Visar inlägg från februari, 2021

IMF a political shield for EU policymakers.

The eurozone crisis, starting in 2008, may have further eroded trust in the IMF by diminishing its role as a technocratic institution and independent broker and making it appear a political shield for EU policymakers. Ousmène Jacques Mandeng FT 28 February 2021 EU hijacked the Fund to rescue monetary union at a time when the eurozone had no lender-of-last resort - due its own recklessness and political paralysis - and had therefore exposed a string of sovereign states to bankruptcy.  The eurozone bail-outs consumed 80pc of total IMF lending between 2011 and 2014  Ambrose Telegraph 17 July 2019

America’s Excessive Government Spending Must Stop

Financial markets’ current relative calm and low consumer-price inflation are no cause for comfort.  Previous periods of sharp increases in inflation, rapidly rising interest rates, and financial crises have followed periods of excessive debt like a sudden wind, without warning. Shultz and Taylor’s book Choose Economic Freedom shows that economic indicators in the United States gave no hint in the late 1960s of the subsequent rapid rise in inflation and interest rates in the early 1970s.  Likewise, financial markets during the years immediately preceding the 2007-09 Great Recession provided little indication of the calamity that would ensue. John F. Cogan John B. Taylor Project Syndicate 23 February 2021

In 1981, Volcker famously broke the back of inflation through a policy of high interest rates, Barro

By sticking to this policy despite a recession, he convinced financial markets, businesses, and households that the Fed would henceforth do whatever was necessary to ensure low and stable inflation. ROBERT J. BARRO Project Syndicate 25 February 2021 But no one really knows why inflation has been subdued for so long. ROBERT J. BARRO Project Syndicate 4 July 2019 - Most mainstream macroeconomic theoretical innovations since the 1970s (the New Classical rational expectations revolution associated with such names as Robert E. Lucas Jr., Edward Prescott, Thomas Sargent, Robert Barro etc, have turned out to be self-referential, inward-looking distractions at best. Volcker startade sedelpre

From 1966 to 1997 inflation was the primary driver of the markets

In general, the bond market and the stock market moved in opposite directions.  Starting in 1997–8 up until (maybe) this week, they mostly moved in tandem.  If we see what The Bank Credit Analyst calls a regime change, where once again bond yields and stocks diverge, that means that as rates go up, the stock market will fall. The single biggest danger to the stock market is that the Federal Reserve in particular and central banks in general, “lose the narrative.” When the market stops believing the Fed can control interest rates and influence markets, we enter a scary new world, and likely a bear market for stocks. John Mauldin February 26, 2021 The Fed has lost control of bond markets - and Europe is the victim

London’s West End Turns Dead End

Kate Moss brought London’s Oxford Street to a standstill in 2007 when the supermodel posed at Topshop’s flagship store to launch her clothing collection. Now the music has stopped and Oxford Street is once again at a standstill. Topshop closed its doors in January, possibly for good, relegated to an online-only presence under a new owner.  A short stroll down the street, Debenhams, a department store with more than 200 years of history, is also shuttered, as are dozens of other shops.  Bloomberg 27 February 2021   “As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.”

ECB to Prove Whether Pledge to Cap Yields Is More Than Just Talk

“If the ECB is serious about wanting to stem a rise in yields, which could bring about a premature tightening in financial conditions, then it will need to act.” Bloomberg 27 February 2021  

Bond vigilantes

The term was originally coined by former EF Hutton economist Edward Yardeni in the early 1980s to describe how bond sell-offs could force the hand of central banks or governments.  The concept was later immortalised by James Carville, an aide to President Bill Clinton who in 1994 ruefully wished he could be reincarnated as the bond market so he could “intimidate everybody”. For the past two decades there has been little sign of the vigilantes. FT 26 February 2021

Current bond-market selloff worse than ‘taper tantrum’

The vicious surge in bond yields over the past few weeks is drawing comparisons to bond-market selloffs of similar magnitude, most notably the ‘taper tantrum’ of 2013, but analysts say this analogy falls short in one crucial measure. The “guts” of the recent selloff was different because higher bond yields were a result of panicked market participants demanding higher interest rates in longer-dated bonds to offset the risk of growth and inflation.  In contrast, previous bond-market tantrums were driven by expectations around interest rates and the Federal Reserve’s policy. Bloomberg 26 February 2021 Maria Landeborn , börsanalytiker på Danske Bank, håller med. Hon ser ränteuppgången som ett tecken på att marknaden ser positivt på framtiden. Räntorna brukar ju att stiga när ekonomin går bättre och vice versa.  – I grund och botten handlar det om ljusare utsikte

