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

Britain's soggy future?

  • 24 November 2014
  • From the section Business
Money and payslip

I have interviewed the Bank of England's chief economist Andy Haldane about how seriously he takes the risk of what Larry Summers, the former US Treasury Secretary, calls "secular stagnation".

This is the dour prospect that in the mature rich economies growth in the future will be much slower than it was in the decades before the crash (even though right now the UK is growing at an annual rate of 3% - which is similar to pre-crash levels).

Haldane made clear that this danger is very much on his radar. Here is what he told me.

Robert Peston: How big a risk is there that we are entering a prolonged period of low growth?

Andy Haldane: For the foreseeable future, those headwinds to growth will be with us. They'll be holding us back to a degree. Why is that? Because we are still paying for some of the cost of the [2008 financial and economic] crisis - debt levels still a bit too high, both out there among companies and households, but also among governments increasingly. And also because I think people are still scarred by the crisis, their appetite for taking risk has been diminished, possibly on a more durable basis. And both of those things near term will tend to drag growth back a bit.

Read full article Britain's soggy future?

A blacker fiscal hole?

  • 21 November 2014
  • From the section Business
George Osborne

The Treasury's statement on this morning's government borrowing figures for October - which are a bit less dire than those in the first six months of the year - is a classic of its kind.

On the one hand, the nameless official spokesperson makes the perhaps surprising claim that "public sector net borrowing still remains in line with the Budget forecast".

Read full article A blacker fiscal hole?

Squeeze ends for the long-term employed

  • 19 November 2014
  • From the section Business

This year's annual survey of hours and earnings is a treasure chest of seeming paradoxes. And gosh, I am so excited.

So the headline, according to the Office for National Statistics, is that median gross weekly earnings for those in full-time work rose by a solitary quid or just 0.1% to £518 in the year to April 2014.

Read full article Squeeze ends for the long-term employed

Is the global economy headed for the rocks?

  • 17 November 2014
  • From the section Business
Share prices displayed on a billboard in Japan, 17 November 2014

Well David Cameron, perhaps learning a lesson from his stockbroker father, got his timing right.

On the morning that he warns (in the Guardian) that red lights are flashing on the dashboard of the global economy, Japan announces that it has unexpectedly crashed into recession.

Read full article Is the global economy headed for the rocks?

Hooray for a flatlining eurozone

  • 14 November 2014
  • From the section Business
The Rathaus in Hamburg
Hamburg has a proud history as the powerhouse of Germany's export trade

Miniscule growth in the eurozone is better than none, but no bulwark against eventual fracture of the currency union.

It is a rum old world in which growth of 0.2% in the eurozone between the spring and autumn is regarded as a goodish result.

Read full article Hooray for a flatlining eurozone

End of UK's long living-standards squeeze?

  • 12 November 2014
  • From the section Business

For the first time in five years, pay excluding bonuses - so-called "regular" earnings - is rising faster than inflation.

Here is your statutory wealth warning: the rise in real pay has been for one month only (so far) and is so small as to create an almost imperceptible bulge in your wallet; pay rose by 1.3%, versus CPI inflation of 1.2%.

Read full article End of UK's long living-standards squeeze?

The German way of stagnating

  • 11 November 2014
  • From the section Business
Skyline of Hamburg

In Germany, why is is that they seem to do most things better than the rest of the world, even economic stagnation and recession?

I was in the great port of Hamburg yesterday, part of the industrial powerhouse that is Germany, to get a sense of the mood of the country, shortly before the publication of official figures that will show the German economy is pretty limp.

Read full article The German way of stagnating

The UK's loans for visas schemes

  • 6 November 2014
  • From the section Business

Having broadcast and written about the costs and benefits of immigration yesterday, I feel like I've been hit by a truck this morning - such is the volume of emails, tweets and blog comments I've received.

So slightly against my better judgement, here goes again, prompted by a report in the Times that the Home Office approved 735 applications for UK residency permits from wealthy foreign investors from outside the EU in the year to June.

Read full article The UK's loans for visas schemes

Immigration question still open

  • 5 November 2014
  • From the section Business
signs at Heathrow Airport

The new report on the tax and spending impact of migration to the UK by Dustmann and Frattini probably settles one part of the immigration controversy. But the biggest questions remain open.

They have shown that the new migrants from Eastern Europe, the ones that are seen as largely responsible for the rise and rise of UKIP and the shaking up of the party-political status quo, have been net contributors to the public purse - after allowing for taxes, tax credits, benefits and use of public services (and see my earlier note on this).

Read full article Immigration question still open

The immigration “windfall” for the Treasury

  • 5 November 2014
  • From the section Business
passport control, Gatwick

The controversy over immigration is about more than money - though what often sparks furious debate is the frequently levelled charge that immigrants, especially those from Eastern Europe, are a burden on taxpayers.

But the opposite is true, according to a new report, by University College London's Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration.

Read full article The immigration “windfall” for the Treasury

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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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