Articles By: Edward Harrison

Edward Harrison is the founder of Credit Writedowns and a former career diplomat, investment banker and technology executive with over twenty years of business experience. He is also a regular economic and financial commentator on BBC World News, CNBC Television, Business News Network, CBC, Fox Television and RT Television. He speaks six languages and reads another five, skills he uses to provide a more global perspective. Edward holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College. Edward also writes a premium financial newsletter. Sign up here for a free trial.

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Here are my most recent posts

Greek default

Greek default

This post was originally written for Credit Writedowns Pro on 11 Mar. Two things I have written recently stand out as I contemplate what will happen in Greece. The first is that the institutions formerly known as the Troika had accepted Greece’s reform list sooner than I expected and that was positive. The second is that Greece could default before […]

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Front-running the Fed on interest rate hikes

Front-running the Fed on interest rate hikes

Written this morning for Credit Writedowns Pro The biggest takeaway from the latest Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting was the reduction in the ‘normal’ rate of unemployment from the 5.2-5.5% range to a 5.0-5.2% range. While the Fed did remove its ‘patient’ language regarding rate hikes, the lower unemployment levels give the Fed more room to stay accommodative. Some […]

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Currency wars, the Swiss franc, policy divergence and Fed rate hikes

Currency wars, the Swiss franc, policy divergence and Fed rate hikes

Edward here. I wrote the following post with the anodyne title, “The Swiss National Bank turns to negative rates” for Credit Writedowns Pro on 18 Dec 2014, almost three months ago.. But I am now putting it on the blog site because the Fed is poised to reveal tomorrow whether or not they actually will move to a full-on tightening […]

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Wolfgang Schaeuble the Salesman

Wolfgang Schaeuble the Salesman

When the Greek bailout extension deal got done, I mentioned that in the press conference that followed, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble made it clear he was looking to ‘sell’ the deal to the German parliament. And while he has been successful in doing so, recent evidence suggests that indeed he did have to work to make the deal viable. For me, this highlights the political constraints we are working under and reinforces my view that writedowns are not politically viable in Germany.

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Albert Edwards on China

Albert Edwards on China

In the last post at Credit Writedowns Pro on the jobs number, I promised to talk about currency issues but I didn’t! Here are two issues then: the increasing current account surplus in Germany and the strong dollar’s effect on China. On Germany, it’s notable that merchandise trade as a share of GDP in Germany was 70.8% for the years […]

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How to look at the Greece bailout deal

Yesterday, Greece received an agreement in principal to extend its existing bailout program for another four months from the institutions administering that program. I believe this deal is a good basis for further work down the line. But Greece has a lot of work ahead of it, if it is to move to a new program. Moreover, Syriza will have to sell this deal as a bridge to the sustainable economic outcome it sold to its electorate in the January elections. At the same time, the Germans and the Finns at a minimum will have to sell this deal to their parliaments for it to work. Some thoughts below

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Negotiating strategies and political constraints regarding Greece

I am going to leave my market-based analysis and enter the murky waters of the political economy. I don’t like the uncertainty of the political economy, given how it is based on the quixotic and unpredictable actions of individuals. But the political economy is important in crisis situations and one cannot analyze an outcome properly without taking the politics into consideration. I was a diplomat at one point in time and hope that experience will aid me here. I have been good at understanding some of the political constraints in Europe so far and intend to discuss them here.

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A decision-tree framework for thinking about the Greek – Troika negotiations

This is a short post to update you on Greece. I continue to believe a deal can get done. Recent events demonstrate this is so. Nevertheless, the potential for policy error remains high. Brief thoughts below using a decision tree model framework

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Why quantitative easing and negative interest rates will fail

Why quantitative easing and negative interest rates will fail

This is going to be a short thought piece. But the takeaway should be that the convergence to zero will continue unabated as the threat of inflation is muted given the combination of excess capacity, high private debt and unfavourable demographics. The subject is monetary policy.

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Yanis Varoufakis on fiscal waterboarding and Ponzi austerity

Yanis Varoufakis had a long interview on RT’s Boom Bust yesterday going into detail behind his political candidacy and what he expects SYRIZA to do regarding the unsustainable debt burden that the Greek government now has. Overall, despite his problems with the eurozone’s institutional structure, Yanis believes Greece leaving the eurozone would be a catastrophe for the simple fact that it does not have a currency and any attempt to leave would be seen as a prelude to a massive devaluation, inviting capital flight on a grand scale. This would be a catastrophe for the Greek banking system and wider economy.

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The convergence of safe asset yields toward zero

The convergence of safe asset yields toward zero

As low nominal GDP growth takes hold, we should expect short-term interest rates to remain low and for the yield curve to flatten. There are three main reasons this is so. First, low nominal growth rates imply low inflation. Second, to the degree market volatility produces risk-off sentiment, the bid for safe assets will further suppress yields. And third and most importantly, the natural rate of interest on a zero-day fiat currency liability is zero. I expect that the safe asset class in lowflation currency areas will be dominated by these trends, causing yields to stay low or even shrink. This convergence to zero makes the highest yielding safe assets attractive and thus favours New Zealand and Australia, as well as the the US, UK and Canada to some degree. Comments below

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Consumption taxes, inflation and low wage growth in Japan lead to recession

Consumption taxes, inflation and low wage growth in Japan lead to recession

If wages in Japan are stagnant, how is increasing inflation going to help wage earners afford a better stream of good and services? It won’t. Ultimately, what we need to see are policies which maintain wages for median and lower-income wage earners with the greatest marginal propensity to spend. Without this, in a demographically challenged and indebted private sector, so-called secular stagnation is almost a certainty.

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