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 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.

So at the time the crisis began in earnest, at the end of 2009, its debts as a share of GDP were 127% of GDP or national income - and rose the following year to 146% of GDP.

As a condition of the official rescues, significant public spending cuts and austerity were imposed on Greece. And that had quite an impact on economic activity.

The country was already in recession following the 2008 financial crisis. But since 2010, and thanks in large part to austerity imposed by Brussels, GDP has shrunk a further 19%.

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

BP sees $50 oil for three years

  • 15 January 2015
  • From the section Business
BP's North Sea Headquarters, Aberdeen

BP's job announcement later today, including a few hundred job losses in Aberdeen, is being made because it does not expect the oil price to bounce any time soon.

The oil price has dropped around 60% since June, to $48 a barrel, and I understand that BP expects that it will stay in the range of $50 to $60 for two to three years.

Read full article BP sees $50 oil for three years

How Osborne would run a budget surplus

  • 14 January 2015
  • From the section Business
George Osborne

The chancellor has set out how he would meet his ambition of reducing public sector debt in absolute terms, not just as a percentage of national income, by running a budget surplus in most years.

He would do this by having a new fiscal rule.

Read full article How Osborne would run a budget surplus

QE is a eurozone palliative, not a cure

  • 14 January 2015
  • From the section Business
Mario Draghi
The ECJ underwrote Mario Draghi's own understanding of his mandate

The preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice on bond purchases in a crisis by the European Central Bank - so-called Outright Monetary Transactions - probably went as well for the ECB's president, Mario Draghi, as he could have hoped.

How so? Well, the non-binding judgement said that such purchases would be legitimate, to bring down cripplingly high interest rates being paid by a member state in crisis, so long as the purchases take place on the market and not directly from the stricken government.

Read full article QE is a eurozone palliative, not a cure

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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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