Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Greek Creditors Allegedly Reach Preliminary Agreement

How many times have we heard this before?

Don't believe the hype!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

#Grexit Looms Large Again - Greek Banks Haemorrhaging Cash

Greece’s beleaguered banking system has taken a fresh hit from the country’s shaky bailout talks this year, registering its worst deposit outflows since the height of its debt crisis in the summer of 2015.

The FT reports that the latest figures from the European Central Bank showed households and businesses pulled €1.1bn from the country’s lenders last month, moderating from the €1.7bn withdrawn at the start of the year but marking the worst two-monthly outflow since the country was bought to the brink of a eurozone exit nearly two years ago.

For why?

There is no sign of agreement between Greece and the Quadriga wrt the bailout. Indeed there is no sign of agreement between the IMF and other members of the Quadriga over the terms of the bailout!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Europe Isn't Working

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Retail Sales Rise

Retail sales last month rose 3.7% compared with February of 2016, the Office for National Statistics said, and were up 1.4% on January’s sales.

However, many in the media are looking at the three month data and reporting a decline of 1.4%. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Inflation Hits 2.3%

Inflation jumped to it highest level for three and a half years in February. Average prices rose by 2.3pc in February, from 1.8pc in January. This was higher than the 2.1pc predicted by economists, and was driven by price rises for food and fuel and the weakened pound.

Right on cue the siren sound of people calling for an increase in rates. Not so fast though, any rise in rates will adversely hit economic activity and increase unemployment.

There will be no rush to raise rates anytime soon!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Unemployment Lowest Since 1975

Unemployment fell to its joint lowest level since 1975.

Joblessness dropped to 4.7pc, down from 4.8pc a month earlier and from 5.1pc in January 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bank of England Response To The Resignation of Charlotte Hogg

Press release

Following recent events, Charlotte Hogg yesterday voluntarily offered her resignation.

This morning, Court has accepted her resignation with deep regret. 
Anthony Habgood, Chair of Court, said:

“In her time at the Bank, Charlotte Hogg has made a huge contribution in areas such as professionalising and modernising the management and operations of the Bank, leading the implementation of the strategic plan, championing diversity and driving forward the Bank’s understanding of key issues such as Fintech and Operational Risk.  No one who knows her doubts her track record or her integrity.  While Charlotte’s decision by any measure exceeds the standard that would be expected in the private sector or would be required under statute, it is understandable in the circumstances and she has taken it with the best interests of the Bank at heart.”

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank, said:

“While I fully respect her decision taken in accordance with her view of what was the best for this institution, I deeply regret that Charlotte Hogg has chosen to resign from the Bank of England.” 

“Since Charlotte joined the Bank almost four years ago, she has transformed its management and operations.  Drawing on her extensive private sector experience and her unrelenting commitment to excellence, she has led a broad range of initiatives to build a more open and inclusive institution, to overhaul our IT systems, and to change fundamentally how the Bank develops, manages and rewards its dedicated public servants. Along the way, she has inspired countless colleagues at the Bank and attracted a new cohort of professionals to it.  The combination of Charlotte’s unique skills and drive were exceptionally well suited to lead similar transformations of our markets and banking responsibilities, particularly given the growing importance of FinTech, operational excellence and the management of cyber risk.”
“The Bank of England today is stronger, more diverse, secure and effective in large part because of Charlotte Hogg.  We will do everything we can to honour her work for the people of the United Kingdom by building on her contributions.”

Court notes today’s report by the Treasury Select Committee.  It is making the following announcements.

The Bank is reconfiguring reporting lines and internal structures in order to safeguard more effectively the governance of its Code of Conduct, compliance and disciplinary processes.  The new configuration will involve:

  • Senior Management Responsibility for Bank-wide risk management moving from the Chief Operating Officer (COO) to Deputy Governor for Prudential Regulation Sam Woods in his capacity as Chair of the Executive Risk Committee.  Mr Woods in turn reports to Court’s Audit and Risk Committee (ARCO) on risk matters.
  • The Head of Compliance reporting to the General Counsel (who in turn reports to the Governor) and the Chair of ARCO, who is tasked with ensuring the independence of the Bank’s compliance function.
  • Senior Management Responsibility for the Code of Conduct will rest with the General Counsel who will ensure the policies under the Code are fully understood and adhered to, and will report on that to the Chair of ARCO.

To ensure adherence to the Code of Conduct at the most senior levels of the Bank, Court has commissioned a review which will be carried out by Court’s non-executive directors other than the Chair. The review will examine:
  • The lessons from Ms Hogg’s case,
  • The extent to which the changes to reporting lines and internal structures outlined above are adequate, and
  • What the Bank should do to ensure full and timely compliance now and in future, especially amongst senior members of the Bank.
The Bank will make the findings and recommendations of this review public. 

The review by Court’s non-executives will be assisted in the first instance by the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Office, the Internal Audit division and the National Audit Office as appropriate.

Letter from Charlotte Hogg

Charlotte Hogg Resigns As Deputy Governor of The Bank of England

Unsurprising given that she has lost support of MPs, who stated that her "professional competence falls short" for the role of Deputy Governor of The Bank of England.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Rents Falling

London Loves Business reports that the average monthly rent for newly let properties has fallen for the first time since late 2010, according to figures from Countrywide.

The fall is due to an increase in supply of properties, because some landlords were in a hurry to buy properties last year before a three per cent stamp duty surcharge came about.

The average new tenancy in England, Scotland and Wales fell by 0.6 per cent in the year to February, to £921 a month.

As ever, when the state tinkers with taxes there are consequences.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Greece Unemployment Stuck at 23%

"Stable" implies something to be happy about. A 23% unemployment rate is nothing to be happy about, most especially as it shows no sign of improving!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The Budget Live - #Budget2017

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Back To The Future - EU May Revert To Single Market

Oh irony of irony, the EU is finally waking up to the fact that the best way to survive may in fact be to revert to its past; namely to become a single market (what once was called the "Common Market").

Why and how? 

In a scenario where the EU27 cannot agree to do more in many policy areas, it increasingly focuses on deepening certain key aspects of the single market. There is no shared resolve to work more together in areas such as migration, security or defence. 

As a result, the EU27 does not step up its work in most policy domains. Cooperation on new issues of common concern is often managed bilaterally. The EU27 also significantly reduces regulatory burden by withdrawing two existing pieces of legislation for every new initiative proposed. 

By 2025, this means: 

The functioning of the single market becomes the main "raison d'ĂȘtre" of the EU27. Further progress depends on the capacity to agree related policies and standards. This proves easier for the free movement of capital and of goods, which continues tariff - free, than it does in other areas."
This revelation on the road to Damascus comes in whitepaper on the future of Europe, published by the European Commission and signed off by Juncker.

Needless to say, Juncker and his ilk want full steam ahead to full political and monetary union. However, that simply won't happen.

In reality, the EU will be lucky to survive even as a "Common Market"!