Financial Crisis Ten Years On

Ten years ago, queues quietly began forming outside branches of Northern Rock. Unsettled by press reports that the bank was asking for help from the Bank of England, anxious customers wanted out. The first run on a UK bank for over a century was underway, and Northern Rock would be nationalised within a year. In … Continue reading “Financial Crisis Ten Years On”

Currency wars

It’s been a strange world for currencies as well as for bonds and interest rates since the western crash. Countries and central banks that used to worry about their currencies falling too much have all seemed to welcome weakness in their counters, hoping that will stimulate exports and allow a bit more inflation. Four of … Continue reading “Currency wars”

Draghi stalls for time on QE details

The European Central Bank’s (ECB) Governing Council decided to keep interest rates unchanged at their meeting on 7th September.  Importantly, it did not provide any details on the future of its quantitative easing (QE) programme, which is due to end in December. The ECB has typically announced changes in its QE programme three months ahead … Continue reading “Draghi stalls for time on QE details”

Progress of Europe’s banks may mark a turning point

We crave turning points.  As we mark five years since European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi’s “whatever it takes” speech — which crushed government and corporate bond spreads and contributed towards an 80% rally in eurozone stocks — are we on the cusp of another inflection? The eurozone has just enjoyed its best quarter … Continue reading “Progress of Europe’s banks may mark a turning point”

Central banks spark confusion

Investors were clearly rattled by the mixed messages emanating from central banks in June, which sparked a sell-off in government bonds. The Federal Reserve at least has been fairly clear about its direction of travel. It has struck a more hawkish rhetoric recently, as policy makers become increasingly confident on the outlook for the US … Continue reading “Central banks spark confusion”

The case for ending negative rates early

Few interventions in history of central banking have been as dramatic as the European Central Bank’s (ECB) expansion of its balance sheet to over €4tn to support the eurozone. The strengthening economic recovery in the eurozone and pickup in inflation mean the debate on how to make an elegant exit from its emergency measures is … Continue reading “The case for ending negative rates early”

Is populism good for markets?

Populist policies appear good for markets, given the performance of equities following the Brexit and Donald Trump votes. However, we would note that the conditions for a rally (dovish signals from the Federal Reserve (Fed) and signs of a global recovery) were already falling into place last summer, before either of these two events took … Continue reading “Is populism good for markets?”