The Fed has lost control of bond markets - and Europe is the victim

Central bankers have long been fretting over what might happen if incipient inflation and gargantuan debt issuance starts to set off an exodus from global bond markets. They had their first real taste late on Thursday. This amounts to a stress test for a financial system that has never been so leveraged to even minor moves in borrowing costs.  Pandemic bailouts have pushed global debt to a new peak of 355pc of GDP, according to IIF data. Offshore dollar debt has jumped to $12 trillion. Emerging markets have borrowed exuberantly in a currency beyond their control. The Bank for International Settlements warned long ago that central banks are sliding ever deeper into a “debt trap” and that it would be extremely hard to find a way out.  These concerns were invariably brushed aside as a problem for the future.  That future has arrived. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Telegraph 26 February 2021 Humbling’

The U.S. trade deficit in goods widened to $83.7 billion in January

Imports of goods rose to $218.9 billion Exports rose 1.4% to $135.2 billion. In January.

Germany’s Social Democrats block reappointment of Lars Feld as chair of powerful economic council

Feld opposes state involvement in the economy, favours tax cuts, and champions the debt brake, a rule anchored in the German constitution which puts a cap on public debt. The brake, which limits Germany’s budget deficit to just 0.35 per cent of GDP. The CDU wants to return to the old fiscal rules as soon as possible, while many in the SPD, and some leading left-leaning economists, would like to see the brake reformed to allow bigger investments in public services. FT 25 February 2021 How the euro was saved In the French seaside resort of Cannes To the astonishment of almost everyone in the room, Angela Merkel began to cry. the man sitting next to her, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and the other across the table, US President Barack Obama Peter Spiegel, Financial Times 11 May 2014

The EU Should Ditch Its Fiscal Rules and Try This

Owing to the coronavirus, the EU’s rules on debts and deficits have been suspended and most member states have vastly overshot their normal limits.  But at some point next year we’ll have to talk about how fast to apply the rules again.  Given the extraordinary macroeconomic situation, it’ll be tempting to tweak them — for the umpteenth time. Andreas Kluth Bloomberg 25 February 2021

Fredrik Lundberg bedömer att det är upplagt för fortsatta börsuppgångar

”Börsen är väl underbyggd och det finns förutsättningar för en fortsatt hygglig utveckling under det här året” säger han till DI 25 februari 2021

Tech shares led a rout in U.S. stocks while the selloff in global bonds deepened


The forced sellers are investors in the $7 trillion mortgage-backed bond market

There comes a point in any big selloff in Treasury bonds when the move becomes so pronounced that it starts to feed on itself. Increases in yields force a crucial group of investors to sell Treasuries, which in turn leads to further increases in yields. Two months into this rout, that moment appears to have arrived,

För att bli delägare i Klarna är investerarna beredda att betala 44 kronor för varje krona i eget kapital.

Det gör i sin tur att dessa bolags kapitalkostnad för att utmana etablerade aktörer går mot noll.  Stor fallhöjd på börsen minskar sannolikheten för att centralbankerna vågar höja räntan. Sveriges största bolag sett till marknadsvärde är Spotify Andreas Cervenka DI 24 februari 2021 När bubblan spricker finns ingen räddning Andreas Cervenka DI 29 september 2020

Had you been told 12 months ago that we would now have around 113 million recorded cases and 2.5 million recorded deaths

you would have found it tough to comprehend the course of markets Here’s how every major asset has performed since then MarketWatch 24 February 2021

The scale of the climate problem makes it hard to know what constitutes a meaningful response.

