Aug 152016
 
Economic update

For a quick economic update for members of Bellevue Rotary recently, I updated several slides I usually include as a part of my talks and added a new one or two. You can download all of them as a PDF file here. Among bullet points: We live in a slow-growth world. [continue reading . . . ]






Apr 112016
 
NIRP's unintended consequences

What if the negative interest rate policies (NIRP) that have been adopted by major central banks had effects opposite what was intended? The idea is to fight DEflation and to nudge consumers to spend by penalizing banks for keeping money on deposit. The theory is that banks will lend rather [continue reading . . . ]






Feb 112016
 

I can’t help but think what’s going on in global markets seems like a re-run of what happened in the fall of 2008, when Lehman Brothers failed, banks had to be bailed out and the worst recession since the Great Depression ensued. AP business writer Alex Veiga neatly sums up [continue reading . . . ]






Dec 172015
 
Slow-growth world

Raising interest rates a quarter point as the Fed did this week does not change the fact that we live in a slow-growth world. Money markets and commodities markets are singing the same song in unison: Almost no inflation, and very little growth. To say that commodities prices have collapsed [continue reading . . . ]






Jun 122015
 
Condemned to slow growth?

June marks the end of the sixth year since the Great Recession passed into history. At 18 months, it was the lengthiest recession since World War II, surpassing the 16 months of the other notably long-lived  post-war recessions, ended in March 1975 and November 1982. For duation, of course, the [continue reading . . . ]






May 102015
 
Good jobs report, but . . .

Friday’s jobs report showed the U.S. headline unemployment rate has fallen to 5.4%, the lowest since mid-2008. Good for us, but hold the applause. The underemployment rate, including those working part time involuntarily, remains relatively high (10.8%) for this stage of the recovery. It has been nearly six years since [continue reading . . . ]






Mar 182015
 
Managed depression

Why are interest rates so low? The best answer, says Martin Wolf, principal economics columnist of the Financial Times, is that the globe’s advanced economies remain in a “managed depression.” This is the phenomenon that former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has in mind when he writes and speaks about [continue reading . . . ]






Feb 232015
 

Overview bullet points ahead of my economic-update presentations last week to the Northwest Wall & Ceiling Bureau (slides here), a trade association, and the Economic Development Association of Skagit County (slides), perhaps Washington’s most successful economic development association: Listen to the music of the global bond markets. The tune they [continue reading . . . ]






Apr 032013
 
Wealth and recessions

A correspondent who heard me last week on KUOW‘s Weekday program asks if there is research on “a correlation between the wealth lost in a downturn and the length of following recovery.” I told him the book to read is This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly  By Carmen [continue reading . . . ]






Dec 122012
 
Printing more will do what, exactly?

So we have just started Year 5 of N-ZIRP, the Fed’s near-zero-interest-rate policy, and it is working so well that the Fed will have to keep printing money. What’s wrong with this picture? In fact, despite a massive expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet, and some of the lowest interest [continue reading . . . ]