Robert Peston, economics editor

Robert Peston Economics editor

Welcome to Peston's Picks - for my latest thoughts on the big economic events around the world making us richer or poorer

Devolve to make us richer?

  • 22 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Manchester skyline
More power means more economic growth for cities such as Manchester, the Commission says

It may not have escaped your notice on Tuesday that HM Treasury is not finding it altogether easy to close the UK's huge and unsustainable fiscal deficit, the gap between what the government spends and what it raises from taxes.

Of the yawning gap, which looks set to significantly overshoot this year's official forecast of £86.6bn, around £4bn to £5bn relates to spending in Greater Manchester alone.

Now the vast bulk of spending there - more than 90% - is determined in Westminster, not by municipal and regional bodies.

Which is just one reason why the City Growth Commission would argue that centralised government has failed to generate the prosperity we desperately need.

It points out that if the growth rate of our largest urban areas, what it calls metros, could be increased to the UK average, national income would increase by £60bn in today's money by 2030 - equivalent to almost £1,700 per urban dweller.

Read full article Devolve to make us richer?

The UK's current-account Achilles' heel

Bank of England

Whether the slowdown in growth in the rich West, led by the eurozone, and reinforced by a deceleration in China, will be permanent - as bond markets imply - or a phase, there will be significant implications for the UK.

As I mentioned last week, the Bank of England is now expected to defer any increase in its policy interest rate till at least next autumn.

Read full article The UK's current-account Achilles' heel

The agony and ecstasy of UK recovery

  • 17 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Man looking depressed in tunnel, with bright light at end of tunnel
Andy Haldane is feeling gloomier

Full marks to the Bank of England's chief economist, Andy Haldane, for clarity on an issue normally shrouded in mist, namely what the Bank plans for interest rates.

Here is what he said:

Read full article The agony and ecstasy of UK recovery

Why Germany won't fight deflation

man using banknotes as wallpaper
Rather than buying wallpaper in 1920s Germany, it was cheaper to use banknotes

The risk of intractable, growth-destroying deflation in the eurozone has intensified. Will Germany block attempts by the European Central Bank to buy government bonds to ward it off?

Nothing desperately fundamental has changed in the global economy in the past few weeks.

Read full article Why Germany won't fight deflation

Is growth stalling or ending?

  • 16 October 2014
  • From the section Business
London Stock Exchange

There is a battle in financial markets between those betting on a permanent and temporary end to economic recovery. Who is right?

As you may recall, I came back from summer hols a bit anxious and gloomy about the world's economic prospects and therefore the UK's too.

Read full article Is growth stalling or ending?

UK's hot and cold labour market

  • 15 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Jobcentre sign

So today's labour market stats paint a seemingly contradictory and confusing picture of the economic health of the nation.

On the one hand, we should say a big hello to booming Britain, as unemployment in the three months to the end of August enjoyed its biggest ever one-year fall, of 538,000 to less than two million.

Read full article UK's hot and cold labour market

The ugly commercial face of the beautiful game

  • 15 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Football

BBC research shows that in a time of squeezed living standards, football fans are forced to incur above-inflation rises in admission prices. So how pernicious is the commercial structure of the game?

My initial reaction when reading this year's Price of Football study was to lament my addiction (that is what it is) to Arsenal.

Read full article The ugly commercial face of the beautiful game

A perverse shadow-banking fix?

  • 14 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Building formerly known as Lehman Towers
Barclays Building in New York, formerly the HQ of Lehman Brothers

Among the acknowledged causes of the 2007-8 markets meltdown and banking crash is a global financial system that encourages the creation of debt at an exponential growth rate in boom times.

And just one fragility of this system is that when it goes into reverse gear - the withdrawal of credit - the speed of contraction is even faster.

Read full article A perverse shadow-banking fix?

Chancellor warns of UK slowdown

  • 9 October 2014
  • From the section Business

The chancellor is no mug when it comes to seeing potential holes in the road ahead.

That said, the holes have been pretty loudly flagged up - the IMF warned earlier this week that there is a 40% risk of the eurozone slumping back into recession and of a danger that China's housing bubble will have an unhappy ending.

Read full article Chancellor warns of UK slowdown

The West’s failure to pre-empt Ebola

  • 8 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Ebola nurses

In a globalised world, neither money nor viruses are great respecters of national borders. They both tend to move with the movement of humans, and they are both hard to detect when humans want to hide them or don't know they are carrying them.

That is why effective global governance - institutions that make decisions in the interests of the world, not competing nations - are so increasingly important for our health and wealth (by the way, don't pipe up about the environment and global warming being another example - yes of course that's right).

Read full article The West’s failure to pre-empt Ebola

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About Robert

Robert has won numerous awards for his journalism, including Journalist of the Year, Specialist Journalist of the Year and Scoop of the Year (twice) from the Royal Television Society, Performer of the Year from the Broadcasting Press Guild, and Broadcaster of the Year and Journalist of the Year from the Wincott Foundation.

Prior to joining the BBC, he was political editor and financial editor of the Financial Times, City Editor of the Sunday Telegraph and a columnist for the New Statesman and Sunday Times.

He broadcast and published a series of influential reports about the causes and consequences of the global financial crisis.

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