Is it enough to give up meat and flying? Do we need a slew of technological breakthroughs?  Or is disaster now inevitable and any sort of action too late? These three books address all these questions FT 23 February 2021

Fed needs to ignore ‘taper tantrums’ and let longer rates rise

The growth in private lending effectively reflects an unintended disintermediation of the traditional banking system. This has meant liquidity destined for the real economy has largely been trapped in the financial economy. Allowing long-term rates to increase would not only begin to restrain financial speculation as risk-free rates rise, but could simultaneously foster bank lending to the real economy.  FT 24 February 2021

Global government bonds hit by fresh wave of selling

US 10-year Treasury yield jumps above 1.4% for first time since start of Covid crisis Analysts say historically low bond yields have been a key fuel for the broad-based and dramatic rally across financial markets since the nadir in March 2020. FT 24 February 2021

Biden’s $1.9tn package is a risky experiment

The fact that too little stimulus was delivered in 2009 does not mean that far more than that must be right today.  It is not a philosophical debate, but one over the size, timing and nature of the package. The protagonist has been Larry Summers, former US Treasury secretary and chief economic adviser to Barack Obama, supported by Olivier Blanchard, former chief economist of the IMF.  Some analysts seem to view a big upsurge in inflation as inconceivable, because it has not happened for a long time. This is a bad argument.  Many once thought a global financial crisis was inconceivable because it had not happened for a long time. In the 1960s many thought the inflationary upsurge of the 1970s similarly inconceivable. Martin Wolf FT 23 February 2021

Så länge inte utsikterna försämras i övrigt kan stigande räntor snarare innebära köplägen när börsen skakar, tror Maria Landeborn.

It is too soon to panic over the bond market massacre

The scale of US stimulus is so enormous that the US Federal Reserve will be forced to change tack sooner rather than later.  It will have to start tapping the brakes to prevent overheating and to counter ever louder talk of an incipient inflation supercycle akin to the late 1960s.  If it does not signal an intent to do so, bond vigilantes will take steps to protect themselves against stealth expropriation.  That will be disorderly and much worse. Fed’s M2 measure is up 25.7pc over the last year, the highest since Roosevelt’s war economy.  Households are sitting on $1.4 trillion of excess savings. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Telegraph 23 February 2021    The Bank of England estimates that with the savings rate as high as 26.5pc of disposable income at one stage last year, households accumulated an excess stock of savings of around £125bn between March and November, a number which is bound

Pakistan foreign debt and liabilities about US$ 113bn in 2020


Småspararen Sofia: Inte alls rädd för börskrasch

– Jag är inte alls rädd faktiskt. Kanske naivt, men av vad jag läst mig till och förstått under den senaste dippen så ska man inte bli rädd under tillfälliga nedgångar utan fortsätta med sin strategi, säger Sofia Rundström. Linda Lyth, investeringsstrateg på pensionsbolaget Söderberg & Partners, konstaterar att börskurserna är höga, men ännu inte utmanande höga. Investeraren Sandra Bourbon följer övertygelsen att jämställda bolag är mer lönsamma än andra. Hennes aktieportfölj bär namnet framtidsfeministen SvD 22 februari 2021

Fed needs to consider seriously how best to slowly lift its foot off the monetary accelerator

Biden administration seeking congressional approval for a $1.9tn (about 9 per cent of GDP) stimulus plan. A second package is planned to follow this focused on infrastructure, taking the total fiscal effort to an estimated $3tn to $4tn (14 per cent to 19 per cent of GDP). Massive migration of risk from banks to non-banks Mohamed El-Erian, president of Queens’ College, Cambridge university, an advisor to Allianz and Gramercy and a best selling author. He previously served as chief executive and co-chief investment officer of Pimco, deputy director of the IMF and president and CEO of Harvard Management Company. FT 23 February 2021 Jag tror på Mohamed (El-Erian)  Englund blog 2009-06-18

After unprecedented fiscal interventions, markets must regain their influence over yields — or risk rising inflation

Respected figures such as former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers or Charles Goodhart of the London School of Economics are issuing plausible warnings of escalating inflation expectations coming to a head in 2022.  The need for remedial action is particularly acute in Europe, where the ECB has run negative interest rates since 2014 ECB has become a de facto agent of fiscal policies, buying the majority of government bond issuance in 2020-21. Telegraph 21 February 2021 Jacques de Larosiere, 91, is a former head of the International Monetary Fund and former Governor of the Banque de France.  David Marsh is chairman of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum. “When I introduced QE in 2009, it was only meant to last a couple of years – no-one thought we’d still be using it in 2021,”  He became Chancellor in June 2007. Later that summer, Northern Rock suffered the fir

Is the central bank thinking about inflation properly?

