Author: Edward Hugh

Are The IMF and the EU at Loggerheads Over Greece?

Are The IMF and the EU at Loggerheads Over Greece?

It is now clear that Greece’s economy has been going backwards over the last 6 months, and that it has once more fallen back into recession. Greek GDP fell by 0.4% in the last three month of 2014, and by a further 0.2% in the Jan – March 2015 period. As a result at the end of March Greek GDP was only 0.3% above the year-earlier level. This is a lot lower than expected in IMF forecasts, and – perhaps more importantly – well out of line with what is needed to maintain the 2022 debt sustainability targets on which continuing Fund support for Greek programmes depends.

Is Finland’s Economy Suffering From Secular Stagnation?

Is Finland’s Economy Suffering From Secular Stagnation?

Finnish society, like many other European ones, is in the throes of a major transition. More debate needs to be held on what to do to facilitate the transition, and in the meantime deficit spending to make investments in future productivity improvements seems not to be a bad idea. Running deficits in order not to change, in contrast, would be.

Does The Secular Stagnation Theory Have Any Sort of Validity?

Does The Secular Stagnation Theory Have Any Sort of Validity?

While there is no definitive answer at this point to the question whether or not what we are seeing is a creeping process of secular stagnation which will gradually spread from one economy to another as the respective working age populations start to contract, there is strong prima facie evidence that the theory is worth examining and that the hypothesis should continue to be tested.

Is Japan Back In Recession?

Is Japan Back In Recession?

“People should seriously consider that Japan’s economy may have fallen into recession despite the weaker yen and a stock rally from the BOJ’s easing and the flexible fiscal policy by Abe’s administration,” said Maiko Noguchi, senior economist at Daiwa Securities. “Initial expectations that the economy could withstand the negative effects of a sales tax hike through a virtuous circle seem to be collapsing.”

The Japanisation Of Europe

The Japanisation Of Europe

By Edward Hugh By now it should be clear that the monetary experiment currently being carried out in Japan (known as “Abenomics”) is fundamentally different from the kind of quantitative easing which was implemented  in the United States and the United Kingdom during the global financial crisis. In the US […]

The Catalan Vote: Why It’s Time To Start Getting Worried About Complacency In Madrid

The Catalan Vote: Why It’s Time To Start Getting Worried About Complacency In Madrid

There is now a provisional date for that woeful collision to occur: the 9 November this year, the date chosen by the Catalan parliament for the holding a popular (non binding, not a referendum) consultation under a new law which will receive parliamentary approval on 19 September. The original intention of the Catalan parliament was to hold a referendum on the region’s future authorized by Madrid. With that intent parliamentary representatives took a proposal last spring to the Spanish parliament. The reply was a polite but near unanimous “no” since Spain’s parliamentarians took the view any such vote could be considered “unconstitutional”.

The Italian Runaway Train

The Italian Runaway Train

By Edward Hugh There has been lot’s of debate in the press and in academic circles over the last week or so about whether Italy’s latest contraction constitutes a triple dip recession or simply a continuation of what’s been going on over many many years. This is an interesting theoretical […]

Abenomics – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Abenomics – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Japan needs deep seated cultural changes, especially ones directed to greater female empowerment and more openness towards immigration. Japan needs a series of structural reforms – like those under discussion around the third arrow – but these would be to soften the blow of workforce and population decline, not an attempt to run away from it. Monetary policy has its limits. As Martin Wolf so aptly put it, “you can’t print babies”.

The growing mess which will be left behind by the Abenomics experiment

The growing mess which will be left behind by the Abenomics experiment

Japan’s deflation problem is overdetermined – there are multiple causes at work, any one of which could account for the observed phenomenon. Those who have been following the debate can simply choose their favourite – balance sheet recession, liquidity trap, fertility trap – each one, taken alone, could be sufficient as a cause. But I would here like to use the term “overdetermination” in another, less technical, sense, since it seems to me Japan’s problem set is overdetermined in that we always seem to be facing at least one more problem than we have remedies at hand.

Could Mario Draghi’s implementing QE help Matteo Renzi raise the Italian deficit?

Could Mario Draghi’s implementing QE help Matteo Renzi raise the Italian deficit?

The aim of the above header is to link two names in people’s minds, both of them Italian: Mario Draghi and Matteo Renzi. Naturally the idea is not original, the FT’s Peter Spiegel recently published an entire blog post (Does Renzi owe his job to Draghi?) trying to establish some sort of connection between the arrival in office of Italy’s Matteo Renzi and the recent German Constitutional Court ruling. But this post is not about rumour, it is about coincidences.