.

INDONESIA/With the 2010s in full flow, the current vogue of choice derives from just two years ago – at least among those noted trendsetters, economists.

Back in mid-2008, the signs for the UK economy were confusing and ominous. Inflation was too high, forward-looking indicators pointed to a slowdown of some sort in the near future, and the July minutes of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee showed they debated both easing and tightening interest rate policy.

Step forward into 2010. In Wednesday’s July MPC minutes they discussed both easing and tightening while digesting a puzzling picture of – yes – high inflation and forward-looking surveys pointing to a slowdown of some sort in the near future.

from MacroScope:

Rip-off Britain in effect

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While most of the developed world frets about deflation, in Britain, inflation just won’t quit. 

The Bank of England has been forecasting a sharp fall in consumer price inflation for about as long as Britons have hoped for a summer of uninterrupted sunshine. But at least Britons are still betting on a fair amount of rain. 

BoE’s King “doesn’t do sex appeal”

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Bank of England Governor Mervyn King was on good form when he addressed the Royal Society – Britain’s oldest scientific discussion club – on the vexing issue of communicating complex forecasts to the great unwashed.

Aside from his usual moan about the media’s desire to reduce the BoE’s beautiful but baffling ‘fan charts’ of inflation forecasts to one or two numbers, he made a rare and welcome admission that in past years the central bank had not done as well as it could have to flag up the risk that a financial crisis was about to happen.

from The Great Debate UK:

Can inflation be controlled by raising interest rates?

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MarkBolsom-150x150.jpg- Mark Bolsom is the Head of the UK Trading Desk at Travelex, the world’s largest non-bank FX payments specialist. The opinions expressed are his own.-

One of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee members, Andrew Sentance, was quoted this morning suggesting that the Bank of England will need to consider raising interest rates this year if a “recovering economy poses a threat to inflation.”

Too big to fail? Guerrilla central banking and the last resort

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ukreuterscomDeciding it was safe to come clean because banks are now on a more even keel and the worst of the credit crisis is behind us, the Bank of England has told the nation that at the height of the turmoil it secretly lent Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS a colossal £62 billion, which is more than the entire British defence budget.

Both banks faced the imminent closure of high street cash machines and the curtailment of normal banking operations across the country.

from The Great Debate UK:

Bank hedges bets with QE expansion

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BRITAIN-BANK/RATESWhen the Bank of England decided to expand its quantitative easing policy by 25 billion pounds to 200 billion on Thursday, it was essentially hedging its bets.

After Britain's economy shrank unexpectedly in the third quarter, and with two thirds of the City expecting an expansion to the QE programme, simply shutting off the tap of government bond purchases would risk being more of a shock than the economy could bear.

from MacroScope:

Crisis, what crisis, time again in Britain

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Britain's recession, like the downturns in most other places, is being hailed as either having reachえd bottom or tailed off in its decline. The latest to trumpet the beginning of the end is the British Chambers of Commerce, which said business orders and sales had continued to fall in the second quarter but at a slower pace than previously.

So does this mean that the Bank of England will soon start raising interest rates from the negligible 0.5 percent reached last year as policymakers sought to pump liquidity into a failing economy? Not according to researchers Capital Economics, which argues in a new report that market assumptions of higher rates at an early stage are misplaced. They offer three reasons:

from MacroScope:

Show us the money

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It says something about the current world that a new economic indicator is about to be unleashed by the Bank of England and it basically tells you whether banks have been doing what they are supposed to do -- lend.

The first Trends in Lending report is due out on April 21 at 0830 GMT. Always nice to have a new indicator, but this one may get a bit more attention than would have been the case a few years ago. It is designed to provide up-to-date information about bank lending to households and businesses.

On the frontline of the G20 summit

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Abolish money. Punish the  looters. Eat the bankers.

Ageing 1960s hippies and their youthful anti-globalisation descendants joined in an angry  anti-capitalist protest at the Bank of England on Wednesday, waving placards and shouting slogans reflecting  a common fury at perceived corporate greed.

With worldwide recession destroying jobs by the week, protesters at the G20 protest in the City of London demanded an end to what they see as a global, predatory system that robs the poor to benefit the privileged.

The Bank of England enters the political arena

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Gordon Brown has not said openly that he plans to turn on the taps again in the budget with another package of spending and tax cuts, but his appeals to world leaders to do just that have led to a widespread feeling that more stimulus is to come.

So Mervyn King’s warning against more spending when debt levels are already so high has predictably been leapt upon by the Conservatives as a powerful message of support for their own position. 

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