The Fed defines its inflation target in terms of consumer prices, such as those we pay for cars, toothpaste and haircuts.  But in recent decades, prices have often climbed much faster for investment assets, such as homes and stocks, and twice led to booms and busts followed by recessions. Perhaps not coincidentally, two of the last three U.S. recessions were driven by asset price bubbles—a tech stock boom in the late 1990s and a housing price boom in the 2000s—that caused economic imbalances even though consumer prices made barely a peep. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen,” Nancy Davis, founder of Quadratic Capital, a $1.5 billion investment management fund said, “especially the economists.” WSJ 21 February 2021

Löntagarfonderna i historisk belysning

Samtidigt fanns bland några av storföretagens ledare tankegångar om vinstdelning.  En ledande direktör var Grängeschefen Erland Waldenström som hade en styrande position inom Industriförbundet. Det ledde till att organisationen tillsatte den s k Vinstandelsgruppen som skulle utarbeta ett system för vinstdelning som man trodde skulle kunna avtala med LO om. Danne Nordling 3 december 2020   Civilekonom Rolf Englund ledde motståndet mot SE-bankens vinstandelssystem. Socialists at the Gate /Timbro och dess föregångare/

The high-yield bond market needs a new name

Two weeks ago, Centene Corporation became the second company this year to issue a 10-year “high-yield” bond with a 2.5 per cent coupon. Two-years ago, the US government would have paid more.  It’s a far cry from the returns on offer when junk-bond king Michael Milken made a fortune in the nascent market, demanding high interest rates for lending to lower quality companies.  FT 20 February 2021

Demokratin går hand i hand med en skräck för folket, vulgofobi.

Den är inte alltid ogrundad, men lösningen är inte att försöka gå förbi folket. Ivar Arpi menade att statskupper inte genomförs av personer iklädda mjukisbyxor.  Mjukisbyxbäraren Göran Greider anade klassföraktet: »Bland det mest föraktfulla som kan sägas om människor är att de har mjukisbyxor. Ett avgörande skäl till att Trump kunde vilseleda miljoner amerikanska arbetarväljare är att han exploaterade ilskan dessa känt över att degraderas av eliter som aldrig bär mjukisbyxor offentligt.« Johan Hakelius Fokus 18 februar 2021

Signs that inflation is making a comeback are unsettling big investors.

Policymakers have signalled that they will not respond to rising inflation by tightening monetary policy until there is clear evidence that the global economy is making a sustainable recovery from the disruption caused by coronavirus. Central banks have injected $6.6tn in liquidity into financial markets since March  FT 20 February 2021

Kerry said the world had just nine years to put in place the policies that would help avert the worst consequences of global warming.

Jo, det kan ju vara viktigt att tänka på.  Men här I landet har vi andra trängande frågor som Hur skall det gå med Januariöverenskommelsen, Kan man vara Liberalkonservativ och Börsen har ju gått bra den sista tiden. Med mera. Ego på Facebook 20 februari 2021

Jag tycker inte att värderingarna är höga

 För exakt ett år sedan toppade börsen – sedan kom coronakraschen och Stockholmsbörsen rasade 35 procent på en månad. Från botten har den sedan rusat och står nu nästan 13 procent högre än förra toppen. Fram till fredagens stängning hade börsen rusat nära 72 procent från botten i mars.  Inte heller Annika Winsth ser en oro för att inflation och stigande räntor ska sänka börsen.  Experternas huvudscenario är därför att börsen ska upp. Jonas Thulin, förvaltningschef på Erik Penser Bank, tror att Stockholmsbörsen har åtminstone ytterligare 10 procent att ge det kommande året.  ”Jag tycker inte att värderingarna är höga. Lägger du in förväntningar av framtida vinster, räntan och marknadsvolatiliteten är värderingarna till och med låga”, säger han. Annika Winsth tror att både centralbanker och politiker får svårt att backa tillbaka sina krisåtgärder. DI 20 Februari 2021

