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Tag Archives: sovereign debt

The safe asset scarcity problem, 2050 edition

This is a silly chart: Why is it silly? Just look at what it implies for government and investor behaviour - and the future of the ratings agency that issued it.S&P forecasts a serious shortage of safe assets by 2050 if the developed nations, in particular, do nothing to adjust their fiscal finances in the light of ageing populations. Clearly, therefore, the price of sovereign bonds in the three "A" categories will rise significantly. S&P doesn't indicate which nations would be the...

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Bond yields and helicopters

The ever-optimistic OBR has some encouraging forecasts for interest rates and global government bond yields: Well, ok, they were rather more encouraging in November than they are now. The uplift was supposed to start ANY DAY NOW, but there has been an interruption to normal service. Leaves on the line, perhaps. Or the wrong sort of snow.The trouble is, the OBR has a long record of hockey-stick forecasting. Not that it is unique in having a noticeable bias to the upside: If ever there were...

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A plan to turn the Euro from zero to hero

Guest post by Ari Andricopoulos It is difficult to read the history of inter-war Europe and the US without feeling a deep sense of foreboding about the future of the Eurozone. What is the Eurozone if not a new gold standard, lacking even the flexibility to readjust the peg? For the war reparations demanded at Versailles, or the war debts owed by France and the UK to the US, we see the huge debts owed by the South of Europe to the North, particularly Germany. The growth model of the...

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An unjustified rating

Anti-austerity demonstrators in Helsinki, Finland The ratings agency Fitch has affirmed the AAA rating on Finland's sovereign debt. But on reading Fitch's analysis, the justification for this is very hard to see.Finland's economic situation is, to say the least, dire.  This is what Fitch has to say about it: The Finnish economy is adjusting to sector-specific shocks in key industries (electronics, communications and forestry), is already experiencing the impact of an ageing population...

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PQE, inflation and the problem of voter power

I have repeatedly said that I do not support Jeremy Corbyn's "People's QE". But there seems to be considerable confusion about what exactly I oppose. And that is for one simple reason: the deliberate conflation of government investment spending and QE by the architect of this scheme. PQE is composed of two separate and distinct strands: 1. Government spending to finance investment in infrastructure, innovation, R&D and housing 2. Bank of England purchases of government bonds. ...

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Making the case for public investment

Jeremy Corbyn’s “People’s QE” scheme has been extensively discussed in the media. In fact it has caused something of a storm. The FT’s Chris Giles did an excellent balanced analysis of it, and there have also been useful contributions from – among others - Oxford University’s Simon Wren-Lewis, The Economist’s Buttonwood and FT Alphaville’s Matt Klein. The extent of discussion is far more, in my view, than the scheme deserves. The scheme envisages that the Government, via a public...

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A Finnish cautionary tale

Eurozone growth figures came out today. And they are horribly disappointing. Everyone undershot, apart from Spain which turned in a remarkable 1% quarter's growth, and Greece which somehow managed an even more incredible 0.8% (yes, I will write about this, but not in this post). France  didn't grow at all, Italy all but stagnated at 0.2%, and even the mighty Germany only managed 0.4%. Despite low oil prices, falling commodity prices, weak Euro and the ECB's QE programme, Eurozone...

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In defence of the (conflicted) ECB

Everyone has been so transfixed by Yanis Varoufakis's "Plan B" revelations that his defence of the ECB's Mario Draghi passed unnoticed. Here it is, transcribed from the Lamont tape by Peter Spiegel at the FT:Mario Draghi has handled himself as well as he could, and he tried to stay out of this mire, the political mire, impressively. I have always held him in high regard. I hold him in even higher regard now, having experienced him over the last six months. Having said that, the European...

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A New Deal for Greece

It appears that the Greeks have given a bloody nose to the EU, turning in a resounding NO vote in Sunday's referendum. Though exactly what they have rejected is unclear. The ballot paper is, to say the least, complicated. The UK's Telegraph published this translation from Greek Analyst:The ballot paper of the #greferendum question upon which the Greek people are called to vote on. (Translated) pic.twitter.com/hPGJcp49Gs— The Greek Analyst (@GreekAnalyst) June 29, 2015 And the paper asked,...

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