The minutes released by the FED and the ECB last week shared concern about how to inform about their monetary stance. They fear unsettling the markets should investors wrongly interpret the messages conveyed to them. When you lack a clear policy perspective, the best thing you can do is to manage communication in a fairly tight way.
Articles by JP Marin Arrese
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Mr Trump would be wise to avoid further threatening once he’s made clear that the US will immediately retaliate should North Korea launch even a harmless attack close to Guam. Undoubtedly Mr Kim got the message. That said, no-one knows how he might react next time.
The markets are becoming increasingly sceptical about Trump’s ability to enforce any coherent economic policy mix. Even if his advisors in this field are seasoned bankers, the White House is rapidly losing its grip on critical decision-making areas, such as the budget stance.
Last week, the ECB’s governing council openly disavowed its chairman by refusing to provide any hint about the potential dismantling of quantitative easing. Draghi was at pains to reconcile this rebuke with his sanguine message in Sintra pointing to a tapering decision shortly after the summer break. In the press conference following the board, he was forced to admit that for the time being inflation run far away from its medium-term goal.
Janet Yellen has delivered what observers see as her last testimony at both Houses of the Congress. Rumours increasingly point to the President’s chief economic advisor as the potential successor when her mandate comes to an end in February. Mr Trump has never disguised his contempt for her, whom he depicted in one of his twits as the champion of low inflation.
The G-20 Summit in Hamburg has shown how useless this gathering has become nowadays. Its contribution to world policing stands close to zero. No wonder. The only positive outcome emerging from the meeting was the opportunity it provided for enhancing personal relations and overcoming mutual grievances. Mr Trump excelled in this job when meeting Mr Putin.
The recent rescue of two ailing Italian banks -Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca-broke away from the standard bail-in procedures introduced by the EU. The trick used for implementing that circumvention was based on the official guarantee that the two lame ducks did not represent a systemic danger.
The main shortcoming of the Bank of Spain’s report on the Spanish banking crisis lies in its lack of a convincing analysis of the reasons why banks proved so vulnerable. It identifies their excessive exposure to residential mortgages, as well as their heavy reliance on external financing. But it fails to plainly set out what went wrong with the world’s financial sector.
Little did observers expect Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s energetic and upbeat account of economic prospects ahead. They discovered, much to their surprise, that underperforming inflation data was brushed aside as she shifted to forecasts tailored to match with the rate stiffening.
Time has come to reassess the ECB’s strategy. The Central Bank can no longer overlook the economy’s marked improvement. Nor can it ignore the fact that the money market price is at lower levels than warranted by the current environment. It should act swiftly.