Articles by The Corner


All eyes on OPEC

MADRID | The Corner | Oil prices continue to fall ahead of the much-awaited OPEC meeting today, which will start at 9:00GMT –a press conference will be held at 15:00GMT. Brent crude and WTI both fell to four-year lows on concerns that oil producers will not make the large supply cuts needed to contain the slide. Analysts at Barclays believe that with an absence of basing signals for WTI crude, the risk remains lower towards 70.76. Will the oil cartel react?

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A hundred-year stagnation? For who?

By Alberto Forchielli via Caixin | The creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a necessary objective. Anyone who travels in the Far East finds confirmation of the desperate lack of efficient networks. With the exception of Japan and other developed economies, countries see their ambitions reduced by chronic underdevelopment. How can we forcefully industrialize agrarian countries if the goods produced are not transported on paved roads, via trucks, for eventual export?


“European leaders need to act”, says OECD’s Head of EU and Eurozone

MADRID | By Sean Duffy | The latest economic outlook from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forecasts a bleak outlook for Europe unless action is taken. The Corner asked Piritta Sorsa, Head of EU and Eurozone surveillance at the OECD about the increased sense of urgency, sovereign bond proposals and the necessity for consensus among Eurozone members.

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Juncker Plan still raising some doubts

BRUSSELS | By Alexandre Mato | The European Commission has finally launched its promised €315bn plan to revive the continents stagnating economy. With concerns abounding about creating more debt within Members States, Brussels has turned to financial engineering to fill the investment gap with a very modest €21bn. The aim of the Juncker plan is to ultimately produce 1.3 million new jobs over the next three years.


Is growing by 0.1% normal, Mr Schäuble?

MADRID | The Corner | Berlin is sticking to a rigid budgetary policy, prioritizing a 2015 balanced budget instead of growth. And hard liners aren’t just willing to make any move. As German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble defended on Tuesday during a budget debate in Parliament:  “We are not in a recession. We are not in an economic crisis,” Schäuble said, “Our economy is almost working at normal capacity.” Germany narrowly avoided a recession in the third quarter, growing by 0.1 percent, thanks to a sharp rise in private consumption (0.7 percent quarter-on-quarter, the biggest rise in three years) that compensated the lack of investment.


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Weidmann freezes the markets

MADRID | The Corner | Chairman at Bundesbank and member of the ECB’s Government Council Jens Weidmann warned -again- that more ECB measures to solve low inflation are difficult and could face legal limits. As markets await for Mr Draghi’s appearance on Thursday, ECB’s Benoit Coeure insisted in a Bloomberg TV interview they won’t “rush to a new decision without knowing.” 

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The euro area’s deflation inflexion point

LONDON | By Jim McCormick and Keith Parker (Barclays) | At the start of the year, we analyzed the risks of a prolonged bout of deflation in the euro area (Japan-style deflation in Europe getting harder to dismiss). Our broad conclusion was that the risks of deflation in the euro area were probably not materially different from the risks Japan faced in the mid 1990s. Perhaps more important, we felt investors should picture 1996-97 Japan when assessing the risks of euro area deflation today.

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US economic perspectives: Buying time

Maury N. Harris, Drew T. Matus, et al. (UBS) | The National Retail Federation (NRF) has released its estimates for a 4.1% y/y rise in holiday sales—among the stronger growth forecasts in recent years. Although sales have fallen short of NRF expectations in each of the last two years, trends in income and confidence suggest better for this year. Falling energy prices also help.

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PBoC delivered asymmetric rate cuts, what’s next?

By Jian Chang (Barclays) | The PBoC announced after the market close on Friday it was lowering the benchmark interest rates, effective 22 November 2014. The cut will be asymmetric, with the 1y lending rate down by 40bp to 5.6% and the 1y deposit rate down by 25bp to 2.75% (Figures 1 and 2). Meanwhile, the central bank further advanced its interest rate liberalization agenda. Banks can offer deposit rates at 20% above the benchmark rate, up from 10% currently (the upward flexibility was first introduced in June 2012, also along with a 25bp cut in the deposit rate). The bank also removed the benchmark guidance for the 5y savings rate.