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

How many cheers for migration?

  • 26 February 2015
  • From the section Business
Gatwick airport

One contentious measure of the success of the British economy is the sheer number of foreigners who want to come here to work.

In the year to September 2014, some 271,000 people from overseas migrated here to work, which was the highest number since this data was first collected (so for at least a decade), and is up from 217,000 in the previous year.

The bulk of these working migrants came from the rest of the European Union, with the biggest rise in percentage terms - from 17,000 to 27,000 - in migration from new EU members, Bulgaria and Romania, known as the EU 2.

However there was also a big rise in migration for employment from outside the EU, from 42,000 to 66,000.

Skilled workers

And although there has been a lot of griping by companies about a putative government crackdown on allowing in highly skilled foreigners to work here and make up for lacunae in domestic talent, there was a substantial 13% increase in work visas granted to higher skilled individuals from abroad.

Read full article How many cheers for migration?

The long road to NHS devolution

  • 25 February 2015
  • From the section Business
Hospital ward

Senior Treasury officials first started talking to me about how they would dearly love to see the NHS broken up back in the late 1990s, when New Labour was in power.

Their argument was that an organisation as big as NHS England, with its annual budget these days of around £100bn and 1.2 million employees, was simply too big to be manageable in an efficient and effective way.

Read full article The long road to NHS devolution

How the falling oil price is hitting Russia

  • 24 February 2015
  • From the section Business

Sanctions and the tumbling oil price have sent the Russian economy spiralling into recession. I went to Moscow to assess the impact on Russian people - and whether the country's economic woes will force President Putin to become less aggressive in Ukraine and more emollient with the West.

Read full article How the falling oil price is hitting Russia

Syriza dumps Marx for Blair

  • 24 February 2015
  • From the section Business
Yanis Varoufakis, 5 Feb 15
Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis risks buying economic stability at the price of political instability

In the short course of the latest Greek financial crisis, Syriza appears to have transformed itself from what in the UK would be seen as traditional leftists into Blairites.

In the reforms proposed by the Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to secure a four-month extension of its life-or-death bailout, vanished are the party's seeming implacable hostility to privatisation, determination to re-hire sacked public-sector workers, and desire for rapid rises in minimum wages.

Read full article Syriza dumps Marx for Blair

Greece saved from disaster - for two days

  • 20 February 2015
  • From the section Business
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis holds a press conference after a Eurogroup finance ministers meeting at the European Council headquarters in Brussels - 20 February 2015
Yanis Varoufakis believes he has been given the green light to ease up on austerity

Greece and Germany have stepped back from the brink. And for now Greece remains in the eurozone.

But there will be months of fraught negotiations before it will be clear whether the economy and finances of this recession-battered nation have been put back on a stable footing.

Read full article Greece saved from disaster - for two days

What will Germany pay for not compromising with Greece?

  • 19 February 2015
  • From the section Business
euro coin

You could argue that the very public nature of the disagreement between Germany and Greece, over the terms of the latest attempt by Greece to avoid financial collapse, is good for the reputation of the eurozone.

In that at least colossal sums of taxpayer's money aren't being committed via murky deals in the kind of hidden-away government rooms that used to be smoke-filled.

Read full article What will Germany pay for not compromising with Greece?

Euro's existential threat

  • 17 February 2015
  • From the section Business
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis

The acrimonious breakdown of talks last night between Greece and other eurozone governments on a new financial and economic settlement for the debt-burdened country isn't just another swerve in the longest game of chicken in financial history.

It crystallises for the first time how much is at stake for Berlin and other eurozone governments, in the nature of what led to this latest impasse.

Read full article Euro's existential threat

The deflation that isn't deflation

  • 12 February 2015
  • From the section Business
Mark Carney

The Bank of England expects inflation to be zero or very close to zero for most of this year, starting in March.

And it says there is a greater than evens chance that it will turn negative, that prices will fall, for much of this period.

Read full article The deflation that isn't deflation

Greece and the Eurogroup need a marriage counsellor

  • 12 February 2015
  • From the section Business
Residents waving Greek flags gather on Syntagma square
As the Eurogroup met to discuss Greece, residents in Athens gathered in Syntagma Square to show their support for the Greek government

The thing about marriages that break down is they can take an unconscionable age either to be mended or to be formally ended - because of a combination of the evaporation of trust, the tendency to blame the other for failure and the difficulty in working out who gets what of the assets and liabilities.

So none of us should really have been surprised last night when Jeroen Dijssselbloem, finance minister of the Netherlands and chair of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, told us that discussions with Greece "covered a lot of ground but we didn't reach a joint conclusion".

Read full article Greece and the Eurogroup need a marriage counsellor

What is Baltic saying about global slowdown?

  • 11 February 2015
  • From the section Business
A container ship at sea
Uncertain waters - rates to ship dry bulk goods have collapsed

Let's start by owning up: I am last with the news.

Zerohedge and Bloomberg both noted yesterday, and I didn't, that the Baltic Dry Index has collapsed to a level we haven't seen since 1986 (a year where my memories are not exactly razor sharp, for reasons you can guess).

Read full article What is Baltic saying about global slowdown?

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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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