QE, inflation and the BoE’s unreliable boyfriend: seven years of record low rates

We look back over seven years of ultra-loose monetary policy

Seven years ago on Saturday (5 March), the Bank of England slashed interest rates to a record low of 0.5%. At the time, the cut and plans to pump billions of pounds of electronic money into the economy seemed like an emergency measure to cushion the UK from the global financial crisis. But borrowing costs are still at their record low and amid warnings that a new global slump is around the corner, Bank policymakers show no signs of raising rates any time soon.

We look back over seven years of ultra-loose monetary policy:

Continue reading…

242,000 Americans got a job last month. Here’s why they’re not celebrating | Michael Paarlberg

There is a disconnect between what indicators say and what workers feel. A hard look at the numbers shows all isn’t well

Election years produce odd spectacles, like presidential candidates talking about their penises, or normal people talking about Labor Department jobs reports. In saner times, a release of nonfarm payroll data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) would attract the level of attention appropriate for, well, nonfarm payroll data from the BLS. But these are not sane times.

With an election season defined by its unpredictability, we can take some comfort in the few predictive rules we have left, like James Carville’s old “the economy, stupid” maxim. Research and common sense indicate a strong economy is good for incumbent parties, so a good jobs report should mean a Democratic victory in November.

Continue reading…

FTSE 100: third week of gains leaves investors scratching their heads

Share index turnaround of 12% since February contributes to mood of cautious optimism in City

Was that it? The year began with warnings to sell up and hunker down for another financial crisis. But now investors have been left scratching their heads after the FTSE 100 enjoyed its third week of gains to soar back to where it started 2016.

The index rallied 1% on Friday to close at 6,199.43, just shy of the 6,242.32 level at which it opened the year and above the 6,093 where it closed on the first trading day of the year.

Continue reading…