Do not rule out a market panic next month

The last two weeks of this coming March look like a set-up for some sort of panic in the US Treasury and mortgage-backed securities markets.  Not the end of the world, but something like being a passenger in an aircraft that suddenly drops several thousand metres. one-month T-bill rates have fallen by more than 66 per cent.  T-bills are ‘collateral’. They can be readily lent and relent to secure other, unrelated transactions. When people or institutions in the global financial system are not feeling eager to trust each other, they demand more collateral. The dollar is mocked by the well informed, but aggressively hoarded by the fearful, and those who do business in the shadows. “Beware the Ides of March” (Julius Caesar, act one scene two) John Dizard FT 19 February 2021

US bond sell-off stirs warnings over stock market strength

One metric derived from US inflation-protected government securities — the 10-year break-even rate — recently rose to its highest point since 2014, at 2.2 per cent. Inflation is kryptonite to bonds FT 18 February 2021 Next Bubble U.S. Government Bonds

Mario Draghi: Supporting this government means agreeing with the irreversibility of the choice of the euro

it means agreeing with the prospect of ever closer EU integration which will arrive at a common budget able to sustain countries in times of recession,” he said in a key speech to the Italian senate. Telegraph 18 February 2021

China and Japan have intervened to suppress the value of their currencies.

The foreign exchange reserves held by a dozen Asian nations now total more than $6.5tn.  In 2020 alone, they increased by approximately $500bn as these countries sought to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic. FT 17 Febr 2021

After decades of market liberalism and fiscal fundamentalism, policymakers are returning to Keynes

Fiscal retrenchment, a smaller state and/or market liberalisation. The advice was heralded as the Washington consensus because of the IMF’s location.  Monetarism decreed that as long as the authorities kept control of the money supply, and thus inflation, everything would be fine. By the end of the 1980s, monetarism had been ditched, and targeting the exchange rate had become the holy grail. If sterling’s rate was fixed against the Deutschmark, the UK would import stability from Germany.  The currency was quickly replaced by an inflation target as an infallible lodestar of policy. Economics, essentially a faith-based discipline, represented itself as a hard science. The real world was reduced by the 1990s to a set of complex mathematical equations that no one, least of all democratically elected politicians, dared challenge. Time to dust off Keynes’s general theory. Philip Stephens FT 18 Febr 2021 Five years before the fin

Bill Gates published his new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need.

Spain sets out priorities for spending €140bn in EU recovery funds

The funds are set to be delivered over the next six years, half as grants and half as loans FT 17 Febr 2021

Håkan Berggren: Chargé d'affaires Singapore 1980

Håkan Berggren: Chargé d'affaires Singapore 1980, minister 1982, ambassadör 1983, expeditionschef UD 1985

Ebbe Carlsson, Christer Ekberg, PKK, buggning

Säpos förre operative chef P G Näss fälldes för fyra buggningsoperationer mot en i tingsrätten. Straffet skärptes till villkorlig dom och 60 dagsböter. Förre byråchefen Christer Ekberg fälldes liksom i tingsrätten för två buggningsoperationer och nu också för hemfridsbrott i samband med att avlyssningsutrustning installerades. Hans straff skärptes till 120 dagsböter. Förre rikspolischefen Holger Romander, länspolismästaren Sven-Åke Hjälmroth och polismästaren Sture Höglund frikändes av hovrätten. Svea hovrätt skärpte straffet för förre länspolismästaren Hans Holmer till 150 dagsböter för två fall av olaglig avlyssning. Rättegångarna i det vidlyftiga, kostsamma och kontroversiella buggningsmålet har handlat om nio buggningsoperationer under olika perioder från den 10 mars 1986 till månadsskiftet maj-juni 1987.  Alla utom en har riktats mot kurder med verklig eller påstådd PKK-anknytning och har sin upprinnelse i det kaos som rådde efter mordet på Olof Palme. DN 28 mars 1992 https://www.

For four decades, governments have feared inflation and 1970s-style stagnation.

