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

The UK's current-account Achilles' heel

Bank of England

Whether the slowdown in growth in the rich West, led by the eurozone, and reinforced by a deceleration in China, will be permanent - as bond markets imply - or a phase, there will be significant implications for the UK.

As I mentioned last week, the Bank of England is now expected to defer any increase in its policy interest rate till at least next autumn.

The reason is that the Bank will need to maintain momentum in household consumption, business investment and construction, in the expected absence of strong demand for British goods and services from abroad.

Or to put it another way, domestic demand will become even more important to growth and making sure inflation does not fall too much further below its 2% target than it is today.

But stimulating domestic demand at this stage of the recovery brings risks - especially because the UK has a record current account deficit, or gap between the income it receives from the rest of the world and what it pays the rest of the world.

Read full article The UK's current-account Achilles' heel

The agony and ecstasy of UK recovery

  • 17 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Man looking depressed in tunnel, with bright light at end of tunnel
Andy Haldane is feeling gloomier

Full marks to the Bank of England's chief economist, Andy Haldane, for clarity on an issue normally shrouded in mist, namely what the Bank plans for interest rates.

Here is what he said:

Read full article The agony and ecstasy of UK recovery

Why Germany won't fight deflation

man using banknotes as wallpaper
Rather than buying wallpaper in 1920s Germany, it was cheaper to use banknotes

The risk of intractable, growth-destroying deflation in the eurozone has intensified. Will Germany block attempts by the European Central Bank to buy government bonds to ward it off?

Nothing desperately fundamental has changed in the global economy in the past few weeks.

Read full article Why Germany won't fight deflation

Is growth stalling or ending?

  • 16 October 2014
  • From the section Business
London Stock Exchange

There is a battle in financial markets between those betting on a permanent and temporary end to economic recovery. Who is right?

As you may recall, I came back from summer hols a bit anxious and gloomy about the world's economic prospects and therefore the UK's too.

Read full article Is growth stalling or ending?

UK's hot and cold labour market

  • 15 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Jobcentre sign

So today's labour market stats paint a seemingly contradictory and confusing picture of the economic health of the nation.

On the one hand, we should say a big hello to booming Britain, as unemployment in the three months to the end of August enjoyed its biggest ever one-year fall, of 538,000 to less than two million.

Read full article UK's hot and cold labour market

The ugly commercial face of the beautiful game

  • 15 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Football

BBC research shows that in a time of squeezed living standards, football fans are forced to incur above-inflation rises in admission prices. So how pernicious is the commercial structure of the game?

My initial reaction when reading this year's Price of Football study was to lament my addiction (that is what it is) to Arsenal.

Read full article The ugly commercial face of the beautiful game

A perverse shadow-banking fix?

  • 14 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Building formerly known as Lehman Towers
Barclays Building in New York, formerly the HQ of Lehman Brothers

Among the acknowledged causes of the 2007-8 markets meltdown and banking crash is a global financial system that encourages the creation of debt at an exponential growth rate in boom times.

And just one fragility of this system is that when it goes into reverse gear - the withdrawal of credit - the speed of contraction is even faster.

Read full article A perverse shadow-banking fix?

Chancellor warns of UK slowdown

  • 9 October 2014
  • From the section Business

The chancellor is no mug when it comes to seeing potential holes in the road ahead.

That said, the holes have been pretty loudly flagged up - the IMF warned earlier this week that there is a 40% risk of the eurozone slumping back into recession and of a danger that China's housing bubble will have an unhappy ending.

Read full article Chancellor warns of UK slowdown

The West’s failure to pre-empt Ebola

  • 8 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Ebola nurses

In a globalised world, neither money nor viruses are great respecters of national borders. They both tend to move with the movement of humans, and they are both hard to detect when humans want to hide them or don't know they are carrying them.

That is why effective global governance - institutions that make decisions in the interests of the world, not competing nations - are so increasingly important for our health and wealth (by the way, don't pipe up about the environment and global warming being another example - yes of course that's right).

Read full article The West’s failure to pre-empt Ebola

Is inequality the enemy of growth?

  • 6 October 2014
  • From the section Business
Foreclosure
After the 2008 crash, many Americans who had borrowed beyond their means lost their homes

Some 15 years ago, even after Labour won office in 1997, there was a consensus in the Treasury - which was shared by Tony Blair and other New Labour ministers - that promoting equality meant sacrificing economic growth.

So the thrust of government policy was to stimulate the economy, and never mind if the gap between rich and poor widened - so long as the poor became richer too.

Read full article Is inequality the enemy of growth?

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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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