Ferdinando Giugliano

With the eurozone facing the threat of a prolonged period of “low-flation”, the European Central Bank has been urged to stretch its monetary policy toolkit further and deploy more unconventional measures. One widely flagged option would be to cut the interest rate that banks receive for parking their money with the central bank to below its current zero level. Frankfurt would then replicate an experiment first tried by Denmark’s central bank, which in 2012 cut its deposit rate to -0.20 per cent.

As of Thursday, however, Denmark is no longer a valid comparison. The Danish National Bank has announced that, with effect from Friday, it will raise its deposit rate by 15 basis points to 0.05 per cent (it had already increased it to -0.10 per cent in January). Meanwhile, the central bankers in Copenhagen left the lending and the discount rate unchanged at 0.2 and 0 per cent respectively. Read more

Claire Jones

Undergraduate economics teaching has taken a (deserved) bashing since the crisis from some high-profile names in academia and officialdom. And, most importantly, the students themselves.

Among those leading the reform effort is an impressive group at the University of Manchester, the Post-Crash Economics Society. Today it has published a manifesto that is well worth a read for anyone with the slightest interest in why the discipline failed so spectacularly to spot the financial crisis.

The manifesto is all the more important as the group’s attempts to install an optional course on alternative theories on financial crises on the undergraduate syllabus were rejected earlier this month. The bashing, it appears, has not been bruising enough to trigger root-and-branch reform of the way economics is taught.  Read more

Despite politicians of all hue stressing the importance of business lending in rebalancing the economy, net lending to UK businesses has now been falling for nearly seven years, according to the Bank of England’s latest Trends in Lending report.

For consumers the picture is very different: mortgage lending is on the up, as is unsecured lending (such as credit cards).

But before assuming this means a consumer debt-fuelled recovery is underway, it is worth taking a look at how low levels are by historical standards – and signs business lending maybe starting to return.

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More than five years after the start of the great QE experiment, agreement about what the asset buying scheme achieved is still thin on the ground. A new Bank of England paper from external MPC member Martin Weale released today tries to put a figure to how much QE boosted national output and inflation in the UK and the US. Its results are as follows:

“At the median, an asset purchase shock that results in an announcement worth 1% of nominal GDP, leads a rise of about .36% (.18%) of real GDP and .38% (.3%) in CPI in the US (UK). These findings are encouraging, because they suggest that asset purchases can be effective in stabilising output and prices” Read more

The UK’s labour market figures have sparked a lot of excitement – and a certain amount of confusion – on the hot topic of real wage growth. Here are six charts that explain what has happened and what it means.

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The UK has spent years fretting about its dismal productivity performance in the wake of the financial crisis, but it’s no closer to figuring out what has gone wrong or what (if anything) should be done about it.

Perhaps it should look further afield. The UK is not the only place with a “productivity puzzle” on its hands: New Zealand is scratching its head too. For a developed country with seemingly supportive policies on tax, regulation and education, New Zealand’s workers are surprisingly unproductive, and they don’t seem to be improving very quickly either. Read more

By Roman Olearchyk and Lindsay Whipp

Ukraine’s economy and Kiev’s financial position were deteriorating rapidly even before the political crisis gripped the country last year. But as the interim government grapples with Russia’s annexation of Crimea, spreading separatist unrest in the east and gas bills that will almost double, Kiev is slipping closer towards financial breaking point. The government is awaiting a multibillion dollar loan International Monetary Fund and on Monday night the central bank raised key interest rates as it embarks on reform of the way it conducts its monetary policy. Read more

Chris Giles

Many US citizens are proud of their Irish roots and have a great affinity for the Emerald Isle. In an otherwise rather dull International Monetary Fund fiscal monitor, this table might make them reconsider.

It shows the level of financial support given to banks in the financial crisis and the level of recovery to date. All the figures are in terms of percentages of national income so they show the relative burden of the support and the recovery. Read more

(c) Getty Images

Looking for a cheap flight to jet off to warmer climes over Easter? This time you may have left it too late.

The best window for cheaper fares – on Ryanair at least – is between 21 and 14 days prior to departure, according to a new academic paper by Marco Alderighi at Bocconi University, Marcella Nicolini at the University of Pavia and Claudio Piga at Keele University set to be presented at the Royal Economic Society’s conference on Wednesday.

Researchers scraped the Ryanair website to build a database of how fares change as the date gets closer and the plane fuller, looking at over 80 routes of flights departing from the UK. Read more

 

Britain’s finance minister George Osborne is off to Washington this week to give an “I told you so” speech about the merits of his austerity programme.

But if a paper to be presented today is to be believed, the credit for lowering Britain’s budget deficit should really go to his Old Etonian boss David CameronRead more