With plans for public borrowing and spending on a scale not seen since the second world war, the administration is undertaking a huge fiscal experiment.  If the strategy fails, ending in overheating, high inflation, financial instability and the economics of the 1970s, the US experiment of 2021 will go down as one of the biggest own goals of economic policymaking since François Mitterrand’s failed reflation in France in 1981. The whole world is watching. FT 16 February 2021 Skapar centralbankerna stagflation? Experter tvekar. The future of fiscal policy without traditional constraints

Riskiest borrowers make up biggest share of junk-bond deals since 2007

While some investors have become uneasy with the quality of deals that have come to market, many say they feel forced to lend or face the consequences of underperforming rivals.  Others are betting that a big rebound in the American economy will provide a boon to corporate profits that will boost companies across the ratings spectrum. FT 15 February 2021

Trump is more dangerous than a mere liar because he found a way to exploit the economic doppelganger of science.

Have you wondered how two Nobel laureate economists, sometimes sharing the same year’s prize, can consider each other charlatans? This would never happen among Nobel laureate physicists or biologists.  This is why neither empirical success nor failure causes an economic theory ever to be dismissed. Like conspiracy theorists and theologians, economists of different schools – Keynesians, monetarists, and Marxists, for example – can explain every possible observation within the confines of their particular paradigm.  Herein lies Trump’s opening. For decades before his election, countless disempowered people had been listening to economic experts tell them that the policies wrecking their lives survived the scientific falsification process. It was a monstrous lie that allowed Trump to weaponize their despair against the “establishment”  The new administration brims with the same experts who promoted the false prophecies that reinforced the unequal, exploitative, irrational social and econo

The moment of danger for Europe will be when the recovery starts

Perversely, the US president’s fiscal package has come under friendly fire from luminaries such as Lawrence Summers and Olivier Blanchard, who worry it will overheat the economy. Sustained high demand pressure, far from causing inflation, could instead reverse the long decline in US labour force participation. Removing national inhibitions against more deficit spending  Martin Sandbu FT 14 February 2021

This chart shows that jobs lost to the pandemic remain near to levels seen in the aftermath of that last crisis. 2008

Klingelhofer, co-head of investments at Thornburg Investment Management, said it’s probably also a mistake to watch benchmark 10-year Treasury yields for signs that the economy is overheating and for inflation since,  “it’s not a proxy for inflation. It’s just a proxy for how the Fed might react,” MarketWatch 13 February 2021 Allo 'Allo - General Von Klinkerhoffen

Bundesbank head says rising inflation likely to require policy ‘tightening’

Bundesbank head also supported calls for Germany to return to its strict curbs on budget deficits next year and warned that once the pandemic ended, countries would need to cut their inflated debt piles. FT 12 February 2021

Overstimulation Risk

New respect for Keynesian economic theory. Practically everyone in power now agrees that deficit spending produces GDP growth. They differ only on its expected magnitude and duration. The few exceptions are mostly outside the halls of power. The experts I trust are split on this question, and of course no one really knows. But the debate is important philosophically.  Nothing underscores this more than the comment from my personal economic bête noire, Modern Monetary Theory exponent Dr. Stephanie Kelton. Asked whether she was worried about the stimulus bill causing inflation, she said: "Do I think the proposed $1.9 trillion puts us at risk of demand-pull inflation? No. But at least we are centering inflation risk and not talking about running out of money. The terms of the debate have shifted." Fed Chair Jerome Powell: We Need More Stimulus and Inflation Is Not a Worry Others share Summers’ concern and add more to the list. Former New York Fed President Bill Dudley wrote a Bl

Fed to test banks’ ability to withstand 55% fall in equity prices

  FT 12 February 2021

Draghi kan stärka Italiens stöd för euron

Många jämför Draghi med Mario Monti. Båda är teknokrater/specialister snarare än folkvalda politiker, som fick uppdraget att ta över sitt land i kris.  Men deras förutsättningar är helt olika. Monti skulle spara Italien ur finanskrisen 2011-2013, vilket gjorde livet svårt för många människor, och bidrog till hans fall.  Draghi ska spendera landet ur pandemikrisen. DI ledare 12 februari 2021

För tio år sedan hade Italien en annan expertregering under ledning av Mario Monti som, liksom Draghis blivande, hade stort förtroende utomlands ...

