The Fed will stay on the path to higher rates in 2019 – My Monday column

This post is available in pdf format Federal Reserve – My monday Column

The Federal Reserve meets on September 25 and 26, and a 25bps hike to the fed funds rate is expected, putting the effective rate in a range of between 2% and 2.25%, with another hike expected in December. The Fed now seems to agree on these four monetary tightening moves for 2018, so the next big question is 2019. During the latest update of economic and financial projections from the members of the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) in June, three interest rate hikes were expected in 2019. How can we get a clearer idea of what’s to come?
Four interest rates are now confirmed by the Fed. I had mentioned this scenario at the start of the year due to the White House’s implementation of expansionary fiscal policy and I have not changed my mind: the hike to the fed funds rate is just a way to iron out the imbalances caused by this policy that seeks to fuel domestic demand.

This domestic momentum reflects the impact of two factors: the first is the direct effect of tax cuts and rising public spending, and we can see the positive effects of this twofold approach for demand; the other component is trade policy that aims to use domestic production to replace imports, thereby sharply driving up demand for companies’ goods and services.
So the White House has adopted a two-pronged approach: on the one hand it bolsters domestic demand and the other it directs this additional demand towards US companies rather than imports.
This internal momentum will have at least two direct consequences: the first is the risk of inflation because demand is strong and because of higher import duties. Continue reading

No real improvement in the UK after GDP figures

The UK GDP growth was at +0.4% during the second quarter (1.5% at annual rate). The carry over growth for 2018 at the end of the second quarter is 1%.
I have updated my graph on the deviation from the pre-referendum trend. There is no catch up while Eurozone countries are still above the trend. The impoverishment of the United Kingdom after the referendum continues. Not sure it was a good idea for the Bank o England to increase its main rate this month. The increased uncertainty on the Brexit negotiation will not allow a rapid reversal as uncertainty is the main enemy of long term investments, those which improve productivity.
uk-f-g-ea-trend2013-2q2016.png

The cost of the Brexit for the UK

After the referendum on June. 23, 2016, the British economy has followed a lower profile. This comes from changes in expectations: uncertainty about Brexit rules has created a wait and see behavior and opportunities in other countries have changed people and companies’ mind about investing in the UK.

Therefore the economic trend has changed. We can see that in the graph below. The trend from the start of the recovery in 2013 to the second quarter of 2016 has been extended to the first quarter of 2018. There is a widening gap between real GDP measured by the ONS and the pre-Brexit trend. It the cost of Brexit for the UK. We see a real change after the referendum. Continue reading

Brexit…the UK view

At a conference in London, I listened to a Welsh member of the European Parliament’s statements on Brexit this afternoon.

A number of points are worth noting on this MEP’s remarks:

The first point is the intention that has already been stated elsewhere of standing against the whole world to make Brexit a success, and this triumph requires the support of the entire British population.

[Comment: no objections from the floor] Continue reading

The UK will have to agree to single market rules

Agreement on the Brexit “divorce bill” is very good news, involving the UK settling its outstanding commitments to the rest of Europe. Trade negotiations will now be able to start and they will not be straightforward, as Michel Barnier recently explained with the backing of the remaining EU 27. There will be no exceptions to the rule, the UK cannot have a tailor-made agreement, all sectors will be treated equally with no special allowances. Continue reading