UK Budget: No Fiscal Consolidation, but Looser Money Ahead

We expect little change in UK fiscal policy in Wednesday’s budget. Instead the Chancellor George Osborne may try to nudge the Bank of England towards more aggressive monetary easing, putting further pressure on the pound.

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Cracks Appear in the French Economic Model

Today’s PMI data point to a deepening recession in France at a time when Germany is showing tentative signs of life. Is the euro crisis exposing the weaknesses of the French economic model?

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Chastened ECB Wary of Premature Monetary Tightening

Cyclical indicators have improved, but the economic and financial backdrop in the euro area remains fragile. The ECB has clearly learned from past mistakes and is keen to avoid a premature tightening of monetary conditions.

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UK Threat to Exit EU: Much Ado About Nothing

In a speech last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron raised the possibility that the UK might push the “nuclear button” and leave the European Union. We think both the threat and consequences of such a move have been exaggerated.

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Is the Euro “Dangerously High”?

Jean-Claude Juncker’s view that the euro is “dangerously high” isn’t shared by the European Central Bank (ECB). As long as this is the case, the single currency may continue to defy fundamentals and act as an unwelcome headwind for an economy still struggling to break out of recession.

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UK Economic Quagmire Adds Pressure for Monetary Policy Change

Bank of England governor-elect, Mark Carney, has raised hopes that the central bank may soon switch to a nominal GDP target. In our view, the costs outweigh the benefits, but the attractions of a radical new approach will grow if the economy remains stuck in the doldrums.

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Euro-Area Periphery Faces More Pain to Complete Rebalancing

Most peripheral euro-area countries have significantly improved their competitiveness recently, but more needs to be done. With currency devaluation ruled out, further downward pressure on labor costs is likely, which will probably deepen and prolong recessions and interfere with fiscal adjustment.

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Greece Still Needs a Long-Term Growth Plan

Even by the standards of the sovereign-debt crisis, the provisional agreement reached yesterday by euro-area finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a second Greek rescue package looks like a messy fudge. It is clear that Greece’s euro-area partners are determined to avoid a near-term euro-area exit, but a long-term solution will require [...]

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Euro Area Still in Denial about Failure in Greece

Despite the Greek government’s best efforts, last night’s meeting of euro-area finance ministers failed to approve the release of new funding. We think it’s only a matter of time before Greece gets its money. But the latest delay reflects deep disagreement about how to reduce current unsustainable debt levels. Until the euro area addresses this [...]

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ECB Bond Buying Is a Double-Edged Sword

European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi’s promise to do “whatever it takes to preserve the euro” and create a new bond-purchase program has been positive for market sentiment. But the program also carries real dangers if it breaks the fragile consensus on the board of the ECB and eases the pressure on governments to create a [...]

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