Rolf Gustavsson SvD 12 februari 2021 On 9 November 2011, Monti was appointed a lifetime senator by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. On 12 November 2011, following Berlusconi's resignation, Napolitano invited Monti to form a new government. Mr Berlusconi was forced to resign when the yield on Italian bonds rose to more than 7% last week, the rate at which Greece, Ireland and Portugal were obliged to seek bailouts from the EU. In Brussels, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso and EU President Herman Van Rompuy issued a joint statement welcoming Mr Monti's appointment as "a further encouraging signal... of the Italian authorities' determination to overcome the current crisis". Mr Monti's appointment comes two days after Greece, under even greater pressure from Brussels, inaugurated a technocratic government to cope with its debt problems and ratify a vital EU bailout deal. BBC 14 November 2

Conservatives must not surrender climate policy to the Left: a market carbon price works wonders

It is backed by all former chiefs of the US Federal Reserve and a roster of Nobel economists from Keynesian Left to the free-market Right.  The fee starts at $15 a tonne and ratchets up $10 every year until the task is done. The higher the carbon fee, the bigger the citizen bonus.  The political psychology of carbon abatement is transformed instantly.   Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Telegraph 10 February 2021 Joe Biden’s rapid retreat on climate ambitions Rejecting a higher carbon price means renouncing the most effective tool for cutting emissions Edward Luce FT 30 Septe,ner 2021

Super Marios uppgift blir att rädda euron igen

Eurozonens tredje största ekonomi Italien får inte gå omkull, bara tanken är skrämmande.  Detta faktum var skälet till att Tyskland släppte sitt veto mot gemensam skuldsättning, och dessutom var med och drev igenom att en stor del av pengarna ska delas ut som bidrag. Italiens traditionella partier tillintetgjordes i en mutskandal på 90-talet. Ett nyval, vore i nuläget en alltför stor risk. En farlig samling populister skulle kunna ta hem spelet DN-ledare 13 februari 2021

Gillian Tett:The Fed needs to call time on cheap money

In a speech to the Economic Club of New York said ... In plain English, this means virtually free money is here to stay for a long time, never mind the inflation chatter. Think years, not months before policy changes. Is this a mistake? I think so. Fed officials also fear that pre-emptive efforts to prick the market bubble would recreate a “taper tantrum” — the 2013 market ruction unleashed when Ben Bernanke, then Fed chair, hinted that QE might end. Gillian Tett FT 11 February 2021 Gillian Tett is chair of the editorial board and editor-at-large, US of the Financial Times.  Tett’s past roles at the FT have included US managing editor, assistant editor, capital markets editor, deputy editor of the Lex column, Tokyo bureau chief, and a reporter in Russia and Brussels. Gillian Tett är en briljant kollega som efter en avhandling i socialantropologi – om Tadzjikistan – specialiserat sig på hur finansmarknaderna opererar. Tett,

Är det någon som vet hur exitplanen ser ut?

För varje dag som går med nollränta i stora delar av världen ökar belåningen och svårigheten att höja räntan utan stora konsekvenser.  Är det någon som vet hur exitplanen ser ut? Rolf Englund på Facebook 10 Februari 2021

Powell stresses patience in pledge to keep monetary policy loose

Economists and officials are engaged in a vigorous debate about whether Biden’s fiscal stimulus plan might trigger an unwelcome jump in inflation while juicing the recovery this year.  However, Fed policymakers have shrugged off such worries. FT 10 February 2021 Blir Bidens stimulanser en fatal överdos för USA:s ekonomi?


Helicopter money in another pandemic recession: Venice, 1630

Jordan Peterson ~ The Uncomfortable Fact About IQ

Interesting times

They buy (or sell) a stock, not because of any fundamental pattern or news, but because other users also buy (or sell) the stock.  This effect is especially large in bouts of selling, pointing to interesting psychological models of investor panic during a downturn. Ian Goldin FT 10 February 2021 The writer is professor of globalisation and development at Oxford university and co-author of Terra Incognita: 100 Maps to Survive the Next 100 Years

Business elites fear a revolution is at hand

Davos Man is trembling. The cosmopolitan superclass is scrambling for ways to share a little of its income stream – as a prudent insurance policy – before the bottom half of western democracy takes matters into its own hands. The new doctrine is enshrined in the Davos Manifesto, the digital billionaires’ answer to the Communist Manifesto of 1848. The cardinal code is ‘stakeholder capitalism’, otherwise known as looking after your workers, and agreeing not to trash society, or the local water system, or the planet. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Telegraph 9 February 2021

Blir Bidens stimulanser en fatal överdos för USA:s ekonomi?

