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

End of QE is whimper not bang

  • 29 October 2014
  • From the section Business
The US Federal Reserve
The US Federal began "tapering off" its monthly bond buying programme in January

As the Fed Reserve ends quantitative easing, those who prophesied that these trillions of dollars of debt purchases would spark uncontrollable inflation have been proved wrong. But QE could still prove toxic.

The most striking thing about quantitative easing (QE), the unprecedented massive purchases of debt by the central banks of the big rich developed countries, and especially by the US Federal Reserve, is how anti-climactic it has all been.

When QE started at the end of 2008, many were the voices warning that the economy of the world was heading into dangerous uncharted territory.

Confidence in the credibility of the dollar and sterling would surely be shattered. Inflation would take off - and, whisper it softly, we could even find ourselves facing 1920s-style hyperinflation.

Well, on the day the US Federal Reserve brings to a close this intriguing chapter in the long and not always distinguished history of central banking, by ceasing its exceptional purchases of bonds, it may be fair to say that QE has all been a bit dull - or 50 shades of grey, without any sex.

Read full article End of QE is whimper not bang

Eurozone solves yesterday's problem

  • 27 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Euro logo outside ECB

The economic benefit for the eurozone of strengthening its remaining weak banks is likely to be muted, because its big flaws are elsewhere.

So what kind of economic impact will there be for the eurozone and European Union more generally, as and when 13 banks raise the 10bn euros or roughly £8bn they still need.

Read full article Eurozone solves yesterday's problem

Froth gone from UK recovery

The UK recovery has past its peak, but growth remains better than major competitors.

No great surprise that UK growth has slowed a bit in the three months to September, from an annual rate of 3.2% to 3%.

Read full article Froth gone from UK recovery

Sex, drugs and the EU budget

  • 24 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Pair of legs on high heels

The good news is that the UK economy performed a bit better than we thought.

The bad news is that the UK performed better than we thought in recent years.

Read full article Sex, drugs and the EU budget

What price to save the NHS?

  • 23 October 2014
  • From the section Business
NHS slogan

George Osborne and Ed Balls may have gagged on whatever they have for breakfast, when reading what the boss of NHS England thinks is required to eliminate a £30bn NHS deficit - which on current funding and efficiency trends would be created by the end of the next parliament.

Because even if the NHS were to make more or less unprecedented efficiency gains of up to 3% a year in coming years, elimination of the black hole would require funding per person to be maintained, after adjusting for inflation.

Read full article What price to save the NHS?

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.

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

  • 16 October 2014
  • From the section Business
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?

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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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