Monthly Archives: May 2010

Ralph Atkins

Evidence is growing that the European Central Bank sees the euro’s weakness positively. Christian Noyer, governor of the Banque de France – who always chooses his words carefully – has just told French TV that the currency is now trading at a “more normal” level. “Certainly, we are benefiting from it in terms of exports,” he added.

Earlier, Ewald Nowotny, Austria’s central bank governor, had told a news conference in Vienna that the euro’s fall would be welcomed by industry (although Mr Nowotny added: “We’ll have to see how long this development will be seen as acceptable by the US.”) Read more

James Politi

US lawmakers may not be known for paying too close attention to every twist and turn in economic indicators.

But as the House of Representatives prepares to vote on a new jobs bill worth $150bn – the biggest stimulus package since the mega-stimulus approved in the early days of the Obama administration last year, members might consider today’s downward revision to US GDPRead more

Simone Baribeau

Since global central banks widely expanded their roles in the financial crisis, their leaders have been warning about the dangers of attacks on their autonomy. Earlier this week, Ben Bernanke, US Federal Reserve chairman, said that undue interference can “impair inflation-fighting credibility” and “worsen the economy’s longer-term prospects”.

And over the past few months central bank leaders warned of attacks in Argentina (where the central bank chief was fired after refusing to transfer foreign exchange reserves to the government), South Korea (where a vice minister attended a monetary policy meeting), Japan (where the central bank faced pressure to increase lending) and Mexico (where some viewed the appointment process of the new Bank of Mexico governor as politicised). Read more

From the FT’s beyondbrics blog

Faced with increasingly skittish investors worried about contagion from the Greek crisis Poland is looking for a safe pair of hands – and one of the safest are those of Marek Belka, a former prime minister and now European director of the IMF who is being proposed as the new governor of Poland’s central bank. Bronislaw Komorowski, the speaker of parliament and acting president, made the announcement this morning.

Komorowski is acting to fill the vacancy left by Slawomir Skrzypek, the central bank chief killed in the April 10 air crash that also killed Poland’s president and many other senior government officials.

Skrzypek was temporarily replaced by Piotr Wiesolek, who had been his deputy, but there were questions about the legality of Wiesiolek taking over Skrzypek’s role as a voting and tie-breaking member of the
interest-rate setting Monetary Policy Council. One of the MPC’s 10 members, Andrzej Bratkowski, has been boycotting MPC meetings over concern about the legality of its decisions. Read more

Simone Baribeau

Chris Giles

Today, marks the death of evidence-based policymaking in the British government. According to your tastes, you can either mourn its passing or celebrate the new, more ideological decision making. But dead it is. This is clear from today’s Cabinet Office document -the State of the Nation report – a report mostly about social policy.

We will have to see whether the explicit disregard for evidence in the report is continued into UK fiscal and monetary policy. Read more

Robin Harding

For fans of data and big numbers, here are the BOJ’s latest figures on Japan’s stock of investments overseas.

 Read more

Simone Baribeau

Economics majors are no less likely to vote than other majors, but if we do, we tend to cast our ballots for Republicans.

This according to a new study from the NY Fed that tests to see if those with undergraduate degrees in economics tend to incorporate our lessons on acting in rational self interest into our day-to-day lives.

Voting is, in economic terms, not very rational. A single person’s vote is unlikely to change the results of an election, so the costs (for instance, the opportunity cost of going to vote) outweigh the benefits.

And yet, it seems, we still do it as frequently as other majors. (On the other hand, one of the school’s polled is Florida Atlantic University – perhaps former students there, remembering the 2000 election, were acting rationally – voting because they thought the election could come down to a single vote).

But when we head to the polls, we vote Republican. Read more

Simone Baribeau

Brad Sherman, a Democratic representative from California, wants you to pay more for your home.

Mr Sherman today objected to the FHFA’s plan to roll back the temporary increase in the conforming loan limits put in place during the housing market crash.

“Nothing could destroy this recovery more than a double dip in home prices,” he told Edward J. DeMarco, Acting Director of the FHFA, the group that controls Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government sponsored enterprises, at a hearingRead more