Ben Bernanke is an expert on the famous crash. But Barry Eichengreen argues in his new book that the Fed boss during the 2008 crunch hadn’t learnt the lessons of the boom preceding the bust. Bernanke’s knowledge helped with crisis management, but it is too early to say how much.
Worries about bad debts and a sliding share price have raised doubts about Chief Executive Peter Sands’ future. The main challenge for the emerging market lender is to boost returns and retain capital as growth slows. If Sands leaves, his successor will face the same issues.
The European Central Bank’s easing and the Greek anti-austerity party’s electoral victory show the euro zone is breaking free of German dominance. With loose monetary policy and banking union, it seems ready for growth-friendly policies that don’t ignore economic reality.
Too much production accounts for about half of the oil price slide, by one calculation. The surplus of cheap crude should boost oil-importers’ GDP. But the gains may not materialise, thanks to central banks’ ultra-low interest rates and wobbling anti-deflation credentials.
The pre-crisis belief that monetary policy was no more than the non-political setting of the policy interest rate is long gone. Yellen, Draghi and the others now have six ways to shape the financial system. Their status: done, devalued, discredited, doubtful, daunting and denied.
A lot happens in a split second online, much of it good for the ad industry but worrying for privacy advocates. Instant auctions to push tailored ads to individuals are growing fast, says “Targeted” author Mike Smith. The ad men will need ever more personal data to fuel them.
The Swiss mountain air is crisp but the M&A market is hot. Fresh off a $3.5 trln year, bankers and CEOs have plenty to discuss at the World Economic Forum annual meeting. It’s less clear the atmosphere is conducive for the important political accords for which Davos is renowned.
An investment banker and macroeconomist convincingly argue that regulators have little hope of curbing private credit creation in the digital age, because the borders of banking have been hopelessly smudged. Their solution is radical and ingenious. Sadly, it also looks utopian.
Latam is exposed to varying degrees to the steep drop in the price of crude. Itaú economists expect Brent to rebound to $70 this year, but the uncertain outlook means Colombia has much to lose. Brazil, Argentina and Mexico can’t afford a prolonged slump. Chile is a clear winner.
When companies like developer Kaisa get into trouble, the result is often a messy scramble. Foreign creditors can be left with pennies as government meddling and offshore structures create unpredictable outcomes. Collateral helps, but nuisance value is often the deciding factor.