PM Shinzo Abe’s stimulus package could generate feelgood factor needed to end two decades of stagnant growth
The Bank of England keeps its stimulus programme of quantitative easing (QE) unchanged and also holds interest rates at 0.5%.
Read the original here: Bank holds fire on stimulus move
The Japanese yen drops to its lowest level since 2008 against the US dollar after the central bank begins the latest round of its economic stimulus programme.
More here: Yen continues slide on stimulus plan
The Bank of England decides not to expand its stimulus programme of quantitative easing and keeps interest rates unchanged at 0.5%.
The rest is here: No fresh stimulus measures from BoE
Japan’s stock market jumps to its highest in almost five years after the central bank unveiled its boldest stimulus measures yet.
The US Federal Reserve says the economy has strengthened “moderately” but still needs stimulus measures to underpin recovery.
See original here: Fed cautious on US economic recovery
The government’s only option to turn around the flatlining economy is to produce a sizeable and serious stimulus package
The predicament George Osborne finds himself in this weekend, as he puts the final touches to his fourth budget, can at least partly be ascribed to the forecasts made at the time of his first budget. According to the “emergency” Red Book of June 2010, Britain would by now be enjoying a healthy recovery. The national income, or GDP, would have grown 2.8% last year and would rise by 2.9% this year. Unemployment would by now be drifting downwards; public debt would be about to peak. In short, a historic austerity programme would be well under way and the end would be in sight. While consumer demand was nothing to write home about, the UK economy would have been buoyed up by healthy exports and one of the biggest business investment booms in postwar history. And David Cameron’s Conservatives could look forward to reaping the rewards at the general election.
You don’t need an economics PhD to know that things haven’t worked out like that. Instead, GDP shrank in the last three months of last year and Britain will be lucky to see a 1% increase this year. Along the way, we may well fall into our third recession in four years – the so-called triple dip. Public debt is on the rise, and last year the chancellor gave up his goal of ensuring it would be falling come 2015. Far from being reformed, the banking sector is caught somewhere between a drive to improve its balance sheets and to lend more – and is not doing a notably good job of either, which is why the Treasury and the Bank of England are now engaged in drawing up ever more elaborate schemes to channel credit to small and medium-sized businesses. That said, the euro crisis and the chronic sickness of the domestic economy means that the corporate sector is too wary to invest and is instead sitting on historic reserves of cash. And politically, the most interesting fact this week came from an Ipsos Mori poll showing that voters trust an economic policy more if it is attributed to Labour’s Ed Balls rather than the actual chancellor – a dramatic reversal of the situation as it stood in 2010.
All this puts an incredible amount of pressure on Mr Osborne – pressure that he cannot hope to bear. Listen to Tory backbenchers, and No 11 must deliver a budget next Wednesday that at once stokes the economy, continues the reduction of the welfare bill and shores up the party’s electoral fortunes. There is no way the chancellor can deliver all three. The most likely scenario must be that he will instead deliver a package of measures that will see an increase in spending on road-building and other infrastructure – funded not by borrowing, but by nabbing cash from other parts of Whitehall. The government will term this a stimulus, but it will be no such thing; merely a reallocation of small pots of cash. Over his previous three budgets, the chancellor has tried to find extra money from outside government – such as foreign investors or pension funds. This time he may encourage local councils to borrow more to build more housing. And the final and most important leg of his strategy will probably continue to be relying on the Bank of England, under its incoming head Mark Carney, to run an ultra-loose monetary policy.
All this amounts to a continuation of the chancellor’s plan A, albeit not following it as strictly as before. As such, it will do little to turn around this flatlining economy. To do that, the government would need to engage in a proper stimulus – borrowing between £15bn and £30bn from financial markets (or 1%-2% of GDP) and ploughing half into job-creating public works (especially building council housing) and the rest into a temporary tax cut. Vince Cable is right that borrowing a small amount of money would not give financial markets a fright – especially when the bank has cornered the market in government bonds. At such low interest rates, a fiscal stimulus is eminently affordable and necessary. The only thing stopping it would be dogmatism.
Japan’s parliament approves as governor of the Bank of Japan Haruhiko Kuroda, who is expected to push for monetary stimulus to boost growth in the world’s third-largest economy.
Go here to read the rest: Kuroda confirmed as BOJ governor
Opinion: As long as the U.S. economy continues to show signs of improvement, the Fed won’t step in with more stimulus, and investors will continue to buy more stocks and sell bonds. That means yields will rise.
Read more here: Bond bubble may be closer to popping