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

Why is the Treasury's interest rate so low?

  • 29 January 2015
  • From the section Business
Sterling notes

How should the government take advantage of the record low interest rates it pays?

There are two big immediate causes of the rising price of UK government bonds or debt - whose effect is that it is cheaper than it has ever been for the Treasury to borrow for maturities of 10 years and 30 years.

First, inflation in the UK, driven mainly but not totally by falling oil prices, is heading towards zero in April and may turn negative or into deflation thereafter.

Inflation being so far below the 2% official target means the Bank of England has been signalling a delay in the fateful day when it will raise the interest rate it controls - probably till well into next year

Second, and just as important has been the announcement by the European Central Bank that it plans to buy more than a trillion euros of eurozone governments' and private sector bonds, in a big programme of quantitative easing.

Read full article Why is the Treasury's interest rate so low?

Carney attacks German austerity

  • 28 January 2015
  • From the section Business
ECB

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has tonight made what can only be described as a thinly-disguised attack on the German government's refusal to spend and borrow more to promote growth throughout the eurozone.

Germany is not once mentioned by name in his speech - entitled "Fortune favours the bold" - which he gave this evening on the fringes of the eurozone, in Dublin.

Read full article Carney attacks German austerity

A slower recovery

  • 27 January 2015
  • From the section Business
Cranes
Construction output fell in the fourth quarter of 2014

There has been a slowdown in the British economy, driven by weaker construction, manufacturing and energy production - although it would be premature to see this as an end to the recovery.

GDP, or national income, grew 0.5% in the fourth quarter of the year, compared with 0.7% in the third and a recent peak of 0.8% in the second. That looks like a trend.

Read full article A slower recovery

Why aren't markets panicking about Greece?

  • 26 January 2015
  • From the section Business
Crowd celebrates Syriza victory in Greece, waving flags

The Greek people don't seem desperately grateful for the 240bn euros in bailouts they've had from the eurozone and IMF - and here is one way of seeing why.

The country's economic crisis was caused in large part because its government had taken on excessive debts.

Read full article Why aren't markets panicking about Greece?

Can Labour pay for university fee cut?

  • 25 January 2015
  • From the section Business
Ed Miliband, Labour Party leader

We may be about to learn how much of a constraint Labour's promise to make no unfunded spending promises really is.

Because I have been told that Labour's leader, Ed Miliband, wants to next month announce an eye-catching policy of cutting maximum university fees for students by a third, from £9,000 to £6,000.

Read full article Can Labour pay for university fee cut?

Why no le Pen or Farage at Davos?

  • 23 January 2015
  • From the section Business
Paloma Faith

Paloma Faith opened her set at Google's Davos jamboree by shouting - with no apparent sense of irony, as the vintage Bollinger flowed - "let's spread the 1%".

What she meant, presumably, was "let's find a way to redistribute some of the almost-50% of the world's wealth controlled by the richest 1%" - who undoubtedly include Paloma Faith.

Read full article Why no le Pen or Farage at Davos?

Peston: Will cheap euros save the eurozone?

  • 22 January 2015
  • From the section Business
Euro notes

So the European Central Bank has embarked on cash creation through quantitative easing some six years after the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve embarked on what was then regarded as an unconventional monetary policy.

And the size of the programme, relative to eurozone GDP or output, is not a million miles from what those other central banks did. In other words, it isn't trivial.

Read full article Peston: Will cheap euros save the eurozone?

A lucky chancellor

  • 21 January 2015
  • From the section Business

Maybe George Osborne will be seen as a lucky chancellor, because the fall in oil prices and the rate of inflation has happened at the most perfect time for the Tories - and presumably the Liberal Democrats too - in relation to the electoral cycle.

But there is a caveat, to which I will return.

Read full article A lucky chancellor

Peston: Will euro QE work?

  • 20 January 2015
  • From the section Business
ECB HQ

On Thursday we get the what and how much of eurozone quantitative easing.

Among investors and the media, I've rarely encountered quite so much fevered expectation about a policy that is very unlikely to do more than provide additional painkillers to an economy that needs rather more radical structural treatment (see my post of 14 January).

Read full article Peston: Will euro QE work?

Why extreme inequality hurts the rich

  • 19 January 2015
  • From the section Business
Homeless person on streets of London

"We could have developed a vaccine for Ebola years ago if we had chosen to allocate the resources to the appropriate research".

That is what a senior and respected medical scientist, a man who would be seen as a world authority on such matters, said to me.

Read full article Why extreme inequality hurts the rich

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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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