I en debattartikel i Washington Post i förra veckan varnade Summers för att stimulanserna riskerar att leda till inflation ”av en sort som vi inte har skådat på en generation”. Konsekvenserna kan bli en räntechock och gungning i det finansiella systemet. Dessutom fick han stöd av Olivier Blanchard, tidigare chefsekonom för Internationella valutafonden och även han en känd budgetduva. Joe Bidens stimulanser blir därför ett experiment med enorm betydelse.  Carl Johan von Seth DN 8 februari 2021

Spain draws €65bn orders in sale of 50-year bonds

Meanwhile, Italy’s benchmark 10-year bond yield slipped below 0.5 per cent for the first time Last week, Belgium raised €5bn in 50-year debt at a coupon of 0.65 per cent while France sold €7bn in debt of the same maturity in January with a 0.5 per cent coupon. Both deals garnered strong investor demand. FT 9 February 2021 When Argentina issued its so-called “century bond” many held it up as the peak of bull market insanity. After all, what sane individual lends money for 100 years to a serial-defaulter?

History Tells Us to Worry About Inflation

Macroeconomics always has its fads: The latest is embracing public debt and not worrying about inflation. But fashions change very quickly. Economic history is dotted with iron laws that didn’t endure. In the 1960s, governments were convinced of the stable relationship between inflation and unemployment — known as the “Phillips curve.”  Another example is the “great moderation” of the 1990s and 2000s, when policy makers in advanced economies believed they’d tamed the business cycle permanently.  Many economists will, as ever, claim that this time is different.  They offer various explanations of why inflation will be permanently low or negative, including: technology’s moderating effect on prices; the deflationary impact of an ageing society; and the role of inequality in constraining overall spending. Evidence since the 2008 crisis supports those who are unworried by inflation spikes.  Ferdinando Giugliano Bloomberg 9 February 2021

Former ECB president Mario Draghi arrives for a meeting with the Italian president, who has asked him to form a government

EU has deliberately avoided going down the route of the last sovereign debt crisis, in which the technocratic government of Mario Monti was under pressure to enact brutal economic programmes and a hard-charging austerity drive. The country was ranked 58th globally in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report for 2020 — with low results for features such as enforcing contracts and paying taxes. That put it just below Romania, Kosovo and Kenya. FT 9 February 2021

Mario Draghi ushers in the counter-revolution but he can’t save Italy

The country is being placed fully under a disguised Troika to ensure that EU payments from the Recovery Fund are not misused for patronage, and therefore to ensure that northern paymasters allow the money to flow. This episode is more ambiguous than the institutional coup against Silvio Berlusconi, defenestrated in 2011 after he threatened to take Italy out of the euro.  On that occasion a former EU commissioner was installed in charge. Mario Monti was a well-meaning statesman but the experiment failed.  It led to the Lega-Five Star backlash Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Telegraph 3 February 2021

Mario Draghi: the euro’s saviour called to serve Italy

Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, who worked with Draghi at the Italian Treasury and the ECB, says his “greatest achievement was not so much to say that he would do ‘whatever it takes’ to save the euro, but it was getting Angela Merkel to say nothing and remain supportive — this shows he is very skilful politically”. Inside the bear pit of Italian domestic politics, and faced with a country deeply frustrated with its leaders, these skills will be tested to their limits. FT 5 February 2021 Helicopter Money

Rajan:The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind

Criticizing Modern Monetary Theory, you wrote that “it is not enough for a government to ensure that it can afford to make its interest payments; it also must show that it and its successors can repay the principal,” I am not sure we need to keep sending checks to households that have not been hurt by the pandemic. Given the quantum of pent-up savings, I agree with Larry Summers that additional untargeted transfers – which add to the public debt – are unlikely to be useful. PS: At a 2005 gathering of leading economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, you warned that unsustainable banking practices and risky financial instruments could lead to economic collapse. With your audience’s mood buoyed by rising property prices, your paper was met with a chilly reception. But, less than three years later, your warnings proved prescient. Have economists’ risk perceptions improved since then? What actions could improve them further? RGR: Much like generals, we economists learn how to fight the last war