One pleasant surprise of the pandemic has been the shortage of business bankruptcies, despite recurrent lockdowns that have drained their incomes. But is this rosy picture a cruel illusion to be removed as governments stop propping up small companies? Banks will soon find out if government life support has simply delayed the inevitable.
Gains in Europe’s annual inflation rates during the first month of 2021, raising the euro area’s rate to 0.9 percent and the European Union’s to 1.2 percent—due primarily to price increases for industrial goods and services, are encouraging and bring promise for further increases. However, not all EU countries experienced the same success, with Greece at the low end (-2.4 percent) and Poland at the high end (3.6 percent).
It has been an unusually eventful year for central banks all over the world in 2020, and given the current circumstances, the coming year is set to be no less busy. With a variety of challenges to overcome, therefore, central banks hope to achieve several important goals before the end of 2021.
During its policy meeting on Thursday, September 10, the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to keep its main refinancing benchmark rate unchanged at 0 percent, along with leaving its rates on the marginal lending facility and deposit facility the same at 0.25 percent and -0.50 percent, respectively.
The warning not to put all your eggs in one basket may apply to policymakers’ exclusive focus on boosting the demand side of economies. Monetary policies, in particular, are fixated on promoting growth in demand. But is the supply side of the equation being ignored in the process? Is this one-sided approach most likely to prosper the economies that are subjected to it, or is a change of focus needed?
Some puzzles are fun, while others are not. The sovereign-bank diabolic loop puzzle is definitely not fun for the European governments and banks victimized by it. Trapped in the loop, banks hurt sovereigns, while sovereigns return the favor by hurting banks. Is there a way to break free of this deadly embrace? New research shines a light on a possible channel to freedom that strangely enough originates in the US.
Emerging markets are already looking forward to 2019, glad to see 2018 nearly behind them. It turned out not to be a good year for emerging markets as a whole, after being on top of the world in 2017. Factors beyond their control—such as the monetary-tightening regime in the United States and high-flying dollar, trade wars and market corrections in developed economies—are largely to blame, but recognizing this will not erase the pain.
Russia’s economy suffered some major setbacks in recent years, especially as a result of low oil prices, slow growth and sanctions. The country’s equity-market performance slumped in response to the unfavourable macroeconomic and political conditions, but in 2017 it turned upbeat as investors flocked back to take advantage of emerging opportunities, creating an environment conducive to further business growth and prosperity for 2018.
As political leaders joined business leaders from around the world at the 48th annual meeting of the world economic forum in Davos, the discussions offered great insight and an opportunity to debate some of the key themes facing financial services as it intersects with technology.